Hillary Caesar

“We came, we saw, he died.”

Dubya was mocked, justly, for his weird little nervous chortle when he bragged about takin’ out the bad boys. But lately we’ve seen that getting the giggles over a political assassination is a bipartisan affliction.

It’s a trifle unseemly.

Hillary’s gloating comes on top of the president’s joke last year about killing the Jonas Brothers with predator drones. As Glenn Greenwald pointed out on Thursday, last week the joke became a reality, when a drone-fired missile vaporized Anwar al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, like his father (and the Jonas Brothers) an American citizen.

And then there’s this guy Sullivan:

To rid the world of Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki and Moammar Qaddafi within six months: if Obama were a Republican, he’d be on Mount Rushmore by now. And this time, the Arab world loves us as well.

The presumptions and non-sequiters in this are mind-boggling.

I will go out on a limb and call bullshit on the “Arabs loving us” part.

Finally, Jon Stewart pouts because the Republicans won’t give Obama high-fives. “[W]e don’t know what these rebels are going to do” is one of the Fox News positions mocked by Stewart.

For perhaps the first (and probably the last) time in my life, I’m with Fox ….


We removed a dictator in six months, losing no American soldiers, spending like a billion dollars rather than a trillion dollars and engendering what appears to be good will from people who now have a prideful story of their own independence to tell — not to mention, they have oil.

That last part? It makes it all OK?

Disappointing but not all that surprising, if you have a (selective) elephant’s memory like me, and recall Stewart’s sucking up to Colin Powell in 2005:  “the Afghanistan war, man did I dig that. I’d like to go again.”

This is a rather negative post, I know. I have one positive thing to say. Pepe Escobar’s How the West won Libya has just the right blend of perceptive analysis, anger, and resignation. When the world celebrates with near unanimity the disfiguring of a corpse, it’s safe to assume things will get a lot worse before they get better.

Oh, Lord, all options on the table–again!

… and here we go again with the tables and Iran.

Biden: ‘Nothing Off the Table’ After Iran D.C. Terror Plot

Apart from an incredibly sketchy plot, the details of which seem skimpier by the hour, has anything changed regarding the Persian Menace ™ since last August? No, not really.

Why bother, then, writing something new? This  recycled story, centering on the brilliant reductio ad absurdum of the whole “table” business from Fafblog, remains as sadly relevant as it was last year (or basically any year since 1981).

Always with the tables

By timmuky, on August 20th, 2010

Few turns of phrase demonstrate the unquestioning dimwittedness of America’s public discourse than “All options are on the table” when it comes to Iran. As far as I can tell, it first came into broad use during the Dubya Administration.  Bush’s successor, Mr.Changey Changey, didn’t see anything worth changing in the formulation. In fact, he rather seems to  like it.  His  Secretary of State is pretty fond of it, too.

Read the whole thing….


If you can’t try ’em, fry ’em (and the crowd goes crazy!)

Marcy Wheeler writes:

That’s right, not just one, but two, Americans were summarily and extrajudicially executed by their own government today, at the direct order of the President of the United States. No trial, no verdict, just off with their heads. Heck, there were not even charges filed against either Awlaki or Khan. And it is not that the government did not try either, there was a grand jury convened on Khan, but no charges. Awlaki too was investigated for charges at least twice by the DOJ, but non were found.

I confess to not knowing about the halfhearted attempts at legally dealing with Awlaki and Khan, but it’s not surprising to see them overlooked in media coverage of Friday’s assassination.  It fits the big picture. We  couldn’t convict them in any court of anything, so let’s just blow their asses away!

So that is where we stand. Bringing to its logical conclusion a process started under Clinton, the current president has declared himself to be Emperor of the Planet. If he says you’re an Extra Special Evil Enemy, you’re dead, even if you’re an American citizen. This is not the first time Obama’s exercised the imperial prerogative to put names on a death list, but it’s the most high-profile instance. And to read the responses from media and politicians–mostly bowing to the somber need to rid our country of these fucking cockroaches–is to cry.

I don’t think much has changed since I wrote “First they came, the invisible whites, and dealt death from afar” nearly a year ago. Except that now the USA is in major “Fuck Yeah!” mode in zapping  terror leaders! And the efficiency of drone attacks has improved, uh, miraculously.  Top counterterror honcho John Brennan now claims zero accidental deaths from drone strikes.

He actually said this:

There hasn’t been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision of the capabilities that we’ve been able to develop.

Yes, ZERO. Earlier a key figure said, in the pages of the Times, that the success rate was more along the order of one in fifty. Now it’s one HUNDRED PERCENT.

Did the science of targeting big-ass rockets at blurry shapes on monitors improve that dramatically, or did the government just decide to lie brazenly about it?

Take your pick, but you should really ponder this report from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism before you do….

There have been a good few critical responses to the Awlaki killing, mostly focusing on the fact that we are now murdering Americans without due process.

Truly, that is appalling, but isn’t it a tiny nuance, compared to the fact that a nation, protected by massive oceans on either side and friendly neighbors north and south, is vaporizing any human beings on the other side of the planet –the targeted person(s) and whoever else happens to be nearby when the Hellfire missile explodes–and then claiming self-defense? Mighty America is defending itself from a preacher in YEMEN?!!!! Just let the crazy of that sink in for a moment.

The libertarians have been getting to me, I guess. Not their goofy belief in the magic benevolence of markets, but in their justified questions of what exactly empowers the state to kill anyone, whether it be a hapless poor person of color who can’t afford decent counsel, or renegade Muslim clerics, or indeed anyone in a country that is not massing its troops at our border.

I can’t counter the thought that all of these  decisions to murder arise not from an earnest desire to protect Americans (though I grant that might be mixed into the motivation), but mainly from considerations of domestic political expediency. The local DA has to appear “tough on crime” to win re-election, just as the president has to avoid the “soft on defense” tag to undercut the kneejerk criticisms on this account that are certain to come from the opposing party.

The low, dishonest decade hasn’t bottomed out yet.

Anyway, here is that earlier piece I mentioned above. Sadly, it’s even more relevant than it was last year.