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Flying Into the Abyss on John Brennan’s Drone

Jason Jones - published on 02/08/13

Has America become the monster it was fighting?

Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster … for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

It is not the American way to disregard the sanctity of human life. When our Republican officials tried to hide and then justify the use of “water-boarding,” the media was all over it. When US soldiers desecrated the bodies of fallen Afghan troops, the media again roared to life even in defense of the dead. And when, during the most bloody war of the last century, American troops wished their German POW's a “merry Christmas” at the Battle of the Bulge, our media immortalized this great inspiring story, letting all the world know that, as Americans, we recognize the dignity of even our bitterest enemies.

Our sensitivity to violence and our abhorrence of cruelty have led us to put our trust in the most advanced of techniques when it comes to war. We favor intelligence over brute force, and careful precision over ballistic attacks. If there must be war, the American people want to see their country succeed with clean proficiency and with minimal loss of life. For these reasons, we have placed high hopes in the U.S. drone Program. John O. Brennan, the mind behind the drone program since 2002, has assured the American public that “never before has there been a weapon that allows us to distinguish more effectively between an al-Qa'ida terrorist and innocent civilians,” and promises that drones are equipped “to precisely target” our country's most dangerous enemies "while minimizing collateral damage.

In light of the many shocks that continue to plague us in the news, the public is more and more eager to hold on to the idea of a clean and clement kind of warfare. We were all appalled at the recent shootings at Sandy Hook. The media showed due reverence in bowing their heads and hosting moments of silence on air across the nation after the deaths of those 20 innocent American children. We do not mourn them because they were American, but because they were human beings. And we reel in disbelief at the violent manner in which they were killed—how they were so senselessly struck down by a stunted, juvenile villain.

But if it took such a person to commit the kind of slaughter we saw at Sandy Hook, what will we say of John Brennan, a middle-aged man who enjoys being praised as “priest-like” and exceptionally ethical in his approach to warfare?

U.S. drone pilots have struck down no fewer than 178 innocent civilian children in Pakistan and Yemen. These killings were all committed via remote-control, and those who pulled the triggers were always safe inside control rooms on US turf.

This kind of violence is enough to shock anyone into silence. It's perfectly understandable to be momentarily at a loss for words when faced with bloody murder. But it is difficult to understand why anybody, let alone virtually all of the American mass media, would refrain from screaming bloody murder while these attacks continue. After all, isn't that what the media did for the children of Sandy Hook Elementary?

Unlike Adam Lanza, John Brennan is no disheveled, frustrated 22-year-old. No fit of emotional frenzy surrounds Brennan's drone strikes. Rather, more like the comic-book villain he resembles, his acts of cruelty are calculated, and the fruit of a long and deliberate career.

And yet the media remains silent. Why? Are they perhaps ashamed? After all, it is the media's president who allows for these murders. The president who was named “Person of the Year” by Time Magazine. The president who has been a guest on The Late Night Show and The View. The president whom the New York Times so “enthusiastically” endorsed during his campaign for reelection. This is the president who turns to John O. Brennan and says, “You have been one of my closest advisers.” This is the president who nominates Brennan to be the new head of the CIA. President Obama has even called Brennan a “great friend.” Can it be any surprise that the American media are shamed into silence?

But what of the many who read silence as assent? Busy Americans in other lines of work than news coverage find it difficult to believe what they don't see covered in the news. While we all keep busy doing our jobs, we rely on those in the media to do their job as well.

What will our media say in five years if America's enemies, whose innocent children we have left dead with no memorial, develop the technological capacity to pilot drones into our country? What will be the tone of our reports when innocent children are struck down in the streets of New York or Washington D.C.? What moral grounds could we pretend to have against such a retaliation?

At Whole Life it is our mission to assert the intrinsic dignity of every human person, especially of children, even the children of our enemies. It is also our job to remind policy makers that, even in war, positive law must always strive to conform to the supra-positive law, as acknowledged at Nuremberg. This is especially important when it comes to the state's use of lethal violence.

We are not all-powerful. We cannot play God by denying these children their dignity. Far from having that kind of power, we are showing ourselves to be moral weaklings. The American media should take this as a call to return to their duty. They must return to their posts and do what little their humble institution can do: report the truth.

The American people have the moral fiber to at least avert their eyes when it comes to the atrocities that John Brennan commits against the innocent civilians of Pakistan and Yemen. In fact, Brennan may be the only man perverse enough to look on dry-eyed at the hours and hours of drone-captured footage of unarmed men, women and children running for their lives, hiding beneath cars, against the walls of shops, and even in their own homes before being gunned and bombed to pieces—and still call the Drone Program “ethical.” But the rest of the country would never stand for it, if only they were given the chance to see for themselves what their country is doing to the innocent.

Brennan may think he's a big man, but he's got as tiny and shriveled a conscience as the worst of America's enemies. Here I would like to present the names of just a few of the 178 children who have been slaughtered so far by US Combat Drones in Pakistan and Yemen. These are not American citizens, but they are human beings, each with an incomparable worth and dignity:

Name | Age | Gender
Noor Aziz | 8 | male
Abdul Wasit | 17 | male
Noor Syed | 8 | male
Wajid Noor | 9 | male
Syed Wali Shah | 7 | male
Ayeesha | 3 | female
Qari Alamzeb | 14| male
Shoaib | 8 | male
Hayatullah KhaMohammad | 16 | male
Tariq Aziz | 16 | male
Sanaullah Jan | 17 | male
Maezol Khan | 8 | female
Nasir Khan | male
Naeem Khan | male
Naeemullah | male
Mohammad Tahir | 16 | male
Azizul Wahab | 15 | male
Fazal Wahab | 16 | male
Ziauddin | 16 | male
Mohammad Yunus | 16 | male
Fazal Hakim | 19 | male
Ilyas | 13 | male
Sohail | 7 | male
Asadullah | 9 | male
khalilullah | 9 | male
Noor Mohammad | 8 | male
Khalid | 12 | male
Saifullah | 9 | male
Mashooq Jan | 15 | male
Nawab | 17 | male
Sultanat Khan | 16 | male
Ziaur Rahman | 13 | male
Noor Mohammad | 15 | male
Mohammad Yaas Khan | 16 | male
Qari Alamzeb | 14 | male
Ziaur Rahman | 17 | male
Abdullah | 18 | male
Ikramullah Zada | 17 | male
Inayatur Rehman | 16 | male
Shahbuddin | 15 | male
Yahya Khan | 16 |male
Rahatullah |17 | male
Mohammad Salim | 11 | male
Shahjehan | 15 | male
Gul Sher Khan | 15 | male
Bakht Muneer | 14 | male
Numair | 14 | male
Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
Ihsanullah | 16 | male
Luqman | 12 | male
Jannatullah | 13 | male
Ismail | 12 | male
Taseel Khan | 18 | male
Zaheeruddin | 16 | male
Qari Ishaq | 19 | male
Jamshed Khan | 14 | male
Alam Nabi | 11 | male
Qari Abdul Karim | 19 | male
Rahmatullah | 14 | male
Abdus Samad | 17 | male
Siraj | 16 | male
Saeedullah | 17 | male
Abdul Waris | 16 | male
Darvesh | 13 | male
Ameer Said | 15 | male
Shaukat | 14 | male
Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
Salman | 12 | male
Fazal Wahab | 18 | male
Baacha Rahman | 13 | male
Wali-ur-Rahman | 17 | male
Iftikhar | 17 | male
Inayatullah | 15 | male
Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
Ihsanullah | 16 | male
Luqman | 12 | male
Jannatullah | 13 | male
Ismail | 12 | male
Abdul Waris | 16 | male
Darvesh | 13 | male
Ameer Said | 15 | male
Shaukat | 14 | male
Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
Adnan | 16 | male
Najibullah | 13 | male
Naeemullah | 17 | male
Hizbullah | 10 | male
Kitab Gul | 12 | male
Wilayat Khan | 11 | male
Zabihullah | 16 | male
Shehzad Gul | 11 | male
Shabir | 15 | male
Qari Sharifullah | 17 | male
Shafiullah | 16 | male
Nimatullah | 14 | male
Shakirullah | 16 | male
Talha | 8 | male

Afrah Ali Mohammed Nasser | 9 | female
Zayda Ali Mohammed Nasser | 7 | female
Hoda Ali Mohammed Nasser | 5 | female
Sheikha Ali Mohammed Nasser | 4 | female
Ibrahim Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 13 | male
Asmaa Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 9 | male
Salma Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 4 | female
Fatima Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 3 | female
Khadije Ali Mokbel Louqye | 1 | female
Hanaa Ali Mokbel Louqye | 6 | female
Mohammed Ali Mokbel Salem Louqye | 4 | male
Jawass Mokbel Salem Louqye | 15 | female
Maryam Hussein Abdullah Awad | 2 | female
Shafiq Hussein Abdullah Awad | 1 | female
Sheikha Nasser Mahdi Ahmad Bouh | 3 | female
Maha Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 12 | male
Soumaya Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 9 | female
Shafika Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 4 | female
Shafiq Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 2 | male
Mabrook Mouqbal Al Qadari | 13 | male
Daolah Nasser 10 years | 10 | female
AbedalGhani Mohammed Mabkhout | 12 | male
Abdel- Rahman Anwar al Awlaki | 16 | male
Abdel-Rahman al-Awlaki | 17 | male
Nasser Salim | 19

Each name on this list represents a family, a circle of friends or an entire community whose rage against our country may never be checked until they do to us what John Brennan has done to them. God help us. And God protect our children.Top of Form

Jason Jones is a human-rights activist and film producer (Bella). He recently helped to create and debut the award-winning film "Crescendo."

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