Droning On And On

Joan Walsh on droooooooones and wrestling with her unbearable guilt of being Joan Walsh:

There are (at least) two issues here: The use of drones generally, and their use to kill American citizens. Some values should apply to both. No doubt drone warfare is sometimes preferable to traditional combat – but can’t we debate when, and why? Isn’t it possible that removing the risk of losing American lives by using unmanned predators will make it easier for decision-makers to risk the lives of those who aren’t Americans? Shouldn’t we know more about when and why drone strikes are launched, as well as who’s been killed, at the cost of how much collateral damage, most important, the number of “non-combatants” — innocent people – who are killed?

On the question of targeting U.S. citizens: I’m proud of the extraordinary rights we enjoy as Americans, and I don’t know why so many people shrug at the notion that the president can abrogate those rights if he decides, based on evidence (which he doesn’t have to share) that you’re a terrorist. When it comes to Anwar al-Awlaki, who renounced his citizenship and made many public commitments to al-Qaida, those questions don’t keep me awake at night. But don’t we want assurances that the evidence against every citizen who winds up on that list is just as clear? Don’t we want more oversight, even after the fact?

Did I miss the part where American military action only started killing non-combatants on January 21, 2009?  Did I also miss the part where IEDs keep blowing off arms and legs and shearing off chunks of our soldiers’ skulls, creating a huge number of folks coming back home with truly awful injuries?  We’ve had this debate about people being killed in military action since this whole American experiment began, folks.  Here’s the thing, if we’re going to be over there doing this kind of thing, and right now that’s the policy, I’d rather see drones than boots on the ground.  You can go on and on about targeted killings of US citizens at a coldly impersonal distance without due process, and yet we’ve got 300 million devices in the country called “firearms” that quite often end up doing just that.  Due process is not always exercised in those situations either, guys.  People where you live can get killed guns without warning.  Maybe there’s an investigation, maybe there’s even a trial.  But there are plenty of times where who pulled the trigger is never found, and the killer never brought to justice.

Where’s your outrage over that?  Did I miss the part where Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was the only US teenager ever killed for bullshit reasons?  You know what else is a “targeted killing of American citizen?”  Any cops who draw their weapon on someone and pull the trigger, and guess what, they don’t always shoot the right person.  There’s oversight in those situations, but not always.  I’m a hell of a lot more worried about that than I am what’s going on in Waziristan, people.  If you’re going to perpetually scream “DROOOOOOOOONES YOU OBOT” at me, go to the nearest large metropolitan police department and make sure you personally solve every homicide that comes in the door.

Otherwise, have a darkened Superdome full of seats.

It is not endemic to the Obama administration, or Obama foreign policy.  Steve M. nails it:

But if you’re especially outraged at targeted killings of American citizens, if you think they’re more horrifying than everything else that’s been done in the wars we’ve fought, that strikes me as a sense of non-combatant privilege. Many of us — maybe only many white Americans? — not only assume we’re entitled to due process, we expect never to be on a battlefield. In other words, we expect never to be in a situation in which due process doesn’t apply.

To me that’s a sense of privilege. So I see what’s wrong with the drone program, but it’s a subset of what’s wrong with war. Some Americans expect to be shielded from this sort of suffering at all times, and are shocked that a few Americans aren’t.

War is hell.  The Pentagon is in the business of conducting said warfare in the most casualty-efficient way possible that still achieves the goal of ending the metabolic processes of The Bad Guys.  The problem isn’t drones, the problem is the perpetual war machine that’s predated this President for a very, very long time.  We’re screaming about al-Awlaki’s kid when My Lai, the bombing of Dresden, and Nagasaki and Hiroshima happened.  Let’s face it, for America, that’s effing progress.  We still need to move forward and I’d like to see drones not have to be used at all (because we weren’t in Af-Pak at all anymore) but let’s not pretend that President Obama somehow has the most blood on his hands of a US President, either, shall we?

Thanks.  Sorry to ruin your Sunday.

242 replies
  1. 1
    askew says:

    Joan’s issue isn’t with drones, it’s with Obama. She’s pissed that he beat Hillary. That plus her history of making racially insensitive comments means I don’t take anything she says seriously.

    I do get sick of the rich, urban, white liberals who all parrot the same talking points and hold Obama to a standard that was never required of any other president especially Bill Clinton.

  2. 2
    Shakespeare says:

    And now I have Exhibit A for the logical fallacy unit of my advanced critical thinking class. Brava!

    false choice? Check.

    straw man? Check.

    appeal to authority? Check.

    appeal to fear? Check.

    ad hominem? Check.

    And all in one handy place. Thank you.

  3. 3
    Poopyman says:

    Word, Zandar.

  4. 4
    r€nato says:

    The notion that Obama should do everything the exact opposite of what Bush did, is as mindless as the notion that L’il Bush should have done the exact opposite of everything Clinton did (which, in fact, is what he did and 8 months later, 9/11).

  5. 5
    MikeJ says:

    We’ve had this debate about people being killed in military action since this whole American experiment began, folks

    One of the myths of the American revolution was that our wily backwoodsmen ambushed from cover and engaged in asymmetric warfare against those idiots who marched along in straight lines.

    It’s not nearly as true as people think it is, but from the beginning Americans have agreed that killing the enemy without getting killed yourself is the proper way to wage war.

  6. 6
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    Inb4 “death from above” or other accusations of celebrating child murder

  7. 7
    Heliopause says:

    Wow, I think the Strawman-o-meter just exploded. Good work, Zandar.

  8. 8
    recurvata says:

    This post is the biggest piece of bullshit I’ve ever seen posted here. Here’s what it boils down to: if you haven’t protested and/or solved every other instance of the problem, as well as every instance of problems I deem similar, STFU. What a piece of garbage argument. Zander can and has done better. This is pathetic.

  9. 9
    Lit3Bolt says:

    The excitement over drones is that it makes for lots of book deals and speaking fees and anti-American journalistic credibility for certain people, when 20 first graders getting shot in the head in America by a suicidal psychopath is boring and routine, and nothing can be done about that anyway, so no coverage.

    Drones are sexy and exciting, not matter what side of the issue you’re on. So Drones and all their fantastic robot killing powers are unfair and evil, but carpet-bombing and napalming villages with the Air Force is old hat, and plus, everyone can do that these days, so it must not be as evil.

    I’m sorry, but killing someone from afar with a button, versus sending in a SEAL team, bringing him back with American casualties, going through a 20 year kangaroo trial with chutes and ladders, then finally executing him, does nothing more than feed your sense of self-righteousness and moral superiority.

  10. 10
    Corner Stone says:

    Fuck Joan Walsh. She can go fuck herself for criticizing Obama.

  11. 11
    Doug Galt says:

    The problem isn’t drones, the problem is the perpetual war machine that’s predated this President for a very, very long time.

    I agree.

  12. 12
    LT says:

    Yay John Cole.

  13. 13
    Ben Franklin says:

    but let’s not pretend that President Obama somehow has the most blood on his hands of a US President, either, shall we?

    That’s self-evident. Damn near nothing else is. Will we, as citizens, have a chance to read the memo? Theoretically, I could be on the kill list, but then what would that knowledge do for me? Maybe I could have gone to the US Embassy and given myself up, for one thing.

    I would rather face a judge, than a Hellfire missile.

    rhetorical alert; this comment has NOTHING to do with Alwaki !

  14. 14
    General Stuck says:

    Thanks. Sorry to ruin your Sunday.

    Nah gonna happen. I still haven’t forgiven myself from the last thread on this topic, for arguing with people who are not arguing in good faith. And hardly anyone is, from the protest crowd. It’s all smoke and mirrors and never ending angles and proxy argument for something different.

    I did read a while back that the 2014 withdrawal from Afghan may well be ahead of schedule. And read yesterday that Obama was the only one in the room who refused to arm the Syrian rebels ground fight. That must be the centipede in Lindsey’s drawers making him a little Caesar in threatening to block all of Obama’s appointment. I suspect McCain saved his own bile for a salad dressing later on. It gave me a lift that we have a president who is responsible in ending the wars he inherited, and not all in a hurry to start another ground war in Asia. Let’s hope that holds.

    But this singling out American citizens for special treatment for making a legal case against drone warfare, makes me nauseous, as it looks like a liberal version of American exceptionalism.

    If you have any questions concerning this comment, dial 1-800-Fuc kyou.

  15. 15
    Knockabout says:

    Not only are you an idiot for posting this drivel, you had a much different view about this when Bush was President.

    So basically you’re a moron AND a hypocrite.

    Enjoy the 200 comments you’re going to get to that effect. I hope it finally convinces you to leave.

  16. 16
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Steve M.s observations about non-combatant privilege strike me as being absolutely correct. If Joan Walsh had a child who was serving, or who might be drafted, I doubt that she would want that child to go into harm’s way when a drone could do the job.

  17. 17
    TheShadow says:

    Not only are you an idiot for posting this drivel, you had a much different view about this when Bush was President.

    So basically you’re a moron AND a hypocrite.

    Enjoy the 200 comments you’re going to get to that effect. I hope it finally convinces you to leave.

  18. 18
    bourbaki says:

    I tell you what if the LAPD had 5 Predators this whole Dorner thing would have been over Friday.

    There might be five less blue toyata’s on the road, but…hey…if you want an omelette…

  19. 19
    Corner Stone says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    If Joan Walsh had a child who was serving, or who might be drafted, I doubt that she would want that child to go into harm’s way when a drone could do the job.

    I will never understand comments like these. What are you trying to say? We spend eleventy bazillion dollars a year, every year, on defense and as a nation we have two choices?

  20. 20
    Yutsano says:

    @Knockabout: And here comes your own personal troll! YAY!

  21. 21
    Lit3Bolt says:

    Zandar is also too nice to say it, so I will:

    Drones are a privileged white rich honky problem for people who’ve never been on a battlefield or lived in fear of bullets. Admit it, you have never shed a tear for al-Awlaki or his son. YOU DON’T CARE. Just like Greenwald doesn’t care. It’s a meal ticket for him, nothing more.

  22. 22
    efgoldman says:

    @Knockabout: Strawiest of strawmen.

  23. 23
    dan says:

    Your conflating two different things. Post is stupid.

  24. 24
    efgoldman says:

    I suspect there are [were – many are dead now] veterans of WW2, Korea, and Vietnam who look at the drone stories and say “Holy Shit, I wish we’d had those things.”

  25. 25
  26. 26
    Corner Stone says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    Drones are a privileged white rich honky problem for people who’ve never been on a battlefield or lived in fear of bullets.

    What in the name of absolute fuck does this mean?

  27. 27
    Alison says:

    @dan:

    Your conflating two different things. Post is stupid.

    So is comment.

  28. 28
    LT says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    Zandar is also too nice to say it, so I will:
    __
    Drones are a privileged white rich honky problem for people who’ve never been on a battlefield or lived in fear of bullets. Admit it, you have never shed a tear for al-Awlaki or his son. YOU DON’T CARE. Just like Greenwald doesn’t care. It’s a meal ticket for him, nothing more.

