BAIHAN, YEMEN — While watching U.S. President Barack H. Obama deliver a solemnly worded apology and take responsibility for a botched drone strike in January that left two Al-Qaeda hostages — one American and one Italian — and four other Americans working with Al-Qaeda dead in the region between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Nadheer Kassab let out a deep sigh, or at least a sigh the likes of which apparitions can let out. That’s because Kassab was killed as part of a group of Yemenis celebrating the wedding of his third cousin in December of 2013, when a U.S. led drone strike rained down terror from above on Nadheer and his friends and family. As per its usual policy however, the United States government did not officially acknowledge the attack on the wedding party in Yemen, which makes Obama’s apology earlier this week for the botched drone strike in Pakistan even more surprising to Kassab.
“I mean, I was under the impression that U.S. simply does not take responsibility for their flying death robots,” Kassab told The Political Garbage Chute. “But hey, I think this is a real step in the right direction, and I’m sure Obama’s apology to me must be lost in the mail somewhere,” Nadheer told us. “At first, when that Hellfire missile slammed into my pickup truck as I was living my normal life, celebrating the wedding of a loved one, I was a little angry, I’ll admit,” Kassab said. “And for the last couple years I’ve been seething here in my mortal tomb, but now that I see Obama’s feeling bad about killing civilians in drone strikes all of a sudden, I’m sure my hand-written, tear-stained apology is winging its way across the Atlantic to me right now, so I’m not bitter at all.”
Kassab did note one difference between the other roughly 2,400 victims of extra-judicial American drone strikes that he’s a part of and the deaths that Obama apologized for earlier in the week. “We were all citizens of foreign Arab countries, and not Americans,” Kassab said, “so that would make total sense as to why we didn’t actually exist to him before, during or after that plane obliterated me and my family members.” Does that make Nadheer bitter toward the U.S.? “Of course not,” he told us.
“I mean, I’m dead, so nothing makes me bitter, nothing makes me sad, nothing makes me happy, nothing makes me miss my wife, nothing makes me hungry, nothing makes me horny,” Nadheer continued. “My brothers, father, cousins though? They’re pissed. You might say watching us die at the hands of America’s military industrial complex made some of them radically angry at the U.S., yes. But hey, it’s super cool that Obama took the time out of his busy schedule to acknowledge this one, particular, specific drone strike that happened to leave an innocent American — and not dozens of innocent foreign civilians — dead. That’s hope and change, isn’t it?”
Through it all though, Nadheer is hopeful his American apology will get to him soon. “Sure, it won’t do anything to bring me back from the dead,” Kassab told our reporter, “but it could bring comfort to my family and friends. Some of them are really pissed about the drone strikes. They tend to make more terrorists out of people who see their loved ones, innocent bystanders who are at worst simply related to a suspected terrorist — a suspect who has not had their day in one of your courts I might add — and that seems kind of counterproductive to the whole ‘stamp out terrorism’ thing,” Nadheer told us as we were wrapping up the interview.
“The bottom line is that 9/11, the terrorist attack that inspired all the drone strikes, killed just under 3,000 people all told. I should say that those are books that should not be balanced, and yet, in another 500 or so deaths, that’s exactly what will happen. Of course, I don’t expect many Americans to keep that little nugget in mind when the next terrorist group perpetrates the next attack on American soil, but believe me, the next generation of terrorists will have that particular score in mind,” Kassab said.
“But still, it’s nice to see Obama apologize for 1/1200th of the lives he’s taken. I guess that’s what ‘due process’ means in the 21st century…a drone missile up your ass and a cold shoulder when explanations are asked for,” Kassab bade us farewell, and slipped back into The Force.