Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Whose Lives Matter? (Hint: Not Brown People's!)

By now you're obviously aware of the horrible attack on Pulse nightclub in Orlando, which has as of this writing, left 50 people dead and another 50+ injured. It's a horrible attack on innocent people, and while we're still parsing the killer's motivation, the fact that he targeted queer people of color is not a simple coincidence. Whether it turns out he is an ISIS wannabe, a deeply-conflicted closeted man, or having a psychotic break (all theories I've seen floating around the media), it's obvious he was targeting that club because of the presence of queer people of color.

It was a heinous crime, and has been rightfully condemned by pretty much everyone alive, even people who otherwise really seem to hate queer people who haven't murdered. But one person's condemnation of the attack really stood out as hypocritical, even more hypocritical than the condemnation of a woman who has argued in court that gay marriage would do irreparable harm to the people of Florida.

And that super hypocritical person is President Obama, who had this to say on the attacks:
Today as americans we grieve the brutal murder, horrific massacre of dozens of innocent people. We pray for their families who are grasping for answers.
We stand with the people of Orlando who have endured a terrible attack on their city. Although it’s still early in the investigation, we know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate.
Big words. Strong words. Who could disagree? Seriously, who could possibly disagree with condemning this attack as a terrorist attack and calling for the utmost compassion for the victims and their families? Who?

Well, if this had happened in Iraq or Afghanistan, I know one person who would strongly disagree with that statement.

It would be President Obama.

Because in Iraq and Afghanistan (and Syria, and Libya, and Pakistan, and on, and on), these kind of indiscriminate attacks are not tragic matters, but instead official policy. After all, we remain completely unaware of who 90% of people killed by our drone attacks are. They could be bad people, or they could (much more likely), be completely innocent people, like those killed in the Pulse shooting. And instead of being killed for any defensible reason, much like the people in Pulse, they are killed simply because of who they are. Indeed, even the most conservative estimates put it at hundreds of people killed by US done attacks.

But surely Obama feels just as bad when the drone strikes he orders and approves kill innocent people, right? I mean, he just delivered a rousing speech in which he said we need to end such senseless mass killing. Obviously he would be especially upset if he was personally responsible for multiple mass killings, right?

Nah, he's not upset at all. In fact, he denies killing any innocent people (despite not knowing who he's killing), because every male of "military age" (generously defined as 15-60 years old) is assumed to be a terrorist unless it is posthumously proven they are not. So, you know, the ol' "Guilty Until Proven Innocent After We've Murdered You For No Reason" level of evidence. So when Obama's drones murder a bunch of innocent people at weddings or at funerals or yes, even clubs, everyone there who has a penis is officially considered a terrorist. No muss no fuss for a man who has the second most inexplicable Nobel Peace Prize ever awarded.

So to put it in Obama's reasoning, had the club been hit by a drone instead of a guy with an AR-15, there would have been 50 dead terrorists instead of 50 dead innocent people. Instead of sad press conference mourning the loss of lives, there would have been a triumphant press conference celebrating another win in the War on Terror. Even though, in both cases, there's no evidence there are any terrorists there (except for the ones doing the killing).

Perhaps the most disgusting part of this spectacle is how Obama has the absolute gall to deliver a press conference in which he claims to be "tired" of all this violence and imploring us to find a way to put an end to mass killings. Well, hey, here's a novel idea: if you're tired of the mass killings of innocent people, why don't you try to set a good example by not repeatedly doing it yourself? It rings just a little bit more than hollow for someone responsible for the death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people to give a teary press conference about how bad it is to kill people.

But don't worry, the hypocrisy will gladly continue, as even though he's on his way out, both of the people with a viable chance of taking over his job have already confirmed their commitment to keep on killing innocent people to make sure that everyone knows how wrong it is to kill innocent people.

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