Rant: journalism and discussion about the Obama drone program

I’ve been following the “drone attack program” and the “authority to kill US citizens” issue closely. This will come up during the confirmation hearings for proposed CIA head John O. Brennan.

I’ve also tried to follow some of the discussions. Many have been extremely simple-minded.

I think that the problem is very difficult. What happens when a US citizen joins an Al Qaida-like organization, including one that has carried out, plotted attacks that have killed others? On one hand, it isn’t exactly the same thing as a US citizen who joins the army of a belligerent nation; obviously in the latter case, the “citizen” can be killed by standard military operations.

On the other hand, isn’t it at least similar? What constitutes an “army” anyway, if it is a non-state agency?
On the other hand: what if this person hasn’t really joined the organization but is in the area doing something else (say, humanitarian work). How is the person declared a “belligerent”, and who/what makes that declaration? What is the standard of proof?

Will this escalate into an excuse to kill political opponents? What safeguards (checks/balances) are there to prevent this from happening?

And what do you do? We are talking about areas that have no effective law-enforcement, and standard operations (military ones) usually result in many civilian injuries and deaths.

So, I am conflicted; I can see several sides of an issue.

However, some in the liberal media (that is the “liberal subset of the media”) think that a lack out outrage means that liberals are ignoring the problem.

Why isn’t there more outrage about the president’s unilateral targeted assassination program on the left?

Note: the article itself isn’t that bad; it contains a decent summary of the program and principled objections to it. But as far as the headline….

No, it isn’t that we are “ignoring” justice. It is that some of us have the intellect to see that this is a complicated, sticky issue and some of us are still working through our own thoughts.

I find it especially ironic that such charges are coming from a media that showed, among other things, that it doesn’t understand science and can’t even digest a simple collection of poll numbers (re: “the 2012 election is razor tight!”). Frankly, I doubt if many journalists and pundits have the mental firepower to give this issue proper examination.

Note: If you want to comment, fine. However I’d like for you to explain how your plan would work “right now” and what the potential weaknesses are, as well as why you might be wrong. If you can’t give me the weakness of your ideas or analysis, then you probably aren’t worth talking to about this.


February 7, 2013 - Posted by | politics, politics/social, ranting, social/political, world events | , ,

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