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Rank-and-File Dems Punk Out on Drones & Guantanamo

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The World Socialist Web Site yesterday carried this story:

A report by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism ( BIJ ) has found that the US Central Intelligence Agency deliberately attacked rescue workers and funeral processions in follow-up strikes after drone missile attacks on insurgents in Pakistan's tribal areas. The findings were made public on the group's web site and published by the Sunday Times of London.

According to the organization, which includes British and Pakistani journalists, at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes while they were attempting to help victims of an initial CIA drone attack. Dozens more were killed by missile strikes against the funerals of victims of drone attacks.

Overall, the group found that "since Obama took office three years ago, between 282 and 535 civilians have been credibly reported as killed, including more than 60 children." Pakistani officials and humanitarian aid workers have reported much higher figures for the death toll in Pakistan's tribal areas, as many as several thousand.

Experts on international law have characterized these follow-up drone missile strikes as war crimes. Clive Stafford Smith, who has fought for the release of many innocent men held in Guantanamo Bay, told BIJ the drone strikes "are like attacking the Red Cross on the battlefield. It's not legitimate to attack anyone who is not a combatant."

Christof Heyns , the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, told the group: "Allegations of repeat strikes coming back after half an hour when medical personnel are on the ground are very worrying. To target civilians would be crimes of war."

It's obvious why Obama is not concerned about this bad news. Just this morning the Washington Post carried a story entitled Poll finds broad support for Obama's counter-terrorism policies . The article reveals that a new "Post-ABC News poll found that 83 percent of Americans approve of Obama's drone policy, which administration officials refuse to discuss, citing security concerns.....77 percent of liberal Democrats endorse the use of drones, meaning that Obama is unlikely to suffer any political consequences as a result of his policy in this election year."

The poll also shows that "that 53 percent of self-identified liberal Democrats -- and 67 percent of moderate or conservative Democrats -- support keeping Guantanamo Bay open, even though it emerged as a symbol of the post-Sept. 11 national security policies of George W. Bush, which many liberals bitterly opposed."

The Denver Post additionally reports that "An alliance has been formed to pursue an unmanned aircraft test range for Colorado, with the likely site being the Front Range Airport near Watkins, it was announced today.

"Joining in the alliance are the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber and Economic Development Corp., the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., and the Front Range Airport Authority.

"Six new pilot test sites for unmanned aircraft will be determined by the Federal Aviation Administration under the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act [ NDAA ].

"The FAA and the U.S. Department of Defense will use the test sites to integrate unmanned aircraft into the national airspace."

This stuff just keeps on coming. It's further evidence that rank-and-file Democrats, who screamed and hollered about Bush the evil killer, now look the other way in large numbers when their man is in the White House. It's pure and simple hypocrisy. You might call it "tactical peace activism" - joining the call against war (and drones) only when a Republican is firing the missiles.

This solid factual base strongly reinforces my claim yesterday that any "progressive" worth their weight in salt could/would/should not support the magician for reelection. But the numbers cited above tell us that many of our so-called peace allies in the Democratic Party (including the self identified "liberals") not only are willing to vote for Obama but more importantly APPROVE of his drone killing policies and Guantanamo prison camp policies.

An email from Colorado activist Bob Kinsey today sums it all up well when he says:

Could we take a note from the "social conservatives" and say that our first amendment rights to religious freedom are being co-opted by an out of control government that is spending money for something our leader, the peaceful Jesus, commands us not to do? "Peter put away your sword!" "Choose Life!" etc.
It's a mind blower for sure!
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Bruce Gagnon is the Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.


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