Drones

MSNBC's Touré: Killing Untried 16-Year-Olds Is OK, Killing Convicted Murderers Isn't

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The Internet is making itself sweaty talking about Touré, the liberal MSNBC TV host, who, on Tuesday, defended President Obama's targeted killing policy to the disbelief of his MSNBC colleagues (and Twitter). In his own words, Touré's position

We're at war with al Qaeda right now, and if you join al Qaeda, you lose the right to be an American. You lose the right to due process. You declare yourself an enemy of this nation, and you are committing treason. And I don't see why we should expand American rights to people who want to kill Americans, who are working to kill Americans, who are committing treason. This is not criticizing the United States. This is going to war against the United States.

As the segment progresses, it becomes apparent that Touré isn't familiar with the nonpartisan criticisms of Obama's assassination policy. For instance, when Salon's Steve Kornacki asks him about the killing of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, the Denver-born 16-year-old son of radical (New Mexico-born) cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, Touré responds, "What do you mean what about the 16-year-old who was killed?" and then "We're not talking about civilian casualties." And when his co-hosts continue to press him on the consequences of a small group of individuals determing who deserves to die without a shred of oversight, Touré dismisses them by saying, "Al Qaeda attacked this nation. We are attacking al Qaeda back." On Twitter Touré simply said, "He's the Commander in Chief." 

Touré's confidence in Obama's assassination policy is fascinating in light of his skepticism of capital punishment, which he revealed after the executions of Troy Davis and Lawrence Brewer:

America is one of the last nations in the world to still employ the death penalty even though it cripples our status as a world moral leader and is barbaric and is not uniformly applied and is subject to bias and is rife with error and sometimes leads to the execution of people we're not completely certain actually committed the crime. How could that happen? We're just human and we need to end the death penalty and get out of the business of playing God."

Emphasis mine. If we can't execute, with 100 percent certainty, someone who's had the benefit of a public trial and an extensive appeals process, where does Touré get off expressing confidence in a system as opaque and challenge-free as Obama's targeted killing doctrine?

The best rebuttal I've yet to read to people like Toure is from Reason's own Jacob Sullum, who argues that to accept the reasoning in the DOJ's targeted killing white paper

you have to put complete trust in the competence, wisdom, and ethics of the president, his underlings, and their successors. You have to believe they are properly defining and inerrantly identifying people who pose an imminent (or quasi-imminent) threat to national security and eliminating that threat through the only feasible means, which involves blowing people up from a distance. If mere mortals deserved that kind of faith, we would not need a Fifth Amendment, or the rest of the Constitution.

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  1. News Flash: Progressive douche provides cover in the media for a murderer who’s progressive.

    1. In other news, the sky is blue, grass is green, and water is wet.

      1. Water is wet??? Why am I always the last to know?!?

  2. This should really put to rest any doubts that MSNBC is just the Left’s FoxNews, shouldn’t it?

    1. Oh I think that’s been put to rest for a long time.

    2. I didn’t know there were doubts. One major difference other than ideology between the 2 outlets is that once every 3 or 4 months MSNBC gets caught doctoring video or blatantly manipulating facts.Say what you will about Fox, but at least their anchors don’t have to retract statements, apologize for false news or explain themselves every other week.

  3. “we would not need a Fifth Amendment, or the rest of the Constitution.”

    They’re working on it. One amendment at a time.

  4. “you have to put complete trust in the competence, wisdom, and ethics of the president, his underlings, and their successors.”

    This is why we most repeal the 22nd amendment!

    1. most = must

    2. Why not just make him President-for-Life with the power to appoint his successor to that title?

      Or maybe the Latin word for “Commander-in-Chief” would work better.

      1. Imperator? I think he would prefer “Caesar”.

        1. Nah, he’d prefer his successors used Obama.

        2. I’ve always been amused by the fact that a major historical empire’s rulers were given a title that meant “redhead.”

  5. Capital punishment would be okay, if we would just let Obama be the judge and jury on all such cases.

    I can sympathize with the idea that joining Al Qaeda makes you liable to be drone striked. But there is no evidence the guy’s son ever did that.