    Once again: Yay, John Cole.

  29. 29
    Corner Stone says:

    @gnomedad:

    OT: Joe Walsh goes there. Asshole.

    That no good bitch should get what’s coming to her.

    Oh, wait.

    “Joe” Walsh.
    Never mind. I was just in the spirit of Zandar’s excellently constructed post. My bad.

  30. 30
    Alison says:

    (And actually, I don’t think the post is stupid, which makes that comment even more amusing to me.)

  31. 31
    Knockabout says:

    @dan:

    That’s what strawman means. Doesn’t stop Zandar from completely agreeing with Glenn Greenwald in the above post, either.

    Hypocrite.

  32. 32
    efgoldman says:

    @gnomedad: The key to the story is the lede: “Former Tea Party congressman….”
    As it should be. Let him find a real job to pay his child support.

  33. 33
    Mino says:

    I guess checks and balances have gone out of style, what with all the nullification going on. The Senate might put a hold on drone attacks for no good reason.

  34. 34
    Hob says:

    The US has been blowing up civilians, and telling everyone it was done with the utmost care and necessity, for as long as I’ve been alive. It’s always been wrong, and it’s always been way too easy for most people to accept. So I agree that the focus on this one particular weapon technology is misleading, and can encourage complacency about anything that doesn’t involve the sexy phrase “flying killer robots.”

    But I don’t know why anyone thinks it’s cool to make fun of that by saying “drooooooooones.” That’s just juvenile shit– it’s the equivalent of making a “crazy stupid person” face and saying “Duh, look at me, I’m [person I disagree with on the Internet]!” The problem isn’t that it’s rude, it’s that it’s content-free contempt. Like when wingnuts say “raaaaaaaacism,” it only has meaning for people who already know what your deal is; to anyone else, it’s impossible to tell whether it’s supposed to mean you think drones don’t exist, or they’re really great, or they don’t matter, or they shouldn’t be called that, or what. Zandar does go on to more or less explain where he’s coming from, but I wouldn’t blame anyone for not reading past the fourth word.

  35. 35
    p says:

    One thing I’ve seen a lot elsewhere is commentary that there is no oversight. Actually, there has been a formal process of monthly Congressional review of every drone strike since 2010: http://www.latimes.com/news/na.....full.story

    Another accusation is hypocrisy. Well, I trust Barack Obama as CIC to make the last call on these drone strikes, more than I would George W. Bush or Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan, the same way I trust BO on any number of issues more than I would those clowns. That’s not hypocrisy.

  36. 36
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @bourbaki:

    Right. Because Dorner is living in a large chunk of territory not under the control of the governments of the state of California or the United States, but of a heavily armed separatist movement made up of his extended family.

  37. 37
    Scoobydoo says:

    The Pentagon is in the business of conducting said warfare in the protection of capital and capitalists. See, fixed that for ya. You’re welcome

  38. 38
    dangerfield says:

    @r€nato:

    Word. Obama never said he disagreed with the Afghan war or the use of drones. The super lefties are holding us (pragmatic progressives) with the bull shit.

    Did that dude in Alabama get due process I’m Jimmy lee Dykes bunker guy?

  39. 39
    Thomas F says:

    BREAKING: Zandar manages to find a way to defend the indefensible! ABL’s totally unpredictable response to follow…

  40. 40
    efgoldman says:

    @Hob:

    But I don’t know why anyone thinks it’s cool to make fun of that by saying “drooooooooones.” That’s just juvenile shit

    That’s why we’re bloggers and blog commenters, not OpEd columnists for the Times or poli-sci professors.
    You want Times style, go read David Brooks. And good luck to you.

  41. 41
    Joel says:

    @Knockabout: I think the distinction is territory.

    I don’t fall strongly on either side of the issue but there is an important distinction between using US military equipment/personnel within our national borders and outside of them. We’re not exactly going to send the feds to Yemen. At least not if we want them to come back alive.

    And sockpuppetry? For shame.

  42. 42
    LT says:

    @efgoldman:

    I suspect there are [were – many are dead now] veterans of WW2, Korea, and Vietnam who look at the drone stories and say “Holy Shit, I wish we’d had those things.”

    Hey, I bet you soldier’s from WWI would say the same about William Calley’s M16.

  43. 43
    Knockabout says:

    @Hob:

    That’s because all of Zandar’s posts are pop-culture hipster trash after the first four words. You’ve completely nailed why nobody respects him, misses him, or reads his ghost town of a blog. He’s an insufferable douchebag.

    I’m enjoying watching him get slagged by everyone. It’s delicious.

  44. 44
    different-church-lady says:

    Dear Diary: today we again had the argument about the morally correct way to kill people overseas…

  45. 45
    Napoleon says:

    The second anyone bitches about the Drone program it is proof that nothing they have to say is worth listening to.

    It is a weapon, like a gun or an axe or tank. If you have some argument why Americans should not be using weapons in a certain situation, like it isn’t in a country which we have declared war against, make it, but don’t pretend one type of weapon operates under different rules (and no, I do not give a flying fuck if they are American, an American serving on a Japanese ship in WWII would have been subject to being torpedoed, and some American serving with terrorist should expect the same).

  46. 46
    General Stuck says:

    @Hob:

    But I don’t know why anyone thinks it’s cool to make fun of that by saying “drooooooooones.” That’s just juvenile shit– it’s the equivalent of making a “crazy stupid person” face and saying “Duh, look at me, I’m [person I disagree with on the Internet]!”

    You agree in your comment that drones are not the problem, agreeing with the post. Then criticize those who mock the dishonest argument that drones are a special problem and not the war itself. Does an ass backdward way of making a case against war in general, or this one in particular, by making specious arguments, make that mock proof. Not to me. Folks aren’t mocking the death these machines dole out, they are mocking those who have latched onto to using them as a dubious prop for protesting a war they oppose.

  47. 47
    efgoldman says:

    @LT:

    Hey, I bet you soldier’s from WWI would say the same about William Calley’s M16

    Which kind of makes my point, doesn’t it?

  48. 48
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I will never understand comments like these. What are you trying to say? We spend eleventy bazillion dollars a year, every year, on defense and as a nation we have two choices?

    Now we’re even. Just what are you trying to say? My comment made no mention of binary choices. Of the rich panoply of means that we have of wreaking havoc, drones seem to be among the least in their effects on civilians.

  49. 49
    Suffern ACE says:

    @p:

    Congressional officials say their review has made the CIA more careful. They are hard-pressed, however, to point to any changes the agency has made. The CIA declined to comment.

    What are they overseeing and what changes are they empowered to make? All this means is that Congress is informed after the fact. Well that’s good, I guess. But that isn’t really oversight.

  50. 50
    sherifffruitfly says:

    @askew: what he or she said.

  51. 51
    Kent says:

    My grandfather went to his grave convinced that Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved his life and that of hundreds of thousands of his fellow servicemen.

    This discussion over drones sounds a lot the same. The only difference is scale.

  52. 52
    Mart says:

    I understand drones when we are engaged in a war. So what wars have been declared in the last 50 years? Aside from Iraq and Afganistan, why are we bombing Pakistan, Yemen and others. Also too, by drone war hawk logic – there should be no prohibition with these countries returning drone fire on our shores – ’cause all’s fair when at war. After twelve years of US threats; Iran and North Korea should be allowed pre-emptive strikes based on solid Bush war protocol.

  53. 53
    efgoldman says:

    @General Stuck:

    Folks aren’t mocking the death these machines dole out, they are mocking those who have latched onto to using them as a dubious prop for protesting a war they oppose.

    Damn, Stuck. There you go trying to bring logic into a blog comment thread, again. I’d think you’d know better by now.

  54. 54
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    I don’t think the drone program on its own merits is the greatest evil the military has ever committed. They’re tools that can be put to good use and are arguably safer than on-the-ground action if you’re interested in keeping more people alive. The implication that civilians dying wasn’t a big deal before drone strikes, which I often get from the critics, is ludicrously inaccurate.

    But…I get Walsh’s point that it’s surprising how many liberals are saying that the right to due process is not that big a deal, because we’re at war and that excuses almost everything. Especially because that same reasoning from the Bush admin got everyone furious, so it’s really not hard to see why Walsh and Greenwald are accusing the drone program’s defenders of making hypocritical excuses for a president they like even if Walsh and Greenwald, at the same time, are making poor arguments or ignoring the facts so they can criticize a president they already don’t like. Both things can happen at once, you know.

    My two cents.

  55. 55
    Suzanne says:

    When we as a society decided that we could wage a stateless war, then I don’t think anyone gets to be butthurt about “the killing of American citizens without due process”. War is, by nature, e killing of citizens without due process. And since we are waging war on an idea, not on another country, there’s no recognized way for citizens to commit treason. Drones suck, yeah…because war sucks. The last president got us into this, so the current one doesn’t get this blame.

  56. 56
    TenguPhule says:

    The time to argue and protest against drones was when the Bush Regime of Error started it.

    If you didn’t speak up then, you’re trying to close the barn door after the cow has escaped now.

  57. 57
    Knockabout says:

    @Joel:

    You mean you didn’t know about Zandar’s history of sock puppetry?

    And he’s still allowed to post here.

  58. 58
    dan says:

    @Alison: You are very clever to point out a common error. Bravo. Good for you. Make sure to update your (“your”) Facebook status.

  59. 59
    LT says:

    @efgoldman: You’re obviously to spuid and/or myopic to see my point.

  60. 60
    Corner Stone says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    drones seem to be among the least in their effects on civilians.

    That’s not what your comment alluded to. Your comment spoke to US servicemen and women being put in harm’s way when a drone could be employed. Had nothing to do with “civilians” at all, unless you’re counting people’s undrafted children as civilians in this context.
    IOW, drones have the least effects on US civilians.
    But, as usual, Zandar not very cleverly set this thread up as a false choice about a tool as opposed to a policy.

  61. 61
    bourbaki says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): I wouldn’t go that far in describing the Inland Empire.

  62. 62
    Groucho48 says:

    The Joan Walsh excerpt in the OP seems perfectly reasonable to me. Why shouldn’t we ask questions about a new form of warfare that makes it pretty easy, and painless to us, to kill at a distance?

    As to killing Americans without due process. I don’t have too much of a problem with the way it happened, but, I do have concerns with the way that White paper described things. Is that the actual Administration position? is it a work in progress? Why can’t some kind of judiciary panel be involved? Why can’t we ask questions about this or express misgivings?

    And, I generally like Joan Walsh when I’ve seen her on the shows. Don’t read her columns very often. Why the contempt for her?

  63. 63
    p says:

    @Suffern ACE: Congress funds the drone program and has legislative power over it and any number of things. It’s still oversight even if said oversight hasn’t found massive problems or made big changes.

  64. 64
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    Walsh:

    On the question of targeting U.S. citizens: I’m proud of the extraordinary rights we enjoy as Americans, and I don’t know why so many people shrug at the notion that the president can abrogate those rights if he decides, based on evidence (which he doesn’t have to share) that you’re a terrorist.

    Let’s take a look at the Fifth Amendment:

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    My first point is that we don’t enjoy these rights as American citizens, we enjoy them as persons of any nationality passing under the umbrella of the Constitution of the Constitution. This emotional appeal- that American citizens are somehow special- has got to fucking stop.

    My second point is that the umbrella of constitutional protections is not always open. Exceptions are laid out right there in the text of the Fifth Amendment (…except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger…).

  65. 65
    LT says:

    @efgoldman: That should have been:

    You’re obviously to stupid and/or myopic to see my point.

    And Zander and defnder’s argument here seems to boil downs to, “It’s not as bad as (fill in what you like. I suggest “Hitler.”)!!!”

  66. 66
    Knockabout says:

    And look at the other front pagers desperately trying to bury this garbage.

    I can’t stop laughing.

  67. 67
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    And for the record, I agree with the point raised by lots of people that if you’re criticizing the drone strikes you really should be criticizing our overall involvement in foreign countries, because the first one is a function of the second. I agree, and I think we shouldn’t have such a big military presence overseas (I wanted to say ‘at war’, but hell, this stuff will happen when we’re officially at war or not). And, um, don’t most people here agree with that? That we shouldn’t be bombing other countries just because? It seems like an issue that would unite the two camps (and thus give them both more political power), is to argue that ‘we can debate about tactics, but we both think that we don’t really have a justification to be there in the first place.’

  68. 68
    Maude says:

    @Suffern ACE:
    When Congress gave up the power to declare war, they gave up the power of oversight of war tactics.

  69. 69
    Corner Stone says:

    Anyone saying they “trust” a man with singular life and death decisions, with the caveat that that trust is “more” than the predecessor, should take a good long look in the mirror.
    If they can stomach it.

  70. 70
    Thomas F says:

    Another nostrum that Zandar should internalize as quickly as humanly possible: “white privilege” is the last refuge of the scoundrel. More often than not in modern political discourse, it is the province of the intellectually lazy and the proudly ignorant. Particularly as it is used here — in order to deflect humane concerns over arbitrary government murder — it is downright contemptible.

  71. 71
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    And seeing that the editing function seems to have gone kaput, a correction:

    …we enjoy them as persons of any nationality passing under the umbrella of the Constitution protections of the Constitution.

  72. 72
    General Stuck says:

    @Knockabout:

    Liberals trolling wingnut blogs are not bound by any internet traditions. I used to have several sock puppets in my spoofing right wing blogs during the Bush admin. I’d give Zandar a medal for his part in fighting that war, if I could. You are an idiot.

  73. 73
    different-church-lady says:

    @Knockabout: You find coincidences to be hysterical? Okay.

  74. 74
    jon says:

    The Administration isn’t targeting terrorist-linked American citizens, just those who travel with them and could carry out the illegal actions of their protected and non-protected speech. Our citizens are free to complain that their right of free association has been infringed upon by the government’s use of asymmetrical warfare, but they’ll have to file their challenges in an American court.

    I should become an administration spokesman, because I can cut through the crap and get to the point much more easily than the young, stumbling boys that get sent to press briefings.

  75. 75
    Corner Stone says:

    @LT: You know who else would’ve used drones if they were available?

  76. 76
    Ben Franklin says:


    Yet, despite claiming that the Awlaki killing was justified because he was an operational leader of al-Qaeda, and thus in some sense an enemy on the battlefield, the white paper still assumes that due process applies to U.S. citizens abroad who adhere to the enemy. On the surface, this sounds plausible and even generous: Why not consider the possibility that a U.S. citizen abroad has some rights against being killed out of the blue?

    In fact, though, applying due process analysis to Awlaki produces a legal disaster. The problem is, once you consider due process, you have to give it some meaning — and the meaning you choose will cast a long shadow over what the term means everywhere else.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/.....ocess.html

    This is worth a read. It’s interesting that if Awlaki had turned himself in, IMO, it would have to result in the re-opening of the rendition program, to avoid the fuzziness of due process.

  77. 77
    General Stuck says:

    @Thomas F:

    Another nostrum that Zandar should internalize as quickly as humanly possible: “white privilege” is the last refuge of the scoundrel.

    How does that work, Zandar being black and all?

  78. 78
    General Stuck says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Nobody is saying ‘just trust’ Obama. That is why we have a congress and supreme court to oversight and reign in the executive branch and the president. Unless you think Obama has to run everything by you first for a go.

  79. 79
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    Also, the argument that caring about drone strikes is a symptom of ‘white privilege’ or ‘American exceptionalism’ is moronic. Maybe it can’t always be this way in an imperfect world, but can we at least grant that people can be opposed to war or opposed to execution about due process on moral grounds, and not just because of some buzzword nonsense?

    ‘Privilege’ as a concept can be useful, but it seems these days people just toss it out when they’re struggling in an argument and hope it sticks. And the implication that whoever is ‘privileged’ has nothing important to say is also pretty toxic.

  80. 80
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    @Thomas F: I think that word does not mean what you think it means. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/nostrum

  81. 81

    @Knockabout: I read Zandar’s “ghost town” of a blog–in fact, it’s on my Google Reader and linked to in the sidebars of my blog and Livejournal.

    You, on the other hand, are just a babbling troll I’m going to ignore.

  82. 82
    Corner Stone says:

    @General Stuck: Of course they are. Are you too stupid to read the word “trust” in a comment?
    “Well, I trust Barack Obama as CIC to make the last call on these drone strikes, more than I would George W. Bush or Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan”
    p on #35 in just this thread. It happens in every one of them.

  83. 83
    dmbeaster says:

    The post is stupid, and I don’t care about Joan Walsh or whether or not she makes any sense on this issue.

    The issue in all wars is trying not to kill civilians needlessly or wantonly. Dresden gets knocked to this day for this reason. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are worth debating, and on balance made sense. The fact that civilians get killed does not then become reasons to disregard all concerns about killing civilians, which is Zandar’s logic here. Allegedly, if it saves an American life, then waste the wogs.

    Drones are no different than other airstrikes of civilians in the hope of killing a bad guy in their midst. It is generally bad policy and should be condemned because it is a stupid way to wage war. Exactly how stupid in this circumstance is hard to know since it is largely is being waged secretly by the CIA. It would be nice to focus the concern to the actual issue, which is a serious one, in stead of trivililzing it with bs.

  84. 84
    different-church-lady says:

    @General Stuck:

    Unless you think Obama has to run everything by you first for a go.

    Oh, not by him/her in particular. Just something reasonable, like, say, publishing all internal documents and memos in the Washington Post. They all belong to US, you understand. [nods]

  85. 85
    p says:

    @Corner Stone: uh I also trust Obama to use his veto power more than I did Bush. In that same post I said Congress has oversight of the drone program.

  86. 86
    Dr. Omed says:

    Custom Dept. Border Patrol drones are being used to hunt the rogue LA cop Dorner.

    http://t.co/AtQUvtZm

  87. 87
    Pinkamena Panic says:

    @Knockabout: Are you done? Yes? Good, now leave. Trolls aren’t welcome. And yes, you ARE a troll, no matter how much you might want to counter-bellow BUTBUTBUT I’M JUST TRYIN TA STOP TEH GROOPFINKS!!”. You’re sweeping in, calling people stupid, and declaring everything that happens after to be proof of your utter perfection and correctness.

    You’re a troll.

    Trolls are not welcome.

    Leave or I will make you leave.

  88. 88
    Ben Franklin says:

    @different-church-lady:

    They all belong to US, you understand. [nods]

    Is it really an Either/Or situation? I mean, if it’s some transparency which affects you directly, or indirectly…..

  89. 89
    Corner Stone says:

    @Pinkamena Panic: I think you’re the troll. How do you propose to make anyone leave your blog?
    Oh, wait. It’s not your blog is it?

  90. 90
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Dr. Omed:

    Are they armed drones? If not, what makes the employment of drones fundamentally different than the use of airplanes, helicopters or satellites?

  91. 91
    LT says:

    @Corner Stone: Is that person not joking? Pls tell me it is.

  92. 92
    General Stuck says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I have no problem with what P said in #35, as a general matter of day to day presidenting, and as CIC. I don’t think people saying that is another way of saying they don’t have a problem with Obama doing anything he wants kind of trust.

    But stated within the knowledge that congress and the courts are responsible for reigning in or judging Obama’s actions. Just about everyone who takes the time to read and comment of political blogs are aware of these common facts of our government.

    P did not say he/she trusted Obama without question per his office in government, but you interpreted it that way, because you wanted to, like you always do for your own designs on this blog.

  93. 93
    Corner Stone says:

    @different-church-lady: Well, actually, I am kind of interested in the legal theory and defining outline as to when the admin can sign off on a drone strike to terminate an individual.
    As opposed to the nominal policy the military uses to engage targets of opportunity.

  94. 94
    efgoldman says:

    @LT:

    You’re obviously to spuid and/or myopic to see my point.

    If your point is: we shouldn’t be using drones because…what? Then you’re right, I don’t understand it.
    If you’re point is: we shouldn’t be fucking around over there at all, I halfway agree with you.
    But since we are fucking around over there, we might as well be using the best, least risky [to our side], relatively most precise weapons we have.

  95. 95
    different-church-lady says:

    @Ben Franklin: Well, I was being sarcastic, of course. You raise a good point, but it’s a hard question to answer, because of the whole general YMMV-ishness of it. Everyone’s going to have their own opinions of the right balance between necessary secrecy and governmental transparency. Both things exist for the public interest, yet are in conflict with each other.

  96. 96
    Corner Stone says:

    @General Stuck: P was just one sad example. A variant of this happens all the time here.
    I apologize I guess, but I don’t trust any politician, nor man, over the law.

  97. 97
    LT says:

    @efgoldman: I guess we have to go to the basics. Do you know who William Calley is?

  98. 98
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Corner Stone:

    But the law is written by politicians. So why trust the law?

  99. 99
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone: Sorry, didn’t really mean to barb you directly — more making fun of the generic hyper-lefty for whom its a tenant of faith that the government is waging a secrecy war on its own citizens.

    We appear to be neck deep in a gray-area swamp. No charts here. How the courts might sort all this out will be mighty interesting indeed.

  100. 100
    efgoldman says:

    @LT:

    Do you know who William Calley is?

    Son, I was hiding in the Army reserves at the time. I know fucking right well who he is, and they fucked up his prosecution at the time, and his CO’s also, as badly as the LA DA fucked up OJ. Calley should have been doing life in Leavenworth. So what?
    The weapons he used didn’t make any damned difference. If they’d used pikes, halberds and broadswords, the people in that village wouldn’t be any less dead and he wouldn’t be any less a murderer.
    That’s the point:

    THE WEAPON USED DOESN’T MAKE ANY FUCKING DIFFERENCE,

    so use what’s best for the job: least risk to your side, most relative precision on the other. As I said here. @efgoldman:

  101. 101
    rpl says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    The right to due process is a Constitutionally derived law of the United States of America. We are not the United States of Planet Earth.

