I have deep concerns with the Obama Administration’s continuation of Bush-era policies related to warrantless wiretapping and the collection of electronic records pertaining to the activities of ordinary citizens. I have concerns about policies that allow the administration to strip due process rights from Americans it chooses to deem enemy combatants. Those lost rights constitute core Constitutional values including the requirement to show cause for detaining a citizen, the right to a public trial, and the right to confront those who bear evidence against you. I am also deeply concerned about the implications of the administration’s policy on drone strikes. And I am troubled that so much of the legal justification for these policies remains secret, preventing Congress, let alone the American people, from weighing the trade-offs.
We can and should protect America from our enemies without compromising the very essence of American freedom and rule of law. We need someone at the CIA who will lead us towards counterterrorism policies that reflect and respect Americans’ deep faith in our Constitution. I don’t believe John Brennan is the right person for that challenge.
This is a ridiculously entertaining filibuster.
And Harry Reid was like, “All right. I guess I’ll come back tomorrow.”
The question that I and many others have asked is not whether the Administration has or intends to carry out drone strikes inside the United States, but whether it believes it has the authority to do so. This is an important distinction that should not be ignored.
Just last week, President Obama also avoided this question when posed to him directly. Instead of addressing the question of whether the Administration could kill a U.S. citizen on American soil, he used a similar line that “there has never been a drone used on an American citizen on American soil.” The evasive replies to this valid question from the Administration have only confused the issue further without getting us any closer to an actual answer.
For that reason, I once again request you answer the following question: Do you believe that the President has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial?
I believe the only acceptable answer to this is no.
Do the United States and its people really want to tell those of us who live in the rest of the world that our lives are not of the same value as yours? That President Obama can sign off on a decision to kill us with less worry about judicial scrutiny than if the target is an American? Would your Supreme Court really want to tell humankind that we, like the slave Dred Scott in the 19th century, are not as human as you are? I cannot believe it.
I used to say of apartheid that it dehumanized its perpetrators as much as, if not more than, its victims. Your response as a society to Osama bin Laden and his followers threatens to undermine your moral standards and your humanity.
78 percent of respondents to a poll on MSNBC’s The Ed Show said they agreed with the “policy of targeted killing of American citizens,” despite host Ed Schultz arguing that the policy “doesn’t meet the moral or the constitutional standard that we expect of any administration…We’re losing the moral high ground by doing this…”
MSNBC pundit Chris Matthews defended the wisdom of granting the President and his administration the powers of prosecutor, jury, judge, and executioner by stating that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta “is a conscientious guy. He goes to church every day.”
Toure, an MSNBC pundit and Obama supporter, vociferously defended U.S. drone policy on The Cycle, stating “It’s hard to say, ‘let’s not do things because we might radicalize other people,” to which Glenn Beck protege S.E. Cupp responded, “but that was the argument under Bush.” Indeed it was.
This Fairleigh Dickinson University poll shows little disagreement between liberals and conservatives when it comes to drone strikes and the targeted killings of U.S. citizens. The Presidential debate on foreign policy between Obama and Romney revealed few differences in opinion, aside from the semantics of how harshly we should denounce Iran and how warmly we should embrace Israel.
Many alleged liberals and progressives have revealed not an ideological or intellectual consistency but rather an unthinking devotion to one person. Their judgment is so clouded by a cult of personality that they’ve allowed a President theoretically restricted by laws to simply discard the Fifth Amendment in exchange for the almost dictatorial power of determining who is guilty or innocent and who deserves to live or die. This power, when manifested in leaders of other countries, is routinely denounced as undemocratic. Yet, when wielded by someone liberals like, it becomes a necessary tactic to defend the homeland.
Although the scale of abuse and suffering is not comparable, drone strikes may be the Democratic Party’s contemporary Vietnam, in the sense that an overreaction to a threat (then Communism, now terrorism) has resulted in an almost imperialistic lawlessness. The ideology that fights for civil rights and the alleviation of poverty domestically has obliterated those things for innocent civilians abroad.
What will the arguments be when this power, now codified by President Obama, falls into the outstretched arms of someone liberals don’t trust; someone such as, say, Marco Rubio or Chris Christie? Will the reckless killing of suspected terrorists and hundreds of civilians become a national security necessity or will it suddenly morph into a dangerous and counter-productive war crime?
Every day that these drone strikes continue unabated, liberals lose all credibility and lose the support of those among them who genuinely support the struggle for social justice and peace.