Newsweek first revealed that the Bush administration used harsh interrogation tactics to obtain intelligence from terrorist masterminds in 2004. American Progressives leapt at the chance to attack the evil, war-mongering, Halliburton-loving, Cheney-controlled Bush. Their pious, humanitarian tinged caterwauling was heard non-stop, coast to coast, on every Progressive media outlet, from every college campus, and from Hollywood.
Progressive hand-wringing over the horror of water-boarding grew to epic proportions. They called for war crimes tribunals for the unrepentant fascist scum working to keep them safe from Al Qaeda. Hazing of prisoners at Abu Ghraib–in which helpless prisoners were stripped naked and forced to wear demeaning clothing–became, in the fevered Progressive imagination, tantamount to Auschwitz.
When I attended the International Ethics in Intelligence conference in 2006, the Progressive academics in attendance were mainly interested in discussing one topic–torture. Of the hundreds in attendance, I only ran across two other members who had ever been intelligence officers in the field. Few of the presenters on Torture, or the myriad related “ethical” issues had ever been at the pointy end of the spear. They lectured on “Just War Theory” and Hegelian ethics as applied to an Aristotelian world view, or other pseudo-intellectual rot. To a person, they condemned the Bush administration’s use of harsh interrogation tactics. The Guantanamo Bay prison camp was another popular target of revulsion.
Fast forward just four years later. Torture is out of the news. Gitmo remains open. The media quietly reports that CIA “drone strikes” (missile attacks from an unmanned aerial vehicles) and associated “targeted killings” have sky-rocketed since Obama gained control of the covert action elements of the U.S. Government.
Our new President, the Progressive hero, rules the Executive Branch. The Executive controls the CIA, and all law enforcement and intelligence, including covert action. Covert killings, including UAV targeted killings, require a “finding” to be signed by the President.
In 2006 there were a reported total of two drone attacks in Pakistan, which killed a reported 23 people. In the first 11 months of 2010 the Obama administration is reportedly carried out 106 attacks in Pakistan, with a death toll of up to 857. Evidently, Obama’s left hand has been quite busy signing findings between rounds of golf and elbow-banging sessions on the hardwood court.
The faux outrage over water-boarding was over the top. Progressives vowed revenge on the Bush administration members who had reviewed and approved the harsh methods. The Progressive reaction to low-level, untrained jailers playing pranks on defenseless prisoners at Abu Ghraib created world-wide ill-will against the U.S. and our interests. In response, Americans were taken hostage and brutally tortured. Terrorists sawed and hacked the heads off of American and other allied hostages. They shared their gory work online.
The Progressive outrage machine seems to have run out of steam. Where is the outrage over the extra-judicial killings of 857 people, in Pakistan alone? We are not at war with Pakistan. The Obama administration waffles on whether we are still at war or not, and if so, with whom. People, including American and allied citizens, are alleged to be members of terrorist organizations. They are alleged to be planning terrorist attacks.
The Obama administration made a public vow to use legal and defensible approaches to combating “man-caused contingencies,” or whatever their political commissars have decided to call terrorism. They vowed to close Gitmo. They vowed to bring clarity to dealing with the poor innocents the bad Bushies had snatched from their cradles and sent to the prison on Cuba.
Their vain, self-congratulatory certainty of moral superiority was, and is, a sham. Now that Obama and his minions control the covert action apparatus, it has shifted into high gear. They operate in ways that were not even conceivable during the Bush administration. American, international, and local laws be damned.
While we surely need to have counter-terrorist operations, we also need to consider American and international law when we take those actions. A German legislator, a member of the Left party (leftovers from East Germany), pointed out that “Obama is not God,” after a German was killed. Maybe the understatement of the century, but I believe that unrepentant communist is quite prescient. It is possible that Obama’s extra-judicial killings could be his Watergate. Who knew what and when?
Anwar al-Awlaki is certainly affiliated with terrorism. He clearly inspires Al Qaeda wannabes, including the Ft Hood terrorist, Nidal Hassan, and the hapless Christmas 2009 Panties Bomber.
It appears that Obama’s policy is to target for extra-judicial killing by a UAV missile American citizens who inspire terrorists to plan attacks. Considering the actual, armed attack on the Discovery Channel by eco-terrorist (“humans are filth”) James Lee, Al Gore should probably check in with the White House regularly.