Monday, July 9, 2012

Is there a distinction between America’s targeted killing of individuals and acts of murder?

Public domain.

Writing for Esquire, author Tom Junod raises some difficult questions in his article titled, The Lethal Presidency of Barack Obama. Junod’s words are especially troubling as my mindfulness meditation group is currently reading and discussing Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, Calming the Fearful Mind: a Zen response to terrorism, which I recommend to all people who are sincerely interested in peacemaking.” Nhat Hanh warns:

The military doesn’t know where terrorism is. They cannot locate terrorism-it is in the heart. The more military force you use, the more terrorists you create, in your own country and in other countries as well.

But back to The Lethal Presidency of Barack Obama:

Sure, we as a nation have always killed people. A lot of people. But no president has ever waged war by killing enemies one by one, targeting them individually for execution, wherever they are. The Obama administration has taken pains to tell us, over and over again, that they are careful, scrupulous of our laws, and determined to avoid the loss of collateral, innocent lives. They're careful because when it comes to waging war on individuals, the distinction between war and murder becomes a fine one. Especially when, on occasion, the individuals we target are Americans and when, in one instance, the collateral damage was an American boy.

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