But it’s not the one you think. Someday, in the not too distant future, perhaps….
But I am getting ahead of myself.
Yesterday Obama delivered his apology for botching the implementation of the single most important social program of his administration. The rollout of Obamacare has been a laughable failure – the hilarity tempered only by the fact that millions of lives are being disrupted and who knows how many thousands of lives will be put at risk because of the failure of the program.
The magnificent failure is being performed on the full public stage, in an area of life that touches every single American. While this may be one of the most publicly visible failures of a government program in history, there is no reason to believe it is the only one. In fact, it is safe to assume that this failure is typical of failures that occur every single day in every single government program. The only difference is that Obamacare is painfully visible and personal to almost every single American.
This brings me to the murder-by-drone program of the United States Government, a program that has gained significant visibility under the Obama administration. The government keeps a kill list, known sanitarily as the Disposition Matrix:
The Disposition Matrix is a database that United States officials describe as a “next-generation capture/kill list”. Developed by the Obama Administration beginning in 2010, the “Disposition Matrix” goes beyond existing kill lists, and creates a blueprint for tracking, capturing, rendering, or killing suspected enemies of the US government. It is intended to become a permanent fixture of American policy. The process determining criteria for killing is not public, but has been heavily shaped by presidential counterterrorism adviser John Brennan.
The database’s existence was revealed by a three part series published in The Washington Post. The Post noted that as of their publication, the number of civilian and militant casualties resulting from American drone strikes would soon exceed the number of people killed in the September 11th attacks.
One day, God willing, we will see a president offer his mea culpa for the botched rollout and implementation of the kill list. Ideally, it will be issued as a public relations stunt in hope of swaying public opinion prior to his standing trial for war-crimes.
Using the Obamacare mea culpa speech as the basis – with the necessary changes noted in brackets – following is that speech, to be delivered in the not-too-distant future:
Good morning, everybody — or good afternoon. Today I want to update the American people [and the world] on our efforts to implement and improve the [targeted kill list program]. And I’ll take a couple of your questions.
[It] has now been [sixteen years] since the [disposition matrix, popularly known as the kill list] opened for business. I think it’s fair to say that the rollout has been rough so far, and I think everybody understands that I’m not happy about the fact that the rollout has been, you know, wrought with a whole range of problems that I’ve been deeply concerned about.
Yesterday, the White House announced that in the [sixteen years since the publicly announced start of the program], more than a hundred thousand [terrorists were] successfully [killed].
The problems of the [program] have [resulted in] too many [non-combatant deaths], and that’s on us, not on them.
Those [deaths] represent more than 1.5 million people. Of those 1.5 million people, 106,000 of them have [been confirmed by the World Court as actively in combat or otherwise a threat].
And, you know, that’s on me. I mean, we fumbled the rollout on this [targeted killing program]. There are a whole bunch of things about it that are working really well which people didn’t notice, all right, because they weren’t controversial…there [was] a whole bunch of stuff that we did well over the first [sixteen] years, but we also knew that [developing accurate lists, and killing only people on the list]…was going to be complicated, and everybody was going to be paying a lot of attention to it.
And we should have done a better job getting that right on day one, not on day [6,000].
I was not informed directly that the [kill lists and drone strikes] would not be working…the way [they were] supposed to. [Had] I been informed, I wouldn’t be going out saying, boy, this is going to be great. You know, I’m accused of a lot of things, but I don’t think I’m stupid enough to go around saying, this is going to be like [shooting fish in a barrel]…if I thought that it wasn’t going to work.
So, clearly, we and I did not have enough awareness about the problems in the [program]. Even [sixteen years] into it, the thinking was that these were some glitches that would be fixed with patches, as opposed to some broader systemic problems that took much longer to fix and we’re still working on them.
So you know, that doesn’t excuse the fact that they just don’t work, but I think it’s fair to say, no, …we would not have rolled out something knowing very well that it wasn’t going to work the way it was supposed to, given all the scrutiny that we knew was going to be on [the program].
With respect to the pledge I made that [we will only kill terrorists], I think — you know, and I’ve said in interviews — that there is no doubt that the way I put that forward unequivocally ended up not being accurate. It was not because of my intention not to deliver on that commitment and that promise.
Keep in mind that the [1.4 million non-combatant deaths] account for [0.02%] of the [global] population. So when I said [we only kill terrorists], you know, I’m looking at [the 99.98% of the global population we didn’t kill]…And that accounts for the vast majority of [people].
You have [collateral damage] that accounts for about [0.02] percent of the [global] population. And our working assumption was — my working assumption was that the majority of those folks would [not be killed]. And it didn’t. And again, that’s on us…that’s on me….And as I said earlier…and I will repeat, that’s something I deeply regret….
Now, it is important to understand that out of that population, typically, [some would have died anyway]. You know, this [world] is not very stable and reliable for people.
But if you just got [killed] and so far you’re thinking, my [life was] pretty good, you haven’t [terrorized anyone], and now you get [killed], you’re going to be worried about it…Now, for a big portion of those people, the truth is, they might have [died anyway]…
But look, one of the things I understood when we decided to [implement this program], part of the reason why it hasn’t been done before and it’s very difficult to do, is that anything that’s going on that’s tough in — in the [terrorist killing business], if you initiated a reform, can be attributed to your law. And — and so what we want to do is to be able to say to these folks, you know what, the [targeted kill list program] is not going to be the reason why [you were killed]. Now, what folks may find is [that they would have died anyway]. But that will — that’s [life].
[My] expectation was that for 98 percent of the [global population], either it genuinely wouldn’t change at all, or they’d be pleasantly surprised [by not being killed]. That proved not to be the case. And that’s on me.
And [for the non-terrorists] — those who got [killed] do deserve and have received an apology from me, but they don’t want just words. What they want is whether we can make sure that they’re in a better place….
And by the way, I think it’s very important for me to note that, you know, there are a whole bunch of folks up in Congress and others who made this statement, and they were entirely sincere about it. And the fact that you’ve got this percentage of people who’ve had this, you know, impact — I want them to know that, you know, [every] senator or congressman, they were making representations based on what I told them and what this White House and our administrative staff told them, and so it’s not on them, it’s on us. But it is something that we intend to fix.
I think there’s going to be a lot of — there’s going to be a lot of evaluation of how we got to this point. And I’m — I assure you that I’ve been asking a lot of questions about that. The truth is that this is, number one, very complicated.
One of the things [the federal government] does not do well is [limiting its own violence]. You know, this is kind of a systematic problem that we have across the board.
There you have it. Yesterday, Barack Obama offered the template for all future federal government apologies – and there will be many, as one promise of salvation-by-state after another fails due to economic reality.
But the single most important mea culpa will be for the abusive and inhuman policies of murder as practiced by individuals who are employed by the state. One day, God willing, this apology will come and at least some of the perpetrators will face justice while in this world.
They most certainly will in the next.