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October 12, 2013

Malala meets with Obama (& Malia) & asks US to end drone strikes.

President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and their daughter, Malia, meet with Malala Yousafzai in the Oval Office. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

What a week. First she inspires Jon Stewart to silence (a rare thing), and in so doing inspires the world...and now she talks to the man himself.

Malala meets Barack Obama and asks him to end Drone Strikes.

“I thanked President Obama for the United States’ work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees. I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact.”

~ Malala Yousafzai

“She’s sixteen.

A life of purpose is a truly amazing and inspirational thing.

And Malala is a truly amazing and inspirational person.”

There is an argument for drones—after all

On the same note: “Can anyone give me a legitimate reason why a drone strike is different, morally or otherwise, from other means of waging war (B-52’s, attack helicopters, cruise missiles, etc)? Unless you can demonstrate that drones kill more civilians per strike (or have some other major problem with them), then the argument needs to be against the war itself, not the means.”

And: “Think of it this way. We could either put a bunch of boots on the ground to take care of an enemy, or use a single drone strike. By using soldiers you’re endangering their lives along with the trauma that comes with warfare.

The fact of the matter is, it shouldn’t be needed, but it is. This isn’t some fantasy world where inspirational quotes is going to change brainwashed or greedy or violent people. There are many who wouldn’t hesitate to kill you even if you offer them love and hugs. It’s sad, it really is, but even though drones seem impersonal or whatever, they work for their intended purpose.”

And… “So, instead of saying ‘Stop the drone strikes,’ maybe say ‘Stop the war?’ There’s an incredibly important distinction there. I’d say that if we’re going to be in the war anyways, we’re much better off using drones. I’d rather there not be a war, but saying ‘I’m anti-drone’ sort of implies that you’re pro-war.”

And: “Obama didn’t ask for the Nobel prize. The Drone program, as morally questionable as it is, has been the very successful. The terrorist groups that have been targeted by it have had their leadership decimated. Im pretty sure he cares more about doing his actual job (being the leader of the most powerful military the world has ever seen) than the award. And for having such power, the drone program seems like a lesser of the many evils.”

So: “Drones do a bit more good than many realize, but the criticism against them is far from unfounded. They are better than fixed wing aircraft, which are less discriminate in their attacks, but they still have a record of ‘firing in error.’ Of course, this has tragic results. But one must remember what was happening in that region before the step up in air intervention. There was a serious problem of paramilitary groups, namely Pakistani Taliban, exercising their own governments. This resulted in horrific human rights violations. They executed police officers in droves (Link NSFL), and we weren’t quite sure if the nuclear armed government would survive. We still aren’t.”

 

Above choice quotes from reddit, for and against. Great dialogue over there.

 

In any case: Drones are fueling anti-American sentiment, and therefore helping the Taliban and other terrorists. They are not worthy of President Obama’s legacy.

  • Malala said she was honored to meet Obama and that she raised concerns with him about the administration’s use of drones, saying they are “fueling terrorism.”
  • These strikes were begun by President George W. Bush and have increased substantially under President Barack Obama.
  • Surveys have shown that the strikes are deeply unpopular in Pakistan, where they have contributed to a negative perception of the United States.

Fun fact:

Mr. Obama’s ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron P. Munter, has complained to colleagues that the C.I.A.’s strikes drive American policy there, saying “he didn’t realize his main job was to kill people,” a colleague said. [He has since quit in protest, how many Americans know about this?]

 

For more: Jon Stewart’s 3-second reaction to Malala Yousafzai words gave me chills & made me cry. {Video}

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