Skip to main content

Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Congress officially disclosing that the U.S. has droned four Americans, including the targeted killing of American cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki. Holder writes to Congress as if he is throwing open some magical drone castle doors so that sunshine can stream through onto U.S. actions somehow glorifying death by drone as the perfect warfare, both just and merciful.  

It might be easier to read Holder's explanations with a straight face if they weren't prefaced by two paragraphs of self-serving dribble about the administration's supposed "commitment to transparency" and written after years of ludicrous fake secrecy whereby Holder, assassination playbook author and now-CIA Director John O. Brennan, and the President himself would speechify on drone strikes and have their minions anonymously leak selected portions while the Justice Department simultaneously argued in court that the administration "cannot confirm or deny" even the existence of the drone program.

The fact is, the Obama administration touted al-Awlaki's death as an intelligence victory and anonymously leaked the legal justification for it to favored media outlets years ago, so his targeting and death were hardly revelatory. Now that the drone strikes, spying on journalists and complete abandonment of any effort to close Guantanamo have become controversial enough to distract the White House, Holder sends this letter and Obama tees up a speech, apparently expecting a cookie from the open government community for this pathetic crumb of transparency and silent acceptance from critics now they were given another small sliver of partial information.

The biggest revelation in Holder's letter  - that the U.S. has droned a fourth American, Jude Kenen Mohammed  - is also the greatest of many deficiencies. All Holder says is the U.S. killed but didn't target these two American men (Mohammed and Samir Kahn) and one American child (al-Awlaki's 16-year-old son).

Holder then goes on to explain the legal justifications for targeting and killing al-Awlaki, protesting that all of the Justice Department's criteria are consistent, when in fact they are not, nor do they line up with Brennan's criteria (read about that here). The administration's defense of its unilateral right to target and kill American citizen al-Awlaki in secret evolves with each new speech. Here I debated New York Times' reporter Scott Shane on the last time the Obama administration changed its tune on al-Awaki:

Holder's newest rationale provides more accusations about al-Awlaki posing an "imminent threat" (that's the Justice Department white paper definition of imminent, not the dictionary definition), allegations that are far from credible considering that al-Awlaki's name was on the "kill list" long enough for the ACLU to bring a lawsuit to have the name removed.

But Holder's new argument of how al-Awlaki met his criteria - or at least the criteria he's presented this time around - provides no insight whatsoever into how three other Americans ended up getting killed by drones. If they weren't "targeted," then the public can guess (since Holder doesn't say), they were apparently acceptable collateral damage in some other targeted strike or perhaps a "signature strike" aimed an unknown group of people suspected of being associated with terrorism. One anonymous official admitted that killing al-Awlaki's son was a mistake, but that doesn't explain the deaths of Khan and Mohammed, both of whom appear to be propagandists, not operatives.

If Holder wants to draw a distinction between Americans that the U.S. government targets and kills without due process and those Americans that the U.S. government kills without due process but doesn't target, then the American people are entitled to know the legal basis for when the government finds it acceptable to make Americans collateral damage in the legally-unsustainable, morally-reprehensible unilateral drone drops.

Until the Obama administration realizes that a real commitment to government transparency is more than releasing - or anonymously leaking - selected tidbits when politically expedient, letters like Holder's will appear to serve the White House more than the public.  

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Killing people abroad with drones... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente

    ...is probably our government's most popular policy.  I was going to say it's even more popular than national parks and Social security but conservatives hate those things now.  It might do more good to focus on torture and indefinite detention.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Thu May 23, 2013 at 06:40:38 AM PDT

  •  Most transparent Administration ever! (24+ / 0-)

    Yeah, right.

    The Administration thinks we're idiots. They think we don't know what's going on. Then they feed us crumbs like this expecting people to buy their bullshit.

    This control of information and selective leaking for political points is going to be a big problem for our government if it continues.

    We're going to get to the point where we've got drones over our heads at all times, and no one will mind. That's scary.

    The Grand Bargain must be stopped at all costs to protect the 99%.

    by cybrestrike on Thu May 23, 2013 at 07:04:35 AM PDT

  •  So, by Holder's own "logic," (10+ / 0-)

    is the government going to pay damages to the families of the three people its robot assassins killed by oopsident?

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Thu May 23, 2013 at 08:12:37 AM PDT

  •  If Holder releases info he is pilloried, if he (8+ / 0-)

    doesn't release info he is pilloried. It makes no difference. Same day different ship, and if it's not Holder, it's Obama....

    Is it the point of some individuals here that the U.S. should stop engaging in battles with terrorist or terrorist organizations?  I Truly wonder about that. In any case, the last time I checked, 78% of Americans support the drone program, including 70 % of Democrats.

    Yup, 70% of Democrats.

    http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/...

    •  Releasing too little, too late is the issue (9+ / 0-)

      Polls are most reliable as indicators of propaganda effectiveness, especially when they coincide with what the Establishment wants them to think.

    •  I have consistently contended (6+ / 0-)

      People keep wanting to start the drone debate in the middle. First questions would be: are there people inimical to American interests who could do us harm? is the potential for harm signifcant enough that we must take some sort of action?

