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Old 06-21-2013, 05:51 AM  
NewChief NewChief is offline
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The Tale of Two Presidents (drones)

Damn. Salon has been out in front on the drone protests for a few years (Greenwald used to write for them). This is pretty dramatically stated, though:

http://www.salon.com/2013/06/21/a_ta...%93_and_obama/
A tale of two presidents: The one we voted for – and Obama
Recent leaks reveal a frightening reality: In fighting terrorism, we have resorted to engaging in terrorism
By David Sirota

Topics: White House, Kill List, Drones, New York Times, Robert Greenwald, Richard Engel
A tale of two presidents: The one we voted for – and Obama

This is a tale of two presidents – the one we hope we have and the one we actually have. It is also a tale of two kinds of violence – the surgical and the indiscriminate – and how the latter blurs the distinction between self-defense and something far more sinister.

This story began last year, when the White House told the New York Times that President Obama was personally overseeing a “kill list” and an ongoing drone bombing campaign against alleged terrorists, including American citizens. Back then, much of the public language was carefully crafted to reassure us that our country’s military power was not being abused.

In the Times’ report – which was carefully sculpted by Obama administration leaks – the paper characterized the bombing program as “targeted killing” with “precision weapons.” It additionally described “the care that Mr. Obama and his counterterrorism chief take in choosing targets” and claimed that as “a student of writings on war by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, the president believes that he should take moral responsibility” for making sure such strikes are as precise as possible.

The unstated deal being offered to America was simple: Accept a president claiming unprecedented despotic authority in exchange for that president promising to comport himself as an enlightened despot – one who seeks to limit the scope of America’s ongoing violence.

Many of the president’s partisan supporters would never have agreed to such a bargain if the executive in question were a Republican. They would have expressed outrage at news that, according to the Times, the president was “count(ing) all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants” even when those males happen to be innocent civilians. But because it was a Democratic commander in chief, many liberals tacitly agreed to the deal, reassuring themselves that this was a president who would only use violence in the most narrow ways.

That, though, brings us to the second part of this parable – the part that unfolded earlier this month when blood-soaked reality crashed the myth. In this latter chapter, we learned that the president isn’t personally overseeing “targeted” killing – he is evidently overseeing indiscriminate killing.

That was the key discovery in NBC News correspondent Richard Engel’s report finding that “the CIA did not always know who it was targeting and killing in drone strikes” approved by the president. Employing so-called “signature strikes,” the president has been authorizing the assassination of people “based on their patterns of behavior” according to Engel – that is, based simply on where a person “meets individuals, makes phone calls and sends emails.” In all, the identities of up to a quarter of those assassinated were unknown at the time that the president’s drone strikes went forward.

The deep-thinking moralist that we were told was in the White House might look at this and worry that in fighting terrorism we have resorted to engaging in terrorism. After all, deliberately killing people without regard for their identity seems like an effort to terrorize a whole population. Indeed, as this week’s stunning new video series by documentarian Robert Greenwald illustrates, such violence seems eerily similar to the kind of terrorism that our government publicly decries.

But, then, that’s this saga’s big reveal. In embracing such tactics, this parable’s main character shows that he probably isn’t the pious Aquinas-loving saint his aides present him as and that many hoped he would be. This story instead increasingly looks like a cautionary tale about a wholly unenlightened authoritarian who displays little concern about which particular lives he is choosing to end.

This, of course, is not a particularly new or unique story. It is, in fact, the oldest story in human history: the story of how power corrupts and how absolute power corrupts absolutely.
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Old 06-21-2013, 03:09 PM   #61
patteeu patteeu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
Party shill--Much of the party disagrees with me on this.
I'm arguing on the same side as Patteau--you think I like that?


I think it is "wrong" to kill innocent people. Doesn't matter if by drone, rocket, or machine gun fire. It should be minimized as much as reasonably possible.


I didn't agree with much of anything W Bush did regarding the 'war on terror' but the one thing that made sense was when he finally started using drones.
Of course you do. You've finally found the middle of the road, and maybe even experimented with a step or two on the other side of it, on at least one subject.
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Old 06-21-2013, 04:50 PM   #62
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"Do you really think the President can get away with ordering a strike against an apartment building in Des Moines just because some junior jihadist lives in Apt. 2A based on his Constitutional war fighting perogatives? There's a huge difference between striking a suspect in a village in the midst of a hostile country with no local government control (or an unfriendly government) and striking a suspect who lives next door to the police station in Peoria, IL."

Really didn't need the civics lesson; what I'm not up on is drone warfare so you can put your spoon back.

As to the part of your quote I kept, a drone hit in our country wasn't even part of the discussion; not sure why you went there...maybe I wrote something that made you think I was going there; had no intent.
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Old 06-21-2013, 04:58 PM   #63
fan4ever fan4ever is offline
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"You seem to be saying we shouldn't be going after these folks in foreign countries at all."

No, not my point at all...and I do like that this risks minimal exposure to our military...I'm just not sure in the long run it wouldn't be more productive to have a team take out the bad guys vs. drones...but I know the drones can act in minutes where any other operation would take days...and these guys move around a lot and a quick strike is important...plus there's not much of a fail issue with a drone...so I do get the practicality of going that direction.

(Damn, having trouble editing the quotes today...)
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Old 06-21-2013, 05:01 PM   #64
patteeu patteeu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fan4ever View Post
Really didn't need the civics lesson; what I'm not up on is drone warfare so you can put your spoon back.

As to the part of your quote I kept, a drone hit in our country wasn't even part of the discussion; not sure why you went there...maybe I wrote something that made you think I was going there; had no intent.
Ok. I don't know what it is about drones that you aren't up on. For the purpose of this thread, consider them to be just like a cruise missile except that they get to their target a lot quicker and generally cause less collateral damage.
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