The Media

“A Drone-Obsessed Killing Machine”


It's an unlikely source. Drum isn't usually this, well, nonsensical.

I just finished reading Daniel Klaidman's Kill or Capture, a book about the evolution of Barack Obama's national security policy during the first three years of his administration. It's a good book to read if you want an answer to the question, "What happened?" That is, what happened to the idealistic Obama of the 2008 campaign who was going to shut down Guantanamo, end indefinite detention, try terrorist suspects in civilian courts, take civil liberties more seriously, and end the rabid secrecy of the Bush era? How did he turn into the guy who not only didn't do any of that stuff, but became a drone-obsessed killing machine in the process?

Ya' know -- I'm educated, but I'm nowhere near as educated as Drum is, and it would take me no less than several minutes to answer everyone single one of these questions without having to read someone else's book on the subject so they can answer it for me.

1. He signed an executive order to close Guantanamo on day 1.
2. Congress has overwhelming voted to continue detentions 4 separate times with veto-proof majorities.
3. Congress and pissy-pants local politicians have blocked past efforts to try terrorism suspects in civilian courts. (remember the cowardly "we'll become a target" shitfest in New York?)
4. He takes civil liberties far more seriously than Bush did.
5. It's the most transparent administration we've ever had. It really is. It seems that because this admin takes national security seriously instead of as a joke, pundits don't know how to react.
6. WTF? A "drone-obsessed killing machine?" Seriously, what??

I still can't figure out what makes drones so much worse than F-18s, B52s, or Apache helicopters. In what universe do precision drone-strikes make someone a killing machine? Why was George W. Bush never called a "killing machine" despite killing hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq? Is there something about the name "drone" itself that causes liberals to cast-aside reason and shit their pants?

This is only one small example of a trend lately that has seen liberal writers acting like this is 2009-2010 and not one of the most important election years in our history.

The "Left" side of the media-sphere is so lazy, decadent, spoiled, and elitist it should come as no surprise that the Obama Campaign rarely, if ever, listens to them. There's no reason to listen to you when you print this kind of ginned up horseshit. And if they actually care about any of what they pretend to care about, they're only doing themselves a disservice with this kind of hyperbolic, counter-factual rambling.

This isn't speaking truth to power or "keeping them honest." This is simply lazy, incurious navel-gazing. The above answers concerning Gitmo, congress, and civilian trials aren't secrets or even hard to find if you just look. And if a guy like me who has no budget, no interns, and no editorial staff can figure it out, why can't they? Or do they not care? Are they just too well-off and comfortable to expend the energy required to ensure they actually know what they're talking about?

President Obama could serve the professional left Filet Mignon on a silver platter and they would send it back because it was 5-degrees off temperature.

  • People repeatedly called Bush a killing machine, war monger, war criminal, and all sorts. If Obama behaves in a similar manner, they will call him that too. On the closing of Guantanamo, yes, he was stymied by Congress, but this drone policy… Of course drones are no worse (or better) than F-18s or whatever – it is what you do with them. It is intellectual gibberish to suggest, as you do, that people criticizing Obama never criticized Bush, or that criticizing Obama is somehow supporting neo-con republicans. The policy of saying that all people killed in a strike must have been legitimate targets on the basis that we killed them, and then of killing anyone who comes to help the injured, without any additional knowledge of who they are, is criminal, and it is Obama’s policy. You are disingenuous for criticizing republicans for such actions, but defending democrats.

  • desertflower1
  • MarshallLucky

    You might want to, you know, finish the article. Or at least get to the part where he argues that much of the blame for Obama’s compromises on national security issues lies with self-interested elements in his own party and not with Obama alone. It’s obvious that neither Drum nor the author of the book is a frothing caricature you describe.

    Or you could just latch on to a single phrase, which the author probably exaggerated intentionally for effect, and launch into a by-the-numbers rant about those filthy leftist traitors. That works too. Next up: how five random words in an Atrios post explain how all Obama’s critics are racist Republican operatives!

  • Lazarus Durden

    Okay I just wanna say what an awesome thread this has been. So much better then Huffington Post. And it’s not because we’re mostly in agreement, although that helps. 😉 It’s because the discussion has been entertaining, intelligent, and respectful. In short it’s been refreshing.

