Third Party & Independents Archives

Did President Obama Really Just Say That?

Because of personal reasons I have been very out of politics lately. So while taking a small break I noticed reference to a quote from President Obama that nearly made me choke, worse than his admonishment of President Bush about attacking another country without getting congressional approval before doing just that. At least then, he could claim that ‘things changed for me when I got into office’, which of course he didn’t do. But when he makes the statement “There’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders” without the slightest bit of irony or recognition of what his administration has done to other countries, such as the nearly constant drone attacks against Pakistan and Yemen, one has to wonder just how much doublespeak he can get away with. A lot apparently…

I think that the left, after spending so much energy defending President Obama to get him re-elected are starting to realize just what they have wrought. Not many, I grant you, but there are a few. For example Cornel West in a recent interview:

During an interview last week with Democracy Now, author and activist Cornel West offered harsh criticism of President Barack Obama, calling him a "Rockefeller Republican in blackface" and not someone who is actually looking out for the best interests of the impoverished. The prominent social critic also lashed out at black MSNBC personalities, accusing them of "selling their souls" in support of a president who has been anything but progressive.

"I think that it's morally obscene and spiritually profane to spend $6 billion on an election, $2 billion on a presidential election, and not have any serious discussion," West lamented to host Amy Goodman. "Poverty, trade unions being pushed against the wall dealing with stagnating and declining wages when profits are still up and the 1 percent are doing very well, no talk about drones dropping bombs on innocent people," he continued.

Then there is Maureen Dowd wrote recently

Last time, Obama lifted up the base with his message of hope and change; this time the base lifted up Obama, with the hope he will change. He has not led the Obama army to leverage power, so now the army is leading Obama.

When the first African-American president was elected, his supporters expected dramatic changes. But Obama feared that he was such a huge change for the country to digest, it was better if other things remained status quo. Michelle played Laura Petrie, and the president was dawdling on promises. Having Joe Biden blurt out his support for gay marriage forced Obama's hand.

The president's record-high rate of deporting illegal immigrants infuriated Latinos. Now, on issues from loosening immigration laws to taxing the rich to gay rights to climate change to legalizing pot, the country has leapt ahead, pulling the sometimes listless and ruminating president by the hand, urging him to hurry up...

Ed Krayewski suggests that perhaps some of the left are starting to get a bit tired of hearing the promises but seeing little actual action, tired of seeing the actions and words of the president not matching up enough times to start speaking out. And perhaps this will help the truth of the Obama administration come to light, not the marketing defense that the left usually works hard to protect their party.

Nevertheless, Obama's campaign of drone warfare, as well as his assault on civil liberties, are very real problems, and ones the left has traditionally been at the forefront of condemning. Not so in the age of Obama, where the left-wing critique of American empire has turned into unconditional apologism for that empire, a transformation hinging almost solely on the color of the skin of the man at the head of that empire. Obama apologists may decide to continue on their path. There's no more re-election to secure, but the work to secure Obama's legacy is just beginning. Those people should be careful. Legacies are a tricky thing. By the time his term is over, Obama's apologists may have secured a legacy of their own, as intellectually dishonest and unabashed defenders of a flawed presidency that was always an end in and of itself. After all, what was the Obama campaign about, other than the man himself and the othering of his political opponents?

In the end, though, those of us who are not blinded by partisan politics have seen the truth of the hypocrisy of the right and left over the past 12 years that neither party gets a pass anymore. Even if the left do finally come out and give the president the lashing he deserves, it will be far too late to undo the damage that he has done to the country and the world. It is all on their heads for defending the indefensible, especially when they excoriated a past president for lesser offenses.

Posted by Rhinehold at November 24, 2012 6:25 PM
Comments
Comment #357676

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/statewide/archive/2012/07/congress-questions-domestic-use-of-drones.shtml

Drones signify a new technology looking for its place in the sun. Analogous to a patrolman and his car, but airborne and more hi=tech. There can be no doubt that the gov’ts where drones are carrying out kill missions give their tacit approval for their use or it wouldn’t be happening. Were it not so the offended gov’t could sue the socks off the US. Note that while the drones ‘observed’ in Benghazi, they didn’t attack. I would suggest that’s because there is no approval (yet) for drone missions by the Libyan gov’t.

This latest Israeli dust-up gave us some good insight as to drone capability. Had Hamas heads digging holes in the desert. They weren’t safe above ground, even at night.

For national use I can’t see them being used to kill druggies are any bad guys for that matter. The US taxpayer won’t stand for the collateral damage in materials and bodies. But, they would be a powerful surveillance tool for tracking suspected bad guys. Is it any different than taking the eyes and ears of a police officer and making him airborne?

As with any other facet of life in this country it comes down to regulation and how well it is implemented and enforced, IMO.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 24, 2012 8:38 PM
Comment #357677

Roy, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen have NOT given their approval for drone attacks in their country, and drones were used in Libya to help overthrow that government (unconstitutionally) as well.

Glenn Greenwald makes a good point when he says that Americans just don’t know what is going on, your post proves it. Here is some of the reporting he has done on the issue over the last eight years…

http://www.salon.com/2011/11/05/the_drone_mentality/

As it turns out, it isn’t only the President’s drone-cheering supporters who have no idea who is being killed by the program they support; neither does the CIA itself. A Wall Street Journal article yesterday described internal dissension in the administration to Obama’s broad standards for when drone strikes are permitted, and noted that the “bulk” of the drone attacks — the bulk of them – “target groups of men believed to be militants associated with terrorist groups, but whose identities aren’t always known.” As Spencer Ackerman put it: “The CIA is now killing people without knowing who they are, on suspicion of association with terrorist groups”; moreover, the administration refuses to describe what it even means by being “associated” with a Terrorist group (indeed, it steadfastly refuses to tell citizens anything about the legal principles governing its covert drone wars).

Of course, nobody inside the U.S. Government is objecting on the ground that it is wrong to blow people up without having any knowledge of who they are and without any evidence they have done anything wrong. Rather, the internal dissent is grounded in the concern that these drone attacks undermine U.S. objectives by increasing anti-American sentiment in the region (there’s that primitive, inscrutable Muslim culture rearing its head again: they strangely seem to get very angry when foreign governments send sky robots over their countries and blow up their neighbors, teenagers and children). But whatever else is true, huge numbers of Americans — Democrats and Republicans alike — defend Obama’s massive escalation of drone attacks on the ground that he’s killing Terrorists even though they — and, according to the Wall Street Journal, Obama himself — usually don’t even know whose lives they’re snuffing out. Remember, though: we have to kill The Muslim Terrorists because they have no regard for human life.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/25/study-obama-drone-deaths

Whilte noting that it is difficult to obtain precise information on the number of civilian deaths “because of US efforts to shield the drone program from democratic accountability”, the report nonetheless concludes: “while civilian casualties are rarely acknowledged by the US government, there is significant evidence that US drone strikes have injured and killed civilians.”

But beyond body counts, there’s the fact that “US drone strike policies cause considerable and under-accounted for harm to the daily lives of ordinary civilians, beyond death and physical injury”

In other words, the people in the areas targeted by Obama’s drone campaign are being systematically terrorized. There’s just no other word for it. It is a campaign of terror - highly effective terror - regardless of what noble progressive sentiments one wishes to believe reside in the heart of the leader ordering it. And that’s precisely why the report, to its great credit, uses that term to describe the Obama policy: the drone campaign “terrorizes men, women, and children”.

Along the same lines, note that the report confirms what had already been previously documented: the Obama campaign’s despicable (and likely criminal) targeting of rescuers who arrive to provide aid to the victims of the original strike. Noting that even funerals of drone victims have been targeted under Obama, the report documents that the US has “made family members afraid to attend funerals”. The result of this tactic is as predictable as it is heinous:

http://www.salon.com/2012/02/05/u_s_drones_targeting_rescuers_and_mourners/

In a just-released, richly documented report, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, on behalf of the Sunday Times, documents that this is exactly what the U.S. is doing — and worse:

The CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan has killed dozens of civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or were attending funerals, an investigation by the Bureau for the Sunday Times has revealed.

The findings are published just days after President Obama claimed that the drone campaign in Pakistan was a “targeted, focused effort” that “has not caused a huge number of civilian casualties”… .

A three month investigation including eye witness reports has found evidence that at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims. More than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. The tactics have been condemned by leading legal experts.

Although the drone attacks were started under the Bush administration in 2004, they have been stepped up enormously under Obama.

There have been 260 attacks by unmanned Predators or Reapers in Pakistan by Obama’s administration – averaging one every four days.

http://www.salon.com/2012/04/26/obama_escalates_in_yemen/

The United States has begun launching drone strikes against suspected al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen under new authority approved by President Obama that allows the CIA and the military to fire even when the identity of those who could be killed is not known, U.S. officials said… .

The decision to give the CIA and the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) greater leeway is almost certain to escalate a drone campaign that has accelerated significantly this year, with at least nine strikes in under four months. The number is about equal to the sum of airstrikes all last year… .

Congressional officials have expressed concern that using signature strikes would raise the likelihood of killing militants who are not involved in plots against the United States, angering Yemeni tribes and potentially creating a new crop of al-Qaeda recruits…

Gregory Johnsen, a Yemen expert at Princeton University, has questioned … the wisdom of the expanded drone operations… . ”I would argue that U.S. missile strike[s] are actually one of the major — not the only, but a major — factor in AQAP’s growing strength.”

So here’s yet another war that Obama is escalating, now ordering people’s death with greater degrees of recklessness, now without even bothering to know who is being targeted. Although Miller doesn’t bother to mention the likelihood of more deaths of innocent Yemenis, this is the same policy that has caused large numbers of civilian deaths in Pakistan

http://www.salon.com/2011/12/28/snapshots_of_washingtons_essence

Senior Democrats barely blink at the idea that a president from their party has assembled such a highly efficient machine for the targeted killing of suspected terrorists. It is a measure of the extent to which the drone campaign has become an awkward open secret in Washington that even those inclined to express misgivings can only allude to a program that, officially, they are not allowed to discuss.

In sum: the President can kill whomever he wants anywhere in the world (including U.S. citizens) without a shred of check or oversight, and has massively escalated these killings since taking office (at the time of Obama’s inauguration, the U.S. used drone attacks in only one country (Pakistan); under Obama, these attacks have occurred in at least six Muslim countries). Because it’s a Democrat (rather than big, bad George W. Bush) doing this, virtually no members of that Party utter a peep of objection (a few are willing to express only the most tepid, abstract “concerns” about the possibility of future abuse). And even though these systematic, covert killings are widely known and discussed in newspapers all over the world — particularly in the places where they continue to extinguish the lives of innocent people by the dozens, including children — Obama designates even the existence of the program a secret, which means our democratic representatives and all of official Washington are barred by the force of law from commenting on it or even acknowledging that a CIA drone program exists (a prohibition enforced by an administration that has prosecuted leaks it dislikes more harshly than any other prior administration).

This cannot be defended. Yet, the left does it all of the time, even Roy ‘explains it away’ to say that ‘well, we must be doing it legally’. Really? Since when has the US, since Obama has taken over as president, ever been concerned about doing anything LEGALLY?

As with any other facet of life in this country it comes down to regulation and how well it is implemented and enforced, IMO.

So, the 4th amendment of the constitution is meaningless to you, we can just do what we want as long as it is ‘regulated, implemented and enforced well’? I didn’t realize you were a progressive, Roy…

Tell me, after reading the above, how ‘well’ do you think the unregulated war against brown people that the president is waging is being implemented ‘well’?

Hell, why not just have the police set up cameras in our houses, catch anyone breaking in on film and they can send police out quicker, right?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 24, 2012 9:03 PM
Comment #357680

Candidates say lots of things. When they get better informed and have to make real decisions, they tend to come around to a more sophisticated way of thinking. There just are not that many options available for dealing with dangerous bad guys.

It is true that our left wing friends would be hysterical if a Republican was doing exactly what Obama is doing. One of the advantages of having a guy like Obama in the WH is that it silences lots of the critics.

Cornell West and Maureen Dowd are not people whose opinions I respect. I give them credit for attacking Obama as they attacked Bush, but they are still wrong both times.

Re drones - I think we need to calibrate the policy, but like President Obama I recognize the un-PC truth that some people just need killing.

Posted by: C&J at November 24, 2012 10:07 PM
Comment #357681

The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists passed both houses of Congress and September 14 2001, and gives the president permission to take various actions. In addition, Congress funded the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.

Strikes occurring in other countries generally involve tacit if not overt approval by the governments involved. The strike to get Osama bin Laden was extraordinary because it was carried out without the cooperation of the Pakistani government. Before he became president, Obama said he would do it if given the chance. At the time, Republicans like Romney denounced the idea. When the opportunity came, Obama went for it, and plopped Osama’s body in the drink.

These cases are utterly different from the strikes being carried out by aggressors in Gaza. They are launching random missiles at civilian population centers in another country. Hamas either cannot or will not stop them. Israel is completely within its rights to launch attacks, and the US is right to support Israel’s right to self-defense.

I’m generally very critical of Israeli actions in regards to the Palestinians, but in this case, Israel is well within its rights.

By the way, Rhinehold, you missed the results in regard to pollsters during the recent election. We discussed it at length, and I was absolutely, 100% right in my assessments. The least accurate pollsters were Rasmussen and Gallup. The most accurate poll was PPP, the Daily Kos poll. Next was PPP/SEIU.

Truly, reality has a liberal bias.

Posted by: phx8 at November 24, 2012 10:08 PM
Comment #357683
Strikes occurring in other countries generally involve tacit if not overt approval by the governments involved.

Really, you’ll have to show me where Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan are ‘tacitly’ approving these strikes. The strike to get bin Laden was not the only drone strike in Pakistan, far from it. I can tell you didn’t bother to read any of the linked articles.

Try this one on, the comparison to what is going on in these countries is akin to Nixon and Cambodia…

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/04/opinion/in-pakistan-drones-kill-our-innocent-allies.html?_r=2&src=tp

The story is personal and moving. And damning

These cases are utterly different from the strikes being carried out by aggressors in Gaza. They are launching random missiles at civilian population centers in another country.

I see you also ‘deflect away’ from the fact that we are attacking innocents and then firing back into the crowd afterwards while they are trying to save the wounded and care for the dead. This is a tactic that we despise the terrorists for, yet we are using it now. What does that make us? What does that make President Obama other than another bin Laden, only on our side?

BTW, you ‘understanding’ of the terrorist act is understandably flawed.

That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons

No one they are shooting at now had anything to do with 9/11 or harbored and aided those persons or groups.

Oh, and you also don’t mention this part of the ‘act’.

Nothing in this resolution supersedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.

Where is the ‘immenent threat’?

Seriously, phx8, your defense of the indefensible, especially after your attacks on Bush for far less, is worthless.

When the left says that we brought 9/11 and other terrorists attacks on ourselves for the way we conducted ourselves in the middle east for so long, THIS IS what they are talking about. And it was one of their own, defended by those who claim to be against such actions, that authorized it.

There is no difference here, other than we see ourselves as the ‘good guys’ and the brown people we kill without thought as the ‘bad guys’.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 24, 2012 10:36 PM
Comment #357684

http://english.irib.ir/news/political4/item/101078-angry-yemeni-civilians-call-on-us-to-stop-drone-attacks

http://projects.propublica.org/graphics/cia-drones-strikes

Often hard to know who or what to believe in these situations Rhinehold. However, even I have enuff faith in the duopoly that they wouldn’t go off an bomb some countries citizens without something in writing by the host gov’t. Now, with Afghanistan the strikes might be conducted under some vague military agreement and the military may be taking some license in carrying out Taliban raids.

I just won’t believe we are carrying out strikes on foreign soil w/o approval by some authority within that gov’t. It ain’t happening.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 24, 2012 10:40 PM
Comment #357685
Re drones - I think we need to calibrate the policy, but like President Obama I recognize the un-PC truth that some people just need killing.

Perhaps, but killing begets killing, we should have learned that by now but we haven’t.

And we should do it within the rule of law, foreign sovereignty and some level of oversight. Giving the president the power to kill anyone, US Citizen or not, whenever he wants to for whatever reason he wants to without regard for the loss of innocent life is NOT acceptable, no matter who is suggesting it be done or defending it.

C&J, when terrorists in Iraq were firing missile attacks at US and civilian targets and then shooting again as emergency workers showed up to help those harmed in the attacks, did you say it was a ‘wise prudent move’? OR was it an inhumane action? Yet we do the same thing and you defend it?

I think I just have to come to the conclusion that I just have no place in the world anymore, thinking that freedom, human rights and peace have any respect by anyone… This country sure hasn’t been the practitioner of any of those virtues for decades. I think it’s time to go off quietly and try to just live out the rest of my life in silence and defeat.

The authoritarians have won.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 24, 2012 10:45 PM
Comment #357686

I have to say that I have found evidence that Yemen has given approval of the strikes, but Pakistan and Somalia (and Libya at the time) did not.

Further, the attacks are not only unconstitutional (they still violate the war powers act and are a violation of the terrorist act that phx8 tries to use for their defense) but are making more terrorists, not less. Just as the quote from President Obama has pointed out.

http://www.campaignforliberty.org/national-blog/legal-and-moral-dilemmas-of-drone-strikes-in-a-free-society/

The drone program is immensely unpopular in all of the countries where strikes are occurring. In Yemen, protests due to perceived hypocrisy in the Yemeni Government in part due to their involvement with the U.S drone strike program threaten the stability of the state itself.
Posted by: Rhinehold at November 24, 2012 11:03 PM
Comment #357688

Rhinehold, were the Cubans or some foreign country lobbying bombs into the US I would think the people would take their complaint to the US gov’t rather than complaining to Cuba, etc.

Some of these places, like Pakistan, have 10 or 15 ‘heads of state’ or some supposed authority. In Pakistan some are on board, some aren’t.

I feel yer pain Rhinehold. Don’t think for a minute I approve of our foreign wars. I’m well aware the Iraqi thing was for oil contracts. I wheedled, begged and pleaded to do no more nation building after Vietnam.

I’m for securing our borders, checking their papers when they come in, etc. Less about chasing the taliban around in the high places.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 24, 2012 11:23 PM
Comment #357690

Rhinehold !!!!!

Welcome back! I have missed you ! I do hope that your personal problems are being held at bay. I don’t know if you’ve been keeping up with the various discussions prior to the elections or not. I hope so. We had some rather lively debates going on.

Now as far as Obama and the missile/drones I sort of figure things this way. We never should have been in Iraq, but good ole GWB pushed us there, so Obama had to finish what the Republican started. Our problem was and still is the Saudi Arabians who were and are being trained by Al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan, and now Pakistan.

Secondly, after Pakistan knowingly harbored a fugitive I have a hard time feeling sorry for them. I don’t blame the citizens for what their government did, but they too can try to change their government if they don’t approve, and from what I’ve seen, no one is really trying to do that.

Thirdly, they are also providing training camps for future Al-Qaeda and Taliban attacks on the US. We all have known this for some time. So frankly if we manage to slow down some of their future plans, it won’t really bother me too much.

As far as Libya goes,if one wants compare donuts to donuts, look at what is happening in Syria today. Had we not heeded the call for help from the rebels in Libya, they would still be at war with General two-face. It seems to me he condoned the bombing of a jet liner over Scotland some time ago…

Frankly if the WH can figure out who the rebels are in Syria and decide to support them, it wouldn’t really bother me there either. Maybe we should send drones over Syria.

Having survived the Vietnam >strong>WAR (not a police action in my humble opinion, but a full fledge WAR), the Israel 7 day war, the war between Palestine and Israel, Cambodia and Vietnam, the break-up of the Soviet Union, and the OH JEEZ - it fallen from my mind, (the one where that was located near the former Yugoslavia), … Bosnia! There are simply too many WARS to remember any more. And frankly I’m just plain sick of them.

I’ve lived my entire life waiting for the Middle East to blast itself to pieces , and I guess I’m just tired of hearing about it day after day - for over 55 years!

To be perfectly honest, I never realized how strongly I actually felt about this topic, until I started writing!

I’ve never truly thought of myself as a liberal or conservative, but somewhere in between, a sort of Robocrate or Demarublician. I am sick of all this mess going on in the Middle East. Sometimes I just wish we could just let the Middle East implode on itself, and just wait until the dust settles. I know that would be an awful thong to happen - ….or would it?

Just my opinion - as confused as it maybe…

Posted by: Highlandangel1 at November 25, 2012 1:28 AM
Comment #357691

Rhinehold,
You’re making more than one argument against the Obama administration’s fight against terrorism.

The targeting of terrorists in places like Yemen, Somalia, the Northwestern Province of Pakistan, and elsewhere is not a ‘hearts and minds’ operation. National governments are virtually non-existent in those places. There are no U.S. boots on the ground in those places, no occupying American soldiers, and no enemies wearing uniforms. Almost by definition, every strike kills civilians, because it is not a formal military that we face in the first place. This is an air war using drones, a form of limited warfare combining tech & HUMINT seeking to take out enemies of the United States. We’ve found a way to counter asymmetrical warfare in a way that minimizes US casualties. I believe Roger Waters wrote a song about it: “The Bravery of Being Out of Range.”

Congress has the power to withdraw funding if it feels its powers have been usurped. Obviously they have not done so, and the two acts I’ve cited remain in effect.

If you’re looking for a 19th century approach to foreign policy and a formal declaration of war, well, that ain’t gonna happen. This is an area where the Constitution simply doesn’t work. Countries do not formally declare war anymore.

So no, I’m not critical of the Obama administration for its policies targeting enemies. It’s certainly not perfect, but it is good enough. And yes, it needs to be continually questioned by the electorate. Nothing wrong with that.

Posted by: phx8 at November 25, 2012 2:02 AM
Comment #357692

Rhinehold,

I am so pissed I cannot concentrate on your post or the responses to it.

I am so pissed at the attitude of the people around me who have decided they are justified in acting the way they do because of this election. They believe they are in charge now. They do not care what anyone else thinks.

I am so pissed that my friends would rather be dragged away from me in the middle of a conversation than to listen to anything I have to say. It doesn’t matter what the content of the discussion is, the fact that they are talking to me is too much for them to tolerate.

There is no option. There is no discussion. There is no compromise. The Obama voter considers this election as being “There way or the Highway!” Didn’t Obama refer to that as well? “I won!”; he said! Isn’t that the tone he set in his first election? Now, his children are saying; “HE WON! DEAL WITH IT!”.

I’m too old to fight this war, yet I feel responsible for allowing it to start. I should have continued my fight against my local government in 1992 but I didn’t. I felt like a bee bumping on the glass of the government’s window. I ended up being another bug on the government’s windshield.


Now, people I have invested in for the last 5 years consider me a faucet they can turn on and off at their choosing. The grandmother of these children I have invested in, ages 5 & 4, spent every day of their lives with me when it was convient for her. Now, their mother willinglly accepts my generocity because her children love me and want to spend time with me, but will ignore me in public and allows her friends to drag her away from me when I do get to talk to her.

