Archive for July, 2012
Dear Reader of The New York Times,
If you’re been worrying, even slightly, about how people at the receiving end of the U.S. drone war — wait, excuse me, the “remotely piloted vehicle” war — it seems yesterday The Times must have made you feel better.
As we are told in Elizabeth Bumiller’s front page article, A Day Job Waiting for a Kill Shot a World Away, we really should be concerned more about its effect on the pilots of the drones such as a colonel who acknowledges the “peculiar new disconnect of fighting a telewar with a joystick and a throttle from his padded seat in American suburbia.”
More chaplains and shrinks are being ordered up to bases where the pilots operate. A recent study revealed increased stress on the pilots. An Air Force doctor explains that watching targets for weeks at a time in domestic situations can mean it feels strange to shoot up a home. “At some point, some of the stuff might remind you of stuff you did yourself. You might gain a level of familiarity that makes it a little difficult to pull the trigger.”
Bumiller’s point, or shall we just say, the point of The New York Times, is directed right at you, and your humanitarian objections to targeted killing and murder from a distance: “Stop worrying about the people at the other end of the war.”
And don’t worry about the U.S. military pilots either. Despite a job doing 12 hours shifts 18″ from a screen where they watch families going about daily life one moment, and obliterated the next, they’re OK. Bumiller quotes the colonel:
“I feel no emotional attachment to the enemy,” he said. “I have a duty, and I execute the duty.”
Peter Hart, on FAIR’s blog today reminds us that Elisabeth Bumiller is:
“perhaps best known for a testy C-SPAN appearance where she explained that New York Times reporters ‘can’t just say the president is lying.’”
It was only two weeks ago that The New York Times published The Moral Case for Drones by Scott Shane, who has done some accurate and critical reporting of the U.S. global “war on terror.” But that was then, in the Bush years. Now he quoted only one academic political scientist who raised objections to killing targets instead of capturing them. His drone cheerleader sources were a former C.I.A. official, and a military professor.
And the voices of the people targeted are so not there, almost ever, in the main newspaper of record in the richest country ever, with the biggest military in history.
Join the Sustainer Drive
One thing I can state for certain: no matter who which party wins in November, or who is president, we will be facing a government intent on spreading empire, detaining indefinitely, surveilling almost everyone.
A friend asked me recently if there’s any hope for justice and accountability for the Bush era war crimes. He had campaigned hard for Obama, with the hopes many had, that Guantánamo would close, and that the Bush regime would face charges, or at least investigation for Abu Ghraib, for lying about WMD’s, or at least for detaining thousands of people with no charge.
No one in power is going to act to bring justice on these issues without mass upheaval and resistance, regardless of whether it’s election time. There are elements, now, of potential for sentiment and action against these crimes to catch hold strongly. The Arab Spring, the unrest in Europe over economic disaster, the threats by the U.S. and Israel to start a war on Iran or other unforeseen developments can effect how people here see what’s possible, and what’s acceptable.
Never forget that what the Bush regime did — and what the Obama administration continued — is illegitimate, unjust, and immoral. And there are hundreds of millions who know and see that. It can’t be covered up, even if Wikileaks is punished severely.
Consider the 4 year investigation in Poland of the CIA “black site” secret prison there. There’s a struggle within the Polish government over whether torture charges will come out of it, and how far up they’ll go. Andy Worthington looks into that case in Polish Senator’s Startling New Allegations About CIA Torture Prison in Poland:
“In the long quest for accountability for those who ordered, authorized or were complicit in the Bush administration’s torture program, every avenue has been shut down within the US by the Obama administration, the Justice Department and the courts, and the only hope lies elsewhere in the world, and specifically Poland, one of three European countries that hosted secret CIA prisons, where “high-value detainees” were subjected to torture.” Andy delves deeply into the story, citing his trip to Poland with Anna Minkiewicz when he learned more about what the investigation. See also the LA Times story Poland Shaken by Case Alleging an Illicit CIA Prison There.
What to do? Support World Can’t Wait’s work to stop the crimes of your government. Become a sustainer! Engage in visible protest, tell the truth about these crimes.
Reporting on a Week Against Torture Across the U.S.
“I find myself living in an EXCEPTIONAL time. A time when the myth of American moral superiority is being used to excuse, even PROMOTE, cruel and intolerable crimes against humanity…”
From the speech given by World Can’t Wait representative MaryAnn Thomas at the Rally Against Torture, Guantanamo & NDAA on June 26th in San Francisco.
Across the country last week, from Olympia to Dallas (left) to Washington, people challenged the new — 10 year old – “normal” of indefinite detention.