Thursday, June 07, 2012

From dreams to drones: who is the real Barack Obama?

As the latest US attacks kill 17 and threaten to destabilise Pakistan, the president could be the cruellest political hoax of our times

Barack Obama
According to Foreign Policy magazine, Barack Obama ‘has become George W Bush on steroids’. Photograph: Charlie Neibergall/AP

Barack Obama, according to Foreign Policy magazine, “has become George W Bush on steroids”. Armed with a “kill list”, the Nobel peace laureate now hosts “Tuesday terror” meetings at the White House to discuss targets of drone attacks in Pakistan and at least five other countries. The latest of these killed 17 people near the border with Afghanistan today .

Unlike the slacker Bush, who famously disdained specifics, Obama routinely deploys his Ivy League training in law. Many among the dozens of “suspected militants” massacred by drones in the last three days in northwestern Pakistan are likely to be innocent. Reports gathered by NGOs and Pakistani media about previous attacks speak of a collateral damage running into hundreds, and deepening anger and hostility to the United States. No matter: in Obama’s legally watertight bureaucracy, drone attacks are not publicly acknowledged; or if they have to be, civilian deaths are flatly denied and all the adult dead categorised as “combatants”.

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