Dear Dirty America


Do Obama’s Predator Drone Strikes Make Him A Serial Killer?

October 12
11:00 2012
Los Angeles

Notre Dame law professor Mary Ellen O’Connell is a:

fierce critic of America’s drone attacks outside a war zone, [and] insists the targeted killings are illegal under international law.
“We wouldn’t accept or want a world in which Russia or China or Iran is claiming authority to kill alleged enemies of the state based on secret evidence of the executive branch alone,” O’Connell said. “And yet that’s the authority we’re asserting.” (Source)

We need more fierce critics of America’s unlawful drone strikes. It’s a hellish program that has wiped out over a thousand innocent Pakistanis, and has terrorized villagers in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia.

O’Connell’s been firing back with academic writing, but she’s still a voice crying from the wilderness. But even she backs down in the face of illegitimate criticism. Consider:

Benjamin Wittes, a Brookings Institution fellow who supports the drone strikes, put O’Connell on the defensive in a debate two years ago by challenging her to take her position to its logical conclusion — as he put it, “that President Obama is a serial killer.”
She fumbled her response.

But this is a shit argument, anyway. Wittes probably thinks he’s being clever by trying to draw O’Connell into his “logical conclusion” web, but it is he who is the buffoon. Is Obama a serial killer if he’s pulled the trigger and thousands of innocent people have been killed?

Does the phrase have to be ‘serial killer’? That’s an outlandish, contentious term. Obama is not Ted Bundy. He is not a boy rapist and murderer like John Wayne Gacy. Nor does Obama make lamp shades out of his victims’ skins, like Ed Gein. Yet, when he ordered that Tomahawk missile strike on the Yemeni village al Majala, he killed fourteen women and twenty-one children.

Do you think their husbands and families are sitting around debating if Obama is a serial killer, or if they are just victims of a preemptive strike carried out by a lawful and structured government? If it’s the latter, according to people like Benjamin Wittes, then it’s a cautionary measure in keeping America safe. In reality, when you wash away the bullshit, it’s murder.

We have certain cultural associations with the term ‘serial killer’. Does Mr Wittes think we shouldn’t be able to debate, question, and challenge drone strikes that kill bad guys and anybody else who happens to be living or even standing in nearby areas? Because that would lead us to the dreadful “logical conclusion” that Obama, beneath his corporate, family-friendly appearance, is actually a murderer.

So is Obama a serial killer? I don’t know, what do you think? Do his missile strikes make him a murderer? Is a deadly drone attack the “unlawful killing of one human being by another”? Is the real question here less about the destruction of human life, and more focused on the assumption that a president and his executive branch cannot be found guilty of murder?

I understand the president dresses professionally, speaks well, and has charisma. But he’s blowing up other countries. Does that not bother anybody in this country?

There should be no fumbled response to what Benjamin Wittes said. No sir, the president is not a serial killer, because that implies he stalks the land looking for prey. He’s a murderer. He’s taken over a thousand innocent lives, and unlawfully. I can’t say it any clearer than that.

Wittes is not only a fellow at the Brookings Institute, he is a card-carrying member of the New School of Dumb. A class of brain dead Americans blinded to empathy and human compassion. A follower of baseless American exceptionalism. A believer in the idea that some lives are not as precious as others.

But I hate to put words in his mouth.


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