Friday, June 5, 2009

Obama's speech

Lots of articles out there on Obama's speech in the Middle East. I'll post some links in a bit, but this bit really struck me. Obama's Non-Starter by Stanley Heller on

At one point Obama says, “We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security. Because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children.”

The author goes on to point out how Obama didn't object so much to the deaths in Gaza from Israeli bombing. But I went to look for a different response. It didn't take long to find just one of the many examples I thought I'd find.

President Obama Orders Pakistan Drone Attacks from, Jan 23, 2009

A pair of US drone strikes in the North and South Waziristan tribal agencies of Pakistan killed 22 people today. Many of them appear to have been militants, but at least four of them were also children. The attacks, the first of President Obama’s fledgling administration, and the responses in their aftermath suggest that, in the end, very little has changed.

President Obama claims that he rejects the killing of innocent men, women and children. Yet, just days after becoming President, 4 children were dead by his order.

Of course, we know what the official US response would be. They were trying to kill some evil, dangerous extremists. The four children just happened to get in the way. The usual lines about how the US military goes to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties.

This of course has been going on for years. The US military conducts strikes. Civilians die because of the strikes. The US military then says that it either didn't know the civilians would die, or that they said they took all possible steps to avoid killing them. Yet, when you do something over and over and over, and when exactly the same thing results each time, at what point can you continue to claim innocence as to your actions? By this point, it is very, very clear that when the President orders strikes like these, he is ordering civilian casualties.

War itself causes the deaths of innocent men, women and children. This is a foreseeable outcome for which anyone who orders the starting or expansion of a war must take responsibility. How many innocents have died because of Mr. Obama's expansion of the Afghan war into Pakistan? The direct drone strikes into Pakistan seemed to have stopped or at least slowed down. But that's only because we've insisted that the Pakistani army begin ground actions. How many innocents have died because of those actions? There is no doubt that they are occurring because the US and President Obama want them to occur. And, it seems as if sometime in his term, we will go to war with Iran. The latest hints seem to point to early next year. How many innocents will die if Mr. Obama gives that order?

Mr. Obama claims that he rejects, as do people of all faiths, the killing of innocent men, women and children. Nice words. Too bad he doesn't really believe them. You judge people by their actions, not their words. President Obama's actions are to order the deaths of innocent men, women and children. It was one of the first things he did upon taking office.

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