Obama's Drones Turn Rightbloggers Into Civil Libertarians, If Only Temporarily
This is apparently approved even against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, as the Authorization of Use of Military Force signed by President Bush in 2001 "does not set forth an express geographical limitation on the use of force it authorizes," per the Administration's white paper.
This put rightbloggers into an uproar -- not because they're against this sort of thing, though some of them did a fair job of pretending. No, they were mad because Obama was getting away with something that they just knew they'd do a much better job of getting away with.
The NBC report disseminated quickly, and other Mainstream Media outlets rushed to get in on it; the New York Times, for example, published "Drone Strikes' Risks to Get Rare Moment in the Public Eye" -- which included material that the Times, among others, had previously agreed to keep quiet, presumably in order to preserve their access to government sources. (Interestingly, this went on even as the Times was suing the government for more information on drones.)
But, as Beyonce's publicists also recently discovered, once the lid's off anything goes, and the Administration was roundly attacked for its disturbing program.
There was an outcry from the big-name liberals you'd expect: Jon Stewart ("We told you we were going to be transparent -- we just didn't tell you it was going to be about the last guy's secrets"), Bill Moyers ("killing innocents and driving their enraged families and friends straight into the arms of the very terrorists we're trying to eradicate"), Eugene Robinson ("Obama's drone attacks are just wrong"), Mother Jones ("The government needs the approval of a judge to detain a suspected terrorist. To kill one, it need only give itself permission"), The American Prospect ("this definition of 'imminent threat' is disturbingly similar to the contortions of logic that the Bush administration used"), Roger Ebert ("With all due respect, Mr. President, that's bullshit"), Tom Tomorrow, Bill Maher ("I know Obama's a swell guy and Bush was an evil oaf, but it really is the same policy, isn't it?"), etc., not to mention tons of leftbloggers. We should add that some of them were talking about drones before it was cool.
But there were some liberals who on-the-other-handed the revelations: msnbc's Touré ("as soon as you join Al Qaeda, you become an imminent threat") and Krystal Ball ("Do you feel the same about George W. Bush having that power as President Obama? Call me a hypocrite but I sure don't"), for example. Also McLaughlin Group stalwart Eleanor Clift, who called drones a "blessing," and Michael Tomasky, who said, well, at least Obama wants to put in a review process and isn't George Bush.
We got these names from rightblogger accounts; as they are especially motivated to find liberal hypocrites, we're surprised they didn't find more. We're sure there must be others, though probably not so many, if only because at the moment the heat's on.
Anyway, rightbloggers were all over it. A number of them focused on Touré, for reasons that will be obvious if you've seen a picture of him ("resident race-baiter Touré" -- Independent Journal Review; "So, does Touré still think George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin?" -- Matt Vespa, The PJ Tatler, etc.).
Guess those must be rightbloggers protesting drones at the Inauguration. But why aren't they wearing tricorners? (cc) Debra Sweet/World Can't Wait
In the main, though, rightbloggers didn't much bother with actual documented defenses, but just attacked "liberals" in toto for their largely invisible support of the President's drone strikes -- even when they themselves had not previously shown any interest in the civil liberties of alleged terrorists.
Rob Port of Say Anything, for instance, complained that "not only is that an affront to due process rights enshrined in the 5th amendment, but it sets a dangerous precedent for future presidents," then challenged liberals: "While some of you might trust President Obama to wield these powers (I don't), would you have said the same thing about George W. Bush? Would you feel that way about a President Romney?"
For perspective, here is some of Port's previous civil liberties reporting: "Torture is such a subjective, political term," he said in 2011. "When you say 'torture' most people think of people being stretched on a rack or something... But whatever we call that sort of interrogation technique - be it 'enhanced interrogation' or 'torture' or what have you - the point is that it works..." (To those who "say they object to these sort of techniques because they're 'immoral,'" Port rejoined, "if we can get some jihadist to cough up information about terror networks and plots, wouldn't it be immoral not to use them given that such intelligence can save lives?")
Similarly, NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard, decrying Clift, claimed "the obvious conclusion from what we've seen this week is the Obama-loving media have gone so far in the tank for this president that they're willing to throw all their once strongly-held beliefs overboard to defend him." In past reportage, Sheppard has revealed himself in favor of torturing terror suspects; when Shepard Stern said Americans "don't fucking torture," Sheppard rebuked him: "Even if it helps save lives, Shep? What if it saves the lives of folks close to you? Might that change your opinion? It is indeed fascinating that the further we get from 9/11, more and more Americans are forgetting that we are indeed at war with terrorists," etc.
Generally speaking, the more outraged a rightblogger's reaction to Obama's drones ("Do I even need to play the 'Imagine if President Bush had done this' card?... Why do we need the second amendment? To stop tyranny"), the more likely it is he'd never batted an eye over human rights abuses before 2009 ("A lot of folks on the left -- to include some high ranking Democratic leaders -- have accused our soldiers of torturing terrorist prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Camp Gitmo. The ridiculousness of theses charges is that these lefties have no idea what real torture is," etc.). See also Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, now ("How's that hopey-changey stuff workin' out for ya?") and then ("more rubble, less trouble").
Some rightbloggers had a less easily-followed agenda. "I am not feeling warm and fuzzy" about Obama's program, Bookworm Room announced. Then: "Admission: I am warm enough, but very fuzzy on details about internal drones because DHS hasn't explained the purchase of 450 million hollow-point bullets (they're the type of bullets that expand after entry)..." Possible translation: Let us find how the drone program fits in with the ObamaHitler Administration's plan to take over Disarmed America with 450 million hollow-points/fluoridated water. Later: "California is searching for Christopher Dorner, who has murdered 3 people already and has a 'kill list.' The administration has a 'kill list' as well, which is only geared towards Americans on foreign soil, along with foreign jihadists/Al Qaida. Add to the mix that Congress approved the use of 30,000 drones by 2020 within our borders. I can see the program's usefulness in apprehending Dorner, but..." Here the logic trail grows mighty cold, and we must abandon the search.
Some of the brethren hit the hypocrisy angle, and then explained why they wouldn't do things any differently (except for the personnel angle, of course).