Which Lives Matter is finally a daily public issue, both domestically and internationally. But it's not exactly about race. In fact, as you've seen, cooperative black participants in law enforcement can mask racism and make justice even harder to achieve.
After 6 years of denial, I spoke firmly and clearly last week: of at least 476 innocent civilians I've killed with drones, only two lives should be mourned and only two names acknowledged: Giovanni Lo Porto and Warren Weinstein -- coincidentally, a white European christian and a white American jew. Mourning any of the 474 innocent brown muslim Mideast residents I've killed with drones (or even acknowledging they have names, or that they include dozens of women and children) would threaten national security. So conversely, accepting that those lives don't matter -- that helps keep us safe.
Last month I confessed to the nation and the world, "We tortured some folks." And of course, I've also confessed that we use extrajudicial killing without a conviction -- what folks used to call Murder -- to support American interests and help keep us safe.
But there's a key difference between us and the savages who sow terror by sharing videos and photos of the violence they do. That's just not who we are as Americans. You'll be proud to know we're exactly the opposite: we do our absolute best to keep our torture and murder just as secret as we can.
We don't flaunt bloody videos like our enemies. In fact we illegally destroyed almost a hundred videos of waterboarding, secretly defying court orders from the 911 Commission. We routinely convince judges to dismiss surveillance, torture and even murder cases on the grounds that the crime was classified. And so much more...
On Friday I confessed that you and I are guilty of war crimes relating to Torture: "WE tortured some folks." I added: "It’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect," since the people who carried out the torture for us "were working hard under enormous pressure and are real patriots."
Believe me, I wouldn't be confessing if there wasn't a crisis coming. The fact is, with the new CIA
Torture Interrogation report coming out, I can be charged and convicted of war crimes - specifically, for failing to prosecute vast evidence of torture, and concealing photos, and obstruction of justice - unless we confess now.
So, in much the same way you didn't have to lift a finger or sacrifice anything to carry out the patriotic torture we did, your president is making our shared torture confession before the report becomes public.
Double Ambien tonight. I keep picturing all those bombed wedding parties I finally understand.
Remember in May when I promised you, we don’t use drone weapons unless there’s "near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured.”? I stand by that. I have never pulled the trigger on a drone or bomb attack where the certainty we were disrupting terrorism was less than 98%.
And nothing makes for more certainty than a finding by a computer. We have a very high tech system for confirming that terrorists are planning an attack — a system that leverages the fact that we’re recording every call on the continent.
We know they’re not going to talk about terrorism directly on the phone, if they use phones at all — they’re not stupid. Terrorists will use codes or slang. We caught them doing it one time — referring to a suicide attack plan as a “wedding” because the jihadis are supposed to join 72 virgins, that whole thing. Brennan and Clapper showed me how “chatter” is manually or automatically translated and then analyzed rigorously by computer for conversations about terror.
Still, after the latest holiday season drone massacre I just had to learn why so many local people say hundreds of civilians are dying in our carefully targeted drone attacks.
We did it. For over a hundred years, proud Americans were belittled and marginalized for openly celebrating extra-judicial killings -- for bringing the family and posing for photos at a lynching. Little details - like the executed man wasn't convicted in any court - stood in the way of what entire communities intuitively knew to be true: that this person is guilty and deserves to die.
Now all of my fans understand, and we're cheering together. If your community is terrified and you're fighting a war against that terror, you can't waste time and resources. When good people are sure someone is guilty, all that charging him with a crime, indicting, evidence, trials, judges, convictions -- it's so much bureaucracy it's practically unAmerican.
Iran and Egypt both had US-supported 'strong man' governments, violently oppressing their people. And the problem is, when that kind of regime falls, the longer your country supported him, the more enemies you've made among the People, as the old regime's strongest allies become the enemies of the new regime.
The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt today is both peaceful and weak -- a minority player eager to hang back and let credible secular voices like ElBaradei stand up for the people. They will only grow strong if the regime keeps fighting the Egyptian people and the US never suspends military support. Secular Egypt can only attract fundamentalists and jihadists if the US continues its financial, military, and political support for the regime. Say, by continuing to provide lethal weapons to a regime that isn't at war with neighbors but is clearly using them to intimidate and kill its own people.
I need your help here. Act like going along with Mubarak's departure was my big move of support for the democracy movement. Then of course Suleiman must clear the square. Eventually protesters will get tired, or retaliate. Meanwhile, Suleiman will never run out of tanks and tear gas -- I've seen the shipping orders.
As I explained in my State of the Union address last week, we'll win the future if we treat today's competitive world as an opportunity, the way Americans viewed the space race five decades ago. And no area is more important than timely information: News.
This week drove it home: the most consistent, best informed newscasts didn't come from CNN, Fox or any commercial US broadcast network. Everyone -- even those other networks! -- was tuned to Al Jazeera English, Free Speech TV, and independent sources using cell phones and the internet.
Al Jazeera English is produced in Washington DC by a diverse team that includes top journalists, Middle East experts and US Iraq war veterans and correspondents. It is famous as the trusted, popular voice reporting on Middle East dictators and speaking truth to power in times and places where no one else can or does. Carried throughout Europe, Britain and Canada, the US is now the only English speaking nation too xenophobic, prejudiced and politicized to carry Al Jazeera English, due partly to its demonization during its critical coverage of the attack on Iraq. Free Speech TV has enjoyed a surge in viewership during the Egypt crisis by carrying additional hours of AJE footage -- which wound up being used by almost every news network.
To: Our US Soldiers
From: Your Commander in Chief
Starting this week, when you wake up wanting to know whether there's a breaking report of violence in the area you're headed for, remember not to visit the New York Times site. If you try you will see a warning and your unapproved attempt will be logged.
And if you or your local commander want to make any strategic use of the information our allies and enemies have gleaned from the WikiLeaks site, you'll have to violate Air Force regulations and federal law to view it.
Or figure out how to get to one of the hundreds of new WikiLeaks mirror sites I'm not blocking yet today.
You may even have to flip on Al Jazeera English on a TV -- which I hope you don't mind me saying, has a better record for accuracy than Fox or CNN anyway.
We've simply got to teach a lesson to the New York Times - along with WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, The Guardian, the top 25 international news publications, and investigative journalists everywhere - even if we have to abuse our own soldiers to do it.
I'm sorry if avoiding all these information sources endangers your lives. You knew when you signed up there would be collateral damage.
I apologize for taking so long to fully understand this, but there's still time.
The key to saving our democracy, winning this election, ending terrorism and regaining our moral standing in the world is Equality.
As your president, I must be willing to stop America's enemies without regard to race, religion or national origin.
On 9-11, nearly 3 thousand Americans died at the hands of foreign terrorists, and we universally condemn them. Thank goodness almost all of them are dead. We likewise condemn and react in horror to anyone who expresses support or nostalgia for them or what they've done.
But our nation has a far more dangerous enemy, responsible for the deaths of 3 hundred thousand Americans and, far from being vanquished, they have been revitalized throughout my presidency. I would be violating my oath to protect this country and our Constitution if I continued to ignore this threat.
Here's the 9-11 lesson a President dare not forget:
Bush rejects Taliban offer to hand Bin Laden over
In Jalalabad, deputy prime minister Haji Abdul Kabir - the third most powerful figure in the ruling Taliban regime - told reporters that the Taliban would require evidence that Bin Laden was behind the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US, but added: "we would be ready to hand him over to a third country". ...
President George Bush rejected as "non-negotiable" an offer by the Taliban to discuss turning over Osama bin Laden. ... "There's no need to discuss innocence or guilt. We know he's guilty".
Damn you W! As I read that Guardian article from October 14, 2001, I want to cry. There was our opportunity! Military force and the threat of it did everything they were supposed to. Even if we weren't sure to get bin Laden, we had the Taliban offering to extradite him and ready to involve other countries. But by the time you were done refusing, and talking about our
jihad "crusade", and how evidence doesn't matter -- certain we'd kill enough people to get bin Laden ourselves -- everything was lost.
We’re about to begin our 10th year in Afghanistan, America’s longest war. Since 2 out of 3 Americans now oppose it, and our own ambassador and analysts say it makes us less safe, it’s critical to review how we got there, why we’re there, and why we have to stay. Help me improve and correct this fact sheet and talking points.
Never forget that on 9-11-2001 the US suffered its worst attack from overseas in its history, killing 2977 victims. We'll review each of the following:
- Afghan hijackers on the 9-11 planes
- Afghan planners of the 9-11 attacks
- Afghan/Taliban foreknowledge of the attacks
- Afghan/Taliban endorsement of the attacks after the fact
- Afghan government refusal to extradite or prosecute 9-11 conspirators
- Popular support inside Afghanistan for the 9-11 attacks
- Afghan support for the attacks through referenda and elections
- Material Afghan support of the attacks through taxation
Finally, I'll review the political and security reasons that, with your help, we'll continue this war.
The great thing about weeks like this is, you can feel all the bipartisanship and change springing up.
As of today, everyone across the spectrum who matters - from Harry Reid to Newt Gingrich, from Sarah Palin to Howard Dean, and from ADL head Abraham Foxman to helpful Archbishop Dolan - understands that while of course Muslims have a First Amendment right to build a community center in accord with local regulations, they should do it somewhere else.
I'm staying out of local issues myself, of course. But it's clear that except for a few less sensitive souls - Mayor Bloomberg; our only Muslim lawmaker Keith Ellison; Ted Olson, the gay-friendly Republican lawyer whose wife was killed on 9-11; the owners of the property who funded their community center project; and of course, the Professional Left - everyone is in agreement.
Just think how much easier the civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 60s would have been if my parents' generation weren't so picky about where they sat.