Saturday, March 02, 2013

Droning on and on

I usually describe myself, when it comes up, as a born-again liberal: I was one of Rush Limbaugh's original audience, back when he started out on KFBK out of Sacramento.

The Trophy Wife spent the first years of our marriage dragging me out of Neanderthal status and up to a level where I wasn't flinging poo and grunting, and I was probably almost there, when George Bush sent me to Iraq. I got back, and started noting the discrepancies: the "weapons of mass destruction," the central argument in favor of invading Iraq, not only didn't exist, but the evidence that they did was openly fabricated.

Yes, to be honest, Iraq had once had chemical weapons which they'd used on their own people. We knew that, because we sold it to them.

Saddam and his government were cooperating with the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, when Bush finally pulled out the inspectors and invaded anyway.

As I learned more and more, I reached a point in 2004 when my wife came home to find me in tears. It had finally come home to me that George Bush had made us a rogue nation, and we'd invaded another country just because we wanted something from them. Exactly as Saddam had in the first Gulf War. (Admittedly, the tears might have been helped along by the lingering remains of the weakest case of PTSD on record, but there it is.)

But overall, I'll admit publicly to being what Stephanie Miller calls a "happy-clappy liberal." I think Obama has done great things, despite a Congress full of Republicans who would rather watch the country burn than let our first black president succeed.

I like that he dismantled "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." I had a number of good friends in the military who happened to be gay, and their life was not a happy one.

I like that he managed to get health-care reform started, so that poor people don't have to die in pain. Despite what Fox "News" wants you to believe, Obama has managed to do a lot of very important things in the face of uninterrupted Republican obstruction.

I've got to say, though, that of all the policies Obama's put in place, the one I disagree with the most is the badly-targeted killing of civilians using unmanned drones. It reeks of Orwellian CIA assassinations: the actions of a corrupt dictator, killing his enemies with impunity.

I'm also a realist. I understand why it's being done. We do have enemies around the world (moreso since we burned down big chunks of the Middle East), and they would like nothing more than to score a symbolic victory by killing a good-sized group of Americans. But I also believe in these weird foreign concepts like habeas corpus, and "innocent until proven guilty."

I think that murder is a bad thing. So the whole subject leaves me a little torn.

In the end, though, I see nothing good about drone strikes. Are you aware that only one out of every fifty people killed by drones have been terrorists? Instead, we're killing wedding guests, innocent schoolchildren, people attending funerals, or even rescue workers:
Based on interviews with witnesses, victims and experts, the report accuses the CIA of "double-striking" a target, moments after the initial hit, thereby killing first responders.
I understand the popularity of the program: no US forces are in any danger of being harmed. But somewhere along the line, we seem to have lost sight of the bigger picture: we're murdering innocent people.

But Democrats don't want to say bad things about Obama, and this program is the only thing Obama does that the GOP actually supports. So nothing gets done.

Weirdly enough, American bigotry is suddenly showing itself to have a stronger moral base than the American government. As long as the deaths were just foreigners and Muslims, nobody cared. But when word got out that the US government was also killing Americans, the possible backlash might just cause the government to rethink their policy.

(The idiot end of the political spectrum, of course, feels an obligation to overreact to this, as it does to everything that the Kenyan usurper does: they're already shrieking about "Drone strikes on American soil!!"

To be honest, if it makes the US rethink its drone program, I don't mind the overreaction this time.

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