While I try to sprinkle in some positive news and encouraging posts on this blog, unfortunately due to the nature of politics it can sometimes be a downer. But politics and government are some of the areas that interest me most, because there’s so much room for improvement, and therefore I find myself being the bearer of bad news quite often. It is always tempting to just shut out the bad and focus on the good, which is why I think a lot of people hold unrealistic views, not realizing how bad our government really has gotten. I named this blog after the need to pay attention to our government, and therefore hold them accountable, which is the responsibility of a free people who control their government. But unfortunately for many years things were good enough in the USA for the electorate to become, well, lazy and look the other way even as the most egregious violations by our government confronted us.
Too often we are presented with the opportunity to trade liberty for security, but some people do not realize what goes with that trade. Our security is the excuse our government uses to carry out drone strikes all over the world, often killing innocents and civilians, always killing without a trial. This is not a wholesale condemnation of actions that our government takes to actually keep America safe as the Constitution lays out. But it is safe to say that our government has gone beyond protecting our borders and repelling invasions, and the cold hard truth is that we are a part of every positive action our government takes on our behalf, and equally a part of every negative that we have allowed to be carried out by our government. So our duty as an electorate in a free state is to take back the reigns of control that have slowly been stolen by our government, and right the wrongs. That’s why, in order to be a vigilant voter, I must raise awareness and condemn the use of drone strikes for worldwide hits by our government.
Lies have been repeated, especially by President Obama, that drone strikes are precision hits that can take out even one individual with accuracy, and that only individuals whose guilt is beyond a reasonable doubt are targeted. According to The Atlantic, such is not the case.
“A U.S. drone mistakenly targeted a wedding convoy in Yemen’s al-Baitha province after intelligence reports identified the vehicles as carrying al Qaeda militants,” CNN reported, citing government sources in Yemen. “The officials said that 14 people were killed and 22 others injured, nine in critical condition. The vehicles were traveling near the town of Radda when they were attacked.”
Is America at war with Yemen? Why is okay for the U.S. to perform military operations in countries which we are not at war with, and have no agreements with to wage war on their population? Can we imagine the furor that would accompany any military operations of another country on America soil, let alone if those strikes included murdering innocent civilians? Add on the fact that it was a wedding where the civilians were murdered, and this starts to sound more like “Game of Thrones” than 2013 America.
And don’t be one to condemn entire nations’ civilians because of the actions of a small percentage of people, or even the government. Conversely, while it is our responsibility to ensure our government is being responsible militarily, we did not murder those civilians, and therefore retaliation on American civilians would be disgusting and unjustified. Likewise, even if the Yemeni government is funding terrorism, that is not sufficient reason to go around blowing up wedding parties because, like, maybe a few of them were terrorists.
“…Five of those killed were suspected of involvement withAl Qaeda, but the remainder were unconnected with the militancy, Yemeni security officials said.”
More than a dozen dead, many more injured, and an unknown number of survivors whose lives have suddenly taken a nightmarish turn the likes of which we cannot imagine, and all for the sake of five people suspected of ties to al-Qaeda. How many actual al-Qaeda terrorists would we have to kill with drones in Yemen to make the benefits of our drone war there outweigh the costs of this single catastrophic strike? If U.S. drone strikes put American wedding parties similarly at risk would we tolerate our targeted-killing program for a single day more? Our policy persists because we put little value on the lives of foreign innocents. Even putting them through the most horrific scene imaginable on their wedding day is but a blip on our media radar, easily eclipsed by a new Beyonce album.
Oh we took out 5 suspected terrorists? And how many more hundreds or thousands did we encourage to become terrorists with this single event? No, it is not justified to become a terrorist because of this, no, I am not making up excuses for current terrorists, nor apologizing for terrorist acts on Americans. What I am saying from a purely “let’s keep America safe” standpoint, is that what do we expect to come from treating civilians of other countries like this? Everyone who lost a loved one, or an eye, or a friend in that bombing will now live the rest of their lives hating America. They will have nightmares and PTSD and every ounce of rage that fills them will be focused on America. They will dream of revenge, they will become discouraged with their lives perhaps thinking, “Why bother planning for the future, why bother with a job, having children, love, or a wedding when it will all come crumbling down because of a government thousands of miles away”.
When people have no options they turn to crime. When people see no future, terrorism—a tight knit group of people whose mission you agree with, whose views you share that offer you the chance to avenge your loved ones—becomes a viable option. This does not justify terrorist actions, I am simply explaining how the “security” measures that America is taking are counter productive to our safety. So whether you care only about the security of Americans, or if you are like me and feel for the people that were murdered unjustly in our names, and feel for the couple whose wedding day included the murder and mutilation of dozens of their guests, friends, family, and loved ones, you should be condemning our worldwide drone war as loud as the next guy.
Obama claims that one needs to be an “imminent threat to Americans” in order to be taken out with a drone. It is tough to see how imminent a threat some guys attending a wedding would be. Obama says that these are “surgical” drone strikes and they make sure there are no civilians in the area before the attack is carried out. Well either someone’s not doing their job, or Obama is lying… again. Obama said:
Remember that the terrorists we are after target civilians, and the death toll from their acts of terrorism against Muslims dwarfs any estimate of civilian casualties from drone strikes.
So it’s okay that we kill civilians because they did it first? This quote makes me wonder what the real purpose of these drone strikes are. Is the American military being used by Muslims to retaliate against their enemies? Why else would this be the focus of Obama’s justification, instead of the safety of Americans? The clear answer is that our government does not give us enough information about their drone strikes to justify them, and just expect us to swallow the “security” pill. None for me, thanks. I will continue to support rolling back our military ventures throughout the world in order to foster real security at home.
Before you vote in the next election, just remember that you are electing the person who will steer these drones. They will either be steered home, or continue murdering innocents along with their targets.