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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/31/12

Obama Defends Drone Strikes

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Drones over Pakistan



Yesterday, President Obama conducted something called a "virtual interview, online "hangout", through Google and You Tube with five people chosen out of hundreds of thousands, where he answered questions and gave comments on his use of drones in Pakistan (for which Pakistan, upon hearing these assertions, said were "unlawful" and a violation of its sovereignty).

The president said these attacks were "very precise, precision strikes against al Qaeda and their affiliates". He described them as "carefully targeted" and "kept on a very tight leash" and not used "willy nilly". How comforting.

Further he went on to say "the U.S. respects the sovereignty of nations even as it uses drones within their borders".   That sounds like "newspeak", something right out of George Orwell's novel, "1984".

There are so many absurdities in the president's "defense" of his use of drones it's hard to know where to begin.

But let's begin with his "respect for sovereignty" for starters. As Pakistan immediately objected to yesterday's assertions by Obama, lets' not mince words; when drones are operating within the borders of any country without condoning their use, that is a clear violation of that countries sovereignty. So Obama's defense of the use of drones is pure nonsense.

As to their being "carefully targeted" and "precise", we're not talking about conducting eye surgery here. These strikes may kill a few "suspected" terrorists but there are confirmed accounts of scores of innocents being killed and maimed in drone strikes, innocents sleeping in their beds, walking in wedding parties and in funeral processions. Where does the president acknowledge these facts?

What about the Pakistani soldiers wrongfully targeted and killed last month for which Pakistan has responded by closing the main military supply lines into Afghanistan from Pakistan and has ordered the shutdown of many CIA operations within Pakistan.

The other day the Iraqi government said its sovereignty was being violated by American drones flying over embassies, consulates and personnel stationed in Iraq. Just where is the "respect for sovereignty in that?

Yesterday's "virtual interviews" by the president were an insult to our intelligence and critical thinking knowing as we do these drone strikes don't make us safer, they contribute to the expansion of terrorism used against us, are "poster child" ads for recruiting suicide bombers and serve to justify the legitimate hatred and vengeance of those who vow retribution and retaliation against America.

So just who were the people the president's "reassuring" responses aimed at? The wacko right that hates him to the core; Independents straddling the fence on who they'll vote for in November; his "true believers" who have suspended their judgment and refuse to acknowledge Mr. "Change you can believe in" has betrayed them?

President Obama didn't initiate the "war of terror". That mindless assertion belongs to George W. Bush. But this president has continued and expanded that endless war, particularly with his expansion of the use of drones in Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan.

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