FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Hypocrisy of Obama’s Gun Control Crusade

by

shutterstock_182561750

President Barack Obama took to the stage last week to announce the latest initiative in his crusade to make it more difficult for Americans to purchase firearms. He even shed some tears for American children killed in mass shootings. But there is a blatant hypocrisy in Obama’s position on domestic gun control given that he has bombed more countries during his time in office than any president since World War Two. Where are his tears for the innocent Afghan, Iraqi, Pakistani, Libyan, Syrian, Somalian and Yemeni children who have been killed by his use of drones and other weapons?

Don’t get me wrong, I believe limiting the access to deadly weapons of potentially dangerous people is a good thing. I just don’t think it should apply only to individual US citizens. After all, the US government poses a far greater threat to innocent children and other civilians around the world than all of the crazed gunmen in the United States put together.

In the first five years of Obama’s presidency, according to the UK-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, more than 2,500 people were killed by US drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. The study claims that as many as 951 of these deaths were civilians and that as many as 200 of the victims were children. And those 200 dead innocent children are just for starters. Who knows how many more children Obama has killed in those four nations during the past two years? Or how many hundreds or thousands have been killed by US bombing strikes in Iraq, Syria and Libya during his two terms in office.

During his speech, Obama struggled to hold back tears while empathizing with “every family who never imagined that their loved one would be taken from ouramericanleech lives by a bullet from a gun. Every time I think about those kids it gets me mad.” But while the deaths of American children are truly tragic—and should make people mad—are they any more tragic than the deaths of innocent children in other parts of the world? Their families also never imagined that their loved ones would be taken from them by a US bomb or missile.

And it’s not only the deaths of children killed directly by the US military that I am referring to. What about those killed by the regimes that we supply weapons to? Israel used US weapons to kill more than 1,500 Palestinian children between 2000 and 2013, which averages out to one child killed every three days. And the carnage wrought by US weaponry isn’t restricted to children. The US-backed Colombian military has become the primary human rights violator in that country’s armed conflict. According to Human Rights Watch, it has been responsible for at least 3,000 civilian deaths since 2002.

Meanwhile, in Egypt, the US-backed military not only recently ousted that country’s democratically-elected government, it is also killing civilians at a steady rate in its “war on terror.” Is it just a coincidence that the human rights-abusing militaries of these three countries—Israel, Egypt and Colombia—have been the largest recipients of US military aid over the past 15 years? At least our closest Islamic ally, Saudi Arabia, isn’t using the advanced weapons it gets from us to kill its own people. Instead, it is using swords to behead its citizens for various crimes including adultery and witchcraft. In fact, our good friends in the Saudi government lopped off 157 heads in public executions in 2015. But that’s no reason for Obama to stop sending them arms that they can use to kill thousands of civilians in neighboring countries.

As Obama noted in his speech, “So we’ve created a system in which dangerous people are allowed to play by a different set of rules than a responsible gun owner who buys his or her gun the right way and subjects themselves to a background check. That doesn’t make sense. Everybody should have to abide by the same rules.” While he was referring to “dangerous people” in the United States who are obtaining guns and killing innocent Americans, Obama’s words could just as easily have applied to the “dangerous people” like himself who oversee US foreign policy and believe that the United States should be able to “play by a different set of rules” than other countries, which simply “doesn’t make sense. Everybody should have to abide by the same rules.”

As part of his strategy to limit the access to guns of non-law abiding citizens, Obama called for more thorough background checks of potential gun buyers. In other words, officials of the government that is the world’s leading mass killer will determine if potential gun buyers might be mass killers. If only Obama would have the US government subject itself to a similar sort of background check by an independent party to investigate its violent past before allowing it access to deadly weapons that kill thousands of innocent people every year. And where are the independent background checks on the foreign militaries that we supply with weapons? But I guess any such checks would make it difficult for the United States to maintain its position as the world’s leading arms exporter.

