Friday, May 24, 2013

The Murder of Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi, 16, by Drone

President Obama, at noon yesterday, gave a full-throated defense of the droning of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Aulaqi, killed by a Hellfire missile;  and refused to support judicial review before or after the killing.

Medea Benjamin, founder of tCode Pink, gave the President a golden opportunity to defend in some fashion the droning of 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi, son of Anwar, who was kill two weeks after his father, in a different part of Yemen.  The president refused to offer any shadow of a defense.  To ate, the U.S. government has offered no defense for killing this boy.

Here are the facts that are publicly known and undisputed by the government.

On October 14, 2011, the United States government burned a child to death in a Drone strike in Yemen.

Sixteen-year-old Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi was killed by a Hellfire missile shot by a Drone in Shabwa, Yemen.

Abdulrahman was eating dinner by an open fire along the side of a road in Shabwa, Yemen.  He was with his his cousin, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, and seven other friends, when the Hellfire stuck.

This is the place where the nine were eating dinner:

All that was left of Abdulrahman was a piece of skin.  There is no mention of the fate of the other eight guys.

The bit of Abdulrahman's flesh was placed in a casket that headed a funeral procession of many mourning, raging, and now-vengeful Yemenis.

Sixten-year-old boys may be mean as snakes or sweet as angels.  Most are some mixture of both.  There will never be an opportunity to determine what Abdulrahman was:  though the U.S. Constitution guarantees "any person" the right to due process before the government can proceed against him, Abdulrahman was given no process visible to the public.  He was charge with no crime, nor alleged to be an enemy of the people.

A White Paper released by the Administration recently stresses that every effort must be made to capture a person before he may be killed by Drone. The supreme commander of the armed forces in Yemen is Field Marshal And Rabbuh Mansur Al-Hadi, the President of the Republic.  President Al-Hamid  has 401,000 active military personnel, largely paid for by the US.

It belies belief that the US could not have persuade President Al-Hadi to arrest Abdulrahman in the remote Shabwa Province of Yemen.  Why that did not happen has not been explained.

Shabwa is the name of a town and of a province.  Much of the province is part of largest sand desert in the world.

  Judge ye!

War is brutal.  We weep for our own killed in war, but we do not weep for Them who are killed in war, though if we should:

Now arms, however beautiful, are instruments of evil omen, hateful, it may be said, to all creatures. Therefore they who have the Tao do not like to employ them. Those sharp weapons are instruments of evil omen, and not the instruments of the superior man. 
He uses them only on the compulsion of necessity. Calm and repose are what he prizes; victory by force of arms is to him undesirable. To consider this desirable would be to delight in the slaughter of men.He who delights in the slaughter of men cannot get his will in the kingdom.

He who has killed multitudes of men should weep for them with the bitterest grief.
Lao Tzu, Chapter 31, edited
Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing)
Classic of the Way and Virtue

Drone strikes are different, more personal, more intimate, than conventional war.  "Mistakes" are more avoidable and are intended to be avoided.  

Serious, responsible men  -- caring men on all accounts --  carefully select which individual is to live and which to die, by Drone strike.  These men carefully weigh how many of the innocent persons near the "target" they may kill, and exercise a degree of retrain if the "colateral damage" be thought to be too great.  None of the persons they kill is guilty of any crime, under our law.

I agree that Drone strikes are infinitely preferable to trench warfare; I urge that they are inferior to capture and a fair trial.

It was, somehow, thought to be necessary or desirable to kill Abdulrahman, his his cousin Abdulrahman, and their seven friends, with Hellfire.

Drone trikes are said to be necessary, in this New War the United States Wages, to protect its inhabitants, as if its inhabitants have more value than Pakistani or Yemeni. I challenge the assumption.

I would be enraged if a Drone were to kill my 16-year old grandson.  My heart goes out to Mr. and Mrs  al-Aulaqi, Abdulrahman's grandparents. I hope your heart does too, and I hope you will understand why I believe that thatAbdulrahman's killing is unacceptable; is murder, plain and simple.

No comments: