Behold! The Man of Peace Cometh
“… it seemed the (US) President was pondering the drone programme that he had expanded so dramatically and with such lethal results, as well as the death of bin Laden, which was still resonating worldwide months later.
“‘Turns out I'm really good at killing people,’ Obama said quietly, ‘Didn't know that was gonna be a strong suit of mine’.”
This is a quote from a new book titled “Double Down: Game Change 2012” by journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, which focuses on the last US Presidential election campaign.
Obama was conferring with his aides, deep in thought about his policy of assassinating “enemies” all over the world with drones, and his conclusion was that he had become “really good at killing people” and that murder had become his “strong suit”.
The admission first came to the public in a Washington Post review of the book in early November. Of course, the establishment paper buried it somewhere in the middle of the opinion piece and only mentioned it in passing. Obama has refused to pass any further comment on his growing talent for murder.
A senior advisor of his, Dan Pfeiffer, has merely remarked that: “The president is always frustrated about leaks. I haven't talked to him about this book. I haven't read it. He hasn't read it. But he hates leaks.”
Obama hates leaks. The rest of the sane world hates drones. We certainly have different priorities.
The man who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 has assassinated more civilians than even George W Bush, his not-so-bright and very gung-ho predecessor.
The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner considers any “military-age male” within a strike zone to be a combatant and therefore deserving of death.
The man who the Nobel committee in 2009 felt had done the most that year to promote peace says that his drones kill civilians who would otherwise have been killed by terrorists.
In essence, this great man of peace is telling us that we should be grateful for the privilege of being killed by his drones instead of by terrorists.
And what do African leaders do when approached by this most peaceable of men? They grovel and offer him a base to launch drones and other military operations.
Right now, America is in the process of moving 3 500 soldiers to Africa. They will be reliably backed up by a drone base – most likely in Niger or in Burkina Faso (Thomas Sankara must be weeping!) – and by other established installations that Africa’s leaders have given the peace-loving Obama.
America’s troops will “watch” over 35 African countries and will come from the 2nd Brigade’s Heavy Combat Team of the First Infantry Division, which is the Pentagon’s apex military headquarters.
Obama already has a permanent military base in Djibouti. And The Seychelles, right here in Southern Africa, has since 2009 allowed Obama to launch attacks on East Africa from its territory. Another SADC member, Tanzania, was this year scheduled to have “more than 20 engagements” with the US military, up from just three in 2010.
Last year, there were at least 12 major military-military engagements between the US and Africa. We are told these are meant to build Africa’s capacity, but they in reality serve to bring Africa firmly within Washington’s orbit.
The US now has some form of solid military agreements with 52 countries in Africa, only Eritrea, The Sudan and Zimbabwe are yet to succumb. And I know that there are furious efforts behind the scenes to rectify this anomaly: Eritrea will likely be starved and bombed, The Sudan will likely go the Libya way, and Zimbabwe will be squeezed and cajoled.
So what do African leaders think they will get out of playing hand maiden to their own continent’s invasion by the US military?
Consider the case of Pakistan.
That country’s government has been a close military ally of the US for many a year now and Islamabad has been assisting Washington to deal with Afghanistan’s al-Qaeda.
This has included allowing the US military and intelligence almost unfettered access to Pakistan’s territory to carry out its operations.
It’s believed that the first US drone strike in Pakistan was in 2004 when the not-so-bright Bush was President.
Just one drone strike was carried out that year, and it killed between five and eight people.
Then the Man of Peace, Obama, came in, and more than 3 000 people – hundreds of them civilians have perished because of Pakistan’s desire to please the US and allow drones into their country.
Yes, Pakistan’s leadership will make much noise about how it opposes drone strikes – much like how Africa’s leaders will fulminate in their denunciations of AFRICOM and anything related to the American military.
But away from the eyes and the ears of the voters, they cut deals and let the US kill citizens.
There is evidence that Pakistan’s government is complicit in the murder of its own peoples, just as it is apparent that African leaders are paving the way for the establishment of American military bases on our continent.
Take note of this, as we watch our leaders sup with the devil: drone attacks are evolving and targeting ever larger groups of people.
For example, whereas before the CIA and military only went after “high-value” targets, missiles are now being fired on any gathering that is considered “suspicious”. In many cases now, strikes are ordered even when the names of the people being killed are not known.
And then there is what they call the “double tap”. This is where drones will fire a second round of missiles on whoever responds first – usually emergency and security services – to an attack.
So no one is safe.
Obama has become really good at killing people, and we are inviting him into our home.