Monday, February 18, 2013

Droning on

President Obama's choice for CIA Director, John Brennan, was asked about his position on drone attacks on U.S. citizens abroad. He defended them, and elaborated that, under the administration's policy, drone attacks had no territorial restrictions. This was a horrifying statement. When he was asked, in writing and in person, whether that meant that the president could order lethal drone attacks within the United States, he declined to answer. When the president was asked the same question, his response was that he "had no intention" of doing so. This is an even more horrifying evasion.

Is it necessary to point out that, had any Republican president made such an assertion, he would have been skewered mercilessly in the mainstream media? Obama's policy on murderous drone attacks on American citizens goes far beyond George Bush's Patriot Act, which merely sanctioned the monitoring of communications for purposes of detecting terrorists (with a judge's order). When that was announced, the media had conniption fits. Yet, President Obama is implying that he has the authority to order the murder of American citizens anywhere in the world, including within the United States, if he has a finding that the targets represent a threat to American security. Not that they are actively involved in violence against the United States (the 16-year-old son of an alleged American terrorist who was killed in a drone attack had no record of terrorist activities), not even that they are in a combat zone, but only, in the judgment of unnamed Administration officials, that they pose a threat.

May I humbly submit that this is the most egregious breach of United States law by a sitting American president since Richard Nixon ordered the break-in at Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office, and is, in fact, far more serious.

And yet, Obama seems to be getting away with it. And why? Because the media is so biased in the favor of liberals that they will not blanch at a blatant violation of the most basic of American liberties - the right to due process of law when the government judges that one had committed a crime. That pillar of Constitutional rights is being regarded as extraneous, by both the president and by the media which slavishly supports him.

Is one not reminded at this juncture of Michael Moore's clinical analysis of the dozen-or-so minutes in which George Bush hesitated before responding to the news of 9-11? And yet we now know that during the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, in which four Americans were killed, President Obama was unaccounted for for eight hours. And that the White House steadfastly refuses to account for his whereabouts. Yet no one on the left is making a documentary about Benghazi, and demanding to know where the president was and with whom he talked while the consulate in Libya was under attack, and news of it was being relayed to Washington in real time. Instead, what we got from the administration was weeks of equivocation and lies about what had happened. Nor is anyone in the mainstream media conducting an in-depth investigation to get at the truth. Instead, so-called reporters on ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, the Washington Post and the New York Times, dutifully sustain the official story, and pillory, as David Gregory recently did, anyone who dares to challenge it.

Meanwhile, our nation remains 16 trillion dollars in debt, while administration apologists blandly assert that the deficit doesn't matter, and we face another imminent fiscal crisis in Washington with no presidential leadership. And where is the president? Playing 27 holes of golf - which took him eight full hours, exactly the amount of time during which he disappeared while the American ambassador in Libya was being murdered and his body dragged through the streets.