On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled in favor of the Obama administration after the New York Times had sued the Department of Justice and other federal entities for more information and legal justification for the President’s drone strike policy. U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon all but agreed that it was important for Americans to know why the Obama administration feels justified in killing so many people overseas on mere suspicion of being tied to terrorist organizations and without evidence, charges or due process. In her opinion, she stated that disclosing such information would help Americans understand the “vast and seemingly ever-growing exercise in which we have been engaged for well over a decade, at great cost in lives, treasure, and (at least in the minds of some) personal liberty.” Reuters explained briefly the problematic nature of these targeted killings:
“Civil liberties groups have attacked the drone program, which deploys pilotless aircraft, as in effect a green light for the government to kill Americans without constitutionally required due process. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has rejected that contention.“
Nevertheless, McMahon still decided that the Obama administration doesn’t need to give up any information as to how it justifies killing suspected terrorists at the expense of also killing hundreds of civilians, including men, women and children who are not connected to any terrorist organization.
Just a couple days ago, the same day this federal judge ruled in favor of the Obama administration, a U.S. drone strike killed a “key Pakistan Taliban commander” named Maulvi Nazir Wazir. He, his deputy and 8 others were killed in Northwest Pakistan near the Afghan-Pakistan border. People in this region of Pakistan live in fear of being killed by drone strikes because they happen so frequently. Many residents mourned the death of Nazir but were afraid to attend his funeral because of the risk of another drone strike. Drone operators target large groups of people, sometimes at weddings and funerals because they suspect them to be terrorist groups. This is why so many innocent people have been killed.
One drone operator even quit his job because he couldn’t handle the possibility that he was killing innocent people. He was just following orders. But when he realized he had killed a child, that was the last straw. The Daily Mail recounted his story:
“The hut had a shed used to hold goats, and when he received the order to fire, he pressed a button with his left hand and marked the roof with a laser. The pilot sitting next to him pressed the trigger on a joystick, causing the drone to launch a Hellfire missile. There were 16 seconds left until impact. ‘These moments are like in slow motion,’ he said. As the countdown reached seven seconds, there was no sign of anyone on the ground. Bryant could still have diverted the missile at that point. But when it was down to three seconds, a child suddenly walked around the corner. The next thing he saw was a flash on the screen – the explosion. The building collapsed, and the child disappeared. Bryant had a sick feeling in his stomach. ‘Did we just kill a kid?’ he asked the pilot next to him. ‘Yeah, I guess that was a kid,’ the man replied.”
More children have been killed by Obama-authorized drone strikes than were killed in Sandy Hook. But Obama doesn’t have to answer to that if it makes him feel uncomfortable. He’ll pretend to cry over the deaths of children who died at the hands of an allegedly crazy kid, but when deaths are the result of a calculated government policy, that’s different. No need to get emotional over that. It’s OK to kill when you’re the government.