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Droning ironies

A drone strike in Wessab, Yemen on April 18 was discussed at a Senate hearing on April 23 by Farea Al-Muslimi, a man who grew up in the Yemeni village. Now a journalist and activist, he was educated in the United States thanks to a State Department scholarship and the hospitality of an American family in California.In his testimony to the Senate (Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights), he reported "For almost all of the people in Wessab, Im the only person with any connection to the United States. They called and texted me that night with questions that I could not answer: Why was the United States terrifying them with these drones? Why was the United States trying to kill a person with a missile when everyone knows where he is and he could have been easily arrested?" Transcript of his testimony.He asks all the questions the Obama Administration, the CIA, etc., don't want to address about arresting people instead of killing them, about collateral damage, and about creating more terrorists through anger over the drones. Will the subcommittee with such an august title press the questions? HT: Juan Cole

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Many friends were part of the the 250 people in a peaceful protest Sunday at Hancock Field Air National Guard, home of 174th Attack Wing, that flies intelligence gathering and bombing mission drones, based in Syracuse. Thirty were arrested in cvil disobedience and other charges - none violent. Here we take the drone issue very seriously and many of my friends have already done time incarcerated for their witness.

Wow, thanks for posting this. Reading the testimony -- longer and more detailed than the video clip -- provides an unprecedented perspective on the drone war in Yemen. I hope that this man's stories are heard far and wide.

Yes, the testimony is both informative and moving (he expresses enormous gratitude for his education in the U.S. and the friendship of his host family, especially the father who was in the U.S. Air Force! another irony).

Obama really has a thing for surgical strikes.

"The drone strikes are the face of America to many Yemenis."

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About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.