    Our laws do not apply in foreign nations and the laws of foreign nations do not apply here.

    This whole “American Citizen!” thing sits right on top of a whole lot of American exceptionalist B.S.

  102. 102
    Ben Franklin says:

    another good read on the subject….http://www.emptywheel.net/

    . But consider how they work with the 3-part criteria laid out in the memo, which requires only that 1) John Brennan determines that someone is an imminent threat, 2) John Brennan determines that capture is not feasible, and 3) that the killing be consistent with applicable law of war principles.

    Once you get to that “imminence” designation, you can kill the American, based on John Brennan’s say so. And “imminence,” for these purposes, can be as weak as past involvement (not leadership — and remember they once said that actions that lead to actions that pose a threat can get you killed, too) in activities that pose an imminent threat of violent attack on the US, so long as you haven’t formally renounced those activities.

    This, I strongly suspect, is why Ron Wyden keeps asking “Does the President have to provide individual Americans with an opportunity to surrender before using lethal force against them?” Because as the white paper stands, being uninvolved with any attack for at least a year and perhaps as long as 20 months — which may well be the case with Awlaki — doesn’t count as renunciation.

  103. 103
    LT says:

    @efgoldman: If you know who he is, then how do you possibly miss my point? You said soldiers from the past would probably have loved drones. As if that’s anything but the most obtuse response to the issue of drones today, and more specifically to the issues brought up by Walsh, which the diarist doesn’t have the courage or wits to begin to address.

  104. 104
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @rpl:

    Well, yes, but my point is that due process is, by itself, a good idea and ought to be adopted by more countries. The fact that due process doesn’t exist everywhere is not a good reason to denigrate it, or ignore it where it does apply. It seems like a lot of people are so scared of American Exceptionalism that they forget America does do some things right.

  105. 105
    LT says:

    @Ben Franklin: The really painful thing here is that the response to Marcy Wheeler in that post from Zander and the rest – here4 on Balloon Juice!! – would be exactly the same. They cannot or wil not address those points because, “Did I misss the part where..? Hmmm? Did I? Hmmmm? Plus: WAR IS HELL!”

    Balloon Juice. Motherfucking Balloon Juice is doing this. Fuck me rancid.

  106. 106
    burnspbesq says:

    @Knockabout:

    Are you an ass every day, or only on Sunday?

  107. 107
    efgoldman says:

    @LT: Why does the weapon matter? You never addressed, let alone answered that. The weapon, not the policy. Did you actually read what I wrote?

  108. 108
    kyle says:

    If you’re going to perpetually scream “DROOOOOOOOONES YOU OBOT” at me, go to the nearest large metropolitan police department and make sure you personally solve every homicide that comes in the door.

    Sure, because Obama ordered all those homicides.

  109. 109
    burnspbesq says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    OK, fine, trot out the convenient shibbolbeth, “due process.”

    But when you do, at least try to remember to ask the question, “how much process is due?”

    Simply intoning the shibboleth isn’t the end of the discussion. It’s the beginning. Now you get to do (or not do, if you choose to be non-serious about this) a careful balancing of the competing interests of the individual and the state.

    When you’ve done that balancing, and can defend where you came out by reference to some legal or moral principle that we can agree on, then we can have a conversation.

    That’s the missing element in all of the sanctimonious emoprog claptrap on this subject: any serious attempt to explain why the amount of process they think is due is the right amount.

  110. 110
    Corner Stone says:

    @LT: This is not a liberal blog.

  111. 111
    burnspbesq says:

    @LT:

    Fuck me rancid.

    Too late for that. Your shit is already well past its sell-by date.

  112. 112
    Knockabout says:

    I wonder if Zandar’s drunk yet or just crying. It’s pretty clear you all respect him even less than I do.

  113. 113
    Ben Franklin says:

    @LT:

    I think all this is due to the failure of our elected leaders to make a clear distinction between
    their/our fears, and the genuine threat. Is it a greater threat to expose the territory of the US to a terrorist act, or to undermine those principles which supposedly define our exceptional form of government? When they asked ‘Are you for us, or them’ they should have stated the version of the US the People should expect of our government.

  114. 114
    Corner Stone says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    But the law is written by politicians. So why trust the law?

    Well, that’s the great foundational question of democracy, isn’t it?
    And laws may be just or unjust. It’s the application I am just as concerned with. The naive notion that “no man above the law” still seems to me to be the only one worth fighting for.

  115. 115
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Corner Stone:

    No, it’s a very liberal (see definition 1.a. here) blog. What it isn’t is ideologically pure, like you.

  116. 116
    rikyrah says:

    I just don’t care about drones.

    period

  117. 117
    burnspbesq says:

    @Corner Stone:

    The naive notion that “no man above the law” still seems to me to be the only one worth fighting for.

    Well, damn. I take back three percent of the bad things I’ve ever said about you.

    That’s naive and simplistic, but at least it’s coherent.

  118. 118
    LT says:

    @efgoldman: Are you for fucking serious? YOU brought up how awesome drones would be to people in the past. As if that says anything to the issues here.

  119. 119
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas.

    Are you being ironic?

  120. 120
    Corner Stone says:

    @kyle:

    Sure, because Obama ordered all those homicides.

    I’m more than pretty sure that Zandar will never actually understand how incredibly stupid he sounds using the wildly funny analogy he did to set this post up.

  121. 121
    LT says:

    @Corner Stone: Well, it pretends to be. But my point and complaint is that Cole invited this level of embarrassingly and obviously obtuse here.

  122. 122
    Corner Stone says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Well, damn. I take back three percent of the bad things I’ve ever said about you.

    Well since that’s more, percentage wise, than your clients will pay in taxes by the time you’re done, I guess I’ll take it for now.

  123. 123
    Yutsano says:

    @burnspbesq: I’m thinking only on days that end in Y.

  124. 124
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    Not ironic at all. Check the mirror: Your established (going back at least 50 years) American leftist orthodoxy is showing.

  125. 125
    LT says:

    I think all any of us should have pointed to in this infintely embarrassing Balloon Juice post is this:

    If you’re going to perpetually scream “DROOOOOOOOONES YOU OBOT” at me…

    That’s how Zander *started* this conversation.

    My God.

  126. 126
    Corner Stone says:

    @Yutsano: I always die a little inside every time one of your comments doesn’t celebrate the international history and tradition of LOLcat speak.
    It’s almost as bad as when DMX doesn’t use a Latin phrase in one of his comments.
    Are you trying to hurt me? Do you really want to make me cry?

  127. 127
    Knockabout says:

    I’m far from the only one pointing out the fact that Zandar is a complete hack.

    In fact that seems to be the consensus of the comments in the thread.

  128. 128

    @Suzanne:

    This is about as well put as I’ve seen it.

    I don’t think Zandar–or anybody else–is cheering drones. I’m not. I’d love it if we never used another drone again. But, yeah, we’re stuck in this fuckup of a war, and President Obama is getting us the hell out of it. While we do that, we want to keep American deaths and woundings as low as we can.

    You can reasonably criticize drones. But if you do, you’re kind of bound to acknowledge that there aren’t any good answers here, only answers of varying degrees of suckiness. If we give up drones, what do we do instead? Put troops on the ground? How is that likely to end up killing fewer innocents than drones are?

    This country has done a lot in the last 10 or 15 years that we have a lot to answer for. Drones are, I guess, one of those things. But they’re hardly at the top of the list. The problem with this handwringing over drones is–at least this is how I see it–that it seems phony a lot of the time. It strikes me as something that people who have nothing at stake can grandstand about to show off their moral superiority.

    That’s what bothers me about people like Walsh. I might be far off here, but has she wrought herself into such a lather about other, even more destructive weapons? I can kind of see why drones are so off-putting. They’re so clinical, so impersonal. We can blow people away without one of our people ever getting within 100 miles of them. Somehow, war seems like one of those things that ought to be a little more personal, a little more visceral.

    But why? Why shouldn’t we do whatever we can to lessen our own losses? Drones may not seem quite sporting, but war is never sporting to the civilians stuck in the middle. If we want to make a fuss and stand up for what’s right–and I’m all for that–then let’s talk about the fucking wars themselves, and not the weapons.

  129. 129
    Hob says:

    @efgoldman: It sounds like you didn’t read the rest of my comment, where I said that my problem with it has nothing to do with rudeness or style.

  130. 130
    Corner Stone says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): I have to tell you. The fact you posted this. And then the next fucking comment at #116 says what it says?
    That’s like pure gold man. Pure dee gold.

  131. 131
    Knockabout says:

    @Zapruder F. Mashtots, D.D.S. (Mumphrey, et al.):

    So explain why Zandar was making the completely opposite argument about drones in 2009.

    I’ll wait.

  132. 132
    efgoldman says:

    @LT:

    YOU brought up how awesome drones would be to people in the past.

    And you brought up a war criminal, about whom I agreed with you.
    Some people can’t take yes for an answer.

  133. 133
    Hob says:

    @General Stuck: I’m really not sure what you’re saying. If I agree with a point of view, then I can’t make any criticism of one particular way that some people are trying to make that point— even if my criticism is just that it gets in the way of making that point? And if I think someone is wrong, then all forms of mockery of that person are equally smart and helpful, just because they’re mockery?

    I mean obviously Zandar saying “droooooones” is not a big issue, certainly nowhere near as important as the actual subject. I just think it muddies the waters and makes anyone who hasn’t already been following the argument unlikely to listen, because it just sounds stupid and has no context. Maybe no big whoop, but I mentioned it because it bugs me and because other people have already addressed the more important things better than I can.

  134. 134
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Zapruder F. Mashtots, D.D.S. (Mumphrey, et al.):

    Somehow, war seems like one of those things that ought to be a little more personal, a little more visceral.

    I think there’s an argument to be made that keeping a ‘human’ element on the battlefield makes people more sensitive to whether something is morally right or not. Leaders will make decisions with machines that they wouldn’t do with soldiers, and people will ignore the machines easier than they would the soldiers. This leads to a sort of out-of-sight-out-of-mind thing where war becomes more distant and abstract and the people in charge of it less scrutinized. Sort of the other end of how some people say that the best way to spike anti-war sentiment would be to bring back the draft.

    I don’t think that sort of argument explains everything, but I think it’s there.

  135. 135
    Knockabout says:

    @LT:

    If Cole cared, would Zandar still be a front pager?

    Hell of an absentee landlord. Passive/aggressive attempt to bury the thread though on his part. Standard John Cole there.

  136. 136
    Corner Stone says:

    @Zapruder F. Mashtots, D.D.S. (Mumphrey, et al.):

    I’d love it if we never used another drone again. But, yeah, we’re stuck in this fuckup of a war, and President Obama is getting us the hell out of it. While we do that, we want to keep American deaths and woundings as low as we can.

    Ok. This is awesome. Thank you.
    I mean, I passed out a couple times reading through your post but after reviving myself I have a couple questions for this clear thinking thought.
    When we leave Af-Pak. When we no longer have troops in Afghanistan. And we’re still drone bombing Pakistan, Yemen, Mali, Sudan, etc. So that your false argument about keeping US military personnel woundings and deaths low is rendered irrelevant and you can’t hide behind it. Then what?
    It’s not about the troops on the ground vs the drone.
    I am so god damned fucking sick of this garbage time distraction bullshit.

