Dear Obama Voter: This is on you

Dear Obama Voter: This is on you October 3, 2012

And, by the way, this piece of stupidity from the comboxes over at Conor Friedersdorf’s site is all yours too:

I think Rachel Maddow said it best.(I think last Thursday?) We as a nation can not have a logical, reasoned argument about national security, privacy, warrants, trials of terrorists because the Republican Party has completely abdicated rationality and now resides permanently in screeching hysteria- land.  Where anything Democrats do to bring up any rights for anyone means you are “soft on terror”, an apologize-r in chief or to once again dig up Chamberlain- an appeaser!   When Obama tried to have real trials for Gitmo detainees or bring them to the US in the Federal prison system you would have thought they were super villains with death rays shooting out of their eyes.  Republicans ginned up so much Fox enabled hysteria you would have thought Obama was playing Russian Roulette with a Predator drone on a bus of nuns and preschoolers.  As a result we have nothing in our political process trying to see where the line needs to be.  The overwhelming pressure is to start at draconian and see if we can think of somewhere even more oppressive to go from there.  I do think we need to have a serious conversation, or even a modern day Geneva Convention where we as a world seriously discuss the new reality of asymmetrical warfare.  What to do about failed states, multi-national crime syndicates, money laundering, terrorists and drone attacks.  The game has drastically changed and the old rules don’t apply in many situations, but where should they?  Do I wish Obama had thrown someone in prison for committing torture? Yes.  Because something isn’t really illegal unless someone goes to jail when they do it.  But we can’t have the conversation anymore because we have a two party system where one party wouldn’t be happy with anything less than Jack Bauer as dictator of the world.

Poor President Obama.  That mean old Bush and those mean mean Republicans just *force* him to unilaterally murder civilians, women and children and then lie about it!  If he doesn’t, all the Republican kids on the playground will make fun of him!  Everything is somebody else’s fault.  Good Lefties are never ever to blame for the bad things they do!  They are victims too!

Grow up.  Face the fact that your guy has taken the murder of civilians (and citizens) to a whole new level and, at the end of the day, that your spokesoids like Maddow are making excuses for it instead of screaming bloody murder about it and refusing to support it.

You don’t have to vote for this man, you know.  And don’t give me a song and dance about how Romney is worse.  You don’t have to vote for him either.

So again, Obama voter: How can you sleep at night?

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  • The idea that the Obama-left is somehow “anti-war” is a joke. This was brought home to me in a very obvious way. For about five years after the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, a cadre of about 20 lefty “peaceniks” would occupy a piece of sidewalk once or twice a week on my way home from the office in Philadelphia protesting evil Bush and his wars with great big banners. After November 2008–they disappeared. They didn’t reappear at all to protest any of Obama’s wars or the failure to keep his promises to end wars. I thought this strange…wait, no I didn’t. These people care nothing about war until the wrong party is prosecuting it, just like people who care nothing about sex abuse unless Catholic priests are the perps. For some folks, it’s only about politics, not about having a rational philosophy or not being a hypocrite.

    • dpt

      Right on Florentius.

      The “anti-war” left was quite vocal here in the SF Bay Area during BusHitler’s term, but have exited stage left since November 2008.

      • Jonathan

        Hahahaha, exit stage “left.”

    • Ted Seeber

      We have the same thing in my town- except they’re sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and do Peace in the Park on Wednesdays and Rosary Against Abortion over by the PP Clinic on Saturdays.

      They’ve been doing this since 9-11-2001 and I don’t see them stopping any time soon regardless of who gets elected.

  • A couple things hit me. First, did Maddow actually say this, or is this what the individual thought/wished she said? Second, a new Geneva Convention. Has there been such a thing in light of global terrorism, the 9/11 attacks, and the threat of WMDs in terrorist hands? I hadn’t thought about it, but I guess I just imaged we’ve already had such a thing to figure out what to do and what not to due in light of the new threats.

