Supplementary: A History of Not-Drone Violence Abetment in the USA

As the oldest living FPer (to my knowledge), apart from Sarah Proud & Tall, may I suggest Mark Ames’ latest dispatch at NSFWCorp for your evening reading?

It’s hard to have a serious conversation about America’s drone assassination policy when no one seems to have a basic grasp of recent history. This cultural amnesia epidemic is starting to get me down— which is partly my fault for paying more than two minutes’ attention to Twitter at a single go.

The problem starts with Reagan, as problems so often do. Most people on the left take for granted that Reagan’s executive order 12333 “banned assassinations” — which is not just a false interpretation, but really awful mangling of one of the dark turning points in modern American history.

That same ignorance of the history of assassination policy runs right through today, with the repetition of another myth: That President Obama’s extrajudicial drone-assassinations of American citizens is “unprecedented” and “radical” and that “not even George Bush targeted American citizens.”

The truth is a lot worse and a lot more depressing.

To understand the backstory to Reagan’s deceptive “assassination ban” in 1981, you have to know a bit about what was going on in the 70s, that brief period of American Glasnost, in the aftermath of Watergate and the military’s collapse after losing Vietnam…

What started the assassination policy trend that frames today’s politics was a slip-up by President Ford. It’s a real-life Chevy Chase moment, only instead of stumbling over his podium and crashing to the floor for laughs, the real President Ford called a “meet ‘n’ greet” with the New York Times’ top editors, wherein the President “slipped” and “blurted out” that he hoped they never found out about the CIA assassination program — an assassination program that none of them had ever seriously suspected until President Ford blurted it out over lunch….

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit

220 replies
  1. 1
    dance around in your bones says:

    Illya Kuryakin! I had such a crush on that guy back in the day. The Man From U.N.C.L.E.!!

    And of course, I have a deep abiding love for Leonard Cohen. Now, back to actually reading the post.

    ETA: Spock sighting, too! Woo hoo!

  2. 2
    Todd says:

    Oh jesusfuck. Really? You’re comparing a measured, honest and apparently effective policy with the right paramilitary props of the 1970s and 1980s?

    You want to stand around and wring your hands over the fact that Obama is not willing to stand around while talking sepulchurally about sending sternly worded missives to rogue states that harbor non state terror actors, all while Team R gleefully eviscerates the left for being clueless on ensuring stability and safety for Americans both home and abroad, then when they take over, go on massive military adventures which destabilize whole continents.

    It makes me want to kick a hippie in the face.

  3. 3
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Todd: Yep, you’re a parody.

    Paid, or freelance?

  4. 4
    Svensker says:

    What a depressing article. Also, too, why couldn’t Carter have been a better leader. He had great instincts and ideas, he just couldn’t get folks behind him. What cudda been.

    Ah well. Let the executions continue.

  5. 5
    lamh35 says:

    Watch out Hilary. Rand Paul 2016.

    @cenkuygur: Rand Paul is”a constitutional hero” for filibustering over Obama’s #drone policy

  6. 6
    Todd says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    Yep, you’re a parody.

    Nope. Just a guy who really hates Kumbaya, and very utilitarian in mindset.

  7. 7
    eemom says:

    Great song link! Leonard Cohen is most grievously neglected on this blog.

  8. 8
    Yutsano says:

    @lamh35: Kan I haz Ashley Judd to run against him in 2016? Plus Hillary to completely crush his spirit?

  9. 9
    White Trash Liberal says:

    Great article. It’s as if COINTELPRO never existed in modern eyes.

    Framing the civil liberties debate and the greater national security/imperial power struggle into a scorecard is both stupid and damaging. The United States has an ongoing civil liberties problem combined with aggressive trade and military expansionism. The same mindset that animated the Indian Removal Act is there behind Japanese Internment and Gitmo.

    Our government expands its military and trade power, and resistance becomes the enemy. Until we can collectively shrug off the Exceptionalist Narrative and relinquish empire, this conundrum (and subsequent abuse) of power will persist.

    But scoring cheap shots about Obots and purity feels better because it absolves personal responsibility in a baptism of hipster pissings.

  10. 10
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    As the oldest living FPer (to my knowledge)

    I, of course, can’t speak for her, but I’m thinking SP&T may have something to say about this bold assertion.

  11. 11
    White Trash Liberal says:

    @lamh35:

    The firebaggers have their marching orders. It’s amazing how many are closet Paultards.

  12. 12
    JPL says:

    Forty years ago, I met a guy in a bar whose name was Leonard Cohen. The next night we met for dinner in a ritzy place and several folks wanted an autograph. He said they thought he was another Leonard Cohen. Long story short, it was an odd experience and he asked me out again and I said no. .

    I absolutely loved the songs he wrote for Roberta Flack though

    edit.. also, too.. at my age now, I wouldn’t be so uppity and would go out again

  13. 13
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    @White Trash Liberal: It’s amazing how many are closet Paultards.

    Not now that they’ve come out about it several times.

  14. 14
    lamh35 says:

    Ted Cruz reading tweets on the Senate floor. Where’s the love for Senator Cruz’s principled stand? Paul/Cruz 2016!

  15. 15
    Redshirt says:

    efgoldman’s like a billion years old, Anne.

  16. 16
    Cacti says:

    Actually, if you want to be intellectually honest, the history of bringing military force to bear on domestic belligerents begins with George Washington and Whiskey Rebellion of 1791.

  17. 17
    Hill Dweller says:

    @lamh35: Paul is more than willing to throw civil liberties out the window when it comes to women’s rights.

  18. 18
    JPL says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: how’s your foot?

  19. 19
    Anne Laurie says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Whoops! Corrected…

  20. 20
    Cacti says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist:

    Not now that they’ve come out about it several times.

    Rand Paul may oppose the Civil Rights Act, which conferred the full rights of citizenship to an entire class of people, and affected the lives of millions for the better.

    But on the other hand, he likes to pull his pud about hypothetical drone strikes…

    And our (white) progressive betters all know which one matters most.

  21. 21
    Todd says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    @lamh35: Paul is more than willing to throw civil liberties out the window when it comes to women’s rights.

    He’s not real keen on black folks either, which explains Greenwald’s Rand crush.

  22. 22
    Todd says:

    @Cacti:

    And our (white) progressive betters all know which one matters most.

    Kumbaya, m’lord, Kumbaya….

  23. 23
    Hal says:

    @lamh35:

    Watch out Hilary. Rand Paul 2016.

    A conservative Facebook friend of mine just posted a “RAND FOR PRESIDENT” posting linked to fucking Michele Bachman’s website.

    First, I fully support Paul as a candidate. Yes, I know, careful what you wish for but I think he would be a disaster. Second, I think for conservatives this is Ruby Ridge or Waco. The Government will spy on minutemen and doomsday preppes building up weapons stockpiles while trying to take our guns bullshit.

    If drones were taking out nothing but Muslims, they wouldn’t care if the drones were dropping bombs in the middle of walmart’s parking lot as long as no real murikans were hurt.

  24. 24
    David Koch says:

    @Svensker:

    Also, too, why couldn’t Carter have been a better leader. He had great instincts and ideas, he just couldn’t get folks behind him.

    But Carter loved Droones.

    When he became president he made the controversial and brave decision of canceling production of the B-1 bomber (for which he was raked over the coals), and instead shifting the slated money into producing cruise missles. Cruise missiles are nothing more that really fast and really big dronez. Dronze typically carry 2 hellfire missiles with 18 lbs warheads, while a cruise missile carries a 2,000 lib warhead.

    It was Carter who led the country away from manned missions to unmanned planes. And he was right.

    Now of course fear of robots has broken out among 15% progressives. It’s the greatest irony, they’ve reversed their 1970s position against heavy bombers and now fear UAVs but are comfortable with the once dreaded super bombers.

  25. 25
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Redshirt: But he’s not a front-pager, that I know of.

  26. 26
    rikyrah says:

    said before, will say it again.

    I just don’t give two shyts about drones.

  27. 27
    Mnemosyne says:

    It’s kind of fascinating in that story that reporters at the time were so fixated on their conviction that the US government was ordering assassinations inside the US, they almost missed the real story.

    And, yes, now we have the facts to push away any malinformed idiot who tries to claim that Obama is somehow worse than Reagan or either Bush when it comes to this shit.

  28. 28
    Cacti says:

    @Todd:

    He’s not real keen on black folks either, which explains Greenwald’s Rand crush.

    He’s not so crazy about the browns either.

    He was channeling his inner Pat Buchanan, when he wrote…

    “Current illegal immigration – whereby unmanageably endless hordes of people pour over the border in numbers far too large to assimilate, and who consequently have no need, motivation or ability to assimilate – renders impossible the preservation of any national identity.”

    It’s totally progressive to fear the “hordes” tainting our “national identity”.

  29. 29
    Chris says:

    @Cacti:

    I’ve said before that the Pauls are the modern day version of Barry Goldwater. They’re out of sync with the Republican mainstream on some select issues, but they’re still completely fucking crazy overall. And even on those issues where they disagree with their party, they’re not necessarily better.

    Case in point: what did Ron Paul say we should have done after 9/11 instead of invading Afghanistan? “Issued letters of marque and reprisal,” which is eighteenth century speak for chartering a privateer. How does that translate into the twenty first century? Near as I can see, it means “leave the U.S. military at home, and issue Blackwater a hunting license instead.” Does anyone think that would’ve turned out any better than what George Bush actually did?