My only option is to refuse to be a fountain that provides her 4 and 5 year old children with the joy and bounty they receive from my benevolence.

I will not go to their mother and grandmother and say I no longer want to provide the benefits of pizza hut on the weekend, or pencils and crayons and paper they receive on their birthday, or the card and 5$ bill their mother gets on her birthday.

I’m going straight to the 4 year old and the 5 year old and I am going to tell them their mother doesn’t want me to be a part of their lives. I’m going to tell them that they can go to pizza hut without me. I’m going to make sure, while they’re crying, that they won’t see me again. I’m going to tell them I’m can’t afford to pay for them while their mother and their grandmother ignore me when they aren’t around.

Do you think that will work, Rhinehold?

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 25, 2012 2:52 AM
Comment #357693
I just won’t believe we are carrying out strikes on foreign soil w/o approval by some authority within that gov’t. It ain’t happening.

You aren’t reading what is written then… I’ll requote:

“What has been the whole outcome of these drone attacks is that you have directly or indirectly contributed to destabilising or undermining the democratic government. Because people really make fun of the democratic government – when you pass a resolution against drone attacks in the parliament and nothing happens. The Americans don’t listen to you, and they continue to violate your territory,” he said.

But he accepts that Pakistan has little power to stop the strikes other than through public opinion: “We cannot take on the only superpower, which is all-powerful in the world at the moment. You can’t take them on. We are a small country, we are ill-equipped.”

The reason, says Hasan, is that anti-US sentiment is reaching dangerously high levels. “Even those who were supporting us in the border areas have now become our enemies. They say that we are partners in these crimes against the people. By and large you will hardly find anybody who will say a word in support of the United States, because of these drone attacks.”

The issue, he insists, is the continued violation of Pakistan’s national sovereignty by US drones. “This is a violation of the UN charter, it is a clear violation of our territorial sovereignty and national integrity. These drone violations have been taking place since 2004. And the attacks have killed 2,500 to 3,000 people,” he said.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/03/cia-drone-strikes-violate-pakistan

It is happening, it is illegal, we are killing innocent civilians because we don’t want to ‘get our hands dirty’ on faulty intelligence. This administration wouldn’t even ADMIT that we were carrying out these drone attacks in Pakistan until last year.

You can keep your head in the sand all you want, it doesn’t change the FACTS.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2012 4:47 AM
Comment #357694
Welcome back! I have missed you ! I do hope that your personal problems are being held at bay.

Thank you, though I’m not sure how much I am back… In October my wife was diagnosed with a rare type of ovarian cancer, unfortunately identified as stage four. The next six months are going to be tough for us and I doubt I will be around very much while we fight through this.

Congress has the power to withdraw funding if it feels its powers have been usurped. Obviously they have not done so, and the two acts I’ve cited remain in effect.

Yes, because the Democrats in office are not going to go against this administration and the Republicans want this power for the next Republican president. I can just imagine the outrage from the left when the next Republican president does the same thing, even though their (and your) silence of the abuses of this administration are what has given them the power.

Apparently, as I have pointed out many times, Democrat wars are ok, Republican wars are bad.

Such blatant hypocrisy is how the authoritarians and terrorists have killed the American ideal.

BTW, I’ve pointed out how the two acts you mention do not authorize these attacks, but you want to support the president’s policies so much that you are willing to destroy everything this country was founded upon. Nothing new for progressives, I admit, but the hypocrisy is loathsome.

This is an area where the Constitution simply doesn’t work.

Then either change the constitution as designed through amendment OR admit that the constitution is, as Bush stated, a worthless piece of paper. If we aren’t going to follow it, why do we have it again? There is almost no guaranteed protections in it still in place, thanks to this administration, so why bother with it at all?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2012 4:55 AM
Comment #357695

Don’t say that, Rhinehold. Don’t encourage them.

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 25, 2012 5:02 AM
Comment #357696

They will eventually use your own words against you, Rhinehold!

Give them time, as you are, by making those types of comments, and they wil use them against you.

They know how to manipulate the public. They have been doing it for a thousand years. Not two-hundred years, Rhinehold, a thousand years!

Do you think a 2 party system is open to the suggestions a free society is capable of making? Why are we kidding ourselves into thinking a Democratic Party or a Republican Party is the only course we should choose? Why does growing a family garden need a party to control it?

None of this makes sense to me and that is why I am pissed. I’m not pissed because a black guy is impersonating a president or a white guy is buying all the property he can afford.

I’m pissed because I’m being ignored.

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 25, 2012 5:18 AM
Comment #357700

My father was in the service for twenty years. I grew up living in military housing. I remember him telling me early on that there was no such thing as a “fair fight” when it came to war. He said that we should use everything at our disposal to cut the loss of life and end a conflict as soon as possible. Since bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki when have we followed these guidelines?

When we think of devastating weapons are we squeamish about the thought of killing the innocents? The old, the infirmed, women and children? We should be, but at what expense?

If combatants are hiding behind women and children, do we just continue to offer up our sons and daughters as sacrificial lambs day after day, year after year? Do we continue to spend billions in aid to these countries when we are wallowing in debt; when we know that their corrupt leaders are stealing it from us; when they take it and spit on us when our backs are turned?

Consider what President Truman faced when he made the decision to use the hydrogen bomb. He knew that the Japanese were barbarians when it came to the treatment of war prisoners; he knew that they were raping and slaughtering the Chinese; he knew that their pilots and soldiers were being formed into suicide squads; and he knew that hundreds of thousands more U.S. servicemen could die if the war continued on its current course…. an invasion of the Japanese mainland.

What a gutsy decision he made. Was it immoral for him to decide to kill the “innocents”? Is it OK to view these deaths as “sacrificial” since it got the attention of the Japanese and quickly ended the war? I think he made the right decision, and I think most American’s do, especially those of my parent’s generation who lived through it.

This being said, why since then have we asked our service men and women to enter battle with one armed tied behind their backs? Why do we hold back? Why do we let things drag on and on while the barbarians hang American corpses from bridges, hide in mud huts among the women and children, and strap explosives to their bodies and sneak into U.S. compounds? What would Harry S. Truman have done? What would he do?

I think that I know the answer. I think you do, too.

Based on the weapons we now posses, I would suggest that he might let the entire world know that we are gathering up our troops and moving them back home – not only from Iraq and Afghanistan, but also from South Korea, Germany, Italy, Japan and other spots around the globe. How much money would this save us each year that could go toward servicing debt? How many troops would this free up to aid in securing our borders?

Next, I think he might immediately pump more money into clandestine intelligence activities, and continue to use satellites with cameras, drones with rockets, and U.S. Special Forces to wipe out known enemies.

Do we need “boots on the ground” to play Big Brother, to teach them to think like we do, build their roads and schools, allow their corrupt leaders to siphon our aid dollars into foreign bank accounts, and learn to like us?
Hundreds of years of history in the region tells us that this just doesn’t work, yet we are going to continue to offer up our young to prove that we can do it? In earlier wars, we have shown this sort of magnanimity only after an enemy’s surrender.

I think a Truman like President might let the Pakistani’s know that their help in fighting Al Qaeda has been unacceptable and serve them notice that any continued coddling of terrorist groups bent on injury to America or Americans will bring swift action through the use of both conventional and unconventional weapons, as well as trade and financial embargos.

The key to the success of threats of this nature are, of course, based on following through on them if they are not heeded.

We, for instance, have two dogs. Good dogs, but headstrong dogs. They do as I command because early-on, when they didn’t, I swatted them across the rump or gave their leash a good yank. They knew they would be scolded for not heeding my instructions.

My wife, on the other hand, can issue the same sharp commands, but they just glance back at her and go about their business. The difference is that she has never laid a hand on them or made them pay for ignoring her. She is all bark and no bite.

That’s how many around the world now view us. The U.S. will only take the retribution so far. If we bomb your embassy and run and hide in the middle of our woman and children, you will holster your weapon. They become emboldened. Others see the rat kicking the cat’s ass and want to join the fun.

I think a Truman would announce to the world that the next time this happens, and havens for the guilty are pinpointed, that city blocks or entire mountain passes are going to be obliterated, along with every living thing in close proximity. It would only take one action of this nature for the terrorists’ world to change immensely. Hiding places, and those willing to harbor someone on the run, would be much harder to find.

Would this be immoral? I don’t think so. Not if it kept my grandson from having to go and fight an ignorant, brain-washed enemy, with weapon shouldered, while blindfolded and hog tied. It just doesn’t make any sense.

Posted by: John Johnson at November 25, 2012 9:17 AM
Comment #357703

Rhinhold

You can make the argument w/o the racial red herring “There is no difference here, other than we see ourselves as the ‘good guys’ and the brown people we kill without thought as the ‘bad guys’.”

It happens that lots of the current bad guys live in these particular places. I recall that we had a big conflict with the Russians, most of whom are paler than most of us and we helped wipe out the German terrorists in the 1970s and 1980, and they were all people of white.

We repeat that racist pablum so often that some people think it is true. We have to just stop.

BTW - in the Middle East has a very diverse population. I was a little surprised to see the significant numbers of blond or red haired people in Iraq and many Afghans would be considered people of white if they came to our country.

Re attacking rescue workers - the U.S. does not target rescue worker or funerals. The bad guys often claim this kind of thing. You hear reports of attacks on “wedding parties” that seem to take place in distant mountains at the middle of the night. The terrorist themselves try to locate among civilians in the hopes of creating the maximum number of deaths. They give realistic looking toy weapons to children in hopes of getting them killed. They work with mentally challenged people to get them to walk into lines of fire. Don’t believe all you read from these “investigative journalists”.

It is very unfortunate when innocent people are hurt or killed. Terrorist specifically target them AND put them in harms way whenever possible. We do not. President Obama does not.

I would like to wash our hands of the whole bloody mess. I dislike the Middle East and I don’t see much hope for it in my lifetime. But we cannot ignore it. It comes after us. If there is going to be a violence, I prefer it there rather than here.

Posted by: C&J at November 25, 2012 11:14 AM
Comment #357704

C&J, then we are no better than those people we see as our enemies. Just admit it and move on.

As for the targetting of rescue workers, what will it take for you to believe that sort of thing? We already know this administration nied about bombing in Pakistan for years, lied about any collateral damage happening at all and lied about only acting on good intelligence. You think this is the one thing they would tell the truth about?

Glenn Greenwald is not just some hack you know…

http://www.salon.com/2012/02/05/u_s_drones_targeting_rescuers_and_mourners/

On December 30 of last year, ABC News reported on a 16-year-old Pakistani boy, Tariq Khan, who was killed with his 12-year-old cousin when a car in which he was riding was hit with a missile fired by a U.S. drone. As I noted at the time, the report contained this extraordinary passage buried in the middle:

Asked for documentation of Tariq and Waheed’s deaths, Akbar did not provide pictures of the missile strike scene. Virtually none exist, since drones often target people who show up at the scene of an attack.

What made that sentence so amazing was that it basically amounts to a report that the U.S. first kills people with drones, then fires on the rescuers and others who arrive at the scene where the new corpses and injured victims lie.

In a just-released, richly documented report, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, on behalf of the Sunday Times, documents that this is exactly what the U.S. is doing — and worse:

The CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan has killed dozens of civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or were attending funerals, an investigation by the Bureau for the Sunday Times has revealed.

The findings are published just days after President Obama claimed that the drone campaign in Pakistan was a “targeted, focused effort” that “has not caused a huge number of civilian casualties”… .

A three month investigation including eye witness reports has found evidence that at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims. More than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. The tactics have been condemned by leading legal experts.

Although the drone attacks were started under the Bush administration in 2004, they have been stepped up enormously under Obama.

There have been 260 attacks by unmanned Predators or Reapers in Pakistan by Obama’s administration – averaging one every four days.

As I indicated, there have been scattered, mostly buried indications in the American media that drones have been targeting and killing rescuers. As the Bureau put it: “Between May 2009 and June 2011, at least fifteen attacks on rescuers were reported by credible news media, including the New York Times, CNN, Associated Press, ABC News and Al Jazeera.” Killing civilians attending the funerals of drone victims is also well-documented by the Bureau’s new report

We are, Obama is. With all of the lies of this administration that you would, without question, accept this as the one area where they would not lie is astonishing, IMO.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2012 11:54 AM
Comment #357705
But we cannot ignore it. It comes after us. If there is going to be a violence, I prefer it there rather than here.

So, when does it end? When there is no one left to hate the US? There is always going to be someone who hates us and will be willing to die for that fanaticism. Killing them over and over again in such attacks is not going to make fewer people who hate us, just turn around those who would have supported us to hate us as well. More people to give aid and comfort to those who want to attack us.

We are making the problem worse, not better, by acting just like them.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2012 11:56 AM
Comment #357706

Rhinehold,
So sorry to hear about your wife. Best wishes in a difficult situation.

Your article on drones is timely. An article appeared in today’s newspaper from AP about conflicts within the Obama administration over drone strike policy. Basically, the military & CIA want to expand their use, while State opposes.

It brings up an important question: if it is ok for the US to carry out drone strikes, what will we say when other countries do the same? What’s good for the goose…

Weary Willie,
Obama WON. Get over it. Not only did Obama WIN, the Democrats GAINED seats in the Senate despite the odds, and picked up seats in the House to boot. Democratic Representatives received 500,000 more votes for House seats than Republicans, and only the 2010 gerrymandering kept the House in GOP hands. And not only did Obama win, conservatives lost, third parties did poorly, and the Tea Party in particular got absolutely crushed. So yeah. Obama WON!!! Obama WON with over 50% of the popular vote, by over three million votes, and a 332 - 206 electoral vote landslide.

Posted by: phx8 at November 25, 2012 1:16 PM
Comment #357707

Rhinhold

I see degrees of gray. We are not perfect. Perfect is the enemy of the good. But it is silly to make a moral equivalence. We are all sinners, but the guy who steals a pencil from work is not as bad as the one who steals millions.

Remember the old joke re the man who asked the women if she would sleep with him for $1 million. She says she would. He says, “How about ten?” She replies, “What do you think I am?” His retort, “We have established that and now are negotiating the price.”

This joke is funny because it is not reflecting reality.

The same goes for many things. For example, we maintain a perfect head-body ratio to our prisoners. Our enemies do not.

We are indeed better, as we were better than the Soviets and are better than the Chinese, but we are not perfect and should not really strive to be.

Re targeting rescue workers - there is a difference between people who “show up” and rescue workers. If you target a terrorist, it is likely that his fellow terrorist will be first on the scene, since they are there already.

I believe that innocent civilians are sometimes killed. War is messy. But I also believe that many people called civilians by the terrorists are actually not. I know that terrorist hide behind women and maybe even kill them to make it look like us. I personally know of a case where a child was supposedly killed by us in Iraq, but we found an AK round. We cannot believe the stories the terrorist tell and journalist who go to investigate generally see only what the terrorist show them. They are not allowed to know more than the terrorists want to show. They de-facto cooperate with the bad guys in order to get safe access. In my experience, many of these journalists really don’t know much in general. They come with a story seeking to find backup.

I am morally certain that the Obama administration has not authorized the deliberate targeting of civilians, just as Bush did not.

Posted by: C&J at November 25, 2012 1:23 PM
Comment #357712

Rhinehold,
So very sorry for your wife. I can’t remember if you are a praying man or not, but I still believe the good Lord can help, so I hope you don’t mind if I add the two of you and your family to my prayers.

Many good thoughts coming your direction!

Posted by: Highlandangel1 at November 25, 2012 5:00 PM
Comment #357713

Weary Willie

Now, people I have invested in for the last 5 years…. consider me a faucet they can turn on and off at their choosing. The grandmother of these children I have invested in, ages 5 & 4, … ignore me in public and allows her friends to drag her away from me when I do get to talk to her.

My only option is to refuse to be a fountain that provides her 4 and 5 year old children with the joy and bounty they receive from my benevolence.

Full of your self, aren’t you?

I will not go to their mother and grandmother and say I no longer want to provide the benefits of pizza hut on the weekend, or pencils and crayons and paper they receive on their birthday, or the card and 5$ bill their mother gets on her birthday.

I’m going straight to the 4 year old and the 5 year old and I am going to tell them their mother doesn’t want me to be a part of their lives…..

I’m going to make sure, while they’re crying, that they won’t see me again. I’m going to tell them I’m can’t afford to pay for them while their mother and their grandmother ignore me when they aren’t around.

You sound rather hateful,. Whatever did these CHILDREN do to YOU?

Do you think that will work, Rhinehold?

Somehow I doubt Rhinehold has time to ponder your selfish worries, Willie!

I’m pissed because I’m being ignored.
Posted by: Weary Willie

Willie,
So sorry you are pissed, but from what I read, I frankly understand WHY you are being ignored. You aren’t saying anything worth reading.

Please feel sorry for yourself on your own time. This is NOT a feel-good site. It is a site for logical and concise thinkers, to suggest their particular political leanings. Frankly, with your attitude, it doesn’t surprise me you seem to have been dumped.

The ones I feel sorry for are the children. Anyone who would purposely want to hurt them cannot, in any way,in my humble opinion,cannot be a good influence on them. One gives to children because it is the right thing to do, and it is a way to show them love. Hopefully you also gave them a hug or two, because that’s far more valuable than any amount of money.

Jeez!

Feel free to be pissed at the adults, but leave the kids out of it. And in the future, please leave us out of it as well.

Posted by: Highlandangel1 at November 25, 2012 5:26 PM
Comment #357717

Rhinehold, I am saddened to learn of your wife’s failing health and will keep her and your family in my prayers.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 25, 2012 8:17 PM
Comment #357718

You are right. It was selfish of me to act that way. My apologies to everyone. Expecially to the children.

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 25, 2012 8:19 PM
Comment #357723

Oil and Vietnam -

From Wiki:

“”The Gulf of Tonkin incident, or the USS Maddox incident, are the names given to two separate confrontations, one actual and one false, involvingNorth Vietnam and the United States in the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. On August 2, 1964, the destroyer USS Maddox, while performing a signals intelligence patrol as part of DESOTO operations, engaged three North Vietnamese Navy torpedo boats of the 135th Torpedo Squadron.[1] A sea battleresulted, in which the Maddox expended over two hundred and eighty 3-inch and 5-inch shells, and in which four USN F-8 Crusader jet fighter bombers strafed the torpedo boats. One US aircraft was damaged, one 14.5 mm round hit the destroyer, three North Vietnamese torpedo boats were damaged, and four North Vietnamese sailors were killed and six were wounded; there were no U.S. casualties.[5]
The second Tonkin Gulf incident was originally claimed by the U.S. National Security Agency to have occurred on August 4, 1964, as another sea battle, but instead may have involved “Tonkin Ghosts”[6] (false radar images) and not actual NVN torpedo boat attacks.
The outcome of these two incidents was the passage by Congress of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which granted President Lyndon B. Johnson the authority to assist any Southeast Asian country whose government was considered to be jeopardized by “communist aggression”. The resolution served as Johnson’s legal justification for deploying U.S. conventional forces and the commencement of open warfare against North Vietnam.
In 2005, an internal National Security Agency historical study was declassified; it concluded[7] that the Maddox had engaged the North Vietnamese Navy on August 2, but that there were no North Vietnamese Naval vessels present during the incident of August 4. The report stated regarding August 2:
At 1500G, Captain Herrick (commander of the Maddox) ordered Ogier’s gun crews to open fire if the boats approached within ten thousand yards. At about 1505G, the Maddox fired three rounds to warn off the communist boats. This initial action was never reported by the Johnson administration, which insisted that the Vietnamese boats fired first.[7]
and regarding August 4:
It is not simply that there is a different story as to what happened; it is that no attack happened that night. […] In truth, Hanoi’s navy was engaged in nothing that night but the salvage of two of the boats damaged on August 2.””

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Did_we_go_to_war_in_Vietnam_over_oil


http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB132/index.htm

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 25, 2012 9:46 PM
Comment #357724
I can’t remember if you are a praying man or not, but I still believe the good Lord can help, so I hope you don’t mind if I add the two of you and your family to my prayers.

I’m not personally, but I am always warmed with good feelings when another is willing to put me or my wife in their prayers. It’s a deeply personal and meaningful thing for someone to do for another and I appreciate the sentiment with the upmost and humblest thanks.

And as my wife says ‘it can’t hurt!’ :)

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2012 9:57 PM
Comment #357732

Rhinehold, you and your wife will be in my prayers. It is a painful time, I know first hand. May God be with you in this trying time.

Posted by: womanmarine at November 26, 2012 7:24 AM
Comment #357734

Rhinehold
You and your wife are in my prayers. I know what your going through as my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago.
Unfortunately it was a battle she couldn’t win and she died in September this year.
I’m praying your wife can win.

Posted by: Ron Brown at November 26, 2012 10:02 AM
Comment #357746

Ron Brown: You are also in my prayers, I’m so sorry to hear about your wife. Stage IV here. I walked in the Susan G. Komen 3-day in DC last month. If I am able to walk again next year I would be honored to memorialize her on the memory tent.

Posted by: womanmarine at November 26, 2012 7:25 PM
Comment #357753

Ron Brown and womanmarine….you are both from the “old group” in here and it is good to see you back, if only temporarily. Ron, I’m also sorry to hear of your loss..I lost my daughter to cancer, and my husband a week after her. It is so hard to just sit back and watch, being and feeling so helpless. woman, I wish you the best, it is a fight you’ve been fighting for some time now. Best of luck to you both…..

Posted by: jane doe at November 26, 2012 10:31 PM
Comment #357754

womanmarine
Thanks,I’ll be keeping you in my prayers also. I’d be honored if you did memorialize Gayle on the tent next year.

jane doe
Thanks, it’s good to be back. The last four years I’ve been kinda busy with my wife being sick, and even though I missed y’all she has always been my number one priority. We had 43 very good years together.

Posted by: Ron Brown at November 26, 2012 11:50 PM
Comment #357779

Weary Willie, thank you for your lovely apology. It is a welcomed event here.

Rhinehold, Ron Brown, Womanmarine, and Jane Doe - I realize some of you may be of a different faith than I, however, but I sincerely pray that the dear Lord will be with all of you as you travel the roads ahead of of you. I pray that He give you the courage, strength, abilities, and hope for a wonderful future for everyone.

Posted by: Highlandangel1 at November 27, 2012 6:32 PM
Comment #357858

Rhinehold,

Very sorry to hear of your wife’s cancer. I lost my wife of 40 years to a rare form of kidney cancer this past November. Highlandangel1 very eloquently summarized my wishes of well being for you, your wife and all others on this blog who have battled this awful disease.

Posted by: Rich at November 29, 2012 10:00 AM
Comment #357899

Highlandangel1, I thank you for your wishes and prayers… My personal beliefs don’t agree with all other people, but I don’t deny any of you from having your own choices and the wish to share. Cancer is an ugly killing machine, and it is not selective who it visits. My daughter was only 26 and she and my husband died just a week apart, from totally and remotely different types. I know progress is being made regularly in fighting it, but it is still terrible to deal with.

Posted by: jane doe at November 30, 2012 8:57 PM
Post a comment