Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: June 22, 2012


UAVs, extrajudicial and targeted killings

If you haven’t wondered about the morality of this or its legality, I’d be surprised.

It’s easy to overlook, after all it’s the “good guys” doing it, right?

While I usually ignore most of what the UN says, I think there’s some substance here:

The US policy of using aerial drones to carry out targeted killings presents a major challenge to the system of international law that has endured since the second world war, a United Nations investigator has said.

Christof Heyns, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, summary or arbitrary executions, told a conference in Geneva that President Obama’s attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere, carried out by the CIA, would encourage other states to flout long-established human rights standards.

In his strongest critique so far of drone strikes, Heyns suggested some may even constitute "war crimes". His comments come amid rising international unease over the surge in killings by remotely piloted unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

A lot of times I apply the “what if some other country was doing this to the US” standard to things we do.  Take Fast and Furious.  What if Mexico had run that operation on us?  We’d be “furious”.  We’d condemn them roundly.  We’d be seeking redress.  We’d be initiating some sort of action.

Now given, in certain of the cases with UAV’s, governments of countries effected are cooperating and, in some cases, even giving permission.  But that isn’t always the case as we well know.  In fact, many times this country just executes an extra-judicial and/or targeted killing without the knowledge or consent of the government of the state in which it takes place.

As you might expect, there’s a lot of death of innocents that is euphemistically waved away as “collateral damage”.

Certainly the use of UAVs as a military asset that can both gather intel and be used to attack legitimate enemies makes sense.  But we’re into a very gray moral area with “extra-judicial” and targeted killings in other countries. 

The irony, of course, is the administration that arrogantly condemned its predecessor for secret jails and military tribunals and insisted that the judicial system be used in the war on terror instead now acts as judge, jury and executioner in these UAV killings. 

I just wondered what we’d think if Pakistan began flying UAVs into the US and knocking off politicians who supported UAV strikes in Pakistan, calling them “war criminals” and all?

Think we’d find that outrageous, a violation of our sovereignty and international law and be whining to the UN about what was being done by that country (not to mention beating the war drums here at home)?

Yeah, me too.

Would we have a legal or moral leg to stand on?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Obama’s lies and the media’s betrayal

How little interest has the media show in the actual facts of Barack Obama’s history?

The simple answer is “very little”.  For instance I expect a minute and basically negative examination of the Mormon religion when Mitt Romney is officially nominated.  That’s already being set up by numerous of those type articles already beginning to surface.

But Obama’s 20 years in a church with a reverend who basically preached anti-Americanism and black liberation theology? Meh.

A great example of what I’m talking about is covered by Jonathan Tobin in Commentary’s “Contentions” blog.  It is about the story oft repeated by Obama.  It is his version of his mother death of cancer because those nasty old insurance companies wouldn’t pay.

It’s a lie.  Again, I use the word “lie” much less frequently than do many in the press or around the blogosphere.  A lie is a knowing falsehood. I try to restrict my usage to that tight definition.  As it turns out, the story Obama has told repeatedly as the truth about his mother’s death is, in fact, a lie.  Oh, and the mainstream media knows it. 

Proof?  Well, they said so.

Never let it be said the New York Times is afraid to tackle an unflattering story about President Obama, even if it’s often a delayed reaction. The paper’s political blog The Caucus deigned to notice today that the new biography of the president by David Maraniss uncovered the fact that much of Dreams From My Father, the highly praised Barack Obama autobiography, is either fabricated or exaggerated. The Times’s Michael Shear opines that having its author now sitting in the White House has brought Dreams more scrutiny than its author could have envisioned when he wrote it in 1995. But the problem with contemporary analyses of the questionable personal history in the book is not so much the peril associated with being a famous political author but whether the book provides proof of a pattern of falsehoods and distortions about his past that has been one of the hallmarks of the president’s public career.

The answer to that question is contained near the bottom of the piece in which Shear lets drop that proof of such a pattern was already provided by his own newspaper last year. Though the Times buried the story when it broke and then never followed up or editorialized on the scandal, it was their own reporter Janny Scott whose research on the life of the president’s mother Ann Dunham revealed that the oft-told story of her dying because of the failure of her health insurance company to pay for her cancer treatment was a flat out lie. But while Shear is right that this year’s election will not turn on how Maraniss’s book is received, the unwillingness of the Times and other mainstream publications to call out Obama for writing fiction and calling it autobiography gives us a good indication of how much of an advantage having a quiescent media is for an incumbent president. [emphasis mine]

You know the standard line here: imagine them discovering something like this about someone on the right.  Do you suppose it would not be followed up or be editorialized?  Do you suppose they’d skip pointing out it seems to indicate a pattern?

As to that pattern and the specifics of his mother’s death:

The fables Obama seems to have told about his alienation, his girlfriends and the rest of his over-intellectualized voyage of self-discovery actually pale in comparison to the whopper he told when running for election in 2008 that his mother died because she had been denied coverage and treatment of her disease. Scott revealed that in fact the expenses relating to her cancer had been paid by her insurance. Though she had a separate and totally unrelated dispute relating to disability coverage, Scott’s research proved that Obama’s statement during the 2008 presidential debate was fiction:

“For my mother to die of cancer at the age of 53 and have to spend the last months of her life in the hospital room arguing with insurance companies because they’re saying that this may be a pre-existing condition and they don’t have to pay her treatment, there’s something fundamentally wrong about that.”

It bears repeating that the president knew this account was false because he served as his mother’s attorney in all her dealings with the insurance company. [emphasis mine]

And where did the Times run this revelation?  What was the White House reaction?

When the Times ran that story (on page 14 rather than on the front page), the White House chose not to deny the truth of Scott’s reporting. But that didn’t stop the Obama campaign from  refloating the same falsehoods about Ms. Dunham having perished for lack of insurance coverage in an autobiographical campaign film narrated by Tom Hanks.

So the Times discovered what would be a bombshell revelation were it anyone else, they plop it out on page 14, the White House denies it and that ends it?

Now that’s journalism isn’t it?  Duty fulfilled, even halfheartedly, and now safe to ignore.  Meanwhile the lie lives on and no one even bothers to address the fact that’s what it is.  It is pure political propaganda designed to demonize an industry in order to gain popular consent to all but wreck it and have government take its place.

Yet, it’s only worth page 14 in the “paper of record” and zero followup. 

Not only has the president never apologized for lying to the American people about his mother’s plight, he rightly assumed that even though the truth was uncovered by the New York Times, neither that paper nor the rest of the mainstream media would follow up on it as they undoubtedly would had a Republican ever tried to sell the voters such a transparent whopper.

There’s the bottom line.

Another example of how poorly a biased media is serving the public.  Yet they wonder why the public’s confidence in them continues to drop and newspapers all over the country are dying.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO