John O. Brennan – Obama’s 'Angel of Death' for the CIA

John O. Brennan – Obama’s 'Angel of Death' for the CIA

President Obama’s second term does not raise as many hopes as the first one did. This is especially true in the sphere of foreign policy, where expectations of a more pacifist approach to world affairs were largely dashed not only by Obama’s foreign policy moves during his first term, but also by his personnel choices. One of the most controversial ones was his recent decision to nominate John Owen Brennan as the new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Mr. Brennan in his capacity of the president’s chief advisor on terrorism issues, is considered to be the brain behind the drone attacks. Those same drone attacks that allegedly killed thousands of people in the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Bruce Fein, a former adviser to Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul and an expert on constitutional law, considers Brennan’s nomination symbolic – in the worst sense of the term.

“Brennan’s nomination indicates that Obama’s second term won’t feature any substantial change in his foreign policy approach, which is an approach of an empire, may be an “Empire-Light” this time. Brennan epitomizes the arrogance of the United States which believes that it is uniquely endowed with an authority to send predator drones to assassinate anyone that the president in secret decides is a danger to the country,” Bruce Fein said.

Ironically, Brennan’s candidacy is being opposed by Republicans in the Senate, with the hawks attacking a hawk, so to speak. Experts believe, however, that the Republicans’ critique of Brennan is mostly due to their political rivalry with Obama, and not to their disapproval of Brennan’s methods. By the way, Brennan positions himself as a non-party figure, claiming that his program of destroying terrorists at a distance should have bipartisan moral support. Peter Lavelle, a political commentator with the RT television station, sees a sort of jealousy behind the Republicans’ non-acceptance of Brennan’s candidacy.

“It is very interesting that Republicans don’t like him because he is not “from them,” he is not a member of their group. I think it is almost perverse in a way. Here is an angel of death, Brennan, but he is not their angel of death,” Lavelle said.

The problem with Brennan’s drone program is that unpiloted killing planes, now much too familiar to the inhabitants of Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan, often destroy not only the terrorists, but also their relatives, friends and often just innocent bystanders. This kind of the so called collateral damage fuels anti-American sentiment in the Middle East, obviously putting new jihadists in the place of the destroyed ones.

The possibility of becoming the next aim of a soulless and invisible killing machine does irreparable damage to America’s image in the targeted countries. However, Brennan defended the drone program saying that there is no reliable sociological research that would establish a link between anti-Americanism and the use of drones. Obama sided with his adviser, and The New York Times even reported Obama’s fascination with the concept of “divine war” developed by the early Christian thinker Thomas of Aquines.

Obviously, the influence of Brennan, a Catholic by his Irish background and religious education, is at play here. But RT’s Peter Lavelle is not sure this kind of anti-terrorist fundamentalism can make up for a virtual absence of debate on the issue in the United States.

Peter Lavelle: “The window of debate is closing very, very quickly. And this is how American domestic policy will be played out on the domestic agenda – without a real debate. Because there is no foreign policy debate – I have been saying that for a long time time – but now it is becoming evident to many people. And Barak Obama remarkably, ironically enough, remarkably embodies that.”

Even if Brennan’s candidacy is not approved by the Senate, the mere fact of him becoming Obama’s initial choice of the CIA director does not bode well for pacifist forces in American society. The presidency of George Bush the junior acquired a bad symbol in the Guantanamo prison and secret CIA prisons in other countries. For Barak Obama, drone killings may become an even worse symbol.