      If the answer is yes, then we can get into what are the best actions to take, and whether drones should/shouldn't be a part of that.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Thu May 23, 2013 at 08:50:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed (5+ / 0-)

        I am happy to have a debate about the merits of the GWOT but if we are going to execute on military strategy I support the use of drones 100%.  It makes perfect tactical sense and people trying to prop up some "robot killer of the skies" boogeyman are nothing more than a sideshow distraction.

        Drones are merely a delivery mechanism.  Why don't we argue about whether nor not we should build stronger tanks or better firing rifles.  These are tools and utterly aside from real point.

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Thu May 23, 2013 at 09:24:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  One point that seems to come up (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens, virginislandsguy

          It's almost a sense of "sportsmanship", or "skin in the game".  A feeling that there is something creepy about a guy safely sitting in Omaha and dropping bombs on a camp in Pakistan. And that kind of thing does need to be debated as well, but in terms of whether we should be dropping bombs on anybody in Pakistan, and if so what the cost would be of "having skin in the game".

          “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

          by Catte Nappe on Thu May 23, 2013 at 09:45:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  There's a problem with that, though. (7+ / 0-)

          In a world where our war-making is increasingly done by remote control or by a professional corp of soldiers and contractors with little connection to most of the public, something needs to replace the natural reticence to put our soldiers' lives at risk which has historically moderated the desire to go to war.  

          In that context, fighting for real transparency about what we're doing, whom we're doing it to and what legal justifications we use for doing it is crucial.

          “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

          by jrooth on Thu May 23, 2013 at 10:19:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agree completely. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PhilJD, 3goldens, Ryvr

            Drones and other forms of automated warfare mean war is not a effort undertaken by society and for the good of society, but by the elite and for the good of the elite, who keep knowledge of the drone war as secret as possible.

            The public must not know what is being done in their name, and even more must not know why.

            To break the matter down as a difference in delivery systems is blindness of the highest order.

            A slower bleed-out is not a sustainable value.

            by MrJayTee on Thu May 23, 2013 at 10:37:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Disagree completely (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mconvente

              If we had drone technology in 1940 we would have used it to fight WWII.  We justified that war, both at the time and now looking back in history, on its own merits based on what was at stake.  They justification would not be jeopardized by a different weapon choice.

              Bush's Iraq invasion was a stupid reckless war not because certain divisions used unmanned aircraft, but because of the unsubstantiated carelessness used to justify it.

              Drones are a tool the military should have at its disposal to achieve any and every objective it receives from civilian command.

              It is the decision making process of that civilian command where your ethical questions about justification and the good of society must be raised and raised publicly.

              Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

              by Wisper on Thu May 23, 2013 at 11:14:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  ????? (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                shaharazade, 3goldens, jrooth

                I didn't say the justification for the war depended on the choice of weapon  ("We justified that war, both at the time and now looking back in history, on its own merits based on what was at stake.  They justification would not be jeopardized by a different weapon choice."), I said a conventional war had to be justified to the broader public who had to fight the war, unlike an automated war whose true cost, tactics, and objectives could be hidden from the public.

                Would we have used drones in WWII?  Sure, but the scale was such that the government would still have had to be accountable to the public, with or without automated weapons.  The "GWOT" is not such a war.  An automated, relatively low-level war by its nature can be carried on largely hidden from the public.

                I have no objection to the use of drones as one tool in a necessary war where they can be effective in the long run and where the public has a broad and accurate sense of the costs, tactics, and objectives.  The GWOT is such a war.

                Either way, it's blatantly obvious that the human cost of a drone war like we have now is much easier to slip past the public than a conventional war.  Love drones or hate them, its hard to see how it could be otherwise.

                A slower bleed-out is not a sustainable value.

                by MrJayTee on Thu May 23, 2013 at 11:56:48 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Mustard gas is merely a "delivery mechanism" too. (5+ / 0-)

          When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

          by PhilJD on Thu May 23, 2013 at 10:24:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, Mustard Gas was a new weapon (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NedSparks, mconvente

            Drones drop air-to-surface missiles.  Most often Hellfire AGN-114 missiles, which were developed in 1974.  There is nothing new or unconventional about them except that instead of putting a US Airman at risk by flying a multi-billion dollar airplane over a target to deliver it, we are using a remote controlled unmanned lightweight vehicle.

            Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

            by Wisper on Thu May 23, 2013 at 10:56:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Well, that's the thing... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens, MrJayTee

          I feel like I don't know if the use of drones is a net negative (with regard to national security) or a net positive.  Of course it seems like it would be mostly positive, in that it risks very little loss of life for our military, but if the use of these devices for targeted killings is simply inflaming more hatred against the US then it might be a net negative.  I really don't know and I hope that more transparency can lead to some actual debate and exploration of the impact of using drones for targeted killing, and the policy of targeted killing itself.  

          "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -Gandhi

          by Triscula on Thu May 23, 2013 at 10:48:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  jrooth really nailed it above. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            3goldens, 4kedtongue

            Drones involve...

            ...a professional corp of soldiers and contractors with little connection to most of the public, something needs to replace the natural reticence to put our soldiers' lives at risk which has historically moderated the desire to go to war.  
            When the government no longer needs to justify war to a public whose children are going off to fight and die, it becomes disconnected from the public good, and from public scrutiny.  It's not just a matter of net positives or negatives.

            It goes to the heart of who we are and why we fight, and for whose benefit we fight.

            A slower bleed-out is not a sustainable value.

            by MrJayTee on Thu May 23, 2013 at 11:01:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That will be cold comfort (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NedSparks

              to the families of dead airman when we have to explain the reason he died in combat was because we felt the safer, cheaper, more efficient option of using UAV's was "too easy".

              The military's job is to devise the methods, equipment and tactics to most effectively prevail in any armed conflict.  Drones are a MAJOR asset to this goal.

              The politicians should debate the option of war based on its own merits.  It is a sad cruel testament to any anti-war argument if it needs to put the lives, limbs and orphaned children of US Service-members in the cross-hairs to arm twist that decision.

              Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

              by Wisper on Thu May 23, 2013 at 11:06:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That is a distortion. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                3goldens, 4kedtongue, jrooth

                I assume it was unintentional.

                My argument was not that we need to put airmen in danger because using drones was "too easy".  I said the conduct and the costs of a drone war were much easier to hide from the public than a conventional war.

                If you feel there's a case to be made otherwise, please go ahead.

                As I said in another response to you, I have no objection to drones in and of themselves, as long they were a long term good and the public, as they should in any war, had an accurate sense of the costs and benefits of using them.  

                The current government couldn't even acknowledge it's use of drones until relatively recently, never mind having an open discussion of what their use in the alleged GWOT means in the long run.

                A slower bleed-out is not a sustainable value.

                by MrJayTee on Thu May 23, 2013 at 12:13:04 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  War becomes ever more palatable... (6+ / 0-)

              the more we rely on drones.

              No body bags or body counts, at least not bags or counts that matter to Americans. Afghans are no one's daughters and sons, no one's neighbors or friends.  No bad PR at all.

              War without tears.

              When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

              by PhilJD on Thu May 23, 2013 at 11:11:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  So the only way (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                yorkiedoglover

                to convince America not to enter war is to make sure plenty of us die in the process?

                This strikes me something akin to hoping another city is forced to go through New Orleans' Katrina experience just so we can support our argument about Climate Change.  

                When in fact we do not need to rely on suffering or carnage to make our points at all.  War is something to avoid and prevent for any number of reasons and I don't need 100 neatly folded flags, 1,000 newly fitted prosthetic limbs or 1000 families supporting someone through PTSD to make that case.

                The US intervention in Bosnia was, to me, a fully justified use of overwhelming military force.  We used surface to air missiles and tomahawk missiles launched from the USS Normandy in the Adriatic Sea and we achieved our objective.  If we could have used Drones to carry out that mission with out the cost, fuel, logistics and risk associated with deploying squadrons of USAF and US Army aircraft, it would have been even better (and quicker).

                Drones are not the problem.  US Policy is the problem.  Debate accordingly.

                Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                by Wisper on Thu May 23, 2013 at 11:27:12 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Where did PhilJD say that? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  PhilJD
                  "So the only way (1+ / 0-)
                  to convince America not to enter war is to make sure plenty of us die in the process?"
                  That's not just a distortion, it's a shameful lie.

                  Saying the US public will be less engaged in a war when there are fewer American dead is recognizing a fact of life, not a calling for more dead.  

                  I gave you the benefit of the doubt when you distorted my words.  No more.  

                  You really need to stop your nasty, dishonest statements.

                  A slower bleed-out is not a sustainable value.

                  by MrJayTee on Thu May 23, 2013 at 03:17:04 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Please re-read this whole subthread. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  MrJayTee

                  That's not the argument at all.

                  Once again, I wrote:

                  ... something needs to replace the natural reticence to put our soldiers' lives at risk which has historically moderated the desire to go to war.  

                  In that context, fighting for real transparency about what we're doing, whom we're doing it to and what legal justifications we use for doing it is crucial.

                  See that word "replace?"

                  See the last sentence?

                  That's my argument.  Not the straw-man you keep insisting on raising.

                  “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

                  by jrooth on Fri May 24, 2013 at 05:44:19 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Apples and Oranges though (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Catte Nappe

            Your deliberation of "net positive v. net negative" is valid but you have to be consistent.

            Listing "very little risk of loss of life" as a positive for drones is true because not using drones does put US military life at greater risk.  

            But "simply inflaming more hatred against the US" is not a drone negative.  If we bombed these things with missiles launched by an F-22 Raptor flown by a USAF pilot that wouldn't make it better.

            This goes back to the point of "To Bomb vs. Not Bombing" is a significant policy debate that needs to take place.  

            "To use drones vs. Not Using Drones" seems like a much more specific decision of tactics and equipment that will inevitably be won out by "To use drones" based on cost, risk and efficiency.

            Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

            by Wisper on Thu May 23, 2013 at 11:02:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah, I agree (0+ / 0-)

              The issue isn't even "to bomb or not to bomb", in my opinion.  It's whether or not a policy of targeted killing is acceptable.  Drones, planes, teams of specialized soldiers, etc are just the method for carrying out the policy.  The policy issue is targeted killing, not drones.

              "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -Gandhi

              by Triscula on Fri May 24, 2013 at 06:02:23 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Everyone agrees (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Don midwest, Catte Nappe, 3goldens

        that the answer is yes.

        Are there people who could do us harm? Obviously, yes. Nobody would disagree.

        Is the potential for harm significant enough that we must take some sort of action? Obviously, yes. Some might say that that action is 'withdraw troops' or 'be nicer' or whatever, but still, yes.

        So I don't see those as important questions at all.

        The disagreement is: what sort of action? And largely, can the action be extra-judicial?

        "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

        by GussieFN on Thu May 23, 2013 at 09:50:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sometimes less is more. (7+ / 0-)

          We are creating the animosity to a large extent with our history of political and military intervention in the politics of other countries.

          There is a reason the US is hated around the world. We need to develop a foreign policy that is less self serving, and more about helping people help themselves. People know we're puppet masters who will support any asshole dictator who serves our interests.

          The drone policy is an example of this self interest, and with each drone that presumably keeps us safe by wiping out one more innocent (whom we guess potentially might want to harm us) we create ten more with strong personal motivations to kill us.

          "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

          by ZhenRen on Thu May 23, 2013 at 09:58:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sometimes more is less. (0+ / 0-)

            That's all true, and yet there are people who will hate and attack us even if we were composed entirely of gummibears and unicorn smiles.

            I'm not sure why the drone technology in particular matters, other than being kinda sexy, but the question despite everything you say remains, 'Are there ever people whom we should target for killing? If so, should we require judicial oversight, or not?'

            "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

            by GussieFN on Thu May 23, 2013 at 10:21:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  People (5+ / 0-)

              who think bombing people with remote devices which invade their sovereignty is sexy worry me.

              What is it about creating more enemies that want to kill us by bombing innocent civilians do you not understand?

              And no, it isn't just drones that are the problem, but our overall foreign policy, although it's true drones are a form of terrorism that can be more easily employed, making our targets ever easier to vaporize. That's what you supporters of drones love about them, not realizing drones are an escalation of US ability to kill anyone, anywhere.

              We're terrorizing people in the name of fighting terrorism. I can't think of a more arrogant and stupid approach to solving our problems.

              Let's stop trying to be the Clint Eastwood of the planet. In the long run, that is the path to making us safer.

              "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

              by ZhenRen on Thu May 23, 2013 at 10:38:46 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  My favorite thing (0+ / 0-)

                is how you so easily discern that I'm a supporter of drones, but can't quite figure out the point I'm making.

                "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

                by GussieFN on Thu May 23, 2013 at 10:55:40 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I well understand the point you're making (6+ / 0-)

                  I just don't agree with it. If we don't support human rights and international law we will incite more and more terrorism. The flaw in the logic of our policy is that it isn't really keeping us safe.

                  Killing innocents and violating international law isn't exactly helping to stop terrorism. The US has never understood that authoritarian use of force isn't the best way to get along with the world. Let's go back to the requirement for clear judicial review and evidence before we murder people. Let's go back to treating acts of terrorism as crimes, not endless war.

                  Newsflash: This is a war that we will not win. We will never end terrorism with the current approach. Look at Israel: Have they succeeded in ending terrorism with their own version of terror?

                  "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                  by ZhenRen on Thu May 23, 2013 at 11:17:03 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  "Inimical to our interests"? (6+ / 0-)

        Which interests are those?  Persian Gulf oil?  Afghan uranium?  Natural gas pipeline concessions?

        If so many people in one chunk of the world are pissed off enough to want to blow us up, we need to ask ourselves why.  

        Once we remove from the equation certain inconvenient truths...

        supporting dictators

        paying off local elites to remove their natural resources

        helping Israel's ethnic cleansing and open air Gaza prison

        slaughtering Muslims by the thousands

        ...we may have a case for defending ourselves from forces "inimical to our interests."

        Until then, we as a people are reaping what our Empire has sowed.  The remedy is not to find spiffy new ways for the Empire to fuck up the world, the remedy is to stop fucking up the world.

        A slower bleed-out is not a sustainable value.

        by MrJayTee on Thu May 23, 2013 at 10:12:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  So if it has a lot of support, it must be okay. (15+ / 0-)

      I seem to recall GWB having a lot of support at one point.  I seem to recall slavery having a lot of support at one point.  I seem to recall LGBT discrimination having a lot of support at one point.

      I love your logic.  Not.

      •  You nailed it! (7+ / 0-)

        Just because something is "popular" does not mean it is the right thing to do.  The willingness of people to not think beyond "well, everybody says it's good so it just has to be good" is appalling.   Ability to think for oneself and to look beyond what "everybody says" or "everybody else is doing it" is a sign of maturity and of a developed conscience.   The "go along with the crowd" person is stuck back in adolescence where being accepted and "popular" is more important than doing what is right and moral.

        "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

        by 3goldens on Thu May 23, 2013 at 10:41:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  A minority of people believe it's OK to drive (0+ / 0-)

        drunk too, or to burn crosses symbolizing their hatred of other people.... A small minority of people also believe that they ought to be able to deny the majority of people healthcare, and a small minority of people believes that Mitt Romney should be President.

        You are attempting to nullify the thinking of the majority, well, then, you must be against the idea of voting anywhere around the world based on the say of the majority.

        I think in terms of drones, the majority of people have come to a number of conclusions: We are engaged in a war with extremists who have killed 3000 innocent people in 2001, and Drones is a measure of fighting this war....

        The utilization of drones limit the number of people who will be hurt or killed in the fighting of this war, both in terms of the U.S. military and victims on foreign soil. If we had no drones we would be carpet bombing the way George W. Bush conducted the Iraq war.... And It is a fact, carpet bombing kills a lot more people.  

        Now, of course, if you want to make the argument that we should stop fighting extremists and fold our arms and go home… Then that’s something different entirely.

        •  Thank you for demonstrating once again (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MrJayTee

          the absurdity of the popular=right meme.

          And thank you also for demonstrating the absurd logic of the never ending global war on terror.

          •  Thank you for not having a thing to say but the (0+ / 0-)

            phrase thank you....  Again, your argument only makes sense if you are saying stop fighting terrorist organizations.... It has no logic otherwise..... And yes, majority rule is the bases for most Democracies....

            •  And there you go, (0+ / 0-)

              rationalizing slavery.

              Good show.

              •  Rationalizing slavery.... Well, hatred of Barack (0+ / 0-)

                Obama makes no sense either.....

                •  So we agree that the (0+ / 0-)

                  popularity=right meme that you're advocating rationalizes all sorts of ugly things, like slavery, homophobia, etc. So why you're then advocating for that meme is beyond me.

                  But what's this "hatred of Barack Obama" business?  Are you claiming that I hate Barack Obama or are you just making a general statement that it makes no sense for those who hate him to hate him?

                  •  We do not agree, I do not think that is (0+ / 0-)

                    even possible. What I am saying is for you to say that I'm justifying slavery by saying that majority rule has been the bases of most Democracies, makes as much sense as the hatred of Barack Obama....

                    Now you may say that you don't hate the President, and you certainly have the right to say that. Whether or not, after years of vilification and constant carping at everything the President does (by you and a number of your fellow daily Obama critics), others would believe it, is another story.

                    Ultimately, you refuse to answer if you believe the U.S. should stop attacking terrorist organizations, which was my original question so many years ago. Somehow, I  don't think you are able to answer it....

                    •  You's the one who pulled the popularity card (0+ / 0-)

                      to argue for drones.  You've never repudiated that logic, which is the exact logic of justifying slavery, homophobia and other forms of discrimination--because they were popular.  Furthermore, majority rule is not the basis of democracy, as there have certainly been nondemocracies where the ruling party's candidates have won a majority of the votes.  Protection of rights is the basis of democracies.  

                      Furthermore, unlike you, I don't see the basis of whether a policy is good or not good as a popularity contest.  So your question about whether or not the US should stop attacking terrorist organizations is a red herring.

                      But what's fascinating to me is that you make this all somehow personal about Barack Obama, when it's not.  It's about his policies and actions.  And what's even more fascinating is your use of the word "hate."  People deny other people jobs because of hate.  People deny other people housing because of hate. People attack and sometimes kill other people because of hate.  So by using the word "hate," you imply that I, by my criticism of Obama's policies and actions, have a personal feeling about the man that would lead to those kinds of actions.  That's quite telling.

                      •  I give you Websters: (0+ / 0-)

                        Democracy: a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority.

                        http://www.merriam-webster.com/...

                        Your response that majority rule is not the basis of Democracy is wrong. Of course, for you, Websters and everyone else who hold this opinion is wrong.

                        In terms of your continued effort to conjure up the issue of slavery in this discussion.... Even though there was a majority who inflicted slavery on a minority, eventually it took a majority representation in Congress to overturn the trappings of oppression and slavery. It took a majority vote in Congress to overturn DADT.

                        My reference to the majority is a commonsensical one. The majority of people understand that if you are going to fight individuals who are plotting attacks on innocents you do this in the most effective way with the least collateral damage as possible.

                        Just like the majority of people know that you shouldn’t drive while drunk, or the majority of people know that when it rains you should seek shelter.

                        I don't see the basis of whether a policy is good or not good as a popularity contest.
                        That is as ridiculous an excuse for avoiding to answer a question as I have ever come across.

                        Someone asks you if you believe that we should not drill for oil in the arctic you will say, "I don't see the basis of whether a policy is good or not good as a popularity contest"?

                        No, you are here in this community addressing policy matters day after day. Your opposition to the President's use of drones is participating in a policy debate.

                        No, you haven't answered the question you have been asked three or four times because you dare not answer it.

                        You dare not answer it because if you said we should not fight terrorists you would appear to be at the very least without sense or reason.

                        If you should say we should fight terrorist, the next question would be, how do you fight them and with what weapons?

                        If you answered we should not fight them with weapons, you would be asked should we fight them with pillows? Once again you would seem to be without sense or reason.

                        But what's fascinating to me is that you make this all somehow personal about Barack Obama, when it's not.  It's about his policies and actions.
                        This is also quite ridiculous. Are you ready to vouch for the Right Wing in terms of their disagreement of policy not extending to hatred of the President?

                        There are people who hate this President on the Right as well as the Left. Where is it written that disagreements based on policy do not ever lead to hate? It isn't written anywhere. I recently heard Sean Hanity says he only disagree with the President based on his policies too.

                        The point here, you will not answer the question on whether the U.S. should be fighting terrorist organizations because you are afraid to let individuals see you have no idea in terms of how to handle this issue and therefore are attacking the President over something you really haven't given full thought to, which is also your prerogative.

                        Still...I have nothing more to add here.

                        •  Where to begin. (0+ / 0-)

                          Actually, democracy is not simply rule of the majority.  Democracy is a form of government that gives power to the people based upon the rule of law.  There's direct democracy and there's representative democracy, which is what our system of government is based upon.  As we saw, for example, with the election of George W. Bush in 2000, the majority voted one way and yet something else happened; see again the elections in 2012 in terms of the House of Representatives.

                          So it's more than just simply majority rule.  And it's certainly not a popularity contest.  That you continue to appeal to the popularity of drones as some sort of rationale that therefore that must be the right thing to do is simply fallacious--as you yourself admit right here:

                          Someone asks you if you believe that we should not drill for oil in the arctic you will say, "I don't see the basis of whether a policy is good or not good as a popularity contest"?
                          If you think that's silly to say, then why did you bring popularity into the conversation in the first place?

                          Similarly, your red herring question is simply that.  If you want to have a policy debate about the best way to combat terrorism, that's fine, but simply asking the question you keep asking is, well, a red herring.

                          As for the rest of what you wrote, I agree that there are people on the right that hate President Obama.  But you're the one who wrote this about me:

                          Now you may say that you don't hate the President, and you certainly have the right to say that. Whether or not, after years of vilification and constant carping at everything the President does (by you and a number of your fellow daily Obama critics), others would believe it, is another story.
                          There's nothing about the right wing in that comment of yours.  Rather, it's all about me and some other Kossacks.  So that means that you're making it about personal feelings about President Obama and you're implying that we hate him.  That means that you're lumping us in with people who would deny housing, deny employment, maim, injure and perhaps kill someone because of feelings about that person.  That you would do that is simply sad, but good to know.
      •  Hell, let's go Godwin (0+ / 0-)

        if we're talking about how popularity should determine policy

        this guy was pretty popular for a while:

        "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu May 23, 2013 at 02:35:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  So are you saying that any release (5+ / 0-)

      is by definition an adequate release?  If not, your complaint makes no sense.

      “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

      by jrooth on Thu May 23, 2013 at 08:55:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry, you're wrong. (16+ / 0-)

      *The criticism of the DoJ/Administration secrecy was because of the secrecy.  

      *The criticism of the released information is based on the nature of the acts being discussed, plus:

      *the self-serving delay in releasing the information;

      *the perception that the current release is both a drop in the bucket next to the President's famous, hypocritical declarations on transparency;

      *and that the current declaration is a sham version of transparency given this administration's history of self-serving leaks amid selective prosecution of leaks it doesn't like.

      I believe the opinions here about President Obama and AG Holder are based on those points above, not a determination to damn them if they do and damn them if they don't.  We can't "damn them if they don't"  because there is no "don't" to damn.  They haven't stopped the bad acts in question; what's happening here with Holder is not a reversal but a new PR strategy.  

      As to popularity, it has no rightful place in a discussion based on right vs. wrong.  That is a matter for handicappers and vote counters.

      A slower bleed-out is not a sustainable value.

      by MrJayTee on Thu May 23, 2013 at 08:59:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Because Democrats... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Don midwest, 3goldens, gerrilea

      only care about winning...they forget that sometimes "winning" is more destructive to traditional Democratic (and democratic) values than "not winning."

      "[I]n the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone...They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

      by cardboardurinal on Thu May 23, 2013 at 09:54:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Losing our Liberties, Losing our country (19+ / 0-)

    while people play politics like it's a sport team. Well it's okay if democrats are doing it, is a symptom of a sick democratic republic.

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

    by greenbastard on Thu May 23, 2013 at 08:31:07 AM PDT

  •  term terrorism is undefined - Glenn Greenwald (10+ / 0-)

    he has been writing about for years

    and the use of the terrorism language is what justifies drone killings, torture, invasion, starting new wars and so forth.

    Terrorism (TM) is the new evil to replace communism and which is so bad that the economy has to be destroyed to support the military to protect us, and to destroy our place in the world by the use of military power and of course the destruction of the rule of law along the way.

    Here is Glenn's article today about the London assault.

    Was the London killing of a British soldier 'terrorism'?
    What definition of the term includes this horrific act of violence but excludes the acts of the US, the UK and its allies?

    That this was a barbaric and horrendous act goes without saying, but given the legal, military, cultural and political significance of the term "terrorism", it is vital to ask: is that term really applicable to this act of violence? To begin with, in order for an act of violence to be "terrorism", many argue that it must deliberately target civilians. That's the most common means used by those who try to distinguish the violence engaged in by western nations from that used by the "terrorists": sure, we kill civilians sometimes, but we don't deliberately target them the way the "terrorists" do.
    But here, just as was true for Nidal Hasan's attack on a Fort Hood military base, the victim of the violence was a soldier of a nation at war, not a civilian. He was stationed at an army barracks quite close to the attack. The killer made clear that he knew he had attacked a soldier when he said afterward: "this British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth."
    The US, the UK and its allies have repeatedly killed Muslim civilians over the past decade (and before that), but defenders of those governments insist that this cannot be "terrorism" because it is combatants, not civilians, who are the targets. Can it really be the case that when western nations continuously kill Muslim civilians, that's not "terrorism", but when Muslims kill western soldiers, that is terrorism? Amazingly, the US has even imprisoned people at Guantanamo and elsewhere on accusations of "terrorism" who are accused of nothing more than engaging in violence against US soldiers who invaded their country.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/...
    •  Oh, don't even get me started (5+ / 0-)

      about that UK "terrorist attack" last night. That attack was a street crime; it matters insignificantly, if at all, what the damn motivation for it was.

      The overuse of the very word TERRORIST is in and of itself a propaganda technique, if it is going to be applied to stuff like that. Ridiculous! It was a stabbing on a busy street in a metropolitan area. It happens here every day.

      "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

      by lunachickie on Thu May 23, 2013 at 09:56:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What happened in the UK was barbaric. (0+ / 0-)

        I think it's a stretch to say it happens here every day.

        •  Street thugs wield knives and attack (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Don midwest, gerrilea, shaharazade

          others here every day. The magnitude of that particular killing is beside the point.

          If someone thought it would be a great idea to try to dumb down the meaning of the words "terrorist" and "terrorist attack", to include street thugs and street crimes, they need to re-think that shit. Otherwise, before you know it,  terrorists will be overrunning the streets of every democracy on the planet.

          Propaganda moves like that need to be called out. Loudly.  

          "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

          by lunachickie on Thu May 23, 2013 at 10:18:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But they weren't simply wielding knives (0+ / 0-)

            They were wielding machetes and cleavers. I disagree that the magnitude of this particular crime is irrelevant. Are tragedies, like Sandy Hook, brushed aside as everyday occurrences because the magnitude of the crime is insignificant?  

            •  no machetes - orig headline (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gerrilea, shaharazade, lunachickie

              The headline briefly referred to the attack as a "machete killing", which is how initial reports described it, but the word "machete" was deleted to reflect uncertainty over the exact type of knife use. As the first paragraph now indicates, the weapon appeared to be some sort of meat cleaver.

              Look at the video

              http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

            •  Nobody is brushing this aside (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Don midwest

              What's in dispute here is the use of the words "terrorist attack".

              Let me be more clear. What does the instrument of the crime have to do with what the press calls the crime? Nothing?

              Oh, wait--in many cases, they actually do choose to describe it in exactly those terms: a knife attack, a gun attack, an assault weapon attack, etc.

              And did American media fall all over itself to describe Sandy Hook as a "terrorist attack"? No. It didn't. So please--let's try not to confuse the issue here :)

              "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

              by lunachickie on Thu May 23, 2013 at 12:42:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I was merely questioning (0+ / 0-)

                Your assertion that this type of attack happens every day in the United States. I did not call this incident a terrorist attack, nor did I defend those who did. My point was the horrifying nature of this crime distinguishes it from other kinds of stabbings.

                •  And it was--clearly--confusing (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dopetron

                  but it looks like we've straightened it out. For the purpose of my point, it was not relevant. For the purpose of yours, it was.

                  thanks for clarifying! :)

                  "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

                  by lunachickie on Thu May 23, 2013 at 02:24:11 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Okay now this actually freaks me out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZhenRen, shaharazade

    I don't like this drone thing very much...

  •  Speech will allay any concerns (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gerrilea

    for POTUS supporters.

    me, I going here to enjoy a drinking game.
    http://my.firedoglake.com/...

    And my doubles will take place when POTUS proclaims"

    12. The President will leak a great deal of information about his kill list program in this speech, as he has done on some previous “I killed bin Laden!” occasions, and yet will fail to prosecute himself for espionage at the end of the speech.  If you believe laws should be applied equally to all, DRINK!

    Proud Socialist Whore.

    by Muggsy on Thu May 23, 2013 at 09:36:13 AM PDT

  •  Praise for Scahill's book and movie "Dirty Wars" (9+ / 0-)

    the goal is for Americans to see and experience what we have done in the world

    several people on dailykos have seen the movie and heard Scahill answer questions and were impressed

    here are some reviews of the movie by Chris Hays, Seymour Hersh, Barry Eisler and others

    From the web site

    http://dirtywars.org/...

    There is no journalist in America, in the world, who has reported on what the war on terror actually looks like under the Obama administration better than ... Jeremy Scahill. His amazing, comprehensive chronicle of the Obama war on terror [is] the new book Dirty Wars.... A film, which is incredible and a must-see, of the same name will be in theaters in early June. Dirty Wars is probably the most comprehensive account to date of what America's global battlefield looks like, a battlefield that was constructed with each new mission and the deployment of special forces and each new drone strike and each new frontier, the product of hundreds of individual decisions made under duress in reaction to an uncertain world that now add up to a global battlefield without frontlines or clearly marked boundaries… This book is an unbelievable accomplishment. The movie is an incredible accomplishment… Whatever your politics, you should read this book. It is incredibly carefully reported book. People who come to this book expecting a polemic, I think will be surprised to a find a book that really in many ways lets the facts speak for themselves. What this book does is show a side of our unending wars that we haven't seen....  I think every member of Congress should read this book.
    —Chris Hayes, All In With Chris, MSNBC, April 22, 2013
    Dirty Wars is the most thorough and authoritative history I've read yet of the causes and consequences of America’s post 9/11 conflation of war and national security. I know of no other journalist who could have written it: For over a decade, Scahill has visited the war zones, overt and covert; interviewed the soldiers, spooks, jihadists, and victims; and seen with his own eyes the fruits of America's bipartisan war fever. He risked his life many times over to write this book, and the result is a masterpiece of insight, journalism, and true patriotism.
    —Barry Eisler, novelist and former operative in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations

     

    There is no journalist in America who has exposed the truth about US government militarism more bravely, more relentlessly and more valuably than Jeremy Scahill. Dirty Wars is highly gripping and dramatic, and of unparalleled importance in understanding the destruction being sown in our name.
    —Glenn Greenwald, New York Times best-selling author and Guardian columnist

     

    Dirty Wars is not politically correct. It is not a history of the last decade as seen from inside the White House, or from the pages of the New York Times and Washington Post. Scahill's book takes us inside Dick Cheney's famed "dark side" and tells us, with convincing detail and much new information, what has been done in the name of America since 9/11.
    —Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist

     

    Dirty Wars will earn its place in history as one of the most important pieces of literature related to over a decade of failed American foreign policy strategy that continues to exist to this day. It’s also one of the most grounded and thoroughly researched books I’ve read on the subject of covert U.S. operations in the twenty-first century. A must read for anyone that cares about this country and the direction we are heading.
    —Brandon Webb, retired member of Navy SEAL Team Three, former lead sniper instructor at the US Naval Special Warfare Command and author of the New York Times best-seller The Red Circle

     

    [One] of the best intelligence reporters on the planet... Scahill has covered the worldwide wanderings of JSOC task forces and their intersection for years, and he takes a deeper look at their expanded post 9/11 mission set. He has incredible sources...
    —Marc Ambinder, editor-at-large of The Week
  •  "serving as inspiration for killing Americans" (0+ / 0-)

    is different than killing Americans...

    So... we can sit around and incite people to kill Americans and that's okay? Is that really what you're saying???

    •  Depends what you mean by "incite" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GussieFN, Simplify, shaharazade

      "Go kill so-and-so" is not protected speech.  "America's imperial crimes justify armed resistance" is.  So is discussing in general terms how one might carry out such armed resistance.

      “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

      by jrooth on Thu May 23, 2013 at 10:28:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "incite" does not equal "imminent danger" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilJD, Simplify, 3goldens

      As per SC:

      It's Time to Stop Using the 'Fire in a Crowded Theater' Quote

      In 1969, the Supreme Court's decision in Brandenburg v. Ohio effectively overturned Schenck and any authority the case still carried. There, the Court held that inflammatory speech--and even speech advocating violence by members of the Ku Klux Klan--is protected under the First Amendment, unless the speech "is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action".
      And in the really big picture, aren't our actions abroad causing us "imminent danger" when a child witnesses his mother or sister being raped and then shot by "soldiers"?

      Or a child being burned from white phosphorous that eats through all their flesh and bones?

      Or when our soldiers piss on their dead corpses?

      Reverse the roles, if that was happening here, wouldn't YOU be speaking out, demanding the invaders blood?

      I know I would and if it was my mother, sister, brother or father that was brutally exterminated, I wouldn't rest UNTIL their blood ran cold by my own hands.

      Maybe we should rethink this policy of 'arming the insurgents", etc....JUST MAYBE.

      -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

      by gerrilea on Thu May 23, 2013 at 11:04:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  When will the US government (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, Don midwest, Garrett

    get it? It's not our freedom that they hate, it is what the US is doing. In an ambiguous war on a tactic, the drone policy, for that matter entire GWOT policy, is creating more terrorists than any "freedom" Americans think they have.

    And the majority of Americans and politicians now accept this as an adequate explanation for trampling on the Constitution, the rule of law and human rights.

  •  Whistleblowers. The only issue that matters... (0+ / 0-)

    Jobs, job security, attempts to manage health care, strengthened gun laws, social safety net, affordable education, marriage equality / equality in the military, minimum wage, immigration, green energy, poverty, ...

    Jessalyn really, really (did I say REALLY) cares about this one, and ONLY this one issue. (Shikspak appeared as her cheerleader a while ago.)

    Jessalyn has a diary just about EVERY FUCKING DAY, no matter what other important things are happening, no matter how many people have been sacrificed to gun laws, climate change, etc. etc. etc. -- it's always: ME. whistleblower. ME. I know what obama intends. whistleblower. obama. ME. ME. ME. whistleblower. Obama. whistleblower. Obama. He personally persecutes whistle blowers. every day. That's why ITS THE ONLY ISSUE I WRITE ABOUT, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

    I'm glad you have a roof over your head, access to the internet and enough food on the table to talk about how Obama is personally torturing whistleblowers every single day. I'll speak for myself and say sadly, your personal whistleblowing/obama/did it all campaign is not my primary interest.

    I know: "don't read the posts you are not interested in". I haven't been, but to post this again, today, bothered me. Aren't you interested in one other fucking thing than your personal vendetta about the fine line between whistle blowing and random info dumping? Wait, wait I can answer that.

    No you are not interested in anything else. Perhaps you should start your own blog?

    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -- Einstein

    by reginahny on Thu May 23, 2013 at 03:11:37 PM PDT

  •  It's time to demand Obama give us (0+ / 0-)

    some more Rhetoric We Can Fantasize About.

    Doesn't Obama know that his base needs Rhetoric?

    Actions?  Deeds?  Those are for the 1%.  We're the 99% and We Demand The Rhetoric.

    /sarcasm

    The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Tue May 28, 2013 at 10:16:05 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site