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President Obama, so often cool and unemotional, struggled to maintain his composure Friday as he addressed a nation reeling from a mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.
“The majority of those who died today were children — beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old,” Obama said partway into a four-minute statement.
Then he paused, tilting his head down and looking at his notes, for 12 long seconds. He wiped a tear from his left eye.
One imagines that is as it should be, but little attention is given to the deaths of children in theaters of war- the children who die in drone strikes. Obama’s drone strikes. Robert Greenwald wrote about that at the Huffington Post:
During my recent trip to Pakistan as part of our upcoming documentary film, Drones Exposed, I was struck most by the stories told to me by children who had experienced a U.S. drone strike firsthand. The impact of America’s drone war in the likes of Pakistan and Yemen will linger on, especially for the loved ones of the 178 children killed in those countries by U.S. drone strikes.
War Costs’ latest video (with accompanying report) brings attention to the children who have died as a result of drone strikes. The video names some of the children who perished in these strikes, and points out the obfuscation tactics of American officials who will not own up to the significant amount of civilian casualties that have occurred due to this legally- and morally-dubious policy.
In addition to the video, War Costs offers this report detailing the effects of drone strikes on children. The findings come mainly from the diligent investigative reporting of TBIJ and the groundbreaking reports on the impact of drone strikes by Stanford and New York University researchers (Living Under Drones: Death, Injury and Trauma to Civilians from US Drone Practices in Pakistan) and researchers at Columbia University (The Civilian Impact of Drones: Unexamined Costs, Unanswered Questions).
In an effort to compel answers about why these innocent civilians have died without acknowledgement or explanation from the U.S. government, War Costs is calling on the U.S. House of Representatives to debate and pass Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s bill that calls for more transparency regarding U.S. drone strike policy.
According to the Bureau for Investigative Journalism, 176 children in Pakistan, 24-35 children in Yemen and 1-3 children in Somalia have been killed in drone strikes.
It seems that even speaking of it ends a military career:
When the order to fire on a target arrives, Bryant paints the roof of a hut with the laser that will guide in a Hellfire missile released by the pilot beside him.
“These moments are like in slow motion,” he says to Abé.
No doubt, because on this occasion Bryant says a child walked from behind the building at the last second. Too late for him to do anything else but ask the other pilot, “Did we just kill a kid?”
From der Spiegel:
“Yeah, I guess that was a kid,” the pilot replied.
“Was that a kid?” they wrote into a chat window on the monitor.
Then, someone they didn’t know answered, someone sitting in a military command center somewhere in the world who had observed their attack. “No. That was a dog,” the person wrote.
They reviewed the scene on video. A dog on two legs?
The article follows another widely publicized story from the Marine Times about children killed by Americans on Afghan soil published just weeks ago. While obviously a tragedy for the victims and their families, Bryant describes the incredible toll taken on U.S. troops required to obey orders producing such dire results.
Let’s remember that Barack Obama has a kill list. Obama decides who dies in a drone strike.
Additionally, Barack Obama has killed three Americans thus far- and it’s fair to say that he killed them- Anwar Al Awlaki, Samir Khan and two weeks later, Awlaki’s son Abdulrahman al-Awlaki. His 16 year old son.
This is just chock a block with ironies. Americans have been put on trial for killing Afghan civilians. And as Michael Hayden remarked:
“We needed a court order to eavesdrop on him but we didn’t need a court order to kill him. Isn’t that something?”
The Obama Drone Doctrine dictates that anyone killed in a drone strike is considered guilty. That makes all those dead children guilty of something.
The question is, does Obama weep for them?