    • JB

      Having taught International Law for some years (apparently to good effect, at least with no consequent student or faculty complaints), I can answer this with more simplicity than the White House would like:

      1. “Global terrorism” does not change the established laws of war;

      2. Neither does the moral character of whoever possesses WMDs, most of which belong to America. Therefore,

      3. The existing laws of war including the Geneva convention – and more importantly for Catholics, the Church’s ancient magisterial teachings on jus in bello AND jus ad bellum – already cover all existing technology and situations.

      In other words, look, for the past half century the world has been in peril of nuclear annihilation, a threat which the USA continues to pose. New weapons technologies are merely overkill, legally and morally redundant in view of thousands of nukes. As for the loaded term “terrorist hands”, at least from a Catholic viewpoint – meaning a belief in Original Sin – it’s immaterial to the fact that no one and no nation ought to be trusted with sufficient moral character to wield nuclear weapons. Furthermore the USA’s implied threat to use nuclear weapons is ipso facto terroristic.

      4. As for currently developing legal “theories” on how the laws of war “ought” to change in view of “new” conditions such as “terrorism”, well the academic literature is being front-loaded by the likes of John Yoo and other academic hacks serving the White House (during Bush AND Obama administrations), to concoct justifications for drones (and torture etc) In 2010 the hypothetical problem for the Jessup International Law Moot Court (cf ILSA based in DC) posited the use of drones in a hypothetical based on current events in Afghanistan-Pakistan. That’s one of the ways in which the American Empire’s flying monkeys – including elite legal “scholars” – are “normalising” the use of drones and assassinations.

      All of which I regard as reasons for Catholics to stick to the Church’s magisterium as our guide, instead of academic “experts” in Washington’s pocket.

      • Ah, not being a legal scholar, I didn’t know that. What are the processes then to keep in check a nation that might, just might, hand nuclear capabilities over to a group willing to use them? I would read it myself, but probably wouldn’t get the gist anyway. I mean, 9/11 did change the general perception of what a small group of highly funded individuals were capable of doing, that much I know. If not legally, at least on the street. A handful of fellows brought a nation to a stand still, killed thousands, damaged the Pentagon, and destroyed the Twin Towers. Given that, it’s not hard to imagine that, down the road, a group proactively willing to use a nuclear (or similar) device will do so. What are the processes in place to keep that from happening, at least to the best of our abilities? Just curious.

      • Ted Seeber

        Now that we’ve heard from the legal scholar, do we have any ex-military nuclear technicians in the house to tell us the *true* state of those “thousands of nuclear weapons” supposedly in the US Arsenal?

        Based on what I’ve seen of the state of the Interstate Highway System, I’ve got to think that after years of Bush/Obama cost cutting, we’d be hard pressed to get a successful launch of an ICBM right now.

      • The established laws of war are changed when those charged with enforcing them do not do so. The US is guilty of this but is certainly not the only one. One should remember that very early on in Afghanistan and Iraq, the JAG offices threw their hands up and stopped prosecuting all the war crimes coming in because they were overwhelmed by the number of them committed by the US’ enemies. We have never restarted prosecuting war crimes committed by the other side as we should have. Our allies have never offered legal help in prosecuting those war crimes even though they have an obligation under the conventions to do so and they certainly could have done so.
        The current state of the laws of war is very bad.

  • Deacon Nathan Allen

    I agree with JB. Law proceeds by analogy: does the present case look more like precedent A or precedent B? We have very well-developed laws of war, and we also have very well-developed laws for how to deal with bandits and pirates and other international criminal conspiracies. If we use a set of tools designed for one purpose and apply them to the wrong set of circumstances, they are ineffective at best and unjust and perhaps even criminal at worst. We should ask ourselves, Does al-Qaeda look more like Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan, or does it look more like Latin American narcoterrorists? The answer seems to me to be obvious: they are an international criminal conspiracy, not a nation-state with uniformed armies in the field. The methods of international law-enforcement are the proper tools (including criminal trials and imprisonment), not those of warfare.