  137. 137
    efgoldman says:

    @Zapruder F. Mashtots, D.D.S. (Mumphrey, et al.):
    Thank
    You

    I’m always glad when someone explains my ideas and thoughts better than I do.

  138. 138
    shep says:

    Guess what, Sonny? Some of us “screamed about…My Lai, the bombing of Dresden, and Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and Amadou Diallo, for that matter. Straw man doesn’t begin to describe this sort of thinking. Psychopathic does.

  139. 139
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Hob:

    My own opinion is that the reason these conversations are so fucking impossible is because the topic has been caught up in that perpetual bullshit machine, the lefty blog wars of the Practical and Steely-Eyed Analysts of Reality vs. the Pure and Good Defenders of Sacred and Eternal Principles. Everyone sees it as an opportunity to score cred for whatever side they’re on, which means they’re all talking past each other and pulling out tired, stupid cliches as support. Ambivalence and conditional agreements are seen as weakness.

  140. 140
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Suzanne:

    War is, by nature, the killing of citizens without due process.

    An undeclared war is, by nature, the killing of citizens without due process. But a declared one isn’t. See how big the difference is?

    It’s crucial for this argument.

  141. 141
    White Trash Liberal says:

    First, the use of arms to kill is an ethics problem that is central to being human. We are all touched by it. We are all involved.

    I think Zandar is confusing the explicit and implicit authority to kill. Yes, it is fair to decry the implied authority of a cop to shoot, taze, or maim citizens who are not given due process. Nevertheless, the police have escalation of force procedures, and their explicit authority is limited. The stated power they have has limitations. The ability of a police department in an urban environment to abuse their implied authority is certainly one that is open for outrage, criticism and reform.

    The same with warfare. There are international conventions and laws of war that govern armed conflict. That explicit authority is limited, and like the police departments, the implied authority of a rifle squad can violate these laws. That is also open to outrage and criticism.

    The AUMF and Global War On Terror gave the executive branch the implied authority to use a targeted strike to kill Awlaki (a citizen) and bin Laden (a non citizen). The executive branch has now given itself the explicit authority to do this, and that is where problem lies. The ethics of explicit authority to kill OBL is barely argued. The explicit authority to kill Awlaki, and by extension other citizens abroad is worthy of critique.

    If the LAPD was given unilateral rights to use poisoned darts to kill suspected pedophiles, this explicit authority is ethically questionable regardless of the type of weapon or the type of criminal. The implied authority of a cop killing has now an explicit means of carrying it out.

    Bottom line: who guards the guards? The Obama administration has given itself a legal justification to make an implied power explicit and codified… And our job as citizens is to distrust this shift. However, I would like to add in conclusion that I believe the administration is pushing for this in order to “do what it takes” to prevent another terrorist attack. Their calculus is to prevent very real political and cultural consequences. Nevertheless, the trust that this and future administrations will do the right thing with a new explicit authority to kill people is not one I can abide.

  142. 142
    efgoldman says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: I don’t think that sort of argument explains everything, but

    I think it’s there.

    Oh, its definitely “there.” But the people who make it are the people who’ve never actually been in a war, and probably never in the service.

  143. 143
    LT says:

    @Zapruder F. Mashtots, D.D.S. (Mumphrey, et al.): “I might be far off here, but has she wrought herself into such a lather about other, even more destructive weapons?”

    This is just mind-boggling. And it speaks to what Zander has done with his onslaught of strawmen and the “Where’s your outrage over that?” It reminds me of the “Have you been protesting conditions in prison for years?? Huh?? HUh?? Then SHUT UP about Bradley Manning!” that went on here.

    What issue could ever stand up to such dishonest fuckery? Soldier suicide? “HAVE YOU WORKED YOURSELF INTO SUCH A LATHER ABOUT X? CUZ IT’S WORSE THAN SOLDIER SUICIDE!!!!! SO DON’T YOUI DARE EVEN BRING IT UP!!!!!” *Nothing* could stand up to it. It’s a sick fucking combination of immoral and amoral defense for the sake of defense.

  144. 144
    Knockabout says:

    @shep:

    Defense of Obama in the face of psychopathic behavior is Zandar’s specialty.

    We’re all aware that this is just Zandar’s rage post because we’re being mean to Obama, right?

  145. 145
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Corner Stone:

    You wouldn’t know gold if you saw it- it’s neither black nor white. “Liberal” can’t be defined accurately by your Manichean dictionary.

  146. 146
    eco2geek says:

    Did I also miss the part where IEDs keep blowing off arms and legs and shearing off chunks of our soldiers’ skulls, creating a huge number of folks coming back home with truly awful injuries?

    and yet we’ve got 300 million devices in the country called “firearms” that quite often end up doing just that. Due process is not always exercised in those situations either, guys

    Neither has anything to do with my opposition to extrajudicial targeted assassinations. Neither does the fact that we use weaponry called “drones” to do them.

    Although if the technology didn’t exist, we’d actually have to put people in harm’s way to do the same thing, which would have put brakes on the whole operation. Having these beliefs called “principles” certainly hasn’t.

    Where’s your outrage over that?

    This might amaze you, but I can be “outraged” about more than one thing at the same time.

    Any cops who draw their weapon on someone and pull the trigger, and guess what, they don’t always shoot the right person.

    See above.

    let’s not pretend that President Obama somehow has the most blood on his hands of a US President, either, shall we?

    Never said I thought that.

    What a bullshit post.

  147. 147
    Ben Franklin says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    You had me until this….

    the administration is pushing for this in order to “do what it takes” to prevent another terrorist attack.

    I repeat the question I asked above(paraphrased); “Which is worse, our being attacked within the territory of the US, or rescinding the principles which make us worthy of survival?’

  148. 148
    Corner Stone says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    You wouldn’t know gold if you saw it- it’s neither black nor white.

    Isn’t it a kind of dull metallic color? Somehow approximating the “gold” crayon in your 128 kit you use to construct your stupidly childish arguments?

  149. 149
    efgoldman says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    An undeclared war is, by nature, the killing of citizens without due process. But a declared one isn’t. See how big the difference is?

    All those civilians who were killed in declared wars feel a lot better right now.
    Look. War is shit. Declared, undeclared, war of opportunity, wars we were forced into, wars we were lied into, all shit. Having accomplished our stated objective (getting Bin Laden), should we still be fucking around over there? I don’t know. I think, probably not. But as long as we are, drones, for now, are the best weapon we have. In ten years, maybe there will be a chemical sensor that targets specific DNA. Or maybe not. Or maybe there will be a magic cloud of unicorns, and nobody will want to kill anyone else. Or maybe not. Meanwhile, its the same shit, with different weapons. That’s all.

  150. 150
    Corner Stone says:

    @efgoldman:

    maybe there will be a chemical sensor that targets specific DNA. Or maybe not.

    If that happens I sure as fuck hope Tom Selleck is around to stop Gene Simmons.

  151. 151
    Yutsano says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    Bottom line: who guards the guards?

    In the case of the Executive Branch, Congress and the Supreme Court. And neither has bothered to live up to their responsibility to rein in the excesses of the President. Bush set us down a dangerous path, it is foolish to think Obama will correct that just because of who he is. All Presidents must have their powers checked or else the one branch becomes too powerful to check. I’m not saying this is where we’re heading, but it won’t just happen on its own.

  152. 152
    Knockabout says:

    @LT:

    You mean Zandar is guilty of all the same logical fallacies he’s constantly accused his critics of, and continues to spiral down into the abyss of his own making?

    Perish the very thought!

    What about it Zandar?

    You have any response to the dozen or so people calling you out?

    What about you, John Cole? Do you agree or disagree? Do you think he’s doing a good job of representing your blog?

    The community seems to be speaking very loudly here.

    What say you, other front pagers? Doug seems to agree but he’s just as awful. Anyone else? Anne Laurie? Betty Cracker? Kay? Tom? Soonergrunt?

    And what about ABL, who’s pulling Zandar’s strings?

    I don’t see anyone running to the guy’s defense…

  153. 153
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    An undeclared war is, by nature, the killing of citizens without due process. But a declared one isn’t. See how big the difference is?

    The two Barbary Wars were undeclared. The American Civil War was undeclared. Was the suspension of due process illegal in any of those three wars?

    Again, the Fifth Amendment, with its carve-out for exceptional circumstances:

    “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

  154. 154
    Hob says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: I have a friend who came around a bit late to being anti-war and politically aware after having gotten caught up in 9/11 jingoism, and he says “flying killer robots” a lot, even though he doesn’t support blowing up people by other means either. I know (as much as you can know anyone) that his beliefs are sincere, and they really are pretty much the same as my beliefs; the difference is only about context and focus, and maybe about how someone who’s only started thinking about this stuff relatively recently is therefore more struck by the part that seems new.

    So I really really am not coming from the concern-troll position of “oh, Tea Partiers/neo-Confederates/etc. will understand that we’re all in it together if you just talk to them respectfully.” It’s more that I really do know where this guy is coming from and that he’s not a shallow ideologue, and therefore I can’t assume that everyone else who talks like that is one (though I’m sure some are). And I know that if he didn’t know me, and if I tried to argue with him by saying “Duh, droooooonez, droooooonez– see, that’s you!”, he would rightly assume that I was just an asshole who didn’t really give a shit.

  155. 155
    White Trash Liberal says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    I am not saying I agree with it, just divining the rationale.

    If another large-scale terrorist attack occurred on Obama’s watch, we’d suffer a rightward tilt. This is borne out by previous attacks… The solution is to reevaluate empire, because our imperialist global policies are what make the United States a target. Until such reevaluation occurs, this death by a thousand cuts is much better than the next PATRIOT Act.

  156. 156
    eclecticbrotha says:

    Well, I do understand Zandar’s frustration here. End the AUMF. No further comment.

  157. 157
    LT says:

    @efgoldman:

    …should we still be fucking around over there? I don’t know. I think, probably not. But as long as we are…

    Morality middle management to aisle infinity…morality middle management to aisle infnity…

  158. 158
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Riiiiight…Because I meant that literally…

  159. 159
    Ted & Hellen says:

    This post, which I just now read, rates immediate inclusion in top ten most mindlessly Obottish posts of all time, which on BJ is still saying something.

    Holy Christ, what blind stupidity/allegiance to the One.

    Zandar, you should be embarrassed. I mean, I know you won’t be, but you should be. Wow.

  160. 160
    MomSense says:

    @Groucho48:

    Easier than launching missile strikes from an aircraft carrier?

  161. 161
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Hob:

    On the contrary, I think you’re one of the few people being reasonable here.

    It’s more that I really do know where this guy is coming from and that he’s not a shallow ideologue

    Yeah, that’s one of my problems with this site, despite the fact that there’s a lot of good discussion lots of times. You can’t make an argument without someone assuming you’re running interference for someone else. Apparently, no one ever sincerely thinks something. Everyone’s a concern troll, and they’re all being intentionally obtuse just to piss you off. It gets really annoying, yet somehow I keep coming back here.

