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June 24, 2009

Obama Repents

By: Bernard Chazelle

It's Wednesday so it must be time for the usual headline:

US Drone Strike Said to Kill 60 in Pakistan [...]

as the Obama administration has intensified a policy inherited from the Bush administration.

Naturally, President Obama expressed his distress:

"I strongly condemn these unjust actions, and I join with the American people in mourning each and every innocent life that is lost."

Look, these young Iranian people are my heroes. They take to the streets, they fight for their rights, they risk their lives. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs announces the biggest bonuses in its history (with our own AIG-laundered tax money) and Americans sigh, grumble, and take it on the chin. That makes us what? Sheep, stoics, whatever. If Obama wants to give a speech to explain why Americans may have a thing or two to learn from the Iranians, fine, let's have a good laugh together. But when your hands are soaked with the blood of 60 people, Mr President, the only right you've earned, when it comes to berating thugs, is the right to shut the fuck up.

— Bernard Chazelle

Posted at June 24, 2009 11:31 AM

That story was covered on NPR this morning and it especially pissed me off because those killed were described as "suspected militants" and then later in the story it was added that they were "suspected militants" who were attending the funeral of another "militant."

There is of course no way the reporter has any idea whether any of that is true. Nor, i would bet, does the asshole in Las Vegas who launched the missile from the drone flying around Waziristan. So if anybody happened to actually be a "militant," i would have to attribute it nothing more than coincidence. We'll probably have to wait just a little while to see how many of the "suspected militants" were women and kids, because NPR sure as hell isn't going to tell us.

Posted by: Not Exactly at June 24, 2009 12:56 PM

Apparently only people who twitter are innocent.

Posted by: Cloud at June 24, 2009 01:02 PM

Word, goddammit, word.

Posted by: NomadUK at June 24, 2009 01:14 PM

Yes, the Iranians could teach us a thing or two especially when it comes to democracy. It’s a grand joke that Americans with our crumby two-party republic -- which is only one version of “democracy” -- spout off how we are world leaders leading one and all into the light of liberal democracy.

I recall a time when I fervently looked forward to not having to listen Bush Jr. and seeing his face. Funny thing was I didn’t feel anything when he left office. Perhaps it was because I was already sick to death of Obama even before he took office.

Posted by: Rob Payne at June 24, 2009 01:43 PM

"Drones attacked what they suspected was a “militant hideout” early today, killing at least 17. When mourners gathered to offer prayers for those slain in the first attack, the drones struck again, attacking the procession itself and bringing the overall toll to at least 80, according to witnesses."

"In a related development Tuesday, U.S. unmanned aircraft reportedly fired three missiles at Mahsud strongholds in South Waziristan, killing several dozen people and wounding as many as 60. The restricted area is isolated and dangerous, making it difficult to independently verify the reports.
U.S. officials as a matter of policy don't comment on the activity of unmanned aircraft. By some accounts, several of those killed in one of Tuesday's attacks were returning from the funeral of a colleague killed in an earlier drone attack.

Of Course, U.S. officials do not comment on the activity of unmanned demands accountability!

"U.S. must work to limit civilian deaths in Afghanistan, Mullen says",0,2104209.story

Yes, he promised to limit! civilian deaths by 2000lb bombs dropped by our pilots. He NEVR promised anything about DRONES killing civilians!

I just do not understand how one can talk about 'unjust action' with a straight face, on part of another govt when he is inflicting the worst injustice on innocent civilians of another country. I KNOW, it is hypocrisy but still incomprehensible.

Posted by: Rupa Shah at June 24, 2009 01:57 PM

Fortunately, there aren't any "innocents" anywhere in Pakistan...

Makes targeting MUCH easier...

Posted by: Woody at June 24, 2009 02:15 PM

Was watching CNN and a young woman was calling from Iran, begging for help to stop the beatings and killings. Then there's twitter over the 19 y/o woman killed last week, and FINALLY the many voices in Congress calling for stronger action. What's a President to do, ignor all that? Of course not.
60 people at funeral in Pakistan? NO TEARS on CNN, NO calls from Pakistan by young women begging for help, NO pressure from Congresscritters. Should a President make more problems for himself? Again, no of course not.
U PAY 4 the war on Al Quaeda and, frankly, U PAY to stir shit in Iran. UR just getting that which U PAY 4.
ITS A MAJORITY RULE NATION and this is what the majority agrees to, otherwise OUR streets would full of protesters just like Iran. President Obama, like ANY American Politician, WILL suck up to what the majority appears to be WILLING to stand still for and whatever extends that time in office, right or wrong, moral or immoral, horrendous or not. Either way he THINKS YOU WILL STAND STILL and NOT protest in the streets over these matters. Of course YOU'LL bad mouth, and complain, BUT U WILL STILL PAY and ALL will continue as is.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at June 24, 2009 02:51 PM

Well the US and its allies have tautology when the US bombs the people killed are militants, or terrorist,human shields, or whatever...if we make a mistake-which is the only crime we ever commit-another tautology-then we are deeply sorry for your loss...maybe a few hundred dollars will help out with the clean up.-Tony

Posted by: tony at June 24, 2009 04:02 PM

Mike Meyer:
ITS A MAJORITY RULE NATION and this is what the majority agrees to,

I agree with you. With recent massive funding for the war, there has to be support for this criminal activity called WAR. As long as the two wars continue, people will die, will become refugees and will be IDPs. It is the height of arrogance for the President to claim moral authority and lecture another govt how to treat its poplulation ( not that I support the Iraninan authories' actions ).

ps have not been able to call the Whitehouse comment line to lodge a protest as it is continuously engaged...... hopefully there are others who are equally outraged at out govt's actions and are trying to call to complain and demand an end to this carnage!

Posted by: Rupa Shah at June 24, 2009 04:25 PM

Rupa Shah: Funding IS controlled by Congress. ALL funding begins in the House of Representatives. If YOU want to complain-Pelosi @1-202-225-0100.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at June 24, 2009 05:52 PM

Goddamn right Professor. He doesn't have any moral standing to lecture any other country about any fucking thing.

Posted by: ran at June 24, 2009 09:39 PM

Mike Meyer:
I'd rather not waste my time calling speaker Pelosi because...

I had called my congressman to vote no for the bill but he chickened out and voted yes. I did call my senators though and sent an email to the President to END THE WARS.

Posted by: Rupa Shah at June 24, 2009 10:06 PM

Rupa Shah: Hevee YOU ever watched the House debate? Notice that ALL rhe representatives address ONLY THE SPEAKER, and none other. In fact its against the House Rules to address anyon but the SPEAKER. YOUR REPRESENTATIVE does NOT express YOUR concerns out there on the House Floor, then why not YOU, YOURSELF, REPRESENT YOU, YOURSELF to that VERY SAME SPEAKER. Just use the phone instead of going in person. Address The Speaker of The House in the "privacy" of the Speaker's Office instead of in public on The House Floor. Whatever the SPEAKES SEZ IS WHAT IS TABLED, and NONE other.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at June 25, 2009 12:44 AM

With recent massive funding for the war, there has to be support for this criminal activity called WAR.

Support where? In Congress, sure, but among the public?

Posted by: SteveB at June 25, 2009 09:04 AM

Though I would like to believe otherwise, sadly it is not true i.e. the public does not support the bombing campaign. I was talking to a couple of friends yesterday ( before I had posted my comment ) and they are all for GETTING RID OF TALIBAN and Al Qaeda. I do not think, the consequences of those bombings ( civilian deaths ) are on their radar ( or may be they believe it is acceptable if it keeps them safe! ). It always surprises me that some of my friends, very kind, decent, generous folks hold opposite views on certain issues from mine and do not even wish to discuss them! May be some of the commenters have encountered similar situations!

Posted by: Rupa Shah at June 25, 2009 09:37 AM

You may find the information on the website below interesting. My congressman,who claims to be pro-peace ( and he IS good on some issues that matter to people) had decided not to vote for the war funding bill but changed his mind! and voted for it ( pressure from Pelosi or even the President!!).

Posted by: Rupa Shah at June 25, 2009 10:27 AM

alas, hypocrisy is a presidential duty. i don't like it either, but i could live with that if the drone attacks would stop. every one of them is one too many.

congress doesn't exactly fill me with hope. hell, obama has threatened to veto the defense authorization bill because the house wants to fund weapons programs that the Pentagon doesn't even want. WTF!

it looks to me like the residents of the tribal areas in pakistan need to start contributing to U.S. congressional races on a par with defense contractors or health insurers if they want anyone on the Hill to give a damn whether they get murdered. if they do that, the drone attacks should stop right away, even if 75% of the US public supports the attacks (which certainly isn't so), since 75% of public supports a public option for health insurance but the Senate manages to find reasons why a public option is politically unrealistic anyway. That makes pretty clear to me what "politically unrealistic" is all about.

Posted by: Not Exactly at June 25, 2009 12:48 PM

Not Exactly: While I agree with what YOU say about healthcare and the American Public, I feel I disagree about the Drones. They're the future of modern warfare. Cheap, Disposable, less exposure for the American Soldier to hostile fire. What's NOT to love? WE ARE talking about THE American Public, aren't WE?

Posted by: Mike Meyer at June 25, 2009 03:30 PM

Maybe the Prez wants to stop these drone attacks too.

Fingers crossed.

Posted by: Not Exactly at June 25, 2009 08:59 PM

The reason I asked is because you seemed to be saying that a Congressional vote in support of something implies public support for it. Like we live in a representative democracy, or something. Put the $100 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan to a national plebiscite and see how many votes it gets. I'm betting it wouldn't pass.

How does the public feel about the drone attacks? I don't know, but to answer the question you'd need something more than to know how Congress voted, or the anecdotal information of what a few friends said (although I would agree that a lot of people have bought into the "We have to kill the Taliban" idea.)

Posted by: SteveB at June 26, 2009 09:06 AM

I do agree with you that the congress does not necessarily vote according to what their constituents want and my friends are not representative of USA in genearal. However, I do watch Washington Journal on C-SPAN and the callers are usually almost equally divided on various issues.

I am not aware of any opinion polls in USA regarding Drone Attacks but found a couple of interesting articles by googling the topic!

Posted by: Rupa Shah at June 26, 2009 01:48 PM