    1. I’m sure Obama had good intentions, and isn’t that all that matters?

    2. There’s also no evidence whatsoever that Anwar Al-Awlaki was not able to be captured. He was in Yemen for christsakes, not in bum-fuck nowhere Afghanistan. The Yemeni government is traditionally far more open to working with us than, say, the Taliban was (especially after what we did to the Taliban, but whatev’s). If we knew his location with enough certainty to target him with a drone strike, we could have sent in a joint strike force with the Yemeni government’s permission (or even without it) and grabbed him, brought him back to the USA, and put his ass on trial.

      1. I totally agree. There was no reason not to capture Al-Awlaki. He was killed because he was an embarrassment and they didn’t have the evidence against him to convict.

        1. ^THIS^, too. IIRC the only “evidence” against him was some inflammatory Jihadist sermons he had given and the fact that he was in Yemen. They would have essentially had to put him trial for words. Stupid words that I and many others disagree with completely, but still just words, which, last time I checked, are still protected by that pesky 1st ammendment thing. So there’s a possibility that his lawyer would have been able to get the charges dropped on those grounds, and then they would have looked like fools. Easier just to get rid of him.

          1. They would have looked like total fools. That already happened with the chauffeur case out of GUITMO. They had Bin Ladin’s driver. It was the star case. Well, they tried him and yes he was Bin Ladin’s driver. And guess what? He was Bin Ladin’s driver and not much else other than some dumb Pakistani who got in over his head. The military tribunal gave him time served and sent him home.

        2. It should be pointed out that this is the ONLY reason the POTUS would ever want to use such powers. If the evidence is overwhelming, there isn’t any reason to kill the guy because it’s better to parade the asshole around for the daily Two Minutes Hate. Killing him by drone only ups his martyrdom credibility.

          1. Also remember this is the administration that leaked every detail of the Bin Ladin raid in like the first 48 hours and also leaked the Stuxnet caper. They will leak anything if they think it will help them politically. Yet, the case Al Alwaki, whatever it was, has never been leaked.

            If there was a good case against him, like Obama wouldn’t have gotten on national TV and explained to America how he saved them. Their silence about the issue tells you all you need to know.

  6. Sounds McCarthyesque – Joe, not Gene.

    1. I’d prefer Jenny (you know, before she went batshit crazy over VACCINEZ!!!11!!!!).

  7. I will leave this here

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/medi…..CMP=twt_gu

    1. Ho, ho, ho! You must be one of those Faux News watchers!

  8. I was utterly unaware of this asshat’s existence up until this moment. Thanks a lot Riggs.

  9. Imagine if Nixon had ordered Jane Fonda’s liquidation in 1972.

    1. She was in enemy territory. And she was with uniformed NVA soldiers. That anti-aircraft gun they always show the picture of her sitting on was a lawful target. The collateral damage of killing one Hollywood starlet wouldn’t outweigh the military value of the gun.

      So technically speaking, it would have been a legal kill. And a much more clearly and less controversially legal kill than the Al Alwaki one. I somehow doubt liberals would have seen it that way.

      1. Legal, ethical, and wise even.

      2. she’s eligible. there’s no statute of limitations either, so any subsequent president could also due to precedent. thanks to Obama, she lives at the whim of the executive.

        1. Nah. We are no longer at war with Vietnam and she is no longer with uniformed soldiers.

          1. But we don’t know for a fact that she’s not still siding with our enemy. The safe thing to do would be to do it just in case. For the children.

          2. We aren’t at war with Yemen either, and somehow that didn’t stop President Drone Strike from acting.

        2. And Ted Turner is harboring her.

      3. Its weird, perhaps, but it seems to make a difference whether there was a kill order specifically on her, or she just had the bad luck to be hanging with a bunch of unquestionably legitimate targets (uniformed NVA and AA gun).

        1. There is nothing weird about it at all. It is a question of whether Jane was a legitimate target or not. If she is not, she has to be near something that is.

