What About this Administrations’ Militaristic Policies and their Victims?
During most of the day Tuesday, the day President Barack Obama gave his State of the Union Address, the Internet went ablaze with the White House’s announcements concerning empty gallery seats.
According to the White House, one seat will remain vacant during the entire address “for the victims of gun violence who no longer have a voice.” But to author James Bovard, seats should be left vacant to remind the public of the victims of the president’s militarism instead.
The Washington Post keeps a database of incidents involving police’s deadly use of force. According to its findings, 986 people were killed in 2015 alone during encounters with police officers. While the president has been pushing for tougher, more restrictive gun control measures to curb gun violence in America, the US Justice Department has been supporting officers every time the Supreme Court agrees to hear an excessive-force case.
Recently, Bovard noted, Attorney General Loretta Lynch claimed that federally-funded police agencies should keep the number of people killed in encounters with the police under wraps.
And despite the efforts of several US states willing to put an end to the drug war at home, Obama’s policy in Mexico continues to fuel the drug war in the neighboring country, increasing the number of victims abroad.
But this administrations’ militarism is not only responsible for death and destruction in the American continent.
To Bovard, a few seats should also stay vacant to remind us of the 30 French medical staff, patients, and other victims of the US attack against a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan.
To Bovard, the twelve Yemenis killed during a US drone strike while celebrating nuptials on December 12, 2013 shouldn’t be ignored. But neither should the 30 people splattered to death during a 2012 drone strike in Afghanistan.
Prior to the deadly incident, a group of Taliban insurgents reportedly entered a house where a family was holding a wedding ceremony. As Afghan and American forces surrounded the house, firing broke out. As both sides struggled, the 18 members of a single extended family feared for their safety.
A few moments after US and Afghan troops were wounded in the fight, a jet was called to help, dropping a 500-pound bomb on the house.
At least nine of the innocent victims were children.
Other victims Bovard urges the White House to recognize include the four Americans killed in the 2012 Benghazi attack and the hundreds, or perhaps even thousands of Libyans who lost their lives during the civil war triggered by Hillary Clinton and Obama’s bombing campaign against Moammar Gadhafi.
Another seat should also remain vacant in the name of the 16-year-old Abdulrahman Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen who was killed in yet another US drone strike under this administration.
Due to the White Houses’ militaristic policies here and abroad, people are losing their lives.
Unnecessary conflicts produced by bad policies should require more attention not only because they are killing people, but because of the Obama administrations’ hypocritical stances show they have never been serious about living up to the expectations raised during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Something tells me the next Commander in Chief will have to tackle the same issues. Unsuccessfully, of course, since every single US president appears to focus on implementing the same bad policies.