Watch Aaron in the film Holy Wars

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The ACLU files lawsuit against President Obama over drone attacks

Last night I googled the words "drone attacks Obama" to verify if President Obama has indeed increased unmanned aerial drone attacks in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region. Sure enough, not only has the president significantly increased these extrajudicial killings that also happen to kill a lot of civilians; it turns out that the ACLU has recently filed a lawsuit against the president challenging his right to carry out the attacks.

Just for kicks, I'd like to take a look at President Bush's human rights policies and see which ones have been continued under President Obama.

Extraordinary renditions? Check.

Militarization of Latin America? Check.

Fumigating crops in Columbia to fight the drug war? Check.

Threat of military force against Iran? Check.

Drone attacks against civilians in Pakistan? Increased.

Military aid to Israel? Increased.

What is striking about the President is that despite his smooth-talking in Cairo, despite the Nobel Peace prize, despite the never ending efforts of neo-con pundits to turn Obama into a first class whimp, the difference between Obama and Bush is a mile wide when it comes to rhetoric but an inch deep when it comes to reality.

Granted, Obama’s willingness to work with—as opposed to arrogantly dismiss—the international community on issues like nuclear non-proliferation and global climate change, along with his more respectful tone towards the Muslim world, has gone a long way to reduce the knee-jerk anti-Americanism that was so prevalent during the Bush years. Still, I wonder if Christians in the historic peace-churches will be able to honestly vote for a second term in 2012 and still have the right to call themselves pacifists?

While it may be true that a McCain/Palin administration would have been more bellicose and hostile to the rest of the world, at what point does voting for the lesser of two evils become complicity in acts of violence against others? Perhaps it’s a little early to ask this question, but the question still bothers me nonetheless.


toby said...

i think it's a great time to ask the closing question of your point. however, if you go there, should you go there with every issue for candidates of either side? Ex: republicans often support "defense" spending while democrats usually push a hard left social agenda. if you follow through with that argument, then christians shouldn't vote at all.

Aaron D. Taylor said...

Excellent point Toby! Kind of unnerving isn't it? It's not always clear what's the right thing to do when it comes to how, or if, Christians should participate in the political sphere.

Aaron D. Taylor said...

Excellent point Toby! Kind of unnerving isn't it? It's not always clear what's the right thing to do when it comes to Christians participating in the political sphere. I can say this. If I don't vote in the next election (and that's a big if), I'll have some very good reasons--reasons that can be defended both morally and theologically--not to.

Al Shaw said...

As a British observer, this gulf between Obama's rhetoric and actions in the area of foreign policy has been disturbing.

I wonder to what extent the President has felt it necessary to appease hawkish elements within Congress as a pay-off for the passage of his health care reforms.

More fundamentally, the imperial nature of American foreign policy since 1945, with its logic of permanent war, is the big picture against which all adminstrations have had to operate.