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May 31 2012

What Has Happened to the Democrats?

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

   [I]t is necessary to the happiness of man, that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.

   It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind, as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime.

~Thomas Paine~, The Age of Reason

During the Bush administration the Democrats were opposed to the unitary executive powers that Bush assumed. When they realized how intrusive the government had becomes post 9/11 with surveillance, warrantless eavesdropping on American citizens, torture, indefinite detention, military commissions, Guantanamo and the general disregard for the rule of law, the Democrats railed against those policies. What happened that all these polices and now, targeted assassinations without due process have become acceptable? It is incomprehensible that under a Democratic president the right wing shredding of the Constitution is reasonable and defended by those who most vociferously opposed it.

In a New York Times Editorial, Andrew Rosenthal wrote this about President Obama’s “Kill Lists” and the use of unmanned drones:

Apologists for the president’s “just trust me” approach to targeted killings emphasize that the program is highly successful and claim that the drone strikes are extraordinarily precise. John Brennan, the president’s counter-terrorism adviser, said in a recent speech that not a single non-combatant had been killed in a year of drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And today’s Times article quoted a senior administration official who said that civilian deaths were in the “single digits.”

But it turns out that even this hey-it’s-better-than-carpet-bombing justification is rather flimsy. The Times article says “Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties …It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.

The logic, such as it is, is that people who hang around places where Qaeda operatives hang around must be up to no good. That’s the sort of approach that led to the false imprisonment of thousands of Iraqis, including the ones tortured at Abu Ghraib. Mr. Obama used to denounce that kind of thinking.

So now just living in a village where the US thinks, there are insurgents, be they really Al Qaeda or just people defending their country from invaders, all men in the vicinity are enemy combatants, the President can have you killed and they can prove their innocence post mortem. As Cenk Uygur stated, “This is deeply immoral

“Memorial Day weekend brought news of more U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan as The New York Times raises new questions about President Obama’s so-called “Kill List” of terrorists targeted for assassination. An extensive report in Tuesday’s paper looks at the use of targeted attacks to take out terrorism suspects in other parts of the world, an increasingly important part of the government’s anti-terrorism policies that Barack Obama himself has taken personal responsibility for. According to the story, the President approves every name on the list of terrorism targets, reviewing their biographies and the evidence against them, and then authorizing “lethal action without hand-wringing.”

As the president has slowly drawn down American forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, the use of drone attacks to take out senior leaders of al-Qaeda

and the Taliban has become the primary tactic for fighting terrorism overseas. However, it raises a lot of legal and ethical questions about extra-judicial killings of individuals, particularly those who happen to be American citizens…”.

Will Bunch expressed his outrage in his Philadelphia Daily News column

{T]oday the harm that’s caused by raining death from machines in the sky down onto far too many civilians — including someone’s son, brother, or father who wasn’t “up to no good” at all — vastly outweighs any good. Righteous anger over the killing of civilians creates new terrorists faster than the killing of any old ones. As for the morally indefensible position that any male killed in such an attack is “probably up to no good,” isn’t the Obama administration saying the EXACT same thing that George Zimmerman said about Trayvon Martin? [..]

Actually, the similarity with Zimmerman is even greater than I first thought. What he said to the Sanford police dispatcher was that Trayvon Martin “looks like he’s up to no good.” Thank God Zimmerman didn’t have drones, huh?

Some of us on the left, many of whom supported President Obama in 2008, have some very serious issues with this President and those of his supporters who are choosing now to ignore all the horrendous violations of US and International law and the continued trampling of our rights and freedoms, but are now wholeheartedly accepting and defending these policies (Warning: link leads to a right wing Obama 527). They would love it if Obama’s critics would just sit down and shut up.

What has happened to Democrats who were willing to call for not just the impeachment but the arrest and prosecution of both George W. Bush and Dick Cheney? Now Barack Obama has taken those same policies a step further and made them acceptable to his loyal supporters but not to those of us who still hold to the same principles we did eleven years ago.

8 comments

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  1. TMC
  2. MarilynW

    that Obama promised, a bait and switch change.

    He has changed the Democratic party so that it’s hardly recognizable. Not that it was ever true blue. But it has now betrayed basic democratic principles.

    Does the admin think that they can target groups of people in Pakistan and elsewhere from the cozy comfort of their offices in Langley or wherever, send drones over to kill SUSPECTED militants and innocent civilians without dire consequences?

    I shudder to think…

  3. BobbyK

    The hypocrisy of the Democratic Party Leadership and their “fan-base” is so unbelievably thick. The cynicism so deep.

    People will just stay home and unplug.

    I expect a seriously low turn-out. And then the dem’s will use that as an excuse to go the rest of the way right.

    The conventional wisdom leadership establishment will blame the people who didn’t follow them. And sell them out even more.

  4. Rubberarmedlefty

    The president approves every name on the list, it’s probably ok.  I mean think about how pissed you would would be if he didn’t at least do that.  

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