Obama surely understood before he made his speech on America’s security that by invoking the language of the infamous Crusades, he was ensuring that the “war on terror” would continue indefinitely, even though he acknowledged this would be “self-defeating”.
The concept of a “just war” originates with Pope Urban II who in 1095 called the first Crusade aimed at restoring Christian rule in the
Holy Land. This led to two centuries of warfare, which
ended in the Crusade’s abject failure. Religiously-motivated “just wars”
continued well into the 16th century and helped undermine the
Catholic Church’s grip.
As Obama assumes the role of America’s very own Pope, would anyone be surprised if Islamic militants respond in kind to language that implies that non-Christians are “infidels” and generally not as “civilized” as the rest of us? Many jihadists believe in Holy War themselves. Now they’ve been invited to join one by an American president.
Let’s be clear, drone attacks are a form of state-sponsored terrorism and constitute extra-judicial murder. They are clearly unlawful by any definition of international law.
The drone is Obama’s weapon of choice. Under his presidency, drones are killing people at seven times the rate than under the Bush administration.
There is no “due process”, no opportunity to answer charges. The last thing a victim hears is the sound of a missile arriving, shortly after being fired by an unmanned drone. The trigger is pulled in
base somewhere else.
Some estimates suggest that more people have been killed by US drones than the 3,000 plus who perished when the
brought down in 2001. Many of the victims are bystanders, family members or
just people at a gathering wrongly identified as would-be terrorists. Twin Towers
On March 17, 2011 some 40 individuals – including 35 government-appointed tribal leaders known as maliks, as well as government officials – gathered in Datta Khel town centre in North Waziristan in
were there to attend a jirga — a decision-making, dispute resolution institution.
At about 10.45 am, as the two groups were engaged in discussion, a missile fired from a
US drone hovering above struck
one of the circles of seated men. Several additional missiles were fired,
at least one of which hit the second circle. In all, the missiles killed a
total of at least 42 people. The results of this particular drone attack
are among the many documented in an exhaustive
report into the practice and legality of drone strikes. The report
Their [drones] presence terrorises men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities. Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they’re powerless to protect themselves … strikes have undermined cultural and religious practices related to burial, and made family members afraid to attend funerals.
In his speech, Obama cited the warning by James Madison, father of the
who declared that “no nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of
continual warfare”. But Obama is ensuring that the opposite will prevail.
Federal authorities have been engaged in secret bugging of newspapers over the botched defence of the country’s
Benghazi consulate building, while the tax
authorities have selected targets on political grounds. Obama has retained the
extensive state powers granted to Bush after 9/11. Taken together, the United States
is increasingly the land of the unfree with a constitution that now protects
only the interests of military-industrial-financial complex.