Much, unfortunately, to report and say about war again today:
News comes of the latest shocking report on U.S. drone warfare, this time from a unnamed source who provided documents to the online Intercept which detail just how inhumane, possibly illegal and ultimately ineffective the foreign policy of “targeted killings” is. One of the revelations from the report is that the “targeted killings” are not very well targeted:
“During one five-month period of the operation, according to the documents, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets. In Yemen and Somalia, where the U.S. has far more limited intelligence capabilities to confirm the people killed are the intended targets, the equivalent ratios may well be much worse.”
And today President Obama announced that he is not going to officially end the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan after all, keeping some 5,000 U.S. troops there through 2017. Obama said that he does not support “endless war” but keeping combat troops in Afghanistan is “vital” to our national security. These days to justify war all we have to say is “national security” which apparently ends all argument, though an American is far more likely to be killed by a fellow armed American (perhaps a toddler) than any foreign terrorist.
Finally, there is a report that the U.S. State Department has approved “a possible” sale of Black Hawk helicopters to Saudi Arabia, an ally now in the midst of bombing Yemen (and causing many civilian casualties) as well as preparing to crucify and behead a young man for the “crime” of attending a protest rally when he was seventeen. (Ironically, incredibly, Saudi Arabia now chairs a United Nations Human Rights Council committee that “selects senior officials who draft international human rights standards and write reports on violations,” according to The Guardian.) The mother of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr has called on President Obama to use his influence to halt the execution of her son, and Obama should intercede. Given the extensive and on-going human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, abuses the U.S. had said and done little about, it is certainly time for the Obama administration to do all it can to save the life of al-Nimir and stop the bombing of Yemen.
Meanwhile, the bombing of Syria and Iraq continues, hopefully not endlessly . . .