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He likes to push that drone button

He likes to push that drone button

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.

 

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Comments

See the movie in October!

CatoRenasci | May 29, 2012 at 4:21 pm

This sounds like a bad combination of Vietnam “free fire zones” and LBJ’s micromanaging of the bombing campaign – all of the faults of both and none of the virtues.

Fits Obama god-complex profile.

“A person is never going to be “carried away” by their own rhetoric.”

OK, THAT is just high-larry-ous coming from a writer at Lake of Fiery Dog Crap.

They get carried away by their rhetoric every day.

“Instead of teaching the lesson to the Republicans that unrestrained presidential power is bad, it’s taught the Democrats to love it too.”

Except HERE, you are seeing reality in Obamic practice.

Before, you were locked in a delusional cocoon about Bush.

They said if I voted for John McCain for President that the President would stop sending terrorists to Gitmo and preside over a “Star Chamber” instead .. and they were right.

    Ragspierre in reply to Neo. | May 29, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    “More rubble…less trouble”.

    Cynical much…??? But it DOES make Bush look like a Solomon by comparison, don’t it…?

OldSoul7777 | May 29, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Thank you for articulating the obvious truths about the liberal press rationalizing LIES as a strength of the LIAR, belittling those of us who were foolish enough to believe the LIES and punctuating the fact that we have elected a monster with the reminder that the majority now tolerates murders committed by and acknowledged by the “Decider in Chief,” something that we would never have so tacitly accepted under any other administration. I am glad that someone has the clear vision to see these things and the courage to address them. There may yet be hope for this nation.

“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.”

This is what happens when liberals are carried away by their own rhetoric by willingly suspending their disbelief…

I say the same thing to Firedoglake what I have repeatedly said about Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan – SUCKERS! Was Obama ever against the War before he was for it? Some liberals have finally figured out that he never was. “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.” Alice in Wonderland To Obama, words mean nothing, they are rhetorical flourishes and just like Obama himself admitted he is the empty slate onto which you wrote your own hopes and dreams, he didn’t write them – you did. Obama can’t help that you assume too much and he didn’t promise, it’s your fault, it’s never his.

On November 6th, liberals would be better to stay home to let nature take it’s course so at least you could say (talking point) Obama lost because he failed to keep his promises and not because his promises failed. Just as the GOP rank and file punished the GOP in 2006 for their failures, so you can punish the Democrat Party in 2012.

Obama sighed, people died. (Yeah, it needs work)

Remember, way back when…

In the days of old…

When a U.S. President named George W. Bush would strike a high value target from the air, and claim his demise?

Only to find out days/weeks later that target was still alive and well?

Thank God those days have long passed..

In today’s America, we have Capt. Kickass at the helm-

And he never misses…

All deaths related to “death from above” are indeed high value terrorists…not one single innocent person has ever been harmed..EVAH!

I know this because the Washington Post and NYT tell me so.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | May 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm

I agree with the lefties…and a winged pig just flew by my window.

I understand that The Drone was Time magazine’s Man of the Year until The Protestor edged out said drone at the last minute. The White House was upset – calling the The Drone a hero (over Chris Hayes’ objections) and decided to give it a medal. Guests included major administration figures such as Obama’s teleprompter and blackberry.

It was a small surprise that his teleprompter was invited as Obama was upset that the teleprompter forced him to tell everyone he has sons when, of course, he has daughters. Green Energy was invited to the ceremony but it cost too much to get there.

Obama was very gracious, telling the drone “If I had a drone, I’d have a drone just like you.” Reporters from the New York Times covered the story but decided that, in the interests of national security, they would redact all mentions of the drone. Instead, they substituted it with a stock story of a soldier flushing a Koran down the toilet.

A good time was had by all.

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 what you get when Union leaders get more face time with the president than Military leaders…
“Let’s Take These Son of a Bitches Out”

Obama gets to play both sides of the fence. He looks tough on terrorism, while not having to account for the collateral damage. Nor does he worry about having to give any captured terrorists “rights” to our legal system. He avoids adding any new detainees to Club Gitmo, thus placating the left.
But it deprives our intelligence services the chance to interrogate captured high value terrorists. It was the use of these interrorgations started by Bush that led the US down the long road where we eventually found bin Ladin. What information are we missing now? How many of these dead terrorists could have led us to Zawahiri or Brother Omar? We’ll never know, will we?

    AmandaFitz in reply to mishka. | May 29, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    No matter what the MSM tries to do, they simply cannot make Obama look “studly”- he’s just too metrosexual and too filled with hubris and arrogance.

I believe that Obama believed he could fulfill his campaign pledges. He was, however, immensely naive, ideological, and inexperienced. It probably pained him greatly to have to maintain GITMO. But as much as he wants to “fundamentally transform” the country, he wants to be reelected even more. In this instance, at least, I am grateful that “Power corrupts…” His drive for power and the notional idea that he can do more “transforming” during a second term has required him to do something, however much it annoys him, to keep the country safe.

