Thursday, December 29, 2011

murder most foul

Consider the contrasting executive styles of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The former, always the swaggering Philistine full of "Bring it on" and "Mission Accomplished," invited contempt and seemed energized by it. Compared to Obama's timid reticence and cautious double-talk, George's yahooliganism was always entertaining, even when it was harnessed to murderous and/or larcenous policies.

And after all, their differences are only style-deep and inconsequential in practice, as their pursuit of foreign wars of aggression are practically identical. Both are bloody-handed murderers, and if one killed with gusto while the other attempts to hide his crimes under a veil of secrecy, their victims are equally dead in either case.

George Bush's Excellent Adventure in Iraq is now history, but Obama's secret drone-warfare campaign in Pakistan and elsewhere is a tale of mayhem in progress, and to tell it I can do no better than defer to Glenn Greenwald at and the Washington Post article he cites which reads in part, "(N)o president has ever relied so extensively on the secret killing of individuals to advance the nation’s security goals."

What those goals are, exactly, must also be a state secret, for I have absolutely no clue what might be accomplished by a campaign which uses robots to target low-level anti-American militants in the hills of Pakistan but ends up killing mostly innocents, including children, then calls those predictable deaths "collateral damage" rather than what they are -- murder most foul.

We had such high hopes for Obama and the Democrats when they took charge of the government three years ago, but now, as the Washington Post declares, Senior Democrats barely blink at the idea that a president from their party has assembled such a highly efficient machine for the targeted killing of suspected terrorists. It is a measure of the extent to which the drone campaign has become an awkward open secret in Washington that even those inclined to express misgivings can only allude to a program that, officially, they are not allowed to discuss.

Somebody needs to page Julian Assange at Wikileaks, for there is nothing secret that cannot, and will not be revealed.

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