The United States claims to be the good guys in the world. Fighting terrorism. Standing with the downtrodden. Promoting democracy. Representing law and “human rights.”
Apparent United States policy on beheadings:
If “brutal” enemies do the beheading, start bombing whole regions, as Henry Kissinger said on Sunday, and respond disproportionately, in a way that “you would not analyze in terms of a normal response.”
I don’t know what you’ve been thinking and feeling in the last month, but if you are anything like me, you have been stunned and extremely disheartened by Barack Obama’s expanding air war in Iraq and the pro-war propaganda campaign that has infected television and radio news in the US.
As he gave vague outlines of developing US military strategy while speaking at the West Point commencement last week, President Obama affirmed that he believes “in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.” The previous day, he had announced that instead of all U.S. troops leaving in 2014, as had been the mantra, 9,800 would stay at least until 2016. We don't know what they will be doing, but securing the bases they've built from where secret operations — drones? missions into Pakistan? — are launched from is one likely explanation.
In a sharply-worded open letter to President Obama, 42 prominent figures in the legal community in Illinois — retired lawmakers and judges, as well as working lawyers — have criticized the president for his failure to close the “war on terror” prison at Guantánamo, as he promised to do on his second day in office in January 2009.
From the Associated Press:
"An American citizen who is a member of al-Qaida is actively planning attacks against Americans overseas, U.S. officials say, and the Obama administration is wrestling with whether to kill him with a drone strike and how to do so legally under its new stricter targeting policy issued last year."
Seven months ago, shocking media reports began surfacing about how the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) runs the biggest and most intrusive electronic surveillance operation in the world and in history. These revelations are based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden, former NSA contractor who courageously stepped out as a whistle blower in order to make people aware of the existence of this vast, secret spying by the U.S. (and its closest ally, Britain).
As we go to press, there is growing danger of a direct U.S. military attack on Syria—which is being framed as a “surgical strike”—using planes and/or Cruise missiles. U.S. Secretary of “Defense” Hagel announced that “the U.S. military is 'ready to go'” if ordered to attack Syria.
These attacks must be opposed with determined political protest and clear-eyed understanding of how they would make the situation worse.
Last Friday, President Obama, apparently responding to pressure, made an unexpected statement about the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. He expressed understanding that Black people feel “a lot of pain around what happened here.” He promised no systemic remedies, saying that such decisions are left up to the states, and putting the responsibility of “each of us to do some soul-searching.”
Read the transcript:
Obama's Speech: Not a Step in the Right Direction, But Justification for Assassination, Torture, and Unjust War
On May 23, President Barack Obama delivered a major speech on drones, Guantánamo, and the "war on terror." The speech was packaged as a new direction—a real step away from "endless war" and a real step towards the establishment of legal norms and due process in how the U.S. carries out military actions and detentions.