  162. 162
    MomSense says:

    @General Stuck:

    I love you for this comment.

  163. 163
    Knockabout says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    The hack who sock puppeteered his own blog for a year is beyond embarrassment.

    The good news is it looks like this is the end for him.

  164. 164
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    Is it really about American imperialism, or does it have more to do with what happens in the Middle East once the petroleum deposits have been drained? That is, when the revenue stream is gone, what do the people in the region trade to feed themselves (Saudi population in 1960 was ~8 million, now it’s ~28 million, about 1/3 foreign guest workers)?

  165. 165
    General Stuck says:

    @Hob:

    What I am saying and I think Zandar as well, is that if you are making an argument that is opposition to the war, then that is a righteous means of arguing your negative thoughts and feelings about the war. But if you are going to build a narrative around essentially what is just another kind of weapon that is only a form of air power that are drones, then we are going to mock for making, or trying to make a LEGAL argument against drones, as a proxy to claim illegality of the war you oppose. Though speaking in moral opposition to drones is within bounds, just that any legal argument fails the laugh test, and we see it as a dishonest ploy to attack the war justification itself.

    As well as being somewhat appalled at the special status of an American citizen that has publicly joined and sworn allegiance to the group you are engaged in warfare overseas. It is just more of the sloppy and illogical polemic method of dissent and issue advocacy.

    edit – and at the end of the day, what you are accusing the president we support of casual murder of an American citizen, without considering the circumstances.

  166. 166
    MomSense says:

    @burnspbesq:
    Yes, thank you. Due process does not mean what they think it means–all the time.

  167. 167
    LT says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    Yeah, that’s one of my problems with this site, despite the fact that there’s a lot of good discussion lots of times. You can’t make an argument without someone assuming you’re running interference for someone else. Apparently, no one ever sincerely thinks something. Everyone’s a concern troll, and they’re all being intentionally obtuse just to piss you off. It gets really annoying, yet somehow I keep coming back here.

    ON that subject, I think it’s fair to note that Zander, in this post, started this conversation with:

    If you’re going to perpetually scream “DROOOOOOOOONES YOU OBOT” at me…

  168. 168
    rpl says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    “I think there’s an argument to be made that keeping a ‘human’ element on the battlefield makes people more sensitive to whether something is morally right or not.”

    Sure thing, just look how sensitive Good old Americans became at Abu Grahb. Or the troops pissing on corpses in Afghanistan.

    It’s an argument OK, but it’s a losing one.

  169. 169
    General Stuck says:

    @General Stuck:

    By using “you” in this comment, I am not talking about you per se. But those who are most ardent pushing the illegal drone war angle.

  170. 170
    AxelFoley says:

    Thank you, Zandar. You may be a Dookie, but you’re on point with this.

  171. 171
    LT says:

    @General Stuck:

    General Stuck Says:
    @General Stuck:
    By using “you” in this comment, I am not talking about you per se. But those who are most ardent pushing the illegal drone war angle.

    Like the kids say: So much win.

  172. 172
    David Koch says:

    I’m sure — positively sure — absolutely sure — that when Hillary becomes President in 4 years and continues to use droooooooones, Joan Walsh will denounce her heroine.

  173. 173
    rpl says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    “The fact that due process doesn’t exist everywhere is not a good reason to denigrate it, or ignore it where it does apply.”

    I wouldn’t denigrate due process, or ignore it where it does apply.

    But it is part of the American Constitution and only applies within our borders. It is not extendable to Americans (or anyone) outside our borders.

    Being supernice to enemies of the U.S.A. will not bring them to our side.

    And our Constitution was not transcribed by the Founding Fathers from Golden plates handed down by Jehova’s angel Imamoron. Surprise, but much of the world are not Christian and won’t be impressed or converted by our principles.

  174. 174
    LT says:

    One of the things that really bugs about a post like this, I’m just realizing (and it’s a template for ABL posts too) is that it enters already engaged in a flame war. From the opening line personal diss of Walsh to “DROOOOOOOOONES YOU OBOT” the only thing this post could possibly foster is a flame war.

    Did I say “Yay John Cole” yet?

  175. 175
    jamick6000 says:

    Here’s the thing, if we’re going to be over there doing this kind of thing, and right now that’s the policy, I’d rather see drones than boots on the ground.

    Here’s the thing, guys. If we’re going to torture people, and in 2003 that was the policy, I’d rather waterboard people than electric shock their balls. I think President Bush did the right thing.

  176. 176
    LT says:

    @jamick6000:

    Here’s the thing, guys. If we’re going to torture people, and in 2003 that was the policy, I’d rather waterboard people than electric shock their balls. I think President Bush did the right thing.

    Egfuckingzactly. And exactly why I said, “Morality middle management to aisle infinity…morality middle management to aisle infnity…”

  177. 177
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @rpl:

    What the hell does Christianity have to do with due process?

  178. 178
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @LT:

    I agree, and I agree with your ‘coming in already in a flame war’ thing. I don’t disagree with Z on his points but he’s doing a hell of a job alienating everyone who does.

  179. 179
    jamick6000 says:

    We’re screaming about al-Awlaki’s kid when My Lai, the bombing of Dresden, and Nagasaki and Hiroshima happened. Let’s face it, for America, that’s effing progress.

    Guys, for all you screaming about the hundreds of thousands who died for bullshit reasons in Iraq, ***MILLIONS*** died for bullshit reasons in Vietnam. Face it people, that’s effing progress. That’s why I always argue President Bush will go down as one of the all-time greats.

  180. 180
    David Koch says:

    We’re screaming about al-Awlaki’s kid when My Lai, the bombing of Dresden, and Nagasaki and Hiroshima happened.

    It’s true. Franklin Roosevelt murdered 100,000 women and children on March 10, 1945 when he dropped napalm on 16 square miles of civilian Tokyo.

    They were burnt to a crisp.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F.....1945-2.jpg

    And yet liberals idolize the war criminal, white washing his vast atrocities.

  181. 181
    General Stuck says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    I don’t disagree with Z on his points but he’s doing a hell of a job alienating everyone who does.

    Maybe Zandar wants to alienate those people. I know I do.

  182. 182
    Knockabout says:

    We’re almost to 200, as I predicted earlier.

    I know we can do it, guys.

  183. 183
    Linnaeus says:

    I think it’s fair to ask whether the concern over drones is really a less-well-argued concern over the war generally and the targeted killing program more specifically. Personally, I think there’s room for a lot more oversight over the program and the president’s warmaking powers generally. Sadly, Congress has abdicated that, but that doesn’t mean the executive gets a pass, either. Furthermore, there needs to be a much more robust conversation about how to end this war, and I just don’t see that happening in very many places. Even more generally, there needs to be a more robust conversation about America’s actual defense needs and how to draw down our nation’s military empire.

    With regard to drones, per se, I do understand the worry that they will make war easier because they further weaken an impediment to waging war; namely, the fear that we’re sending our servicepeople off to face death when they shouldn’t. Then again, one could say that any military innovation poses that risk, yet we’ve gone ahead and developed new weapons anyway, so perhaps the best we can do is manage and limit their use.

    Drones may not fall into this category, but we do have examples of international efforts to limit or ban the use of particular weapons: nuclear, chemical, & biological weapons, land mines, etc. Remember when the Bush administration backed off on developing nuclear bunker busters? So I don’t think it’s always true that we think “the weapon doesn’t matter”.

  184. 184
    LT says:

    @General Stuck:

    @Spaghetti Lee: I don’t disagree with Z on his points but he’s doing a hell of a job alienating everyone who does.

    Maybe Zandar wants to alienate those people. I know I do.

    John Cole is one of “those people,” just to note:

    To characterize this debate about drone strikes as nothing more than manic progressives looking for some way to attack Obama is silly and pointless.

    There’s much, much more. And Zander should really see it, too.

  185. 185
    eco2geek says:

    @LT:

    One of the things that really bugs about a post like this, I’m just realizing […] that it enters already engaged in a flame war.

    Yep, and it’s also flippant and full of lousy reasoning. It comes across as mean-spirited and meant to push peoples’ buttons, and sets up the comments section for a bunch of name-calling.

    If you want to read a reasoned defence of the use of drones in extra-judicial targeted killing, there’s currently one posted by a front-pager over at the Great Orange Satan.

  186. 186
    TriassicSands says:

    OT response to your statement.

    @Kent:

    My grandfather went to his grave convinced that Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved his life and that of hundreds of thousands of his fellow servicemen.

    That is certainly what Harry Truman wanted your grandfather and everyone else to believe, but there are serious historians who disagree. It’s an easy argument to make, but an impossible one to prove. If you’re a reader and are interested, Gar Alperovitz’s The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb is fascinating reading. There were high US government officials who also disagreed with Truman. The book is long, reflects exhaustive research, and raises and examines many issues that most people have never considered. In the end there is simply no way to prove or disprove Truman’s contention or your grandfather’s belief, but the book makes it clear that issue is a lot more complicated than most people will ever know.

    The US had a new and powerful weapon. If we hadn’t used it in Japan, I suspect it would have been used in Korea. Would we really have spent all the time and money to develop the bomb and then never given it a try? I’m skeptical. One strong counterargument to the conventional one is that at the end of WWII the US felt the need to send a message to the USSR. What stronger message could there be than the atomic bomb?

    Even if Truman’s justification was wrong, he wouldn’t have escaped the issue simply by deciding not to use it in WWII. And World War or no World War, the Soviet Union wasn’t going away. (Not just yet, anyway.)

  187. 187
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @General Stuck:

    Well, that’s because you’re an asshole. A well-spoken and relatively polite asshole, but an asshole nonetheless. Not to ignore the people you always end up fighting with. They’re assholes too, and you deserve each other. You’d rather slash your own throats than admit that the other team (who you probably agree with on almost every other issue) said something worthwhile. That’s why drone threads have a reputation for being such a massive pile of shit.

  188. 188
    LT says:

    @eco2geek: Even more tedious – it’s already been done here before. And Cole tore Sonnergrunt a new one for it:

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....-disagree/

  189. 189
    Knockabout says:

    @eco2geek:

    When has Zandar written anything that isn’t fully described by this statement?

    For two years now he has built nothing but strawman out of the chips on his shoulder involving what he sees as giving proper deference for a truly mediocre president.

    Then he sets them on fire and challenges anyone to pick a fight with him, all while insinuating racism or white privilege about anyone who does.

    He gets a pass because he’s punching the white guilt buttons of a majority of the front pagers and ABL would explode if Cole kicked his ass to the curb and take Elon White with her.

    Not that this would be a bad thing.

    Stop me when you truly think I’m wrong here.

  190. 190
    David Koch says:

    If Droooooooones are so bad then why does liberal Messiah Elizabeth Warren support them?

    Which begs the question why do liberals give her a pass for supporting such an indecent and heinous policy?

