Obama’s legacy; and this may well be his prime legacy- and one he may remember in his older years as he stands before the International War Crimes Tribunal, (once its decisions are no longer controlled by the U.S. State Department), was his omnipotent capacity to decide who shall live and who shall die by drone anywhere in the world, based on limited pieces of information provided on baseball cards. (a kind of Roman Emperor type role: – thumbs- up or down at the Coliseum)
Taken together, the secret documents lead to the conclusion that Washington’s 14-year high-value targeting campaign suffers from an over-reliance on signals intelligence, an apparently incalculable civilian toll, and — due to a preference for assassination rather than capture — an inability to extract potentially valuable intelligence from terror suspects. They also highlight the futility of the war in Afghanistan by showing how the U.S. has poured vast resources into killing local insurgents, in the process exacerbating the very threat the U.S. is seeking to confront. The Intercept
One might almost be forgiven therefore for coming to the conclusion that the intent of the U.S. targeted killing process is not to eliminate the sources of terror, but to exacerbate them.
As we have seen in many a colonial war, those who ‘hand in’ terrorists to the colonial power inevitably have their own agendas; feuding families and clans, or perhaps financial or property interests, but rarely because they are in fact ‘terrorists”. In addition we can be certain that US military and State Dept claims of minimal ‘collateral damage’ (accidental killing of civilians who get in the way of a drone missile’s large detonation area) are complete fabrications. And we can be certain too that drone operators have less than minimal knowledge of foreign cultural issues- e.g. the difference between a wedding party celebrating by firing automatic weapons into the air and a terrorist group in weapons training , let alone their drone “eyes” having sufficient definition to pick up who is who on the ground.
So, when dear President Obama gives the thumbs down on that particular baseball card, he really has no idea what he is agreeing to; other than that his decision will kill someone or more likely , quite a few people, out there . But of course, if that Hellfire missile with its 9kg warhead just happens to kill a few other ‘military-age males’ in the vicinity of the explosion, all to the good. By using remote killing mechanisms the US president can appear to take a Herod-like hands-off approach to the art of murder, with the added benefit of limited capacity of verifying what carnage has actually occurred on the ground.
In addition the United States’ penchant for targeting supposed ‘leaders’ of terrorist groups, rather than their supply lines, infrastructure or financial backers, means that drones can be used over and over to kill the next leader who takes the deceased’s place in the leadership line; or as in many cases , the United States simply ‘kills’ the same person over and over again; such is the usefulness of remote unverified killing.
United States government lawyers have in the past contorted themselves in all sorts of unusual positions to justify remote murder by executive order, much as their contracted psychiatrists managed to create a lofty argument that putting prisoners through ‘stress positions’ was not in fact totally illegal, inhumane torture and contravened international human rights on a grand scale.
President Obama has even been known to joke publicly about his life and death decision-making powers, not too dissimilar from his psychopathic Secretary of State , Hilary Clinton.
I hope I will be around to see them stand before the International tribunal.