Foreign Policy Debate: this is what Obama is doing around the world in our name


Here’s an article from Daily Mail about some legal challenges brought against American military officials for their drone activity in Pakistan. One key stat:

American Drone activities just in Pakistan have been confirmed to have killed 881 civilians, but only 41 terrorists.

Some things to notice about that statistic: (1) this is only from Pakistan. We’ve also been doing drone strikes in both Yemen and Afghanistan (and probably Libya here soon), with even more atrocious effects (especially in Yemen); (2) there were a few thousand total deaths, but these were the only absolutely beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt confirmed “statuses” of the victims–the number of civilians is probably still higher; and (3) these are only deaths due to drone strikes. In Iraq and elsewhere, many additional civilian deaths have come about through other means.

For all my “I’m going to vote for Obama because of social justice issues”. Take note: if you add these numbers to the other civilian death numbers in other countries, Obama’s policies have killed far more impoverished people around the world than he has helped here (and he got the Nobel Peace prize!).

This story came out two days ago, and I can’t find a single reference to this information in any other major American news outlet (a friend on Facebook said he heard something on NPR a couple of months ago, though I think he was referring to a different special report they had done). This is what makes our reputation in the world, this is what creates new terrorists–not “our freedoms”, and this is what will define our history–not tax law. And so, for all those criticizing me for voting third-party: yes, yes. Let’s try and change things through the existing political parties. We have plenty of time. I’m sure the rest of the world (including these victims’ families) will be fine with us waiting. (More debate-prep here)

In other news, unmanned aerial drones are now surveilling Americans around the country. How long before they’re armed? Yeah, we’ve got plenty of time to try and choose between two guys who both support this.

Can no politician do enough to lose your vote?

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4 thoughts on “Foreign Policy Debate: this is what Obama is doing around the world in our name

  1. I think at its core you are making a slippery slope argument. That type of argument is fundamentally flawed. I think it’s incredibly unlikely we will ever see armed drones over American skies. This is a country in which we flip out about automated camera speed traps. There is no way we would tolerate armed drones in our airspace. And if, in the very unlikely scenario, we did try to go down that road, as soon as an innocent civilian was killed by one, you would see massive protests around the country that would effectively end the practice. It’s so incredibly unlikely – it sounds more like a post-apocalyptic Hollywood flick than reality.

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    • “Slippery slope” is only a fallacy when you’re taking an otherwise-perfectly reasonable idea and blowing it up way further than is necessary to try and make the reasonable idea seem bad. I don’t think the current drone program is reasonable at all. I’m talking about how an already-bad thing could get worse.

      And honestly, I REALLY respect your perspective and thoughtfulness you bring to this stuff, but I frankly can’t disagree with you more. Americans don’t care about stuff when it’s not actually impacting their everyday life. I give it 3 years TOPS before domestic drones are armed. Did you read the fiction story I wrote about ( http://bit.ly/PMWJSD )? In my story, when a suicide bomber kills the Speaker of the House a few weeks before the Presidential inauguration, they arm the drones for the first time “just” for the inauguration. But that sets a precedent and then, of course, it’s used for more things, all under the guise of “we’re only using it against the bad guys”. They’ll use it on illegal immigrants or drug cartels first, then “domestic terrorists” and anarchist groups. Do you really not see some “reasonable”-sounding defenses on how these could be employed, at least on a super small scale (at first), and Americans simply let it happen? What happens after a domestic terrorist cell succeeds in another 9/11-scale act? Could you really not see how a Patriot Act 2.0 could authorize the use of armed domestic drones?

      If you really think that, I think that’s incredibly short-sighted and doesn’t take into account the natural life-cycle and progression of every major nation in the history of the world. I honestly think history shows us that humans in power are not wired the way you’re assuming they are.

      Thanks for the comment though. On the blog, and not just on Facebook! Yay!

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  2. Pingback: My 10 Realistic Foreign Policy Suggestions for the President | the long way home

  3. Pingback: Okay, election: done. Time to get this blog back on track. [casual fri] | the long way home

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