Barack Obama has never claimed to be pro-life. As the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney writes: “President Obama has killed hundreds of civilians, including women and children, in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia through a drone war aimed at exterminating the suspected terrorists on his unprecedented and ever-expanding ‘kill list.’”Read the rest here. And don't forget that there is wide bipartisan support for drone warfare, which would undoubtedly continue under a Romney administration.
The drone strike program that was controversial during the Bush administration has grown dramatically under President Obama. The logic behind drone strikes is plain—the ability to eliminate terrorist targets with unmanned aircraft means we don’t have to endanger U.S. military personnel. But the grim reality of these strikes drastically undermines any good intentions. The method has quickly become an everyday nightmare for average Pakistanis. In September CNN reported that a recent study showed that drone strikes “are too harmful to civilians, too sloppy, legally questionable and do more harm to U.S. interests than good.”
Indeed. For every terrorist killed, the number of civilians killed continues to mount—and the question of who is actually a “terrorist” has become even more vague.
This week, MSNBC “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough explained that America’s drone policy basically says that: “if you’re between 17 and 30, and within a half-mile of a suspect, we can blow you up … They are focused on killing the bad guys, but it is indiscriminate as to other people who are around them at the same time.” Scarborough continued: “Instead of trying to go in and take the risk and get the terrorists out of hiding in a Karachi suburb, we’re just going to blow up everyone around them.”
When Scarborough brought up how drones have indiscriminately killed many innocent children, Time columnist Joe Klein replied: “The bottom line in the end is—whose 4-year-old get killed? What we’re doing is limiting the possibility that 4-year-olds here will get killed by indiscriminate acts of terror.”
And hey: if you're an American citizen, drone warfare can be used against you, too--preemptively, because you might someday become a threat (say, when you're an adult) as Conor Friedersdorf writes:
First, it's vital for the uninitiated to understand how Team Obama misleads when it talks about its drone program. Asked how their kill list can be justified, Gibbs replies that "When there are people who are trying to harm us, and have pledged to bring terror to these shores, we've taken that fight to them." Since the kill list itself is secret, there's no way to offer a specific counterexample. But we do know that U.S. drones are targeting people who've never pledged to carry out attacks in the United States. Take Pakistan, where the CIA kills some people without even knowing their identities. "As Obama nears the end of his term, officials said the kill list in Pakistan has slipped to fewer than 10 al-Qaeda targets, down from as many as two dozen," the Washington Post reports. "The agency now aims many of its Predator strikes at the Haqqani network, which has been blamed for attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan." The vast majority would never make their way to New York or Washington, D.C., and the Obama Administration would never agree to rules that permitted only the killing of threats to "the homeland."Oh, but Mr. Friedersdorf forgets that Congress is all for this kind of "enhanced assassination" against people who are related to terrorists, or who might someday be terrorists, or who might be thinking that perhaps America isn't exceptional enough to impose her will on other nations...in fact, our Congress, which can rarely agree about anything, is inclined to be enthusiastic about this sort of thing, no matter which administration is in charge.
The second notable statement concerns the killing of 16-year-old American citizen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki. [...]
How does Team Obama justify killing him?
The answer Gibbs gave is chilling:
ADAMSON: ...It's an American citizen that is being targeted without due process, without trial. And, he's underage. He's a minor.Again, note that this kid wasn't killed in the same drone strike as his father. He was hit by a drone strike elsewhere, and by the time he was killed, his father had already been dead for two weeks. Gibbs nevertheless defends the strike, not by arguing that the kid was a threat, or that killing him was an accident, but by saying that his late father irresponsibly joined al Qaeda terrorists. Killing an American citizen without due process on that logic ought to be grounds for impeachment. Is that the real answer? Or would the Obama Administration like to clarify its reasoning? Any Congress that respected its oversight responsibilities would get to the bottom of this.
GIBBS: I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well being of their children. I don't think becoming an al Qaeda jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business.
Not long ago Rod Dreher posted from France about things left behind by Jewish children in Paris rounded up by the Nazis during World War II. People commented, predictably, about the horror of French Christians turning blind eyes to this sort of thing. Well, today many of us turn blind eyes, or even write words of excuse or justification, concerning the children of the Middle East who are being killed, maimed, and otherwise harmed by our policies of drone warfare and disproportionate civilian attacks. That's on us--and future generations may well wonder how American Christians paid so little attention to the atrocities being committed by our leaders, in our names, in our day.