Thursday, March 7, 2013

The antidote to paranoia and hyperbole about drones

I find no need to write about the whole drone dust-up over the last few days. That's because I can just point to two posts written by Bob Cesca and simply say "ditto."

There's the first one where he writes about AG Eric Holder's written response to Senator Rand Paul's question about whether or not drones can be used on a US citizen on American soil.  And then there's the second one where Cesca responds to Holder's appearance at the Senate committee hearing yesterday and Paul's filibuster.

Yes, I find myself shaking my head in disbelief at the nonsense I'm seeing on the blogs and twitterverse as the emos (never has that description been more fitting) throw a tantrum about all this and wind up positioning themselves with people like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Its surely a sight to behold. And so I heartily endorse Cesca's closing comments.
But not once has any Republican, including Cruz and Rand Paul, mentioned anything about ending the war on terrorism or repealing the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). The lack of nuance, as well as the lack of a sense of history on both the far-right and far-left is eerily coincidental. (Make up your own mind what’s driving it.) Again, it’s important to have oversight on drones, but let’s get real here. Cruz and others seem to have hastily constructed a bridge of paranoia and hyperbole between “a guy having a coffee” and “hijacked planes careening towards skyscrapers.”


Other than the addition of a new weapon in the arsenal, what exactly has changed in terms of the president’s military powers and policies inside the borders of the United States? Based on Holder’s letter, nothing — traditional law enforcement in nearly every circumstance and lethal military force if another 9/11 or Pearl Harbor happens to be in progress. Beyond that, there’s only speculation, paranoia and kneejerk hysteria. And it all sounds equally ridiculous regardless of which side it’s coming from.
I'm not sure there's a need to explore the question of "why" all the paranoia and hyperbole is coming from the right. We've known these folks are lunatics for a while now. When it comes to the left, I blame folks like Glenn Greenwald and Marcy Wheeler for spending years pushing propaganda on these questions while avoiding the very real issues - like the one about needing to repeal the AUMF. So a moment like yesterday is the culmination of their efforts to spread paranoia and hyperbole.

The antidote to all that is to simply read those two posts by Cesca I linked above. Thanks for a great dose of sanity Bob.  


  1. .

    "Other than the addition of a new weapon in the arsenal, what exactly has changed in terms of the president’s military powers and policies inside the borders of the United States?"

    Nothing? Can USA kill a citizen in USA within USA without due legal process?

    Flawed as it may be, governing by a consistency of Constitutional law is all there is. Government is either a government of laws or it is not! "It too difficult to follow the Constitutional law this time" will lead, in a very short time, to lawlessness by the government.

    This whole argument over 'We The People's' government secretly ordering the killing a person has been heard before. (The police in USA said it was too difficult to get convictions of criminals if police personnel could not 'cut corners' and had instead to follow the rule of law. (You know, like reading 'Miranda Rights' to accused and the like.) But by making the police follow the law, makes the police better!)

    Now, the government of USA is saying, following the national and international law to fight an enemy is too difficult; let us cut corners again. (Yes I remember when using torture was once against the law in USA.) USA is again claiming to be above the law, the process of determining the killing is secret with no accountability, and the official at all levels who makes and passes on the decision is _immune_ from legal prosecution!!!

    Missing in this are many real issues, like:

    1. At what point does a USA government official become 'above the law' (national and international)?

    2. Does being 'above the law' extend to only USA President/Vice President?

    3. Are Secretarial Department heads also 'above the law?' How far down the chain of command does being above the law extend?

    4. If one is allowed to ignore the law this time, why bother following any law?

    Ema Nymton
    ~ @ : o ?


    1. It might help if you actually read what AG Holder said. Is that too much to ask?