The news that US President Barack Obama boasted to aides that he is “really good at killing people” (in reference to his one-man drone strike war which has killed thousands of people) has reinforced the truth that he only won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 on account of his half-black racial origin rather than any significant achievement on his part.
The astonishing remark about being good at killing people is contained in a new book on the US presidential election of 2012 by veteran journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, titled Double Down: Game Change 2012.
The White House as of yet has not officially responded to the book, although Obama spokesman Dan Pfeiffer said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that neither he nor the president had read it.
“I haven’t talked to him about the book. I haven’t read it. He hasn’t read it. But he hates leaks,” Pfeiffer said.
All US drone strikes must be personally authorized by the president, and Obama has now formally authorized 326 attacks—more strikes than even his arch-warmonger predecessor George W. Bush.
A classified US government report, published earlier this year, confirmed that “drone kills” in Pakistan are not the precision strikes against top-level al-Qaeda terrorists which they are portrayed as by the Obama administration.
Instead, many of the attacks are aimed at suspected low-level tribal militants, who may pose no direct danger to the United States—and for many there appears to be little evidence to justify the assassinations.
Top secret documents obtained by McClatchy newspapers in the US show the locations, identities and numbers of those attacked and killed in Pakistan in 2006–8 and 2010–11, as well as explanations for why the targets were picked.
Between 1,990 and 3,308 people are reported to have been killed in the drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, the vast majority of them during the Obama terms.
In the 12-month period up to 2011, 43 out of 95 drone strikes in the reports (which give an account of the vast majority of US operations in the country) were not aimed at al-Qaeda at all.
And 265 out of 482 people killed in those assassinations were defined internally as “extremists.”
Indeed, only six of the men killed—less than 2 percent—were senior al-Qaeda leaders.
According to an Amnesty International report on Drone strikes released in October this year, there are “difficult questions for the Obama administration over the attacks.”
The report revealed that the US stands accused of unlawful killing in several documented incidents, on the basis of first-hand witness evidence and official statements. The number of such incidents, in both countries, suggests they are not “one-offs” but part of a systematic policy that appears inherently illegal.
Reporting on six unacknowledged US strikes in Yemen, Human Rights Watch states: “Two of these attacks were in clear violation of international humanitarian law—the laws of war—because they struck only civilians or used indiscriminate weapons. The other four cases may have violated the laws of war because the individual attacked was not a lawful military target or the attack caused disproportionate civilian harm, determinations that require further investigation. In several of these cases, the US also did not take all feasible precautions to minimise harm to civilians, as the laws of war require.”
Amnesty reached similar conclusions in Pakistan. If the US is not in a war-fighting situation in either country, then international human rights law applies, meaning that lethal force may only be used if there is an “imminent risk” to human life. This law was also disregarded in several US attacks, Amnesty said.
The US is accused of acting in contravention of Obama’s own guidelines, set out in May, which emulated (but did not officially endorse) international human rights law. Obama said that to be legitimate, a target must pose an imminent risk to the US, cannot reasonably be captured, and can be attacked without putting civilians at risk. As the various cases investigated clearly indicate, these “rules” have been repeatedly and deliberately broken.
In addition, “US drone strikes have reportedly been effective in eliminating individuals plotting attacks against the US and its allies. But the negative impact on local and international opinion of the Sarar attacks (2012) and al-Majalah (2009) attacks in Yemen, for example, when dozens of civilians died, and of numerous similar attacks in Waziristan, was significant and may actually have served to strengthen support for extremists.”
Amnesty said: “The US has carried out unlawful killings in Pakistan in its drone attacks, some of which could amount to war crimes.”
Finally, the report asked “by what right do the US president and his subordinates take it upon themselves to end the lives of those who oppose American policy and values?
“Most of these people are not American citizens and do not reside in the US. They lack a vote or other normal means of challenging American policy. It must be assumed that Obama would not order the killing on American soil of Americans who do have democratic rights of opposition. So, morally speaking, how can it be acceptable to kill disenfranchised non-Americans on foreign soil?”
The murderous drone attacks have underlined the farce that was the awarding of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to Obama.
At the time, the Nobel committee claims that Obama had won the award “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”
“Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics,” the official Nobel citation continued.
“Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.”
Now, four years and thousands of deaths later, not a single word of this citation has come true, or as is now apparent, was even true at the time the award was made. It is now startlingly clear that Obama was given the award merely for being the first half-black president of America, and for no other reason.