    Thank you to each and every one of you especially you JM Ashby for the original post, and to Bob and Chez for all the great work they do. You guys fucking rock.

    • MarshallLucky

      “lazy, decadent, spoiled, and elitist”

      Respectful. Yeah. Also note how every one of those insults is a classic Republican attack on the left. But why worry about reaching into the Lee Atwater playbook when there’s an online pissing contest to be had?

      • Lazarus Durden

        Lee Atwater? Really? Now whose being hyperbolic.

        And to be fair you’re the one wiping it out to start the pissing contest.

        Also you’re doing the exact same thing you’re accusing JM of doing. You’re focusing on four words and not countering any of the points he raised.

        And please don’t act like people on the professional Left haven’t attacked Obama for not meeting their unrealistic exceptions. I’ve read enough BS articles on Huffington Post to know that for a fact. Heck Obama can’t even get a headline that’s not polemic from that tabloid.

        There is a long list of intellectually lazy, elitist professional pundits who are biased due to fattening their own pocketbooks, have a alternative agenda, or are just monumentally naive.

        It’s fine to criticize the President but name one thing in the points JM raised that isn’t factually correct.

        “1. He signed an executive order to close Guantanamo on day 1.
        2. Congress has overwhelming voted to continue detentions 4 separate times with veto-proof majorities.
        3. Congress and pissy-pants local politicians have blocked past efforts to try terrorism suspects in civilian courts. (remember the cowardly “we’ll become a target” shitfest in New York?)
        4. He takes civil liberties far more seriously than Bush did.
        5. It’s the most transparent administration we’ve ever had. It really is. It seems that because this admin takes national security seriously instead of as a joke, pundits don’t know how to react.
        6. WTF? A “drone-obsessed killing machine?” Seriously, what??”

        So drone obsessed killing machine is fine, but “lazy, decadent, spoiled, and elitist” is Southern Strategy? Riiight.

  • ArrogantDemon

    Maybe these fuckers just want an evil dictator to bitch abut to make themselves relevant.

    Throughout the Bush years, they were on top of the world with world class whining and bitching, because they had a appreciative audience. Now, not so much, and somewhere in those minds, they want it back.

    If this Magic Negro doesnt do exactly what they want, when they want and how, he’s just as bad as Bush, and we must stay home and teach him a lesson.

    By the way, teach Obama a lesson is really lame.

    If he loses, Barack Obama and his family will be fine, they will do very well under a Romney Administration. Jeremy Scahill, Glenn Greenwald, Chris Hayes, and the est of the firebaggers will do just fine under Romney, the rest of us wont

    You gotta wonder how dumb the people that follow them are, because the ones who write this mess know what they are doing.

    Would the far left prefer we send flesh and blood men and women into these situations where we send drones? Mount up the casualties, the injuries and mental breakdowns of our troops instead of remote controlled weapons no different from fighter jets and Apache Helicopters.

    No, they want the right wing nutter back in power, so their bitching and whining seems prophetic, like Mikey Moore, they want to grift off liberal angst and anger.

    Which is it liberals, getting maybe 70-85% of what you want in a slow, reasoned pace, or jack shit just so you can bitch about it on the twitters or blogs.

    • desertflower1

      This! It worked out so well for them when they stayed home in 2010, didn’t it? That “teach him a lesson” thingy sure did the trick! Short sighted, whiny assholes.

    • RS Janes

      ArrogantDemon, good post, but I’d exempt Michael Moore and Chris Hayes from your list. Both have criticized Obama on occasion, but have said we have to reelect him or watch the country destroyed by Bush the III, Mitt Romney.

  • kfreed

    P.S. My response to progressives (or anyone else) who support Ron Paul – who is supplying them with their Obama-hate talking points (forgive the length). Feel free to bash them over the head with it. Compiled this list over time and I’m not a journalist – you’d think they could get off their tails and look into this guy:

    Who Is Ron Paul?
    In His Own Words…

    [VIDEO] Ron Paul promises “big cuts” in new ad:

    “Paul has vowed to cut $1 trillion from the budget in the first year if he were elected president by ending the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Education, Energy, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Interior.

    The Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration and Department of Defense would also see deep cuts under his budget plan.”

