Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. –H.L. Mencken
Will Bunch, on philly.com:
Let’s face it: Drone killings have become the Staples’ “Easy Button” of what we used to call foreign policy.
Ah, now that the voters have elected the correct guy, we can discuss terrible policies and murder again. What did the drone strikes replace? International black bag kidnapping squads and indefinite detention? Invasions? Oh, FOREIGN POLICY.
But we all know that winning hearts and minds halfway around the world is impossibly hard work: It requires time and money and patience…the kind of things that are in short supply in America in 2012.
Or we could try something crazy like trading goods with them instead of killing them. Back to the drones:
What could possibly go wrong? Especially when the Obama administration came up with the way of listing civilians who are killed in the drone strikes as terrorists and when the basic details of the program are kept from Congress and the general public…except for the self-serving details that are leaked to the New York Times.
Wait a second. Are you telling me the president is acting like a tyrant AND trying to bolster his public image at the same time?
The truth is that Mitt Romney… …would not have operated the drone-killing program any different from Barack Obama. And another truth is this: This is exactly what some civil libertarians warned — but not loud enough — when presidential powers were unconstitutionally expanded under George W. Bush, that a Democratic president would not give these powers back. And the biggest truth is this: That the corrupting power of drone killings — to make things happen with the push of a button rather than the messy process of dealing with judges and Congress and a free press asking questions — is all but absolute. Look how it has sucked in President Obama — lock, stock, and barrel.
Not much to argue with here. No one should be surprised that a president is corrupted by the power of the office (legitimate or not). In fact, I would be more surprised to find out that he was not already corrupt before taking office. And the bit about ‘some civil libertarians’ – give me a break. Maybe the media could take their huge audience and tell them that the government is lying to them instead of befriending the government in order to get better access to the officials within the regime.
There is also faint hope in the Times article, that a faction within the Obama administration that wants limits on drone strikes may ultimately rule the day. (That faction includes counter-terrorism czar John O. Brennan who — significantly for this issue — could end up running the CIA.)
Let’s hope so. Targeted assassinations are the moral issue of Obama’s second term. He now has a little extra time…to still do the right thing. But morality deferred is still morality denied.
Now there a high standard of morality for you – limits on murdering people.