By Matthew Rothschild and Amitabh Pal
January 7, 2013
Pres. Obama just made a hideous appointment.
He replaced the disgraced David Petraeus at the CIA with John Brennan, Dr. Drone.
This is a hideous appointment.
Brennan, as Obama’s counterterrorism czar, has overseen the massive proliferation of our drone warfare.
He’s called it “ethical and just,” and he even went so far as to say that the United States hadn’t killed a single civilian in over almost a year’s span of drone attacks.
That might be because he and the Administration claimed that any adult male killed by a drone was de facto a member of a terrorist group.
In any event, the drone attacks actually have killed hundreds and hundreds of innocent people – and not just men — in Yemen, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, enflaming hatred against us. The next issue of The Progressive is carrying an article by a reporter who went to North Waziristan and actually talked to family members who lost loved ones to drones.
One man, Wakil Khan, lost his wife and three children. “May God curse the U.S.A. because they don’t differentiate between the innocent and the guilty,” he said.
One of the leading opposition figures in Pakistan, Imran Khan, the cricketer turned politician, bases much of his campaign on opposition to drones.
In Yemen, the effect of drones is similarly counterproductive.
“Testimonies from Qaeda fighters and interviews I and local journalists have conducted across Yemen attest to the centrality of civilian casualties in explaining Al Qaeda’s rapid growth there. The United States is killing women, children and members of key tribes,” wrote Gregory D. Johnsen in an op-ed in The New York Times in November.
Johnsen, the author of “The Last Refuge: Yemen, Al-Qaeda, and America’s War in Arabia,” quoted one Yemeni as saying: “Each time they kill a tribesman, they create more fighters for Al Qaeda.”
“Living Under Drones,” a recent report by Stanford Law School and NYU Law School, “provides new and firsthand testimony about the negative impacts US policies are having on the civilians living under drones.”
It cites one journalistic source as saying that U.S. drones have killed 176 children in Pakistan alone.
And the report concludes that drone attacks “undermine respect for the rule of law and international legal protections and may set dangerous precedents.”
One dangerous precedent is the killing of U.S. citizens by our own government, which Brennan justifies. He saw nothing wrong with the killing of Anwar Al-Awlaki, the alleged Al Qaeda propagandist and conspirator, in a drone strike that also killed another U.S. citizen, Samir Khan, a young editor of an allegedly pro-Al Qaeda publication. But Brennan has no justification for the killing of Al-Awlaki’s son, Abdulrahman, an American citizen who loved the Simpsons. A U.S. drone wiped out young Abdulrahman two weeks after his father and Khan were killed. The ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights have a case pending against the U.S. government simply to get an accounting of its actions in these three American deaths.
And as Glenn Greenwald pointed out shortly after Obama won the Presidency the first time,
Brennan “was an ardent supporter of torture and one of the most emphatic advocates of FISA expansions and telecom immunity.”
John Brennan is a liar, and he’s a dangerous man. And now he has only more power to be dangerous.
© 2012 The Progressive