War on Terror

Daily Reminder: Obama May Be the Lesser of Two Evils, But He Is Still Evil


Perhaps because it is election season, Democrats have all but given up on saying that war is wrong or bad or a waste of blood and treasure, and are now saying things like, "Obama's drone strikes may be awful, but he is still better than Bush, and probably Romney, even though Romney has not yet had the chance to murder a teenager from several thousand miles away." 

Wonkette recently published this appraisal of Obama's secret drone war, based on the NYT's secret kill list story

Are you a pacifist? Then there is no way to sugar-coat the fact that your tax dollars continue, under President Obama, to be used to kill people with missiles in foreign countries. Sorry! But if you think that sometimes you need to perpetrate violence for the greater good—even in a politicized Obama only when necessary kind of way—then you'll probably be satisfied, queasy-satisfied, or talk-yourself-into-it-satisfied, at the general description of how the Secret 'Kill List' is compiled, with Obama signing off on the drone strikes done by the military and most of the strikes done by the CIA (which is in charge of the Pakistani strikes for the usual byzantine reasons). Everyone tries really hard to make sure that only double-confirmed terrorists who are actually working on killing USA Americans and who aren't hanging with civilians are vaporized by flying death robots.

And even when the wrong people are killed (AND OF COURSE THE WRONG PEOPLE GET KILLED SOMETIMES), less of them get killed than were killed constantly in the wars Obama ended/is ending, OK? Because if there's one thing that kills more people than flying death robots firing missiles at camps and villages a couple times a week, it's full-on wars with armies and soldiers invading your country for years and years.

And then there's this: 

And even if you're all like, "Whatever, I trust Eric Holder to do the right thing in this situation," someday Eric Holder is going to quit and go back to his first love (the New Black Panthers). Here is a very true statement from that article: "This program rests on the personal legitimacy of the president, and that's not sustainable. I have lived the life of someone taking action on the basis of secret OLC memos, and it ain't a good life. Democracies do not make war on the basis of legal memos locked in a DOJ safe."

Guess who said that! Go on, guess! Give up? It is Michael Hayden, Bush's last CIA director! Ha ha, guess he feels kind of mad about what the Dumb-o-crats are doing with all the precious terrorist-killing powers he and his buddies so carefully put together between 2001 and 2008. Just like you'll be pissed when Romney uses all of Obama's totally legit flying deathbot policies for evil, rather than good. Don't worry about that Secret Kill List, though, Romney doesn't believe in government bureaucrats compiling Secret Kill Lists. That can be done more efficiently by the private sector. 

To recap: Obama is better at murdering people than Bush; Romney would somehow be worse at it.

Leaving aside the questions raised by that assertion—how, exactly, could someone be worse than Obama, seeing as he's continued most of Bush's policies, including torture, which we simply do in foreign countries, rather than in the slice of Cuba we refuse to relinquish—what's really great about Wonkette's post is that Obama feels exactly the same way

"You never know who is going to be president four years from now," Mr Obama is said to have told aides during a discussion about whether he should be able to detain terror suspects indefinitely. "I have to think about how Mitt Romney would use that power."

That quote is from a new book coming out this week titled Kill or Capture: The War on Terror and the Soul of the Obama Presidency, written by Newsweek's Daniel Klaidman. The Daily Beast adds some context

In a 2009 meeting with advisers, Obama voiced concerns about what a future president may do with the power to indefinitely detain suspected terrorists. Alluding to the FDR-era Supreme Court decision that allowed the president to intern American citizens of Japanese descent during World War II, Obama worried about the powers his actions may place in the hands of a future president.

So Obama once worried that one of his awful policies would allow him, and every president going forward, to indefinitely detain people. And then he went and made it a reality by signing the National Defense Authorization Act.

Obama has set the bar for government evil so high, it's hard to imagine how Romney could possibly get his geriatric ass over it. If he does make it over, it'll undoubtedly be with a boost from Obama's codification of some seriously heinous policies. 

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  1. And yet all my liberal friends (and, being at a university, virtually all my friends are liberals/ill-defined leftists) will self-righteously vote for him because Romney is so awful. And besides, they’re democrats. And because.
    If Gary Johnson looks like he can run a decent campaign I’ll get involved. Otherwise, I’m just going to sit this one out.

  2. What exactly would Romney do that would be worse?

    1. Sell sponsorships on the Drones themselves, like sort of a flying NASCAR.

      1. Oooh, good idea. Then allow betting on drone kills. Then setup seasonal drone killing competitions. I see a bright future for unmanned warfare.

        1. Damon Killian: There are still two stalkers out there. Dynamo and Fireball. Who do you think will make the next kill?
          Elderly Lady: Oh my. That’s a tough one.
          Damon Killian: Come on, Agnes. You can do it. Who do you think?
          Elderly Lady: Alright, I think the next kill will be made by… Ben Richards.
          Damon Killian: No, no. Agnes, Richards is a runner. You have to pick a stalker.

          1. “That boy is one mean motherfucker.”

          2. “I can pick anyone I choose. And I choose… Episiarch. That boy is one mean motherfucker.”

            1. PWN’D

              1. It’s all part of life’s rich pattern, Brenda, and you better fucking get used to it.

              2. Wrong, dickface, and I actually specified you. And look at the times. I’d say jink, poke, you owe me a (or some) Coke.

          3. Man, if only they would do the actual book version of that movie.

            1. There’s still room to make the novella into a movie. It actually never happened.

              1. Your jealousy of Richard Dawson is so transparent.

          4. I did not know that Richard Dawson was still alive until I heard he passed away over the weekend.

            He was so perfectly cast in that movie.

          5. R.I.P. Richard Dawson

    2. He might *horror of horrors* allow people to keep more of their income.

  3. Drones are going to be preferable to actual soldiers in the future. They don’t question orders, they don’t get angry and leak info to the press and they don’t get drunk and brag about who they kill.

    1. But their cameras are much better than the ones on iPhones, although generally the pictures the drones take are not made public…

    2. Once they perfect the drone that can pee on the enemy after it blows them up, we won’t need soldiers at all!

  4. It is like Republicans and small government. In 2004 they voted for Bush because they thought the war in Iraq was more important than small government. That is their choice. But when they did that, they could no longer say small government was their most important issue. The war was.

    Same thing here. If beating the other and whatever domestic goodies are more important to these people than the war, that is their choice. But when Romney wins, their days of being able to claim the war is some fierce moral imperative is over. Clearly it is not or they wouldn’t have voted for Obama.

    1. Republican politicians don’t want smaller government.

      They just say they do so you’ll vote for them.

      1. Silly rabbit, welfare’s for corporations…

      2. That is the whole point. Bush enlarged government but they still voted for him because they thought the war was more important.

        1. Or they didn’t want Kerry to expand government even faster, if that was possible.

          1. Obama has proved that it was possible.

      3. Politicians, by and large, don’t “want” anything other than to get re-elected.

        Occasionally they’ll do the right thing, solely because it becomes necessary for them to be re-elected. For the same reasons they will do the wrong thing.

    2. john,
      you make it sound like Dems give a shit about the moral high ground. Please. If Romney wins, the peaceniks who have been AWOL the past four years will be back out in force complaining about the US killing innocents. And no one will ask “where the hell were y’all when Obama was in office?”

      1. I’m pretty sure we’ll ask. Unless they muzzle us, of course. But being irrelevant is probably more effective than a muzzle anyway…

  5. The fact is that the Left was never worried about the idea of a police state in general, only a police state that was run by Team Red and not Team Blue.

    1. Indeed. The sheep trust their shepherd/wolf, just not the other TEAM’s shepherd/wolf. Because they’re sheep.

    2. the left leaves police state enlargement to Team Red so it can focus on building up the nanny state. When the Blues win, they get a two-fer but complain about the police part while also doing nothing to lessen it.

  6. Maybe Obama is evil. Maybe Bush and Clinton were too. Maybe every President in the last 70 years has been evil intent on doing as much harm as possible.

    Or maybe these questions are a lot harder than they seem. And it is one thing to run your mouth while out of office facing no responsibility and quite another to actually take action when you are responsible for defending the country.

    Just a thought.

    1. Or maybe they aren’t all that hard and you’re making excuses.

      1. If they are easy decisions, then you are saying the last three Presidents were both stupid and evil. That might be true but I doubt it. What seems more likely, is that it is easy for people like Reason or candidate Obama to talk out of their asses on this issue than it is to actually make the decisions.

        Do you really think Obama loves all of this and planned the entire time to do just this? I don’t. I think he actually believed what he said while a candidate. But then found out once in office how wrong he was. To believe otherwise is to believe in some grand conspiracy. Sorry, Occam’s razor says otherwise.

        1. If they are easy decisions, then you are saying the last three Presidents were both stupid and evil.

          Yes, they were. Clinton killed hundreds of thousands of children with his sanctions against Iraq and bombing of the Sudan. Bush and Obama we all know about. And what do we have to show for it? Is the world a better place because of it?

          1. That is a counter factual since we don’t now what the world would look like if they hadn’t done it. The only way to conclusively conclude it isn’t is to stick your head up your ass and conclude that any action is always worse than no action.

            1. Well, we have no idea what the economy would have looked like without the stimulus. Without TARP. Without HAMP. Without Dodd-Frank. Without Fast and Furious. Without Solyndra.

              1. Imagine no recessions.
                I wonder if you can.

        2. False dichotomy.

          What I think happens is that a lot of institutional pressure is brought to bear on the new President because of all of the entrenched interests in the Executive Branch. There is a lot of incentive for the CIA, the NSA, the DOD, et. al. to say “ZOMG DO SOMETHING NOW OR YOU’LL BE REMEMBERED AS THE PRESIDENT WHO THE TERRORISTS WIN!”

          And the President compromises, and compromises, and compromises.

          Sorry, John, but your excuses could cover ever action every President has taken, in that “he knows stuff that we don’t and governing is TEH HARD”. I’m not buying that crap.

          1. Sorry but I don’t buy the NSA made him do it crap either. All you are doing is assuming that everyone who disagrees with you is stupid, evil or being manipulated. You seem to completely be unable to admit that there might be two sides to the story. That is just frankly, not a serious position.

            1. I didn’t say “made”, John. I am willing to say that someone who disagrees with me may do so in good faith without nefarious motives.

        3. I don’t know if you are trying to be devil’s advocate or what, but in the other thread you said that all men are born evil. You implied that telling a 2 year old that they were ugly could be evil. Now in this thread, it seems you’re trying to justify Obama’s murders as not so evil because he has good intentions? I’m really confused.

        4. Nothing compels the President to withhold, after the fact, the information that influenced his decision making. We are equals in this process, not ignorant children to be shepherded by our better-knowing superiors.

    2. Evil doesn’t rest solely on intentions John. [Godwin Godwin Godwin Godwin] but their actions were still evil.

      And the questions really aren’t that difficult. Bombing other countries that Congress hasn’t declared war on, detaining people indefinitely without trial or access to counsel, torture, these are all specifically forbidden by the Constitution that the government is bound to obey.

      If the Constitution gets in the way of killing who you want to kill, then the case for killing them can’t be all that strong.

      If you just decide to ignore the highest law in the land/statement of principles for operating a civilized nation in pursuit of a vague sense of security, then your country really isn’t worth defending in the first place.

      1. And standing around with your head up your ass hoping for the best never taking actions against our enemies never has any draw backs. Go it.

        This is why no one takes Libertarians seriously on these issues. And this is why Ron Paul will never be President even though he was right on nearly everything domestically and this should have been his year.

        1. It’s always really convenient when GOPlovers say “Libertarians just don’t get taken seriously because they don’t believe as I do! WHY WON’T YOU JUST REFORM YOURSELVES, LIBERTARIANS??! Can’t you see how right I am?”

          Go pull that lever for Romney, John. You know you’re going to.

        2. so are we safer for NATO’s participation in Libya? Our bluster re: Egypt? I say ANY president would have authorized a strike in Afghanistan after 9/11, but a Paul type would likely have stayed out of Iraq.

          No one takes us seriously now because they know the lecturer-in-chief does nothing but talk. Folks thought Bush and, prior to him, Reagan, were just crazy enough to drop a few bombs.

          Instead of anti-terror, we’ve gone pro-preemptive strike. Because we feel like it. Had Bush gone drone crazy like Obama, I cannot imagine your view of it would be different. The peaceniks would be out in force but no one expects intellectual consistency from them.

          1. I really don’t care about Obama’s intentions. Not a fucking whit. I don’t care if he is on the side of the angels, or is the actual philosopher king who studies Aquinas and Augustine on just war theory as he decides which clerical propagandist to kill next as described in the NYT report.

            Barack Hussein Obama used extra-judicious assassination as policy, not even bothering to hide it for the purposes of that good ol’ CIA concept, plausible deniability, and for that he deserves to hang. If his conscience be clean, as I have little doubt for a man with so little doubt of his own immaculate being, all the better for a righteous martyrdom.

        3. As for that weight of the world on the shoulders of great men crap, it is just that, crap. Every time I have gotten my hands on the actual reports used for active intelligence (Gulf of Tonkin incident for instance), I have been amazed at the paucity of what these fools based their decisions on. What separates them from us is not greatness, not gravitas, nor intelligence, and certainly not wisdom. It is ego, and the blindness that goes with it.

  7. I’m glad somebody reads Wonkette so I don’t have to. A site which became famous because of some chick’s calloused bunghole is not a go-to site for cogent analysis.

    1. In fact when they started taking their analysis seriously and had fewer articles about bipartisan buttsecks that was pretty much the point when the site became a monstrosity.

  8. Once again, Riggs FAIL! How exactly have you shown us that His Pestilency is any more or less evil than Shit Flopney?

    You haven’t; they are arguably two sides of the same evil coin, though I would argue each of those sides have blurred from one side to the other with very little difference b’twixt the two. They are equally evil and dishonest, IMO.

    1. Romney has one advantage. He actually hasn’t done bad shit as president yet. He most likely will continue the farce, but there’s a small chance he’ll do it a little less badly than the current occupier of the White House is.

  9. No one can ever change their position on anything. Think about this. The people in these articles support Obama and think he is a good President. And they also think the use of drones and not closing GUTMO is bad.

    The rational thing to do would be to reconsider on or the other proposition. Maybe Obama not such a good President. Or in the alternative if he is, maybe the drones and GUTMO are more necessary than we thought.

    But they seem incapable of doing that because they can never change their position or stop being partisans. To admit the first, is to admit a Democrat did something wrong. And we can’t have that. To admit the latter is to admit that maybe the other side has a point. And we can never have that. So they end up writing nonsense instead.

    1. GITMO they can blame on Congress not letting him (and then blame the total Dem control Congress not letting him on the voters and public opinion, which at least has some truth to it.)

      I have a hard time understanding how waterboarding is worse than killing, though. I personally think that that SuperMax as practiced is worse than waterboarding as supposedly practiced (for a sufficient length of SuperMax captivity compared to waterboarding once or twice), but I would think that any change that says “let’s kill these people because capture is messy” would raise questions.

  10. This whole post is a series of people showing that they understand the Iron Law:

    Me today, you tomorrow.

    And then completely ignoring it.

    1. I’m sure Tulpy Poo will wander around to argue with this Iron Law as well.

      1. I know. Its so cute when he balls up his little fists and stamps his feet.

  11. But they seem incapable of doing that because they can never change their position or stop being partisans

    Such is the nature of partisans, John.

    1. And that was supposed to be threaded under your comment, but I guess I’m retarded.

      1. I endorse this sentiment. You are, conclusively, retarded.

    2. They are worse than that. If they were just ordinary partisans, you would expect them to embrace the war now that their team is doing it. Drones? Drones are great. We love drones. But they don’t even have the intellectual integrity to do that. It is just bizarre.

  12. And even if you’re all like, “Whatever, I trust Eric Holder to do the right thing in this situation,”

    Has anyone ever said this in the history of the world?

    1. not even Mrs Holder.

  13. And even when the wrong people are killed (AND OF COURSE THE WRONG PEOPLE GET KILLED SOMETIMES), less of them get killed than were killed constantly in the wars Obama ended/is ending, OK?

    Eggs, omelettes, fuck your right to life, got it. And Obama hasn’t ended any wars. Bush signed the Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq that set the December 2011 deadline for troop withdrawal.

  14. Democrats have all but given up on saying that war is wrong or bad or a waste of blood and treasure, and are now saying things like, “Obama’s drone strikes may be awful, but he is still better than Bush, and probably Romney, even though Romney has not yet had the chance to murder a teenager from several thousand miles away.

    Strangely enough, one of these very democrats is a prominently featured writer here at Reason, and his name is Steve Chapman.

    1. Chapman said that? I hope the Mighty Commentariat let him have it.

  15. even though Romney has not yet had the chance to murder a teenager from several thousand miles away

    Shows how much you know about Mormons.

  16. At least Obama gives you the courtesy of a reach-around, which is more than that prude Romney will do.

  17. Sounds like a plan to me dude.


  18. Obama is the LESSER of two evils?!!! Are you blind, or just ignorant of our economic nightmare?!! Boy you really drank the Koolaid, didn’t you?!

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