John Brennen, Drones & President Obama
by Debra Sweet With the kind of "kabuki theater" questioning the Senate gave John Brennan last week during a public hearing, it's certain they will confirm him as Director of the C.I.A. This should not be any surprise. Diane Feinstein, Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee hasn't met a national security "concern" yet that didn't trump the rights of the people; we know she was one of the select few briefed by the Bush regime when they began torture, or excuse me, "enhanced interrogations."
But, finally, after several years of a drone killing spree unimpeded by almost any comment, much less protest at the level needed, the words "drone" and "controversy" are finally being said in the same sentence. I point out some in Suddenly Targeted Killing by Drones is Controversial, including the fine editorial cartoons appearing, the best of which is from Tom Tomorrow.
World Can't Wait is not alone in making the comparison between the Bush regime's use of torture/indefinite detention and the targeted killing without due process of the Obama administration. The New York Times said Sunday:
“By emphasizing drone strikes, Mr. Obama need not bother with the tricky issues of detention and interrogation because terrorists tracked down on his watch are generally incinerated from the sky, not captured and questioned.”
Dennis Loo, in The Red Queen's in Charge: Murdering People and Due Process Via Drones, asks:
One of the drone victims from Kunar, hurt early Wednesday.
"If it was within Iran’s capacity to deploy drones over the U.S., the way the U.S. does over Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, etc., and Iran’s Prime Minister and his closest advisor for drones, Mohammed J. Brennan, met every Tuesday in Tehran to decide which Americans were going to be assassinated, the way President Obama and his own John Brennan do, and Iran was murdering thousands of Americans, including over 176 American children, what do you suppose the response in the U.S. might be?"
Last week's tiny sliver of a public hearing was interrupted by the wonderfully loud Ann Wright and others from Code Pink, many of whom had been in Pakistan months ago to see evidence of C.I.A. drone killings. They were arrested for disrupting Congress, and we thank them!
The theater continued Tuesday night in the State of the Union message, which followed on Obama's Inaugural address. Looking beyond the public wrapping of concern for people killed in gun violence, of a demand that action be taken about climate change, a cold, chilling, message continues to comes through. Hours after he spoke, a NATO airstrike killed ten, mostly women and children, according to the BBC, as the US continued its war on Afghan villagers. Kathy Kelly, returned from her twelfth visit to Afghanistan, said this morning in response to Obama's focus on the sacrifice of U.S. troops and his commitment to a "unified and sovereign" Afghanistan:
President Obama is a hawkish president who likes to appear dovish. The reality is that the Pentagon has said that the troops will be in Afghanistan until 2024 and beyond. And in the 21st century military that the president and the Pentagon want to create, they don’t necessarily need big, huge military bases all across Afghanistan. What they want to have are special operations troops working in coordination with the capacity for drone strikes, weaponized drone strikes and drone surveillance.
Has anyone mentioned the Nobel Peace Prize lately?