  30. 30
    MomSense says:

    @Todd:
    I too share your loathing for Kumbaya but damned if that comment wasn’t Kumbaya worthy!

  31. 31
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, too, I think this point was being debated in one of the threads below:

    This amazing passage gets right to one of the dark absurdities that informs our own debate today about how to fight terrorism — that it’s “legal” and considered essentially “normal” to shell with destroyers or bomb villages from the air if terrorists are suspected of being in those villages — but considered completely beyond the pale of civilized behavior to actually aim and target suspected terrorists.

    That is, I admit, one of the things I really don’t get about the anti-drone crowd. Are cluster bombs more moral than drones because they’re dropped by a human pilot?

  32. 32
    Hal says:

    Aren’t there plenty of other far less retching folks out there who have spoken out against PBO’s drone policy, if in fact that policy bothers you?

    Why the hard on for such a disgustingly vile, racist, xenophobic piece of trash like Rand Paul? Is it the cognitive dissonance of someone who has such completely opposite viewpoints to the average progressive that people just get caught up in the shock of +OMG I agree with Rand Paul on something!!!!+ that they can’t help but pat him on the back?

  33. 33
    Redshirt says:

    @Anne Laurie: D’uh, me. You win, I lose. I bow in deference. How old are you again?

  34. 34
    burnspbesq says:

    @lamh35:

    Sigh.

    If I thought for even a microsecond that Rand Paul actually cared about this issue, I might applaud. However, we know otherwise.

    Paul’s stunt is about as useful as the wingnut law professors’ amicus brief in Windsor saying that the Supremes should invalidate Section 3 of DOMA because it’s not within Congress’ enumerated powers.

  35. 35
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @dance around in your bones:

    OMG, me too! David McCallum, YUM!

  36. 36
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Redshirt: In addition, he, like SP&T, is fictional.

  37. 37
    Cacti says:

    @Hal:

    Why the hard on for such a disgustingly vile, racist, xenophobic piece of trash like Rand Paul?

    The rampant white privilege of the internet left.

  38. 38
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Chris: uncertain. As nasty as black water is, they would have been turned away as terrorists from those places that didn’t want them. They aren’t large enough to shock and awe and they pretty much need an invitation to do things.

  39. 39
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: what people actually don’t like is too few people having the chance to affect the decision to use a drone. And that’s legitimate, I think. The trouble is that saying it that way makes it impossible to say neato things about robots.

  40. 40
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @lamh35: If people thought about it for a moment, though, they would know what Rand Paul’s drone policy would be: Using drones against workers. Thanks to someone earlier for linking to that bit of history or the use of military force against West Virginia coal mine workers attempting to unionize.

  41. 41
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @JPL:
    Sore. Tender. I think some ankle ligaments or something are borked. But I can walk without a cane now, so I don’t think I have long-term worries. Still, if it’s still this achy next week, i’ll seek out a podiatrist for expert evaluation.

    How are YOU? We need to find some enticing academic conference in Atlanta so we can have a meet-up with John Cole. Why should the Texas folks have all the joy?

  42. 42
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Hal: but keep in mind that anytime Obama makes common cause with a Republican about something, that’s a sign that he’s a heretic to the cause.

  43. 43
    Redshirt says:

    What concerns me is private drone armies. Exxon Mobile surely has good cause for drones to “monitor” their pipelines in Africa and other dangerous places, right?

    Soon enough, the Corporate Armies will be with us. And what then?

  44. 44
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I still haven’t figured out how that’s any different than, say, a policeman’s use of a gun, or the president being able to call up the national guard in order to deal with domestic threats.

  45. 45
    dance around in your bones says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    The turtleneck, the gorgeous eyes! Who cared if he was supposedly a Russky?

    Robert Vaughn was vanilla pudding in comparison.

  46. 46
    Mark S. says:

    I didn’t get through the entire article, but I loved this part:

    Remember, the American public and most of the Establishment back then were very different from today’s. There’s some truth to the “Liberal Establishment” culture that ruled until Reagan took over — those people were serious about their do-gooder intentions and their civic duties and all that, whatever the results on the ground were — nothing at all like today’s armchair Machiavellis and backseat Nietzsches who dominate our political culture, a culture where everyone’s jostling to scream “You can’t handle the truth!” at imaginary liberal do-gooders

  47. 47
    f space that says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): E fucking xactly.

  48. 48
    lamh35 says:

    @burnspbesq: it’s a complete stunt. but hey, it’s enough for some people. there are much more principled people who have issues with the drone program to comment rather than Rand “i would not voter for civil rights act” Paul and by virtue of being his co-filibusterer Ted Cruz, who most compared to McCarthy, and now ya got people like this email TPM received commending Cruz for getting to Holder or something.

  49. 49
    srv says:

    Clinton had his black helicopters and FEMA camps, Obama has his DRONES!

  50. 50
    JPL says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I definitely agree. Texas is a red state and so is GA so he should feel right at home.

  51. 51
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Cacti: For the record, I think Rand Paul’s an arsehole, too.

    But that’s not what this post is about.

  52. 52
    David Koch says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Are cluster bombs more moral than drones because they’re dropped by a human pilot?

    I’ve been staggered by the slice of progressive who have broken into a fevered fear of robots. Ironically, those people are also technophiles who love gadgets.

  53. 53
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @srv: But I don’t remember a number of people on the left nodding their heads in agreement over the black helicopters.

  54. 54
    lamh35 says:

    RT @ryanjreilly Ted Cruz goes on an anti-gay marriage rant during #filibuster

  55. 55
    srv says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): They were pretty outraged with the Waco BBQ.

  56. 56
    Yutsano says:

    @Anne Laurie: You realise, of course, once she has recovered from her gimlet-soaked hiatus, that she shall be along to plague you with various random Australian pop songs. It might just be epic.

  57. 57
    some guy says:

    the general applause and support for President Kill List’s death sentences for innocent civilians around here is sickening, but completely unsurprising.

  58. 58
    burnspbesq says:

    @lamh35:

    I have no shortage of problems with Eric Holder (for the latest example, http://www.lawfareblog.com/201.....hamdan-ii/), but as long as the OLC memos (which, amazingly, have not leaked after being given to the intelligence communities) say what I think they say, this isn’t one of them.

  59. 59
    eemom says:

    Acquainted as I am with firebaggerdom in all its many splendored fuckerisms, I have to say that it absolutely boggles my mind that anyone with two coherent, intellectually consistent brain cells to rub together would embrace the farce of Rand Paul as a spokesperson for any kind of principled position at all.

    This is not “right thing for wrong reasons.” This is not “SOMEONE had to say it.” This is just flat out as stupid as it gets.

  60. 60
    Cacti says:

    @some guy:

    the general applause and support for President Kill List’s death sentences for innocent civilians around here is sickening, but completely unsurprising.

    Have you thrown your panties at the new great white hope of the left yet?

    Rand is so dreamy.

  61. 61
    burnspbesq says:

    @some guy:

    the general applause and support for President Kill List’s death sentences for innocent civilians around here is sickening, but completely unsurprising.

    Seriously? Name ONE “innocent civilian” who has been targeted. Or, alternatively, prove that U.S. forces have failed to take reasonable measures to minimize collateral damage.

    If you can’t to that, then legally and morally you have no argument, so you can just SD&SU.

  62. 62
    some guy says:

    because Ayn Rand is a racist shithead (or because other Presidents ordered assassinations, or because Glenn Greenwald is the anti-christ) then I am totally cool with drone strikes on civilians whose crimes against America include gathering firewood and milking goats.

    /average BJ Commenter

  63. 63
    lamh35 says:

    BTW:

    @CrowleyTIME
    About five hours ago Rand Paul conceded that Eric Holder basically said what he needs to hear on drones today http://swampland.time.com/2013.....-scenario/

  64. 64
    Redshirt says:

    Rand(y) “Ayn” Paul is the culmination of America. We are blessed to live in such fascinating times!

  65. 65
    dance around in your bones says:

    @eemom: Totally agree.

    I was gonna make some comment on his curly-do hair, but realized it was less onerous than his political positions. Fuck the hair.

  66. 66
    Cacti says:

    @lamh35:

    About five hours ago Rand Paul conceded that Eric Holder basically said what he needs to hear on drones today

    But like all truuuue loooove, one day it withered on the vine.

  67. 67
    lamh35 says:

    @some guy: there are more actual principle people who are not fans of the drone policy who deserve much more attention that racist ass Rand Paul or the second coming of McCarthy Ted Cruz.

    the objection is not to the discussion, it’s to the complete pardon of the 95% of the time that Paul and Cruz are RWNJ scum.

    I get people who are not happy with the drone program. But being willing to lie with the devil ’cause this one time he said what u wanted to hear is gonna just come back to bite one in the ass.

  68. 68
    some guy says:

    Seriously? Name ONE “innocent civilian” who has been targeted.

    nice, now I understand why you earn the big bucks showing clients how to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

    In Pakistan alone, “Human Rights Clinic found that according to the available reporting, between 72 and 155 civilians were credibly reported killed by drone strikes in 2011.”

    http://www.thebureauinvestigat.....-campaign/

    and of course President Kill Lists targets are always on the mark:

    (CNN) — U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan have killed far more people than the United States has acknowledged, have traumatized innocent residents and largely been ineffective, according to a new study released Tuesday. The study by Stanford Law School and New York University’s School of Law calls for a re-evaluation of the practice, saying the number of “high-level” targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low — about 2%.

  69. 69
    burnspbesq says:

    @lamh35:

    Eric Holder is a more patient man than I. I would have told Sen. Paul “I’m done playing Calvinball with you. If you have an actual question, based on observable reality, that you would like to ask, I will be happy to provide an answer if I can do so without revealing classified information. Otherwise, we’re done.” And stood up, waited 30 seconds for a real question, and if none came, walked out.

  70. 70
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @some guy: You paint with a mighty broad brush there, hoss. From what I have seen, commenters here run the gamut from wholesale support of the program as it stands to total and complete condemnation of all aspects of it. But don’t let reality get in the way of your snit.

  71. 71
    Joey Giraud says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Are cluster bombs more moral than drones because they’re dropped by a human pilot?

    Nice strawman. If you find someone who thinks that comparison is important, you’ll have a fun debate on your hands.

    We don’t generally use cluster bombs for assassinations because they’re made for combat. We use drones for assassinations.

    The moral question is simple: it’s immoral to kill people. That’s been the general idea of the progress of civilisation over the millennia. We might agree that in certain cases the immorality must be accepted in service of some greater good, but the morality isn’t in question.

    Except in blood-thirsty empires it seems. Home, sweet home.

  72. 72
    lamh35 says:

    and now here comes McConnell.

    @TheFix
    That’s Mitch McConnell’s music! RT @RosieGray: Senate staffer tells me McConnell is on his way to the floor

    ‏@NerdyWonka
    Marco Rubio is quotng Wiz Khalifa. Hologram Tupac is jealous right now.

  73. 73
    burnspbesq says:

    @some guy:

    I notice that you answered a question other than the question that was asked. You may have a future in media relations.

    My clients pay their fair share of taxes. They pay it to the country in which the income is earned, which isn’t always the United States. If you don’t like that, take it up with Congress.

  74. 74
    some guy says:

    DiFi’s claim about suingle digit civilian deaths has also been widely disputed.

    From the Post:

    According to data from the Web site Long War Journal, U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen killed a combined 31 civilians in 2008, 84 in 2009, 20 in 2010, 30 in 2011 and 39 in 2012. The New America Foundation, a Washington think tank, says that U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan alone killed at least 25 civilians in 2008, 25 again in 2009, 14 in 2010, six in 2011 and five in 2012.

  75. 75
    Yutsano says:

    @lamh35: CUE THE SCREAMING GUITARS!!

  76. 76
    lamh35 says:

    this shit is a joke!

    @NerdyWonka
    Marco Rubio moves from quoting Wiz Khalifa to quoting The Godfather and now Jay Z. Yes America, this is the GOP of 2013.

  77. 77
    some guy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    No, I was talking mostly about the BJ Center Right Fight Club. what amazes me is how progressive most of the front pagers here are, and how conservative so many of the commenters are. It’s a striking disparity I see at so few other blogs/

  78. 78
    Joey Giraud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Now be fair, he said “/average BJ Commenter”, not *all* BJ Commenters.

    Not sure how to do a weighted average on this, but the vitriol of the pro-drone-assassination regulars here must push that average up a bit.

  79. 79
    burnspbesq says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    The moral question is simple: it’s immoral to kill people.

    Now who’s building strawmen? It’s immoral to kill without just cause. The words you conveniently forgot are the key to the conversation, if you really want to have a useful conversation.

  80. 80
    lamh35 says:

    @Gus_802
    Rand Paul. Police helicopter in inner city, OK. Police drone in suburbia, not OK.

  81. 81
    some guy says:

    @burnspbesq:

    My clients pay their fair share of taxes

    Either that is a nice fairy tale you tell yourself to go to sleep at night or you are a really shitty tax avoidance lawyer.

  82. 82
    Cacti says:

    @some guy:

    According to data from the Web site Long War Journal, U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen killed a combined 31 civilians in 2008, 84 in 2009, 20 in 2010, 30 in 2011 and 39 in 2012. The New America Foundation, a Washington think tank, says that U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan alone killed at least 25 civilians in 2008, 25 again in 2009, 14 in 2010, six in 2011 and five in 2012.

    Single air raids in WWII, the last “good war” killed 20 times the total of all of those years combined.

    Do you have some sort of point?

  83. 83
    hilzoy says:

    Are there actually people out there saying that it’s unprecedented for the federal government to order the killing of a US citizen on US soil? I’m not only old enough to remember the Church committee, I’m old enough to remember Fred Hampton, though luckily not old enough to remember the Civil War.

    For the record: I do not think that the government’s war on the Panthers, or its various wars on strikers, or the Palmer raids, etc., are comparable to what’s going on now. The drone strikes are being carried out under the AUMF. It was stupid to write the AUMF in such a way that it was essentially endless and boundary-less, but there we are. I think Congress should revoke it, or at least give it a sunset provision.

    I also think, as I seem to myself to keep saying, that we really, really need to figure out how to deal with war-like uses of military force against non-states. What’s going on now strikes me less as OMG he’s killing people, which never happens in a war!, and more as though in some fit of idiocy we’d declared war on the Nazi Party instead of Germany, and found ourselves still chasing people through Paraguay all these years later.

    Finally, I also think it’s hard to talk about this without recognizing the enormous incentives on a President to err on the side of the safety of US citizens. In a sane world, if some jerk managed to set off a bomb inside the US, we’d seriously ask whether this reflected some lapse on the part of some official, and there would be people we’d trust to undertake that investigation. In this world, any Democrat on whose watch this happened would be crucified, and the party and everything it stands for would suffer for decades. I am not saying that I agree with the calculations of a President who decides not to run that risk, but I do understand them.

  84. 84
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @some guy: Actually, the goal of any ethical tax attorney in private practice should be to reduce his or her clients’ taxes to the minimum amount that they are legally required to pay. When you do your taxes do you skip over deductions that you could take? If not, why would you expect others to do so?

  85. 85
    burnspbesq says:

    @some guy:

    Remind us again about the education, knowledge, and experience that you would bring to a conversation about international tax law.

    You’re flailing, and I’m laughing.

  86. 86
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @hilzoy: And this is why we miss you. Well said.

  87. 87
  88. 88
    David Koch says:

    @Gus_802
    Rand Paul. Police helicopter in inner city, OK. Police drone in suburbia, not OK.

    What about helicopter drones?

    They already exist and will be the next move because they’re inexpensive.

  89. 89
    burnspbesq says:

    @hilzoy:

    Thanks for hitting the nail squarely on the head.

  90. 90
    Joey Giraud says:

    @some guy:

    amazes me is how progressive most of the front pagers here are, and how conservative so many of the commenters are.

    You are familiar with the history of this blog, right? Before sometime later in the second Bush administration ( 2007? or 08? ) Balloon-Juice was a solid right wing funhouse, somewhat more rightwing then Tacitus, less so then FreeRepublic, and always more varied and entertaining then either.

    John Cole’s Come To Jesus moment was epic.

  91. 91
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    Nice strawman. If you find someone who thinks that comparison is important, you’ll have a fun debate on your hands.

    Really, you’ve never heard anyone complain about “robot killers” and insist that bombing is more moral because at least the pilot is at physical risk?

    I guess the author of the article that AL linked to is also an idiot strawman-builder since it was his comparison that I quoted.

    We don’t generally use cluster bombs for assassinations because they’re made for combat. We use drones for assassinations.

    Well, at least you have an actual objection other than “killer robots.”

    Let’s look at the specific case of al-Awlaki for a moment. He was holed up in Yemen where neither we nor the Yemeni government could reach him. He was heavily involved in plotting terrorist attacks against both US and non-US targets. He could not be tried in the United States because trials in absentia are illegal here.

    So, what was your plan? Should we have left him alone until he had a successful attack? And then what? The same problems of him being in an inaccessible area where he could not be arrested still would have existed after a successful attack. Would an assassination have been acceptable after a successful attack, or is assassination never justified?

    The moral question is simple: it’s immoral to kill people.

    If someone tries to murder me, and I kill them instead, is that automatically immoral?

  92. 92
    some guy says:

    Do you have some sort of point?

    We were at war with the Nazis. With Pakistani goatherders, not so much. But sure, apples are almost the same as oranges, they are both fruit, right?

  93. 93
    dmbeaster says:

    @Cacti: As if the two — WWII air raids and Pakistan drone strikes — are in some way parallel points for consideration.

    It just makes no sense to argue that the level of violence appropriate in an all out war between nations justifies the bombing of civilians while trying to find bad guys.

  94. 94
    Joey Giraud says:

    @burnspbesq:

    It’s immoral to kill without just cause

    I did reference that, except it’s not that just cause makes the killing moral, it’s that it makes the immorality acceptable.

    It’s hard to read every word when you get angry. I try to re-read before replying especially when I’m angry.

  95. 95
    some guy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Actually, the goal of any ethical tax attorney in private practice should be to reduce his or her clients’ taxes to the minimum amount that they are legally required to pay.

    so you are saying it’s a fairy tale he tells himself to be able to sleep at night, my thought as well.

  96. 96
    lamh35 says:

    now all these Senators are coming to floor to join in this “principled” filibuster of Rand

    @keithboykin
    Are Republicans supporting the #filibuster because they agree with critique of the drone policy or because they want to stick it to Obama?

    I contend that Paul doesn’t give two shits about Obama’s drone policy.

  97. 97
    Narcissus says:

    @some guy: Ayn Rand is in Congress now? Man I’ve missed a lot

  98. 98
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Joey Giraud: FWIW my biggest problem with the drone program right now is akin to the issue you brought up in a previous thread. I suspect that whatever goals we are accomplishing by the use of drones are being outweighed by the anger that they are stirring up. A program that does does more harm than good is not a good one. Most of the specific objections that people raise to the drone program can be remedied by more stringent control measures, more transparency, etc. But if the program effectively works as a recruiting tool for our “enemies, ” it doesn’t do us much good.

  99. 99
    some guy says:

    @Narcissus:

    The Aqua Buddha must be sacrificed to! All moochers and looters are to report to the pyres immediately.

  100. 100
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @some guy: No, that was not what I said. What is more, you know that.

  101. 101
    burnspbesq says:

    @some guy:

    With Pakistani goatherders, not so much.

    And if your hypothetical Pakistani goatherder allows people with whom we are at war to live in his house and store their weapons in his shed, then what?

    The simple, black-and-white world of your imagination is not the world that actually exists. If you want to get beyond wishing for magic unicorns to solve all the world’s problems and have a real conversation about real issues, there will be plenty of people here who will be happy to have that conversation. Right now, you’re being profoundly unserious.

  102. 102
    lamh35 says:

    Wait, can father and son both be on the same ticket? You can get the new Rand Paul’s the man coverts (like Van Jones and Cenk Unger) and the usual Ron Paul lovers all on one ticket. That is a winning coalition….right? Paul/Paul 2016???

    @TheFix
    This a political win for Rand Paul that even he can’t have imagined when he started talking just before noon today.

  103. 103
    some guy says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Pakistani goatherder allows people with whom we are at war to live in his house and store their weapons in his shed

    yummy, Kool Aid is now being served. everybody have a cup, it tastes great and is definitely less filling

  104. 104
    Cacti says:

    @some guy:

    We were at war with the Nazis. With Pakistani goatherders, not so much

    So every German civilian casualty was a member of the NSDP?

    That’s very interesting, considering they never won more than 230 of 608 seats in a legitimate parliamentary election.

  105. 105
    some guy says:

    List of children killed by drone strikes in Pakistan

    Compiled from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports
    Name | Age | Gender

    Noor Aziz | 8 | male
    Abdul Wasit | 17 | male
    Noor Syed | 8 | male
    Wajid Noor | 9 | male
    Syed Wali Shah | 7 | male
    Ayeesha | 3 | female
    Qari Alamzeb | 14| male
    Shoaib | 8 | male
    Hayatullah KhaMohammad | 16 | male
    Tariq Aziz | 16 | male
    Sanaullah Jan | 17 | male
    Maezol Khan | 8 | female
    Nasir Khan | male
    Naeem Khan | male
    Naeemullah | male
    Mohammad Tahir | 16 | male
    Azizul Wahab | 15 | male
    Fazal Wahab | 16 | male
    Ziauddin | 16 | male
    Mohammad Yunus | 16 | male
    Fazal Hakim | 19 | male
    Ilyas | 13 | male
    Sohail | 7 | male
    Asadullah | 9 | male
    khalilullah | 9 | male
    Noor Mohammad | 8 | male
    Khalid | 12 | male
    Saifullah | 9 | male
    Mashooq Jan | 15 | male
    Nawab | 17 | male
    Sultanat Khan | 16 | male
    Ziaur Rahman | 13 | male
    Noor Mohammad | 15 | male
    Mohammad Yaas Khan | 16 | male
    Qari Alamzeb | 14 | male
    Ziaur Rahman | 17 | male
    Abdullah | 18 | male
    Ikramullah Zada | 17 | male
    Inayatur Rehman | 16 | male
    Shahbuddin | 15 | male
    Yahya Khan | 16 |male
    Rahatullah |17 | male
    Mohammad Salim | 11 | male
    Shahjehan | 15 | male
    Gul Sher Khan | 15 | male
    Bakht Muneer | 14 | male
    Numair | 14 | male
    Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
    Ihsanullah | 16 | male
    Luqman | 12 | male
    Jannatullah | 13 | male
    Ismail | 12 | male
    Taseel Khan | 18 | male
    Zaheeruddin | 16 | male
    Qari Ishaq | 19 | male
    Jamshed Khan | 14 | male
    Alam Nabi | 11 | male
    Qari Abdul Karim | 19 | male
    Rahmatullah | 14 | male
    Abdus Samad | 17 | male
    Siraj | 16 | male
    Saeedullah | 17 | male
    Abdul Waris | 16 | male
    Darvesh | 13 | male
    Ameer Said | 15 | male
    Shaukat | 14 | male
    Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
    Salman | 12 | male
    Fazal Wahab | 18 | male
    Baacha Rahman | 13 | male
    Wali-ur-Rahman | 17 | male
    Iftikhar | 17 | male
    Inayatullah | 15 | male
    Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
    Ihsanullah | 16 | male
    Luqman | 12 | male
    Jannatullah | 13 | male
    Ismail | 12 | male
    Abdul Waris | 16 | male
    Darvesh | 13 | male
    Ameer Said | 15 | male
    Shaukat | 14 | male
    Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
    Adnan | 16 | male
    Najibullah | 13 | male
    Naeemullah | 17 | male
    Hizbullah | 10 | male
    Kitab Gul | 12 | male
    Wilayat Khan | 11 | male
    Zabihullah | 16 | male
    Shehzad Gul | 11 | male
    Shabir | 15 | male
    Qari Sharifullah | 17 | male
    Shafiullah | 16 | male
    Nimatullah | 14 | male
    Shakirullah | 16 | male
    Talha | 8 | male

  106. 106
    some guy says:

    when will those hateful 3 year olds stop aiding and abetting Al Qaeda?

  107. 107
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cacti: Even more fun, what about the Czechs (for example) who got blown up during bombing raids?

  108. 108
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @some guy: No one is denying that innocent people are killed during drone attacks. Innocent people have been killed during every war throughout history. It one really good reason to be careful about the decision to go to war.

  109. 109
    burnspbesq says:

    @some guy:

    Look, if you have no good answer to the question, just admit that you have no good answer to the question. If you have an answer to the question, let’s hear it.

  110. 110
    lamh35 says:

    Wow, I’m just done.

    It’s just amazing to me that Rand Paul of all people has created the usual circular firing squads that the left is so fond of.

    I totally understand people objections to the drone program, per se, but to align yourselves with Rand Paul of all people, ugh.

    That’s not principles, that just dumb.

    I’m just wait til next week, when Rand Paul goes back to his usual anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-black, anti-latino M.O. I’m gonna enjoy reminding people of the love of Mr Paul tonight.

  111. 111
    srv says:

    @some guy: They were coming right for us.

    It’s different when nations Stand Their Ground.

  112. 112
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Do you really think it needs to be said that killing innocent people is bad? Jesus Christ with this. That’s not the issue, and you know it. The issue is how to put appropriate checks on the president’s war powers. At some point will we actually talk about how to accomplish this? ETA : @ some guy

  113. 113
    Joey Giraud says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Thanks for the good faith.

    Yeah, I have heard that argument, that morality is contingent on the killer being in personal danger. I used to make that argument, then I realized that it’s simpler and more logical to accept that killing is always immoral, but immoral acts may be necessary at times. It’s also in sync with legal conventions regarding justifiable homicide.

    Then the debate turns on deciding what is justifiable, not on moral distinctions. Seems to me that approach should lead to clearer thinking.

    He was holed up in Yemen where neither we nor the Yemeni government could reach him. He was heavily involved in plotting terrorist attacks against both US and non-US targets. He could not be tried in the United States because trials in absentia are illegal here.

    I think a big difference between us is that I don’t consider these stories to be reliable. In other words, I don’t buy them.

    Our government agencies and military and media have repeatedly been caught red-handed making up shit about situations in distant places where we can’t get reliable alternate reports.

    It was pretty obvious to me in 1989, and anyone else who knew the red-scare was a bunch of fear-mongering baloney, that the end of the Cold War meant that our war industry needed a new boogie-man ( and I don’t mean John Travola. ) There were stories in the NYT and WP at the time pretty much coming out and saying; “America’s new threat… terrorism?”

    There is no need for any dark and spooky theories, there’s plenty in the public record, “terrorism” is great for scaring us into handing our cash over. And that’s also a reason why I have grave doubts about damn near every scary story used to justify more ordinance expenditure.

    Should we have left him alone until he had a successful attack?

    I’m sorry you seem to be genuinely concerned about terrorism. I would counsel you to relax and worry less.

    If someone tries to murder me, and I kill them instead, is that automatically immoral?

    Well yeah, and I would expect if you were a moral person you would and should feel bad about it. I would.

    But I doubt anyone would condemn or punish you for it, and I wouldn’t either. It’s your cross to bear.

  114. 114
    Hill Dweller says:

    @lamh35: Cillizza is a clown.

  115. 115
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Joey Giraud: self-defense is “immoral”? That’s a… Unique view.

  116. 116
    Mnemosyne says:

    @some guy:

    According to data from the Web site Long War Journal, U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen killed a combined 31 civilians in 2008, 84 in 2009, 20 in 2010, 30 in 2011 and 39 in 2012. The New America Foundation, a Washington think tank, says that U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan alone killed at least 25 civilians in 2008, 25 again in 2009, 14 in 2010, six in 2011 and five in 2012.

    So in a country where, on average, 16,259 people are murdered every year, I’m supposed to be upset and outraged that an average of 40 civilians a year died in drone strikes over the past 5 years?

    On average, 18 people are killed by guns every single day in this country.

    We beat that combined 5-year total of civilian deaths from Yemen and Pakistan in the first 12 days of 2013 thanks to Newtown. And yet we’re the ones who are callous when we get upset over gun violence in the US instead of drone strikes?

  117. 117
    Joey Giraud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Then we pretty much agree on that point.

    Although

    more stringent control measures, more transparency, etc

    are easier to imagine then to implement, as our current military is inherently opaque, and rather beyond oversight.

    For support, I would reference the inability of the Pentagon to be audited.

  118. 118
    lamh35 says:

    @Hill Dweller: oh Cilizza ain’t the only one. There are some “left-leaning” journos also giving Paul political kudos and opening condemning Dem Senators (other than Wyden) for not joining the filibuster. One of the clowns even said it was sad no Dem Senators were joining the filibuster, since this “goes beyond partisanship”.

    Really, really. Mitch McConnell, Rubio, Paul, Cruz et al are filbustering based soley on principle…no partisanship in this bunch…yeah

  119. 119
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @FlipYrWhig: No, the point he is making is that any killing is immoral. It may be justified by circumstances or less immoral than the alternative, but it is still immoral. It fits with how self-defense is treated in criminal law. It is an affirmative defense; the defendant has to prove it.

  120. 120

    @Mnemosyne:

    We beat that combined 5-year total of civilian deaths from Yemen and Pakistan in the first 12 days of 2013 thanks to Newtown. And yet we’re the ones who are callous when we get upset over gun violence in the US instead of drone strikes?

    Gun violence in the US isn’t useful to him for his purposes.

  121. 121
    burnspbesq says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    I did reference that, except it’s not that just cause makes the killing moral, it’s that it makes the immorality acceptable.

    We may be splitting hairs, but I reject your framing. Killing with just cause is a moral act, which Catholic theology tells us is not sinful. Just war theory, which goes back to the Mahabharata, Cicero, and St. Augustine, addresses this.

    If you want to argue about whether the Afghan conflict is within the definition of just war postulated by St. Thomas Aquinas, that is very much an argument worth having (no serious person, I think, would contend that the Iraq war was just). But the idea that no war can be just, or that no killing can be moral, is a non-starter.

  122. 122
    Chris says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I agree with that outlook, actually. I would rank killing as “necessary” sometimes, but never as “good,” pretty much no matter who is being killed or how. To quote Carter: “War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it will always be an evil, never a good.”

  123. 123
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    Although

    “more stringent control measures, more transparency, etc”

    are easier to imagine then to implement, as our current military is inherently opaque, and rather beyond oversight.

    All we need is a Congress that is willing to… Oh, I see your point.

  124. 124
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I don’t think I’d use the word “immoral” for that, but I think I see the distinction.

  125. 125
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    OT, but I believe it’s pretty damn important:

    Arkansas legislature overrides veto of 12-week abortion ban, officially making it the strictest ban in the nation.

    Groups are gonna challenge it in federal court, but good fucking christ.

  126. 126
    some guy says:

    On average, 18 people are killed by guns every single day in this country.

    apples and oranges:

    both are yummy.
    both grow on trees.
    both are fruit.

  127. 127
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @FlipYrWhig: It’s kind of a wave traveling through ether description, when the alternative, that it’s both not something you want to have happen yet might be necessary, is not acceptable. Otherwise you find out that humans suck, just like a vacuum.

  128. 128
    rikyrah says:

    Rand Paul has gotta continue the family grift, and this is all a part of it

  129. 129
    lamh35 says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik: Yeah, they are crazy anti-abortions but how do they feel about drones?

  130. 130
    Joey Giraud says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Self-defence is a phrase referring to both killing *and* justification.

    So the killing is immoral, and the fact that it’s under duress of being killed makes the immorality acceptable.

    This isn’t that weird; most non-sociopathic people feel guilt after justifiable killing. It might be easier for them to understand why if people kept the morality separate from the justification.

    I really don’t like to tie any two big ideas too tightly to one another, as such ties tend to cloud the mind, leading to mental anguish.

    But that’s another topic, way out of scope.

  131. 131
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Chris: Uh, well, that’s starting to get into the same territory as “it’s never right to lie,” “oh yeah well what if you’re hiding someone from the Nazis,” etc.

  132. 132
    Joey Giraud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    :)

    Yeah, it’s always a matter of political will.

    A republic if we can keep it, some wise ass once said.

  133. 133
    lamh35 says:

    ‏@DanaHoule
    Said it earlier: Pat Buchanan against Iraq war is still Pat Buchanan. Rand Paul against drones killing Americans still Rand Paul

  134. 134
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Joey Giraud: I would say that feelings of guilt are not good evidence about morality or immorality — you might feel guilt after reporting your abusive husband to the police, but it wasn’t immoral to do that, surely. Anyway, yes, this is becoming a digression.

  135. 135
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Anne Laurie: “But that’s not what this post is about.”
    Oh, Dear me, Blogmother, but you of all people know that when the dipshits get their dander up, the last thing they want to discuss is what the post is actually about.

  136. 136
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    I think a big difference between us is that I don’t consider these stories to be reliable. In other words, I don’t buy them.

    So 9/11 — an event that al-Awlaki was personally involved in — was all just a figment of our collective imagination and never actually happened? Well, that’s a relief.

    I’m sorry you seem to be genuinely concerned about terrorism. I would counsel you to relax and worry less.

    I was genuinely concerned that the people who were personally involved in 9/11 — including al-Awlaki and bin Laden — had walked away scott free and were continuing to commit more terrorist attacks like the train bombings in London and Madrid. I had that fear all the way through 2008.

    Oddly, I don’t really have that fear anymore. Huh.

    IMO, we don’t have a drones problem right now. We have a “Clusterfuck in Afghanistan” problem. Ninety percent of our drones problem will be instantly solved as soon as we finish withdrawing our troops from that country, because we will no longer need to use drone strikes to protect those troops. I’m hoping that the recent demand from Afghanistan’s president that the US withdraw troops from certain provinces means that we will be leaving ahead of schedule.

  137. 137
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: ” But don’t let reality get in the way of your snit.”
    They never do.

  138. 138
    lamh35 says:

    @morningmoneyben
    Can’t believe Obama forced through the Patriot Act and opened Gitmo. Unreal this guy.

  139. 139
    max says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):@FlipYrWhig: I still haven’t figured out how that’s any different than, say, a policeman’s use of a gun, or the president being able to call up the national guard in order to deal with domestic threats.

    The policeman’s use of a gun is supposed to be legally different. That’s an exercise of the domestic police power, and the police (or Feds) are not supposed to run around indiscriminately shooting people. (The ability to kill is supposed to be a limited to shooting people who are shooting at the police, and preventing immediate harm to a third party.) That was the problem with Ruby Ridge – the FBI issued some kind of shoot to kill order, and an FBI sniper splattered that poor lady’s brains all over the floor – while she was carrying a child, not a gun. That should’ve been chargeable as murder (and child endangerment!) because you aren’t supposed to shoot people who aren’t an immediate threat/unarmed.

    When the Feds are exercising the war power, it’s a different deal – that’s covered by the laws of war. Inside the US that happens when you have martial law, and/or ‘insurrection’ or ‘invasion’.

    The dude on the TV News was bitching that the fifth amendment prevents assassination. Behold:

    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 offence 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.

    Except that Congress can [Article One, Section Nine]: “declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;” and “provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;” and otherwise [Article One, Section Nine]: “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.” Also [Article One, Section Ten]: “No State shall […] engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.”

    The upshot of which is that in the event that the President decides we’ve been invaded or there is a rebellion/insurrection, or if we’re at war and the enemy is in the United States, then he can order people shot without due process. Unless Congress limits his ability to do so, which they haven’t. Rather the opposite.

    The Preznit (*any Preznit* included a reelected Jimmy Carter) can order that drones or other weapons be used to kill people if he says that there’s an invasion or a rebellion or Al Qaeda shows up, since we’re already at war with them.

    If these guys want to change the rules that allow that, they should talk to their fucking Congressman. (And sincerely: good luck.) What any of that has to do with fucking Brennan is beyond me.

    max
    [‘They’d have to stop trying to slice the baloney infinitely thin first.’]

  140. 140
    Joey Giraud says:

    @burnspbesq:

    OK then, disagreeing about morality is the great game, isn’t it.

    But I should say I always thought Just War theory was pure sophistry. And I have no desire to insult your Catholic faith, but The Church has quite a history of developing fairly devious rationalizations to morally support naked applications of power.

  141. 141
    lamh35 says:

    Good night BJ.

    Can’t wait to hear the “walk of shame” confessions to come soon as Rand Paul filibusters the next Obama appointment choice. Or votes against the next bit of semi-progressive legislation of gay rights, women’s rights, minority rights ore his usual bullshit.

    @dcbigjohn
    “i apologize to those watching if it looks like the senate is actually in a debate” – Sen. Dick Durbin just now

  142. 142
    Suffern ACE says:

    @lamh35: well yes. They have an issue that is politically embarrassing for the president and they might as well play it since this president has been fairly foolish at times when it comes to dah drones.

    Also, too, Holder’s answer regarding drones in the US was just amazingly tone deaf and rather stupid if you ask me. OMG, had he just said “no” to the use of drones to target terror suspects operating in the US, we wouldn’t be wasting our time trying to speculate when we would want to use them. But no, we can’t have that answer.

    While it is fun to mock the OMG dronz folks, I do think its time to start seriously undercutting folks like Holder and Brennan who are much more carcinogenic.

  143. 143
    burnspbesq says:

    Jack Goldsmith makes some points worth making about the Paulist filibuster.

    http://www.lawfareblog.com/201.....ilibuster/

  144. 144
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    I don’t think everyone who disagrees with the drone program is an idiot. They should be part of the discussion, too.

    If any of them start thinking that Rand Paul and Ted Cruz genuinely share their moral concerns, well, that’s when I start questioning their judgment.

  145. 145
    Chris says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I never thought of it that way, simply because I’ve never thought of lying as on par with killing (in and of themselves – one can cause the other, for example, but it needn’t), but I could live with that kind of formulation too. “Yes, dishonesty is an evil, but allowing innocent people to die is a greater evil” strikes me as a perfectly acceptable way to look at things.

  146. 146
    Joey Giraud says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I would say that feelings of guilt are not good evidence about morality or immorality

    Really? Hmm. It’s always seemed to me that feelings are the very root or morals. We rationalize to justify and understand, but feelings are the source.

    You feel differently it seems.

    you might feel guilt after reporting your abusive husband to the police, but it wasn’t immoral to do that

    Well isn’t loyalty also moral? Some people might ( do, I know for a fact, ) hold loyalty as a higher morality then prevention of violence.

    , surely. Anyway, yes, this is becoming a digression.

    Agreed. …. oh snap!

  147. 147
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: yep. Pretty much. It’s like suddenly finding that you like Ann Coulter because she’s upset by long airport security checks and finding that while you’re upset because you could buy water more cheaply at the grocery store and have to pay for it at the Hudson News, she’s just mad because Muslims haven’t been rounded up and banned from flying.

  148. 148
    burnspbesq says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    And I have no desire to insult your Catholic faith,

    None taken.

    The Church has quite a history of developing fairly devious rationalizations to morally support naked applications of power.

    Neither the first nor the last powerful institution that has sometimes failed to live its principles. Which is not a justification, but rather an observation.

  149. 149
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    I READ THIS LIST OF DEAD KIDZ ON A WEBSITE AND OBAMA KILLED THEM WITH DROOOOOOONEZ

  150. 150
    Redshift says:

    @lamh35:

    Can’t wait to hear the “walk of shame” confessions to come soon as Rand Paul filibusters the next Obama appointment choice.

    But that won’t be a publicity-stunt filibuster, it’ll just be the “it takes 60 votes to pass anything now” type, so it’ll get no attention whatsoever.

  151. 151
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    OBAMA IS THE MOST EVIL PRESIDENT SINCE NIXON HAD HIS HEAD GRAFTED ONTO HITLER

  152. 152
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    OBAMA STAYS UP LATE AND GIGGLES ABOUT INNOCENT ARAB CHILDREN BEING BLOWN UP WITH DROOOOOONEZ

  153. 153
    lamh35 says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: exactly. that’s my whole issue with the whole Paul love all of a sudden (from people I kind respected, Van Jones, Maddow, Ari Melber…etc). When they openly admit that Rand Paul is a nut and 99.99999 he is completely wrong on every issue that we care about. Just last week, Ted Cruz was the second coming of McCarthyism, now he’s the guy who really “shook up” AG Holder.

    Ok, which is it. Is Rand Paul and Ted Cruz completely crazy RWNJs or not?

    There are more credible opponents of the drone program who should be getting mad props other than Rand “I woulda voted against the Civil Rights Act” Paul!

    ‏@JamesPMorrison
    Everyone realizes Rand Paul voted FOR the NDAA, right? Suddenly he cares about the Constitution? He’s “standing on principle”, is he? Please

    ‏@JohnSunununu
    @timtheterrible1 Standing up for 12 hours straight without bathroom breaks to protest something you didn’t care about a month ago is a stunt

  154. 154

    ‏@fbihop
    If Sen. Rand Paul ends this with “The Aristocrats!” I’ll vote for him for President.

  155. 155
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Suffern ACE: I mean he could have said that we don’t need to use drones in the US because the FBI, which he runs, is perfectly capable of arresting people and bringing them to court without them, and that bombing safe houses in New Jersey isn’t a good idea anyway. Since the FBI is capable of doing so, just say “well no, they’re not constitutional” and hope your extraordinary hypothetical doesn’t make a liar out of you a few years down the road.

  156. 156
    ruemara says:

    @Joey Giraud: it’s immoral to kill people. You do realize that humans make war, right? You do realize that whether you like it or not, morality is not as hard and fast as killing people is immoral?

  157. 157
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    RAND PAUL SHOULD BE PRESIDENT INSTEAD OF OBAMA BECAUSE HES MORE LIBERAL CAUSE HE HATES DROOOOOONEZ

  158. 158
    Soonergrunt says:

    @lamh35: That would require the ability to feel shame, which is generally tied to conscience, intellectual honesty, and some level of maturity.
    Don’t hold your breath.

  159. 159
    Hill Dweller says:

    @lamh35:

    Just last week, Ted Cruz was the second coming of McCarthyism, now he’s the guy who really “shook up” AG Holder.

    What did Cruz do to get Holder “shook up”?

  160. 160
    Eric U. says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: but it was the international institute of investigative journalizm! Do not distrespect my authoritiii.

    Someone should send a tweet to Rand Paul that they are only killing brown people and workers w/dronze. He’d give up in a heartbeat

  161. 161
    lamh35 says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    see here: @Suffern ACE:

    and here: Fans for Cruz?

  162. 162
    Joey Giraud says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    So 9/11 — an event that al-Awlaki was personally involved in — was all just a figment of our collective imagination and never actually happened?

    Every story you read but didn’t personally experience exists in your mind as a instance of imagination. I didn’t say figment because I’m trying to stress that whether it’s accurate or not, it’s still just a story.

    These stories we’ve been told probably contain many true things, and I’m sure you’ll agree they have false things in them too.

    But if you trace sources, as I have a few time, say from Wikipedia to a news paper to a reporter to a source, you’ll find that virtually without exception the primary source of terrorism data comes from some part of our security state. And our security state has been shown to have friendly and like-minded reporters in various news organizations here and abroad, and also friends in academia. For a perspective on how this helps maintain public support for various projects, read Edward Bernays’ “Manufacturing of Consent.” To entice you to do so, I’ll tell you that Bernays was no Chomsky, almost the exact opposite.

    A long winded way to say; I just don’t “buy” it, although I’m not going to call anyone who does a fool or an idiot.

    This modern propaganda ( a word popularised by Bernays ) is pretty strong stuff. No one is invulnerable, and I don’t claim to be.

  163. 163
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Joey Giraud: OK, last example. I certainly felt guilty when we made the decision to have our sick cat euthanized. But it wasn’t an immoral act or an immoral decision, even if it meant hastening the death of a living creature.

  164. 164
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    Okay, good to know I don’t have to take anything else you say seriously now that I know you’re a Troofer. Goodbye.

  165. 165

    @Joey Giraud: Oh, you’re a 9/11 Truther. Nice to know, for future reference.

  166. 166
    lamh35 says:

    I’m really going to bed now.
    But I’m thinking a Rand Paul/Dick Cheney ticket could really be hard to beat. They can run on drones/gay marriage.

    It’s just funny to me that as okay as Cheney is on gay marriage, don’t see too much support for Cheney otherwise (and for good reason…Cheny is evil incarnate)…I’m just sayin’

    Good night guys.

    @lhfang
    Rand Paul also filibustered a very well qualified judicial nominee this am b/c she once sued gun industry. He didnt speak at all tho.

  167. 167
    Hill Dweller says:

    Looks like Rand finally threw in the towel.

  168. 168
    Joey Giraud says:

    @ruemara:

    morality is not as hard and fast as killing people is immoral?

    I interpret this as saying morality isn’t as *simple* as saying that “killing people is immoral.”

    And if you’re blending morality and justification together into a single idea, I understand. Two things together aren’t simple.

  169. 169
    Joey Giraud says:

    @The prophet Nostradumbass:
    @Mnemosyne:

    You’re a couple of funny guys.

    No, I don’t claim to have any truths about 9/11.

    I just know what I think is not true.

    So you can call me a 9/11 Not-Truther.

    Sorry if you can’t see the difference. Pity that no one has yet invented corrective lenses for the mind.

  170. 170

    @Joey Giraud: I may be “a funny guy”, but you’re silly. Couching your Trooferism in vague language doesn’t make it any less silly or stupid.

  171. 171
    👽 Martin says:

    I wouldn’t write off this filibuster. This is one of the few efforts by the GOP that is actually aligned with public sentiment. It’s not a huge issue with the public, but it’s definitely a departure by the GOP toward something which is not insane.

    It doesn’t matter if Paul cares about this issue or not, or if it’s political or what. What matters is how it’s viewed. I trust that they’ll still mange to fuck it all up, but at the same time, they may learn from this.

    It would be good if Dems got ahead of it. If it was any Dem up there doing this, we’d be cheering them on.

  172. 172
    Joey Giraud says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    This one really confuses me; putting an ill animal down isn’t even close to immoral.

    Are you arguing in good faith?

    Stupid question. I forgot I was at Balloon-Juice.

  173. 173

    @👽 Martin:

    This is one of the few efforts by the GOP that is actually aligned with public sentiment. It’s not a huge issue with the public, but it’s definitely a departure by the GOP toward something which is not insane.

    Impressive there, contradicting yourself in two sentences right next to each other.

  174. 174
    Mnemosyne says:

    @👽 Martin:

    This is one of the few efforts by the GOP that is actually aligned with public sentiment. It’s not a huge issue with the public, but it’s definitely a departure by the GOP toward something which is not insane.

