Archive for the ‘drone strikes’ Tag

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John Oliver “There is something strange about the fact that we launched deadly drone strikes in two sovereign nations that almost no one here heard about.  But then again, why would it make the news?  We use drones all the time.  Hard numbers are very difficult to come by for reasons that we’ll get into but by one estimate, the Obama administration we’ve launched eight times the number of drone strikes than his predecessor.  And, while they’ve declined a bit recently, drone strikes will be as much of a characteristic of the Obama presidency as Obamacare or receiving racist e-mail forwards from distant relatives.”

 

 

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Imagine That — I’m Still Anti-War.

July 16 2014

Most of us have heard John Lennon sing

“You may say I’m a dreamer,… but I’m not the only one.”

And some of us, after another morning dose of news coverage full of death and destruction, feel the need to reach out to others to see if we are not alone in our outrage. With about a dozen assorted ongoing conflicts in the news everyday, and with the stories becoming more horrific, the level of sadness becomes unbearable. And what becomes of our planet when that sadness becomes apathy? Because we feel helpless. And we turn our heads and turn the page.

Currently, I’m full of hope. That hope springs from the multitudes of people that our band has been fortunate enough to play for night after night here in Europe. To see flags of so many different nations, and to have these huge crowds gathered peacefully and joyfully is the exact inspiration behind the words I felt the need to emphatically relay. When attempting to make a plea for more peace in the world at a rock concert, we are reflecting the feelings of all those we have come in contact with so we may all have a better understanding of each other.

That’s not something I’m going to stop anytime soon. Call me naïve. I’d rather be naïve, heartfelt and hopeful than resigned to say nothing for fear of misinterpretation and retribution.

The majority of humans on this planet are more consumed by the pursuit of love, health, family, food and shelter than any kind of war. War hurts. It hurts no matter which sides the bombs are falling on.

With all the global achievements in modern technology, enhanced communication and information devices, cracking the human genome, land rovers on Mars etc., do we really have to resign ourselves to the devastating reality that conflict will be resolved with bombs, murder and acts of barbarism?

We are such a remarkable species. Capable of creating beauty. Capable of awe-inspiring advancements. We must be capable of resolving conflicts without bloodshed.

I don’t know how to reconcile the peaceful rainbow of flags we see each night at our concerts with the daily news of a dozen global conflicts and their horrific consequences. I don’t know how to process the feeling of guilt and complicity when I hear about the deaths of a civilian family from a U.S. drone strike. But I know that we can’t let the sadness turn into apathy. And I do know we are better off when we reach out to each other.

“I hope someday you’ll join us,…”

Won’t you listen to what the man said.

— Eddie Vedder

 

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Malala Yousafzai may have missed out on the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, but she did get a chance to talk to the president about education, human rights … and drone strikes in Pakistan.

Obama invited Yousafzai to the White House “to thank her for her inspiring and passionate work on behalf of girls education in Pakistan,” the White House said in a statement Friday. “The United States joins with the Pakistani people and so many around the world to celebrate Malala’s courage and her determination to promote the right of all girls to attend school and realize their dreams.”

The 16-year-old campaigner for girls education and survivor of a Taliban assassination attempt said in a later statement that she was honored to meet with the president, but “I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism,” she said. “Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact,” she said.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/10/12/malala-yousafzai-meets-barack-obama-asks-for-drone-strikes-to-end/

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John Fugelsang:

Today we got to watch the John Brennan confirmation hearings for CIA director, and I gotta say Mr. Brennan came off as the most thoughtful, soft-spoken, reflective man who could also kill you with his bare hands.

John Brennan was kind of like all the members of the Fantastic Four rolled into one — he looks kind of like “The Thing,” he talks like Reed Richards, he can easily set things on fire halfway across the world and he knows how to make CIA docs invisible.

Now, I know that the media’s been trumpeting that drone bombings enjoy widespread support. But so does Honey Boo Boo, and that doesn’t make it right.

Of course, drone warfare is preferable to putting U.S. troops in harm’s way. And it’s the future of warfare, whether we like it or not. Personally, I think anybody who wants to send machines into battle for us needs to watch the first three “Terminator” films.

But I was surprised that no one asked Mr. Brennan about how drone bombs don’t just kill America haters — they create new ones.

I was surprised no one asked him why all adult males are considered combatants and that’s how they keep the civilian death casualties numbers so low.

I was surprised no one asked him about the CIA’s new definition of the word “imminent” for all those imminent threats. Turns out, all they have to do is think you might be a threat one day. Nothing like a little pre-emptive Bush/Cheney nostalgia — forgive us our trespasses as we trespass against those we think might one day trespass against us.

But I guess I was most surprised by Mr. Brennan’s unwillingness to say if waterboarding was torture. He said, “I can’t say if it’s torture, I’m not a lawyer.” The only thing we learned for sure today was that John Brennan should’ve coached Chuck Hagel.

Now, to his credit Mr. Brennan was totally against waterboarding — but is OK with killing Americans for stuff they haven’t done yet because they’re an imminent threat that’s not necessarily imminent. That’s a Jersey thing.

A lot of Democrats will be upset by any criticism of President Obama, but I gotta say, some of us criticize him because we care about his legacy, and even the most hardcore down-the-line Obama defender has to acknowledge it’s a bit screwy to have policies in a world like this where he gets to keep the Nobel Peace Prize but Milli Vanilli had to give the Grammy back.

See, what most Americans don’t know — or don’t think about — won’t hurt them. In fact, I’m pretty sure you could open a waterboarding salon for the housewives of Beverly Hills as long as you told them it was good for the pores.

It’s a certainty, my friends, that Mr. Brennan will be confirmed. I hope he will keep America safe, change the policies that keep America hated and prevent people from wanting to kill Americans — because that’s the only way a so-called war on terror will or can ever be won.

http://current.com/shows/viewpoint/videos/john-fugelsang-on-why-john-brennan-is-like-all-the-members-of-the-fantastic-four-rolled-into-one/

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Bill Maher “Now, this week we found out some very interesting things about our own government.  A secret memo was leaked that shows the rationale behind the drone attacks we conduct around the world.  And, apparently, our government has the power to kill anyone, anywhere in the world, at the push of a button, but they can’t deliver the mail on Saturday.”

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On his Friday show, Bill Moyers had Vincent Warren, the executive director for the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Vicki Divoll, who used to serve as a legal advisor to the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center, to discuss torture, drone strikes, and President Obama.

Divoll also authored an op-ed for the New York Times last month, titled, “Who Says You Can Kill Americans, Mr. President?”

Vicki Divoll, who worked at the CIA until 2000, said that during her time at the intelligence organization, “harsh interrogation, detention, and certainly killing were not on the table. You would have been laughed out of a conference room if you brought up any tactics such as those, at that time.”

Warren said that he was deeply troubled by the secrecy of the Obama administration in regards to torture. “Clearly the Senate Intelligence Committee wants to and needs to keep some of this stuff classified. But we run into this problem where if you look historically, the only way that a country and certainly a country like the United States can torture is if they do it in secret, right? There was a connection between the secrecy and the torture.”

When Moyers asked if Obama was “fighting the war on terror within the rule of law,” Warren replied, “I do not. In fact, I know that he is not.”

Divoll was somewhat more lenient, saying, “I am concerned that he may not be. But I’m not going to go quite so far as to say that he is not following the rule of law. I think his lawyers have told him he is and he believes them.”

Warren asserted that “There’s no judicial oversight for how they determine who they’re going to kill and who they don’t want to kill.”

In regards to Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen killed overseas by the government, Divoll said that there is “plenty of evidence that lots of people are suspected of doing lots of things. And that doesn’t mean we shoot them from the sky.”

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/02/01/moyers-guest-on-drone-strikes-governments-interpretation-of-the-law-is-akin-to-a-state-secret/