Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, December 2012
American Politics and the Killing of Innocent Children
By Mahboob A Khawaja
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, January 1, 2013
“Americans need to look at how their society has increasingly become a psychopathic culture of death over many decades. Americans need to realize how their hallowed capitalist ideology of the putative American Dream is in practice nothing but the destruction of communities and millions of individuals on the altar of elite profit-making. Think about the glib, common parlance used to describe the process of human destruction. Investors “make a killing”; workforces are “liquidated”; society is facing a “fiscal cliff”.
(Finian Cunningham, “Killing Children Is the All-American Way.” Dissident Voice: 12/22/2012).
Guns do not kill, people kill people. The crux of the problems which most politicians avoid seeing the mirror. War is killing people. America has the unparallel sophistication, know-how and the mindset to maintain this “business as usual.” Killing others transforms the American politics into a dehumanized global strategy being actively pursued by the institutionalized military-industrial complex in Washington - the political lobby and force behind warmongering. There is no pain or anguish in obsessed insanity using the feeling less war machines anywhere and against anyone. Politics is a game of pretension and superficial acting on stage, and all politicians master the Machiavellian statecraft. The underpinning passion for political obsession is to get elected and nothing else. All other grandeur claims of being honest or doing good for the public are fake illusions evolved to boost the political image to impress the electorates who have paid dearly in advance for political pains. Political minds are always self-centered, greedy and problematic. They need problems for self-actualization and relevance in a given societal culture. The overwhelmingly war hysteria brings home to America what is irrational and insane in human terms.
More than a week earlier, America appeared at crossroads to witness horrifying and one of the most cold-blooded murders of 20 innocent school children and 6 teachers at Newtown, Connecticut. To the Thinking people of America and the concerned citizens all over the planet, the tragedy offers most worrisome indicators of a superpower whose social and mental culture is becoming ostensibly a killing culture of the world. Strange as is, those who are in power felt shy and unobserved to come out and talk on the self-geared horrible crimes against the children. Many point fingers at guns and bullets. There is a political impulse in everything America does. The politicians seem to have lost the moral and human sense of the citizens who have elected them and who are victims of the US “killing List” throughout the globe. Indeed, looking at the today’s world, humanity is like ONE and ONE BODY and pain inflicted on any parts of the body, gives pain and anguish to the whole body. President Obama spoke of the tragedy and necessary change but did not mention the word “gun control” in his statements at the Newtown hall of sorrows and pains. Surely, citizens expect lot more from politicians who envisage the laws and the ultimate consequences.
Finian Cunningham (“Killing Children Is the All-American Way.” Dissident Voice: 12/22/2012) spells out the problem:
“America has become a killing machine, driven by an ideology in which human life is but a worthless commodity that can be exploited and discarded. The discarding of human life is seen most graphically in foreign countries where American elite interests want oil or some other commercial or geopolitical gain. But increasingly this killing machine is turning in on itself, destroying its own society, families and individuals. Obama added in his eulogy for the deaths in Newtown, Connecticut: “We cannot tolerate this any more… we will have to change.”
The real irony is that Obama was elected first time on the same premise “Yes we can” but he betrayed the public confidence and global promises for peacemaking and did all that would discredit him for any worthy cause or leadership role-play to regain the trust and sense of rational thinking, not just for the good of America but for the world too.
Does Obama know the challenges facing Americans for peace and global co-existence? It is a crucial question that most analysts would like to be addressed during the election campaigns. Of all the pertinent issues, the masses wanted to see an end to the bogus War on Terrorism raging over a decade and that has bankrupted America not just in economic and financial domains but also in moral, intellectual and political spectrums. The consequences of the war on terror are not adequately reported by the mainstream news media. Countless precious lives have been lost by the arrogance and wickedness of the few warmongers in American politics. Its impacts will remain on public conscience for generations to come. The American folks constantly live in fear of the unknown as was demonstrably clear from the superstorm SANDY affecting millions. Many victims of the SANDY catastrophic impacts tell their story as if they were living in “war zones.” The first hand observations could not have been indifferent to these expressions. This could be the consequence to what the US leaders are doing to other nations such as Iraq, Afghanistan Pakistan and Yemen. American operated drone attacks are causing daily killings of innocent people and destruction of the human habitats. As the people in those lands live in “fear” and uncertainty, the same is happening to the American population - the Will of God lives everywhere whether the American commander–in chief takes it seriously or not. All living things in the Universe obey the Commands of God.
President Obama now claims, he will be a changed president and open to listening and learning. If so, would he take immediate steps to cancel the ‘Kill List’ and stop the inhuman drone war against innocent people in Pakistan and Yemen? Medea Benjamin – CODEPINK (“A Chat with Counterterrorism Chief John Brennan.” Dissident Voice: 11/5/2012), took initiatives to show solidarity with the innocent drone victims in Pakistan. The discussion turned to John Brennan, Obama’s Counterterrorism Chief and the key person making decisions about drone strikes. We wondered if Brennan ever had a chance to meet innocent drone victims, as we did, and feel their pain. She offers touchy narratives of her encounter with the US Chief of drone strategy John Brenann, an unscheduled meeting at his door steps as formal requests remained unanswered:
“The last time we met I was being dragged out of the Woodrow Wilson Center by a 300-pound security man while yelling, “I love my country! You’re making us less safe. Shame on you Mr. Brennan……. I had just returned from a delegation to Pakistan meeting with drone victims, how heartbroken I was to hear their stories, how terrible it is that these drone attacks are causing so much suffering to innocent people and turning the entire Pakistani population against us…. He insisted that it wasn’t true, that we weren’t harming civilians……. “It’s just not true,” he repeated, dismissively. “You are being manipulated……I want you to know, John, that I am doing this from my heart, because I care about the lives of innocent people everywhere and I care about our country. With that, he slammed the door.”