      4. On the one hand, she wasn’t actively engaged in hostilities. But she was “aiding the enemy” in an arguable sense. And unlike Yemen, Pakistan, and so forth, were were engaged in an active war with the North Vietnamese government.

        By comparison, Al Alwaki was in a country were not at war with.

        Even under standard doctrine, there would be no legal problem with bombing the anti-aircraft gun and “accidentally” killing Fonda.

        But the new doctrine argues that you could intentionally target her and send a drone to kill her if she was in North Vietnamese territory, or even if she was just travelling around in Franch raising money for the North Vietnamese cause.

    2. BTW. That is a great point. I am totally stealing that.

      1. Go ahead, I think throwing it in liberal faces will slow them down.

        1. How about if Dick Nixon put a TOW missile right in Janes Lap while she was playing on that anti-aircraft gun, how would you feel about that?

          What if ten years from now Sean Penn gets taken out for giving and anti-US photo op in Venezuela?

      2. I agree. The Jane Fonda point should make for endless hours of entertainment.

      3. It’s actually making me re-think my opposition…

    3. Would of saved us from a lot of crappy movies. And we would still have Barbarella.

    4. But Nixon was evil. “The One” doesn’t mean for these things to happen. You have to remember that he is thought of by his supporters as God-Like.

      1. “The One” doesn’t mean for these things to happen.

        The EVUL RETHUGLICAN KOCHTOPUS KKKORPORAYSHUNZ made hime do it! /prog-tard

  10. We’re at war with al Qaeda right now, and if you join al Qaeda, you lose the right to be an American.

    So Toure is simply taking a page from Tony’s political playbook: “It isn’t Fascism when WE do it!”

    1. We’re at war with al Qaeda right now,

      I don’t think we necessarily are. War is traditionally armed conflict between sovereigns.

      That’s the nub of the problem with the drone war and the WOT generally. We are trying to apply a model (armed conflict between sovereigns) to a situation where it just doesn’t apply.

      Sure, we’ve got a bigass hammer, but that doesn’t mean everything that pisses us off is a nail.

    2. We’re at war with North Vietnam right now, and if you join the communists, you lose the right to be an American.

    3. So Toure is simply taking a page from Tony’s political playbook: “It isn’t Fascism when WE do it!”

      If six out of ten people want to ship the other four to death camps, it’s anti-democratic to oppose them. /tony

  11. Jacob Sullum: “you [would] have to put complete trust in the competence, wisdom, and ethics of the president, his underlings, and their successors.”

    As if you haven’t seen that “I Pledge!” video already, Sullum.

  12. “to accept the reasoning in the DOJ’s targeted killing white paper,

    you have to put complete trust in the competence, wisdom, and ethics of the president, his underlings, and their successors.”

    Toure has 150% confidence and trust in the competence, wisdom and ethics of everyone in this administration, so that meets Sullum’s criteria, no?

  13. Tour?, the liberal MSNBC TV host

    Is there another kind?

    It’s going to be kind of fun watching the Obama fluffer retards like this dickstain tie themselves in knots trying to justify and defend this shit. You’d think at some point all of their heads would simply explode like that guy from Scanners from all the cognitiive dissonance. That is if they actually have functioning brains. I think the main reason there is so much cognitive dissonance from the prog-tards is that they don’t have cognitive abilities to begin with.

    1. I think the main reason there is so much cognitive dissonance from the prog-tards is that they don’t have cognitive abilities to begin with.

      That’s pretty much my conclusion as well.

  14. Personally, I’m really enjoying watching liberals tie themselves in knots over this.

    The death-penalty vs. drones point is especially good for generating conniption fits.

    1. People will endlessly defend their contradictory viewpoints. Shit, the POTUS and Congress do it every day.

      1. Well, you know when someone had gone over the deep end into braindead partisan lala land when they start vigorously defending blatantly contradictory viewpoints.

        I think for Republicans this happened when they were simultaneously arguing that we were fighting for “freedom” in Iraq, and then turning around and defending torture.

