Time to set your watches by the predictable and annual flare up of aggression between Israel and the Gaza Strip/Hamas. In light of the recent events (Israel’s extra-judicial assassination of Hamas military chief Ahmad al-Jabari, just hours after agreeing to a cease fire), it seems like a good time to take a look at Obama’s love of kill lists, and how we can’t condemn Israel’s actions. No matter how vulgar, or in violation of international law they may be. The U.S. stated that it backed “Israel’s right to defend itself,” despite Israel breaking the cease fire with the assassination (10 other people were also killed, including two children), which certainly seems as if it’s on the offensive side of the dispute. Why did we support this unlawful violation? Because if we did otherwise, we would be calling the kettle black. Very, very black.
We have written quite extensively about Obama’s secret kill lists, which have already been applied to murder American citizens, including Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born militant preacher with alleged al Qaeda connections who was killed by an American drone strike. There is an excellent article, published today in the Guardian (UK) by Glenn Greenwald that goes into depth on the US’s need to support Israel despite these assassinations, and I’d like to pull a few quotes from his piece.
Extra-judicial assassination – accompanied by the wanton killing of whatever civilians happen to be near the target, often including children – is a staple of the Obama presidency. That lawless tactic is one of the US president’s favorite instruments for projecting force and killing whomever he decides should have their lives ended: all in total secrecy and with no due process or oversight. There is now a virtually complete convergence between US and Israeli aggression, making US criticism of Israel impossible not only for all the usual domestic political reasons, but also out of pure self-interest: for Obama to condemn Israel’s rogue behavior would be to condemn himself.
Of course, we have condemned such actions by Israel in the past. Not under Obama, mind you. No, under everyone’s favorite: George W. Bush of all people.
“The United States, while also condemning Palestinian violence, made clear its disapproval of the assassinations.
“State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said: ‘The use of Israeli helicopter gunships, Palestinian attacks against settlements and motorists, the use of mortars by Palestinians and the targeted killings by the Israeli Defence Force … are producing a new cycle of action or reaction which can become impossible to control.’
“Mr Boucher added that the new Secretary of State, Colin Powell, who is due to visit the Middle East next week, had spoken several times ‘about the need to avoid these kind of actions'”.
The Council on Foreign Relations weighs in on the rampant use of extra-judicial assassination with drone strikes as well:
“The United States adopted targeted killing as an essential tactic to pursue those responsible for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency have employed the controversial practice with more frequency in recent years, both as part of combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as in counterterrorism efforts in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. Since assuming office in 2009, Barack Obama‘s administration has escalated targeted killings, primarily through an increase in unmanned drone strikes on al-Qaida and Taliban leadership, but also through an expansion of U.S. Special Operations kill/capture missions. . . .
“Despite the opposition, most experts expect the United States to expand targeted killings in the coming years as military technology improves and the public appetite for large-scale, conventional armed intervention erodes. . . .
“The Bush and Obama administrations have sought to justify targeted killings under both domestic and international law.”
Greenwald caps it off quite perfectly at the end of his article as well.
Obama – the killer of Anwar al-Awlaki, Awlaki’s 16-year-old American son Abdulrahman, and countless other innocent men, women, teenagers and children – could not possibly condemn Israeli actions in Gaza without indicting himself. Extra-judicial assassinations, once roundly condemned by US officials, are now a symbol of the Obama presidency, as the US and Israel converge more than ever before: if not in interests, than certainly in tactics.
Assassinations and drone strikes truly have come to define Obama’s presidency thus far, more than any other initiative or issue. Of course, you wouldn’t hear anything about that during the debate or the election cycle, or even in the mainstream media. Let’s just keep talking about “sending more kids to college,” and ignore the illegal murders going on, sanctioned by our government and it’s monopoly on violence.
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