    [VIDEO] Ron Paul: End Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid:

    [VIDEO] Ron Paul Calls For Federal Public Lands To Be ‘Sold Off To Private Owners’:

    [VIDEO] Ron Paul plans to ‘eventually’ end all federal student aid:

    Ron Paul’s “Plan To Restore America” (Budget for 2013)

    Saint Paul: Inside Ron Paul’s effort to convince conservative Christians that he’s their man [Paul tells Yahoo his policy ideas are rooted in scripture – see former Paul staffer Gary North’s “10,000 page exposition on Biblical Capitalism”]

    [VIDEO] Ron Paul Rejects Evolution:

    [VIDEO] Ron Paul’s powerful pro-life ad:

    [VIDEO] Ron Paul on Fox Business: Global Warming is a Hoax – Nov. 4, 2009:

    In His Own Words (Posted at – Dec. 2003: Ron Paul on Separation of Church and State ‘Myth’ – “The War on Religion”
    “The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On the contrary, our Founders’ political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs. Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government’s hostility to religion. The establishment clause of the First Amendment was simply intended to forbid the creation of an official state church like the Church of England, not to drive religion out of public life.
    The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian yet religiously tolerant America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance. Throughout our nation’s history, churches have done what no government can ever do, namely teach morality and civility. Moral and civil individuals are largely governed by their own sense of right and wrong, and hence have little need for external government. This is the real reason the collectivist Left hates religion: Churches as institutions compete with the state for the people’s allegiance, and many devout people put their faith in God before their faith in the state. Knowing this, the secularists wage an ongoing war against religion, chipping away bit by bit at our nation’s Christian heritage.”

    [VIDEO] Ron Paul’s Full Speech at the Christian Fundamentalist Values Voter Summit 2011
    Paul won the straw poll. Note the organizers listed on the screen behind him: Liberty Council, American Family Association, Family Research Council, American Values, Liberty University – the entire Christian Reconstructionist crew all gathered together under one roof.

    Listen to ALL of it. Paul says that government has no place in education and that the responsibility for educating children should fall solely to the family. Reiterates elimination of the Dept. of Education.

    [VIDEO] Ron Paul in A Nutshell:

    “ThinkProgress compiled video of just a few of Paul’s many claims that basic laws and essential programs violate the Constitution. A short list includes Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the National Labor Relations Board, the Federal Reserve, income taxes, and even the dollar bill.”


    Occupy the Planet – Feb. 19, 2012: 16 Ron Paul Quotes That Might Surprise You

    Bob Cesca: Ron Paul Is No Friend to Progressives [Dismantling Government & “States Rights” to Discriminate at Will – War on Women]:

    Tim Wise – Jan. 2012: Of Broken Clocks, Presidential Candidates, and the Confusion of Certain White Liberals [NOT SAFE FOR WORK]

    “…Yet to the so-called progressives who sing the praises of Ron Paul, all because of his views on domestic spying, bailouts for banksters, and military intervention abroad, the fact that 90 percent of his political platform is right-wing boilerplate about slashing taxes on the rich, slashing programs for the poor and working class, breaking unions, drilling for oil anywhere and everywhere, and privatizing everything from retirement programs to health care doesn’t matter: the fact that he’ll ostensibly legalize drugs is enough. And this is so, even though he has merely said he would leave drug laws up to the states (which means 49 separate drug wars, everywhere except maybe Vermont, so ya know, congrats hippies!), and he would oppose spending public money on drug rehab or education, both of which you’d need more of if drugs were legalized, but why let little details like that bother you?…”

    Waiting for the Day When We Can Say We’re All Austrians: Ron Paul’s Brand of Libertarianism [The Theocratic Kind]

    Ron Paul’s Christian Reconstructionist Roots

    Ron Paul: No Church/State Separation:

    [VIDEO] CNN: Ron Paul’s Racist Newsletter – Paul Walks on CNN Interview
    “Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-TX) emergence as the front-runner in the Iowa GOP primary is bringing new scrutiny on Paul’s newsletters from the 1980s and 1990s. The newsletters, published under his name, included content claiming that African-Americans are trying to give white people HIV, suggested that Washington, DC is “anti-white and proud of it,” provided instructions on how to murder African-Americans, and warned of “malicious gay(s)” who spread HIV.”

