Behind the use of drones is a complacent belief that murdering Muslims is always justifiable

Islamic terrorism is undeniably evil, but that doesn't make this state-sponsored, state-engineered terrorism a proportionate response

Share

First, read this unconditional acceptance of facts that cannot be denied nor excused. Islamicist terrorism has inflicted atrocities and diffused panic and amorphous, long-term anxiety from east to west, south to north. Citizens of Nairobi and Baghdad, Madrid and London, Bamako and Dar es Salaam, New York and Bali, Mumbai and Damascus, Moscow and Karachi and now Boston, other places too, have had their lives and sense of safety blown apart. Those unaffected personally are haunted by the images and stories. Trepidation has entered their bones, our bones. Almost as chilling as real attacks are those thwarted by intelligence and security services. How many plots are still being planned? What if? Why? What do they want?

Millions of irreproachable Muslims are bewildered and enraged by this global vendetta which seems determined to annihilate modernism, occidental values, and also to destabilise some of the poorest and most hapless of nation states for reasons not made clear at all. Why are they trying to destroy Mali’s old culture for example? Some of us feel ashamed that Islam has become a byword for sinister, guerrilla warfare and is now regarded as a monstrous, rogue faith, easily turned into a killing call, most effectively for young men for whom life lacks meaning and direction. Women are now joining in too. The “spiritual leaders” behind the mayhem are wicked and psychologically manipulative men interested only in high body-counts and lurid publicity.

OK, now let’s turn to the most dominant countries in the world – and their finessed, widespread, extreme tactics used against people, some evidently fanatic and dangerous, others totally innocent. This is state-sponsored, state-activated, state-engineered terrorism which we are just meant to accept as a proportionate response to the evil above. More people are victimised by the unaccountable, secretive actions of the western nations – the US and UK most notably – than all those victimised by Islamicists. Most brainwashed and genuinely frightened westerners just accept what their governments do in fighting a nebulous “war on terror”. Hundreds of thousands are killed, physically and psychologically maimed and shocked and awed by western weaponry. It is fair enough and sensible to use intelligence and prevent plots home and abroad, but what is happening and has been since 9/11 is not defensible, moral, right, just or sane.

The war on Iraq was the most obvious manifestation of this illegitimate bullying and killing. At least then good people objected to the foul ambitions of Bush and Blair. But now there is hardly any scrutiny or interrogation of policies, and only terrifying complacency that murdering Muslims is always justifiable.

Obama, with his image of a cool, black, nice-guy President, is able to get away with stuff Bush never did. The coalition government is also less watched and criticised than Blair’s cabinet. It hurts to write this sentence but Obama is showing himself to be a truly ugly American, too fond of extra-judicial killings, still keeping men incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay, tacitly condoning the torture of suspects in foreign prisons and ordering secret drone attacks without any conscience. Drone warfare is now used routinely in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. The bombs are casually dropped on, yes, terrorists, but also wedding parties, homes and schools, bursting open the bodies of babies, old people, women. Imagine what it feels like after an attack. These lives matter just as much as those of Bostonians and Londoners.

Recently American Senators, from left to right, have expressed disquiet about their President’s enthusiastic use of drones. Obama defended himself by saying, “This is not Dick Cheney we are talking about.” But as journalist Michael Crowley wrote in Time magazine this month, “in political terms it is hard to tell the difference” between the NeoCons of yore and Obama’s strategies. The dissenting politicians are worried that the drone war is creating more anger against America and also that it is legally suspect. The Independent this week published a moving testimony by the Yemeni writer Farea-Al-Muslimi who went to Washington and described the devastation caused by drone strikes in his country. Senators were shocked and awed by his testimony and analysis.

Britain is deeply implicated too. Anti-war protestors this weekend claimed that RAF pilots operate drones dropped on Pakistan and Afghanistan. Our country makes efficient ultra-modern killing tools which can obliterate humans and destroy habitats in an instant. These are proudly displayed at trade fairs and sold to blackguards until the US and Europe decides the purchaser is an enemy and turns against them, as with Libya, now Syria.

Britain has not raised its voice against the continued internment of men in Guantanamo Bay, where more than 160 are on hunger strike and some being force-fed. Shaker Aamer, a British resident, has been there for 11 years. He was cleared of all charges six years ago. Are these two civilised nations going to simply let such men rot and die in the gulag? Obviously.

Western leaders are blindingly proud of their democracies and human rights but how much better are they today than the Muslim terrorists they are trying to defeat? In fact, in terms of numbers of innocent dead, they are a good deal worse.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 5 Teacher

£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...

Software Developer

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

Senior Change Engineer (Network, Cisco, Juniper) £30k

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: A huge step forward in medical science, but we're not all the way there yet

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
David Cameron has painted a scary picture of what life would be like under a Labour government  

You want constitutional change? Fixed-term parliaments have already done the job

Steve Richards
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past