Two Stories in the Same Day Show
That the U.S. Is Rotten to the Core
By Ted Rall
April 25, 2015 "Information
Clearing House" - Still think the United States is
governed by decent people? That the system isn't totally corrupt and obscenely
Two stories that broke April 23 ought to wake
Story 1: President Obama admitted that one of his Predator
drones killed two aid workers, an American and an Italian, who were being held
hostage by al-Qaida in Pakistan. As The Guardian reports, "The lack of
specificity [about the targets] suggests that despite a much-publicized 2013
policy change by Barack Obama restricting drone killings by, among other things,
requiring 'near certainty that the terrorist target is present,' the U.S.
continues to launch lethal operations without the necessity of knowing who
specifically it seeks to kill, a practice that has come to be known as a
"Lack of specificity" is putting it mildly. According to a
report by the group Reprieve, the U.S. targeted 41 "terrorists" — actually,
enemies of the corrupt Yemeni and Pakistani regimes — with drones during 2014.
Thanks to "lack of specificity," a total of 1,150 people were killed. Which
doesn't even include the 41 targets, many of whom got away clean.
Obama's hammy pretend grief was Shatner-worthy. Biting his lip
in that sorry/not sorry Bill Clinton way, the president summed up mock sadness
for an event that happened back in January. Come on, dude. You seriously expect
us to believe
you've been all weepy for the last three months — excluding all those speeches
and other public appearances in which you were laughing and cracking jokes?
And the same exact day when he pretend-sadded, he also yukked
it up with the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. "That whole story got
blown a little out of proportion," he jibed. (re: "deflate-gate.") While sad.
I swear, the right-wing racists are right to hate him. But
they hate him for totally the wrong reasons.
Anyway, what took so long for the White House to admit they
killed one of our best citizens? "It took weeks to correlate [the hostages']
reported deaths with the drone strikes," The New York Times quoted White House
officials. But in his prepared remarks, Obama said "capturing these terrorists
was not possible" — thus the drone strike.
How stupid does the administration think we are?
The fact that it is possible to find out who dies in a drone
fact (albeit after the fact) indicates that there is reliable intelligence
coming out of the targeted areas, presumably provided by local police and
military sources. If there are cops and troops there who are friendly enough to
give us information, then it obviously is possible to ask them to capture the
Bottom line: The U.S. government is blowing up people with drones
willy-nilly, without the slightest clue who they're blowing up. Which, as
political assassinations, are illegal. And which they specifically said was what
they were no longer doing. Then they have the nerve to pretend to be sad about
the completely avoidable consequences of their actions. They're disgusting and
gross and ought to be locked in prison forever.
David Petraeus, former hotshot media-darling general of the Bush and early Obama
years, received a slap on the wrist — probation plus a $100,000 fine — for
improperly passing on classified military documents to unauthorized people and
lying about it to federal agents when they questioned him about it.
Here we go again: more proof that, in the American justice
system some people fly first-class while the rest of us go coach.
In this backwards world, people like Petraeus, who ought to be
held to the highest standard because they were entrusted with immense power and
responsibility, walk free while low-ranking schlubs who committed the same crime
get treated like Al Capone. Private Chelsea Manning, who released war logs
documenting U.S. war crimes in Iraq to WikiLeaks, rots in prison for 35 years.
Edward Snowden, the 31-year-old systems administrator for a private NSA
outsourcing firm who revealed that the U.S. government is reading all our emails
and listening to all our phone calls, faces life in prison.
Two years probation. Meanwhile, teachers who helped their
students cheat on standardized tests got seven years in prison. To Petraeus, who
went to work for a hedge fund, $100,000 is a nice tip for the caddy.
Adding insanity to insult is the fact that Petraeus' motive
for endangering national security was venal: he gave the documents to his
girlfriend, who wrote his authorized biography. Manning and Snowden, heroes who
in a sane society would receive ticker-tape parades and presidential medals of
freedom, weren't after glory. They wanted to inform the American people about
atrocities committed in their name, and about wholesale violations of their
basic freedoms, including the right to privacy.
Before he was caught and while he was sharing classified info
with his gf, Petraeus had the gall to hypocritically pontificate about a CIA
officer who disclosed sensitive information. Unlike Petraeus, the CIA guy got
coach-class justice: 30 months in prison.
"Oaths do matter," Petraeus pompously bloviated in 2012, "and
there are indeed consequences for those who believe they are above the laws that
protect our fellow officers and enable American intelligence agencies to operate
with the requisite degree of secrecy."
If you're a first-classer, the consequences are very small.
Ted Rall, syndicated writer and the cartoonist for The Los
Angeles Times, is the author of the new critically-acclaimed book "After We Kill
You, We Will Welcome You Back As Honored Guests: Unembedded in Afghanistan."
Subscribe to Ted Rall at Beacon.
COPYRIGHT 2015 TED RALL
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"We all bleed when we lose an American life," : Obama
defends US intelligence after killing hostages deaths:
A day after revealing an intelligence failure that cost the lives of two
al-Qaida hostages, President Barack Obama on Friday praised the nation's spying
operations as the most capable in the world while promising a review aimed at
preventing future mistakes.