    *Anonymous Hacks White Supremacist Site, Finds Direct Links to Ron Paul – Ron Paul’s connections to Neo-Nazis revealed:
    “The documents show numerous connections between Republican candidate Ron Paul and these racist Neanderthals; they’re heavily involved in campaigning for Paul, and according to the messages, have held regular meetings with Ron Paul himself: Ron Paul, the American Third Position Party and Stormfront.
    Also revealed: Ron Paul has held meetings with A3P and Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party — the notorious UK fascist group with neo-Nazi roots.”
    Anonymous Statement:

    [VIDEO] Ron Paul on CSPAN (1995) on His Newsletter:

    View Ron Paul’s Racist Newsletters (Scanned and Posted):

    Ron Paul photo with White Supremacist ‘Stormfront’ Leader (particularly see the embedded Orcinus link):,-son

    Like Father Like Son, Rand Paul Opposes Civil Rights Act and Americans with Disabilities Act:

    5 Reasons Progressives Should Treat Ron Paul with Extreme Caution — ‘Cuddly’ Libertarian Has Some Very Dark Politics

    “He’s anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-black, anti-senior-citizen, anti-equality and anti-education, and that’s just the start.”–_%27cuddly%27_libertarian_has_some_very_dark_politics?page=entire

    Ron Paul [Election 2012] Hires Christian Right Political Activist with American Family Association for Church Outreach:
    [Quote] Paul has brought several Christian conservatives onto his campaign in an ambitious effort to reach believers for his cause. Michael Heath, the campaign’s Iowa director, previously worked for a New England-based group called the Christian Civic League of Maine that fought against adding sexual orientation to the state’s Human Rights Act.
    The national campaign has tasked Heath with leading church outreach in Iowa, where for months he has met with pastors and Christian congregations. “That’s the biggest part of what I’m doing as state director,” Heath told Yahoo News after a day of knocking on church doors with campaign literature. “Going to churches with a message in support of Dr. Paul’s campaign that is very much faith-based and is also rooted in his commitment to a constitutionally defined limited federal government.” [Unquote]

    Gary North’s “Biblical Capitalism” [Christian Reconstruction]

    Rachel Tabachnick on Gary North, Christian Reconstruction, and the Religious Right’s War on Progressive Economic Policy

    Random Book Blogging: Gary North, AIDS, Ron Paul, and Christian Reconstructionism

    Ron Paul: Stealth Dominionist:

    Paul Rosenberg: Exposing Religious Fundamentalism in the US [Ron Paul included]

    Dominionists discuss infiltrating #OCCUPYWALLSTREET:

    Ron Paul’s brand of tea party is exactly the same as the Christian fundamentalist brand of tea party (look up “Gary North: Biblical Capitalism”). Paul simply dresses his ideology in secular terms. In short, he’s a libertarian theocrat, oxymoronic as that sounds (Google: “theocratic libertarianism”).

    See: for background on Christian Reconstruction.

    • desertflower1

      Yeah, they heard the legalize drugs and stopped there. Learning about all this important stuff…not so much.Holy shit, I hate stupid!

  • kfreed

    THANK YOU! Where, O Where are liberals getting their “outrage” talking points, do you wonder? Ron f-ing Paul is who. And his cult followers – who infest liberal blogs like bed bugs at the Ritz.

    I personally spent all freakin’ night on Raw Story over the stupid Dem letter (also signed by, you guessed it, Fraud Paul) demanding justification for Obama’s “drone war” – making the same points as you just made, source links included, only to be ignored and beaten over the head with the same talking points over and over again. Which is how I knew I was arguing with Ronulans:)

    Yet, I consider it a night well spent and will live to do it again as often as it takes.

    • RS Janes

      kfreed, you can’t even post such comments at some right-wing sites, especially if you’re listing facts rather than touchy-feely liberal goo that’s easy for the freepers to ridicule. You’ll discover your comments have been blocked or deleted, such is their commitment to freedom of speech.

      • kfreed

        This is the long version. I have a shorter version to post online and I don’t post this on right-wing sites. This is directed at misguided “progressive” supporters and “libertarian” right-wingers who infest mainstream and progressive sites with unbridled Obama hate at every opportunity (which is 24/7 no matter what the subject).

