Wednesday, October 30, 2013

'Congress' Hears Pakistani Family Whose Grandmother Was Killed By US Drone

Kevin Gosztola at FDL:
Members of a family in Pakistan, who became victims of the United States drone program in October of last year when their grandmother was killed and children were wounded, traveled to the US to inform Americans of what the US government is doing to Pakistanis and how it directly impacts them.

Rafiq ur Rehman, the son of 67-year-old Mammana Bibi who was obliterated by Hellfire missiles fired by a drone while she was out in the family garden, addressed an audience at a congressional briefing convened by Congressman Alan Grayson today. Rafiq’s son, 13-year-old Zubair, who was injured in the strike, and his daughter, 9-year-old Nabila, also injured in the strike, spoke as well. Brave New Films director Robert Greenwald was present to introduce the family and show a clip from his new film in which the family appears, “Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars.”


Only five congressmen, including Grayson, made an appearance at the briefing: Rep. John Conyers, Rep. Rush Holt, Rep. Rick Nolan and Rep. Jan Schakowsky.

Five members of Congress. Five Democrats, mostly progressives. Only those five turned out to hear the aggrieved family. What does that tell you about how much the House of Representatives cares about Mr. Obama's drone victims?

So... an isolated mistake in a big war? Hardly. From the same article:

Jennifer Gibson, a lawyer for the human rights organization, Reprieve, provided testimony and put the attack that killed their grandmother into perspective.

“This tragedy is far from the only one,” Gibson explained. “Since 2010, Reprieve and the Foundation for Fundamental Rights have interviewed more than 150 families and civilian victims of US drone strikes. Only three could make the long journey from the tribal areas of Pakistan, but all of them have stories, largely unheard and untold here in the US. Together they reveal a secret war that is immoral, unlawful and counterproductive. Mistakes like the mistake that killed Mammana Bibi are not stand-alone events. They started with the very first strike this administration took.”

Some say the United States has no obligation to "commit suicide" as a nation in the face of terrorism. I agree... but that has never been the issue. Neither does America have the right to kill people indiscriminately with a weapon against which there is no effective defense. Considering the number killed who are innocent bystanders, the practice of drone warfare is often effectively murder.

I am ashamed of what is being done in the name of my country. Ashamed. In my 65 years, I never felt this way until Mr. Bush Junior turned that nation into an international murder machine... and Mr. Obama decided to follow the same awful pattern.

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