  191. 191
    Mnemosyne says:

    @LT:

    Is it too much to ask that people who disagree with Zandar manage to spell his name correctly?

    It’s especially embarrassing in that post because you quoted someone who did spell it correctly, and then promptly spelled it incorrectly yourself.

  192. 192
    LT says:

    @Mnemosyne: That’s pretty funny. Why just people who disagree with him?

    P.S. Mispelling is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

  193. 193
    Cassidy says:

    And we shall call this post bugzapper.

  194. 194

    @Knockabout: Right after Eco’s name.

    The rest is mindless troll babble.

  195. 195

    @Knockabout:

    [Zandar] gets a pass because he’s punching the white guilt buttons of a majority of the front pagers and ABL would explode if Cole kicked his ass to the curb and take Elon White with her.

    I’m beginning to see a theme here.

  196. 196
    shep says:

    @Knockabout:

    Defense of Obama in the face of psychopathic behavior is Zandar’s specialty.

    Don’t get me wrong. Not that the examples given aren’t, but it is the author’s line of reasoning that I find most psychopathic. As if relative outrage over means or ends, rather than the motive, is the thing. And the absence of the simple acknowledgement that all involve horrible immorality, illegality and tragically innocent victims (even though that may be partly his point).

    In that part, he is right. So-called “Signature Strikes” where video-gamers get to decide who looks like a “militant” and assassinate them (and anyone near them), without any real defensive rationale at all, are immoral, illegal according the laws of war and otherwise indefensible, whether or not many, many like crimes have been committed in our names in the past.

  197. 197
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    @Self-Righteous Little White Guy: Knockabout has had a personal grudge against Zandar for quite some time. Best ignored.

  198. 198
    Cassidy says:

    Bzzt!

  199. 199
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Targeted assassination seems ethically dubious. Civilian casualties are always awful. I’m not sure drones cause any more civilian casualties than other weaponry, but that’s neither here nor there, ultimately. The issue, of course, is what to do to place checks on any of these things, knowing that Republicans in Congress are probably more inclined to making more of it totally legal than to doing anything to rein it in. If what you want is a more restrictive law, but you’re not going to get it because of the politicians we’re stuck with, what’s Plan B? IMHO it seems like these memos ARE Plan B. They’re trying to set up rules and conditions. I don’t think that’s good enough, from a moral-ethical standpoint, but it’s not clear what citizens can do about it. The only thing that’s ever occurred to me was some kind of momentary tactical alliance between government-skeptical Republicans and civil libertarian Democrats… But the sad fact is that there aren’t enough of those to make it happen.

  200. 200
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Self-Righteous Little White Guy:

    Ya think?

  201. 201
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @shep: well, anyone who plays the “flying death robots” card is at least for the moment nailing his flag to the mast of a means or a tactic. And I don’t think “rule of law” is really on point either, because it may be implicitly legal already (because of bad law like the AUMF and the track record of deference to the executive branch on war issues) and I bet it would be easy to pass a law that made the whole thing explicitly legal. But even if it’s legal, or could be made legal, it wouldn’t, and shouldn’t, silence the people who find it wrong. What we need is a different law that enshrines a different notion of ethics. Congress isn’t going to do that, but until they do, we’re going to be stuck with having the whole idea be a matter of the consciences of office-holders and appointees in the executive branch.

  202. 202
    Mnemosyne says:

    @LT:

    Why just people who disagree with him?

    Because it comes across like Rush Limbaugh referring to the “Democrat Party” just to try and annoy people. It’s childish.

    I mean, jaysus, Knockabout has been stalking Zandar since they worked together IRL and he can still manage to spell Zandar’s goddamned name right.

  203. 203
    lojasmo says:

    @Corner Stone:

    What in the name of absolute fuck does this mean?

    You clearly have anger management problems. You should see somebody.

  204. 204
    Corner Stone says:

    @lojasmo: Coming from someone experienced in threatening their coworkers with violent and borderline terroristic actions, I appreciate your advice.
    Thank you, and please don’t hunt me down and kill me.

  205. 205
    General Stuck says:

    @LT:

    John Cole is one of “those people,” just to note:

    You really should get out more LT. Of course John Cole is one of “those people”, and there is not a scintilla of doubt in my Obot brain, that I have fully and completely alienated him to the max. At least on the topic of war and peas.

    The only question, what possesses you to show up now and then and riddle us with the same whiny manic prog drek, when you have virtually no idea what is really happening in this country. At least to any degree of nuance.

  206. 206
    Knockabout says:

    @General Stuck:

    Because all caps screaming, inside baseball insults, ad hominem strawmen, and implications of racism in the reader show Zandar’s deft touch with nuance.

    Tell me another one, Stucky.

  207. 207
    LT says:

    @Mnemosyne: Well, does the fact that I just didn’t notice it was “ar” make it any better? I honestly just didn’t. I don’t read his posts hardly at all (does he even post that often? doesn’t seem like it).

  208. 208
    lojasmo says:

    @Corner Stone:

    @LT: You know who else would’ve used drones if they were available?

    FDR?

  209. 209
    Stalky McStalkperson says:

    @Knockabout:

    Because all caps screaming, inside baseball insults, ad hominem strawmen, and implications of racism in the reader show Zandar’s deft touch with nuance.

    Tell me another one, Stucky.

    Well, stalking somebody across two blogs for a number of years doesn’t exactly make you look particularly stable, “The Shadow.”

    Nobody here’s buying your transparent schtick, so just go on wasting your life, loser.

  210. 210
    David Koch says:

    @lojasmo: Never! He only assassinated Yammamoto and Heydrich and hung Nazi saboteurs using jedi mind tricks.

  211. 211
    Jay says:

    What a crap post.

    Having written that, a few other things:

    -I’m white, and I don’t think I’m totally deaf and dumb to what White Privilege is, or might be. Here’s my go:

    >In our American Democracy, White Privilege is having the luxury of voting on a single issue at the expense of others.
    >In our American Democracy, it’s the sense that President Obama is held to a different, higher standard than, say, Bush 2 or Clinton.

    -The thing is, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen White Privilege exercised by people most liberals won’t touch. For instance, I watched Jon Stewart’s tossed-off response to the murder of Trayvon Martin, in which he called the media coverage a “circus” (because heaven knows “circus” and associated words have NEVER been considered dogwhistles in discussions of the African-American experience; how could someone as sharp as Stewart not know that?) and moved on.
    -Then, there was Bill Maher crowing that he expected Obama to be “gangsta.” To their credit, Cole and a couple of the other big cheeses at this blog condemned that, but Maher never apologized, and when he gave that cool million to Team Obama, criticism got quiet right quick.

    >But back to the matter of “single-issue” votes and fights. President Obama’s not running for anything anymore. If I’m not mistaken, he can, by executive order, set up a FISA-like court for drone strikes. Angus King suggested the court and I don’t think he was wrong to do so. At a bare minimum, Americans ought to expect that this administration isn’t setting up the groundwork for a President Chris Christie, in a fit of rage, to drone strike a house somewhere in this country. I mean Jesus. The guy’s that much of a hothead. Before someone else makes a dumb comment about “not caring about this,” ask yourselves the following: 1) Do you want a Chris Christie to have this power? and 2) Would you have said the same about the Bush Administration’s foreign policy excesses?

    This president ended torture. Good. And I don’t buy the comparison between torture and drones. I get why drone strikes are sometimes needed. I wouldn’t ban them. But I would ask what this president will do, right now, to put a check on the system. That’s not an unreasonable question. POTUS is a grown-az man who would resent anyone’s attempt at protection. I agree with Jon Meacham’s simple take that Barack Obama is “a tough guy.” He can take the criticism, and in the past, he has shown he will move in response to it.

    So what can concerned citizens do? Get on the phones, ‘ya maniacs. Tell your senators to sink the Brennan vote. Press. Press. Press. While you’re at it, jam the hell out of White House lines.

    As for this being a “single issue,” I have to call BS; it can, I believe, domino into alot of other issues. The potential for blowback from the strikes is real, so why not start by pointing out that Brennan can’t lie to the world and say, as he did, that there hasn’t been a single civilian death from these strikes? POTUS has to pull this guy, or he has to be voted down. Barring that, SoS Kerry, for starters, had better be pressed on what he will do to ease global tensions caused by the strikes.

    Couple closing points: -Drone strikes and torture aren’t comparable because there’ve long been different sets of rules for what America does with enemies who evade capture and those who are captured. Papa Awlaki, for instance, wasn’t much into coming in alive, he loudly declared himself our enemy, incited violence, and so on. So I am sold on killing him, but I don’t like that his son was brought into the bargain.

    -Also, at the heart of the wingnut scream: “We can’t torture people but we can drone them!!!!!!!!!11111???” is the maximalist view that either all violence is justified in war or none is. That’s nonsensical. In terms of violence, I have trouble seeing what makes drones that different from conventional airpower. Would we ban that? No.

    -Finally, back to White Privilege: on the question of holding this President to a different standard, I was 19 and quite the dumbass about politics when the Clinton years ended, but when I had a shot at reading about them in depth, I became critical of him when I studied what he DIDN’T do. The guy pretty much sat on his hands during the Rwandan genocide, of course, and for that alone, I believe he is a towering mediocrity.

    Obama’s unaccountable drone war is not, I repeat, IS NOT his Rwanda, but it’s something that could keep a good President from being the first great president of this new century. I hope and pray Barack Obama can be great.

    Thanks for letting me ramble.

  212. 212
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @David Koch:

    If they made Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, then FDR: Jedi Master can’t be too far off.

  213. 213
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    FDR: Jedi Master

    I would see that.

  214. 214
    Joshua says:

    Made a joke on Twitter that inspired someone else to make this: https://twitter.com/Gus_802/status/300744067644551168/photo/1

  215. 215
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Jay:

    Stewart and Maher both have, um, quite a few detractors here, often for the very charges of glibness and smugness born of rich-white-guy-ness.

  216. 216
    David Koch says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: at the very least he could be cast as President X in the next X-Men movie

  217. 217
    General Stuck says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    Well, that’s because you’re an asshole.

    Well, yea, there is that. But I would say a purposeful one. Politics ain’t bean bags, and unproductive coalitions are not only useless, but harmful, in the end. I just don’t pretend people are on my side when I don’t think they are, when it is as fundamental as treating the first black dem president with the respect that that reality deserves, as a first order of faith, unless PROVED unworthy.

    The drone argument is a fake one, imo, as is fretting over the sanctity of a so called US citizen that has publicly sworn his self an enemy of his fellow citizens, and plans to kill them in large numbers if possible. And to place that status of their common nationality as elevated for sanctity of life above all others , is an ugliness I don’t want to associate with in any way.

    Especially when it is present with calling that first black president a murderer in so many ways, for prosecuting a legal declared war he didn’t start. Protest the war, not the fine print for a back door argument that involves some atrocious allegations on a pres you claim to support.

    This is a special point in history, and some folks on the center left want to make it mostly about them. They fail the test of history imo, that trumps whatever agreement we may have on other things. I didn’t start out being an asshole to these folks, but I sure am now with no regret what so ever. We are all gathered here in this virtual arena, to cast our votes, and must, above all else, defend the honor of our fake names. umphhh!!

  218. 218
    rpl says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    Just that you and the other emoprog pacifists on the thread seem to want us to turn the other cheek because of a reportedly (if you believe the T partyers) inextricable link between the Founding Fathers and the baby Jesus.

  219. 219
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @General Stuck:

    I think pretty much everyone involved is on your side, unless you define ‘on my side’ as ‘agrees with me about everything for the same reasons I do’. And of course, insisting on that definition is a great way to turn productive coalitions into unproductive ones. When groups start splintering left and right over smaller and smaller minutiae about who’s pure and who isn’t, it’s usually not a sign of good health. See: Republican Party, Contemporary.

    I mean, yeah, there’s the occasional troll who says inflammatory bullshit to get attention, but that’s a subgroup in the larger group of ‘people who disagree with you.’ You’re the one making it ‘all about you’ in that case. At least assume that they’re arguing in good faith until proven otherwise, and they’re not just trolling.

  220. 220
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @rpl:

    Um, no. The only one who’s brought that up all thread is you.

    Given that I’ve argued at least once in this thread that drone warfare is preferable to conventional warfare in some ways, I don’t think I’m an ’emoprog.’ But if wanting people to have a trial when possible is ‘turning the other cheek’ and preferring to not be at war is ‘pacifism’, then maybe I am.

    There’s a difference between accepting that war can be shitty and actively enjoying the shittiness of war because it gives you a chance to call people you don’t like wimps and pussies for not enjoying it the way you do. You guys always get so pissy when the Greenwald crowd accuses you of being violent thugs who happen to vote D instead of R. Well, stop playing the fucking part so well if you don’t like it.

  221. 221
    David Koch says:

    It’s funny, FDR was a militarist.

    He doubled the size of the peace-time Navy, instituted a peace-time draft, committed impeachable offenses by violating the neutrality acts, built the most heinous weapon known to mankind, purposefully murdered hundreds of thousands of civilians with napalm, ordered Hoover to conduct warrentless wiretaps, committed assassinations, laid the ground work for the CIA by creating the OSS, was dear friends with MacArthur, appointed Republicans to be Secretary of Defense, goaded Japan into attacking the US by moving the fleet from the west coast to Pearl Harbor and cutting off sales of oil and raw materials, did nothing to stop the Holocaust, including returning Jewish refugees to the Nazis, and interning 110,000 American citizens in concentration camps. Yet, Obomber kills a high ranking member of Al Qaeda with a robot and liberals pee their pants.

    I guess IOKIYAR stands for It’s Okay If You Are Republican Roosevelt.

  222. 222
    General Stuck says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    When groups start splintering left and right over smaller and smaller minutiae about who’s pure and who isn’t,

    Claiming the current dem president is conducting extrajudicial murder of American citizens is not my idea of minutiae, nor some notion of purity on my part.

    Along with all the other hyperbolic accusations from mostly the same folks, the past 4 years. There are limits to I’m okay and you’re okay. And we will just have to disagree on that.

  223. 223

    […] my post titles now being shamelessly copied, another question for drone supporters occurs to […]

  224. 224
    Jay says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: I’ve read bashings of Stewart and Maher here. That’s cool. But if there was a debate in wider Liberaldom about whether Team Obama should’ve taken Maher’s money (and no, Kirsten Powers doesn’t count as a Liberal, she’s paid to troll on every issue), I missed it.

    Also, when, say, Cornel West goes in on Stewart instead of praising him, I’ll take that as a sign something’s going on on the activist left.

  225. 225
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “but let’s not pretend that President Obama somehow has the most blood on his hands of a US President, either, shall we?”

    Amen.

  226. 226
    Corner Stone says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Amen to what exactly?
    Do you normally attend services at the Holy Sepulchre of the Blessed Strawman?

  227. 227
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jay: Cornel West?

  228. 228
    Knockabout says:

    Still no sign of Zandar.

    Don’t expect you’ll see him for another couple of months again, at least.

  229. 229
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Targeted assassination seems ethically dubious. Civilian casualties are always awful. I’m not sure drones cause any more civilian casualties than other weaponry, but that’s neither here nor there, ultimately.

    I’m not sure they cause more civilian casualties in cases where they’re substituting for another armed intervention, and in fact they may cause fewer. What bothers me is that I think we’re willing to engage in drone strikes in situations where we would not be willing to intervene in any other way, so in that sense they are incurring civilian casualties that otherwise would not be incurred.

    Unfortunately counting civilian casualties in these attacks is incredibly difficult, and is not helped by our policy of counting all military-age male casualties as guilty until proven innocent.

  230. 230
    shep says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Strangely, when it comes to killing and maiming, I’m mostly concerned about wrong. But targeting and killing non-combatants is illegal according to international law, and unless and until we pass a law that says we don’t have to abide by our international treaty obligations, it’s illegal. Period.

    What we need is an independent panel to approve whom we target as legal combatants.

  231. 231
    Corner Stone says:

    @shep:

    What we need is an independent panel to approve whom we target as legal combatants.

    Son of a bitch. I just spewed my home made mac & cheese all over myself.

  232. 232
    jamick6000 says:

    @David Koch:

    [FDR] goaded Japan into attacking the US by moving the fleet from the west coast to Pearl Harbor

    lol now we have a Pearl Harbor truther.

    Who are you trying to troll: anti-war people or even-a-passing-knowledge-of-history people?

  233. 233
    David Koch says:

    @jamick6000:

    Groupies of war criminal Roosevelt are a real hoot:

    On 7 May 1940, the U.S. fleet moved its headquarters from San Pedro, California, to Pearl Harbor. The move was undertaken with great reluctance by Admiral James O. Richardson, Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet. Richardson and most Navy officials who opposed the move thought a fleet anchored in Pearl Harbor would be unnecessarily exposed to Japanese naval strength. President Roosevelt, however, considered the move as a necessary countermeasure to growing Japanese bellicosity. Throughout 1940 Richardson bitterly voiced his objections to relocating his headquarters to Pearl Harbor because it challenged the soundness of U.S. policy in the Pacific. He claimed that Pacific naval offensive — the heart of the Navy’s War Plan Orange — was sure to fail because the U.S. did not have the capability to support an offensive west of Hawaii.

    http://www.history.navy.mil/bo.....int-4.html

  234. 234
    Jay says:

    @Corner Stone:

    West has certainly gone overboard in some of his criticism of the President. West isn’t “The Leader” of the activist left, but he isn’t insignificant.

    Adding:

    West has made some sense, in my view, on the matters of racism and White Privilege. A number of his lectures and writings attest to that. And what makes him matter is that he, Melissa Harris Perry, and Tim Wise seem to be the only remotely influential lefties willing to speak the term White Privilege aloud. Still, West is a Stewart groupie (see his praise of him on Maher’s show awhile ago; West and Stewart weren’t on together but West’s admiration was real). This makes no sense to me. Anything to keep up with the undergrads, I guess.

  235. 235
    sherifffruitfly says:

    If saint Joan of Walsh, or any other, has a suggestion other than ‘do nothing’ to offer, I’ll listen.

  236. 236
    CT says:

    Every white progressive pundit would do a better job of being president than the actual president.

  237. 237
    dmbeaster says:

    @David Koch:

    [FDR] goaded Japan into attacking the US by moving the fleet from the west coast to Pearl Harbor

    No. We “goaded” them into war by cutting off strategic materials (which they could only obtain by importing) in response to their non-stop aggression in China. There were serious war signs right up to Pearl Harbor as a result. Those Navy guys allegedly so fearful of being exposed in Pearl Harbor responded by doing nothing to be prepared for that attack.

  238. 238
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Thought it would be fun to come on here and find the latest post that said we had to destroy Hue to save it.

    And here it is!

    Calm down, antsy liberals. The fight between the left and liberals is the one you want to dominate the news.

  239. 239
    me says:

    I agree with many of the other posters here — the post was poopy for reasons I need not repeat here.

    What appeared to missing though from all the faux, etc, outrage charges directed at those of us against the drone use, is that drones have become the weapon of choice and that have been predominately used, and that have led to all the “collateral damage” in the situations criticized.

    If as many innocent people had been killed — US citizens or not — for the identical reasons but by different means, does anyone doubt that the same outrage and protests would be seen?

    This is about domestic and international law, and whether or not it is being observed/adhered to. As one opposed to all warring and wars that fall outside what is known as the “just” kind which has specific criteria this “war” fails to satisfy, there’s nothing a Zandar can possibly say to overcome that. And should the UN investigations determine that war crimes were committed in some instances, due to “proportionality”, lack of “distinction”, etc reasons, I look forward to the Zandars/droners droning on about, like the rightwingnuts did in defense of Bush, how international law doesn’t trump our own.

    Everything else is just a diversion.

  240. 240
    vitaminC says:

    Hmmm… I think some of the confusion might stem from a misunderstanding of how, when, and where the Constitution and its protections apply. So, here’s my understanding:

    Everybody, citizen or not, on US soil enjoys protection under the US Constitution.

    US citizens abroad enjoy Constitutional protections from their own government, but also have to follow local laws.

    So, a US citizen abroad would still retain the right to due process from the US government, regardless of local laws/lawlessness.

    This is the best case law I could dredge up, but I’m an artist, not a lawyer. Anyone care to chime in?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reid_v._Covert

  241. 241
    Death Panel Truck says:

    This made me laugh:

    Why shouldn’t we ask questions about a new form of warfare that makes it pretty easy, and painless to us, to kill at a distance?

    Maybe we should have started asking questions about a “new form of warfare” in 1945, after two B-29s dropped two bombs “from a distance” which killed tens of thousands of people in a matter of seconds. That was pretty painless to us, doncha think?

  242. 242
    Dr. Brian Oblivion says:

    Drone strikes are being used against civilian targets in countries with which the United States is not currently at war. So it is misguided to consider assassination by drone as another weapon for use in conventional warfare.

    * The United States used to actually declare wars (many wars ago).

    * The United States used to confine attacks to nations with which it was at war (Vietnam obviously broke that convention).

    * United States policy used to expressly forbid assassination.
    Due process (in order for the state to deprive a person of his life) used to require more than a word by the Executive.

    If drones can be used against anyone on a secret kill list in nations where we have neither declared war, hostilities nor some other euphemism, then it follows logically that domestic targets would be legal as well.

    The Executive is operating under untested legal theory as long as there is legal ambiguity and a legislative void regarding the use of drone strikes against individual human targets. It is up to the Congress to legislate in this area, and for the Judiciary to rule whether laws restricting drone use by the Executive are Constitutional or not. That President Obama is the current head of the Executive branch is irrelevant.

    Wiretapping at the very least requires approval by the rubber-stamp FISA court. Execution of any person by drone anywhere in the world requires approval of the Executive alone.

    Why bother with domestic courts once this process is fully normalized?

    Isn’t the United States supposed to be a nation of laws, not of men? Or did ‘911’ change that too?

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