President Barack Obama:
On Thursday, October 1, 2015, in the wake of another mass shooting — or what I call domestic terrorism — this time in a sleepy town in Oregon, President Obama made a passionate statement to this nation. It is safe to say that if we can credit our 44th president for any legacy he leaves behind, it would be for his skills as an orator.
Alas, often the empty words stand in complete contradiction to U.S. actions and policies, cloaking the otherwise sensible oration in a shroud of hypocrisy.
Two days later, on October 3, 2015, we witnessed another tragedy in far away land, in which the United States military, of which Mr. Obama is Commander in Chief, caused civilian casualties. This time the unfortunate target was the Doctors Without Borders hospital in an embattled city of Kunduz, Afghanistan, where 12 staff members and ten patients — including three children — were killed. President Obama yet again issued a statement offering condolences to the victims in what he called “the tragic incident” in Kunduz.
I purposefully delayed this writing so that more evidence could come to light while the Defense Department investigation was taking place. On Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 the verdict came out when the leader of American forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John F. Campbell, confirmed that that the United States troops did not follow their own rules in calling in the airstrike when no American and Afghan troops were in extreme danger, an airstrike that killed 22 people was the result of a “U.S. decision.”
Then on October 7th, 2015, the White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest characterized the airstrike as a mistake, and President Obama expressed his condolences and offered his thoughts and prayers for the victims on behalf of the American people.
Listening to President Obama offering yet more condolences and his usual nonsensical promises to ‘deepen diplomatic, economic and security cooperation to promote a more stable and secure Afghanistan’ took me back to his speech of October 1st in wake of Umpqua Community College mass shooting.
President Obama said and I quote;
Our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It’s not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel. And it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America — next week, or a couple of months from now.
Well, dear Mr. President, your apology for your military special forces striking a protected facility “by mistake” and killing civilians is not enough either.
Furthermore, your apology does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in the world where American forces are operating under false notion of “national security,” “ the fight against terrorism” or “liberation and democracy” — next week, or a couple of months from now. Neither does your apology include the heartache and grief and anger that the US arm forces continuously inflict on Afghans, Pakistanis, Syrians, Libyans, Iraqis, etc., etc.
President Obama went on to say, “My response here at this podium ends up being routine and so the conversation in the aftermath of it. We’ve become numb to this.”
Mr. President, in your so-called passionate plea you mentioned, “I can imagine the press releases being cranked out: We need more guns, fewer gun safety laws … does anybody really believe that?”
I am here to say Mr. President that right now in the US Congress and among the candidates who hope to become President in 2016, there is a plea for stronger military and bigger military budget and spending, expanding wars, Syrian regime change, a stronger front against the partly Western-supported and manufactured terrorist groups, all in the name of the “war against terrorism,” to make America safe!
DOES ANY OF US BELIEVE THAT?! No, of course, no person with grain of ration and logic believes that the road to peace is through war, sir. More importantly, no person with minuscule skill of critical thinking would believe that is the way to make America and Americans safe.
While our legislators and leadership have been spending over a trillion dollars passing countless laws and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil from so-called number one danger, Islamic terrorism, and in process you have built up the national security state, the figures, the numbers tell a different tale.
The stats tell us that Americans are not safe period. If they are not killing themselves overtly by the way of gun violence, they are made unsafe by the failed foreign policy around the globe.
Statistics show that in 2001-2013, 406,496 people died by firearms on U.S. soil. In those same years, 3,380 Americans have died from terrorism globally. I must add, that figure includes the 3,000 who have died on 9/11, and needless to say, our books are open on the tragedy of September 11, 2001, sir.
There are other sets of numbers, Mr. President: the vast number of those civilians who were killed and displaced due to US-sponsored and encouraged wars, conflicts and interventions around the world. Notably, not only in Afghanistan but in Libya, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Egypt, Yemen, etc., etc. That figure is vague and under-reported, sir, because they were not what we refer to as “victims” but what we call “collateral damage.”
The U.S.-led “war on terrorm” which began Sept. 11, 2001, has left at least 1.3 million people dead – mostly civilians – in 12 years in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan alone. We are not even counting the carnage in Syria, we are not even counting the NATO-led destruction of Libya, we are not even counting nearly 2 decades of forgotten war in Yemen, which started at the end of Clinton administration and has been passed on from administration to administration. Yemen, after all, was the original hub of US Drone bases and activities.
How come you did not ask the news organizations to compile somewhat of an accurate figure on the ‘collateral damages’ America is inflicting around the world, sir? Well, we don’t need the US media to give us a number.