  • i_a_c

    I was going to type up a rebuttal but I’m so sick of the OMG DRONES crap and the crocodile tears shed over Al Awlaki that I dry heave just thinking about it.

    And it looks like Mister Brink has written up something good as he usually does so I will defer to him.

  • mrbrink

    To say that President Obama is Bush on steroids is one of the biggest piles of shit for an argument you’ll find anywhere.

    Our official policy on “torture” is now in compliance with the Geneva Conventions and the Army Field Manuel under this president. We’ve pulled out of Iraq. We’re no longer a mental and emotional prisoner to Bin Laden. Anyone think that a Republican president would have applied a pro-civil liberties signing statement to the national Defense Authorization Act 2012? “It will not apply to US citizens.” From the liars and idiots you get: “Did you hear? Obama said NDAA applies to U.S. citizens! He must be stopped! Mitt Romney must now ascend to the civil liberties throne to fix it!”

    Bush used over 750 signing statements to ignore, nullify, and alter the law. President Obama uses one to explain that his administration is on the side of the constitution in a law handed to him by congress, and he’s just like Bush? These people are fucking crazy, lazy, ignorant, or just lying to their readers.

    Here’s president Obama on the trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed: “I remain convinced we could have handled this in New York. We could have handled it in a normal court.”

    How did the Bush administration deal with Khalid Sheik Mohammed? George W. Bush torturedhim and said he would do it again.

    Silly motherfuckers. They have no idea what it was like in Bushco’s Terror-Alert-America, do they?

    Maybe that’s why they think it’s this president’s fault and this president’s alone that he hasn’t defeated a treasonous Congress, a right wing Supreme Court, the entire Military Industrial Complex, the big banks, the CIA, the corporate media, international terrorists and cyber-terrorism, global adversaries, dictatorships, pirates, local wingnut governments turning back the clock on civil rights, and gas prices.

    Eventually, the professional left will have to accept that their well-poisoning methods, hyperbole, and lack of understanding of basic civics and American history are making things worse and making it more difficult to build a movement that keeps right wing nutjobs out of power for more than an election.

    • RS Janes

      mrbrink, the worst part of it all is that it encourages Obama voters to give up and stay home, just as they did in 2010, which is exactly what the GOP wants. How many times have you heard “both parties are just as bad’? If both parties are just as bad, then Romney’s wealthy SuperPAC funders are throwing away their money which, traditionally, rich people only do on such things as dressage horses and car elevators.

      • mrbrink

        They’ve turned this: “I remain convinced we could have handled this in New York. We could have handled it in a normal court.”

        Into “no better” than this: “Yeah, we waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. I’d do it again to save lives.”

        It’s been one of the most impressive public screw job feats in Idiot History. A real accomplishment for functioning imbeciles and degenerates everywhere.

  • Lazarus Durden

    Ginned up horseshit. Yeah sounds about what the Left side of the MSM has become. It’s why I’m insanely selective about who I read at this point. I actually find it a bit troubling because while I want to get a balanced viewpoint there… well isn’t much of one anymore. Everything is hyperbole now. There’s no more news. It’s all conjecture, speculation, and rant. I’m frankly sick of the media at this point, at least in the US media.

    • missliberties

      Austen Goolsbee.

  • missliberties

    Do these delightful leftists have any clue that Sheldon A. Mitt’s biggest supporter is dying to bomb Iran?

    War with Iran would be far more preferable than re-electing Obama because he just isn’t towing the liberal line hard enough.

    Obama’s old Harvard professer has come out with a utube declaring how ‘disappointed he is at the lack of Obama’s progressivism”.

    I see the handwriting on the wall. Obama is going to lose this election, just like we lost in 2010, because liberals won’t vote and the GOP is going to spend a bazillion to defeat him.

    • Lazarus Durden

      Obama isn’t going to lose. That’s not the problem. The biggest problem is the perception Progressives, or at least the movement’s loudest voices, create of themselves. Just look at how we’re describing these idiots. And if it looks like that to us imagine what the center independent thinks. This is why the progress movement can’t break into the mainstream for any sustained period of time because its standard bearers make it look unreasonable and out of touch.