So while Obama is shedding tears over victims of gun violence in the United States, he is continuing to wage his predecessor George W. Bush’s “crusade” in the Middle East and other parts of the world. And, like Bush and other US presidents who preceded him, Obama closed his speech to the American people with the words, “God bless you. Thank you. God bless America.” Because, apparently, it is only Americans who should be blessed by God and protected from violence in Obama’s gun control crusade.

Garry Leech is an independent journalist and author of numerous books including How I Became an American Socialist (Misfit Books, 2016), Capitalism: A Structural Genocide (Zed Books, 2012); Beyond Bogota: Diary of a Drug War Journalist in Colombia (Beacon Press, 2009); and Crude Interventions: The United States Oil and the New World Disorder (Zed Books, 2006). ). He also teaches international politics at Cape Breton University in Nova Scotia, Canada and Javeriana University in Cali, Colombia. For more information about Garry’s work, visit garryleech.com

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 22, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Good as Goldman: Hillary and Wall Street
Joseph E. Lowndes
From Silent Majority to White-Hot Rage: Observations from Cleveland
Paul Street
Political Correctness: Handle with Care
Richard Moser
Actions Express Priorities: 40 Years of Failed Lesser Evil Voting
Eric Draitser
Hillary and Tim Kaine: a Match Made on Wall Street
Conn Hallinan
The Big Boom: Nukes And NATO
Ron Jacobs
Exacerbate the Split in the Ruling Class
Jill Stein
After US Airstrikes Kill 73 in Syria, It’s Time to End Military Assaults that Breed Terrorism
Jack Rasmus
Trump, Trade and Working Class Discontent
John Feffer
Could a Military Coup Happen Here?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Late Night, Wine-Soaked Thoughts on Trump’s Jeremiad
Andrew Levine
Vice Presidents: What Are They Good For?
Michael Lukas
Law, Order, and the Disciplining of Black Bodies at the Republican National Convention
Victor Grossman
Horror News, This Time From Munich
Margaret Kimberley
Gavin Long’s Last Words
Mark Weisbrot
Confidence and the Degradation of Brazil
Brian Cloughley
Boris Johnson: Britain’s Lying Buffoon
Lawrence Reichard
A Global Crossroad
Kevin Schwartz
Beyond 28 Pages: Saudi Arabia and the West
Charles Pierson
The Courage of Kalyn Chapman James
Michael Brenner
Terrorism Redux
Bruce Lerro
Being Inconvenienced While Minding My Own Business: Liberals and the Social Contract Theory of Violence
Mark Dunbar
The Politics of Jeremy Corbyn
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Why It’s Just Fine for U.S. to Blow Up Children
Binoy Kampmark
Laura Ingraham and Trumpism
Uri Avnery
The Great Rift
Nicholas Buccola
What’s the Matter with What Ted Said?
Aidan O'Brien
Thank Allah for Western Democracy, Despondency and Defeat
Joseph Natoli
The Politics of Crazy and Stupid
Sher Ali Khan
Empirocracy
Nauman Sadiq
A House Divided: Turkey’s Failed Coup Plot
Franklin Lamb
A Roadmap for Lebanon to Grant Civil Rights for Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon
Colin Todhunter
Power and the Bomb: Conducting International Relations with the Threat of Mass Murder
Michael Barker
UK Labour’s Rightwing Select Corporate Lobbyist to Oppose Jeremy Corbyn
Graham Peebles
Brexit, Trump and Lots of Anger
Anhvinh Doanvo
Civilian Deaths, Iraq, Syria, ISIS and Drones
Christopher Brauchli
Kansas and the Phantom Voters
Peter Lee
Gavin Long’s Manifesto and the Politics of “Terrorism”
Missy Comley Beattie
An Alarmingly Ignorant Fuck
Robert Koehler
Volatile America
Adam Vogal
Why Black Lives Matter To Me
Raouf Halaby
It Is Not Plagiarism, Y’all
Rev. Jeff Hood
Deliver Us From Babel
Frances Madeson
Juvenile Life Without Parole, Captured in ‘Natural Life’
Charles R. Larson
Review: Han Kang’s “The Vegetarian”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail