Droning On and On

SODOM & GOMORRAH: The problem with drones is that they impersonalize killing.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced that four American citizens have been killed in drone strikes since 2009. In a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, Holder mentioned that the United States used a drone to specifically target and kill Anwar al-Awlaki in 2001. Al-Awlaki, Holder states, was an al Qaeda cleric living in Yemen and plotting attacks against the US.

Holder states that the individual in question was displaying a mindset indicative of a desire to kill Americans but that he also actively assisted in helping those who were engaged in plots to kill Americans. Anwar al-Awlaki is, to date, the only US citizen that the Administration has admitted to targetting in a drone strike.

The Justice Department further states that in situations like these, drone strikes should only be carried out under the appropriate constitutional framework and against threats that are imminent yet whose capture is not feasible.

We of course have some issue with this. First, if the threat is “imminent” then it seems likely that capture would not be deemed “not feasible”. Being in contact with and sympathizing with people actually carrying out attacks, while living outside the zone of conflict, might make someone a threat but does not make them an “imminent” one.

Second, the constitutional framework calls for a trial, not a “thorough review by Justice Department attorneys”. Whether such a trial would be fair or not is a different question, but the Justice Department doesn’t even appear to be caring enough to pretend to be fair.

Thirs, the use of drones signals an increasing impersonalization of the killing and death involved in conflict. Flying a drone is, in many ways, like running a flight simulator or video game. You just have to push a button and the person on the screen dies. We are stripping the meaning and reality from the conflict and instructing soldiers, attorneys, and the citizens of the countries involved in conflict to be insensitive to these realities.

Mass killings, extra-judicial strikes, rumored death panels – these things do not come to be through the evil bent of one or two minds. These things happen only once you convince the vast machinery of the bureaucracy that what is taking place is just routine. As Mr. Holder has already stated, this is just in line with what the courts have supported since the 1940′s. Nothing unusual here, nothing out of the ordinary, just business as usual.

NIRA New Deal

SODOM & GOMORRAH: Propaganda is interesting to look at, even (or especially) after the fact. This video made of Hollywood’s support of NIRA, the New Deal, and Roosevelt’s other economic policies is almost…fascistic.


Syrian Opposition Claims Government has Chemical Weapons

SODOM & GOMORRAH: The Syrian opposition continues to send envoys to the United Nations in hopes of attaining help in the struggle against their government. Revolutionary forces are trying a new method. By claiming that the Syrian government possesses and has used biological weapons against its people, the opposition hopes to hold the UN accountable [...]

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SOPA Wasn’t Enough: Now There’s CISPA

From Anonymous' Twitter Feed

SODOM & GOMORRAH: The American House of Representatives silently and quickly voted in favor of a new bill called the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). Last year, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), two copyright enforcement bills, inspired thousands of sites to participate in an online blackout. [...]

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Boston Bombing Suspect Apprehended

SODOM & GOMORRAH: Though in critical condition, the last living suspect in the Boston bombing case has been apprehended. He is currently unable to speak but is reportedly able to write. His aunt, an attorney from Russia, feels this is a frame job and does not trust the evidence provided by the US government. There [...]

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Chavez Holds Power in Venezuela Beyond the Grave

SODOM & GOMORRAH: Following Hugo Chavez’s unfruitful struggle against cancer, his appears to be the faction firmly in charge of Venezuela. Elections were held. Elections are always held. After a “close vote”, Nicolas Maduro, a friend of the late Chavez, was declared the president. Violence erupted as protestors clashed with police. Before papers could even [...]

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Thoughts and Prayers to Boston

SODOM & GOMORRAH: Three explosions went off in Boston during the marathon. Thoughts and prayers to the runners, fans, and families of those there. Far from shocked at such acts, we merely reflect at how persistent and heinous the forces of chaos truly are. It is tragic that this should strike at all, much less [...]

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Chalking Justin Bieber’s Anne Frank Comment to Age is Insulting

cukuskumir, Flickr.

SODOM & GOMORRAH: We don’t usually follow pop news on this site, but this particular event seemed over the top. While on tour in Germany, Justin Bieber left a somewhat controversial comment in the guest book of the museum. He wrote, “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully [...]

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Margaret Thatcher’s Funeral to be Held

Margaret Thatcher's Funeral to be Held

SODOM & GOMORRAH: Margaret Thatcher, the only female Prime Minister to have held office in Great Britain, passed away earlier this week. To mark the solemn event, more than 700 members of Britain’s armed forces will play a role in the ceremonies. David Cameron, the current head of the Conservative Party and the Prime Minister [...]

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Jesus’ Bloodline

SODOM & GOMORRAH: There is much undue controversy regarding Jesus’ bloodline. Fictional works such as The Da Vinci Code make the claim that Jesus and Mary Magdalene married and had children, thus perpetuating Jesus’ bloodline to present times. Atheistic criticisms also argue that there is a¬†discrepancy¬†between the two lists of Jesus’ ancestors, which means that [...]

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