Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

29758GOOD READ: Game of Drones: Welcome to Murder.gov

Expand Messages
  • Romi Elnagar
    May 3, 2013
      Welcome to the Age of Murder.Gov
      The Game of Drones
      At last we know. The mysterious legal authority for Barack Obama’s killer drone program flows from another administration with an elastic
      interpretation of executive power: that of Richard Nixon.
      In a chilling 16-page dossier known simply as the White Paper, one of Obama’s statutory brains at the Justice Department cites the 1969
      secret bombing of Cambodia as a legal rationale justifying drone
      strikes, deep inside nations, against which the United States is not
      officially at war.
      This startling disclosure is drafted in the antiseptic prose of an
      insurance adjuster announcing the denial of a claim based on a
      pre-existing condition. Yet, the bombing of Cambodia (aka Operation
      Menu), which involved more than 3,000 air strikes, was almost
      universally acknowledged as a war crime. Now the Obama administration
      has officially enshrined that atrocity as precedent for its own killing
      Since Obama’s election, the CIA has overseen nearly 320 drone strikes in Pakistan alone, killing more than 3,000 people, as many as 900 of
      them civilians. Among the dead are at least 176 children. Assassination
      was never this easy, never so risk-free.
      George W. Bush was mocked by liberals for calling himself the
      Decider. Bush deployed this pathetic bit of oil slang to defend himself
      against accusations that Cheney and his coterie of Neo-Cons were calling the shots in the Iraq war. But was Bush’s posturing any more absurd
      than the image of Obama piously consulting the homilies of Aquinas, as
      he personally checks off the names on his drone kill list and watches
      streaming videos of the writhing bodies shredded by Hellfire missiles?
      Bush’s murderous psyche at least presented presented itself for
      analysis and explication. Perhaps W’s blood lust stemmed from a Freudian fixation on Saddam’s pathetic attempt to off his father in Kuwait City. Perhaps it was warped by spasms of subconscious guilt over allowing
      9/11 to occur on his watch. What, however, is the driving force behind
      Obama’s savagery? Unlike Bush, who tended to show revealing glimpses of
      emotional strain, Obama operates with the icy rectitude of a political
      In Obama’s game of drones, the atrocities in the name of empire seem
      consciously geared to some deep political algorithm of power and death.
      The Left remains largely insensate to the moral and constitutional
      transgressions being committed by their champion, leaving only the
      faintly ludicrous figure of Rand Paul to offer official denunciations
      against these malignant operations. For his troubles, Paul’s admirable
      filibuster against the nomination of John Brennan, master of the drones, to head the CIA is ridiculed as an exercise in paranoia by the likes of Frank Rich and Lawrence O’Donnell.
      The professional Left, from the progressive caucus to the robotic
      minions of Moveon.org, lodge no objections and launch no protests over
      the administration’s acts of sanctimonious violence against the empire’s enemies.
      Worse, they behave like political eunuchs, offering groveling
      tributes and degrading supplications to their Master, even as Obama
      defiles their ideological aspirations.
      The president has offered us a master class in political mesmerism,
      transforming the anti-war Left into supine functionaries of the imperial management team.
      The cyber-Left is kept rigidly in line by the architects of liberal
      opinion. From David Corn to Rachel Maddow, the progressive press acts in sinister harmony with the administration’s neoliberal agenda. They
      seduously ignore Obama’s constitutional depredations, and instead devote acres of airspace to the faux clashes over sequestration and gay
      Night after night, we are presented with sideshows, what Hitchcock
      called the McGuffin in his films, the dramatic diversions designed to
      distract the audience’s attention from the real game being played.
      Meanwhile, the liberal commentariat is balefully complacent to the
      rapacity of Obama’s remote control death squadrons, even in the face of
      somber evidence regarding the drone program’s criminal nature. Raid
      after raid, kill after kill, ruin after ruin, they remain silent. But
      their silence only serves to emphasize their complicity, their
      consciousness of guilt. Their fingers too are stained by distant blood.
      Even Nixon, the ultimate enforcer, was rocked by insubordinates
      defecting from his regime, aides and staffers who reached their limit
      and resigned in disgust. One of them was Roger Morris. Morris, an
      occasional contributor to CounterPunch, served on the National Security
      Council during LBJ’s administration and continued after Nixon’s election under Henry Kissinger. But Morris reached his limit in the spring of
      1970, resigning over the covert bombing of Cambodia. How times have
      Where are similar figures of conscience in the Obama White House, or
      even the Democratic Party? Where are the leaks and resignations? Perhaps this is the ultimate object lesson on display in the ongoing
      persecution of Bradley Manning. Internal dissent, regardless of its
      legal and moral standing, shall not be tolerated. Indeed, it will be
      considered sedition and will be smothered by the supreme sanction of the government.
      Acts that were once considered outrages against conscience are now routine.
      Welcome to the age of Murder.Gov.
      Jeffrey St. Clair is the editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book (with Joshua Frank) is Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]