Sunday, March 16, 2014

Total Civilian Deaths due to #US #Drone strikes in #Pakistan

A major new international poll from WIN/Gallup (below) shows that the USA, not Russia, not Iran, not China, is perceived as the greatest threat to world peace.

This after five years of a President whose foreign policy was supposed to be all about "change." Below, the best available information on Obama's (and America's) current image abroad, according to a survey of over 60,000 global respondents -- a survey that the State Department folks will likely say represents a perception problem.

Hang on. Perhaps there has been "change" since 2009.

Has there ever been a Nobel Peace Prize winner whose name has been so strongly associated abroad with mass murder and war crimes?

If you object to the terms "mass murder" and "war crimes," and many do, let's take a moment to identify an alternate term to describe what happens when (for instance) you use drones to target a wedding party and kill civilians -- not once, but on two separate occasions. By the way, we did the same bomb-the-wedding-party thing on George Bush's watch, which makes three times. Details on those attacks can be found here.

We have also used drones to blast a grandmother to bits as her granddaughter watched. You can read about that here.

We call other people "terrorists" when they do these kinds of things. Is "terrorism" an acceptable alternate term?

Here's an easier question: Is it really all that surprising that we are now viewed as the world's leading threat to peace?

We've even used drones to kill, without trial, an innocent US citizen whose only "crime" was being related to a terrorist. Details here. That doesn't count as a violation of our Constitutional protections, though, because ... well, you'll have to wait, because the the Obama administration is still thinking over the best way to end that sentence.
We have ignored international law ... we have violated the borders of sovereign nations as we saw fit .. and we have used our drone programs to kill, by extremely conservative estimates, 2400 people in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan. (source) The most optimistic assessments have confirmed only 58 known militant leaders killed in Pakistan, representing only two percent of the deaths there.(source) US officials have consistently lied about the frequency and/or existence of civilian casualties in these attacks. Credible external research efforts have turned up evidence for alarmingly high civilian death percentages: between 416 and 951 in Pakistan alone, of whom between 168 and 200 were children. (source) The actual numbers are almost certainly higher.
So. How could we possibly turn this "perception problem" around?

Suppose we made reparations to the civilians whose families we destroyed?

Suppose we STOPPED invading the airspace of sovereign nations?

Suppose we STOPPED blowing people up with killer robots?