On our last two broadcasts, I’ve asked you to respond to questions relevant to America’s human rights record both here and abroad. The first was about President Obama's use of drones to kill suspected terrorists. I asked, does our national security justify their use even at the cost of innocent lives? One response in particular seems to express the majority of opinion.
“We are putting innocent people at risk all over the world. If that isn't terrorism, what is? Mr. Obama, can you even imagine what it feels like to live in a country over which a foreign drone can fly and decide to kill you at will? Wouldn't that very threat make you an enemy of the country that did so?”
But there were opposing viewpoints, like this one.
“If they — Pakistan — don't want innocent civilians killed by drones, then they need to declare war on the terrorists on their soil and drive them out. To do nothing is to give them a safe place to train and carry on their worldwide operations. As in any war, civilians are going to get killed, but the responsibility lies with Pakistan. We have the right to defend ourselves until the threat is ended.”
“War is hell and the results of war are always hellish…. To find a moral option is to ask for the impossible. To that end, drones are preferable to the slaughter of our troops once the assumption is made that all war is immoral on its face.”
After my interview with Heidi Boghosian, author of Spying on Democracy, I asked you if constant surveillance, the invasion of our privacy, is ever justified. Most of you responded like this woman.
“If we aspire to be a democracy, with personal freedoms guaranteed to citizens in the Constitution, then there is no justification for this egregious invasion…
This viewer added.
“I remember seeing Dick Cheney say on TV that since 9/11 the game had changed, and he seemed to imply that we, too, now had to become a police state. It looks as if we are well on our way.”
But others disagreed.
“Yes, it is justified in today’s world. Without it we would still be looking for the Boston bombers, bin Laden and a whole slew of other infamous ones… I say, yes, keep up the surveillance.”
“I’m really not that interesting but if they need info on me I say go for it!”
You can see a summary of all your comments online at BillMoyers.com. And here’s an update on my recent conversation with Dean Baker and Yves Smith about TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership. That’s the top secret trade agreement being negotiated between the United States and 11 other countries that a lot of powerful people, including President Obama, don’t want you to know about. Wikileaks has gotten hold of the confidential draft of a key part of TPP, the section on intellectual property, just ahead of a big summit on the trade deal that begins Nov. 19. We’ll link you to it that document.