    Unfortunately, I think you’re confused about the public sentiment with which this filibuster is aligned. It’s aligned with the “black helicopters/gubbmint iz coming for mah gunz!” public sentiment, not the “why the hell are we bombing civilians in Pakistan?” public sentiment.

    I honestly don’t think that Paul or Cruz are going to be able to pull off a swing to the mainstream when they start from the NRA conspiracy theory side.

  175. 175
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Joey Giraud: You just got through establishing that all acts resulting in another’s death are by definition immoral. If so, that counts, and you should be telling me that, yes, it was immoral, but it was less immoral than the alternative, and that my feeling guilty was evidence of the deed’s immorality. Whatever, it’s tangential now.

  176. 176
    Joey Giraud says:

    @The prophet Nostradumbass:

    Ooh, you got me there!

    Really though, you’re equating being sceptical about government and media reporting with having proof that George W. Bush personally pushed the button that blew up the Pentagon or some other such nonsense.

    One more time and I’ll have to call you a dirty name.

    Oh forget it. You’re not going to pull my chain tonight. EOL.

  177. 177
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @👽 Martin: concern over drones, war powers and terror suspects is aligned with public sentiment? Not according to anything I’ve ever seen on the subject.

  178. 178
    lamh35 says:

    @👽 Martin: Ron Wyden was a part of it in the beginning. Didn’t see much cheering for him. It’s all about how beneficial this was for Paul.

    Dick Durbin did join a bit an try to actual start debate, but Paul conceded his points. Why??? It was a stunt to draw attention.

    You say many people. Who are these people? When you say many, you mean the blogosphere and the twitterverse and basically partisan media.

    You random average American does not care about this, and Rand Paul’s filibuster stunt (let’s call it what it was) will not change that.

    What is has done is put played the old “slight of hand” magic trick on our side. We now have so many stories so busy commending Paul that basically the whole “sequester” mess that we were gonna wrap around Republicans neck will be story number 2 for at least the rest of the week. Which gives GOP enough time to regroup and fine tune their crappy message.

    This is how the GOP will win in 2014. Distraction and slight of hand that we aide and abet. I just wish we’d be as ruthless as the GOP would be with Dems.

  179. 179
    Joey Giraud says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    No. I thought it was obvious that when I said killing is immoral I wasn’t talking about cats or cows, I meant people. And I meant involuntary, and not euthenesia or abortion. or killing by benign neglect, or by proxy as I did when I bought a diamond.

    Having gone from tangential to orthogonal, I bid you adaeu, or however it’s spelled.

    Spellink, it’s the fist ting to goo..

  180. 180
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Mnemosyne: nope. The dems are now the ones talking about when they would and wouldn’t use drones. Do you think they are good at doing that in a clear way so that folks who aren’t NRA nutters won’t start to wonder why they’re spending so much time thinking about using drones? For folks who claim they never would use them, they sure do think about when they’d use them a lot.

  181. 181
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    Look, I understand why the thought that random people you don’t know may try to kill you is so psychologically threatening that you have to construct an elaborate fantasy world to explain to yourself that random coincidences don’t happen, random violence never occurs, and everything is controlled by a secret cabal, so nothing bad can never happen to you because you have it all figured out. Really, I get it. It’s how people can feel they have some control over a world where random sinkholes open up, swallow one person, and close again.

    But it makes you no different than the NRA members who screamed that Tucson and Aurora and Newtown were all faked by evil government forces to justify taking away everyone’s gun. Your comforting delusion may be slightly different in form than theirs, but it’s still a comforting delusion.

  182. 182
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Joey Giraud: right, so, except for all the exceptions, it’s an ironclad rule. Got it.

  183. 183

    @Joey Giraud: Me, pulling your chain? You’re the one suggesting that there was something else going on on 9/11 than what obviously was.

    Hinting at dark conspiracies and ulterior motives instead of “BUSH DID IT” yelling is more a difference of style than substance.

  184. 184
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Suffern ACE: “We believe in using any tool at our disposal to defend our citizens from those who would do us harm.” The day that that sentence _costs_ a politician votes is decades away if not centuries.

  185. 185
    Hill Dweller says:

    @👽 Martin: It’s certainly possible. The beltway loves praising Republicans.

    I think McConnell, who has supported everything the military has ever done(including torture), showing up to jump on the bandwagon took a bit of shine off it.

    Paul might get some initial praise. Although that Jack Goldsmith article linked earlier had some truth in it. Paul was making some wild accusations, which are going to be treated credibly by some people in other countries.

    It won’t surprise me if the Obama admin gently highlights that aspect of Paul’s charade.

  186. 186
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Do you think they are good at doing that in a clear way so that folks who aren’t NRA nutters won’t start to wonder why they’re spending so much time thinking about using drones? For folks who claim they never would use them, they sure do think about when they’d use them a lot.

    I realize this makes me part of a minority, but I want the government to put a lot of very deep thought into when and how and why they use drones. I want them to game out each and every scenario in their heads and have a long discussion about each one and whether it justifies the use of a drone. That’s their job.

    I don’t want a situation to come up and have some a-hole say, “Ah, well, let’s just use a drone — what could go wrong?”

  187. 187
    rda909 says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: Don’t forget disabled people too! They’re frickin leeches on the FREE MARKET anyway wanting their ramps and those damn special toilets put in everywhere. Who needs ’em…so inefficient and demanding stuff all the time….I say let Stephen Hawking and Christopher Reeve (if he was still alive) taste the sweet nectar of the DROOOOOONNNZZZZZ gods, bitchez! And yes, I’m a MASSIVE O-BOT. GO GIT ‘EM BARRY, MY BROTHER!

  188. 188
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Hill Dweller: Paul is going to get a tongue bath for his “principled criticism” of Obama. I think other Republicans joined in because they didn’t want Paul to earn a differentiation from the rest of the pack in 2016, the way Obama used opposition to the Iraq war to achieve the anti-Hillary slot in 2007-8.

  189. 189
    Paula says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    This.

    But what evidence is there that this follows from a huge public reconsideration of the WoT or civilian liberties?

  190. 190
    lamh35 says:

    So I’m guessing this means Brennan is not going to be confirmed ala Chuck Hagel…oh wait.

  191. 191
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Mnemosyne: oh I do too. I mean Lindsay graham going around saying that based on holders definition of extra ordinary catastrophic circumstances, New Orleans after Katrina and Long Island after Sandy would have been good places to use drones, I’m not actually all that more confident that the republicans can formulate their message without scaring the shit our of us either. Hell we didn’t even riot or loot out here and Lindsay thinks we may have taken things a little too far down the path to social disintegration.

  192. 192
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: I think it’s even simpler than that. The executive branch is not going to volunteer scenarios in which the power of the executive branch is limited. Every executive branch is going to want to say things like “we don’t expect to do anything of the kind, but we stand by our assertion that we would have the right to do so in an unforeseen circumstance.” They’re not going to say “here is our list of the things we actually don’t have the right to do, even in the context of war.”

  193. 193
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Yeah, I think we agree — I don’t think the Republicans are going to be able to suppress their fears about jackbooted thugs in black UN helicopters coming to take their guns long enough to get a discussion started about the WoT and drones in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, etc.

  194. 194
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Grand Bargain in the making: define drones as assault weapons and ban ’em both!

  195. 195
    Suffern ACE says:

    @FlipYrWhig: why not? Do they think that “they’ve taken dronz off the table” is going to send a message of weakness in the same way we never are supposed to state that nukes are off the table in diplomatic negotiations lest those uppity Iranians think we’re not serious?

  196. 196
    Mnemosyne says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    It’s the usual Republican ploy — “Tell us what cuts you want to make to the budget and we’ll tell you if we like them.” So they’re not going to tell the administration what is/is not legal by passing legislation. They’re going to wait for them to do something they don’t like and … well, okay, judging by Libya, they’ll continue to abdicate their responsibilities and do nothing, but they tell themselves they’re totally going to jump down the administration’s throat for overstepping their bounds. Next time. Really.

  197. 197
    Suffern ACE says:

    @FlipYrWhig: how about the president agrees not to drop bombs into the Outback Steakhouse on Friday night ever, and the republicans agree to quit passing Medicare voucher bills.

  198. 198
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Suffern ACE: no, because of inter-branch dynamics. The executive branch, regardless of who’s staffing it, believes that the executive branch has ultimate say over war-related issues. Remember John Kerry in 2004 getting all tangled up trying to distinguish between voting against authorizing a war and not believing that the president had the authority to go to war? That was a case of the same thing. Presidents think presidents have certain powers. Presidents who used to be senators may have formerly believed that the president shouldn’t have certain powers, but after becoming president they support them. Even if Barack Obama, individual and con-law professor, thinks it’s objectionable for a president to have wide latitude in conducting a war, Barack Obama, president, will never express that, nor will the agencies to which he has appointed heads. Presidents don’t ask for their prerogatives to be limited. I’m not an expert, OK, but I’d be very surprised to be given an example of a president willingly ceding power over how a war should be conducted. IIRC even the War Powers Act may not be constitutional, but it’s never been hashed out in court.

  199. 199
    👽 Martin says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Unfortunately, I think you’re confused about the public sentiment with which this filibuster is aligned. It’s aligned with the “black helicopters/gubbmint iz coming for mah gunz!” public sentiment, not the “why the hell are we bombing civilians in Pakistan?” public sentiment.
    I honestly don’t think that Paul or Cruz are going to be able to pull off a swing to the mainstream when they start from the NRA conspiracy theory side.