      • bphoon

        …because its standard bearers make it look unreasonable and out of touch.

        Correction, if I may: “…its self-proclaimed standard bearers…”

        • Lazarus Durden

          You may. My thanks. That is what I meant to write but didn’t. The clarification is appreciated.

          • RS Janes

            I’d hate to bring this up, since it smacks of an Alex Jones Conspiracy Theory, but the right-wing money machine is prepared to spend a billion (and more) this year to be rid of Obama. That being the case, and with the knowledge that the righties have in the past blatantly paid off columnists like Armstrong Williams and reporters like Judith Miller to promulgate their point of view, it’s not far-fetched to think that they would try and buy off some so-called liberal ‘opinion-makers’ to attack Obama. I especially think this is true when I see some ‘progressive’ recycling GOP Talking Points as an attack from the left. It’s hard to believe some of these people would be that dumb and gullible.

      • missliberties

        Well okay then.

        I am fairly furious about all the lying from the GOP and how the media continues to enable these outrageous lies.

        I would like to see the word filabuster mentioned one million times between now and the election every time someone says, but the Democrats at a 60 vote majority. Because they did not.

        Also would like to see a unified message from all democrats and progressives at all levels of government that we need to pass the American Jobs Act. (which the Chamber of Commerce supported at the time, but has since flip flopped on).

        The dialogue is just infuriating. And the hate radio hosts on the right have spent decades ‘educating’ their listeners on why they should hate unions and especially teachers. It’s disgusting.

        *rant off.

  • missliberties

    The “Left” side of the media-sphere is so lazy, decadent, spoiled, and elitist it should come as no surprise that the Obama Campaign rarely, if ever, listens to them. There’s no reason to listen to you when you print this kind of ginned up horseshit. And if they

    actually care about any of what they pretend to care about, they’re only doing themselves a disservice with this kind of hyperbolic, counter-factual rambling.

    ^^^^ This! All the GOP has to do is mine liberal sites for newsie bits and milk to the Democrats disadvantage for all its worth.

    And the left thinks they hold some moral highground! Gag!

  • RS Janes

    Thanks for this, JM Ashby. The situation in Pakistan is complicated — too complicated for our dumbed-down media. One of the reasons our troops are still there has nothing to do with Afghanistan. If the Pakistani gov’t fell to right-wing Muslim fanatics, they have vowed to use Pakistani nukes to attack India and other nations in the region, causing a nightmare conflagration that would kill millions. Our military feels it is important to have a force in place to respond quickly and secure Pakistan’s nukes before the Mullahs can get their hands on them. And that’s just one of the thorny points Obama is dealing with over there. As for some in the left-wing media, they’ve discovered that running sensational and often misleading headlines and stories that criticize Obama brings eyes to their page, something like what tabloids do with celebrities. More hits on the page means more ad revenue or more donations. I have noticed that some ‘progressives’ lambaste Obama more than the GOP or Romney; there may be some psychological element here, and disappointment since they didn’t get the pure progressive pony they imagined, but there is also the money, power and fame to which even so-called liberals are susceptible. A liberal smacking Obama often gets MSM attention and invites to appear on TV and radio talk shows. Elizabeth Warren has the right idea, IMO. When she was asked to attack Obama, she replied: “I’m saving the rocks in my pocket for the Republicans.” The GOP is the real enemy of the people this year, not Obama.

    • Lazarus Durden

      Yup. *stands and applauds.* The sad part is every time I’ve pointed out exactly what you just wrote I either get 1) crickets or 2) Nah-uh! as a rebuttal. Geo-political security is a messy business, and nothing is cut and dry/black and white.

      Man do none of these critics remember the Taliban’s attack in Swat valley a few years ago, and how they came pretty damn close to getting their hands on a nuke?

      • villemar

        But It’s Obama’s fault that the Swat Taliban went from village to village, decapitating local policemen and civil workers , putting their heads on stakes like Vlad the Impaler. Obama should have never invaded Afghanistan and Iraq in the first place, that fucking bloodthirsty war criminal!

        • Lazarus Durden

          LOL! Nice. That’s about the size of it. The ignorance of some people is astounding. Acting as if we just left Afghanistan everything would just be peachy.

