Yesterday President Obama gave a "command performance" before the TV cameras, appearing "distraught" and apologizing for the deaths of an American and an Italian killed by a CIA drone strike in Pakistan that occurred in January. Let's speculate on him being genuine or disingenuous.
According to government officials "it was only last week did intelligence officials report to Mr. Obama that they had what they called the highest level of confidence" that indeed it was a CIA drone strike that killed the two men, American Warren Weinstein and Italian Giovanni Lo Porto, reportedly held as captives by al Qaeda.
In response to criticism White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, "There was no evidence that the strikes deviated from normal practice" and "the families would receive financial compensation", certainly warped, cavalier responses to our drone wars and to the families of the two innocents killed by an American drone strike.
Let's briefly dissect these "official" responses first to the idea of Obama appearing "distraught." If it was genuine why did it take a week for him to go before the TV cameras"? Did he need to "prep" for a week, check the furrowed brow? We're expected to believe he knew nothing until last week because intelligence officials kept it secret from him or his NSA-that intercepts all electronic communications everywhere-were in the dark on this one and they too kept it from him. And if he was so upset why not go before the nightly news that day or at least the night he heard about it? If it was sincere why didn't he apologize for all the other innocents killed in American drone strikes-scrupulously authenticated and documented by Jeremy Scahill in his book, "Dirty Wars"-in wedding parties, funeral processions, sleeping in their beds in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen? There's no record of the president appearing "distraught" over them-or even the drone strike that killed the American born, 16 year old son of American Muslim cleric Anwar al Awliki in Yemen in 2011.
Then there's press secretary Earnest's responses; no evidence the strikes deviated from normal practice and the families will be financially compensated. Normal practice? We're told these drone strikes are "precision, targeted strikes" against al Qaeda, no apologies necessary. That's nothing new here. We did the same in Viet Nam. Everyone reported killed was VC, Viet Cong guerillas or the North Vietnamese "enemy". There were no innocents killed, just the "enemy." Nonsense! We killed innocents indiscriminately then-see Nick Turse's "Kill Anything That Moves" showing the My Lai massacre was an everyday occurrence- and we do the same now. Only it's "terrorists" instead of Communists.
Then to the families to receive financial compensation, put so matter of fact by Earnest. As if $ can assuage the devastation suffered by the families losing loved ones killed by their own government using a drone strike. That's terrorism to everyone else in the world except the US and Israel. Ah, "sorry, here's few bucks to ease your pain".
Let's end this little exercise with this tidbit. If there wasn't an American killed in a drone strike this would have been a non story and certainly not with the president apologizing on national TV.