John Watson is a former Wilmington talk show host now sharing his opinions and expertise with NewsWorks readers. Here’s his thoughts on drone attacks.
History tells us that thanks to President Bill Clinton calling off an air strike to kill Osama Bin Laden, he lived to plan and carry out the 9/11 attacks that killed some 3,000 innocent people.
Clinton was concerned about collateral damage, the killing of some Muslim leaders meeting with Bin Laden. They all lived, while thousands died in the al Qaeda suicide attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
So, it occurs to me we should learn from the big mistake, and stop criticizing President Obama’s drone attacks that kill Americans when there is evidence they are working with al Qaeda operatives, planning another attack on this country, our allies, and State Department personnel representing our nation in other countries world wide.
And how about the blame game? Accusations against President Bush and his National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, saying they failed to act on terrorist attack warnings. Evidence of who knew what and when is still debatable. To insure that everyone would be informed about a national security concern in the future, President Bush lost no time in reorganizing our intelligence community, to better “connect the dots” with each agency sharing its information with the others.
This might have saved us from the 9/11 attacks, had there not been a proprietary attitude about information in each individual agency.
After his reorganization of our intelligence community, President Bush began covert drone attacks that have exploded in numbers in the Obama administration. Published reports from CNN tell us that as of September 2012, the 283 Obama drone attacks in Pakistan were six times more than during President Bush’s eight years. The estimated death toll from the Obama drone attacks is four times more than during the Bush administration, somewhere between 1,494 and 2,618.
Those numbers come from September of 2012, and have grown big time since then.
The numbers now include a few U.S. citizens, which is being criticized from both the left and right. Democrats and Republicans, and of course the ACLU are concerned that these U.S. citizens are being denied their Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights of due process and their day in court.
But an unclassified Justice Department memo says it’s legal to kill U.S. citizens who are guilty of working with al Qaeda, plotting attacks on the U.S. and our interests worldwide. And as I expected, the ACLU is filing suit on all of this against the government drone attacks.
One of those U.S. citizens that seem to be so precious to some people, both here and abroad, is Anwa Al-Awaki an American citizen, Yemeni scholar and radical Muslim Imam, and spiritual advisor to three of the hijackers in the 9/11 attacks. He is said to have influenced Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, charged in the massacre of 13 fellow U.S. soldiers in Fort Hood, Texas. Al Awaki was killed in a drone attack in Yemen in September 2011.
Another U.S. citizen, Samir Khan was reportedly killed in an attack in October. Abdulrahman al Awaki, another U.S. citizen, was reportedly killed in Yemen.
The ACLU questions the governments refusal to explain its legal basis for those drone killings of U.S. citizens. I’m not talking about innocent bystanders, but otherwise it seems to me you are known by the company you keep, as my parents used to say. And I give total support to our government’s drone attacks on U.S. citizens connected with those responsible for the 9/11 World Trade Center Massacre in New York, and are planning more of the same.
President Bush fought hard to carry out his promise to bring them to the bar of justice, and President Obama is continuing to fulfill that promise, with Justice Department approval. So when those Navy Seals found and killed Osama Bin Laden, on Sunday May 1, 2012, they corrected the big mistake made by President Clinton decades ago. I think, without Osama Bin Laden alive, there never would have been a successful 9/11 attack.
During a recent on-line forum, President Obama told a questioner, “Drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties. This is a targeted focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorist trying to go in and harm Americans.” Just imagine where we would be if those treasonous Americans and their al Qaeda buddies, had been successful. I hope President Obama continues what he is doing, to protect this great nation from its enemies, foreign and domestic.
Finally, the collateral damage (civilian deaths) caused by those drone attacks, are not to the President’s liking or mine either. But on-line an database lists 20 million soldiers killed in World War II along with 40 million civilians killed. Other sources have similar listings. I make no excuses for President Obama and his drone attacks, just keep in mind, war is hell.
We are in a hell of a war that’s much more complicated than some of us understand. So you have a choice, support your President and his efforts to keep us (you) safe, or hide your face in shame.