    I’m not confused, but the media is going to take that 13 hours of bullshit and pick out the 15 seconds of sanity and present that on the news, and that’s what the public will take away.

    Look, the go-to person on the topic of drone policy on TV has been Maddow, and she’s be a steady, fair critic of the administration on this. The broader media hasn’t seen a story here, but a 13 hour filibuster is a story, and they’re going to turn it into one. The black helicopter side will be downplayed because the media don’t want to look stupid, so they’ll put the best spin on this story that they can.

    And there’s a legitimate policy issue here. I trust Obama on this, but I didn’t trust Bush on it, and I would have demanded a lot more out of Bush. I’m not willing to be a hypocrite on this issue just because I trust this president and not the last. I don’t think Maddow is willing to either, and I don’t think a decent chunk of the public (including many on the left) are willing to either. There is no reason to oppose transparency on this issue. Yeah, the GOP will stay out in the weeds, but there’s a ribbon of legitimate inquiry in there that people will be eager to latch onto and the GOP will get a fair bit of a free ride on this. That’s all I’m saying. Don’t write this off too readily – it’s going to carry some voters that the Dems should be carrying by being on the right side of the issue. And the problem is that the Dems have ceded this ground to the GOP by not acting on it. Obama would do well to allow Brennen to open this up once he gets confirmed.

  200. 200
    Paula says:

    @hilzoy:

    Well, welcome to the debate, where Barack Obama apparently managed to invent assymetrical warfare and extrajudicial state assassinations all by himself.

  201. 201
    Yutsano says:

    @Paula: Well yeah. The man has a TARDIS after all.

  202. 202
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: and that’s the big failure, or the false promise, as I see it. If a right-left alliance of libertarians and civil libertarians really wanted to do something about drones, I would be interested to see what they came up with. It’s true that there’s an “ick factor” in having the process be ad hoc and the assertions of what they could do be so sweeping. (On the other hand, I think the notion that the Obama crew is gleeful and bloodthirsty about using this tool is absurd, but for the most part I think people who say that kind of thing are trying to show off and egg each other on.) But there’s an obvious solution: _change the fucking status quo_. Stand up for the principle that the Congress has say over war, and that it’s not a Republican vs. Democrat thing but a checks and balances thing that goes to the root of the American governmental system. Are any of the bloggers and tweeters and such who care about these things so deeply trying to get organized to press actual lawmakers to do that?

  203. 203
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @👽 Martin: be that as it may, I really don’t think any presidential candidate in either party is going to answer a question of the form “Do you believe the president has the power to order the assassination of a suspected terrorist who is an American citizen?” with anything other than “Yes.”

  204. 204
    Hill Dweller says:

    @👽 Martin: While I agree with you on the need for more transparency, I’m not sure the public at large much cares.

    Rightly or wrongly, drones are popular with the public. Maddow admitted tonight that every time she does segments on drones she gets bombarded with hate mail.

    Paul was largely confining his criticism to a hypothetical and implausible attack on Americans in this country. Holder took his time getting there, but he eventually said it was unconstitutional and illegal to target Americans who posed no threat. I read somewhere Paul even conceded Holder had said it was illegal/unconstitutional.

    All that said, the Village loves them some Republicans.

  205. 205
    Joey Giraud says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    @FlipYrWhig:
    @The prophet Nostradumbass:

    Thank you all for your kind responses.
    You have certainly educated me.

  206. 206
    Mandalay says:

    Here is Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, waffling and bullshitting on the legality of death-by-drone:

    “There’s a legal framework which, really when you read the law and you read, for example, what the attorney general has said among others, there’s a very broad legal framework in which you can operate, but the policy framework is and should be much narrower. So, I think that is the framework that people should have confidence that is being exercised and know that these decisions are made very, very carefully,” the secretary said.

    A completely meaningless word salad to rival the worst from Sarah Palin.

  207. 207
    Anne Laurie says:

    New Open Thread post up top.

    Probably two, by the time y’all read this.

  208. 208
    Paula says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I think the point is NO THERE ISN’T, because this is smelling like the crazy shit where Jane Hamsher thought it was great to partner with Grover Norquist.

    Nothing constructive comes out of that because the damned ends are different. Because for some reason some people haven’t realized that the Republicans are LYING when they say they care about shit like “civil liberties” and “responsible spending” and ” being against big corporate handouts”.

    Because they don’t care about that stuff, they will not introduce legislation.

    You wanna tell how this is legit? Watch for some Republican bringing up closing Gitmo. That’s easily the biggest issue in the WoT that they can impact immediately. If that happens, I’ll eat my words.

    But it probably won’t, and this will just be another episode in the annals of both-sides-do-it horseshit. Worse, it may seriously limit the gun control legislation we actually need.

  209. 209
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mandalay: I don’t think it’s meaningless. It sounds to me like she’s saying that a wide range of things would be legal, but the policy that they actually abide by is much narrower than that. I.e., there are things that would in fact be legal that they choose not to do. And that makes sense. It also means that what people should be agitating to do is to reduce the distance between the big circle of legal things and the smaller circle within it of actual policy.

  210. 210
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mandalay: which goes back to things like the John Yoo statement about how the president can in fact order an agent to crush the testicles of a child with the goal of making a terror suspect talk. [wikipedia source here] In a sick way, that probably IS legal. (Caveat: IANAL.) And it’s abhorrent, obviously. But that’s the kind of thing that the executive branch is always going to be trying to find reasoning to defend, because the alternative is admitting that there are limits to executive war powers.

  211. 211
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @FlipYrWhig: in case there was any confusion, I sure hope it’s not legal to do anything that awful. I wouldn’t be surprised if technically it was legal, though.

  212. 212
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    We don’t generally use cluster bombs for assassinations because they’re made for combat. We use drones for assassinations.

    Incorrect. We use cluster bombs deliberately to kill civilians. As many as possible.

    But the same firebaggers who are all about the drooooooonz were perfectly willing to give Clinton a pass for voting against banning them.

  213. 213
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @The prophet Nostradumbass: Shit, and I wasted time responding to the truther.

  214. 214
    Rex Everything says:

    Thank you, Anne. You stood up and that’s much appreciated. Welcome to being tarred as a firebagger and even a racist. Better this than pretending your dismay is all Greenwald’s fault, or worse, lacking the courage to take any position at all.

  215. 215
    Kathleen says:

    @Joey Giraud: See oldie but goodie related to this topic courtesy of Bernstein, Carl:

    http://danwismar.com/uploads/B.....0Media.htm

  216. 216
    Bruce S says:

    My understanding of the drone program as it stands is that it is NOT a CIA assassination program in the mold of what Ford was referring to, but a tactical decision in what is essentially a war against a non-state group that rather spectacularly and murderously launched an attack on American soil. I think it’s a legitimate debate whether it’s a good tactic, but I don’t think it’s a legitimate – meaning “sensible” – debate whether or not we should be in the business of trying to take these guys out in some manner. While the drone tactic is definitely the cause of so-called collateral damage, i.e. likely killing of innocent people near the target area, there is far less of this than there is using conventional warfare tactics in my view. And without the drones, we’re likely to be using more conventional warfare.

    My opinion. And, yes, I’d absolutely be more concerned if Dick Cheney were running it or responsible for oversight than Obama. Just like I’d be more concerned and probably be more outspoken about “checks and balances” and “transparency” if some guy like Dick Cheney were my local police chief than some guy like Obama.

    PS – I think that in this context, the stuff about killing Americans or killing people on American soil is nonsense. I could really care less about the citizenship of an active and provably dangerous al Qaeda member. It’s of no more consequence than the “citizenship” of someone who fought in the Wehrmact – and there undoubtedly were some American citizens who did. And the American soil bit is a straw man hypothetical. Nor, in a war is “due process” the bar for taking out an enemy combatant or someone who actively aids the enemy. I guess the issue is reduced to whether you think we’re at war with these factions.

  217. 217
    Paul in KY says:

    @Chris: If that mean’t no Iraq fiasco, it might have turned out better (IMO).

  218. 218
    mclaren says:

    Excellent post, Anne. People also seem to have dropped into the memory hole the remarkable fact that Bill Clinton (!) was the Democratic progressive president who first started that evil scourge of extraordinary rendition. AKA kidnapping people and dumping ’em into secret foreign prisons to be tortured into bleeding hamburger.

    Torture and extrajudicial murder aren’t a Republican invention and they aren’t a Democratic sin. They’re an American problem, and our whole goddamn nation is responsible. It’s all of America that’s sinking into barbarism and we’d better pull out of our nosedive tout suite. Otherwise, we’re going to wake up in a country where the police routinely break down your door and waterboard you for overdue parking tickets.

  219. 219
    mclaren says:

    @Bruce S:

    My understanding of the drone program as it stands is that it is NOT a CIA assassination program in the mold of what Ford was referring to, but a tactical decision in what is essentially a war against a non-state group that rather spectacularly and murderously launched an attack on American soil.

    So tell us, chief — which member of that Afghan wedding party piloted a 757 into one of the Twin Towers on 9/11?

    Shut your pie hole. You’re done here.

  220. 220
    mclaren says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    Oh, fer crap’s sake… Why are you even bothering to respond to Mnemosyne?

    Trying to use logic and evidence on her is like reading Aeschylus to a cage full of hyenas.

    Mnemosyne has publicly admitted that she had “seriously mental problems” in high school, and now she’s taking every possible opportunity to defend and glorify the torture and murder of innocent human beings. She’s the Mark David Chapman of American political commentary.

Comments are closed.