Drone War Exposes Our Racism

Glenn Greenwald thinks Islamophobia is powering the War on Terror

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 25, 2013 1:29 PM CDT

(Newser) – A poll out this morning shows that a majority of Americans believe the US shouldn't assassinate its own citizens abroad (41% favor the killings, with 52% opposed), which is a little weird, points out Glenn Greenwald at the Guardian, because when the US actually killed citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, it was considered a big political win for President Obama. What happened? Well, it's possible Americans oppose the killings in the abstract, but not in Awlaki's case, given his infamy. But Greenwald doubts it.

He thinks that for many, the term "Americans" means "their nice neighbors down the street, and anyone else who looks like them," not "people with foreign and Muslim-ish names like 'Anwar al-Awlaki.'" This "decade-long Othering of Muslims" has long driven War on Terror politics. "Does anyone doubt that if Obama's bombs were killing nice white British teenagers or smiling blond Swiss infants—rather than unnamed Yemenis, Pakistanis, Afghans, and Somalis—that the reaction to this sustained killing would be drastically different?" Click to read Greenwald's full column.

Anwar al-Awlaki was, legally speaking, every bit as American as Barack Obama.   (AP Photo/SITE Intelligence Group, Dile)
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If the 16-year-old American suspiciously killed by the US government had been Jimmy Martin in Sweden rather than Abdulrahman al-Awlaki in Yemen, the media interest would be far more substantial. - Glenn Greenwald

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