The Obama Drones

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Supporters of the Pakistan Defense Council, a coalition of Islamic parties, protest last June in Islamabad against US drone or drone attacks. Anjum Naveed AP

Obama Drones, President Obama’s government finally threw us some crumbs over drone attacks.

I am referring to the strategy by which he secretly kills terrorists in various countries and takes innocent civilians to the brink of extinction. They call it “Collateral damage”. It is no coincidence that Washington has slightly lifted the veil that covered it at a time when a bloody terrorist wave keeps us all on embers.

The people, even the most peaceful and good-natured, understandably thirst for justice and revenge. And most want to have the illusion that our authorities are doing something to protect us from the terrorists before they fly into a nightclub, a movie theater or a ball game.

But exactly what did the government reveal? Not much, really. And what it revealed left us with more questions than answers.

On the very day that the Independence holiday began, Washington announced that its drone attacks had killed 64 to 116 “non-combatants” in countries not including the most devastated by the war, namely Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

It appears that data on civilians slaughtered on these lands remain strictly classified. In fact, government officials refused to identify the countries to which the data refer, but experts say one of them is Pakistan others would be Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

The first news that we had of the Obama Drones attack is due to a whistleblower or snitch from the government itself. This is the measure of lack of transparency that has surrounded this controversial strategy. The recent official revelations do not remedy their opacity and in a way sharpen it.

When the snitch spilled the beans a few years ago, President Obama took responsibility, said he had the last word on the attacks and said that these were so accurate that they hardly caused civilian casualties.

What he never explained is what or who gives the right to a democratic ruler like him to kill in secret on behalf of the governed.

Even the majority of our congressmen heard about the program thanks to the snitch. The new revelations once again left this key question unanswered.

But there are others equally important. One is what concrete evidence the government has on the effectiveness of these attacks to prevent terrorism. In short, the Islamic State, Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups successfully carry out a scabbard of innocent people despite the remote-controlled attacks on their leaders.

Humanitarian activists believe that the use of drones in fact feeds the vicious circle of violence in countries of the Middle East and Far East and Africa. They also question official figures of dead civilians. Three independent organizations, the Long War Journal, New America and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism have set hundreds of innocent casualties since President Obama took office.

The sparse part of the war also did not respond to the concern that terrorist bands are invoking the civilian deaths caused by the drones to recruit. Nor allegations that various governments some of them authoritarian, are developing their own programs of drones to annihilate their enemies.

It is said that President Obama authorized the spreading of this data on the secret program to set a precedent. He is concerned that some irresponsible successor may abuse it. A Donald Trump president, would he secretly attack the Washington Post, the New York Times, or Univision with drones? Obama might have asked himself.

Be that as it may, it is clear that the president believes that the Obama Drones program will extend beyond his presidency.

That is why he felt the need to justify it with the revelations made by his representatives. Unfortunately, what was revealed left us with the same doubts as before and with the same desire to hear a coherent justification?.

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