President Obama, just days before the nation was to have memorial services to honor the memory of our service men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice in war, has tried to convince Americans that our war on terror is not perpetual, but must end — someday.
Obama has realized that the targeted killings abroad by drones and the attacks on civil liberties at home are also moral issues that are changing the nature of our nation and its people. Fear and threats to our freedom have come home.
“Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue. But this war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises. That’s what our democracy demands,” Obama said.
The president is a long way from declaring victory, however, unlike his predecessor, George W. Bush, who stood on an aircraft carrier 10 years ago this month to state the war in Iraq was essentially over. Years and thousands of deaths later, it was Obama who had to end that war.
As the war in Afghanistan began to wind down, the use of unmanned drones for attacks on suspected terrorists and their hideouts increased, despite criticism that they were used to kill American citizens abroad on several occasions and the collateral deaths of civilians in other raids.
The government had not addressed either issue, despite hearings held by some congressmen concerned about targeted killings of Americans and the civilian deaths. Until now.
Speaking at the National Defense University in Washington on Thursday, Obama defended the use of drones for attacks on suspected terrorists, and justified the possibility of civilian deaths during those attacks as ``necessary risks.’’
That’s too bad for the people of Pakistan or Yemen, two countries with which we are not at war, who are considered expendable if we think there might be a few potential terrorists living down the road.