Oh wow, guess what the Left just found out? It just found out that President Obama is planning to kill American civilians with drone strikes! In fact, the Atlantic went to press with an article by Conor Friedersdorf, who is billed as a staff writer “specializing in politics and national affairs,” in which Friedersdorf chirrups, “All hail NBC’s Michael Isikoff, who has gotten his hands on a previously undisclosed Obama Administration memo concluding that, under certain circumstances, the U.S. government can kill Americans with drones.” Don’t stop laughing on our account, dear readers, we know, we know, everybody on the paranoid right including we here at WOOF have been talking about this fact for at least a year, but it isn’t “real,” until the leftwing news establishment trips over it, and now, seemingly, this is the case. WOOF even raised a ruckus when numerous ostensible conservatives and Tea Partiers freshly or not-so-freshly ensconced in congress voted much of the enabling legislation through with big National Security smiles on their faces, what, two years ago? In fact, Mr. Friedersdorf, not that you would ever lower yourself to such gaucheries but you could have dialed up the most outlandishly paranoid, fringe-focused nut-cake broadcasts on after-midnight radio and heard people calling in who think they are under Martian brain-beam assault who honest-to-God knew more about this subject a year ago than you or the American Media Establishment know today!
Say, no wonder the Left doesn’t think we’re funny! When it reads our jokes about drone attacks in, for instance, our “about us” page, it doesn’t get them! That explains a lot!
Now, please, don’t let us be misunderstood—as we here at WOOF are particularly sensitive to being misunderstood. WOOF is all in favor of killing terrorists with drones. In fact, WOOF doesn’t see why we can’t kill higher value targets like Kim Jung Un and Ahmadinejad with drones—why not? Ahmadinejad steps out for a short after-prayer constitutional, stretches, yawns, thinks a few vague, anti-Semitic thoughts, and (POOM!) a Hellfire missile hits him in the kisser. It could happen to anybody, right? In fact, WOOF believes that drones should just fly around killing terrorists all day long, like a kid plinking soda bottles with a .22. But where WOOF draws the line is when defense appropriations are jovially voted through with the understanding that this will also entail a program whereby the President of the United States can declare anyone a terrorist, including your mother or your Uncle Bucky, or us, or, Heaven forefend, Ann Coulter—and simply zap them with a drone strike. Doing so is arguably legal right now, did you know that? (Of course you knew that, we were really addressing that comment to Conor Friedersdorf.)
You know an issue is virtually volcanic in nature when it reaches those levels of perturbation at which the reliably bovine White House Press Corpse decides to disturb the perfect sunlight of the spotless mind of Boy Propagandist Jay Carney with one of those always-mutually-embarrassing enquiries that both sides wish were not necessary to broach—but which seem at least temporarily unavoidable. Why, politely wondered the Press Corpse, is the Beloved Helmsman, Infallible Navigator of the Ship of State, Protector of the Victimized Masses and President for Life, planning to kill Americans more or less as the whim strikes him? Not to worry. Jay Carney replied that these were questions that touched upon complicated constitutional and legal issues, but assured the gathered herd that when it came to arbitrarily killing American civilians, “the president takes those issues very seriously.” So alrighty, then.
Even the subversive New York Times was onto this game some time ago, commenting back in May of 2012 that the President was assembling a “kill list,” and that of his ever increasing spread of potential targets, “Several were Americans.” The Times added that “Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret ‘nominations’ process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical.” That’s because drones aren’t very good at that, right? They just don’t do snatch-and-grabs very well.
Has everyone forgotten that American police forces are lately enthusiastic fans of drone surveillance? In some areas such as Orange County, Florida and Mesa County, Colorado, the sheriffs’ departments are utilizing drones routinely while refusing to discuss what types of drones they have aloft, where they are flying them, why they are flying there, and what they are equipped to do. The United States Air Force has also refused to issue information on where it is currently operating drones in this country, or why.
All of this became possible over a year ago, gentle readers, when the FAA Reauthorization Act swept through congress and was promptly signed by the Great Helmsman. This legislation cleared the way for widespread use of drones across the country for electronic surveillance, and experts anticipate that over 30,000 drones will be in the American sky by mid 2013.
In 2011 it was (slightly) reported, (The New York Times and Salon both ran cautious stories) that the selection of targets “outside of war zones” was being refined, and the little cluster of power drivers around John O. Brennan (remember the name!) in the White House was newly tasked with drawing up prospective target lists for this, too. And to make matters truly disquieting, the names were now run by the State Department at a weekly White House briefings. Foggy Bottom at war—really—can it get much scarier than that? But, as the NY Times confirmed in a July 15, 2012 article cheerfully entitled “Secret Kill List,” President Obama placed himself at the top of this somewhat threnodial pyramid. In fact, in the run-up to the election, it may be remembered that the Times made quite a big deal out of how macho was our rappin’ preezy, personally scrutinizing the kill lists and barking out orders like Capone or Bugs Moran. This effort to depict the Great Helmsman (who also shoots skeet, by the way) as a kind of modern-day warlord was decried widely at the time as sacrificing security in the interest of the campaign…surely Watchdogs of Our Freedom cannot be the only ones who remember?
The subversive American Civil Liberties Unions’s not-unattractive functionary Hina Shamsi (she also of the subversive National Security Project) was familiar with all this
back in September of 2012 when she wrote, “The president claims the authority to unilaterally declare people enemies of the state including US citizens, and order their killing based on secret legal criteria, secret process and secret evidence.” Where was everybody else at the time? Busy covering the President’s royal fundament while he headed for re-election, that’s where! And it was on the most occultically fire-driven sabbat of the calendar year, Beltane, April 30, 2012(coincidence? We think not!) that one John O. Brennan, at that time Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, gave a speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for [Subversive] Scholars in which he for the first time elaborated on the use of selective targeting of Americans as a domestic option. In case you’re a fan of unrefined sophistry, Brennan offered up the rationale that domestic strikes against citizens would be entirely allowable given that “as a matter of domestic law, the Constitution empowers the President to protect the nation from any imminent threat of attack.” Especially, apparently, when the threat is—the nation? This is vaguely remindful of the old Vietnam era chestnut, “We had to destroy the village to save it!”
Brennan, obviously, cited the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (fondly known as AUMF) already passed by Congress in the aftermath of the original September 11 attacks in Manhattan, which authorized the president “to use all necessary and appropriate force” against any enemy supportive of the terrorism that resulted in 9/11. But look at the sinister confluence of factors this speech illuminated! First, we have the legislation enacted in the wake of the New York and Pentagon attacks, the interpretation of which may have been hesitantly entrusted at one time to the best judgment of Bush and Cheney, but was never conceived of as falling into the mischievous hands of the First Marxist and his Merry Menshevik Marauders! Then we have the placement of drone warfare at the President’s domestic disposal through the FAA Reauthorization Act. Finally, we have the Brennan speech at which the tenuous dialectic for domestic application of the kill list is enunciated, and who objects? A bunch of nuts on midnight radio shows and WOOF, that’s who! Nobody else gives a darn!
Not, at least, until we get to the “all hail Michael Isikoff” moment of this morning and his publicizing of the 16-page memo that somebody had the presence of mind to slip him—and this is newsworthy because? Well, because there is just something about a leaked memo that the Vast Monolithic Media Establishment finds irresistible. Indeed,
WOOF hereby enunciates a basic precept of contemporary reportage (which word we use principally to annoy Edwin Newman, wherever he is): If you want something as widely known as possible, put it in a secret memo! And the memo in this case says exactly nothing—nothing—that we didn’t already know. It states that you, gentle reader, may be ordered killed if you are considered, by the Administration, to pose “an imminent threat of violent attack” against the United States. But you may only be killed if capture does not appear feasible. Of course, what on earth that means is mootable in the extreme. Is capture infeasible only if you are traversing the snow-swept ravines of the Khyber Pass? Or is it equally so if you look like you are about to hail a taxi in Buffalo? Who decides this? And what does “imminent” mean, while we’re at it? Well, here we have the single spectacular insight offered by the 16-page document in Mr. Isikoff’s possession. Obviously, when most of us think of an “imminent” threat we tend to think of Iran, North Korea, a tsunami, or a madman breaking down our door at 3AM, or possibly the debt crisis. We think, in other words, of a danger with the potential to inflict immediate harm. It requires, really, the Obama White House to reconstruct the English language to an extent rendering such understandings obsolete. Here, quoted from the document, is this helpful bit of post-modern lexicography:
“Certain aspects of this legal framework require additional explication. First, the condition that an operational leader present [sic] an “imminent” threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons will take place in the immediate future.
(Okay, so it’s probably a good thing Edwin Newman is deceased because that would’ve killed him!)
A third stipulation appears to be that the target be a ranking Al-Qaeda figure. But we know this is ridiculous because the administration is currently blasting targets all over the Middle East that are not Al Qaeda. Taliban targets are being hit, and “mowing the grass” attacks have been launched at crowds who appear militant. According to Global Research, over the past 4 years Obama authorized attacks in Pakistan that killed more than 800 people, only 22 of whom were identified as Al-Qaeda fighters. So is the Al-Qaeda nicety just a third possible reason that you might be ordered killed? Or if it is a firm criterion, does it require only that Barack, Michelle, or Eric Holder so designate you?
And now, let’s put this brouhaha into a current political perspective, shall we? Or rather, let’s acknowledge that it has firmly placed itself in such a perspective, so we can ill afford to ignore it. Yesterday morning a “bipartisan group” of eleven Senators wrote themselves a letter—and they sent it to President Obama. They politely requested “any and all legal opinions” that uphold a basis for Executive Branch authority to “deliberately kill American civilians.”
Attorney General Eric Holder went on record endorsing the drone assaults, declaring that when the Administration launches a drone attack, “we are confident that we are
doing so in a way that is consistent with federal and international law!” Of course, this from the man who was confident that illegally running hundreds of guns to Mexican drug cartels so that they would be used to kill lots of people, preferably Americans, and make the 2nd amendment look bad, was consistent with federal and international law, so he’s a known clown act. Jay Carney, boy propagandist, said at a his press conference today that the strikes were carried out ethically and legally—but when asked what legal criteria were applied to the strikes he said he had no idea.
So is there any reason to believe that these eleven Senators are going to have any more attention paid to their letter of yesterday morning than was paid to letters asking about “Fast and Furious,” or any other depredations visited against the Constitution by the Obama Regime? Well, actually, yes there is. Remember when we told you (above) to keep the name of John O. Brennan in mind? Well guess who wants to be CIA Director, WOOFketeers? As a matter of fact, confirmation hearings are scheduled for Thursday in front of that classic oxymoron, the Senate Intelligence committee. And don’t forget Chuckie Hagel—the rascally anti-Zionist, anti-military Liberal who wants to be Secretary of Defense so that he can help Obama disarm the United States militarily as well as domestically. Chuckie did so badly in his original round of hearings that the Administration actually admitted its own dissatisfaction with his performance—which Lindsey Graham correctly described as “clueless.” This certainly doesn’t mean that Hagel won’t be nominated—why should cluelessness debar anyone from serving the Obama Administration? But it does mean his nomination is “imperiled,” as they say inside the Beltway, and this is no time for a spat over drone violence!
Central Intelligence Director-manqué John O. Brennan is, of course, Mr. Drone Program personified, and the leading philosophical light behind using it to zap his countrymen—so the subject is bound to come up. In fact, confirmation hearings for Brennan that do not require his indulging the committee in prolonged effusions of persiflage seem unimaginable—as does his failure to receive final approval once the likes of Lindsey Graham and John McCain have had their doubts assuaged by ample amounts of media attention.
So stay tuned, WOOFerians—the games are just beginning! (Although frankly, it is never too early in these matters to prepare for disappointment!) And remember, we were telling you the President was going to shoot at you with drones before Michael Isikoff ever suspected it! We may be paranoid, ladies and gentleman, but we are accurately paranoid, and proud it! And like we said at the beginning, we are not anti-drone, we are just personally opposed to being targeted by friendly fire at the behest of our Dear Leader. A long time ago, Georgie Patton explained this situation clearly when he said, “There’s nothing wrong with shooting, as long as the right people get shot!” He forgot to mention that things get crazy real fast when only the wrong people have the hunting licenses!