It’s Okay To Assassinate the Families of Suspected Terrorists, Just Don’t Waterboard Them First

justice, politics, writing

What do we do with Obama’s drone war?

From the New York Times:

Mr. Obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war and torture, and then insisted on approving every new name on an expanding “kill list,” poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre “baseball cards” of an unconventional war. When a rare opportunity for a drone strike at a top terrorist arises — but his family is with him — it is the president who has reserved to himself the final moral calculation.

“He is determined that he will make these decisions about how far and wide these operations will go,” said Thomas E. Donilon, his national security adviser. “His view is that he’s responsible for the position of the United States in the world.” He added, “He’s determined to keep the tether pretty short.”

If you thought for one hot second that the NYT piece is calling Obama out for the covert drone war or his decision that he is fit to decide when to kill the families of suspected terrorists, Charles Krauthammer is here to tell you:

The article could have been titled “Barack Obama: Drone Warrior.” Great detail on how Obama personally runs the assassination campaign. On-the-record quotes from the highest officials. This was no leak. This was a White House press release.Why? To portray Obama as tough guy. And why now? Because in crisis after recent crisis, Obama has looked particularly weak: standing helplessly by as thousands are massacred in Syria; being played by Iran in nuclear negotiations, now reeling with the collapse of the latest round in Baghdad; being treated with contempt by Vladimir Putin, who blocks any action on Syria or Iran and adds personal insult by standing up Obama at the latter’s G-8 and NATO summits.

The Obama camp thought that any political problem with foreign policy would be cured by the Osama bin Laden operation. But the administration’s attempt to politically exploit the raid’s one-year anniversary backfired, earning ridicule and condemnation for its crude appropriation of the heroic acts of others.

Who gets to live and die in Yemen?  Don’t worry, world, it’s in the hands of Barack Obama, Decider.

Barack Obama, The Decider.  Did you ever think it would come to this?

Since the president is comfortable likening these decisions to game-play, let’s play a game of our own, shall we?  A political and ethical Mad Libs of sorts.  Take every “Obama” out of these pieces and replace it with “George W. Bush.”   Makes you want to vomit, right?  Barack Obama better fly from your gullet just as fast.  Jeremy Scahill doesn’t mince words.

Mad Libs.  Hey, see what I did there?  Obama’s a mad liberal, and you know this because he’s a tough drone warrior now.  He’s the concierge at Guantanamo Bay.  But shouldn’t other liberals be mad that the Peace Prize President is doing these things?  No, Timmy, you’re thinking of progressives.

If only ending these campaigns were as easy as electing Mitt Romney.  But does anyone think Romney wouldn’t do the same thing?  Now listen, liberals, don’t go saying “well, Obama is doing it less that Romney, and he’s keeping us safe, so it’s um, er, okay.”

This is what happens when establishment incumbents face no challenges from within their own party or purported ideology.  Oh, for a credible challenge to Obama from a progressive.  Oh for an Obama 2008 to run against Obama 2012.

8 thoughts on “It’s Okay To Assassinate the Families of Suspected Terrorists, Just Don’t Waterboard Them First

  1. I think your last sentence sums it up very nicely.

    And I completely agree – the drone war has to stop as it’s only perpetuating the conditions that breed terrorism.

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  2. Why do you say “the president is comfortable likening these decisions to game-play”? I didn’t see anything supporting it in the quotes you pulled out other than the term used by “one official” to describe the medium on which information about potential targets is stored. I was planning to read the full NYT article, but when I reached the bottom of the first page and saw that this would require 8 “Next” clicks I declined in protest. The parts I have read indicate that the president views it as a solemn, terrible responsibility with consequences so serious that he is unwilling to pass it off to someone else. (As I would expect them to, whether it is true or not; as you point out, the article reads like a press release.)

    I’d rather these kind of actions require specific approval from the president (as they apparently do), regardless of who it is, than that military commanders be free to use them at their discretion, and I suspect that you would too. My problem (and again, I suspect yours) with Mr. Obama is that he says yes.

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    1. Yes. Exactly.

      Game-play did, indeed, come from my belief that likening the profiles to a deck of cards (and the existence of a deck of cards, if that’s what it really is), is despicable.

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  3. Today I saw Stephen Colbert’s take on the issue from last week: part 1 and part 2. I trust you are aware that whatever the character Stephen Colbert approves of, the real person Stephen Colbert finds abhorrent. I have to think that his mostly-liberal audience does as well.

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