As the oldest living FPer (to my knowledge), apart from Sarah Proud & Tall, may I suggest Mark Ames’ latest dispatch at NSFWCorp for your evening reading?
It’s hard to have a serious conversation about America’s drone assassination policy when no one seems to have a basic grasp of recent history. This cultural amnesia epidemic is starting to get me down— which is partly my fault for paying more than two minutes’ attention to Twitter at a single go.
The problem starts with Reagan, as problems so often do. Most people on the left take for granted that Reagan’s executive order 12333 “banned assassinations” — which is not just a false interpretation, but really awful mangling of one of the dark turning points in modern American history.
That same ignorance of the history of assassination policy runs right through today, with the repetition of another myth: That President Obama’s extrajudicial drone-assassinations of American citizens is “unprecedented” and “radical” and that “not even George Bush targeted American citizens.”
The truth is a lot worse and a lot more depressing.
To understand the backstory to Reagan’s deceptive “assassination ban” in 1981, you have to know a bit about what was going on in the 70s, that brief period of American Glasnost, in the aftermath of Watergate and the military’s collapse after losing Vietnam…
What started the assassination policy trend that frames today’s politics was a slip-up by President Ford. It’s a real-life Chevy Chase moment, only instead of stumbling over his podium and crashing to the floor for laughs, the real President Ford called a “meet ‘n’ greet” with the New York Times’ top editors, wherein the President “slipped” and “blurted out” that he hoped they never found out about the CIA assassination program — an assassination program that none of them had ever seriously suspected until President Ford blurted it out over lunch….
dance around in your bones
Illya Kuryakin! I had such a crush on that guy back in the day. The Man From U.N.C.L.E.!!
And of course, I have a deep abiding love for Leonard Cohen. Now, back to actually reading the post.
ETA: Spock sighting, too! Woo hoo!
Oh jesusfuck. Really? You’re comparing a measured, honest and apparently effective policy with the right paramilitary props of the 1970s and 1980s?
You want to stand around and wring your hands over the fact that Obama is not willing to stand around while talking sepulchurally about sending sternly worded missives to rogue states that harbor non state terror actors, all while Team R gleefully eviscerates the left for being clueless on ensuring stability and safety for Americans both home and abroad, then when they take over, go on massive military adventures which destabilize whole continents.
It makes me want to kick a hippie in the face.
@Todd: Yep, you’re a parody.
Paid, or freelance?
What a depressing article. Also, too, why couldn’t Carter have been a better leader. He had great instincts and ideas, he just couldn’t get folks behind him. What cudda been.
Ah well. Let the executions continue.
Watch out Hilary. Rand Paul 2016.
Nope. Just a guy who really hates Kumbaya, and very utilitarian in mindset.
Great song link! Leonard Cohen is most grievously neglected on this blog.
@lamh35: Kan I haz Ashley Judd to run against him in 2016? Plus Hillary to completely crush his spirit?
White Trash Liberal
Great article. It’s as if COINTELPRO never existed in modern eyes.
Framing the civil liberties debate and the greater national security/imperial power struggle into a scorecard is both stupid and damaging. The United States has an ongoing civil liberties problem combined with aggressive trade and military expansionism. The same mindset that animated the Indian Removal Act is there behind Japanese Internment and Gitmo.
Our government expands its military and trade power, and resistance becomes the enemy. Until we can collectively shrug off the Exceptionalist Narrative and relinquish empire, this conundrum (and subsequent abuse) of power will persist.
But scoring cheap shots about Obots and purity feels better because it absolves personal responsibility in a baptism of hipster pissings.
I, of course, can’t speak for her, but I’m thinking SP&T may have something to say about this bold assertion.
White Trash Liberal
The firebaggers have their marching orders. It’s amazing how many are closet Paultards.
Forty years ago, I met a guy in a bar whose name was Leonard Cohen. The next night we met for dinner in a ritzy place and several folks wanted an autograph. He said they thought he was another Leonard Cohen. Long story short, it was an odd experience and he asked me out again and I said no. .
I absolutely loved the songs he wrote for Roberta Flack though
edit.. also, too.. at my age now, I wouldn’t be so uppity and would go out again
@White Trash Liberal: It’s amazing how many are closet Paultards.
Not now that they’ve come out about it several times.
Ted Cruz reading tweets on the Senate floor. Where’s the love for Senator Cruz’s principled stand? Paul/Cruz 2016!
efgoldman’s like a billion years old, Anne.
Actually, if you want to be intellectually honest, the history of bringing military force to bear on domestic belligerents begins with George Washington and Whiskey Rebellion of 1791.
@lamh35: Paul is more than willing to throw civil liberties out the window when it comes to women’s rights.
@SiubhanDuinne: how’s your foot?
@SiubhanDuinne: Whoops! Corrected…
Rand Paul may oppose the Civil Rights Act, which conferred the full rights of citizenship to an entire class of people, and affected the lives of millions for the better.
But on the other hand, he likes to pull his pud about hypothetical drone strikes…
And our (white) progressive betters all know which one matters most.
He’s not real keen on black folks either, which explains Greenwald’s Rand crush.
Kumbaya, m’lord, Kumbaya….
A conservative Facebook friend of mine just posted a “RAND FOR PRESIDENT” posting linked to fucking Michele Bachman’s website.
First, I fully support Paul as a candidate. Yes, I know, careful what you wish for but I think he would be a disaster. Second, I think for conservatives this is Ruby Ridge or Waco. The Government will spy on minutemen and doomsday preppes building up weapons stockpiles while trying to take our guns bullshit.
If drones were taking out nothing but Muslims, they wouldn’t care if the drones were dropping bombs in the middle of walmart’s parking lot as long as no real murikans were hurt.
But Carter loved Droones.
When he became president he made the controversial and brave decision of canceling production of the B-1 bomber (for which he was raked over the coals), and instead shifting the slated money into producing cruise missles. Cruise missiles are nothing more that really fast and really big dronez. Dronze typically carry 2 hellfire missiles with 18 lbs warheads, while a cruise missile carries a 2,000 lib warhead.
It was Carter who led the country away from manned missions to unmanned planes. And he was right.
Now of course fear of robots has broken out among 15% progressives. It’s the greatest irony, they’ve reversed their 1970s position against heavy bombers and now fear UAVs but are comfortable with the once dreaded super bombers.
@Redshirt: But he’s not a front-pager, that I know of.
said before, will say it again.
I just don’t give two shyts about drones.
It’s kind of fascinating in that story that reporters at the time were so fixated on their conviction that the US government was ordering assassinations inside the US, they almost missed the real story.
And, yes, now we have the facts to push away any malinformed idiot who tries to claim that Obama is somehow worse than Reagan or either Bush when it comes to this shit.
He’s not so crazy about the browns either.
He was channeling his inner Pat Buchanan, when he wrote…
“Current illegal immigration – whereby unmanageably endless hordes of people pour over the border in numbers far too large to assimilate, and who consequently have no need, motivation or ability to assimilate – renders impossible the preservation of any national identity.”
It’s totally progressive to fear the “hordes” tainting our “national identity”.
I’ve said before that the Pauls are the modern day version of Barry Goldwater. They’re out of sync with the Republican mainstream on some select issues, but they’re still completely fucking crazy overall. And even on those issues where they disagree with their party, they’re not necessarily better.
Case in point: what did Ron Paul say we should have done after 9/11 instead of invading Afghanistan? “Issued letters of marque and reprisal,” which is eighteenth century speak for chartering a privateer. How does that translate into the twenty first century? Near as I can see, it means “leave the U.S. military at home, and issue Blackwater a hunting license instead.” Does anyone think that would’ve turned out any better than what George Bush actually did?
I too share your loathing for Kumbaya but damned if that comment wasn’t Kumbaya worthy!
Also, too, I think this point was being debated in one of the threads below:
That is, I admit, one of the things I really don’t get about the anti-drone crowd. Are cluster bombs more moral than drones because they’re dropped by a human pilot?
Aren’t there plenty of other far less retching folks out there who have spoken out against PBO’s drone policy, if in fact that policy bothers you?
Why the hard on for such a disgustingly vile, racist, xenophobic piece of trash like Rand Paul? Is it the cognitive dissonance of someone who has such completely opposite viewpoints to the average progressive that people just get caught up in the shock of +OMG I agree with Rand Paul on something!!!!+ that they can’t help but pat him on the back?
@Anne Laurie: D’uh, me. You win, I lose. I bow in deference. How old are you again?
If I thought for even a microsecond that Rand Paul actually cared about this issue, I might applaud. However, we know otherwise.
Paul’s stunt is about as useful as the wingnut law professors’ amicus brief in Windsor saying that the Supremes should invalidate Section 3 of DOMA because it’s not within Congress’ enumerated powers.
@dance around in your bones:
OMG, me too! David McCallum, YUM!
@Redshirt: In addition, he, like SP&T, is fictional.
The rampant white privilege of the internet left.
@Chris: uncertain. As nasty as black water is, they would have been turned away as terrorists from those places that didn’t want them. They aren’t large enough to shock and awe and they pretty much need an invitation to do things.
@Mnemosyne: what people actually don’t like is too few people having the chance to affect the decision to use a drone. And that’s legitimate, I think. The trouble is that saying it that way makes it impossible to say neato things about robots.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@lamh35: If people thought about it for a moment, though, they would know what Rand Paul’s drone policy would be: Using drones against workers. Thanks to someone earlier for linking to that bit of history or the use of military force against West Virginia coal mine workers attempting to unionize.
Sore. Tender. I think some ankle ligaments or something are borked. But I can walk without a cane now, so I don’t think I have long-term worries. Still, if it’s still this achy next week, i’ll seek out a podiatrist for expert evaluation.
How are YOU? We need to find some enticing academic conference in Atlanta so we can have a meet-up with John Cole. Why should the Texas folks have all the joy?
@Hal: but keep in mind that anytime Obama makes common cause with a Republican about something, that’s a sign that he’s a heretic to the cause.
What concerns me is private drone armies. Exxon Mobile surely has good cause for drones to “monitor” their pipelines in Africa and other dangerous places, right?
Soon enough, the Corporate Armies will be with us. And what then?
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@FlipYrWhig: I still haven’t figured out how that’s any different than, say, a policeman’s use of a gun, or the president being able to call up the national guard in order to deal with domestic threats.
dance around in your bones
The turtleneck, the gorgeous eyes! Who cared if he was supposedly a Russky?
Robert Vaughn was vanilla pudding in comparison.
I didn’t get through the entire article, but I loved this part:
f space that
@Belafon (formerly anonevent): E fucking xactly.
@burnspbesq: it’s a complete stunt. but hey, it’s enough for some people. there are much more principled people who have issues with the drone program to comment rather than Rand “i would not voter for civil rights act” Paul and by virtue of being his co-filibusterer Ted Cruz, who most compared to McCarthy, and now ya got people like this email TPM received commending Cruz for getting to Holder or something.
Clinton had his black helicopters and FEMA camps, Obama has his DRONES!
@SiubhanDuinne: I definitely agree. Texas is a red state and so is GA so he should feel right at home.
@Cacti: For the record, I think Rand Paul’s an arsehole, too.
But that’s not what this post is about.
I’ve been staggered by the slice of progressive who have broken into a fevered fear of robots. Ironically, those people are also technophiles who love gadgets.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@srv: But I don’t remember a number of people on the left nodding their heads in agreement over the black helicopters.
@Belafon (formerly anonevent): They were pretty outraged with the Waco BBQ.
@Anne Laurie: You realise, of course, once she has recovered from her gimlet-soaked hiatus, that she shall be along to plague you with various random Australian pop songs. It might just be epic.
the general applause and support for President Kill List’s death sentences for innocent civilians around here is sickening, but completely unsurprising.
I have no shortage of problems with Eric Holder (for the latest example, http://www.lawfareblog.com/2013/03/doj-seeks-rehearing-en-banc-in-bahlul-seeks-to-overturn-hamdan-ii/), but as long as the OLC memos (which, amazingly, have not leaked after being given to the intelligence communities) say what I think they say, this isn’t one of them.
Acquainted as I am with firebaggerdom in all its many splendored fuckerisms, I have to say that it absolutely boggles my mind that anyone with two coherent, intellectually consistent brain cells to rub together would embrace the farce of Rand Paul as a spokesperson for any kind of principled position at all.
This is not “right thing for wrong reasons.” This is not “SOMEONE had to say it.” This is just flat out as stupid as it gets.
Have you thrown your panties at the new great white hope of the left yet?
Rand is so dreamy.
Seriously? Name ONE “innocent civilian” who has been targeted. Or, alternatively, prove that U.S. forces have failed to take reasonable measures to minimize collateral damage.
If you can’t to that, then legally and morally you have no argument, so you can just SD&SU.
because Ayn Rand is a racist shithead (or because other Presidents ordered assassinations, or because Glenn Greenwald is the anti-christ) then I am totally cool with drone strikes on civilians whose crimes against America include gathering firewood and milking goats.
/average BJ Commenter
Rand(y) “Ayn” Paul is the culmination of America. We are blessed to live in such fascinating times!
dance around in your bones
@eemom: Totally agree.
I was gonna make some comment on his curly-do hair, but realized it was less onerous than his political positions. Fuck the hair.
But like all truuuue loooove, one day it withered on the vine.
@some guy: there are more actual principle people who are not fans of the drone policy who deserve much more attention that racist ass Rand Paul or the second coming of McCarthy Ted Cruz.
the objection is not to the discussion, it’s to the complete pardon of the 95% of the time that Paul and Cruz are RWNJ scum.
I get people who are not happy with the drone program. But being willing to lie with the devil ’cause this one time he said what u wanted to hear is gonna just come back to bite one in the ass.
nice, now I understand why you earn the big bucks showing clients how to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
and of course President Kill Lists targets are always on the mark:
Eric Holder is a more patient man than I. I would have told Sen. Paul “I’m done playing Calvinball with you. If you have an actual question, based on observable reality, that you would like to ask, I will be happy to provide an answer if I can do so without revealing classified information. Otherwise, we’re done.” And stood up, waited 30 seconds for a real question, and if none came, walked out.
@some guy: You paint with a mighty broad brush there, hoss. From what I have seen, commenters here run the gamut from wholesale support of the program as it stands to total and complete condemnation of all aspects of it. But don’t let reality get in the way of your snit.
Nice strawman. If you find someone who thinks that comparison is important, you’ll have a fun debate on your hands.
We don’t generally use cluster bombs for assassinations because they’re made for combat. We use drones for assassinations.
The moral question is simple: it’s immoral to kill people. That’s been the general idea of the progress of civilisation over the millennia. We might agree that in certain cases the immorality must be accepted in service of some greater good, but the morality isn’t in question.
Except in blood-thirsty empires it seems. Home, sweet home.
and now here comes McConnell.
I notice that you answered a question other than the question that was asked. You may have a future in media relations.
My clients pay their fair share of taxes. They pay it to the country in which the income is earned, which isn’t always the United States. If you don’t like that, take it up with Congress.
DiFi’s claim about suingle digit civilian deaths has also been widely disputed.
From the Post:
@lamh35: CUE THE SCREAMING GUITARS!!
this shit is a joke!
No, I was talking mostly about the BJ Center Right Fight Club. what amazes me is how progressive most of the front pagers here are, and how conservative so many of the commenters are. It’s a striking disparity I see at so few other blogs/
Now be fair, he said “/average BJ Commenter”, not *all* BJ Commenters.
Not sure how to do a weighted average on this, but the vitriol of the pro-drone-assassination regulars here must push that average up a bit.
Now who’s building strawmen? It’s immoral to kill without just cause. The words you conveniently forgot are the key to the conversation, if you really want to have a useful conversation.
Either that is a nice fairy tale you tell yourself to go to sleep at night or you are a really shitty tax avoidance lawyer.
Single air raids in WWII, the last “good war” killed 20 times the total of all of those years combined.
Do you have some sort of point?
Are there actually people out there saying that it’s unprecedented for the federal government to order the killing of a US citizen on US soil? I’m not only old enough to remember the Church committee, I’m old enough to remember Fred Hampton, though luckily not old enough to remember the Civil War.
For the record: I do not think that the government’s war on the Panthers, or its various wars on strikers, or the Palmer raids, etc., are comparable to what’s going on now. The drone strikes are being carried out under the AUMF. It was stupid to write the AUMF in such a way that it was essentially endless and boundary-less, but there we are. I think Congress should revoke it, or at least give it a sunset provision.
I also think, as I seem to myself to keep saying, that we really, really need to figure out how to deal with war-like uses of military force against non-states. What’s going on now strikes me less as OMG he’s killing people, which never happens in a war!, and more as though in some fit of idiocy we’d declared war on the Nazi Party instead of Germany, and found ourselves still chasing people through Paraguay all these years later.
Finally, I also think it’s hard to talk about this without recognizing the enormous incentives on a President to err on the side of the safety of US citizens. In a sane world, if some jerk managed to set off a bomb inside the US, we’d seriously ask whether this reflected some lapse on the part of some official, and there would be people we’d trust to undertake that investigation. In this world, any Democrat on whose watch this happened would be crucified, and the party and everything it stands for would suffer for decades. I am not saying that I agree with the calculations of a President who decides not to run that risk, but I do understand them.
@some guy: Actually, the goal of any ethical tax attorney in private practice should be to reduce his or her clients’ taxes to the minimum amount that they are legally required to pay. When you do your taxes do you skip over deductions that you could take? If not, why would you expect others to do so?
Remind us again about the education, knowledge, and experience that you would bring to a conversation about international tax law.
You’re flailing, and I’m laughing.
@hilzoy: And this is why we miss you. Well said.
The prophet Nostradumbass
@hilzoy: Well said.
What about helicopter drones?
They already exist and will be the next move because they’re inexpensive.
Thanks for hitting the nail squarely on the head.
You are familiar with the history of this blog, right? Before sometime later in the second Bush administration ( 2007? or 08? ) Balloon-Juice was a solid right wing funhouse, somewhat more rightwing then Tacitus, less so then FreeRepublic, and always more varied and entertaining then either.
John Cole’s Come To Jesus moment was epic.
Really, you’ve never heard anyone complain about “robot killers” and insist that bombing is more moral because at least the pilot is at physical risk?
I guess the author of the article that AL linked to is also an idiot strawman-builder since it was his comparison that I quoted.
Well, at least you have an actual objection other than “killer robots.”
Let’s look at the specific case of al-Awlaki for a moment. He was holed up in Yemen where neither we nor the Yemeni government could reach him. He was heavily involved in plotting terrorist attacks against both US and non-US targets. He could not be tried in the United States because trials in absentia are illegal here.
So, what was your plan? Should we have left him alone until he had a successful attack? And then what? The same problems of him being in an inaccessible area where he could not be arrested still would have existed after a successful attack. Would an assassination have been acceptable after a successful attack, or is assassination never justified?
If someone tries to murder me, and I kill them instead, is that automatically immoral?
We were at war with the Nazis. With Pakistani goatherders, not so much. But sure, apples are almost the same as oranges, they are both fruit, right?
@Cacti: As if the two — WWII air raids and Pakistan drone strikes — are in some way parallel points for consideration.
It just makes no sense to argue that the level of violence appropriate in an all out war between nations justifies the bombing of civilians while trying to find bad guys.
I did reference that, except it’s not that just cause makes the killing moral, it’s that it makes the immorality acceptable.
It’s hard to read every word when you get angry. I try to re-read before replying especially when I’m angry.
so you are saying it’s a fairy tale he tells himself to be able to sleep at night, my thought as well.
now all these Senators are coming to floor to join in this “principled” filibuster of Rand
I contend that Paul doesn’t give two shits about Obama’s drone policy.
@some guy: Ayn Rand is in Congress now? Man I’ve missed a lot
@Joey Giraud: FWIW my biggest problem with the drone program right now is akin to the issue you brought up in a previous thread. I suspect that whatever goals we are accomplishing by the use of drones are being outweighed by the anger that they are stirring up. A program that does does more harm than good is not a good one. Most of the specific objections that people raise to the drone program can be remedied by more stringent control measures, more transparency, etc. But if the program effectively works as a recruiting tool for our “enemies, ” it doesn’t do us much good.
The Aqua Buddha must be sacrificed to! All moochers and looters are to report to the pyres immediately.
@some guy: No, that was not what I said. What is more, you know that.
And if your hypothetical Pakistani goatherder allows people with whom we are at war to live in his house and store their weapons in his shed, then what?
The simple, black-and-white world of your imagination is not the world that actually exists. If you want to get beyond wishing for magic unicorns to solve all the world’s problems and have a real conversation about real issues, there will be plenty of people here who will be happy to have that conversation. Right now, you’re being profoundly unserious.
Wait, can father and son both be on the same ticket? You can get the new Rand Paul’s the man coverts (like Van Jones and Cenk Unger) and the usual Ron Paul lovers all on one ticket. That is a winning coalition….right? Paul/Paul 2016???
yummy, Kool Aid is now being served. everybody have a cup, it tastes great and is definitely less filling
So every German civilian casualty was a member of the NSDP?
That’s very interesting, considering they never won more than 230 of 608 seats in a legitimate parliamentary election.
List of children killed by drone strikes in Pakistan
Compiled from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports
Name | Age | Gender
Noor Aziz | 8 | male
Abdul Wasit | 17 | male
Noor Syed | 8 | male
Wajid Noor | 9 | male
Syed Wali Shah | 7 | male
Ayeesha | 3 | female
Qari Alamzeb | 14| male
Shoaib | 8 | male
Hayatullah KhaMohammad | 16 | male
Tariq Aziz | 16 | male
Sanaullah Jan | 17 | male
Maezol Khan | 8 | female
Nasir Khan | male
Naeem Khan | male
Naeemullah | male
Mohammad Tahir | 16 | male
Azizul Wahab | 15 | male
Fazal Wahab | 16 | male
Ziauddin | 16 | male
Mohammad Yunus | 16 | male
Fazal Hakim | 19 | male
Ilyas | 13 | male
Sohail | 7 | male
Asadullah | 9 | male
khalilullah | 9 | male
Noor Mohammad | 8 | male
Khalid | 12 | male
Saifullah | 9 | male
Mashooq Jan | 15 | male
Nawab | 17 | male
Sultanat Khan | 16 | male
Ziaur Rahman | 13 | male
Noor Mohammad | 15 | male
Mohammad Yaas Khan | 16 | male
Qari Alamzeb | 14 | male
Ziaur Rahman | 17 | male
Abdullah | 18 | male
Ikramullah Zada | 17 | male
Inayatur Rehman | 16 | male
Shahbuddin | 15 | male
Yahya Khan | 16 |male
Rahatullah |17 | male
Mohammad Salim | 11 | male
Shahjehan | 15 | male
Gul Sher Khan | 15 | male
Bakht Muneer | 14 | male
Numair | 14 | male
Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
Ihsanullah | 16 | male
Luqman | 12 | male
Jannatullah | 13 | male
Ismail | 12 | male
Taseel Khan | 18 | male
Zaheeruddin | 16 | male
Qari Ishaq | 19 | male
Jamshed Khan | 14 | male
Alam Nabi | 11 | male
Qari Abdul Karim | 19 | male
Rahmatullah | 14 | male
Abdus Samad | 17 | male
Siraj | 16 | male
Saeedullah | 17 | male
Abdul Waris | 16 | male
Darvesh | 13 | male
Ameer Said | 15 | male
Shaukat | 14 | male
Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
Salman | 12 | male
Fazal Wahab | 18 | male
Baacha Rahman | 13 | male
Wali-ur-Rahman | 17 | male
Iftikhar | 17 | male
Inayatullah | 15 | male
Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
Ihsanullah | 16 | male
Luqman | 12 | male
Jannatullah | 13 | male
Ismail | 12 | male
Abdul Waris | 16 | male
Darvesh | 13 | male
Ameer Said | 15 | male
Shaukat | 14 | male
Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
Adnan | 16 | male
Najibullah | 13 | male
Naeemullah | 17 | male
Hizbullah | 10 | male
Kitab Gul | 12 | male
Wilayat Khan | 11 | male
Zabihullah | 16 | male
Shehzad Gul | 11 | male
Shabir | 15 | male
Qari Sharifullah | 17 | male
Shafiullah | 16 | male
Nimatullah | 14 | male
Shakirullah | 16 | male
Talha | 8 | male
when will those hateful 3 year olds stop aiding and abetting Al Qaeda?
@Cacti: Even more fun, what about the Czechs (for example) who got blown up during bombing raids?
@some guy: No one is denying that innocent people are killed during drone attacks. Innocent people have been killed during every war throughout history. It one really good reason to be careful about the decision to go to war.
Look, if you have no good answer to the question, just admit that you have no good answer to the question. If you have an answer to the question, let’s hear it.
Wow, I’m just done.
It’s just amazing to me that Rand Paul of all people has created the usual circular firing squads that the left is so fond of.
I totally understand people objections to the drone program, per se, but to align yourselves with Rand Paul of all people, ugh.
That’s not principles, that just dumb.
I’m just wait til next week, when Rand Paul goes back to his usual anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-black, anti-latino M.O. I’m gonna enjoy reminding people of the love of Mr Paul tonight.
@some guy: They were coming right for us.
It’s different when nations Stand Their Ground.
Do you really think it needs to be said that killing innocent people is bad? Jesus Christ with this. That’s not the issue, and you know it. The issue is how to put appropriate checks on the president’s war powers. At some point will we actually talk about how to accomplish this? ETA : @ some guy
Thanks for the good faith.
Yeah, I have heard that argument, that morality is contingent on the killer being in personal danger. I used to make that argument, then I realized that it’s simpler and more logical to accept that killing is always immoral, but immoral acts may be necessary at times. It’s also in sync with legal conventions regarding justifiable homicide.
Then the debate turns on deciding what is justifiable, not on moral distinctions. Seems to me that approach should lead to clearer thinking.
I think a big difference between us is that I don’t consider these stories to be reliable. In other words, I don’t buy them.
Our government agencies and military and media have repeatedly been caught red-handed making up shit about situations in distant places where we can’t get reliable alternate reports.
It was pretty obvious to me in 1989, and anyone else who knew the red-scare was a bunch of fear-mongering baloney, that the end of the Cold War meant that our war industry needed a new boogie-man ( and I don’t mean John Travola. ) There were stories in the NYT and WP at the time pretty much coming out and saying; “America’s new threat… terrorism?”
There is no need for any dark and spooky theories, there’s plenty in the public record, “terrorism” is great for scaring us into handing our cash over. And that’s also a reason why I have grave doubts about damn near every scary story used to justify more ordinance expenditure.
I’m sorry you seem to be genuinely concerned about terrorism. I would counsel you to relax and worry less.
Well yeah, and I would expect if you were a moral person you would and should feel bad about it. I would.
But I doubt anyone would condemn or punish you for it, and I wouldn’t either. It’s your cross to bear.
@lamh35: Cillizza is a clown.
@Joey Giraud: self-defense is “immoral”? That’s a… Unique view.
So in a country where, on average, 16,259 people are murdered every year, I’m supposed to be upset and outraged that an average of 40 civilians a year died in drone strikes over the past 5 years?
On average, 18 people are killed by guns every single day in this country.
We beat that combined 5-year total of civilian deaths from Yemen and Pakistan in the first 12 days of 2013 thanks to Newtown. And yet we’re the ones who are callous when we get upset over gun violence in the US instead of drone strikes?
Then we pretty much agree on that point.
are easier to imagine then to implement, as our current military is inherently opaque, and rather beyond oversight.
For support, I would reference the inability of the Pentagon to be audited.
@Hill Dweller: oh Cilizza ain’t the only one. There are some “left-leaning” journos also giving Paul political kudos and opening condemning Dem Senators (other than Wyden) for not joining the filibuster. One of the clowns even said it was sad no Dem Senators were joining the filibuster, since this “goes beyond partisanship”.
Really, really. Mitch McConnell, Rubio, Paul, Cruz et al are filbustering based soley on principle…no partisanship in this bunch…yeah
@FlipYrWhig: No, the point he is making is that any killing is immoral. It may be justified by circumstances or less immoral than the alternative, but it is still immoral. It fits with how self-defense is treated in criminal law. It is an affirmative defense; the defendant has to prove it.
The prophet Nostradumbass
Gun violence in the US isn’t useful to him for his purposes.
We may be splitting hairs, but I reject your framing. Killing with just cause is a moral act, which Catholic theology tells us is not sinful. Just war theory, which goes back to the Mahabharata, Cicero, and St. Augustine, addresses this.
If you want to argue about whether the Afghan conflict is within the definition of just war postulated by St. Thomas Aquinas, that is very much an argument worth having (no serious person, I think, would contend that the Iraq war was just). But the idea that no war can be just, or that no killing can be moral, is a non-starter.
I agree with that outlook, actually. I would rank killing as “necessary” sometimes, but never as “good,” pretty much no matter who is being killed or how. To quote Carter: “War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it will always be an evil, never a good.”
All we need is a Congress that is willing to… Oh, I see your point.
@Omnes Omnibus: I don’t think I’d use the word “immoral” for that, but I think I see the distinction.
The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik
OT, but I believe it’s pretty damn important:
Arkansas legislature overrides veto of 12-week abortion ban, officially making it the strictest ban in the nation.
Groups are gonna challenge it in federal court, but good fucking christ.
apples and oranges:
both are yummy.
both grow on trees.
both are fruit.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@FlipYrWhig: It’s kind of a wave traveling through ether description, when the alternative, that it’s both not something you want to have happen yet might be necessary, is not acceptable. Otherwise you find out that humans suck, just like a vacuum.
Rand Paul has gotta continue the family grift, and this is all a part of it
@The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik: Yeah, they are crazy anti-abortions but how do they feel about drones?
Self-defence is a phrase referring to both killing *and* justification.
So the killing is immoral, and the fact that it’s under duress of being killed makes the immorality acceptable.
This isn’t that weird; most non-sociopathic people feel guilt after justifiable killing. It might be easier for them to understand why if people kept the morality separate from the justification.
I really don’t like to tie any two big ideas too tightly to one another, as such ties tend to cloud the mind, leading to mental anguish.
But that’s another topic, way out of scope.
@Chris: Uh, well, that’s starting to get into the same territory as “it’s never right to lie,” “oh yeah well what if you’re hiding someone from the Nazis,” etc.
Yeah, it’s always a matter of political will.
A republic if we can keep it, some wise ass once said.
@Joey Giraud: I would say that feelings of guilt are not good evidence about morality or immorality — you might feel guilt after reporting your abusive husband to the police, but it wasn’t immoral to do that, surely. Anyway, yes, this is becoming a digression.
@Anne Laurie: “But that’s not what this post is about.”
Oh, Dear me, Blogmother, but you of all people know that when the dipshits get their dander up, the last thing they want to discuss is what the post is actually about.
So 9/11 — an event that al-Awlaki was personally involved in — was all just a figment of our collective imagination and never actually happened? Well, that’s a relief.
I was genuinely concerned that the people who were personally involved in 9/11 — including al-Awlaki and bin Laden — had walked away scott free and were continuing to commit more terrorist attacks like the train bombings in London and Madrid. I had that fear all the way through 2008.
Oddly, I don’t really have that fear anymore. Huh.
IMO, we don’t have a drones problem right now. We have a “Clusterfuck in Afghanistan” problem. Ninety percent of our drones problem will be instantly solved as soon as we finish withdrawing our troops from that country, because we will no longer need to use drone strikes to protect those troops. I’m hoping that the recent demand from Afghanistan’s president that the US withdraw troops from certain provinces means that we will be leaving ahead of schedule.
@Omnes Omnibus: ” But don’t let reality get in the way of your snit.”
They never do.
@Belafon (formerly anonevent):@FlipYrWhig: I still haven’t figured out how that’s any different than, say, a policeman’s use of a gun, or the president being able to call up the national guard in order to deal with domestic threats.
The policeman’s use of a gun is supposed to be legally different. That’s an exercise of the domestic police power, and the police (or Feds) are not supposed to run around indiscriminately shooting people. (The ability to kill is supposed to be a limited to shooting people who are shooting at the police, and preventing immediate harm to a third party.) That was the problem with Ruby Ridge – the FBI issued some kind of shoot to kill order, and an FBI sniper splattered that poor lady’s brains all over the floor – while she was carrying a child, not a gun. That should’ve been chargeable as murder (and child endangerment!) because you aren’t supposed to shoot people who aren’t an immediate threat/unarmed.
When the Feds are exercising the war power, it’s a different deal – that’s covered by the laws of war. Inside the US that happens when you have martial law, and/or ‘insurrection’ or ‘invasion’.
The dude on the TV News was bitching that the fifth amendment prevents assassination. Behold:
Except that Congress can [Article One, Section Nine]: “declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;” and “provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;” and otherwise [Article One, Section Nine]: “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.” Also [Article One, Section Ten]: “No State shall […] engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.”
The upshot of which is that in the event that the President decides we’ve been invaded or there is a rebellion/insurrection, or if we’re at war and the enemy is in the United States, then he can order people shot without due process. Unless Congress limits his ability to do so, which they haven’t. Rather the opposite.
The Preznit (*any Preznit* included a reelected Jimmy Carter) can order that drones or other weapons be used to kill people if he says that there’s an invasion or a rebellion or Al Qaeda shows up, since we’re already at war with them.
If these guys want to change the rules that allow that, they should talk to their fucking Congressman. (And sincerely: good luck.) What any of that has to do with fucking Brennan is beyond me.
[‘They’d have to stop trying to slice the baloney infinitely thin first.’]
OK then, disagreeing about morality is the great game, isn’t it.
But I should say I always thought Just War theory was pure sophistry. And I have no desire to insult your Catholic faith, but The Church has quite a history of developing fairly devious rationalizations to morally support naked applications of power.
Good night BJ.
Can’t wait to hear the “walk of shame” confessions to come soon as Rand Paul filibusters the next Obama appointment choice. Or votes against the next bit of semi-progressive legislation of gay rights, women’s rights, minority rights ore his usual bullshit.
@lamh35: well yes. They have an issue that is politically embarrassing for the president and they might as well play it since this president has been fairly foolish at times when it comes to dah drones.
Also, too, Holder’s answer regarding drones in the US was just amazingly tone deaf and rather stupid if you ask me. OMG, had he just said “no” to the use of drones to target terror suspects operating in the US, we wouldn’t be wasting our time trying to speculate when we would want to use them. But no, we can’t have that answer.
While it is fun to mock the OMG dronz folks, I do think its time to start seriously undercutting folks like Holder and Brennan who are much more carcinogenic.
Jack Goldsmith makes some points worth making about the Paulist filibuster.
I don’t think everyone who disagrees with the drone program is an idiot. They should be part of the discussion, too.
If any of them start thinking that Rand Paul and Ted Cruz genuinely share their moral concerns, well, that’s when I start questioning their judgment.
I never thought of it that way, simply because I’ve never thought of lying as on par with killing (in and of themselves – one can cause the other, for example, but it needn’t), but I could live with that kind of formulation too. “Yes, dishonesty is an evil, but allowing innocent people to die is a greater evil” strikes me as a perfectly acceptable way to look at things.
Really? Hmm. It’s always seemed to me that feelings are the very root or morals. We rationalize to justify and understand, but feelings are the source.
You feel differently it seems.
Well isn’t loyalty also moral? Some people might ( do, I know for a fact, ) hold loyalty as a higher morality then prevention of violence.
Agreed. …. oh snap!
@Spaghetti Lee: yep. Pretty much. It’s like suddenly finding that you like Ann Coulter because she’s upset by long airport security checks and finding that while you’re upset because you could buy water more cheaply at the grocery store and have to pay for it at the Hudson News, she’s just mad because Muslims haven’t been rounded up and banned from flying.
Neither the first nor the last powerful institution that has sometimes failed to live its principles. Which is not a justification, but rather an observation.
Forum Transmitted Disease
I READ THIS LIST OF DEAD KIDZ ON A WEBSITE AND OBAMA KILLED THEM WITH DROOOOOOONEZ
But that won’t be a publicity-stunt filibuster, it’ll just be the “it takes 60 votes to pass anything now” type, so it’ll get no attention whatsoever.
Forum Transmitted Disease
OBAMA IS THE MOST EVIL PRESIDENT SINCE NIXON HAD HIS HEAD GRAFTED ONTO HITLER
Forum Transmitted Disease
OBAMA STAYS UP LATE AND GIGGLES ABOUT INNOCENT ARAB CHILDREN BEING BLOWN UP WITH DROOOOOONEZ
@Spaghetti Lee: exactly. that’s my whole issue with the whole Paul love all of a sudden (from people I kind respected, Van Jones, Maddow, Ari Melber…etc). When they openly admit that Rand Paul is a nut and 99.99999 he is completely wrong on every issue that we care about. Just last week, Ted Cruz was the second coming of McCarthyism, now he’s the guy who really “shook up” AG Holder.
Ok, which is it. Is Rand Paul and Ted Cruz completely crazy RWNJs or not?
There are more credible opponents of the drone program who should be getting mad props other than Rand “I woulda voted against the Civil Rights Act” Paul!
The prophet Nostradumbass
@Suffern ACE: I mean he could have said that we don’t need to use drones in the US because the FBI, which he runs, is perfectly capable of arresting people and bringing them to court without them, and that bombing safe houses in New Jersey isn’t a good idea anyway. Since the FBI is capable of doing so, just say “well no, they’re not constitutional” and hope your extraordinary hypothetical doesn’t make a liar out of you a few years down the road.
@Joey Giraud: it’s immoral to kill people. You do realize that humans make war, right? You do realize that whether you like it or not, morality is not as hard and fast as killing people is immoral?
Forum Transmitted Disease
RAND PAUL SHOULD BE PRESIDENT INSTEAD OF OBAMA BECAUSE HES MORE LIBERAL CAUSE HE HATES DROOOOOONEZ
@lamh35: That would require the ability to feel shame, which is generally tied to conscience, intellectual honesty, and some level of maturity.
Don’t hold your breath.
What did Cruz do to get Holder “shook up”?
@Forum Transmitted Disease: but it was the international institute of investigative journalizm! Do not distrespect my authoritiii.
Someone should send a tweet to Rand Paul that they are only killing brown people and workers w/dronze. He’d give up in a heartbeat
see here: @Suffern ACE:
and here: Fans for Cruz?
Every story you read but didn’t personally experience exists in your mind as a instance of imagination. I didn’t say figment because I’m trying to stress that whether it’s accurate or not, it’s still just a story.
These stories we’ve been told probably contain many true things, and I’m sure you’ll agree they have false things in them too.
But if you trace sources, as I have a few time, say from Wikipedia to a news paper to a reporter to a source, you’ll find that virtually without exception the primary source of terrorism data comes from some part of our security state. And our security state has been shown to have friendly and like-minded reporters in various news organizations here and abroad, and also friends in academia. For a perspective on how this helps maintain public support for various projects, read Edward Bernays’ “Manufacturing of Consent.” To entice you to do so, I’ll tell you that Bernays was no Chomsky, almost the exact opposite.
A long winded way to say; I just don’t “buy” it, although I’m not going to call anyone who does a fool or an idiot.
This modern propaganda ( a word popularised by Bernays ) is pretty strong stuff. No one is invulnerable, and I don’t claim to be.
@Joey Giraud: OK, last example. I certainly felt guilty when we made the decision to have our sick cat euthanized. But it wasn’t an immoral act or an immoral decision, even if it meant hastening the death of a living creature.
Okay, good to know I don’t have to take anything else you say seriously now that I know you’re a Troofer. Goodbye.
The prophet Nostradumbass
@Joey Giraud: Oh, you’re a 9/11 Truther. Nice to know, for future reference.
I’m really going to bed now.
But I’m thinking a Rand Paul/Dick Cheney ticket could really be hard to beat. They can run on drones/gay marriage.
It’s just funny to me that as okay as Cheney is on gay marriage, don’t see too much support for Cheney otherwise (and for good reason…Cheny is evil incarnate)…I’m just sayin’
Good night guys.
Looks like Rand finally threw in the towel.
I interpret this as saying morality isn’t as *simple* as saying that “killing people is immoral.”
And if you’re blending morality and justification together into a single idea, I understand. Two things together aren’t simple.
@The prophet Nostradumbass:
You’re a couple of funny guys.
No, I don’t claim to have any truths about 9/11.
I just know what I think is not true.
So you can call me a 9/11 Not-Truther.
Sorry if you can’t see the difference. Pity that no one has yet invented corrective lenses for the mind.
The prophet Nostradumbass
@Joey Giraud: I may be “a funny guy”, but you’re silly. Couching your Trooferism in vague language doesn’t make it any less silly or stupid.
I wouldn’t write off this filibuster. This is one of the few efforts by the GOP that is actually aligned with public sentiment. It’s not a huge issue with the public, but it’s definitely a departure by the GOP toward something which is not insane.
It doesn’t matter if Paul cares about this issue or not, or if it’s political or what. What matters is how it’s viewed. I trust that they’ll still mange to fuck it all up, but at the same time, they may learn from this.
It would be good if Dems got ahead of it. If it was any Dem up there doing this, we’d be cheering them on.
This one really confuses me; putting an ill animal down isn’t even close to immoral.
Are you arguing in good faith?
Stupid question. I forgot I was at Balloon-Juice.
The prophet Nostradumbass
Impressive there, contradicting yourself in two sentences right next to each other.
Unfortunately, I think you’re confused about the public sentiment with which this filibuster is aligned. It’s aligned with the “black helicopters/gubbmint iz coming for mah gunz!” public sentiment, not the “why the hell are we bombing civilians in Pakistan?” public sentiment.
I honestly don’t think that Paul or Cruz are going to be able to pull off a swing to the mainstream when they start from the NRA conspiracy theory side.
@Joey Giraud: You just got through establishing that all acts resulting in another’s death are by definition immoral. If so, that counts, and you should be telling me that, yes, it was immoral, but it was less immoral than the alternative, and that my feeling guilty was evidence of the deed’s immorality. Whatever, it’s tangential now.
@The prophet Nostradumbass:
Ooh, you got me there!
Really though, you’re equating being sceptical about government and media reporting with having proof that George W. Bush personally pushed the button that blew up the Pentagon or some other such nonsense.
One more time and I’ll have to call you a dirty name.
Oh forget it. You’re not going to pull my chain tonight. EOL.
@? Martin: concern over drones, war powers and terror suspects is aligned with public sentiment? Not according to anything I’ve ever seen on the subject.
@? Martin: Ron Wyden was a part of it in the beginning. Didn’t see much cheering for him. It’s all about how beneficial this was for Paul.
Dick Durbin did join a bit an try to actual start debate, but Paul conceded his points. Why??? It was a stunt to draw attention.
You say many people. Who are these people? When you say many, you mean the blogosphere and the twitterverse and basically partisan media.
You random average American does not care about this, and Rand Paul’s filibuster stunt (let’s call it what it was) will not change that.
What is has done is put played the old “slight of hand” magic trick on our side. We now have so many stories so busy commending Paul that basically the whole “sequester” mess that we were gonna wrap around Republicans neck will be story number 2 for at least the rest of the week. Which gives GOP enough time to regroup and fine tune their crappy message.
This is how the GOP will win in 2014. Distraction and slight of hand that we aide and abet. I just wish we’d be as ruthless as the GOP would be with Dems.
No. I thought it was obvious that when I said killing is immoral I wasn’t talking about cats or cows, I meant people. And I meant involuntary, and not euthenesia or abortion. or killing by benign neglect, or by proxy as I did when I bought a diamond.
Having gone from tangential to orthogonal, I bid you adaeu, or however it’s spelled.
Spellink, it’s the fist ting to goo..
@Mnemosyne: nope. The dems are now the ones talking about when they would and wouldn’t use drones. Do you think they are good at doing that in a clear way so that folks who aren’t NRA nutters won’t start to wonder why they’re spending so much time thinking about using drones? For folks who claim they never would use them, they sure do think about when they’d use them a lot.
Look, I understand why the thought that random people you don’t know may try to kill you is so psychologically threatening that you have to construct an elaborate fantasy world to explain to yourself that random coincidences don’t happen, random violence never occurs, and everything is controlled by a secret cabal, so nothing bad can never happen to you because you have it all figured out. Really, I get it. It’s how people can feel they have some control over a world where random sinkholes open up, swallow one person, and close again.
But it makes you no different than the NRA members who screamed that Tucson and Aurora and Newtown were all faked by evil government forces to justify taking away everyone’s gun. Your comforting delusion may be slightly different in form than theirs, but it’s still a comforting delusion.
@Joey Giraud: right, so, except for all the exceptions, it’s an ironclad rule. Got it.
The prophet Nostradumbass
@Joey Giraud: Me, pulling your chain? You’re the one suggesting that there was something else going on on 9/11 than what obviously was.
Hinting at dark conspiracies and ulterior motives instead of “BUSH DID IT” yelling is more a difference of style than substance.
@Suffern ACE: “We believe in using any tool at our disposal to defend our citizens from those who would do us harm.” The day that that sentence _costs_ a politician votes is decades away if not centuries.
@? Martin: It’s certainly possible. The beltway loves praising Republicans.
I think McConnell, who has supported everything the military has ever done(including torture), showing up to jump on the bandwagon took a bit of shine off it.
Paul might get some initial praise. Although that Jack Goldsmith article linked earlier had some truth in it. Paul was making some wild accusations, which are going to be treated credibly by some people in other countries.
It won’t surprise me if the Obama admin gently highlights that aspect of Paul’s charade.
I realize this makes me part of a minority, but I want the government to put a lot of very deep thought into when and how and why they use drones. I want them to game out each and every scenario in their heads and have a long discussion about each one and whether it justifies the use of a drone. That’s their job.
I don’t want a situation to come up and have some a-hole say, “Ah, well, let’s just use a drone — what could go wrong?”
@Forum Transmitted Disease: Don’t forget disabled people too! They’re frickin leeches on the FREE MARKET anyway wanting their ramps and those damn special toilets put in everywhere. Who needs ’em…so inefficient and demanding stuff all the time….I say let Stephen Hawking and Christopher Reeve (if he was still alive) taste the sweet nectar of the DROOOOOONNNZZZZZ gods, bitchez! And yes, I’m a MASSIVE O-BOT. GO GIT ‘EM BARRY, MY BROTHER!
@Hill Dweller: Paul is going to get a tongue bath for his “principled criticism” of Obama. I think other Republicans joined in because they didn’t want Paul to earn a differentiation from the rest of the pack in 2016, the way Obama used opposition to the Iraq war to achieve the anti-Hillary slot in 2007-8.
But what evidence is there that this follows from a huge public reconsideration of the WoT or civilian liberties?
So I’m guessing this means Brennan is not going to be confirmed ala Chuck Hagel…oh wait.
@Mnemosyne: oh I do too. I mean Lindsay graham going around saying that based on holders definition of extra ordinary catastrophic circumstances, New Orleans after Katrina and Long Island after Sandy would have been good places to use drones, I’m not actually all that more confident that the republicans can formulate their message without scaring the shit our of us either. Hell we didn’t even riot or loot out here and Lindsay thinks we may have taken things a little too far down the path to social disintegration.
@Mnemosyne: I think it’s even simpler than that. The executive branch is not going to volunteer scenarios in which the power of the executive branch is limited. Every executive branch is going to want to say things like “we don’t expect to do anything of the kind, but we stand by our assertion that we would have the right to do so in an unforeseen circumstance.” They’re not going to say “here is our list of the things we actually don’t have the right to do, even in the context of war.”
Yeah, I think we agree — I don’t think the Republicans are going to be able to suppress their fears about jackbooted thugs in black UN helicopters coming to take their guns long enough to get a discussion started about the WoT and drones in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, etc.
Grand Bargain in the making: define drones as assault weapons and ban ’em both!
@FlipYrWhig: why not? Do they think that “they’ve taken dronz off the table” is going to send a message of weakness in the same way we never are supposed to state that nukes are off the table in diplomatic negotiations lest those uppity Iranians think we’re not serious?
It’s the usual Republican ploy — “Tell us what cuts you want to make to the budget and we’ll tell you if we like them.” So they’re not going to tell the administration what is/is not legal by passing legislation. They’re going to wait for them to do something they don’t like and … well, okay, judging by Libya, they’ll continue to abdicate their responsibilities and do nothing, but they tell themselves they’re totally going to jump down the administration’s throat for overstepping their bounds. Next time. Really.
@FlipYrWhig: how about the president agrees not to drop bombs into the Outback Steakhouse on Friday night ever, and the republicans agree to quit passing Medicare voucher bills.
@Suffern ACE: no, because of inter-branch dynamics. The executive branch, regardless of who’s staffing it, believes that the executive branch has ultimate say over war-related issues. Remember John Kerry in 2004 getting all tangled up trying to distinguish between voting against authorizing a war and not believing that the president had the authority to go to war? That was a case of the same thing. Presidents think presidents have certain powers. Presidents who used to be senators may have formerly believed that the president shouldn’t have certain powers, but after becoming president they support them. Even if Barack Obama, individual and con-law professor, thinks it’s objectionable for a president to have wide latitude in conducting a war, Barack Obama, president, will never express that, nor will the agencies to which he has appointed heads. Presidents don’t ask for their prerogatives to be limited. I’m not an expert, OK, but I’d be very surprised to be given an example of a president willingly ceding power over how a war should be conducted. IIRC even the War Powers Act may not be constitutional, but it’s never been hashed out in court.
I’m not confused, but the media is going to take that 13 hours of bullshit and pick out the 15 seconds of sanity and present that on the news, and that’s what the public will take away.
Look, the go-to person on the topic of drone policy on TV has been Maddow, and she’s be a steady, fair critic of the administration on this. The broader media hasn’t seen a story here, but a 13 hour filibuster is a story, and they’re going to turn it into one. The black helicopter side will be downplayed because the media don’t want to look stupid, so they’ll put the best spin on this story that they can.
And there’s a legitimate policy issue here. I trust Obama on this, but I didn’t trust Bush on it, and I would have demanded a lot more out of Bush. I’m not willing to be a hypocrite on this issue just because I trust this president and not the last. I don’t think Maddow is willing to either, and I don’t think a decent chunk of the public (including many on the left) are willing to either. There is no reason to oppose transparency on this issue. Yeah, the GOP will stay out in the weeds, but there’s a ribbon of legitimate inquiry in there that people will be eager to latch onto and the GOP will get a fair bit of a free ride on this. That’s all I’m saying. Don’t write this off too readily – it’s going to carry some voters that the Dems should be carrying by being on the right side of the issue. And the problem is that the Dems have ceded this ground to the GOP by not acting on it. Obama would do well to allow Brennen to open this up once he gets confirmed.
Well, welcome to the debate, where Barack Obama apparently managed to invent assymetrical warfare and extrajudicial state assassinations all by himself.
@Paula: Well yeah. The man has a TARDIS after all.
@Mnemosyne: and that’s the big failure, or the false promise, as I see it. If a right-left alliance of libertarians and civil libertarians really wanted to do something about drones, I would be interested to see what they came up with. It’s true that there’s an “ick factor” in having the process be ad hoc and the assertions of what they could do be so sweeping. (On the other hand, I think the notion that the Obama crew is gleeful and bloodthirsty about using this tool is absurd, but for the most part I think people who say that kind of thing are trying to show off and egg each other on.) But there’s an obvious solution: _change the fucking status quo_. Stand up for the principle that the Congress has say over war, and that it’s not a Republican vs. Democrat thing but a checks and balances thing that goes to the root of the American governmental system. Are any of the bloggers and tweeters and such who care about these things so deeply trying to get organized to press actual lawmakers to do that?
@? Martin: be that as it may, I really don’t think any presidential candidate in either party is going to answer a question of the form “Do you believe the president has the power to order the assassination of a suspected terrorist who is an American citizen?” with anything other than “Yes.”
@? Martin: While I agree with you on the need for more transparency, I’m not sure the public at large much cares.
Rightly or wrongly, drones are popular with the public. Maddow admitted tonight that every time she does segments on drones she gets bombarded with hate mail.
Paul was largely confining his criticism to a hypothetical and implausible attack on Americans in this country. Holder took his time getting there, but he eventually said it was unconstitutional and illegal to target Americans who posed no threat. I read somewhere Paul even conceded Holder had said it was illegal/unconstitutional.
All that said, the Village loves them some Republicans.
@The prophet Nostradumbass:
Thank you all for your kind responses.
You have certainly educated me.
Here is Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, waffling and bullshitting on the legality of death-by-drone:
“There’s a legal framework which, really when you read the law and you read, for example, what the attorney general has said among others, there’s a very broad legal framework in which you can operate, but the policy framework is and should be much narrower. So, I think that is the framework that people should have confidence that is being exercised and know that these decisions are made very, very carefully,” the secretary said.
A completely meaningless word salad to rival the worst from Sarah Palin.
New Open Thread post up top.
Probably two, by the time y’all read this.
I think the point is NO THERE ISN’T, because this is smelling like the crazy shit where Jane Hamsher thought it was great to partner with Grover Norquist.
Nothing constructive comes out of that because the damned ends are different. Because for some reason some people haven’t realized that the Republicans are LYING when they say they care about shit like “civil liberties” and “responsible spending” and ” being against big corporate handouts”.
Because they don’t care about that stuff, they will not introduce legislation.
You wanna tell how this is legit? Watch for some Republican bringing up closing Gitmo. That’s easily the biggest issue in the WoT that they can impact immediately. If that happens, I’ll eat my words.
But it probably won’t, and this will just be another episode in the annals of both-sides-do-it horseshit. Worse, it may seriously limit the gun control legislation we actually need.
@Mandalay: I don’t think it’s meaningless. It sounds to me like she’s saying that a wide range of things would be legal, but the policy that they actually abide by is much narrower than that. I.e., there are things that would in fact be legal that they choose not to do. And that makes sense. It also means that what people should be agitating to do is to reduce the distance between the big circle of legal things and the smaller circle within it of actual policy.
@Mandalay: which goes back to things like the John Yoo statement about how the president can in fact order an agent to crush the testicles of a child with the goal of making a terror suspect talk. [wikipedia source here] In a sick way, that probably IS legal. (Caveat: IANAL.) And it’s abhorrent, obviously. But that’s the kind of thing that the executive branch is always going to be trying to find reasoning to defend, because the alternative is admitting that there are limits to executive war powers.
@FlipYrWhig: in case there was any confusion, I sure hope it’s not legal to do anything that awful. I wouldn’t be surprised if technically it was legal, though.
Incorrect. We use cluster bombs deliberately to kill civilians. As many as possible.
But the same firebaggers who are all about the drooooooonz were perfectly willing to give Clinton a pass for voting against banning them.
@The prophet Nostradumbass: Shit, and I wasted time responding to the truther.
Thank you, Anne. You stood up and that’s much appreciated. Welcome to being tarred as a firebagger and even a racist. Better this than pretending your dismay is all Greenwald’s fault, or worse, lacking the courage to take any position at all.
@Joey Giraud: See oldie but goodie related to this topic courtesy of Bernstein, Carl:
My understanding of the drone program as it stands is that it is NOT a CIA assassination program in the mold of what Ford was referring to, but a tactical decision in what is essentially a war against a non-state group that rather spectacularly and murderously launched an attack on American soil. I think it’s a legitimate debate whether it’s a good tactic, but I don’t think it’s a legitimate – meaning “sensible” – debate whether or not we should be in the business of trying to take these guys out in some manner. While the drone tactic is definitely the cause of so-called collateral damage, i.e. likely killing of innocent people near the target area, there is far less of this than there is using conventional warfare tactics in my view. And without the drones, we’re likely to be using more conventional warfare.
My opinion. And, yes, I’d absolutely be more concerned if Dick Cheney were running it or responsible for oversight than Obama. Just like I’d be more concerned and probably be more outspoken about “checks and balances” and “transparency” if some guy like Dick Cheney were my local police chief than some guy like Obama.
PS – I think that in this context, the stuff about killing Americans or killing people on American soil is nonsense. I could really care less about the citizenship of an active and provably dangerous al Qaeda member. It’s of no more consequence than the “citizenship” of someone who fought in the Wehrmact – and there undoubtedly were some American citizens who did. And the American soil bit is a straw man hypothetical. Nor, in a war is “due process” the bar for taking out an enemy combatant or someone who actively aids the enemy. I guess the issue is reduced to whether you think we’re at war with these factions.
Paul in KY
@Chris: If that mean’t no Iraq fiasco, it might have turned out better (IMO).
Excellent post, Anne. People also seem to have dropped into the memory hole the remarkable fact that Bill Clinton (!) was the Democratic progressive president who first started that evil scourge of extraordinary rendition. AKA kidnapping people and dumping ’em into secret foreign prisons to be tortured into bleeding hamburger.
Torture and extrajudicial murder aren’t a Republican invention and they aren’t a Democratic sin. They’re an American problem, and our whole goddamn nation is responsible. It’s all of America that’s sinking into barbarism and we’d better pull out of our nosedive tout suite. Otherwise, we’re going to wake up in a country where the police routinely break down your door and waterboard you for overdue parking tickets.
So tell us, chief — which member of that Afghan wedding party piloted a 757 into one of the Twin Towers on 9/11?
Shut your pie hole. You’re done here.
Oh, fer crap’s sake… Why are you even bothering to respond to Mnemosyne?
Trying to use logic and evidence on her is like reading Aeschylus to a cage full of hyenas.
Mnemosyne has publicly admitted that she had “seriously mental problems” in high school, and now she’s taking every possible opportunity to defend and glorify the torture and murder of innocent human beings. She’s the Mark David Chapman of American political commentary.