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« Partial transcript | Main | YKUSA »

Sep 25, 2012


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Welcome aboard, Ed. Rather than capture and detain alleged terrorists so that they can be waterboarded in violation of the Constitution, Obama just kills them with drones.

I'm sure you are quite morally outraged by this. Unless death is preferred to waterboarding and more in line with due process.

But there I go again, another false equivalence I'm sure.


is that what's happening? i mean, absolutely, obama is targeting terrorists (and killing innocents simultaneously), but are those the same people that would be waterboarded?

i don't think we've adopted a policy to kill people with useful information rather than gather intelligence.

CP(Worst person on the internet)

Sean, I agree. And there's even another very troubling aspect to all this. If we are admittedly killing civilians by mistake, HOW DO WE KNOW that the ones we deliberately kill ARE EVEN TERRORISTS? We had this debate once before.

A very wise commenter once argued very strongly that there should be a very high standard to morally justify meting out justice when guilt has not been determined beyond a reasonable doubt by due process under the law. He was very persistent and eventually showed me the error of my way:

Was he a terrorist? Why wasn't he tried and jailed? Maybe he wasn't a terrorist but his stay at Gitmo turned him into one. I don't know. I know that you seem willing to make a lot of assumptions about people's guilt based on... what is it again, I'm still not clear. The wisdom of the Bush administration? No, that can't be it because it was they who turned this guy lose. So what is it again that allows you to know what you assert about people's guilt? Sean Hannity?
Posted by: Roch101 | Jan 23, 2009 at 10:39 PM
Again, the assumption that because they are in Gitmo is proof enough for some that they ARE terrorists: The government has them imprisoned, ergo, they belong in prison. Pinochet would be proud.
Posted by: Roch101 | Jan 24, 2009 at 12:27 AM
Picker, you are avoiding the simplest of questions. Instead of setting up STRAW MEN or ascribing opinions and motives to those who disagree with you, can you just answer the question put to you with a straight answer? You refer to the people held in Gitmo as terrorists. How do you know they are terrorists?
Posted by: Roch101 | Jan 24, 2009 at 01:36 PM
YOU have said that the people at Gitmo are terrorists. I am asking YOU how YOU know that they are terrorists. An answer would begin with something like: "I know they are terrorists because..."
Posted by: Roch101 | Jan 24, 2009 at 06:31 PM

"I do not know beyond a reasonable doubt," does not answer the question of how you know to an extent that you are confident enough to refer to them as terrorists in your own words. Yes, a conviction by a jury would have us know beyond a reasonable doubt. There is something short of that though that has you convinced enough to refer to them as terrorists in your own words. I'm wondering what that is. Is it the mere fact that they are imprisoned? Is it Sean Hannity?
Posted by: Roch101 | Jan 25, 2009 at 11:15 AM

I really thank him for that and am deeply concerned that we are now not just holding them and trying to gain information from them while postponing their right to due process, we are just blowing these unproven terrorists to smithereeens sight unseen.

So again disturbingly to me, how do we know that they were terrorists? The assumption that because they were killed is proof enough for some that they ARE terrorists: The government has them killed, ergo, they belong in the ground. Is it the wisdom of the Obama Administration? Sean Hannity?

Hopefully the wise commenter will join me in expressing his outrage over this even greater disregard for due process and the assumption of guilt without certain knowledge.

David Hoggard

Dr. Hayes,

True equivalence, that. Touche'.


i think there are two issues at play here:

1) under bush, the US went after known terrorists, particularly al-qaeda, via the "enemy combatant" premise. beginning with the invasion of iraq, his administration determined that persons attacking our troops ("insurgents", also known as residents who twitch too much) or known al-qaeda members were at war with the united states and would be treated as if met on the field of battle (sprayed with rounds of bullets as you can find on numerous youtube videos).

