Blog #21: Blow-Back?!

Reading the Saturday, April 13, 2013, issue of the New York Times, I came across an article, “Rights Groups, in Letter to Obama, Question Legality and Secrecy of Drone Killings,” byline Scott Shane. The nine-page letter sent to Obama by the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Human Rights First, Open Society Foundations, the Center for Constitutional Rights and other groups challenged the U.S. so-called counterterrorism campaigns. A week earlier, I saw a photo of 8 Afghani children wrapped in their funeral shrouds to be buried after succumbing to a U.S. drone strike on a community, allegedly to kill an Islamic militant. When I read the article concerning the photo, it discussed the anguish of the parents of these children, asking the question why were their children killed. The story brought to mind the many babies that were killed by Timothey McVeigh in the Oklahoma bombing. I thought about the police bombing and killing men, women and children of the MOVE family in Philadelphia, and I thought about the babies/children being killed (although disproportionately) between Zionist Isreali and Islamist Palestinians. Needless to say, there are far too many babies/children being victimized in these geo-political or domestic conflicts.

Reading this article about the letter to Obama, it was reported, “While not directly calling the (drone) strikes illegal under international law, the letter lists what it calls troubling reports of the criteria used by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command to select targets and assess results.” Essentially, the groups put forward the proposition that far too many innocent civilians are being killed by the U.S. government. Specifically, it was reported that “Gabor Rona, the international legal director of Human Rights First, said that the letter to Mr. Obama reflected increasing concern that government secrecy has hidden grave legal and practical problems with the strikes.” He is quoted as stating, “The more the administration is rightly forced to disclose about who it is killing and why, ... the more obvious it becomes that the practice is growing, is illegal in its scope, is causing large-scale civilian casualties and is a slow-moving train wreck with serious blowback consequences to U. S. national security.”

The word “blowback” was especially poignant, simply because it raises the question of the prospects of continued U.S. civilian casualties as a result of this wrong-headed military foreign policy to contain and control Islamic militants. It is extremely important to note, I am not a supporter of Al-Qaeda or suicide-bombings or the irrational indiscriminate killing of civilians. In the 60’s & 70’s, the militant revolutionary forces were particularly careful not to injure/kill civilians. It was believed that the revolutionary armed struggle at that time sought to “win the people” to the side of the anti-war and anti-police brutality-murder struggle as anti-racist and anti-U.S. imperialism.

However, this concern for “blowback” is one that should concern all U.S. civilians, no matter their political persuasion. If a U.S. foreign policy raises the prospects of retaliatory blowback, then perhaps the civilian population has a right to question that foreign policy, beyond the government’s demagoguery of keeping the American public safe. Is it?

The recent incident in Boston, abhorrent as it was, speaks to a bigger picture than the individuals who committed the act. Unfortunately, mainstream media is parroting the talking heads of government, glossing over U.S. drone strikes and other foreign policy that have made U.S. citizens targets both nationally and internationally. I believe these legal-civil-human rights groups should be concerned about Obama’s use of unmanned drones, cruise missiles, fighter jets and helicopter gunship strikes on civilian populations seeking the demise of Islamic militants. In fact, there should be a general outcry of how this policy is potentially putting the American populace in greater harm. Needless to say, I would hate to see my Mom or children blown up on a bus, train or plane because an Islamic militant sought to revenge the death of his family caused by U.S. hands. The idea of acceptable collateral damage is unacceptable.

Failing to respond to these concerns, the U. S. government is generally ensuring that the American populace for the foreseeable future will need to confront increasing domestic militarization and insecurity.

In Fierce Struggle
Jalil A. Muntaqim
Attica 4/25/13