Document:Newtown, Old Story
Newtown, Old Story
Did Obama Pull the Trigger?
No one can fail to be deeply disturbed by the murder of twenty little children and six adults who tried to protect them in Newtown, Connecticut. This is the eighth mass killing in the Untied States this year, and the question arises, what is the root cause of all this violence? There are some obvious potential culprits, such as the number of guns per person in the United States, which is unusually high compared to most of the rest of the world (88 guns per 100 people, or about 300 million guns, compared to Afghanistan which has 4.6 guns per 100 people), or the amount of violence present in adolescent entertainment (The Journal of Pediatrics reports that American youth between the ages of 8-18 spend over 6 hours a day using electronic entertainment media, and "a large proportion of the exposure includes acts of violence"). A third more enduring and pervasive modeling of violence is presented to American youth by the organization that is supposed to act as the foundation for human rights and dignity in our country, the United States Government.
This statement may seem unwarranted at first blush, because all of us have a inherent allegiance to the social group that we belong to and identify with. In modern times that group is usually the country in which we live, although the same sense of allegiance was formerly given to one's clan, tribe, or city-state. It is a genetically programmed social behavior. Unfortunately a dispassionate, non-nationalistic review of the available information suggests that the greatest perpetuator of violence in the world today is in fact our own government, and that the young of America are at least unconsciously aware of this fact and it becomes inculcated into their personal values.
To take one specific example, the American drone program in Pakistan hits a target on the ground about every five days - so the program is regularly in the news. There are no U.S. military personnel or U.S. reporters in the area of North Waziristan, Pakistan where the strikes are taking place, so there is no accurate why of knowing who is being hit. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism in England did send reporters, and put out a report in September of this year (2012) showing that about 3000 people have been killed in these strikes since they began in 2004, 900 of them civilians and 176 of the children.   Only 2% of those killed are thought to be "high value targets." With these numbers we have immediately greatly exceeded all of the deaths in all of the mass shootings in the United States in the past 50 years. Note also the jargon of killing: calling the tribal elders of the Pashtun people of northwest Pakistan "high value targets" dehumanizes them and makes the murder of them and the people around them somehow seem acceptable.
Wiping away tears on December 15th, President Obama remarked that the "beautiful little kids" killed in Newtown "are our children..our hearts are broken today."  It is not difficult to understand that there is no difference between the 20 children killed in Newtown and the 176 children killed by the 50 billion dollar a year American drone program; they are all just children. In fact they are all closely related, because all humans are genetically very similar. 302 of the 354 drone strikes that have hit the tribal people of Waziristan since 2002 were ordered by President Obama. In recent years the CIA has employed a "double strike" policy, with a second rocket sent about 10 minutes after the first to kill the first responders. If our hearts are broken for the children in Connecticut shouldn't they also be breaking for the children dying from American random violence in a distant land, and for the deaths of those who come to help? Is not President Obama culpable for the deaths of innocents, and for encouraging a culture of violence at home by glorifying it abroad?
If our hearts are broken by the unbearable violence in Newtown - and it is appropriate that they are - should they not be bleeding as well for the 30,000 civilian deaths inflicted by the U.S. military in Afghanistan since the United States invaded that country in 2001?  Should we not grieve for the 1 million civilians who have died in Iraq in the two wars we have waged on that country since 1991, for the 5 million rice farming people who died in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in our long wars with those impoverished people? We should weep for the 3 million North Koreans we killed in the Korean War, 500,000 of them vaporized by the 600,000 tons of napalm we dropped on their villages, more than was used in Vietnam. These are deeply perverse acts of extreme violence that we have perpetuated against the people of the world, somehow blinding ourselves to the reality of these crimes against the human family because of our own insecurity, which expresses itself as a mindless nationalism. 
President Obama said on December 14th, "We are going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this."  The only meaningful action that can be taken is for individuals, one at a time, to refuse to participate in this culture of make-believe, including refusing to pay for the pervasive weaponry the incessant killing and the destruction of the good earth, and instead build lives based on more honest and courageous human attributes.
- Leader of Child-Killers Pretends to Weep for Victims' - No One to Vote For 17 December 2012
- Covert Drone War - Bureau of Investigative Journalism
- Living Under Drones Stanford University dedicated web site
- File:Living under drones.pdf - pdf file of the full 'Living Under Drones Report
- 'Our hearts are broken today:' President Obama fights off tears in Connecticut school shooting press conference - New York Daily News 14 December 2012
- Civilian casualties in the War in Afghanistan (2001–present) - Wikipedia
- File:WarEcology&Intelligence.pdf - War, Ecology, and Emerging Intelligence - by the author