    2. It is fun. Another article on this site quotes that moron Jen Granholm literally saying the drone policy is ok because she trusts Obama where she didn’t trust Bush. I feel really safe knowing it only matters what team is violating civil liberties or constitutional rights, not that they are actually violating them.

  15. A new DSM diagnosis: Tour?’s Syndrome. A form of insanity where the patient can simultaneously assert two (or more) inherently contradictory viewpoints with no apparent conflict.

  16. Because belonging to a group and attending their meetings where inflammatory things are said about America is justification for being killed…wait, what?

  17. Doublethink is real, folks, and progressives practice it on a daily basis. That is how Douchre can rail against the death penalty and how evil crackers are using to kill innocent black men, which is totally barbaric, but evil crackers using secret drone process to kill innocent brown men, women and children is civilized and the smelly foreigners don’t deserve rights becase “he’s the Commander-in-Chief.”

    1. While I don’t think doublethink is limited to progressives, it certainly is real. It’s startling when you realize 1984 isn’t just about a fictional dystopia but that Orwell is describing very real concepts with crimestop, doublethink, thoughtcrime, etc.

  18. We’re at war with al Qaeda right now, and if you join al Qaeda, you lose the right to be an American. You lose the right to due process. You declare yourself an enemy of this nation, and you are committing treason. And I don’t see why we should expand American rights to people who want to kill Americans, who are working to kill Americans, who are committing treason. This is not criticizing the United States. This is going to war against the United States.

    Funny, isn’t treason one crime that some really old document deals with quite specifically? Ah yes, now I remember.. Article 3, Section 3, which reads “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court, or if Top Men so decide in secret.”

  19. Honestly, I’m more concerned with the opinion of Tourette’s Guy on this issue than that of Toure.

  20. It is fun to watch Obama supporters twist themselves into pretzels to defend him. And yes, it was fun to watch Bush supporters do the same thing.

    1. WOULD be fun if they didn’t always get off without so much as a reprimand.

  21. When the dude doing the push-button assassinations was a “Dumb cowboy”, then the proud and independent media was all over that shit as the Unamerican, Unethical, Illegal, terrible International Precedent it obviously was…

    …now that its THEIR TEAM….?

    “Fuck you, that’s why”

    Now Al Qaeda is whoever the fuck Obama says they is, and since they hate America, they arent Americans, and they can have their “American Rights” removed by the Executive, before they get their asses ‘Droned’

    BTW –

    1 – what the fuck difference does it make whether we ‘drone’ someone or machine gun them in cold blood on the street? Its the same fucking thing – nay, sloppier – in the end.

    2 – I guess dude forgot the bit in civics class that those little things in the bill of rights are not arbitrarily eraseable by whomever has the political motivation to do so. But I’ve yet to meet a progtard who can distinguish between ‘Rights’ and ‘Privileges’

  22. This partisan liberal apparently is unaware that the drone attacks regularly do not occur in war zones or in countries with which we are at war. More profoundly, he ignores that the Constitution requires a trial and two witnesses before a citizen can be deemed a traitor. And, Federal law makes killing an American in a foreign country, by an American, the crime of murder. But, what the heck, do laws or the Constitution mean anything to Obama?

    1. Nick Griffin| 2.7.13 @ 4:38PM |#

      This partisan liberal apparently is unaware that the drone attacks regularly do not occur in war zones or in countries with which we are at war. More profoundly, he ignores that the Constitution requires a trial and two witnesses before a citizen can be deemed a traitor.

      Yeah, well Bush did it first! And…’the constitution’….. old…. you probably want to own a bazooka…. you need to let Our Leader defend us….

  23. team blue is melt down mode, they were against it before they were for it?

  24. Oh, boo-hoo-hoo, the Awlaki kid id dead. Oh well.

    How about the people who died on 9/11?

  25. It has been pretty well established that Toure is your run of the mill piece of trash liberal who would watch this country go to hell in a hand basket as long as HIS guy is the one overseeing it. Anybody that takes his opinions serious chooses to be deceived

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