          • RS Janes

            As was stated earlier, the critics on the left present no alternative solution, just bitch and moan that the world isn’t perfect and it’s all Obama’s fault. For example, I have yet to get an answer to this knotty problem: What if we pull out of Afghanistan, the Taliban once again take power, and tens of thousands of Afghans are massacred in revenge for cooperating with the US, while millions of women are killed, tortured or forced back into religious bondage. What would be your ‘progressive’ reaction in that case? (This is what happened before when the US withdrew, BTW.) Would the Greenwald’s then be vilifying Obama for allowing this to happen? You can bet on it.

  • muselet

    I think you may have missed Kevin Drum’s point, Ashby. He knows your answers as well as you do, but his rhetorical excess was aimed at those who don’t (or who don’t care, ’cause they want the sparklepony they were promised now now now).

    Or maybe my snark detector’s too sensitive.


    • JMAshby

      The premise of Drum’s post was Obama “caving” on national security and tossing aside his ideals. I don’t think I missed the point.

      Drum presents a cause and effect, but then says it doesn’t let the president off the hook for being a killing machine.

  • fabucat

    I don’t know. I don’t like the drone program either, but there’s got to be a way to criticize the President w/out calling him a killing machine.

    • Scopedog

      Yep. Makes the President sound like a Cyberdyne systems Model 101 Infiltration unit.

      But as far as I’m concerned….even though I’ve got gripes about the drones, I don’t see any workable, practical solutions coming from folks like Greenwald and Drum et al. All I see is yelling, screaming, moaning and groaning, and a complete ignorance of the fact that if Romney becomes President, those drones are going to be over Iran.

      • bphoon

        …I don’t see any workable, practical solutions coming from folks like Greenwald and Drum et al. All I see is yelling, screaming, moaning and groaning…

        Bitching without offering practical solutions–or at least alternatives–is just bitching to bitch. Snarking from the sidelines like that is unproductive, to put it charitably.

        Useless…not worth the time it takes to read…

    • Lazarus Durden

      Oh there absolutely is a way to criticize his drone program. You could bring up the fact that Search and Destroy in Vietnam didn’t produce any long term results, or whether targeted killing strikes are really effective in any meaningful political strategic sense. Also the collateral damage from drone strikes is a negative multiplier in regards to foreign policy gains as well.

      So what’s the alternative? Arresting terrorist leaders to put them on trial? Good luck with that. Invade another sovereign nation and put troops on the ground? Sure that might be more effective but we’d need a draft and commitment to raising taxes on everyone across the board to fund it. Blood and treasure. That’s not counting the disastrous political fallout from the party that tried to implement it.

      So Obama is forced to work within the confines of what he can actually do to try and achieve a result. He is limited by the powers of his office, and the political reality he’s facing. So drone strikes it is. It’s a complicated issue, but to bring all that up these firebaggers would have to anger their readership and lose ad revenue. That they don’t want to do. One thing the extreme Left has in common with the Right is they love black and white, simple solutions that don’t exist and can’t in reality.

  • Hear that? It’s me giving another rebel yell. Great post.

    • Adding: know who’s really “drone obsessed”? Drone hysterics. “UAV Operator” has been the Army’s hottest job since at least 1996, and the first combat drone was flown in World War II, but they act like drones are some brand-new scary thing invented by sinister agents of the Illuminati.

      Today at the aptly-named Agonist blog, I found a link to someone who claims that Stuxnet has horrifying parallels to the development of the atomic bomb. That was facepalm-inducing to read, because the Atomic Energy Commission (later DOE) is the original black budget of the American war machine. OF COURSE the development of secret weaponry is going to resemble the atomic bomb, because ALL OUR SECRET WEAPON DEVELOPMENT IS MODELED ON THOSE SECRECY PROTOCOLS.

      And really, it’s hard to take outrage about even a high-casualty drone strike seriously when they get just as noisy about a nonlethal computer virus used against…yes, IRANIAN URANIUM CENTRIFUGES.

