Biden’s Rules on Drone Warfare Mask Continued Violent Islamophobia

By Maha Hilal, Tom Dispatch

“I no longer love blue skies. In fact, I now prefer gray skies. The drones do not fly when the skies are gray.”

An Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone undergoing maintenance in a hangar at Columbus Air Force Base, MS.

That’s what a young Pakistani boy named Zubair told members of Congress at a hearing on drones in October 2013. That hearing was during the Obama years at a time when the government had barely even acknowledged that an American drone warfare program existed.

Two years earlier, however, a Muslim cleric, Anwar Al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman, both American citizens, were killed by U.S. drone strikes in Yemen just weeks apart. Asked to comment on Abdulrahman’s killing, Obama campaign senior adviser Robert Gibbs said: “I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well-being of their children. I don’t think becoming an al-Qaeda jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business.”

Those are two of all too many grim tales of the brutality with which the United States has carried out its drone warfare program. Post-9/11 reiterations by the government of the danger we now live in (because the U.S. was attacked), have made the collective responsibility of Muslims and the callous dismissal of their deaths a regular occurrence.

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