Gary Younge points out the dichotomy between Obama’s stance on the deaths of Americans from gun fire and those assassinated with drones:
Over the last few weeks there has been a distinct incongruity – to say the least – between the agenda Obama is promoting at home and the one he defends abroad. His justification for targeted killings and drone strikes in foreign parts, prompted by his nomination of a CIA director, has coincided with his advocacy for stiffer gun control and appeals to respect human life following mass shootings. The result is an administration raising life and death issues in its actions and pronouncements but being unable to talk with any moral authority or ethical consistency on either.
This is a hard point to try and explain to most Americans, because they are raised in a culture that self identifies as a moral force for good battling against evil baddies around the world. This is reinforced day in, day out in popular culture – movies, television shows, the news media and so on, and is virtually impossible to penetrate. Americans with a serious willingness to challenge assumption they’ve been raised with ultimately become aware that their country is rightly viewed as a brutal and ruthless super power – a fact that makes life quite difficult afterwards.
This self induced indoctrination and willful denial of reality is not of course not unique to America (although in every modern democracy I’ve visited, it’s the most prevalent).
It is possible to dismantle the mythology of American benevolence and moral authority, but it is an uphill battle given the terrible state of public education and corporate control of the media. Americans should know that their wars abroad are not seen as fights for democracy and freedom, but rather the strategic use of violence for oil and geopolitical control. Drones are not cool bits of technology that prevent Americans from dying in battle, but instruments of terror that are used to kill people abroad without trial.
And it all starts by telling people the facts.
My brother and I were at lunch with my 82 year old Grandmother in London, and we talked to her about Britain’s role in the slave trade, the opium wars in China, and its horrific history of imperialism and colonialism. She sat there aghast, unable to digest what we were saying. In her eyes, Britain had always been a force for good in the world. After a few moments, she leaned forward and told us,”That wasn’t what we were taught at school. I want my money back.”
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.