    This, incidentally, was the position of the Reagan administration when it came to terrorism: treating them as combatants only served to dignify their cause, when in reality they were just thugs and criminals. Of course, Ronald Reagan could never get the nomination of today’s GOP: he not only signed into law but campaigned on amnesty for illegal immigrants, signed the UN Convention Against Toture and called it an abhorrent practice, and obviously was soft on terror. Funny to hear GOP pols praising Reagan: “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”

    • Andy, Bad Person

      Of course, Ronald Reagan could never get the nomination of today’s GOP: he not only signed into law but campaigned on amnesty for illegal immigrants,

      Yeah, but he did so with the stipulation that the borders would be secured in addition to said amnesty. The amnesty happened, the border security didn’t. Was the border security plan moral? I don’t know; all I know is it didn’t happen.

  • Dale Price

    “So again, Obama voter: How can you sleep at night?”

    Easy: this is what happens when you abandon religion but direct the inherent human religious impulse into politics. Except that you end up with a kind of secular Manichaeism in which the Sons (er, Siblings) of Light are constantly battling the Sons of Darkness.

    So, Republicans are the Devil, and they renounce all his pomps and works. Even when they happen to be their pomps and works. There’s a war on, don’cha know?

  • dpt

    “Face the fact that your guy has taken the murder of civilians (and citizens) to a whole new level”

    And all of this after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize!!!

    • Rosemarie


      Can they withdraw the Nobel Peace Prize? No winner since Arafat has deserved that more than him.

  • John


    Every presidential decision is political. As I have posted, and e-mailed you previously about this, I don’t in any way support these policy decisions as it relates to drones, etc.
    But, Republicans have long tried to position Democrats as weak, and ineffectual regarding foreign policy. It’s Standard Operating Procedure in GOP 101. If Obama displays weakness, he will be crushed with actually displaying weakness. Just look at the comboxes over at the American Conservative. We’re too busy arguing about things that the President doesn’t do, or hasn’t done, or might do to focus on the things that he has done which are truly questionable.


    • Andy, Bad Person

      That’s the entire point of the post: that Obama is displaying the same barbaric foreign policy as the Republicans did because he’s afraid to be labeled as weak.

      However, Obama’s the one in power. If he lets the GOP dictate foreign policy and adopt the same principles as they did, he won’t appear weak. He is weak for not standing up for his principles. If they are actually his principles and not talking points.

    • Mark Shea

      I could not care less what mean Republicans say to poor put-upon President Obama. The reality is that, bad as he was, Bush never claimed the right to unilaterally murder American citizens based on a secret kill list. That was an Obama innovation, as Glenn Greenwald abundantly documents. And the left has done nothing but make excuses for it and try to shift the blame. Nut up and take responsibility. This is your guy that freely chose to do this. And it is sheer cowardice for the Left to try to blame somebody else for it.

      • John

        Not sure that I would view this as “what mean Republicans say to poor put-upon President Obama.” That’s a bit too simplistic hyperbolic, for me. I do understand the calculus that goes into the decision making, as it relates to the political ramifications. Especially as the right is trying to paint him as the second coming of Jimmy Carter, which he is not.

        I would say this, as someone who supported Obama over Hillary in 2008, that he ran against our deadly escapades in the Middle East, torture and was one of the few who voted against the Iraq War ten years ago. That was my primary driver in voting for the man. Since his election he has doubled down on these failed policies, and added a few deadly, precedent setting wrinkles of his own. It is why I will be voting for Gary Johnson in November.

    • dpt

      John you are correct.
      Another result is that the GOP cannot be taken seriously when it argues for reduced spending by the federal government, though seemingly refuces to address cuts in the Dept. of Defense budget.
      Our militarism and imperialism is costing us now and will cost our children more in the future.

      • Dale Price

        Sure, the defense budgets need reining in, but our entitlement mentality, and the spending on it, is what will kill us.

        • dpt

          Don’t disagree about the expanse of some entitlements, though both need to be on the table for discussions as far as cuts and reigning in expenditures.

  • Dale Price

    This is half the reason I’m leaning toward voting for Romney: not that he’ll be better, but the press and currently hibernating protest movements will see “-R” after the President’s name and start covering this stuff again. Ditto the war in Afghanistan, ditto rendition, ditto the national debt, ditto the bad economy, ditto the QE bailout of the wealthy…

    • Mark Shea

      Vote Romney: Maybe Then the Media Will Start Doing Their Job Again!


      • Liam

        Sadly, that is the most convincing reason I’ve heard to vote for Romney.

    • John

      Romney has already positioned himself in bed with Nettanyahu (sp). His position on Israel/Iran is quite clear that he will triple down on the Neo-Conservative approach to our foreign policy that has lead us to this place already.

      Secondly, I’m not sure that getting the media to do their job again is why I would cast a vote for Romney. As the presstitute media will surely fall into line with our next military excursion, with flags positioned on the bottom of the television screen to proclaim that we are all Americans, and must support whatever the powers that be tell us. Plus, they will need to make sure they keep the Generals and the Pentagon happy, because the government won’t give us exclusive “behind the lines” access by allowing them to embed reporters with the troops to tell the military’s story.

      If you think I am wrong about that, pull some old video of the march up to the Iraq war…George Bush got a HUGE pass from the media, until the war went sideways after “Mission Accomplished”.

      • Mark Shea

        The media thrives on conflict, cuz that sells beer and shampoo. Bush provided lots of asplodey things to embedded reporters whose job was to show asplodey things, praise the war, and sell beer and shampoo. Eventually, that got dull, so the narrative changeed to a new conflict: Bush’s crappy mismanagement of the war. Same shallow media doing the same shallow stuff.

        • John

          The media sells lots of beer and shampoo, not because of conflict, but because there is enough audience who like to watch conflict and drama, and people killing themselves on the side of the road. The politicians on both sides understand this quite well, and play it to the hilt.

          At the end of the day, we get the government we deserve.

          • Mark Shea

            No argument there.

      • I don’t remember the press falling in line except twice: Our invasion of Iraq and our campaign against Slobodan Milosevic. And only in the second did the press more or less stay the course in terms of being supportive. The build up to Iraq saw the press giving both the White House and the critics their fair shake. Once the invasion happened, the press jumped on board until 1. there were no WMDs, and 2. the first casualties began. The first Iraq war was heavily criticized going into it, with various media outlets predicting a slaughterfest with body bags stacked to the rafters. It didn’t really back off until the end was obvious, then it questioned Bush’s approach to the conclusion of the conflict. The press’s approach to our conflicts appears varied, and often, sad to say, based upon who is in office when they are happening.

  • JohnP

    This was sent to me by my “right-wing” Catholic friend. As a social liberal and fiscal conservative who first supported Nixon as a non-voting child (Nixon said he wanted out of the Vietnam War and created the EPA), I would agree that the bombing with drones is a tragedy. I don’t agree it’s Obama’s fault. The Republicans can lead ANY charge on limiting the military, pulling out of any war, or curbing defense spending and I will support it. The problem is.. they don’t. They’re critical of Obama because he’s Obama but if a President Bush or President Romney were doing this, they’d support it whole-heartedly. Go ahead Republicans. Make this Liberal’s day. Lead the charge against the war or the US military industrial complex.

    • Mark Shea

      I don’t agree it’s Obama’s fault.

      *eyeroll*. What bullshit. Who do you think orders this stuff? Take some responsibility and stop deluding yourself. If Glenn Greenwald can face the truth, so can the rest of the left.

      • Chris M

        It’s hard to blame someone when you’re in love with them. I don’t mean this specifically towards John here, but the left has a serious crush on Dear Leader and short of being caught on live TV molesting a child or something a good 40% of the country will fall in line no matter what he does.

        • Mark Shea

          And as Roman Polanski demonstrates, lots of Obama supporters would not let that slow them down. Selective fake dudgeon is a specialty in that demographic.

    • B.E. Ward

      Wait a second. The drone strikes are happening not by Obama’s direction, but because the Republicans don’t stop him?