Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: All’s not fair in love and war
Roses are red
Violets are blue,
We use our drones for American justice, baby!
But, um, not on me and you …
And that, fellow potential targets, is where the official government term known as gray area comes into play.
“We will not use drones to kill American citizens,” they proudly announce, and then immediately follow with a hopelessly vague list of “exceptions to the rule” in which they can and will use drones to kill American citizens.
But as long as you’re not associated with Al Qaida or any of its hundreds of subsidiaries and co-chapters spread all over the planet, at this point in time the powers that be promise to not hunt us good Americans down and kill us from the air.
Whew, for a minute there I was worried.
It was over 11 years ago when Bush signed the Patriot Act into law, significantly reducing restrictions for law enforcement to gather intelligence within our borders and expanding the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, among other things.
Democrats went absolutely nuts, accusing the president of shredding the Constitution to further a personal agenda (Iraq) while unceremoniously stripping law-abiding Americans of their privacy rights.
Now the tables have turned and Obama’s overzealous use of drones has the Republicans going full-elephant berserk, accusing the president of shredding the Constitution to further a personal agenda (Marxism) while unceremoniously stripping law-abiding Americans of their privacy rights.
But wait, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who recently said Libya was “exhibit A of a failed foreign policy” and that Obama’s re-election was sending the United States down a “path of destruction,” now suddenly says, “Every member of Congress needs to get on board (with Obama’s drone program). … It’s not fair to the president to … leave him out there alone, quite frankly. He’s getting hit from libertarians and from the left.”
What the fudge?
Sure, drone attacks are like video games, only the blood and flying tissue chunks of the bad guys are real. But everyone’s hands remain clean – no troops necessary. Would you prefer two dozen 20-something young men and women be put in harm’s way (at 100 times the costs) and hope for the same antiseptic conclusion?
No, I didn’t think so.
In fact, this part of the dispute is completely settled for me. I have no problem whatsoever with using drones for warfare against those who specifically wish to do harm to American citizens.
If they declare a desire to kill Americans and their actions prove a willingness to do so, then I don’t care if they were born in Kansas. They’ve effectively surrendered all American rights at that point, as far as I am concerned.
Blow ’em away. The cleaner the better.
But do not, for even half a second, presume that American citizens will be okey-dokey with using drones domestically to hunt down and kill potential suspects on American soil.
That’s not the gig we fought and paid for.
Besides, if Republicans are suddenly wining and dining Obama over a presumed military issue, what’s next, chocolate roses to help settle the looming sequestration and gun control background checks?
Get real. Everyone knows Valentine’s Day is a made-up holiday.
Richard Carnes of Edwards writes weekly. He can be reached at email@example.com.