I’m going to make this short and sweet because I don’t want to spend more time on this then I have to.
If you think both President Obama and Mitt Romney should not have the right to kill people believed to be involved with terrorism without due process, then I agree with you.
If you are comfortable with both Obama and Romney having these powers, I strongly disagree with you but I admire your consistency.
If you are fine with Obama having these powers but scared shitless about Romney having them, then you have absolutely no idea about how precedent setting works and you are, to use John Rogers elegant phrase, a Tribalist Sheep.
Let me lay down the bullet points.
-Yes I am still voting for Obama in November. Because I have made the calculation that he would do a better job running things then Romney. (A belief confirmed by Scahill saying that one of Romney’s Foreign Policy advisors is Cofer Black who may have helped lead many of Bush’s most notorious policies including Rendition of suspects to CIA black sites.)
-No, I do not approve of the Drone program because I’m one of those odd ducks who still believes in Due Process. Plus I am not crazy about civilians getting killed because a) moral reasons and b) survivors who decide to strap on a vest of C4 to extract revenge. (The word of the day is “Blowback”.)
-It is one thing disagree with Mr. Scahill. it is entirely another to tell him to shut up.(Which constituted the bulk of the tweets I saw.) You know who told people to shut up? The Right during the run up to the Iraq War. And I’d like to think that we are better at making an argument then The Right. If you want to defend the Drone Program? Defend it! Make a valid argument. Just remember that putting your fingers in your ears and going “La, La, La. Obama is Awesome” does not constitute a valid argument.
-I do disagree with Mr. Scahill calling the references to Osama Bin Laden’s death at the DNC inappropriate. For years, The Republicans have been claiming that the Democrats have been weak on defense and National Security and taking OBL out of the game offers a strong counter narrative. (There is, of course, the counter argument that could be made that we shouldn’t measure our Foreign Policy successes by the number of bad guys killed but that is another blog post for another day.)
I know a lot of you feel protective of Obama. And it’s understandable. The man’s been attacked for more petty and stupid reasons than probably any other elected official in modern times. (Hell, they just uncovered a assassination plot a couple of weeks ago from inside an army base.) But that shouldn’t mean he should get a free pass when he’s wrong. Hell, if anything, it puts on us a greater responsibility to let him know when he’s screwing up. Hell, most of the people I work with like me. But I’m sure if I started doing something stupid like randomly punching customers in the stomach, they would have to call me out on this.
There is personality and then there is policy. We should not allow the latter to go to hell out of affection for the former.