During a recent speech, President Obama was heckled down by a woman, addressing concerns about drone strikes and Guantanamo Bay prison. She was escorted out, but she needs to be heard.
“Can you tell the Muslim people that their lives are as precious as our lives? Can you take the drones out of the hands of the CIA? Can you stop the signature strikes that are killing people on the basis of suspicious activities? Will you apologize to the thousands of Muslims that you have killed? Will you compensate the innocent family victims? That will make us safer…”
– Medea Benjamin, Obama heckler
If you’re unaware of what signature strikes are, President Obama loosened the criteria for lethal force by which our military forces, such as drones, use before striking. Under the old rules, the CIA and military were only allowed to use drone strikes against known terrorist leaders whose location had been directly confirmed and who appeared on secret CIA and JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command) target lists. Now all it takes is “suspicious” terrorist activity based on intelligence “signatures”.
Besides the innocent civilian lives which have been lost in the strikes, I also share the concern expressed by the American Civil Liberties Union, “A program of targeted killing far from any battlefield, without charge or trial, violates the constitutional guarantee of due process. It also violates international law, under which lethal force may be used outside armed conflict zones only as a last resort to prevent imminent threats, when non-lethal means are not available. Targeting people who are suspected of terrorism for execution, far from any war zone, turns the whole world into a battlefield.” We’re dealing with assassinations based on vague criteria, and I don’t like it.
I wish we’d just get out of the Middle East, bring all the troops home, and focus our resources on domestic issues, such as healthcare, our infrastructure, and scientific research. But that’s not going to happen. The U.S. military industrial complex has no intentions of leaving the area anytime soon. Our leaders, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham, are warmongers. They wants boots on the ground all over the world. From this congressional interview, top U.S. military leaders claim we’ll be in the region for the next ten to twenty years.
There’s no need to buy the political rhetoric we hear in each election cycle. The wars are not going to end. Polls indicate that roughly 70% of the American public want the troops to come home, but our leaders aren’t listening. Just listen to Sen. Graham. He has no respect at all for other countries or their sovereignty. Yemen, Iran, the Congo — the man’s ready to wage war all over the world.