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Iraq in flames; Barack Obama. Photo supplied

Obama gets new peace prize despite civilian drone casualties

Former US President Barack Obama has received another peace prize, but does he really deserve such a prize?

Published: August 19, 2018, 11:12 am

    The former president was named a Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope laureate recently. The award honors people who “work toward a more just and peaceful world”.

    According to the RFK nonprofit it was “honored to present Barack Obama” with the award. Ethel Kennedy will present America’s first black president with the award in December at the organisation’s annual gala.

    Obama said in response that Kennedy was one of his heroes. “Bobby Kennedy was one of my heroes,” Obama explained. “He was someone who showed us the power of acting on our ideals, the idea that any of us can be one of the ‘million different centers of energy and daring’ that ultimately combine to change the world for the better.”

    Former US President Barack Obama. Wikipedia

    But his words amount to mainly hot air, according to many. Obama already faced criticism for multiple human rights abuses during his tenure, after he was infamously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize just months into his presidency.

    Obama has mostly been harshly condemned for his embrace of drone warfare. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Obama killed nearly 1 000 civilians in more than 500 drone strikes during his presidency.

    “There were ten times more air strikes in the covert war on terror during President Barack Obama’s presidency than under his predecessor, George W. Bush,” according to the Bureau report. “Obama embraced the US drone programme, overseeing more strikes in his first year than Bush carried out during his entire presidency. A total of 563 strikes, largely by drones, targeted Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen during Obama’s two terms, compared to 57 strikes under Bush. Between 384 and 807 civilians were killed in those countries,” the Bureau noted.

    He has been lambasted for his troop surges in Iraq, creating favourable conditions for the rise of ISIS.

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