Boston artist Steve Mills - realistic painting

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Obama's drone war

Obama's drone war

The Frontier Post

June 14, 2012

The word is out. US President Barack Obama's drone war stands deeply mired in disrepute and abhorrence worldwide, for which his own public approval ratings too have sharply plummeted globally. Since assumption of office, he has given not just big spurt to the US drone assaults abroad but he also personally approves the targets to be taken out. Not just that. He has given a new twist to the US drone attack policy. The targets are now the suspect compounds, unlike in the past when the suspect al-Qaeda operatives were taken on.
And out of the 20 countries the US-based Pew Global pollster has surveyed, more than half of the respondents in 17 disapprove of Obama's drone attacks on extremist leaders and groups in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. The strongest opposition was in the surveyed Muslim countries of Egypt, Jordan and Turkey while the public response in Pakistan the pollster is to release next weak. In Egypt 89 percent, in Jordan 85 percent and in Turkey 81 percent respondents opposed his drone attacks.

But, significantly, the opposition was overwhelming in the European countries. The biggest opposition was registered in Greece where 90 percent asked for immediate cessation of these attacks. The drone strikes likewise drew strong opposition in Spain, Brazil, Russia and Britain. The only country where Obama's drone war elicited the highest approval was none else but the United States of America itself. And that is quite understandable.

So long as the American lives and limbs are not at stake, the American people give two hoots if their militarists mow down even the innocent people abroad like flies with their naked adventurisms. It is only the American lives that come precious to them. Others' come dirt cheap to them. As the renowned international human rights watchdogs, civil society groups and even the UN rights workers are crying hoarse that these US drones are exacting a heavy toll on civilian lives, the American people and warlords are in total denial. Their drone technology is precise and accurate, they insist, unconvincingly.
But who knows? The Hellfire missiles their pilotless murder machines fire reduce the struck into just unrecognisable ash and mangled bodies. One knows not wherefrom they and their collusive national spy agencies of the targeted states fish out eyewitnesses to confirm that only the extremists and militants had been hit. But more often than not, one hears the surviving family members of the struck compounds and their neighbours mourning woefully that the innocent civilians had mostly, if not wholly, been slaughtered in the attack.
Of course, the American warlords and their colluding foreign state operatives dismiss this wailing derisively. The mourners are just making up, they normally chant nonchalantly. But the human rights workers have gone out into the field, collected information from various sources, including independent eyewitnesses and surviving family members, and concluded that the US drone attacks are causing horrifically enormous, what the American warlords call deceptively, collateral damage.

In plain simple language, this collateral damage means the massacre of the innocent civilians, including children and women, who die for no sin or crime of theirs. And this carnage, which the rights watchdogs call rightly and truthfully extrajudicial killings, has just touched the horrendous proportions. But the American people seem least bothered. At least 62 percent of them are all for Obama's drone war.

Indeed this smacks of the beginning of what some strategists perceive as America's gradual transformation towards fighting its future wars not by piloted jetfighters, warships, tanks, guns and soldiers, but by drones and robots. That may be a far-fetched prognosis. But the long-held secret is now out that in Afghanistan the American military has been supplied shoulder-carried drones which their field commanders employ to attack and take out the enemy targets without endangering the lives of their own soldiers. And they are increasingly making use of this latest war weapon.

In any case, what the future holds about America's war machine the time will tell. But for the present, Obama's drone war is certainly leading up to the heightening of ant-Americanism at least in the Muslim world and eating into his own popularity worldwide.

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