The NY Times has a lengthy article about how Obama personally is directing and approving targeted drone strikes with great frequency. The article appears to be rich in cooperation from the administration, suggesting it is part of Obama’s image making and part of the “He got bin Laden” campaign strategy.
But the revelations have many on the left wondering what monster they have created.
Jon Walker at Firedoglake (emphasis in original):
[From NY Times article] “What the new president did not say was that the orders contained a few subtle loopholes. They reflected a still unfamiliar, a realist who, unlike some of his fervent supporters, was never carried away by his own rhetoric. Instead, he was already putting his lawyerly mind to carving out the maximum amount of maneuvering room to fight terrorism as he saw fit.”
This is a simply shameful line bordering on outright propaganda. A person is never going to be “carried away” by their own rhetoric. It is their rhetoric after all. Instead it is supposed to be their public statement of principles and promises that all of us should expect them to live up to. On this issue Obama didn’t live up to the letter or spirit of his rhetoric; he just lied, or at the very least he actively misled or deceived voters. Those are the words that should be use to describe this situation, not “realist.”
If Obama always thought these “realist” policies were best, he had the democratic duty to actually run on them instead of actively hiding them from voters. If after taking office Obama thought realities on the ground called for him to break his promise, he should be called to account. He should first be forced to knowledge he broke our trust and than try to defend why he felt he needed to do so.
It is sickening to treat some nebulous group of “fervent supporters” as the ones in the wrong for actually believing Obama when he made promises to them. Politicians are only rarely called to account for breaking their promises, but to have reporters spin breaking a promise as some true virtue of toughness is part of what is deeply wrong with our politics. The powerful grant special interviews to the media and not only are their faults ignored but they’re transformed into proofs of greatness.
Glenn Greenwald (emphasis in original):
Earlier today, I wrote about one specific revelation from the article that I most wanted to highlight — the way in which Obama, in order to conceal the civilian casualties he causes and justify the raining down of death he orders, has re-defined “militant” to mean “all military-age males in a strike zone” – but there are numerous other revealing passages in this article meriting attention.
[On David Axelrod attending meetings at which kill decisions were made] In other words, the person in charge of Obama’s political fortunes attends the meetings where the Leader decrees who lives and dies. Just think about how warped that is, or what progressives would be saying if Karl Rove did that with George Bush….
They count someone as a “militant” — worthy of death — based purely on the happenstance of where they are and the proximity they’re in to someone else they suspect is a Bad Person. If such a person is killed by a U.S. missile, then, by definition, they are “militants,” not “civilians” — even if we don’t know the first thing about them, including their name.
That’s official Obama policy. It won’t even be reported on most MSNBC shows, and won’t even be acknowledged, let alone denounced, by the vast majority of Democrats, including progressives. That’s the Obama legacy.
Digby at Hullabaloo:
Back during the Bush administration we all used to make the argument that Bush and Cheney’s power grab was dangerous and we always asked, “imagine how you will feel if this power is in the hands of … Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama” to make our point.
It would appear to have had the opposite effect. Instead of teaching the lesson to the Republicans that unrestrained presidential power is bad, it’s taught the Democrats to love it too. And it hasn’t bought a single Republican vote.
This isn’t the first time that we’ve glimpsed the eagerness with which the president embraces his role as the decider…. I think the saddest part about all this is that the campaign is probably thrilled with this story. Even sadder, I’ve no doubt that most people are too.