The Common Good

Drone Attacks Increase Under Obama Administration

Last night I googled the words "drone attacks Obama" to verify if President Obama has indeed increased unmanned aerial drone attacks in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region. Sure enough, not only has the president significantly increased these extrajudicial killings that also happen to kill a lot of civilians; it turns out that the ACLU has recently filed a lawsuit against the president challenging his right to carry out the attacks.

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Just for kicks, I'd like to take a look at President Bush's human rights policies and see which ones have been continued under President Obama.

Extraordinary renditions? Check.
Militarization of Latin America? Check.
Fumigating crops in Columbia to fight the drug war? Check.
Threat of military force against Iran? Check.
Drone attacks against civilians in Pakistan? Increased.
Military aid to Israel? Increased.

What is striking about the president is that despite his smooth talking in Cairo, the Nobel Peace Prize, and the never-ending efforts of neo-con pundits to turn Obama into a first-class whimp -- the difference between Obama and Bush is a mile wide when it comes to rhetoric but an inch deep when it comes to reality.

Granted, Obama's willingness to work with -- as opposed to arrogantly dismiss -- the international community on issues like nuclear non-proliferation and global climate change, along with his more respectful tone towards the Muslim world, has gone a long way to reduce the knee-jerk anti-Americanism that was so prevalent during the Bush years. Still, I wonder if Christians in the historic peace churches will be able to honestly vote for a second term in 2012 and still have the right to call themselves pacifists?

While it may be true that a McCain/Palin administration would have been more bellicose and hostile to the rest of the world, at what point does voting for the lesser of two evils become complicity in acts of violence against others? Perhaps it's a little early to ask this question, but the question still bothers me nonetheless.

portrait-aaron-taylorAaron D. Taylor is the author of Alone with A Jihadist: A Biblical Response to Holy War. To learn more about Aaron's ministry, go to To follow Aaron on Twitter, go to Aaron can be contacted at

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