Skip to main content

Obama`s drone speech misses the mark


US President Barack Obama`s speech on drones and counterterrorism at the National Defence University in Washington on Thursday falls far short of my expectations. To be blunt, his arguments were deeply flawed and full of contradictions.
------------------------------------------------

Barack Obama: 'drone strikes have saved lives' - video | World news | guardian.co.uk - The Guardian

www.guardian.co.uk › World news › Drones
The US president defends his country's use of unmanned drones as part of their continued counter-terror policy.
---------------------------------------------------
In what has been described as his new policy to restrict the scope of these counterterrorism operations, Obama continued to justify the drone strikes, or target killing, as `effective` and `legal` although that kind of legality is widely challenged both in the United States and abroad, and that kind of `effectiveness` is contradicted by his own admission that drones have come at a severe cost to the US relationship with Pakistan, citing the backlash among the Pakistani public over encroachment on their territory.

Obama needs to be reminded that he was the one who ordered to dramatically increase the drone strikes in Pakistan and other countries from the days of his predecessor, George W. Bush. And if that escalation was a mistake, he owes an apology, at least to the Pakistani people, especially those whose loved ones died as so-called collateral damages.

Obama did not mention whether the US will compensate the familiesof those civilians killed by drone strikes, including of course, the innocent 16-year-old son of radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, both American citizens and both killed during a US drone strike.

Obama also failed to mention the prolonged terror caused by drones on local populations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Let me be clear, please do not call all these premeditated attacks as `target killings` again. Give them the real and more easily understood label of assassination, and please also do not gloss over torture as `enhanced interrogation.

In acknowledging civilian casualties in the drone attacks, Obama said,`Those deaths will haunt us as long as we live,` but he did not say whether he has been haunted in the past four-plus years as president when thousands of civilians, according to various NGOs, were decimated in drone strikes.

Obama has also changed the concept of war when he believes that the US can use drone strikes wherever alleged terrorists are. I wonder if he dares to order drone strikes if a terrorist leader happens to be in Mexico, Canada, Russia, Britain or China.Throughout his speech, Obama did not admit anything wrong on his part, not on drones and not on the Guantanamo Bay detention centre.

So many years have passed andObama clearly has not tried hard enough to close Gitmo. I don`t even remember when he last tried or tried hard enough to close Gitmo. Instead, he laid all the blame on Thursday at Congress for restricting its closure and transfer of prisoners out of the facility. Obama admitted that Gitmo, where detainees were held without charges, has become a symbol around the world for an America that flouts the rule of law.

In his speech, Obama said: `Imagine a future 10 years from now, or 20 years from now when the United States of America is still holding people who have been charged with no crime on a piece of land that is not part of our country.

Look at the current situation, where we are force-feeding detainees who are holding a hunger strike. Is that who we are? Is that something that our founders foresaw? Is that the America we want to leave to our children?` These may be the few sensible words in Obama`s muchbelated speech, and he should ask the same questions regarding drones.

Overall he has not correctly addressed the public concerns over the years and he has left many questions unanswered. All these mean that more mistakes will be made in this war on terror.
           
By Chen Weihua, by arrangement with the China Daily/ANN 


Popular posts from this blog

A historic moment in the Arab world

لحظة تاريخية في العالم العربي
As a democratic revolution led by tech-empowered young people sweeps the Arab world, Wadah Khanfar, Al Jazeera's director-general, shares a profoundly optimistic view of what's happening in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and beyond. In the first talk posted online from the TED 2011 conference in California, Khanfar describes the powerful moment when people realised they could step out of their homes and ask for change. "كما ثورة ديمقراطية بقيادة الشباب التكنولوجيا ذات صلاحيات تجتاح العالم العربي ، وضاح خنفر ، الجزيرة المدير العام والأسهم وجهة نظر متفائلة بشكل كبير ما يحدث في مصر وتونس وليبيا وخارجها. وفي اول حديث له نشر على الانترنت من مؤتمر تيد 2011 في ولاية كاليفورنيا ، خنفر يصف لحظة قوية عند الناس أدركت أنها لا يمكن الخروج من منازلهم ونطلب من أجل التغيير."
http://www.ted.com/talks/wadah_khanfar_a_historic_moment_in_the_arab_world.html This talk was given on March 1, 2011 in Long Beach, California. TED 2011 is taking place between March 1 and Mar…

Corona & Attitude of Ulema of Pakistan - Point to Ponder

Faith is entirely a personal matter, which cannot be measured or quantified. Anyone who declares to believe in 6 Fundamentals and 5 Pillars of Islam is considered as a Muslim even if he lacks in practice.
 کرونا اور علماء پاکستان کا رویہ - لمحہ فکریہ:پاکستان اس وقت  تک ترقی نہیں کر سکتا  جب تک ہم اس جاہل ، مزہبی انتہا پسند طبقے کی اس زہنیت سےچھٹکارا  نہیں حاصل  کر لیتے جو مساجد ، مذہب کو کنٹرول کرکہ  زیادہ جاہل عوام کو گمراہ  کرتے ہیں۔  اسلام کو ان جہلا کے شکنجے بچایا جانا صروری ہے۔ .....[....]
We find many people looking "more Muslim" than others due to their outlook and activities in display, yet it's not a measuring  tool for their level of faith , which is only known to Allah. However they consider ONLY themselves  to be entitled to  exercise control on religion, which is contested because authenticity of any opinion on religious matter is conditional to the reference and authority from Holy Scripture. 
Allah has not authorized anyone to present their personal opinions …

SalaamOne NetWork

SalaamOneسلامisa nonprofit e-Forum to promote peace among humanity, through understanding and tolerance of religions, cultures & other human values.
علم اور افہام و تفہیم کے لئے ایک غیر منافع بخش ای فورم ہے. علم،انسانیت، مذہب، سائنس، سماج، ثقافت، اخلاقیات اورروحانیت امن کے لئے.اس فورم کو آفتاب خان،  آزاد محقق اور مصنف نے منظم کیا ہے. تحقیقی کام دس سال سے "ڈیفنس جرنل" میں تسلسل سے چھپ رہا ہے جو کہ بلاگز، ویب سائٹ، سوشل میڈیا، میگزین، ویڈیو چننل اور برقی کتابوں کی صورت میں دستیاب ہے.اس  نیٹ ورک  کو اب تک لاکھوں افراد وزٹ کر چکے ہیں-


The enterprise is managed by Aftab Khan, a freelance researcher and writer. His work and collection is available in the form of e-Books. articles, magazines, videos, posts at social media, blogs & video channels. The  Forum is open to  all the rational, peace loving  people of any faith, gender or race. You may join at social media , invite your friends and share the stuff. The NetWork It has been visited by over  Millions of people around th…