Better Late Than Never

Charles Krauthammer, who did such a bang-up job cheering for the erection of a torture state and who has expressed his thrill at the thought of the Patriot Act and all manner of Big Government Chickenhawkery and Police Statism is, mirabile dictu, suddenly Very Very Upset that our Police State is using drones on American citizens on our own soil.

For those of us who have been warning that throwing away our liberties for a neocon security state was a bad idea, Krauthammer’s sudden Damascus Road Moment, while certainly welcome, does rather remind us of this little anecdote about Robert Conquest, the author of the seminal history of Communism called The Great Terror: Stalin’s Purge of the Thirties, which fashionable dunces had long pooh-poohed in their idiotic romance with Commies:

After the opening up of the Soviet archives in 1991, detailed information was released that Conquest argued supported his conclusions. When Conquest’s publisher asked him to expand and revise The Great Terror, Conquest is famously said to have suggested the new version of the book be titled I Told You So, You F*cking Fools. In fact, the mock title was jokingly proposed by Conquest’s old friend, Kingsley Amis. The new version was published in 1990 as The Great Terror: A Reassessment (ISBN 0-19-507132-8).

Krauthammer, having spent the past decade arguing for a lawless security state with reckless and unaccountable powers to commit war crimes on swarthy foreigners, is suddenly and belatedly awakening to the fact that when Caesar grants himself the power to lawlessly torture and kill foreigners to “keep us safe” it soon occurs to him that citizens can likewise be stripped of their human rights, spied on, and killed on a Caesar’s whim for exactly the same rationale. Glad he’s finally gotten a clue. I hope other neocon revolutionaries in the Vanguard of History likewise start to figure out what they did so much to help bring about. A little shame would be nice too, but as long as he’s on board, that’s the main thing.

  • Tominellay

    I always thought Krauthammer was smarter than the others; with enough time, he could support Ron Paul for president!

    • ds

      I think he’s still just dumb enough to do that.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    I’m hoping that like the Conquistador’s armor, they’re susceptible to Atlatl. Arrow would be even easier. I care not which really.

    But It is hunting season, and I bet urban areas are a target rich environment. Them rural ones can sit way back, but to really spy on a city you have to get up close and personal. In fact, downtown Atlanta’s highrises have always reminded me in a way of Little River Canyon.

    Anyway, I’m gonna shut up there. If they don’t know to kill me yet, i don’t wanna give them ideas.

  • Kirt Higdon

    Well, I guess the Kraut will no longer be regularly featured on Fox “News” for his expert commentary.

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      I doubt it. Fox News may not be perfect, but I don’t remember them ever banning a Fox News contributor over his or her political opinions.

      • Timbot2000

        Tell it to Andrew Napolitano
        “Judge Napolitano: How to get fired from Fox Business in under 5 mins”
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bAqdSNuuHI

        • Rosemarie

          +J.M.J+

          Okay, a few points.

          First, I know they’re owned by the same parent organization, but Fox Business is not the Fox News Channel. Two different stations.

          Second, according to Foxnews.com, Judge Napolitano is the “senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel.” This is at the end of an article authored by him and dated 5/14/12:

          http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/05/03/president-private-war/

          So he’s apparently not banned or fired on Fox News, despite the fact that his program on Fox Business was cancelled, which could have happened for a variety of reasons – poor ratings, maybe?

          Yeah, I know what the YouTube guy posted but is that the real reason? His program was actually reduced over time from five times a week to four to three to once to… cancelled. If it was because of one thing he said then why the slow dwindling, why not an immediate cancellation?

          • Rosemarie

            +J.M.J+

            More research has confirmed my suspicion; Judge Napolitano was not fired. His show was cancelled but he is still in the employ of News Corp as the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel and Fox Business. Unfortunately, the internet rumor that he was fired has now made it to the front page of this blog. *sigh*

      • Kirt Higdon

        Tell it to the late Colonel David Hackworth. He was a frequent commentator on Fox in the run-up to the Iraq war until it became apparent that he was opposed to the whole enterprise, at which time he quickly became a non-person. Same with Michael Scheuer and George Friedman. Speak out against the empire and its policy of permanent war and you’re history as far as Fox is concerned. Their supposed rival MSNBC deals the same with anti-war commentators – note the fate of Phil Donohue and Ashley Banfield.

  • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

    I don’t think Krauthammer’s opposition to using drones in the U.S. — at least as presented in the linked article — amounts to a Damascus Road moment about trading liberty for security. He’s arguing that the use of drones against Americans crosses a line that is not crossed by the use of drones against Pakistanis — more generally, that the State is bound to follow the rules laid down by the Founders.

    “You may cross this line, but not that line,” isn’t the position of someone who now sees that “you may cross this line” was a bad idea.

  • http://peace Puck

    It is worse even than you state. But it is not just a neocon issue and you should stop trying to make it one else people will think that simply by voting for liberals you will stop the ever-encroaching power of the state. Clinton pushed for and passed a major anti-terrorism law. The problem is the State iself.

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      Mark has made all those points in previous posts. Any person who reads this thinks that voting for liberals will end gov’t encroachment obviously hasn’t been reading him very closely these past few months, even years.

  • Michael

    Call me cynical, but I have to wonder if Krauthammer would be so principled if this was being done by a Republican.

  • http://www.chesterton.org Sean P. Dailey

    “Conquest is famously said to have suggested the new version of the book be titled I Told You So, You F*cking Fools.”

    LMAO! I love it! Robert Conquest is alright. I also recommend his book Harvest of Sorrow, about the 1929-31 Ukraine Terror-Famine.

  • Raymond Suda

    This site might help with understanding our current plight. http://www.wehaitians.com/what%20we%20are%20fighting%20for.html

  • Michelle

    “It ought to be used in Somalia to hunt bad guys but not in America. I don’t want to see it hovering over anybody’s home.”

    Translation: Drone technology is perfectly fine and just and holy for use on those evil brown guys over there, but not for AMERICANS!

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      Last I checked there were “brown guys” among us Americans. I don’t think Krauthammer wants the US gov’t spying on them, either.

      • Michelle

        I wouldn’t be so sure. Most neocons want the “brown guys” among us booted back across the border to Mexico, whether or not they are citizens (because “they’re all alike,” doncha you know?).

        • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

          Are you suggesting Charles Krauthammer thinks that Somalia is in Mexico?

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            Why on earth would you think she was?

            • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

              I don’t. I think she is lazily, and rather incoherently, calumnating Krauthammer as a racist.

              • Hezekiah Garrett

                Are you suggesting she cooks her escargot live?

                What I really mean is are you sure she’s lazy and incoherent? I don’t necessarily endorse her take, but it was fairly straightforward and, well, coherent.

                • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

                  “Neocons are all racists, dontcha know,” is a lazy argument, yes.

                  The incoherency comes from her recasting of the term “brown guys” from meaning “non-white guys” to meaning “Latin Americans.” Either Krauthammer thinks African Americans came from Mexico (or further south), or all neocons want all African Americans to go back to Africa, or her response to Rosemarie is a non sequitur.

                  All that said, whether she is being lazy or incoherent is, of course, a very minor point next to her calumny.

                  • Hezekiah Garrett

                    Where did she mention Krauthammer? She cautioned someone not to be certain, and then gave her reason. A reason having to do with Neo-cons generally, not Krauthammer specifically.

  • Martial Artist

    @Tominellay and @ds,

    Since you are both so obviously intelligent, you might care to expound upon the parallels you see between the positions of Krauthammer and those of Ron Paul, particularly as regards their comparative stances on the Constitutional rights of all persons in these United States? This would be particularly germane, given that the Congressman has published his positions in the past year in his book Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom. Of course, that would require you actually to understand his principles and positions and then take the effort to counter them. But I would imagine that it is much less work simply to engage in implicit slurs against the man. I would, however, suggest that doing the latter seems not very Catholic of you.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

    • Tominellay

      Martial Artist,
      I’m a longtime supporter of Ron Paul; I’ve been a fan of his since he was a baby congressman in the 1980s. I think his policies are consonant with Catholic Church teachings.
      I’m certain you didn’t understand my comment above…let me apologize to all to whom I did not make myself clear.
      Like Mark Shea, I’m glad Krauthammer’s “finally gotten a clue”. My wish is that he comes around on other issues as well, to the point that he could embrace all Ron Paul policy positions.

      • Tominellay

        …oops…I’ve been a fan of Paul since before the 1980s; used to read about his House voting record in TRIM bulletins in the late 1970s…

  • dpt

    Living in the San Fran area, I heard a lot about BusHitler and the jack-booted thugs led by John Ashcroft regarding the Patriot Act, etc.
    The Patriot Act is still with us under the current administration, yet the then Bay area critics are now quite silent about our civil and human rights.

    • Richard Johnson

      Indeed, that is true. However it can also be said that conservatives have been vocal against these overreaching laws only since they lost the White House.

      I guess it means that the hypocrites on the left are no better than those on the right.

  • Lisa

    Why is the using of drones against Americans inherently “more evil” than using them against other poor souls in Pakistan or, say, Ontario? It always makes me nervous when Mouths attempt to assert that the American constitution hovers above natural law. In fact, it is derived from natural law, and thus subserviant to it. IOW, if it is immoral to blow up Americans with drones, it’s immoral to blow up Pakis.

    • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

      Who has said using drones against Americans is inherently “more evil” than using them against other poor souls in Pakistan or Ontario?

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        Krauthammer would seem to imply such, wouldn’t he?

        • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

          Where did he say anything about evil?

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            What does imply mean?

            • Hezekiah Garrett

              I’m perfectly willing to grant you that Krauthammer’s calculus does not consider good and evil, only practicalities.

              But I bet you don’t REALLY want me to grant that.

              • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

                Why wouldn’t I really want you to grant that?

                My point is this: Krauthammer’s position is not, “It is inherently more evil to use drones against Americans than against Pakistanis.” His position is, “It is inherently contrary to American tradition for the U.S. military to use drones against Americans on U.S. soil.” And, contrary to what some say, Krauthammer’s “contrary to American tradition” is not directly translatable to the Church’s “evil” — because, as you point out, he’s not reasoning within the Church’s tradition.

  • Carbon Monoxide

    How is blowing up people with drones an less evil than blowing them up with F-22s, or F-16s, or B-52s, or F-4s, or B-17s? My point is, we have a long history of bombing civilians (and using aircraft to spy on “enemies”), why is suddenly more evil to do it with drones? Is it evil you object to or just low-cost evil?

  • Skeet Shooter

    I for one am very eager to see these in the skies near my club.

  • frank sales

    It’s just technology, like a cop’s gun or a wiretap. If the state really wants to kill you or spy on you, it’s going to, whether it has drones or not.

    Vote for people who will use the drones to protect you and your family.

    And yes, regardless of whether or not you have a U.S. passport, if you go to a foreign land and preach terrorism, and organize terrorism on American targets, then you are a legitimate target of war and lethal force. Krauthammer will never move one millimetre from that position. Why is that so hard to swallow, Mark?

    • Timbot2000

      “Hey Frodo!”
      “Yes Sam?”
      “I have a great Idea!, after all, the Ring is just a thing right? It’s power depends just on the person using it, right? Well, Saruman says he wants the Ring to defeat Sauron, and he’s already pretty wise and strong, what say we give him the ring so he can protect us from Sauron! He gets the Ring, we get protected, everyone wins!”
      “Shut up Sam”

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      What planet do you hail from? Welcome to Earth!!!

    • S. Murphy

      I would like to see whatever evidence there may be that Awlaki was actually organizing terrorist acts declassified and published. Even then, assassination in a third party’s back yard doesn’t sit well. If he’d been in Afghanistan, or even Pakistan directing corss-border raids against US forces, I’d understand a tactical/operational -level decision to send a drone after him, as an active enemy combatant. But all that’s known outside the White House, the Pentagon, and CENTCOM, is that an American citizen, exercising his First Amendment rights, was targeted with a nifty little weapon that has now become a strategic asset. It set one really bad precedent: that American citizens are subject to summary execution by order of the president.
      Tactical-level use of drones for hitting targets, as opposed to taking pictures, has the same pitfalls with respect to just war as any other air or indirect-fire weapon. You can miss the target and hit something else, you can hit the target and also kill civilians in the area, etc. I’m not trivializing these problems. But, perhaps due to our fastidiousness about separating Church and State, we tend to suppress all personal morality, including respect for Just War tradition, under ‘professionalism’ and legalism — and no commander wants to betray his guys on the ground, any more than he wants to explain himself to a higher commander’s staff judge advocate, so weapons and tactics that are effective against the enemy, and perceived as saving our guys’ lives with ‘acceptable’ levels of ‘collateral damage’ are going to get used.
      When they don’t, and Americans get killed, the families of the deceased, and their buddies, tend to feel that they were betrayed by political commanders and badly-designed ROE.
      Anyway, when those who are bound to respect the law, and contrained from respecting the right except as seen through the prism of law, stop respecting the law – the wrong just increased exponentially, and will continue to do so, because there’s nothing left to stop it. (cf that *Man for All Seasons* line that Mark has posted so often.)
      Semper Fi.

  • Frank Sales

    The drone isn’t like the Ring. That was my point. In terms you may understand, it is like Legolas’s bow and arrow or Gimli’s ax.

    • Observer

      No. Legolas’s bow, Striders sword, Gandalf’s sword and staff, Gimli’s axe, and Frodo’s inherited chain-mail from Bilbo are not empowered with a centralization of authority (as the Ring does.) Before going into a comparitive, understand Tolkien’s story was the language of the middle-age tales presented to an audience of modern time. Meaning, virtue and vices are always present. And, the language from the middle-age (ahem, sounds almost like Middle Earth) represents a universality which modern readers can understand more from the past of what is obviously occurring in the present. More so,as a suggestion, a lot of parallels to the Church are referred to in Joseph Pearce’s CD on insights of the Lord of the Rings.

      Moving forward, central power and authority are the influences of the ring (i.e. having dominion.) If you will, the state has tried in the past to reconcile such a dominion of power by defining authority (as King Henry VIII did with parlaiment.) Worse, the subjective will of state to define what powers it feels are subject to it’s own authority begins to empower subjectivism (moral relativism being the fruit and rationality for one to do what they want as long as there’s an apparent good – as Eve saw the fruit was good in her eyes.) The ring, hence, can be expressed as power given to any persons, person, or entity trying over anything and everything (especially people’s lives.)

      Can the subjective use of power willing to use anything in sight (i.e. some mechanically controlled machine) for an apparent good? Yes.

      The awful occurrence of centralized power given over to equate dominion and authority over the lives of subjects (i.e. people; meaning persons) does come in the manner and form for the un-governed to jeopardize anyone and all things upon the whim, fancy, and feeling to a divine right – subjecting all under its’ dominion (as Frodo had been tempted on many occassions to where the ring.) And you have in the particular example and manner with the above article the exact same temptation and move which Frodo, Bilbo, Golem, and Sauron had all been compelled to do once they had the ring.

  • Observer

    Oops – Can the subjective use of power willing to use anything in sight (i.e. some mechanically controlled machine) [be construed] for an apparent good? Yes.


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