2) under obama, that policy has narrowed to focus on al-qaeda via drone strikes, which have wiped out a huge part of the terrorist network. but by using drones, he's also endangered the lives of surrounding innocents (more than in the field of battle in iraq? doubtful, but wrong either way). under his watch, he's also targeted one and killed two american citizens in such strikes, who without a doubt, by definition, deserved due process by our laws.

to me it seems as though the enemy combatant terminology is the crux of the issue. remove that, and the US wouldn't have have a leg to stand on, legally (or whatever we call our justification) to send unmanned drones around the world to strike at will. those strikes would then fall under a similar category as the strike against the two american citizens.

but here's the real question: regardless of the administration, is that what we'd all want? are we ready to go back to pre-9/11 days of reacting to planned terrorist events, more so than snuffing out potential participants based on intel? i mean, obama does have men stopping attacks via law enforcement methods (i.e. times square), but do we, as american citizens, have the fortitude to go back to the days when that was our primary method of deterrence (i'm not entirely naive: i do understand that our special ops teams ran missions similar to drone missions. they probably just weren't public)?

obama's tactics have removed iraq from being the al-qaeda "fight us over there, so they won't fight us over here" arena. are we ready to remove the last layer of preemptive tactics?


Notice the complete lack of outrage. This is just a technical issue to be resolved. Amazing.


if you're referring to me, i, like most americans, would probably be in "outrage" mode if we were to have begun at obama's policy rather than starting with "shock and awe" that set up a playing field for killing whomever moves for years on end. that kinda bled the outrage out of me. admittedly, i'm somewhat numb at this point. sorry if that's not good enough for you, oh master of being non-hypocritical.

David Hoggard

I don't sense any outrage on your part either, Sam. Just clinical words hoping for a 'gotcha' oneupsmanship moment

Are you outraged?

formerly gt

"if you're referring to me, i, like most liberals on this board, would probably be in "outrage" mode if it was Bush doing this."

FTFY, Sean ;-)

FWIW, i was deeply disturbed by Obama's assassination of al-Awlaki. Waterboarding? meh.


gt, i was a pretty prolific anti-war blogger and activist up until late 2006. i stopped blogging in 2007 because, in all honesty, the feeling of running into a brick wall day-after-day affected me at home, at work, around loved ones, etc. this is the persona sam is holding my "hypocritical" opinions against. so while i still have anti-violence sentiments, i've given up vesting energy in protesting publicly. it made no difference.

some "on the left" might call that a sell-out move. i don't give a fuck what they think. just as i don't care what sam believes.

CP ( worst person on the internet)

From Ed's link. This is disturbing. I honestly had no idea:

"Drones hover twenty-four hours a
day over communities in northwest
Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles,
and public spaces without warning.
Their presence terrorizes men,
women, and children, giving rise to
anxiety and psychological trauma
among civilian communities.

The number of “high-level” targets
killed as a percentage of total
casualties is extremely low—estimated
at just 2%."


But this is Obama, CP, and that makes any comparison a false equivalence.


no, sam, the false equivalence would be comparing the 66,000 civilians killed in iraq vs. the 98% reported (474 to 881) above.

by no means are innocent lives lost a good thing, in any situation, so please stop trying to make this into a partisan issue; this is a policy debate.

as david asked on a previous thread, what's your position on US drone policy? do you even have one or are you just out drive-by judging, as usual?

formerly gt

"what's your position on US drone policy?"

I’ll bite on the broader issue of deadly force.

I think we should kill bad guys. I think we should be using CIA teams, special forces, and even drones.
we should have a very high level of certainty that the person is a bad guy before we pull the trigger.

I think we should use the method that minimizes risk to US personnel/citizens, risks to non-combatants, the method that is most likely to kill the bad guy, minimizes expense, etc.

if the bad guy is a US citizen on foreign soil, then the standard should be that the person has committed treason. this finding needs to be made by a court. I’m okay with secrecy. But, I don't want the admin to be judge and jury.

I think that killing innocents is more immoral than anything ever appearing on youtube.

I think that killing innocents is more immoral than anything going on now or that has ever gone on at Gitmo.

I think the president, who condemned Gitmo, allowed a justice dept inquiry into the actions of the Bush admin, etc, and then engages in the use of drones on the scale that he has is a Class A hypocrite.


"so please stop trying to make this into a partisan issue; this is a policy debate."

What you fail to understand is that it is the abject hypocrisy that renders it a partisan debate, not me. Getting to the heart of the policy is only valuable if the debate is honest. That has been my point since I first started commenting here. The partisanship is what leads to the hypocrisy because consistency must yield to party/ideology.