Edward S. Herman (“Beyond Double Standards–and Hypocrisy.” Dissident Voice: 11/1/2012), helps us to understand the political context, how the drone war has turned the whole region into killing fields of the innocents and poors and is creating reactionary animosity against the US.
A joint investigate report by the Stanford Law School and New York University School of Law published in September 2012 entitled Living Under Drones, and based on over 130 interviews carried out in Pakistan offers most credible but horrifying record of the American drone war. The report claims that the vast majority of victims of the drone war attacks are civilians, not “militants”—only 2 percent of those killed were identified as known “militants.” The Stanford University-New York University authors explicitly challenge the US version and deny the official claims of precise surgical strikes by the drones: “This narrative is false.” They also report that an important feature of the drone war is the regular use of a second missile strike shortly after the first strike—the combination euphemistically labeled a ”double tap”—killing many local onlookers and rescue workers coming to the aid of the first-strike’s victims. These secondary strikes “have discouraged average civilians from coming to one another’s rescue, and even inhibited the provision of emergency medical assistance from humanitarian workers.” The Director of the charitable organization Reprieve is quoted in the report as saying:
“An entire region is being terrorized by the constant threat of death from the skies…. Their way of life is collapsing… kids are too terrified to go to school, adults are afraid to attend weddings, funerals, business meeting or anything that involves gathering in groups.”
If Medea Benjamin’s first hand accounts are factual as it seems to be case, Obama could not have shed tears for the innocent children and women massacred by his Kill List drone operations in Waziristan, Pakistan. On November 10, 2012, the eve of Remembrance Day, Mr. McGovern, a former Assistant Director of the CIA, made it known to the BBC newsman that the ‘war on terror’ (raging in Afghanistan and Pakistan) should be stopped immediately. It simply does not serve the American interests. He added, if President Obama wanted to do it, it could be done now, not in 2014 to safeguard the American people and our national security.
In an age of REASON and political accountability, Gary Corseri, a well known novelist, poet and playwright on PBS –Atlanta, and one who has performed at the Carter Presidential Library and Museum (“I Voted” Dissident Voice: 11/5/2012), points out the rationale for his vote in the November Presidential elections:
I voted for peace and justice and sanity In an insane world of violence and injustice. I voted.
I voted for Iraqi mothers and Afghani; In Pakistan and around the world— Because each of them is my mother, also, Weeping like Rachel for her lost children.
For Kathy Kelly and Rachel Corrie, For Cindy Sheehan and Cynthia McKinney, Jill Stein, Helen Caldicott and Medea B.– For standing against madness and lies, Opportunism and exploitation— For all of them, I voted..
To pass from these Dark Ages To a Renaissance of Reason, To a New Age of Enlightenment– I voted.
The 21st century knowledge-based politics and leadership accountability warrants change, new strategies for peace and global harmony and clear sets of principles and moral values from those operating the political powerhouses. If Obama wants to be mentioned in history as President of the people of America who voted for him, surely, he NEEDS a Navigational Change. Logically, any intelligent leader would do his best to change and conform to the requisites of futuristic adaptability when facts of life warrant a change. Responsible and conscientious leaders build their moral strength and intellectual integrity – the real force for accountable democratic governance by discarding shortcoming, overcoming failures and political blunders. If Obama has a living conscience, would he tell the American people and the world - what is the purpose of continuing wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Whose national security dictates to kill the innocent children in Waziristan-Pakistan? What honor and dignity is he looking for not to withdraw the troops from Afghanistan until 2014? Why not now and before the end of the day? For what national security and purpose more than 3,000 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan and several thousands wounded veterans survive in street ghettos, drug sustained hallways and galleys of shopping malls across the US? Why 18-25 war veterans commit suicide every day across America? Are the people not the real power of the American democracy to change its official policies, practices and the killing machines?
Whether innocent children murdered in Newtown, Afghanistan or Pakistan, it gives pain and anguish to the global humanity. Insanity turned into guns and bullets and drone attacks, lacks sensitivity of color, age, gender, ethnicity, religion and geography, it is the controlling mind that must be changed and reformed. To many, war is entertainment videos and killing of others a cherished hobby to be practiced in remote Afghanistan and Pakistan. Surely, President Obama and other one-track thinking politicians would need educated advisors, people of new ideas and creative strategies to deal with draconian minds, policies and practices unleashing the killing of the innocent. Finian Cunningham (“Killing Children Is the All-American Way.” Dissident Voice: 12/22/2012) points out the context: “this is from the man who orders drone kill lists in Afghanistan and Pakistan every week that involve the “collateral damage” of children being ripped to pieces….This is from the man who immediately agreed to millions of dollars worth of more weaponry to the Israeli state fresh from its mass murder of innocents in Gaza. …Through the pain and suffering of the latest mass shooting in the US, maybe ordinary Americans are beginning to realize just how big a change is really needed in their country……..If human life can be violated and cheapened on such a vast, systematic scale, both in America and around the world, then the loss of 20 children in Newtown is, to be honest, a price that is negligible, if not worth it.”
(Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Publishing Germany, May 2012).
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