Violence: From Tucson to Datta Khel
“Violence is a part of America. I don’t want to single out rap music. Let’s be honest. America’s the most violent country in the history of the world, that’s just the way it is. We’re all affected by it.” —Spike Lee
“I do not know a method of drawing up an indictment against a whole people.” —Edmund Burke
January 8, 2011 was a tough day. Six people were killed and many more wounded in a cowardly act of unspeakable violence.
These people awakened on that day, ate their breakfasts, played with their children/grandchildren/parents/friends, made love, brushed their teeth, used the toilet, and any number of other “normal” activities we do every day, and they probably didn’t even imagine that it would be their last day on earth—beating hearts silenced by hatred, ignorance and bigotry. Lives cut short and futures canceled by a murderous and unconscionable massacre.
I hope for the sake of the victim’s families and for international justice that those responsible for this massacre will be held accountable, but unfortunately, they are not even in custody-or even “persons of interest” in this despicable crime.
Oh, did you think I was talking about the “massacre in Tucson” that has been in all the news? Although, that was also a horrible, unspeakable act of violence, I am actually talking about the fact that at least six people were killed in North Waziristan by a Hellfire missile dropped from one of Obama’s drones.
Since Obama is Commander in Chief, I want him arrested for these, and other murders. Not only has Obama tripled troop strength to Afghanistan, he has quadrupled bombings in Pakistan by un-manned aerial vehicles since he ordered his first drone strike on January 23, 2009. Being an over-achiever and Nobel Peace Laureate, I guess he didn’t want to be outdone by his predecessor in the senseless carnage department. Obama is targeting whomever he wants to target with his Presidential Execution Program and has been indiscriminately using drones in Yemen. The serial-imperial killer Barack Obama had this to say about the tragedy in Tucson on January 8: “Such a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society.” First of all, I wonder what country Obama lives in and, secondly, he presides as president of the Empire over many of these “terrible acts of violence.”
While we’re at it, throw Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates into the brig at Quantico with no possibility of bail and treat him the same way PFC Bradley Manning has been treated: 23-and-a-half hours per day of solitary confinement with no books, no TV, no exercise, no variation of lighting, no communication with fellow prisoners, etc.
Since the CIA is the institution that facilitates the drone-bombing crimes in Pakistan, I want Leon Panetta arrested. Since the CIA is also responsible for torture and false imprisonment in many “black sites” around the world, I want him incarcerated in Guantanamo or Bagram and detained indefinitely until, or if, his military commission is ready.
Not forgetting the Bush administration that set these programs in motion, I would like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Yoo, etc, arrested and incarcerated until their kangaroo courts are convened—the same kind of ridiculous trial that was afforded to Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. Being “kangaroo courts,” when they are found inevitably guilty, I hope they are each given 86 years, plus life, in prison, like Dr. Siddiqui was.
The drones that carry out these despicable attacks on “suspected terrorists” and their neighborhoods and families are piloted from Air Force bases in the U.S. The pilot who followed an illegal order (condemned by the U.N., among others) should be court-martialed and tried for his part in the war crime that occurred on January 8. In our top-down, violent society, though, people who kill civilians in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are usually given commendations; but people who shoot “raunchy videos” are relieved of duty.
Vietnam war criminal, John McCain, who dropped bombs on innocent civilians during his stint and was responsible for “wet-starting” his jet while “hot dogging” on his aircraft carrier, the USS Forrestal, and incinerating 134 of his fellow crewman, called the Tucson shooter: “a disgrace.” How ironic that such a criminal (who also crashed five jets and graduated very near the bottom of his class at Annapolis) would call anyone else a “disgrace.”
We live in a society where we are taught that violence solves everything. Indeed, scoundrels like McCain rise to the very top. Those of us who strive and advocate for non-violent, creative solutions to problems are perceived as being “crazy, weak and traitorous,” while history bears out that those using guns, tanks, planes, and drones are the weak ones.
Although top-down violence is oftentimes rewarded, bottom-up violence is usually vigorously prosecuted, even though, it’s possible, that if the same amount of resources and commitment were devoted to education, mental healthcare, and our communities, many of these bottom-up crimes could be prevented. You know the old saying: Prevention is the best medicine.
Whether it was the tragic massacre in North Waziristan, or the tragic massacre in Arizona, the same rotten, imperial system is to blame—but only those of us on the bottom of the so-called food chain are required to pay for our crimes.
Bombs are dropped on real people by real people who basically want the same things out of life: love, happiness, security and prosperity. Violence is also perpetrated by individuals—like some sort of Palinesque sicko that snuffs out the life of a nine-year old (and others)—because of some manufactured psychosis perpetuated by the collaborators in the U.S. media.
What did young Christina Greene ever do to the demented shooter in Arizona that deserved her unnecessary death at the too young age of nine? Christina was tragically collateral damage and my heart breaks for her family. Similarly, what did the hundreds-of-thousands of the nameless and uncounted youngsters in our war-torn countries ever do to us? They are tragically just collateral damage, too, and my heart is torn apart for their families. Twenty-two year old white men and women kill nine-year old people in our war torn countries every single day and I hear few politicians or news commentators crying over their mangled bodies. The disproportionate outcry over the attempted murder of a US Congressperson over the murders of innocent people by our wars is the elitist way of saying: “Our lives count more than theirs or yours.”
The only people who are our enemies and the enemies of universal love, happiness, security, and prosperity are sitting happily in their comfy and opulent homes (in Wasilla or DC) while at least one-dozen families are in profound mourning right now.
There is only one solution to this acute problem—whether the pilot who killed six in North Waziristan, or the shooter who killed six in Tucson—we have to stop killing each other to satisfy the blood lust and greed of the Robber Class.
We lose, they win.
My heart goes out to the people in Tucson, Datta Khel and everywhere who are the victims or survivors of violence.
As an American, the shame I feel for my country is profound.
—Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox, January 9, 2011