Your "false equivalence" is also again misguided because you focus on outcomes instead of intentions. You also ignore the very essence of my argument regarding hypocrisy and that is whether it is more just to simply kill suspected terrorists without a trial then it is to detain them without a trial or waterboard them. CP highlighted an old thread that does a fine job illustrating the disconnect between now and then. Thus far, no justification for the disparate response has been offered.

One has no choice but to conclude that it is simply partisan politics, and not some real concern over values and morality as previously expressed.


CP, I can't help but notice the absence of Raymond Babbitt.

CP ( worst person on the internet)

Wapner time?


you don't think killings of innocents appear on youtube?

don't get me wrong, civilian deaths is beyond unacceptable to me, whether it's via war on the ground or drone attacks through the air. my take on your perspective on the issue of using deadly force is is that i feel pretty much the same. proven bad guys need to go. that's always been policy, whether via drones, special ops maneuvers or cia.

admittedly, i'm mixed when it comes to obama's anti-terrorism policy:

1) his copping out on closing down gitmo bothers me for the same reason targeting Anwar al-Awlaki bothers me. in what world is it ok to pick up people and toss them into a prison without any due process? apparently in a world that has definitions like "enemy combatant," which can be stretched to fit almost any situation. bush may have started it, but obama has kept it in play.

2) similarly, drone attacks leverage the "enemy combatant" signifier, giving us the self-annointed authority to target and fire in a semi-cooperative sovereign land (pakistan).

so is obama a hypocrite or simply pragmatic with his anti-terrorism policy? i'd say probably both.

the key changes i'd like to see occur are:

1) the closing of gitmo or similar "holding" facilities. either charge them in court or release them; the ongoing holding of "potential" terrorists is bullshit
2) no more targeting americans with drone attacks until/unless they've been proven to be criminal in a court of law (by criminal, i mean on the scale of being a terrorist, of course) and are in a position to do harm to the united states. in other words, don't let them escape after sentencing.
3) a much more concerted effort to reduce the number of innocent deaths in these drone strikes (and the fly-bys need to stop. wtf)

all are actionable, no matter who's in office.

formerly gt

My YouTube statement was a reference to the admins scathing criticism of the "Innocence of Muslims". (The only tragedies I watch are some NC State sporting events. So, I didn’t watch the videos you linked to.) is the film trash? yeah. is it even remotely the cause for the attacks in Libya? no.

and Sean, I take you at your word. Are you outraged to the point where you won’t support Obama with your vote?

The GOP lost in 2006 because they broke faith with their supporters. Bush (41) lost in part because he did the same (read my lips…)

It’ll be interesting to see whether many dems will do the same because of obama’s failure to deliver on his promises, his killing of innocents, and his extension of the bush tax cuts.

My guess is that partisanship will win out over principles.


"Are you outraged to the point where you won’t support Obama with your vote?"

I can't speak for Sean, but for many people I think that would seem foolish. Support Obama with your vote, and you get more of the same. Don't support Obama, and you risk a President Romney which would mean more of the same PLUS a probable war with Iran, ridiculous domestic policy, etc. Romney's not going to close Gitmo or stop drone attacks or anything. Lesser of two evils and all that, as unfortunate as that is.


no, gt, i won't vote for romney. he's proving to be no more than the best of the the biggest op-shop group of candidates the GOP has *ever* presented to the american public. i honestly can't tell what truth is coming out of which side of his mouth at any given time. give him the controls of foreign policy, let alone setting the approach to economic policy, and i see a disaster of epic proportions.

plus, he's a dick.

obama is closer to reagan than i'd like to see, but he's pragmatic across the board and doesn't often sell out long-term vision for short-term political gain. i can't say that about romney.

@spag - i see you still won't talk about your position. not that i expected differently. you have a job to do, keep us all operating within your debate parameter. continue on, soldier.

formerly gt


I didn't suggest you vote for Romney. I suggested that if his actions were "beyond unacceptable" to you, that you couldn't vote for Obama.


Obama has repeatedly said that Iran getting a nuke is “unacceptable”. But you don’t seem concerned that he’ll really take action to stop them.

I think the word that Sean and Obama really mean to use is undesirable.Right?


gt: "Are you outraged to the point where you won’t support Obama with your vote?"

no. i will vote for obama, as i previously stated. as far as i'm concerned, and as anthony eloquently states, obama is definitely the lesser of the two evils on the ticket, even with the gitmo & drone issues.

i'm not quite sure what you're trying to do with the english language. if obama has said "unacceptable," then it seems to me that's what he means. it's not like he's proven to back down or be a pussy regarding foreign policy. he's used the same language as any other US president regarding "all options are on the table," and there are more sanctions in play in iran than during bush's term, so unless you want him to invade tomorrow, i'm not quite sure what you keep griping about.

what policy change do you wish to see from obama regarding iran?

formerly gt

So, you were not being honest when you said his actions were "beyond unacceptable" or you don't understand what the word means. because obviously, you are quite willing to accept the deaths. otherwise you could not vote for obama. it's not what i'm doing with the language, it's what you are doing with it.

For example, a candidate that supports abortion is unacceptable to me. if Romney still did, i would not vote for him. it would not matter that i believe he is the lesser of two evils, because i place principles above partisanship.

the other comment was directed at Anthony. He stated that Romney was objectionable because he "was going to get us in a war with Iran." This implies he doesn't believe that Obama will take military action. Because surely you know, that sanctions are a pipe dream unless the chinese and russians join us.


fine, i'm a hypocrite. i don't feel civilian deaths are acceptable but i'm going to vote for obama. meanwhile, you live in an alternate reality to actually believe that voting for romney would stop the loss of innocent lives via drone attacks or any other national defense initiative he puts in play.

also, no one "supports abortion"; people support the right of women to make decisions about their own bodies. i'm anti-abortion, yet pro-choice. i apologize if that coupling blows your mind to pieces.

please, no one candidate fits every principal we support. we all make voting decisions based on the best fit. i'm not going to throw away my vote on the green party in the name of being "principled."

and not to speak for anthony, but that doesn't read to me that obama won't take military action against iran, it reads as ROMNEY WANTS TO GO TO WAR WITH IRAN. do you disagree? and, again, what policy change would you like to see obama make regarding iran?


I don't believe that Obama will *not* take military action. I simply believe that Obama will be less likely to take unnecessary military action. You can see the difference, right?

formerly gt

"I don't believe that Obama will *not* take military action. I simply believe that Obama will be less likely to take unnecessary military action. You can see the difference, right?"

Obama has *shown* he'll take unnecessary military action. See Afghanistan - surge. What are you basing your statements about Romney on? Sean has stated several times that he thinks Obama's strategy is in keeping with Bush's?


no, gt, you're completely broadstroking my position.

i feel obama has kept bush's policy of "enemy combatants" in play in order to leverage drone attacks. he also campaigned on quitting iraq and pushing further into afghanistan in order to find bin laden. my confusion lies in why we're still there, yet i know it has nothing to do with george bush's afghanistan policy, which was to placate us in the months after 9/11 and then cut and run at the first scent of bin laden in order to refocus efforts in iraq.

still waiting on what you want obama to do in iran.


If credit and affordably available energy peaks
does employment, globalization, peace, energy, food and people?

If 2008 was the first year the billions of people
in China, India, Russia and the Middle East
consumed more oil than the millions in the US
what should happen when cheese demand exceeds supply?

What could happen if Pakistan sold some of its nuclear arsenal
to forestall national bankruptcy?

Is the definition of civilized changing again?

If the US were attacked with a nuclear weapon
would the bomb most likely be conveyed by missile
shipping container or yacht?

What do you do
if you’re placed in the middle of the desert with someone just like you
with one bottle of water equally distant
and the all powerful entity that put you there
says whomever drinks the bottle of water lives and who doesn’t dies
and if the water is split or poured out you both die?

If Gandhi didn’t oppose the use of force in Kashmir
after India’s independence
would he have advocated violent resistance against British occupation
if he had had an arsenal and a trained army?


The military action in Libya must have also been "necessary".

GT, you are wasting your time.

If this was George W. Bush, these same people would be accusing him of war crimes, violating the Constitution, and calling for impeachment. Yet because this is Obama, you get none of that. In fact, they would actually vote for Obama despite it all because he's now for same-sex marriage and supports abortion on demand with no restrictions.

