Droning Blind: Reactions to Obama’s Global War on Terror Speech

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Ethan Gach

I write about comics, video games and American politics. I fear death above all things. Just below that is waking up in the morning to go to work. You can follow me on Twitter at @ethangach or at my blog, gamingvulture.tumblr.com. And though my opinions aren’t for hire, my virtue is.

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10 Responses

  1. Avatar Snarky McSnarkSnark says:

    Can I assume that Andrew Sullivan had a favorable opinion?Report

  2. Avatar j@m3z Aitch. says:

    Wait….Ross Douthat is correct?!Report

  3. Avatar Ethan says:

    I should have included his…also I’d love to read others…please link in the comments if you have a good one…pro or con.Report

  4. Avatar George Turner says:

    It will take a while to work through your links, but the first one by Jane Mayer has come in for all sorts of fun abuse. Hotair take on her article.

    I’d have to agree, because to me being publicly conflicted, if not downright confused and uncertain, isn’t automatically praiseworthy in a leader who continues to give orders that result in surprise death from above. Any high school kid can wallow around in moral confusion and self-doubt, or spout endless long-winded explanations about why what he’s doing isn’t really wrong, even though he feels bad about doing it and doesn’t intend to stop, but wouldn’t mind stopping, and, by-gosh, he wrestles with it, so pat him on the head.

    As mentioned at Hotair, Obama has ordered the targeted assassination of four US citizens while Bush only waterboarded three terrorists, one of whom planned the 9/11 attacks. He shouldn’t get a cookie for being conflicted over it, or for being conflicted over the IRS suppression of his political opponents, the DoJ wiretaps on reporters, or the prosecution of twice as many Americans under the Alien and Sedition Acts as his predecessors did during WW-I, WW-II, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq I & II combined.

    He can’t find a guiding moral principle that he’s defending, but he can’t seem to restrain himself either. I guess he wishes the job weren’t so darn hard, bless his little heart. I have a cat that shares his uncertainty. It won’t leave the mice alone, but it can’t bring itself to kill them, either, so it just plays with them till their limp and bloodied, drops them in my lap, and lets me take care of things. Obama is the bad mouser who won’t control the rodents, won’t leave them alone, and demands endless praise for occasionally wrestling with them in a pale imitation of a grown up kitty.Report

    • Avatar trizzlor in reply to George Turner says:

      Obama has ordered the targeted assassination of four US citizens while Bush only waterboarded three terrorists, one of whom planned the 9/11 attacks

      I’m confused, where there no drone strikes under Bush? Otherwise what is the relevance of this comparison? Might as well say Obama has ordered the targeted assassination of four US citizens while Bush only sent massive aid to Africa.

      One recurring argument from the right when pressed to defend Bush’s dismal approval rating was that Bush always did the right thing but just didn’t do enough to convince the American people. Obama seems to have learned this lesson very well, understanding the political value in recognizing personal mistakes and nuanced policy decisions. I emphasize “political value” because playing the role of “The Decider President” or “The Anguished President” tells us very little about what kind of policy decisions the president will actually make. But criticizing Obama for learning from Bush’s obvious political mistakes just comes off as sour grapes.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to trizzlor says:

        As far as I can tell, there were no drone strikes or targeted assassinations of American citizens under Bush. He did prosecute a few that we captured, though.

        “Nuanced” isn’t a synonym for “confused.” Negative reactions to Obama’s speech were pretty uniform in pointing out that he sounds confused, often contradicting himself within a paragraph or two. Nuanced thought seems keen, illuminating the boundaries of the complex border lines where ideas abut against each other. Confused thought seems vague, ideas remain lost in a fog, the same fact presented as one thing and then its opposite.Report

        • Avatar trizzlor in reply to George Turner says:

          As far as I can tell, there were no drone strikes or targeted assassinations of American citizens under Bush. He did prosecute a few that we captured, though.

          Again I miss the relevance. Is the conservative argument that Americans actively working for our wartime enemies should be not subject to laws of war (including drones)? Or is the argument that liberals believed as much under Bush and are now hypocrites for criticizing Obama? Or what exactly?

          Here, let’s try to de-contextualize it: Police officer O shot and killed four people as they were trying to set of a pipe-bomb, while police officer W only waterboarded three apprehended suspects in the crime. What conclusion are we supposed to draw from this comparison: That W is a better police officer? That critics of W’s police brutality are hypocrites if they also support the actions of O? Does that follow for you because it doesn’t for me.

          The Hot Air article you linked to doesn’t talk about “nuance” versus “confusion”, it talks specifically about the different intellectual attitudes between Bush and Obama:

          Bush was a dim, “incurious,” smirking chimp whereas Bambi can quote you passages from Niebuhr; their actions may be similar but their intellectual attitudes are different, and that’s what’s important.

          Allahpundit is deeply shocked that people prefer a president that can articulate the complexities of an issue and his difficulty in making a decision to a president that dubs himself The Decider and says he’s got no regrets. Why the hell is Allah shocked to learn this?! After two terms of Bush, if there’s one lesson that readers of any political persuasion should be able to agree on it’s this one!Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Wardsmith says:

      I wouldn’t say they drone strikes are diminishing, just that Obama slacked off a slight bit during part of 2012 when he got distracted by campaign fund raisers.

      Maybe I’m cynical.Report