More than a week since a New York Times story on the Obama-approved program to assassinate U.S. citizens named as terrorists, Keith Olbermann still has not condemned that program. One reader correctly observed that Olbermann reported on the story in early April but, inexplicably, without commentary or expressing an opinion and, instead, he gave a commendably fair and balanced presentation almost worthy of broadcast on Fox News. As Glenn Greenwald noted at Salon:
What’s most striking to me about all of this is that — as I noted yesterday (and as Olbermann stressed) — George Bush’s decision merely to eavesdrop on American citizens without oversight, or to detain without due process Americans such as Jose Padilla and Yaser Hamdi, provoked years of vehement, vocal and intense complaints from Democrats and progressives. All of that was disparaged as Bush claiming the powers of a King, a vicious attack on the Constitution, a violation of Our Values, the trampling on the Rule of Law. Yet here you have Barack Obama not merely eavesdropping on or detaining Americans without oversight, but ordering them killed with no oversight and no due process of any kind. And the reaction among leading Democrats and progressives is largely non-existent, which is why Olbermann’s extensive coverage of it is important. Just imagine what the reaction would have been among progressive editorial pages, liberal opinion-makers and Democratic politicians if this story had been about George Bush and Dick Cheney targeting American citizens for due-process-free and oversight-less CIA assassinations.
And back then, as he did with Bush, Olbermann castigated Obama as a fascist; a criminal committing impeachable offenses. Oh, wait. I’m sorry. No, he didn’t.
To be fair to Olbermann, his mystifyingly outrageous lack of outrage over this story appears contagious among the liberal MSM — so much so that it apparently forced a group of prominent liberals to fundraise in order to publish an advertisement in the New York Review of Books entitled “Crimes are Crimes No Matter Who Does Them,” which condemned Obama’s terrorist-assassination program. Signatories to the ad include liberal stalwarts Noam Chomsky, Cindy Sheehan and Williams Ayers (though, in all fairness to Ayers, he may have more understandably self-serving motives for condemning a CIA program that summarily hunts down and assassinates suspected U.S. citizen-terrorists.)
The ad began to run on May 13:
How world-turned-upside-down is this? Liberals paying their own money to voice criticism of a CIA assassination program in the bible of liberal group-think? Since when are liberals/Hollywood elites forced to pay for talking points they usually get in their own media for free? And you can bet those elites lobbied their press contacts hard trying to get their outrage expressed gratis long before opening their own checkbooks.
Seriously, I commend these liberals, actors and accused domestic terrorists for spending their own money to criticize their beloved president. It takes guts to oppose big government’s imposition on people’s rights – those liberals should just ask the Tea Party folks. Although it sure sounds like Al-Awlaki “needs killin’,” it wouldn’t be the first time government propagandists demonized an individual/group as a pretext for oppression.
These liberals have stumbled upon this frightening truth: Who gets targeted by the next CIA drone may come down to political definitions. Just reread the administration’s 2009 DHS report entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.” It defines domestic “right wing extremists” to include:
… groups, movements, and adherents that… are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.
So, should prayer warriors outside abortion mills and legal Arizona residents be watching their six? Just asking. Given the literal life-or-death consequences of Obama’s new targeting program, no room exists for error or political propaganda, whether liberal or conservative.
My recommendation: stalk and capture Al-Awlaki, alive if feasible, charge him with treason or war crimes, throw him in Guantanamo (it’s still open, right?). But kill him without any semblance of due process? Where’s the transparency in that?
And, by the way, I’m still waiting for Olbermann’s equal outrage at the current president for conduct presumably “worse” than Bush’s alleged fascist/criminal conduct. The crickets are deafening.
Maybe Olbermann could invite Cindy Sheehan or Bill Ayers on “Countdown” and ‘splain it to us. Wait. No. They have to take out an ad.