All the noise about atrocities under Bush was subterfuge, something else to throw out there under the guise of moral superiority to weaken him in every way possible because they don't like his domestic policy. That has always been the case, and it is never more clear than now when all of those previously held standards fall by the wayside. Realizing the impossibility of reconciling the present with the past, they serve us "false equivalence" based upon irrelevant considerations. A war crime is a war crime whether one person dies or one thousand die. But to this crowd, that is a "false equivalence". The stated value goes by the wayside in favor some specious argument that the outcome is what matters now, not the justification for taking the action.


Bush should have been impeached.

So should Obama now
for doing the same things
only different.

Both are complicit in bailing out some of their biggest contributors
and letting many violate multiples of securities laws
in the name of enriching a few at the expense of many
with Communist China excuses of "stability".


hey spag, why don't you let those interested in having a conversation actually have one. i appreciate your ability to read minds and paint fanciful pictures, but you taking up the righteous banner without exposing any of your own nuanced beliefs regarding policy is utter bullshit.


I don't think dead people provide good intelligence.

I don't see the point in having a conversation with people whose beliefs are relative to partisan concerns.

Nothing "fanciful" is being painted, and no mind-reading is required as there is a volume of evidence over the years supporting the double standards and hypocrisy that has been noted.


"I don't think dead people provide good intelligence."

ok. so you believe that obama is targeting people that we need intelligence from, and not the people fingered through intelligence. you picked the wrong profession. seriously. you'd do a heck of a job protecting our nation.

you have zero stomach for trying to elucidate a real take on complex issues, yet you're gung-ho to point fingers at others who do.



obama speaking about iran and their attempt to access nuclear weapons, yesterday at the UN.

gt, please tell me what you'd rather have him say to the world. i'm not trying to change your vote or qualify mine. i'm simply interested in the conversation.


Sorry. I accidentally tried to explain my position on this, and took a question at face value. I somehow forgot that discussion is not the objective. The prime directive of the Non-Partisan ArgueBot 3000 is to back the opponent into a corner by whatever means necessary. Please proceed.


not to mention that spag is beyond partisan himself and completely misses the irony of: "I don't see the point in having a conversation with people whose beliefs are relative to partisan concerns."


"not to mention that spag is beyond partisan himself and completely misses the irony of: 'I don't see the point in having a conversation with people whose beliefs are relative to partisan concerns. '"

And, of course, there's absolutely no irony in THAT comment , from THAT source, is there?

Usual Suspect absurdities passed off as wisdom.....THAT'S what I find most entertaining about this blog.


thanks for blobbing in, as usual, bubba. if you were actually a part of this thread, you would have notice that spag made that assertion time, and time again, which is fine. i just thought it might be time that he be held to similar standards.

now go get your medications.


Spag is beyond partisan himself and completely misses the irony of: "I don't see the point in having a conversation with people whose beliefs are relative to partisan concerns."

Really? Give me an example?

It is predictable that my calling out the inconsistencies in your positions would be met with arguments that I am some kind of moron. For years, I have posted very detailed arguments on any number of issues only to be accused of taking over Ed's blog, obsession, being too wordy, etc. But now suddenly you want a conversation? Let's start with the premise that many of you are full of shit on this subject and that is not my fault. You can start by explaining why the conversation that you wish to have now involves a different set of values than what you claimed to have in the past. Once we iron that out, maybe there can be an "honest" conversation.

As for me, I don't have a problem killing the enemy by any means but I do believe that it is counterproductive to kill intelligence targets if they have value.


"You can start by explaining why the conversation that you wish to have now involves a different set of values than what you claimed to have in the past. Once we iron that out, maybe there can be an "honest" conversation."

Actually, I prefer the entertainment aspect of what he provides.

CP ( worst person on the internet)

Also Sam back in Bush's day it was judged by the left to be a morality issue which trumped and rendered superfluous all other considerations. But now it's of course properly defined a "policy debate". See the difference?

