Friday, February 8, 2013

Observations from the Coffee Shop 2.8

I want to write down my other thoughts on drones quick because snow is beginning to fall in the Village, Nemo seems to have arrived right on schedule. Usually the world is very black and white to me but these drones just have me torn as you can probably tell by now.

The drone war is an important story but it doesn't seem to resonate at all with a public that at times seems tired of it all. Tired of war, tired of politicians who get absolutely nothing accomplished, or just tired of the total ignorance coming from one side of every issue. Yesterday morning Joe Scarborough said he was scared because nobody seems to care about the constitutional issues involved. As I said that is part of the reason I was writing about it because I don't understand why I don't care more.

It's an important issue but it's also a very cynical one. Would people care more if Dubya was still President? There is a huge amount of trust involved and people just trust President Obama more than they ever did him. At the same time Obama wont always be President so what then?

An even more cynical part is the story of the Justice Department memo that was released this week. Supposedly it was found and released by NBC News after much journalistic effort. You might think it was on the level of David Corn getting the "47 Percent" video of Willard but you would be wrong. Now it seems that in all likelihood the memo was released by the Senate Intelligence Committee itself to create some drama for their confirmation hearings of John Brennan.

The White House says there are rules that are followed before drone strikes but they refuse to release them saying they are classified. Actually the whole drone program itself is considered classified. The problem is the drone war is part of a larger war that has been going on for ten years now. A dirty, ugly, secret war that shows no signs of ending anytime soon. That statement was proved recently by the French intervention in Mali and the terrorist attack in Algeria that followed. There are secrets in any war, there have to be, even more so in a war fought in the shadows as this one is and today the Congress of the United States is quite possibly the worst place on Earth to keep a secret. Also the ACLU is suing the government in civil court to force the CIA and Justice Department to release any and all information on the drone program and war. The thought of that lawsuit is laughable in an age where the Somali terrorist group Al-Shabaab has a twitter account.

But than there is the other, the constitutional, side of the story. Senator Robert Kennedy once held hearings into the terrible treatment of farm and other migrant workers. During the hearings he questioned a California sheriff who admitted to arresting workers without reason because the sheriff said he had a duty to stop them from causing trouble before they caused it. When Kennedy asked how he could arrest someone when they hadn't yet broken a law the sheriff answered "They’re ready to violate the law." At the next break Kennedy stared down at the sheriff and told him he should "read the Constitution of the United States" over lunch.

President Obama is the only President who studied, not to mention taught, constitutional law before he became President. One could say he should know better.

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