GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

December 2, 2012

Letter: Accountability for our 'surgical strikes'


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To The Editor:

By Nov. 6, the CIA and various branches of the military had launched 300 drone strikes since Mr. Obama became president.

An estimated 2,500 people have died due to those strikes. Some, we hope, were active militant terrorists.

But how many were ordinary people and their children attending weddings, funerals, dinners, or just doing the same things all people do? Who is responsible?

As President Harry Truman said, “The buck stops here.” President Obama is accountable for what others do while he is President. But general/Admiral class officers make decisions and not all are presented to or approved by anyone in the White House.

Then there is the CIA. We can call them “Cowboys in Asia” for all the respect they have seem to give our laws, regulations, and rules of engagement. They don’t answer to anyone, especially not our feckless Republican-run House and the obstructed Senate. They obfuscate, publicly. We have no idea what they do in closed hearings.

Here we are in Gloucester celebrating our escape from Hurricane Sandy. Why should we care about what happens in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and other –istans? No one is going to drop hellfire missiles on us today. Tomorrow? Probably not. But, once someone knows it is possible to do something successfully, another can figure out a way to make that happen.

Imagine what it could be like to take your family out to a local restaurant and it is hit by a missile. They die because you picked the day somebody has decided to kill a ‘target’ who was parking his van outside the restaurant just as you were beginning to read the menu. What if that “target” had the misfortune to resemble the wrong person?

That is what we inflict on everyone in the southwest Asia/Mediterranean areas. Would you want to live with this fear?’

We have choices for now. We can tell Congress and President Obama that it is time to stop the drone attacks and rethink the idea of “surgical strikes.” As horrid as force vs. force warfare is, killing those who have nothing to do with a war is an abomination that we all should retreat from in horror.

ARTHUR THOMAS

Gloucester