As I've always said here, ideology disguised as pragmatism. I don't think I've ever seen it so blatantly self-exposed as with this one. And you are exactly right. You cannot have an honest debate when people disguise their blatant double standards this way. They may get sick of hearing it from you but that makes it no less true. The examples just fall from the sky. I gradually gave up the attempts awhile back, and like you, just enjoy shining the magnifying glass on it when they step in it.


no, let's start with the premise that there aren't "many of me", there's only one.

from jump on this blog and in this community (from the n&r to your own blog) *you* have proven not only to be extremely partisan, but highly dismissive of others in the same context. hey, i owe up to my opinion. i actually have one. but that's not good enough for you. it has to be classified as a "typical" response; one from "one of you."

know that "we're" not the ones that go to baseball games together and call it "converge left/center/independent/whatever." "we" don't email each other to jump on comment threads. hell, i haven't seen or spoken to roch in person in 5 years; anthony and fec the same; ged or andrew *ever*.

you're right on one thing, though. you do present detailed arguments at times. sometimes they're approachable, other times not even close. the problem is that people aren't always trying to win an argument or have a sanctioned debate; some of us actually want to explore issues through conversation. that takes opening up, providing a personal take, trying to understand the other persons position and retorting in kind -- not holding others "accountable" to what you consider as decorum or "non-hypocritical behavior."

hey, i know in the past i've been guilty of pretty shitty, narrow-minded behavior at times. i can own up to it. i'm also now in my 40's, married and have much different priorities than i did in 2005. i evolve all the time, as do some of my positions. apparently you're exactly the same, keeping tabs on everyone with your "on the record" book of positions.

tell me exactly how that isn't extremely partisan when all you do is judge positions on issues against how one "might" react with george bush in office? jesus, man, are you ever going to let that drop?

as for your comment on the issue itself -- yep. i agree that killing intelligence targets with value would be dumb. i highly doubt that's what's going on, so it's good to know that you at least support that sliver of obama's policy. now, whether you support the actual drone policy itself, sans the man behind the trigger... ? maybe you'll offer up that opinion next. hey, stranger things have happened.

formerly gt


been busy today and last night. family last night and work today.

it may be tomorrow, but i'll reply.

I reread your comment and i did misstate your position. sorry about that.


no worries, gt. thanks for the reply.


Alright Sean, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt henceforth regarding the shitty, narrow-minded behavior.

As for my positions on the record, the vast majority of them were to call B.S. on the intellectual honesty of them AT THE TIME THEY WERE MADE. The fact that I can go back now and say "I told you so", especially after all of the crap I have taken from people on this blog doesn't reflect partisan behavior on my part.

I have consistently been one of the most vocal proponents of an intelligent, honest debate. Unfortunately, when I come across this constant hypocrisy that is a clue that no honest debate can be had. Hypocrisy is inherently dishonest- a point I have made over and over.

Regardless, if you think you have a new outlook and are past all of the chest thumping in the past, I'll accept that going forward.


"As for my positions on the record, the vast majority of them were to call B.S. on the intellectual honesty of them AT THE TIME THEY WERE MADE. "

Should read "As for my positions on the record, the vast majority of them were to call B.S. on the intellectual honesty of arguments being made AT THE TIME THEY WERE MADE.

David Hoggard

Damn, a kumbaya moment. right here in front of God and everybody.

Sean, I think what you expressed is what is missing here most times. Each of us are evolving folks chocked full of humanity (except, perhaps, for bubba and the blessedly long silent SITM, who both seem to actually DEvolve with every stupid, finger-wagging post).

I've read more in this thread about people TRYING to have a real conversation than I've ever read before. Some won't allow it, others long for it (me,among them).

sean, Ed, corbly (et al): their views and ideas are brushed off as 'them damn liberals' by...

spag, CP, Fred, (et al): their ideas and views are brushed of as 'them damn neo-cons' by.... others including the above.

Regarding the above exchange: I applaud your candor, sean (you damn yellow dog sumbitch). And your excellent response Spag (you damnable rich-ass lawyer type).

Keep it up. We may solve this thing yet.

CP ( worst person on the internet)

(Is anybody looking?) Psstt! Kudos,David. You truly sit in the middle and actually look pretty good doing it. Just let's keep it between me and you, huh? Those neocons can turn on you at the slightest hint of softening, you know...

CP ( worst person on the internet)

"in front Of God and everybody". Assuming She exists, of course.

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