When I was young we used to gather to watch fireworks on July 4th. Somehow watching things explode was linked to a sense of patriotism. As drones become more a part of modern war, it was to be expected that wars would become spectator sports here in the U.S. The war in Iraq was presented almost as a video game. We got to watch as smart bombs closed in on their targets with little or no sense of the human toll. They were very expensive fireworks.
The President was talking to the NT Times a few weeks back about his secret kill list. Experts are expecting such talk about assassinating foreign enemies to actually help Obama politically. An American president always feels more patriotic to the public if he has killed somebody, somewhere. But what we call our war on terrorism is considered terrorism by much of the world. The CIA repeats its claim that civilian deaths are extremely rare, but the U.S. has set up a bounty on terrorists and is taking the word of informants on the guilt of the targets. This was the method used to fill the prisons at Guantanamo, and is perhaps the reason many of the prisoners were denied due process, we knew we couldn’t prove anything. Furthermore, the CIA does not mention that the US now has a policy of counting all casualties of military age as combatants. In other words, if you were close enough for us to kill you, you must have been guilty.
Our leaders, and the corporations for which they stand, count on public indifference to taking non-American forms of life, which is usually a pretty safe bet. So, this July as your neighbors wave flags and pop firecrackers, just remember that the real fireworks will be raining down on some wretched village across the planet. And if, somehow, you are one of the few who can still hear the cries of your brothers and sisters living in other countries, please speak out on their behalf during this coming season of patriotism and fireworks.