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The Day That NPR Lost Me

A week or two ago I was doing the dishes and listening to NPR. It was a panel show, four experts chatting with a host. The topic was the Obama Administration’s drone warfare program.

As I busily washed the dishes, it slowly occurred to me that everyone on the show approved of the current drone program. Even the representative from a so-called human rights organization praised drones as superior to the alternative. And all of them agreed that the the only alternative to drone assassinations was all-out total warfare with massive artillery fire.

But that dichotomy is pure bullshit! Drones are being used to kill some people, including American citizens and minors, who are far from a battlefield and not engaged in action against the United States. It’s almost certain that in many cases such persons could be arrested and tried, if that was even appropriate. And in any case, the drone program is unaccountable to anyone – it gives the sole, godlike power of life and death to the Chief Executive and anyone that he designates – secretly, if he so chooses (and he does so choose).

We had a revolution against a King who faced far more strict checks and balances. And now? We’re entrusting absolute power – life and death without trial, accountability, or even public awareness – to an office which virtually every American will agree could be won at any election by some utterly irresponsible hack. Yet not a word is being breathed against this insane development.

The thing that really sent a chill down my spine was that not a single one of NPR’s experts or the host said one single WORD about the morality of the drone program. All they did was share happy horseshit about how good it was, how necessary unrestricted drone assassinations were to maintain global order and the global economy.

The final nail in the coffin came a few hours later. I was driving in the car, listening to another NPR news show. The announcer was discussing the nomination of John Brennan as CIA director. He proclaimed, with an indulgent chuckle in his voice, that Brennan embraced “tough interrogation practices just like Vice President Dick Cheney”. At that moment I snapped. If someone had offered me the chance to watch that fatuous news-whore undergoing “tough interrogation practices” – or rather, since I’m not a whore and will call it what it is, torture – I would have seriously considered it.

But since the option wasn’t available, I reprogrammed my NPR pre-sets to music stations. They’ve lost me for good. It’s all I can do, and I’m all too aware that it won’t do a thing to stop the rapid transformation of the USA into a brutal surveillance and torture state. But I won’t stand by and listen to the elite’s propaganda as everything falls apart.

I’m absolutely furious at what’s been done to our national principles. I won’t support torture, a surveillance state, or assassination. That’s not the America that I was born into, and I did not agree to this.

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