The Daily Show Discusses President Obama’s Kill List
June 18, 2012 Leave a comment
Conservatives have a habit of attacking President Obama for actions and agenda items that do not exist, whether it’s lying about his place of birth (as they’re desperate to point out that he’s not a WASP) or his record on taxes (yes, Obama has provided significant tax cuts). One of the many unfortunate consequences of the Republican penchant for fantasy is that, when Obama does do something which deserves criticism, we do not have a loyal opposition there making the reasoned and rational case against him. Case in point: Obama’s Kill List.
On Friday, June 15th, Jon Stewart did a segment on Obama’s involvement in deciding which terrorist dies next. How does the United States avoid killing civilians? The administration is pointedly vague in their description.
JAY CARNEY: We have at our disposal tools which make avoidance of civilian causalities much easier.
So, might those tools be secrecy, obfuscation, and hope?
The issue is in the news because The New York Times recently pointed out that the preferred method of determining who is or isn’t a militant is straight from the Eric Arthur Blair Book of Chilling Terminology.
JO BECKER AND SCOTT SHANE: Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.
So, innocent until proven guilty. Oh, and proving your innocence may be tricky, as you’ll be dead.
Glenn Greenwald is one of the best journalists covering this type of practice, and he argues that one of the issues is how willingly most of the media goes along with the administration.
GREENWALD: For now, consider what this means for American media outlets. Any of them which use the term “militants” to describe those killed by U.S. strikes are knowingly disseminating a false and misleading term of propaganda. By “militant,” the Obama administration literally means nothing more than: any military-age male whom we kill, even when we know nothing else about them.
As The Daily Show points out in one of their precision-edited montages, it’s not just the media playing along with this relabeling of reality. The criticism from Capitol Hill seems to purely be about the information being leaked, not about the methods themselves. Jon Stewart mockingly interpreted what Senators Feinstein and McCain appear to be claiming.
STEWART: “It is an inconceivable breach of universal human rights — to tell us about the Kill List! The president’s killing people with flying robots and you should not know that.”
It’s times like these that I really wish we had a loyal opposition. Or at least one major political party which didn’t abdicate the use of the term “universal human rights” to the comedy shows.