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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Charles R. Larson
Review: David Bellos’s “Novel of the Century: the Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables”
March 23, 2017
Chip Gibbons
Crusader-in-Chief: the Strange Rehabilitation of George W. Bush
Michael J. Sainato
Cybersecurity Firm That Attributed DNC Hacks to Russia May Have Fabricated Russia Hacking in Ukraine
Chuck Collins
Underwater Nation: As the Rich Thrive, the Rest of Us Sink
CJ Hopkins
The United States of Cognitive Dissonance
Howard Lisnoff
BDS, Women’s Rights, Human Rights and the Failings of Security States
Mike Whitney
Will Washington Risk WW3 to Block an Emerging EU-Russia Superstate
John Wight
Martin McGuinness: Man of War who Fought for Peace in Ireland
Linn Washington Jr.
Ryancare Wreckage
Eileen Appelbaum
What We Learned From Just Two Pages of Trump’s Tax Returns
Mark Weisbrot
Ecuador’s Elections: Why National Sovereignty Matters
Thomas Knapp
It’s Time to End America’s Longest War
Chris Zinda
Aggregate Journalism at Salon
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail