Obama added to his kill tally on March 5 with an airstrike in Somalia that, the Pentagon has claimed, killed 150 Al Shabaab militants. According to the statement issued by Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook on March 7, the target was a training camp, and the militants had gathered for a “graduation” ceremony and were planning attacks against African Union forces in Somalia and were a direct threat to U.S. troops. However, as Glenn Greenwald noted, writing in The Intercept, the Obama Administration has not offered a shred of evidence that any of this is true, and yet the U.S. mainstream media reported the Pentagon’s boiler plate statement with little, if any, questioning.
But this is not unusual for Obama, Greenwald notes. “Other than the higher-than-normal death toll, this mass killing is an incredibly common event under the presidency of the 2009 Nobel Peace laureate, who has so far bombed seven predominantly Muslim countries,” Greenwald writes. “This particular mass killing is unlikely to get much attention in the U.S.,” for a number of reasons, not the least of which is “the complete normalization of the model whereby the U.S. President kills whomever he wants, wherever he wants, without regard for any semblance of law, process, accountability, or evidence.”
Greenwald goes on to take apart the logic behind such air strikes (which are targeted assassinations, regardless of how they’re carried out), arguing that we are not at war with Somalia, therefore there’s no legal basis for such strikes; that the main U.S. military presence on the continent is to operate drone bases, therefore, if they weren’t there, there’d be no threat to U.S. military personnel; and finally, that the Pentagon’s claims that only “combatants” and/or “terrorists” get killed in these strikes have long proven to be inaccurate. “Given that clear record of deliberate deceit, why would any rational person blindly swallow evidence-free assertions from the U.S. government about who it is killing?”
“But for Americans, this is now all perfectly normalized,” Greenwald goes on. “We just view our President as vested with the intrinsic, divine right, grounded in American exceptionalism, to deem whomever he wants ‘Bad Guys’ and then with no trial, no process, no accountability order them killed.” These 150 deaths are the latest among hundreds of thousands of people who have died, either directly by Obama’s hand, or by the indirect results of his carrying of the British Empire’s policies of permanent warfare and chaos in large parts of the world, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. There has been a tenfold rise, as calculated in the Mida Israeli study reported on this website March 7, in war deaths in that region under his Presidency.