Quote of the Day   Leave a comment

From the April 24, 2013, edition of “Viewpoint.”

John Fugelsang:

Do you know what the problem with drones is? That President Obama got to keep the Nobel Peace Prize but Milli Vanilli had to give the Grammy back.

Now this will upset some Obama supporters who won’t accept any criticism of our president, but in 2010 President Obama sent this greeting to Netroots Nation where he said, “What I’m asking you is to keep making your voices heard, to keep holding me accountable.”

You got it, Mr. President. Now at “Viewpoint” we don’t respect blind allegiance to politicians and I suspect Mr. Obama doesn’t respect it either. And some of us critique this guy because we care about him and we care about his legacy.

Now the Obama administration has continually defended its use of drones to kill people — including American citizens — as legal, wise and ethical. But this week the administration refused to send a witness to testify at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearings on the legality of the drone program.

The use of drones has increased dramatically since the first strike under the Bush administration back in 2001. And since then some 4,000 people have been killed in targeted operations, including American citizens like Anwar al-Awlaki and his teenage son, who was 16 years old.

The FAA predicts in the next 15 years more than 20,000 drones will occupy U.S. air space, including police drones, military drones, corporate drones and the entire cast of “The Five” on Fox News.

And even if you accept the meme that drones are the new normal, they save U.S. troops lives by keeping boots off the ground — there’s still reason to object. And it’s all a part of a little formula I call “IBM.”

OK, “I” is for “Imminent.” The administration believes it can kill American citizens without a trial if that person presents an imminent threat of violent attack against the U.S. But John Brennan and the White House have what they call “a broader concept of imminence.” Meaning that if they think you might be an imminent threat someday, like in 10 years, that’s enough and they can kill you now.

OK, that’s like buying tickets today for the “imminent” production of Steven Seagal playing King Lear in 20 years. And that’s not going to happen, either.

Now “B” is for “Blowback.” According to a joint study by Stanford and NYU, only one in 50 victims of drone strikes in Pakistan are militants. The rest are innocent civilians, or as Dick Cheney would call them, “collateral damage.” And every time a drone kills a few innocents along with an America hater, we generate all new America haters, or, “Don’t radicalize me, bro.”

And finally, “M” is for “Militant,” the most abused word in the entire drone campaign. Because under current U.S. policy, all military-age males who live in a combat zone are considered to be enemy combatants. The White House, Pentagon and DOJ all use this tactic to keep the civilian death count low, so if you’re a non-militant who happens to get killed by a drone that kills militants, you’re a de facto militant. That’s like saying going into a gay bar just makes you a Lady Gaga fan.

So what do you call a president who’s killed thousands of Muslims with drones, escalated war in Afghanistan, personally thrown Palestinian statehood under the bus at the U.N., kept Gitmo open and ordered the killing of Osama bin Laden? Well, our right-wing friends call him part of the Muslim Brotherhood.

But we know the right wing’s not going do anything about this. Rand Paul has already changed positions like a yoga teacher on tainted meth. No, my friends, I’m afraid it’s up to you: the Obama supporters who are mad at me right now for criticizing him. The Obama supporters who refuse to ever criticize him. Remember what the president said at Netroots: Hold him accountable.

And if the policy doesn’t change and we keep on doing this, and he damages his own legacy by killing so many innocent civilians overseas, you, my friend, if you ever get to go to the White House, are now morally authorized to walk around, find the president’s Nobel Peace Prize and draw quotation marks on it.



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