The presidential election campaign is well and truly under way in the US. Barack Obama wants to banish any lingering illusions that he might be an anti-war president.
Long gone is the candidate who opposed the “bad war” in Iraq, opposed rendition and promised to close Guantanamo Bay.
Timely revelations from White House insiders this week present him coolly signing off on “kill lists” for deadly drone attacks in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan.
He wants everyone to remember that he is the man who took out Osama Bin Laden.
Obama has resolved the “kill or capture” dilemma by relying on drones which kill indiscriminately.
Since he was elected the number of deaths by drone strikes has soared. It’s impossible to obtain clear figures for civilian casualties—the US military always claims that all men of military age who die are “combatants”.
Drone attacks have the added benefit for him of not putting US lives at risk. The operators are safe in a Nevada bunker.
And fear of drones that could strike at any moment is intended to terrorise populations, giving US troops the space to get out.
Obama was never really anti‑war—he was just against George Bush’s strategy for war.
The establishment backed his election to pursue US imperialist interests by different methods.
But today those methods will seem little different to people living in Afghanistan and Pakistan.