Tuesday, October 12, 2010


The point of a recent editorial in the NYT, about targeting terrorists, was that there needs to be some sort of oversight of the programs. It said, for example,

The government needs to make public its guidelines for determining who is a terrorist and who can be targeted for death. It should clearly describe how it follows international law in these cases and list the internal procedures and checks it uses before a killing is approved. That can be done without formally acknowledging the strikes are taking place in specific countries...

...The government could establish a court like the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which authorizes wiretaps on foreign agents inside the United States. Before it adds people to its target list and begins tracking them, the government could take its evidence to this court behind closed doors — along with proof of its compliance with international law — and get the equivalent of a judicial warrant in a timely and efficient way.

But that's not, for these purposes, the interesting part of the editorial. It's the opening sentences:
The Obama administration has sharply expanded the shadow war against terrorists, using both the military and the C.I.A. to track down and kill hundreds of them, in a dozen countries, on and off the battlefield.

The drone program has been effective, killing more than 400 Al Qaeda militants this year alone, according to American officials, but fewer than 10 noncombatants. [emphases mine.]
I raise this because, yes, I'm still processing the invective I received recently over my support of our president, from one who believes, with a certainty of religious intensity and for which I simply have no explanation, that Mr Obama is a terrorist plant who aims to destroy the country. The man who has ramped up attacks on terrorists beyond the wettest of George Bush's dreams is in cahoots with them? How can any reasonable person believe that?

Well, no reasonable person can. But what accounts for those that do? How much pollution can they have let into their skulls, how many neurons died defending themselves against it? What is the psychic need that demands they give credence to the obvious insanity (at best) or deliberate lies (more likely, sadly) of such claims? What dark purpose does it serve to the equilibrium of people who accept such an idea against all evidence? I'm completely at a loss.

It's as impossible for me to understand as it is that an entire political party, pretty much alone on the planet, has aligned itself with denial of climate change. Well, in fact I can see some basis for that: greed. To address climate change might cost money in the short run (while preventing unimaginable costs in money and lives in the long). Greed and the rationalization thereof is pretty much the entire foundation of the current iteration of the Republican party and its teabagging surrogates.

But Obama as terrorist? It cost me a friendship (or what I took to be one), and I simply don't get it.


Jim said...

Sid, I realize this post wasn't really about climate change but I just happen to have come across this in the news today.

This was in the British Telegraph but there are several references to this online.


I am not a climate change denier but always find it interesting to ponder the financial impact on people's behavior.

Sid Schwab said...

What I find interesting is that the people who damn the thousands of scientists whose research points to anthropogenic global warming, find the handful of them who disagree completely compelling.

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