Empire Burlesque 
July 18, 2011
Do you support the policies and political fortunes of President Barack Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate? Then this is what you support: cowardly, cold-blooded mass murder. You support mass murder. You support the shredding to pieces of innocent people, many of them children, week after week, month after month. You support the murder of children. You support the cultivation of extremism and hatred: hatred aimed at you, and your children, for the mass murder — the state terrorism — committed in your name by your progressive president. You support extremism. You support hatred. You support terrorism.
The Guardian tells the remarkable story of Noor Behram , who for three years has been rushing to the scene of the long-distance, remote-control drone strikes launched by the Peace Laureate against undefended villages in Pakistan. Braving roadblocks, suspicious (and shell-shocked) locals, and secondary strikes — like terrorists the world over, the Laureate’s Droners like to draw people to the site of one strike, then fire another at those who’ve come to help the first victims — Noor Behram has taken his camera to some 60 killing fields in North and South Waziristan. As the Guardian notes:
Noor Behram says his painstaking work has uncovered an important – and unreported – truth about the US drone campaign in Pakistan’s tribal region: that far more civilians are being injured or dying than the Americans and Pakistanis admit. The world’s media quickly reports on how many militants were killed in each strike. But reporters don’t go to the spot, relying on unnamed Pakistani intelligence officials. Noor Behram believes you have to go to the spot to figure out whether those killed were really extremists or ordinary people living in Waziristan. And he’s in no doubt.
“For every 10 to 15 people killed, maybe they get one militant,” he said. “I don’t go to count how many Taliban are killed. I go to count how many children, women, innocent people, are killed.” …
According to Noor Behram, the strikes not only kill the innocent but injure untold numbers and radicalise the population. “There are just pieces of flesh lying around after a strike. You can’t find bodies. So the locals pick up the flesh and curse America. They say that America is killing us inside our own country, inside our own homes, and only because we are Muslims.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
“The youth in the area surrounding a strike gets crazed. Hatred builds up inside those who have seen a drone attack. The Americans think it is working, but the damage they’re doing is far greater.”
Even when the drones hit the right compound, the force of the blast is such that neighbours’ houses, often made of baked mud, are also demolished, crushing those inside, said Noor Behram. One of the photographs shows a tangle of debris he said were the remains of five houses blitzed together.
Do you support this? Do you support the progressive president, the Peace Laureate? Then this is what you support:
The photographs make for difficult viewing and leave no doubt about the destructive power of the Hellfire missiles unleashed: a boy with the top of his head missing, a severed hand, flattened houses, the parents of children killed in a strike. The chassis is all that remains of a car in one photo, another shows the funeral of a seven-year-old child. There are pictures, too, of the cheap rubber flip-flops worn by children and adults, which often survive: signs that life once existed there. A 10-year-old boy’s body, prepared for burial, shows lipstick on him and flowers in his hair – a mother’s last loving touch.
If you support the president, this is what you support. (And yes, if you support his so-called opponents in our bipartisan militarized state — where the only political “issue” is how much more we can give to the rich while expanding our state terror overseas — this is what you support as well.) A boy with the top of his head torn off. From a thunderbolt of metal and explosives hurled at him from thousands of miles away. Is this what you support?
Or maybe that’s the wrong question. If you support the president, it’s obvious that you do support this. I suppose a better question is the one that Arthur Silber has been asking, over and over, for years, as the Atrocity Machine of the rightwing Bush regime morphed effortlessly into the Atrocity Machine of the progressive Peace Laureate: