Friday, January 23, 2009


Barack Obama has done excellent things in his first three full days in office. He has ordered Guantanamo closed, banned torture and harsh interrogation methods that violate Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, and ordered public agencies to release information freely and willingly.

However, one thing that Obama apparently has not done is to stop the firing of missiles from U.S. drones against suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda members in Pakistani villages. Two were fired today, killing at least nine people, including a five-year old.

The BBC reports:

"The first drone attack struck a house owned by a man called Khalil Khan in the village of Zeerakai at 1700 local time.

"Four Arab militants were killed in the strikes, officials said. Their identities were not immediately clear but officials said one was a senior al-Qaeda operative.

"The second attack was aimed at the house of a Taleban commander about 10km (six miles) from the town of Wanna, local reports said.

"But officials told the BBC that the drone actually hit the house of a pro-government tribal leader, killing him and four members of his family, including a five-year-old child."

These lethal attacks make no sense for a liberal democratic government as Obama personifies. Liberalism puts a value on each person, on each individual, that says that no matter how lofty the goal or purpose, no one else has a right to take that person's life or do him/her injury.

Each person counts just as much as anyone else. And governments can't fall back on the end justifies the means or on the utilitarian bunk that it is for the good of the greatest number.

Firing missiles from an airplane, manned or unmanned, carries inherent risks that the missiles will kill innocent men, women and children. The death of the five-year old is a good example. Neither Obama or the U.S. government has a license to kill the child or anyone else who happens to be around on the basis that the missile is really aimed for "bad guys."

President Obama, call an end to the firing of missiles into Pakistani villages.

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