Joe Biden: The iron fist inside the velvet glove

On January 20th most of the world rejoiced as the now former President Trump took off into the metaphorical sunset to the tune of YMCA by the Village People – perfectly summing up the juvenile nature of of the last four years of his presidency.

The last stragglers of his mask-less supporters cheered “Thank you, Trump!” as he proceeded to shake the hands of his nearest and dearest, whilst completely ignoring the only black man in the group attempting to shake his hand, before strolling onto Air Force One.

Trump’s legacy will live on as on as one of the darkest four years in American domestic and foreign policy, an argument could be made to place him just above the totalitarian dictators of the world – your Putins, Kim-Jong-Uns, Lukashenkos and so on.

Trump’s only saving grace stopping him from becoming a card carrying member of this list being that he’s actually left office after losing a democratic election, even if it was after a period of intense whining and misinformation.

However one of the most scary consequences of the last four years has been the incredible lowering of expectations for the President’s office and the mass amnesia of Biden’s role in the Obama administration, which presided over a huge number of civilian casualties in the Middle East and Africa and the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants despite election promises of peace and unity. Ring any bells?

Since swearing the oath of office a few days ago President Biden has signed an executive order reversing the Trump immigration policies, lets hope this is a precursor to his new administration not repeating the policies of the Obama Biden Whitehouse; where in the first three years they deported 1.18 million people, compared to the 800,000 in the first three years of Trump, according to the Washington Post.

destroyed house in Sanaa Yemen

House destroyed by a drone strike. Sanaa, Yemen [Wikimedia]

According to the Costs of War project conducted by the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University, by the end of Obama and Biden’s time in office, over 31,000 Afghan civilians had been killed, 40,000 had also been “seriously injured” with 2.6 million Afghans seeking refuge in other countries, despite Obama claiming that drone strikes are “exceptionally surgical and precise’ and ‘do not put … innocent men, women and children in danger.”

An odd sentiment considering that in 2012 there had been multiple reports of ‘double tap’ drone strikes, in which a second strike in the same area is carried out once people have congregated to clear rubble and help the wounded.

There were six examples of ‘double tap’ drone strikes carried out in Pakistan in 2012, in which the CIA targeted the funerals of victims of previous drone strikes, killing multiple civilians; making statements by President Obama’s chief counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan claiming that “there hasn’t been a single collateral (civilian) death” via drone strike since 2010 nothing short of a sadistic joke.

The website www.airwars.org documents every airstrike that has occurred in the Middle Eastern sphere since 1999, if you search for airstrikes between January 2009 and January 2017, 114 pages of strike data appear.

It would take hours to read the names of civilians killed in every strike. Listed below are the victims from just one airstrike in Aleppo, Syria, according to Airwars.

Family members (2)

  • Khaled Al Nasser age unknown male – killed
  • Nasim Al Nasser age unknown male – killed

Family members (7)

  • Mahmoud Abdurrahman age unknown male – killed
  • Samiya Al Shaikh Mousa adult female Wife of Mahmoud Abdurrahman – killed
  • Nisreen Mahmoud Abdurrahman adult female – killed
  • Batoul Mahmoud Abdurrahman child female – killed
  • Eman Mahmoud Abdurrahman child female – killed
  • Maher Mahmoud Abdurrahman child male – killed
  • Enas Mahmoud Abdurrahman child female – killed

Family members (8)

  • Bakkar Al Ramadan age unknown male – killed
  • Ramadan Bakkar Al Ramadan child male – killed
  • Mohammad Bakkar Al Ramadan child male – killed
  • Mahmoud Bakkar Al Ramadan child male – killed
  • Ibrahim Bakkar Al Ramadan child male – killed
  • Raghad Bakkar Al Ramadan child female – killed
  • Duha Bakkar Al Ramadan child female – killed
  • Khalaf Bakkar Al Ramadan child male – killed

Family members (8)

  • Hasan Ibrahim Al Ousi age unknown male – killed
  • Zreifa Al Ousi adult female Wife of Hasan Ibrahim Al Ousi – killed
  • Abdou Hasan Al Ousi child male – killed
  • Mohammad Hassan Al Ousi child male – killed
  • Mahmoud Hasan Al Ousi child male – killed
  • Na’iema Hasan Al Ousi child female – killed
  • Eman Hasan Al Ousi child female – killed
  • Zahra Hasan Al Ousi child female – killed

Family members (17)

  • AbdulMalek Rajab Qaso age unknown male – killed
  • Gharam AbdulMalek Qaso child female – killed
  • Fa’eda AbdulMalek Qaso child female – killed
  • Nagham AbdulMalek Qaso child female – killed
  • Mohammad AbdulMalek Qaso child male – killed
  • Qusai Rajab Qaso age unknown male – killed
  • Houriya Mohammad Rajab Qaso age unknown female – killed
  • Rihana adult female Wife of Loai Rajab Qaso – killed
  • Qusai Loai Rajab Qaso child male – killed
  • Ghosoun Loai Rajab Qaso child male – killed
  • Hayat Mowelid Qaso Al Saghir adult female – killed
  • Odoula Mowelid Qaso Al Saghir adult female – killed
  • Yaser Mowelid Qaso Al Saghir child male – killed
  • Dahiya Mowelid Qaso Al Saghir adult female – killed
  • Mohammad Rajab Mowelid Qaso child male – killed
  • Mais adult female Wife of Mohammad Mowelid Qaso – killed
  • Yaser Mohammad Mowelid Qaso age unknown male – killed

Family members (14)

  • Sanaa Mowelid Al Kabir adult female – killed
  • Fatouma Mowelid Al Kabir adult female – killed
  • Ahmad Mowelid Al Kabir age unknown male – killed
  • Wife of Ahmad Mowelid Al Kabir adult female – killed
  • Son of Ahmad Mowelid Al Kabir child male – killed
  • Daughter of Ahmad Mowelid Al Kabir child female – killed
  • Daughter of Mohammad Moweld Al Kabir child female – killed
  • Daughter of Mohammad Mowelid Al Kabir child female – killed
  • Daughter of Mohammad Mowelid Al Kabir child female – killed
  • Hayat Muhajeri adult female Wife of Qasim Mowelid – killed
  • Mohammad Mowelid Qasim Al Kabir child male – killed
  • Doaa Qasem Mowelid Al Kabir child female – killed
  • Son of Qasom Mowelid Al Kabir child male – killed
  • Ghofran Qasim Mowelid Al Kabir child female – killed

Family members (17)

  • Abd Mawwas Al Abd age unknown male – killed
  • Sukaina adult female Wife of Abd Mawwas Al Abd –killed
  • Sham Abd Mawwas Al Abd age unknown female – killed
  • Mayyada Abd Mawwas Al Abd child female – killed
  • Fatouma adult female Wife of Mawwas Al Abd – killed
  • Second wife of Mawwas Al Abda ge unknown female – killed
  • Child, son of Mawwas Al Abd child male – killed
  • Child, son of Mawwas Al Abd child male – killed
  • Child, son of Mawwas Al Abdchild male – killed
  • Child, son of Mawwas Al Abdchildmalekilled
  • Child, son of Mawwas Al Abd child male – killed
  • Child, son of Mawwas Al Abd child male – killed
  • Child, son of Mawwas Al Abd child male – killed
  • Haloum Al Abd adult female Sister of Mawwas Al Abd – killed
  • Child, son of Halloum Al Abd child male – killed
  • Child, son of Halloum Al Abd child male – killed
  • Child, son of Halloum Al Abd child male – killed

Family members (8)

  • Mohammad Suliman Al Thaherchild male – killed
  • Ammar Suliman Al Thaher child male – killed
  • Yaser Suliman Al Thaher child male – killed
  • Daughter of Suliman Al Thaher child female – killed
  • Walid Al Thaher child male – killed
  • Daughter of Suliman Al Thaher child female – killed
  • Rehab Al Thaher child female – killed
  • Daughter of Suliman Al Thaher child female – killed

Family members (3)

  • Amina Al Mawwasage unknown female Wife of Hussein Al Saleh – killed
  • Khaled Hussein Al Saleh age unknown male – killed
  • Aziza Mohammad Haj Saleh child female – killed

Family members (2)

  • Nadwaage unknown – female – Wife of Jasim Al Bakkar – killed
  • Ahd Jasim Al Bakkar age unknown female – killed

Family members (2)

  • Daughter of Mohammad Abu Ibeid child female – killed
  • Marwaage unknown female Wife of Mohammad Abu Ibeid – killed

Family members (2)

  • Hadi Kamel Hasan Al Sattou child male – killed
  • Amouna adult female Wife of Kamel Hasan Al Sattou – killed
  • Fatima Qaso adult female – killed
  • Fa’eda adult female – killed
  • Yasmin adult female – killed
  • Maha adult female – killed
  • Child, son of Saeed Al Ahmad age unknown male

Let’s hope President Biden learns from his mistakes.

It’s an almost unanimous conclusion that Barack Obama was (and still is) one of the most charismatic and likeable Presidents to ever step foot in the White House. His calls for “change we can believe in” and “yes we can” captured the hearts of millions of Americans and one particular 11 year old British boy alike.

His election was undoubtedly a historic event which should be celebrated; one that hopefully the UK will replicate in the not too distant future, but this is not an excuse to ignore atrocities committed in his name during his time in office. Atrocities that the now President of the United States played a major part in, atrocities that shouldn’t be forgotten during his second stint in a Presidential position.

It is now the job of us, the people, (yes including we in the UK with our new heavily reliant, post Brexit, ‘special’ relationship with the USA) to hold President Biden to account during his term as Commander-in-Chief and not allow him to repeat the actions of the Obama administration. We cannot allow ourselves to sink into pit of post-Trump apathy and let Biden off the hook because “he’s not as bad as Trump”.

Who knows, maybe there is nothing to worry about, perhaps every abhorrent event between 2009-17 was solely the fault of Obama and all Biden could do was sit in his armchair and watch, powerless to interject in the injustices unfolding in front of him. I somehow doubt it, but only time will tell.

As my mother once warned me, it’s not the iron fist you need to worry about. It’s the iron fist inside the velvet glove that’s most dangerous.

 

 

 


Featured image: Sophie Nadel.
Edited by: Susu Hagos.

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