29 March 2013, 16:59

Discriminatory attitude towards Muslims forces Americans to support drone killings

Reaper Рипер беспилотник сша беспилотный летательный аппарта
Reaper, US drone
Reaper, US drone

A majority of Americans support air strikes in foreign countries against foreign nationals suspected of terrorism while opposing such air strikes when used to target US citizens who are suspected terrorists, whether at home or on foreign soil, according to a new Gallup poll.

The survey was carried out several weeks after the US killed a US citizen on foreign soil on the grounds that he was a suspected Terrorist named Anwar al-Awlaki. A large majority of Americans approved such killing, not only because of an intense government and media demonization campaign, but also only because the alleged terrorist had an Arabic name.

In the online survey of American adults, 69 percent of respondents think the action taken by the U.S. Government to kill Anwar al-Awlaki was justified (that included 77% Republicans and 73% Democrats approving).

Although many Americans oppose drone target killings, they support the killing Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen because he doesn’t match the Americans’ image about “Americans”, suggests Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian reporter.  

“Americans" means their aunts and uncles, their nice neighbors down the street, and anyone else who looks like them, who looks and seems "American". They don't think those people - Americans - should be killed without charges by the US government if they travel on vacation to Paris or go to study for a semester in London. But the concept of "Americans" most definitely does not include people with foreign and Muslim-ish names like "Anwar al-Awlaki" who wear the white robes of a Muslim imam and spend time in a place like Yemen”, Greenwald suggests.

The problem of supporting and not-supporting drone killings might have came about because of the gradations of US citizenship in minds. Although there is no such thing as "more American" or "less American", the notion of a “real American” appeared in the US political climate in the era of the War on Terror. It first appeared under the Bush’s Administration in 2005 during the spy campaign on communications of Americans without the warrants required by the criminal law. The spokesman of the Bush’s Administration made a statement reassuring everyone that the campaign wasn't “targeting Real Americans, but only those Bad Ones that should be surveilled”.

The same happened in 2010, when the Israelis attacked the Mavi Marmara flotilla and killed 9 people including the US-born teenager Furkan Dogan. Some conservatives insisted that he was not a Real American because his parents were Turkish and he grew up in Turkey.

According to Greenwald, there is a widespread belief that “Muslims are somehow less American, or even less human”, and this is a “substantial factor in explaining such discrepancy”.

If the killed Abdulrahman al-Awlaki in Yemen had been known as Jimmy Martin in Sweden, the public’s outcry and support would be much more different. And such discriminatory mindset is one of the reasons that lead US public to support drone strike killings aimed primarily at Muslims. 

Voice of Russia, the Guardian

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