By Matthew Rothschild on January 07, 2013

Pres. Obama just made a hideous appointment.

He replaced the disgraced David Petraeus at the CIA with John Brennan, Dr. Drone.

This is a hideous appointment.

Brennan, as Obama's counterterrorism czar, has overseen the massive proliferation of our drone warfare.

He's called it "ethical and just," and he even went so far as to say that the United States hadn't killed a single civilian in over almost a year's span of drone attacks.

That might be because he and the Administration claimed that any adult male killed by a drone was de facto a member of a terrorist group.

In any event, the drone attacks actually have killed hundreds and hundreds of innocent people -- and not just men -- in Yemen, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, enflaming hatred against us. The next issue of The Progressive is carrying an article by a reporter who went to North Waziristan and actually talked to family members who lost loved ones to drones.

One man, Wakil Khan, lost his wife and three children. "May God curse the U.S.A. because they don't differentiate between the innocent and the guilty," he said.

One of the leading opposition figures in Pakistan, Imran Khan, the cricketer turned politician, bases much of his campaign on opposition to drones.

In Yemen, the effect of drones is similarly counterproductive.

"Testimonies from Qaeda fighters and interviews I and local journalists have conducted across Yemen attest to the centrality of civilian casualties in explaining Al Qaeda's rapid growth there. The United States is killing women, children and members of key tribes," wrote Gregory D. Johnsen in an op-ed in The New York Times in November.

Johnsen, the author of "The Last Refuge: Yemen, Al-Qaeda, and America's War in Arabia," quoted one Yemeni as saying: "Each time they kill a tribesman, they create more fighters for Al Qaeda."

"Living Under Drones," a recent report by Stanford Law School and NYU Law School, "provides new and firsthand testimony about the negative impacts US policies are having on the civilians living under drones."

It cites one journalistic source as saying that U.S. drones have killed 176 children in Pakistan alone.

And the report concludes that drone attacks "undermine respect for the rule of law and international legal protections and may set dangerous precedents."

One dangerous precedent is the killing of U.S. citizens by our own government, which Brennan justifies. He saw nothing wrong with the killing of Anwar Al-Awlaki, the alleged Al Qaeda propagandist and conspirator, in a drone strike that also killed another U.S. citizen, Samir Khan, a young editor of an allegedly pro-Al Qaeda publication. But Brennan has no justification for the killing of Al-Awlaki's son, Abdulrahman, an American citizen who loved the Simpsons. A U.S. drone wiped out young Abdulrahman two weeks after his father and Khan were killed. The ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights have a case pending against the U.S. government simply to get an accounting of its actions in these three American deaths.

And as Glenn Greenwald pointed out shortly after Obama won the Presidency the first time,

Brennan "was an ardent supporter of torture and one of the most emphatic advocates of FISA expansions and telecom immunity."

John Brennan is a liar, and he's a dangerous man. And now he has only more power to be dangerous.

Follow Amitabh Pal @amitpal on Twitter.

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter

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A plea to United States citizens to work for peace

An Indian journalist globally renowned as an advocate for the poor, Palagummi Sainath detailed the detrimental...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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