You can be excused if you missed the story that the US military had in a drone strike bombed to death 150 people in Somalia in one fell swoop. News reports on the strike quickly disappeared from the front pages.
Glenn Greenwald writes about we in the US calmly accept the murder of the 150 people in Somalia simply because the government declares that they all deserved it because they were attending an Al-Shabaab training camp.
This particular mass killing is unlikely to get much attention in the U.S. due to (1) the election-season obsession with horse-race analysis and pressing matters such as the size of Donald Trump’s hands; (2) widespread Democratic indifference to the killing of foreigners where there’s no partisan advantage to be had against the GOP from pretending to care; (3) the invisibility of places like Somalia and the implicit devaluing of lives there; and (4) the complete normalization of the model whereby the U.S. president kills whomever he wants, wherever he wants, without regard for any semblance of law, process, accountability, or evidence.
If you’re an American who has lived under the War on Terror, it’s easy to forget how extreme this behavior is. Most countries on the planet don’t routinely run around dropping bombs and killing dozens of people in multiple other countries at once, let alone doing so in countries where they’re not at war.
But for Americans, this is now all perfectly normalized. We just view our President as vested with the intrinsic, divine right, grounded in American Exceptionalism, to deem whomever he wants “Bad Guys” and then — with no trial, no process, no accountability — order them killed. He’s the roving, Global Judge, Jury and Executioner. And we see nothing disturbing or dangerous or even odd about that. We’ve been inculcated to view the world the way a 6-year-old watches cartoons: Bad Guys should be killed, and that’s the end of the story.
So yesterday the President killed roughly 150 people in a country where the U.S. is not at war. The Pentagon issued a five-sentence boilerplate statement declaring them all “terrorists.” And that’s pretty much the end of that. Within literally hours, virtually everyone was ready to forget about the whole thing and move on, content in the knowledge — even without a shred of evidence or information about the people killed — that their government and president did the right thing. Now that is a pacified public and malleable media.