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Monsters and Killing Machines

March 6, 2011

We approach the International Women’s Day on March 8th, and I intended to dedicate a few blog posts to the issue of gender inequality and sexual (male) violence. But one news report has thrown me off the track and forced me to change my plan.

In Ivory Coast thousands of women were protesting Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to cede power to the rightfully elected president Alassane Ouattara, when armored vehicles showed up and soldiers opened fire, killing at least six women and injuring many more.

The women had no weapons, they were not rioting, they were just walking in a peaceful protest waving palm fronds. What did the soldiers think, when they shot at the women? Did they think of their mothers, who bore them and nurtured them and raised them and tended them?

This is a monstrous crime committed by monsters posing as human beings.

Nearly 400 people have been killed in the three-month-long dispute in Ivory Coast, though Ouattara’s camp estimates the death toll to be closer to 1,000.

These number are for sure exceeded by the bloodletting in Libya, where Colonel Muammar Gaddafi ordered his troops to massacre unarmed protesters with war-grade weapons like tanks, attack helicopters and fighter jets. Another monstrous crime.

What do Gaddafis soldiers think, when they aim at the protesters? The protesters are no threat to tanks and airplanes, they are fellow human beings who want to replace an unjust and corrupt dictatorial system with something better.

Though the death toll in Libya will be in the thousands, the bloodbath there is for sure dwarfed by the casualty figures in the Afghan war. 2,118 civilians were killed in 2008, 2,412 in 2009, 2,777 in 2010 and the numbers will rise again in 2011. This are official numbers and the dead were not Taliban fighters and not NATO coalition troops, this were women, children, old men, Afghans who were just going on with their daily lives.

Just last week nine boys, aged 12 and under, were killed by a coalition airstrike while gathering firewood and an Afghan presidential team accused Nato forces of killing 65 civilians, including 40 children, in another incident in Kunar province.

The death toll rises not only because of increased fighting, but also because the NATO forces apply new tactics like night-time raids, increased air strikes (up 170 percent in one year) and Predator drones. Predator drones were originally the killing machines of choice in the CIA operations in Pakistan, but they are now increasingly used in Afghanistan too. Predator drones are also used in Yemen. The USA claims that these unmanned aerial vehicles deliver their deadly charge with pinpoint accuracy but there are hundreds of reports about civilian casualties from drone attacks in all three operation areas.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/20/AR2011022000276.html
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/u/unmanned_aerial_vehicles/index.html
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/10/26/091026fa_fact_mayer
http://www.aclu.org/national-security/aclu-seeks-information-predator-drone-program
http://returngood.com/2009/07/21/brookings-report-confirms-high-civilian-death-rate-and-misses-the-point/
http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/28208/predator-drones-the-all-seeing-eye/
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/30/world/asia/30drone.html

I’ve made it very clear in all my blog posts, that I am against any killings of humans and animals and that I am against wars and violence. But in the absence of worldwide peace and harmony the international community has created laws like the Geneva Convention and various other international treaties. I always thought that the execution of a human being in a non-combat situation would be against international law.

When soldiers fight in a war against each other, the one with the better equipment and the better training will succeed and liquidate his opponent. This is war and war is insane and war is hell. The soldiers could of course resist to fight and go home and leave their generals alone, but most of them seemingly are not bright and not brave enough to do that.

Solders in a battle are according to international law allowed to annihilate, eradicate, obliterate, liquidate, slaughter, destroy each other. But when fighter jets or attack helicopters or predator drones launch their missiles and destroy a building and kill all inhabitants in their sleep, this is not a combat situation, this is not a fight on a battlefield, this is an assassination, this is murder!

How can the drone operator know, that the killed people were the right target? He never saw them personally, they are thousands of kilometers away on the other side of the planet. The targeted people were not threatening him, even if they had weapons.

And who decides about the target, who is the master of life and death? Is there a judge or a jury or the right to appeal? The targeted person will obviously not be able to defend him/herself. Is the targeted person presumed to be innocent until proven guilty? Which laws apply? The laws of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen or the laws of the USA? And if US laws apply, and it must be so because otherwise the air strikes would be criminal and pure banditry, where is that stated? Where is the clause in the US constitution, where is the legal framework of international treaties that allow US laws to overrule the laws of other nations?

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Unprecedented amounts of information are gathered in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen with all kind of hight tech tools and the military or the CIA determines what targets to hit often in split-second decisions. When military investigators looked into an attack by American helicopters last February that left 23 Afghan civilians dead, they found that the operator of a Predator drone had failed to pass along crucial information about the makeup of a gathering crowd of villagers.

Tara McKelvey wrote an interesting piece in Newsweek about President Obamas increased use of Predator drone strikes.
http://www.newsweek.com/2011/02/13/inside-the-killing-machine.html

When I wrote about the slaughter of unarmed women in Ivory Coast I characterized it as a monstrous crime committed by monsters posing as human beings. Most readers will agree with this statement.

The slaughter of mostly unarmed protesters with tanks, attack helicopters and fighter jets by Gaddafis soldiers, mercenaries and thugs fits well into this category. Not much readers will object if I call that also a monstrous crime.

Does the slaughter of thousands of civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen by drone strikes, attack helicopters and fighter jets also fit into this category? If I apply common sense and logical thinking I have to answer this question with an unequivocal yes!

Why are the drone operators and the pilots of the helicopters and jets not vilified in the same way than the thugs of Laurent Gbagbo and Muammar Gaddafi?

Well, the corporate media will for sure invent and present a thousand explanations and provide well founded insights and analysis about the inevitability to defend freedom and democracy and our way of life with sometimes not so noble and gracious methods.

And if Democratic lobbyist and former Clinton administration official Lanny Davis would have been able to keep his well paying (100,000 US$ per month) client Laurent Gbagbo and not have been shamed by http://www.change.org/, we would probably see the unfortunate death of women in Ivory Coast in a very different light and we would get much more nuanced reports abut the events there.

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Let’s call a spade a spade. Let’s call an atrocity an atrocity and let’s call a monster a monster. The title of this post is “Monsters and Killing Machines” and with killing machines I meant of course the drones and helicopters and jets. Who are the monsters?

If I apply common sense and logical thinking, I have to put everybody who uses this killing machines to annihilate, eradicate, obliterate, liquidate, slaughter, destroy fellow humans into this category.

The enablers of the carnage, the manufacturers and sellers of the killing machines also fall into this category.

And the leaders who plan and order the use of the killing machines also fall into this category.

I don’t have to name the monsters, you know whom I mean….

One comment

  1. […]  He also added, after all, these rulers were from a foreign country. Naturally, they would like keep themselves above the locals and in history, this is quite natural. In so called independent India, members of Parliament, (some of them with criminal charges) devised VIP, VVIP, Gazetted etc., for their own identity to keep themselves separated from the people being ruled, making them free to loot the national exchequer.. Look at the present India. Sons of the soil are killing each other in one name or the other.  So called elected glorified titled public servants enjoy/loot the people, at the same living like “Raja” and “Maharajas” so are their stooges, all at the cost of “have nots”  whereas for the rest of India have guaranteed are On this subject see: http://eslkevin.wordpress.com/2011/03/01/refugees-international-asks-you-to-speak-up-help-us-restore-critical-funding-for-displaced-people/ For more on this read: http://sinevasionen.wordpress.com/2011/03/06/a-very-brave-guy-or-a-brief-sketch-of-a-cuban-story/ On the same topic: https://mato48.wordpress.com/2011/03/06/monsters-and-killing-machines/ […]

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