The alleged US drone strike that reportedly killed up to 15 people on their way to a wedding in Yemen on Thursday is just one more reason why the Obama administration has to start talking more – and more honestly – about its drone war.
Local officials in Yemen say this is the second strike this week, which has now reportedly seen the deaths of 18 Yemenis at the hands of the U.S. government, without explanation. That is unacceptable.
On Monday, a U.S. drone reportedly killed three unidentified men driving on a main road in Hadramout province. The U.S. government said nothing.
Then on Thursday, news reports indicate a convoy of vehicles traveling to a wedding in central al-Bayda province was hit by a U.S. drone that killed ten passengers instantly; another five died after arriving at the hospital. There were conflicting reports about whether suspected al Qaida “militants” were traveling in the convoy.
This time, it’s imperative that the U.S. government respond. As human rights organizations argued (again) in a letter to President Obama last week, his administration’s so-called “targeted killing” program will never be seen as lawful and legitimate if U.S. officials don’t explain what right they have to kill the people they’re targeting. In this case, where the strike apparently either missed its target or misidentified it, acknowledging the error and doing everything possible to make amends is critical to U.S. interests.
As Yemeni activist Farea al-Muslimi told The Guardian, this latest U.S. strike “saved AQAP’s image” after the group was broadly condemned for killing more than 50 people in an attack on the Yemeni defense ministry. “Nothing could have made Yemenis forget the horrible images of the attack in Sanaa more than the images of this current drone strike that targeted a wedding party,” al-Muslimi said.
Even CIA Director John Brennan has said that the United States should publicly acknowledge mistaken killings and “make public the overall numbers of civilian deaths resulting from U.S. strikes targeting al-Qa’ida.”
With the US drone campaign evidently being stepped up in Yemen, now is the time to start that practice.
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Over 12 years, the United States has rounded up an unknown number of innocents and held them alongside terrorists at an island prison, without evidence, charges, or trial, keeping some for years even after deeming them no threat. The U.S. tortured an unknown number of prisoners in an official torture program, then destroyed evidence of it. Americans ran a prison at Abu Ghraib where many others were tortured and abused in the most disgusting ways imaginable. The Iraq War implicates us in the deaths of tens of thousands of innocents. Successive presidents set precedents such that American citizens can now be put on a secret kill list on one man’s orders and killed without any due process. A 16-year-old American was killed in a drone strike with no explanation given to this day; scarcely no one in power demanded one. With the blessings of the White House, the New York Police Department has ethnically profiled and spied on innocent Muslim Americans who were deemed suspicious for no reason besides their religion.
Source: The Atlantic
I no longer love blue skies. In fact, I now prefer gray skies. The drones do not fly when the skies are gray.
— This week, drone victims from Waziristan spoke about their experiences with drone attacks in a United States lawmaker session. However, only five lawmakers attended. Another person affected by drone usage said, "We hear the noise 24 hours a day."
The trite explanation for that is, when you see Earth from space, the borders disappear. You’ll be looking at Africa or Europe, and thinking back to what happened there 60 or 70 years ago, and you’ll be wondering: How could that little line right there have meant anything to anybody? You can’t even see it from a million feet away. But more important is that you can see that people all around the planet live more or less the same way. One of the guys on the crew put it best. He said we look like bacteria in a kitchen—we’re living in these sheltered little warm spots that have a nice supply of moisture. You can look down on a city and think, hey, I know that place. But then you wait half an hour, and you’re on the other side of the world, looking at a place you’ve never even heard of and, wow, it looks exactly the same. So you make this link. You realize, “Those people are the same. They’re trying to solve the same problems the same way. They just have their own particular set of barriers and circumstances.” So it affects your response, when you hear about some idiot doing something stupid that has a negative effect on it all. You have to accept it; there are good dogs and bad dogs in life. You just wish that people could get a little more of that million-feet-away perspective.
The United States is still under a 12+ year state of emergency
This says a lot.
TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:
Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act, 50 U.S.C. 1622(d), provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, within 90 days prior to the anniversary date of its declaration, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date. Consistent with this provision, I have sent to the Federal Register the enclosed notice, stating that the emergency declared in Proclamation 7463 with respect to the terrorist attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, is to continue in effect for an additional year.
The terrorist threat that led to the declaration on September 14, 2001, of a national emergency continues. For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue in effect after September 14, 2013, the national emergency with respect to the terrorist threat.
Source: Washington Post
Very alarming development in Egypt’s relations with Syria refugees. Sad. Thousands fleeing and a more difficult way to get in.“We have a nine-year old girl who is very attached to her mother, she’s very upset, she cries every day. The problem is we had no idea what was happening. Nobody told us anything.”
— A Syrian family gets separated as new Egypt regulations regarding Syrian refugees abruptly came about amidst the country’s coup. Syrians fleeing the ongoing deadly conflict in their nation cannot enter Egypt without a visa and prior security approval, citing that they found Syrians involved in Egyptian protests and violence. 87,527 Syrian refugees are currently in Egypt, as reported by the United Nations Refugee Agency. This certainly hurts.