      • villemar

        Didn’t know about the long 80 or so year history of drones aka pilotless military craft. But I have wondered why the proto-Naderites in the mid-90’s were not screaming bloody murder at the top of their lungs and calling Bill Clinton the “Assassin in Chief” when similar hardware was used to attack AQ bases in the Sudan and in Kossovo.

        Maybe it’s because Bill Clinton was not assumed to have Magic Negro Superpowers to enact every policy whim that they all hallucinated they promised him?

        • Lazarus Durden

          I think you’re right about that. The hardcore Leftists must think that President Obama is a Magic Negro. We need to tell them to stop watching Bagger Vance.

  • ranger11

    I stopped reading Drum a few months ago. They seem to feel the need to curry the favor of a certain kind of audience. Drum is from California and I’m from Florida. Different worlds, different situations. Like Greenwald living in Brazil. They’re insulated and isolated. They don’t give a shit about poor people. Thanks guys!

  • “4. He takes civil liberties far more seriously than Bush did.” Seriously? If you believe that, you are truly delusional. Bush even at his worst never claimed the unconstitutional, apparently God-given authority to have U.S. citizens executed without charges or trial. And although I have no data to support it, I would bet serious money that Bush put few, if any, U.S. citizens into detention without charges or trial either. Not that Bush’s so-called “Patriot Act” wasn’t an egregious assault on the Constitution. It was, and the fact that Democrats also approved it doesn’t change that. But in the area of civil liberties, Obama’s behaved like Bush on steroids rather than as a former professor of constitutional law.

    • desertflower1

      Are you referring to THIS guy???,mod=7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=al+awhaki

      Because if you are, get over yourself and off your moral high horse! He plotted against the US and its citizens, and was fully prepared to carry out his evil on US soil. To MY way of thinking, if you want to blow up your country that gave you the freedom you have to be an asshole, educate yourself here…then turn around and say Fuck You…then FU. No…the President got it EXACTLY right. You and GG would make a lovely pair.

    • Yes, clearly, authorizing a drone strike on a man who openly bragged that he was a traitor and a terrorist is far worse than illegally wiretapping innocent civilians, condoning torture, allowing arrest without warrant, and protecting mercenary groups from the consequences of their criminal activities.

      I’m not defending the action. To say it was morally questionable is understating things. But to say that it, alone, made Obama worse than Bush is patently ridiculous.

      • desertflower1

        My point exactly. Thank you.

    • RS Janes

      @ Robert Schiele: as to your contention that Bush never incarcerated an American citizen without trial, have you ever heard of Jose Padilla? He was in a US Navy brig for years, tortured until he lost his mind, and did not face trial until it was ordered by a federal court. Likewise, Yaser Hamdi was jailed without due process for three years and mistreated. Obviously, Bush’s wars in the Middle East have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, among them US citizens. Also, Obama has never ordered the killing of an American citizen, except those who have renounced their citizenship to oppose the US violently. What would you do, President Schiele: refuse to use drones or whatever means necessary to stop a man who has vowed to murder innocent American civilians? If you did, you’d be violating your oath of office as president.

      • desertflower1

        More sanity. Thank you .

  • ABL

    you’ve got to be kidding me with this crap.

  • Treading_Water

    But, but, but…

    President Obama promised everyone their own personal shiny pony. The perfect progressive shiny pony they’ve always dreamed of. And they’ll be damned if they accept anything less.

    They seem to feel betrayed by this president despite the fact that he campaigned on escalating the war in Afghanistan and policing the Pakistani border. Despite the fact that every bill has to escape the black hole of the permanent Senate filibuster and a concerted effort by the opposition party to simply oppose as principle and not on policy. I am confused by the fact that those who so loudly protested the Bush concept of the Unitary Executive now seem to believe that this president can rule by fiat.

    • Scopedog

      “I am confused by the fact that those who so loudly protested the Bush concept of the Unitary Executive now seem to believe that this president can rule by fiat.”

      That’s what I cannot figure out. They (and we) raised unholy hell when Bush tried to rule by fiat. But now, they want Obama to do the same thing. He isn’t going to, but they scream how he’s just like Bush, or worse.

      I swear, the Far Left must have cornered the market on plastic surgery, since they’ve been slicing off so many noses to spite the faces since Obama became President.

      And Greenwald’s an ass. He’s above all criticism? Bullshit.