Per a report called the “Body Count,” conducted in March of 2015 by Nobel Peace Prize winners Physicians for Social Responsibility and by Physicians for Global Survival and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War — the numbers are conservative at best — but in Iraq alone, the U.S. intervention cost the lives of about 1 million people, while their war in Afghanistan left over 220,000 people dead and 80,000 in Pakistan.
The authors of the report indicated that; “The figure is approximately 10 times greater than that of which the public, experts and decision makers are aware, this is only a conservative estimate and the real death toll could be in excess of 2 million.”
In the case of Iraq, the report added, the amount of people killed amounts to 5% of their population.
The “Body Count” report also highlights the criminal aspect of the U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan, where most of the victims were civilians, including children.
So Mr. President please tell us if “anyone should believe” America is safe when from 2003-2011, and after $6 billion dollars, the US invasion and occupation of Iraq has resulted in 1,000,000 (million) civilian Iraqi killed (collateral damage) and 33,000 wounded (collateral damage) and an unknown number displaced?
Mr. President, I remember another of your passionate speeches in which you iterated that Iraq was not a “just war” and criticized George Bush for taking his eyes off the “real problem,” which in your opinion was Afghanistan but, ironically Iraq was bombed 190 times, 1420 civilians were killed and 1370 injured and over 130,000 fled to Turkey and the tragedy still continues.
Please tell us Mr. President if “anyone should believe” America is safe when in 2011 and after $1.1 billion dollars NATO intervention spearheaded by the US has turned Libya to a failed state and cross road for arms deal to the fundamentalists in Syria?
Please tell us, Mr. President, if “anyone should believe” America is safe when you have started your military operations against Syrian government under the pretext of fighting the so-called ISIS, have spent $500,000 dollars training & supporting the so called “Syrian rebels” (of the moderate variety), and have used 47 Tomahawk Missiles just on September 23rd, killing 58 people, 8 of whom were civilians?
Tell us, please how does logistically, militarily, and financially supporting Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Israel in bringing down a democratically elected Syrian government through which, per United Nations and UNICEF, has left over 320,000 dead (collateral damage), of which 7,719 were women, 11,964 were children (per Oxford Research Group & Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) report of August of 2015), 1,500,000 injured and 7.4 million displaced, make America safe?
Mr. President, as I have done on previous occasions when I have written to you I am going to tag you on this, in fact I believe that is the most patriotic thing I can do as an American, to speak my heart and mind to my president and be confident that my constitutional right to freely speak and be heard would allow my criticism of him, which surely resonates with many, to be published.
Hence, I have written and compiled the above figures and numbers with the same passion that you made in your statement in the wake of Umpqua Community College mass shooting.
I am going to also say that your apology is not enough, your response in characterizing the tragedy in Kunduz as a mistake is routine. The only difference is that WE the Americans, as well as all people of this world with a conscience are not becoming numb to this.
In fact, with acute awareness, we criticized the failed US foreign policy. We criticize your administration for expansion and encouragement of overt and covert interventions and wars around the globe. We also criticize the mainstream media for grossly and intentionally underestimating death tolls and for manipulating information in order to laboriously paint a false image of any and every ongoing crises where US military in involved.
I can assure you, Mr. President, that U.S. public opinion is far more outraged than you think. Day in and day out, we the Americans witness innumerable death, destruction, and displacement which is directly or indirectly due to the U.S. interventions, none of which has anything to do with our ‘National Security’ and everything to do with US ‘National Interest’ and, frankly, under your leadership and the misplaced priorities of the US Congress, who are far from representative of this nation, we have been made to feel quite UNSAFE.
As you have mentioned, the gun issues must be politicized, but so should the failed US Foreign Policy, as the behavior of the US in the international arena is relevant to our nations position in the global body politic and directly relevant to our safety as Americans.
In the same way that our political choice or lack thereof in regards to gun laws allows the mass shooting that happened in Oregon to repeat itself every few months in America, our political choice in leadership of this nation will also determine our status and legitimacy in the global forum. We, as a Nation, choose to either continue to be a rogue nation that we have become who has no respect for international laws and human lives, or we allow this nation to return to a path of humanistic and democratic values that is not above the laws, one that the world would respect. Because, we (Americans) collectively are answerable to every family who lose their loved ones or are displaced because of our inaction.
In closing, I am going to paraphrase your words, as they were wise in the context of gun laws.
I would like to urge “the American people to think about how they can get our government to change its [national interest-driven foreign policy], and to save lives, and to let young people [of other nations] grow up. And that will require a change of politics on this issue. And it will require that the American people, individually, whether [they] are a Democrat or a Republican or an Independent, when you decide to vote for somebody, or making a determination as to whether this cause of continuing death for innocent people [of other nations] should be a relevant factor in your decision. If you think this is a problem, then you should expect your elected officials to reflect your views.”
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