    OcTEApi in reply to nomadic100. | May 29, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    The guy is a total buffoon, all his rhetoric about 700 billion for oil to countries that don’t like us (we’re paying more because of his energy policies) that much while he failed to negotiate supply bases, costing us 500 million a year to countries who love to hold us over a barrel while Obama puts our troops at risk sticking to a reckless political pullout timetable… making all troops and equipment travel all the way to Kyrgyzstan and and other places Europe.

    No deep water port in Pakistan because they also want in on the taxpayer payday…
    I’d say look, open the damn port or we’ll clear-cut carpet bomb a 100 mile wide path from Afghanistan and take it by force.

The truth is he just found out about it and figures “Got another to spike”

What courage Dear Leader has! He’ll fight to the last drop of someone else’s blood!

2nd Ammendment Mother | May 29, 2012 at 8:02 pm

I know that psychology has moved a long way forward but I keep thinking back to when I was in college. It was thought that Serial Criminals were fixated on creating a specific experience in order to achieve a “power high”. Victims were targeted to fit a profile, physical description or a location that matched the fantasy. Escalation of the crime or the daring with which it was committed was an supposed to be an indicator that a “more” was needed to achieve the same “high” each time as well as the addictive nature of that “high”.

Along that line of thought back in those days – Super Mario was all the rage, but it was already being tossed about that exposure to fantasy violence desensitized people to committing actual violence and drug abuse was supposed to stunt the development of a moral compass.

So, if I were still sitting in a college psych class “back in the day” – I’m fairly sure that we’d have come up with a pretty scary diagnosis of a President who creates composite girlfriends and targets essentially faceless people on the other side of the globe with remote controlled rockets.

And I’m not even delving into his “re-invented identities” and enemies lists. Quite honestly, I’m a bit scared of going there.

    2nd Ammendment Mother in reply to 2nd Ammendment Mother. | May 29, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    FYI – I don’t necessarily “believe” those theories, but it sure does make interesting conversations during a long day of poll sitting.

They’re not against serving subpoenas. They’re not for serving subpoenas. They are pro-choice.

    n.n in reply to n.n. | May 29, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    In any case, either we believe in the action or we do not. If we do, then we should fully and unconditionally commit to its quick and successful resolution with the full resources and investment of the American people.

    Still, execution from afar does beat holding trials in civilian courts; “torture” of one, two, perhaps a few more of the enemy; and it saves us from suffering the embarrassment of a some wayward soldiers who act like asses.

    n.n in reply to n.n. | May 29, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    In any case, either we believe in the action or we do not. If we do, then we should fully and unconditionally commit to its quick and successful resolution with the full resources and investment of the American people.

    Still, execution from afar does beat holding trials in civilian courts; “torture” of one, two, perhaps a few more of the enemy; frequent incursions into supposedly allied nations; initiation of armed conflicts throughout the extended region; and it saves us from suffering the embarrassment of some wayward soldiers who act like asses; but, not, unfortunately, of our presumptive leader(s).

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. (p)But the revelations have many on the left wondering what monster they have created.

Which implies that the propaganda effort may not have the intended effect. Possibly this is another miscalculation by a political apparatus that, in the role of an omniscient opposition, could do nothing wrong in 2008.

NB: My remark above is restricted to the domestic political consequences. I have deliberately not touched on the grand-strategic, military, and ethical aspects.

He is so brave.

I honestly respect the few lefties who are at least genuinely anti-war, at least they have some kind of principles. They’ve never addressed the fundamental problems with the whole notion of being “anti-war”, but at least they didn’t just do a 180 because there was a new president in office.

The people who really have been completely shameless about this are the moderates and mainstream liberals, the rank and file. That really bothers me.

    Milhouse in reply to scooby509. | May 31, 2012 at 10:03 am

    They’re not anti-war, they’re on the other side; and they’re upset at 0bama because they thought he was too.

[…] Beers with Demos has a few thoughts on Obama’s  Secret Kill List. I guess he likes to kit the Drone Button (good one, Professor Jacobson). […]

BannedbytheGuardian | May 30, 2012 at 2:28 am

In reality he probably just signs the orders because they are put in front of him .Axelrod is there as Campaign Head to ensure he does not wipe out any donors.

Most things in life are banal.

However he always did say he would send missions across the Pokki border . recall that he does have links & sentiments for Pokki factions – whoever he aligned himself with during his student days & his visits to Pokki. These would not be the Taliban but could be the higher echelons or influential families.

On the other hand he might be getting revenge for some bad dahl picked up in wAziristan. Boy – nothing like baaad case of food poisoning to enact revenge.

Then again perhaps he went over to Pohhhhkkistan to join the Mujadheen & tey rejected him. They must have thought he was gay.

I really don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Don’t all Nobel Peace Prize Winners have a “Kill List”?

Overlooked is Obama micro=managing the military EXACTLY as LBJ and McNamara did in Vietnam.

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