[A]ssassination… is more humane than war, results in less collateral damage and can be accomplished without putting American lives at immediate risk… In a situation that has no good alternatives, assassination is the better idea… The president's insistence on seeing the faces and hearing the personal details of the people he may order killed strikes me as admirable… [It's] creepy. This group of powerful men half a world away from the action decides, in a court without appeal, who dies and who does not die. The documents that give them the power to do this are secret. The process is secret... As for the criticisms: The dog barks, the caravan moves on. And I don't see any way around it.Um, what? This is not "humane" AT ALL, this is not "admirable" AT ALL, this is not even JUST "creepy," this is a crime, this is evil, this is wrong. Now, given the actually existing alternative (Republicans in their present plutocratic-theocratic moment re-writing the country even more in the image of their neo-Confederate fever-dream) there are few things more crucial right about now than that Obama win a second Presidential term and hopefully wins in the kind of victory that has the coattails to retain the Senate and regain the House for Democrats. That doesn't mean I do not also happen to think Obama should have to stand in front of a war crimes tribunal himself one day. I think he certainly should have to do just that -- right after Bush and the rest of his killer clown administration does. War crimes are war crimes, civil rights violations are civil rights violations. Nevertheless, I also know that only by getting enough Democrats in positions of power to function as a countervailing pressure against the still rising tide of militarist anti-democratization is there any chance of turning it, even though it is true that there are all too many Democrats who are far from reliable allies themselves in this very effort. I know that such allies as there are in government are all Democrats (or caucus with Democrats) and that empowering Democrats in general empowers the best among them better than anything else we can do, and that exactly the same gruesome calculation goes for financial regulation, support for organized labor, addressing climate change and resource descent, providing universal healthcare access, championing the rights of women, fighting for a truly progressive tax system supporting public investment and welfare for the good of all, and on and on and on and on. You see, I completely get the whole not letting the perfect stand in the way of the good thing, the whole reform is a long and winding road thing, the whole keep your eyes on the prize thing, the whole politics is compromises not implementing utopias thing, but still... Jon Carroll, what the hell? Just as it is true that Obama is the most progressive president since FDR, so too it is true that this is more an indictment of the United States than anything for liberals to get too self-congratulatory about. Clearly when the Republicans call the President a Kenyan Socialist Islamist Atheist Fascist Whatever this is all the worst kind of ugly white racist know nothing crazytown Obama Derangement Syndrome, but no less clearly those Democrats who would actually defend Obama's opportunistic amplification of the unitary executive and circumscription of civil rights by recourse to terror-war paranoia are indulging in an Obama Derangement Syndrome no less pernicious. Vote for him for the alternative is more terrible still, support him in those efforts in which he has done well and often better than we reasonably might have hoped he could given the circumstances, but do not support what we all know he is wrong to do for fear that the necessity of facing such ugly facts will frustrate the necessity of the voting and the deserved support. Politics is not the nursery, as Hannah Arendt once put the point... we must know how to walk and chew gum at the same time.
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Friday, June 01, 2012
Obama Derangement Has Two Faces
With friends like these... Jon Carroll: