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
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
David Price
The 2016 Tour of California: Notes on a Big Pharma Bike Race
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Rev. William Alberts
The United Methodist Church Up to Its Old Trick: Kicking the Can of Real Inclusion Down the Road
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Lorenzo Raymond
Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work (Unless You Have Lots of Bombs)
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Ed Meek
The Republic of Fear
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
David Yearsley
Elgar’s Hegemony: the Pomp of Empire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail