Dear Mr. President,
Yesterday afternoon, CIA assassins fired Hellfire missiles on a convoy of cars going to (or returning from) a wedding in a remote region of Yemen, killing at least 11 people—or 13 or 15 depending on the report. ABC News, the AP, Reuters, Al Jazeera and The Guardian all reported that those killed were civilians, a case of mistaken identity, that the CIA mistook the wedding party for a convoy of “suspected Al Qaeda militants.” Today’s NYT, however, reports that “Most of the dead appeared to be people suspected of being militants linked to Al Qaeda…but there were also reports that several civilians had been killed.” (“Drone Strike in Yemen Hits Wedding Convoy, Killing 11” p. A8.) So either the CIA no longer bothers to distinguish between militants who are an imminent threat to the U.S. of A. and civilian wedding parties, or perhaps they’ve instituted a new program of assassinating prospective breeders of future suspected militants, a sort of pre-emptive first strike in your War of Terror. Although the Times article sounded like it was written by the CIA, it did mention that back in May you “promised to make the drone campaign more transparent.” The statement is left hanging; there has been no increase in transparency since then. They also noted that right after your speech, drone strikes in Yemen dipped for awhile but they’re now back in full force, 2 this week, at least 2 last month, and in a 2-week period this summer, 9 strikes took place with no indication any of those killed were high value targets or leaders of AQAP. A tactic of cowards is to hide behind secrecy and silence. No acknowledgement, no transparency, no justice, the hallmarks of the Obama years. Right above today’s article on the drone strike in Yemen, there’s an article on the antigovernment protests in Ukraine which quotes a mechanical engineering student in eastern Ukraine as saying, “If they manage to get Yanukovichn out, there will be a new Yanukovichn after him.” Not everyone is enthusiastic or hopeful. There’s a lot of cynicism and disgust. The same applies here in the U.S. In 2008 we were disgusted with Bush and his neocons and got rid of them but ended up with a new Bush and new neocons under a new label, Obama and his neoliberals. For 5 years you’ve continued and expanded the obscenely stupid, counterproductive and self-annihilating policies of the Bush years. Nothing has changed and Washington’s the same as Kiev. We’ve just exchanged the old Bush for a new Bush.