Obama's Drones Turn Rightbloggers Into Civil Libertarians, If Only Temporarily
"Liberals who would have demanded Bush's impeachment have collectively yawned," claimed Matt K. Lewis at The Week. But that was okay, he went on, because the "ugly truth" was that "Obama is giving us what we want... American citizens want someone who will make the big, bad world disappear." Strangely, Lewis added, "This dynamic helps explain why some other liberal policies become popular." (Other liberal policies?) "Ignorance is bliss. It's why many people believe that adults have more rights than the unborn (after all, we can see them, hear them complain...)" So by this logic, conservatives are in favor of saving the unborn and protecting the rights of suspected terrorists -- which is why Americans don't like them. Well, it's as good an explanation as any.
At Hot Air Ed Morrissey rushed to denounce liberal hypocrites, i.e. Michael Tomasky and unnamed others ("Maybe we should have a Republican as President all the time so that the media can actually do its job," said Morrissey, apparently dispensing with all that citizen-journalism bullshit), but eventually got around to telling us that "there are no easy answers for a nation attempting not just to defend itself from military attack, but also from the kind of infiltration attack that can produce massively-scaled casualties, as we saw on 9/11. The use of American citizens for that kind of infiltration is a real danger," blah blah, before rushing back for a big blame-the-media finish.
Patterico was totally down with killing whoever, but complained that "Obama is a liar and I do not trust him. So while I might be OK with what the memo proposes, there is no way for me to be sure he won't take it further, if he thinks it would benefit him politically." Well, look, it's not as if he doesn't have evidence: "[Obama] doesn't consider himself constrained by little things like budget deadlines," explained Patterico. "Why would he pass an opportunity to kill a U.S. citizen outside the above guidelines if he thought he could justify it?" Patterico then showed a picture of Obama with his nose in the air, and asked, "It's not like this guy thinks of himself as above the law or anything, does it?" (In real life Patterico is a deputy district attorney, where this kind of tight reasoning must serve him well.)
Then there was John Yoo -- hold on, you say, John Yoo? Whose name is synonymous with Bush-era torture policy? That John Yoo? Yes, but don't worry, Yoo's not pretending to be anything other than the monster he's always been; in his Wall Street Journal column, Yoo says that though both "the antiwar left and right are going ballistic" about drones, he's in favor. But he still faults the Administration, because in drafting his drone rules Obama "replaced the clarity of the rules of war with the vague legal balancing tests that govern policemen on the beat..." So see, even when they're killing American citizens preemptively, Democrats are still weak on defense. It's like they can't help themselves!
Bill O'Reilly gets extra points for claiming NBC, which had broken the story, was trying to bury it ("You heard anything on NBC about the drones?").
And some of the brethren just didn't see what the problem was at all.
Walter Russell Mead acted as if liberals' great sin was opposing Obama's drones. "Killing bad guys overseas without putting our military in harm's way may be controversial among the pundit class," sneered Mead, "but outside the Beltway and some college campuses" -- hear that, hippies? -- "drones get more support than President Obama and Congress combined--right up there with motherhood and Christmas... Andrew Jackson would have certainly approved."
Ambassador turned TV analyst John Bolton said Obama's policy was "consistent with and really derived from the Bush administration approach to the War on Terror... and I think it is entirely sensible. Whether it is foreign citizens who are involved with Al Qaeda or American citizens, we are in a war..."
At Commentary, Max Boot said, "I'd much rather that the president be hypocritical than wrong on the issue of targeted killings. In this case I think he deserves applause for taking the right stance in spite of the criticism from some of his own supporters in the 'human rights' lobby."
At National Review, John O'Sullivan sighed, "I'm broadly on the side of John Bolton, Rich Lowry, Andy McCarthy (on NRO), and Max Boot... in their support for the Obama administration's justification for drone attacks designed to kill al-Qaeda leaders, whether or not they are U.S. citizens. Admittedly, one has to grit one's teeth and mutter this support from the side of one's mouth."
We'll bet. But while gritting and muttering, O'Sullivan still felt empowered to make demands of Obama: "If we should support the president here, however," he asserted, "we should also exact a price -- and a very legitimate price at that (by 'we' here, I mean the appropriate congressional leaders of the Republican party, such Democrats as agree, and the broader American conservative movement.) In return for support, we should demand that the president actually defend the policy that his lawyers have outlined -- and the Bush policy of which it is logically an extension."
Well, good luck, buddy. The sad fact is, after years of the Orwellian War on Terror, the American people have become accustomed to such outrages, which is why Obama can get away with it. And, O'Sullivan's fantasy to the contrary, he doesn't need to justify it even with logic. We can all fight over who deserves most of the blame in hell. Meantime our insufficient but welcome solace is to watch these guys pretending to be Code Pink (minus the guts) for a couple of days.