"Renaissance Thinking About the Issues of Our Day"
Let the Republicans pillory Brennan for partisan reasons. The neo-cons now look insane to anyone who was watching when they were in charge - to watch them attack Hagel then Brennan provides delicious irony if not a clear defense of the rule of law.
The question is : "Where is the left that was against illegal war and all for prosecution of war crimes?" I doubt Brennan will be rejected but his response to the 2nd Independent New England Senator Angus King is chilling to say the least:
From the Democracy Now! transcript of 2013.02.08 show - Senate hearing on the previous day...
SEN. ANGUS KING: Having the executive being the prosecutor, the judge, the jury and the executioner, all in one, is very contrary to the traditions and the laws of this country, and particularly in a situation where there is time. If—a soldier on a battlefield doesn’t have time to go to court. But if you’re planning a strike over a matter of days, weeks or months, there is an opportunity to at least go to some outside-of-the-executive-branch body, like the FISA court, in a confidential and top-secret way, make the case that this American citizen is an enemy combatant.
JOHN BRENNAN: Senator, I think it’s certainly worthy of discussion. Our tradition, our judicial tradition, is that a court of law is used to determine one’s guilt or innocence for past actions, which is very different from the decisions that are made on the battlefield as well as actions that are taken against terrorists, because none of those actions are to determine past guilt for those actions that they took. The decisions that are made are to take action so that we prevent a future action, so we protect American lives. That is an inherently executive branch function.
The emphasis is mine, but the justification is clear: this is the same preemptive, first-strike policy of aggression that is a continuation (and yes, expansion) of the class A, crimes against peace of the Bush administration. The 'unitary executive policy'. To be fair and real about it, these [war] crimes have been committed by essentially all previous US administrations against Native Americans, Latin Americans, Southeast Asians, Southwest Asians and Africans. As such, it is a bit old hat - it really is no surprise. Obama made much the same argument in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.
Yet, to hear the supposed expert administration of a Constitutional lawyer equate future possibility of attack with imminent self-defense and to claim due diligence from a laborious selection process whilst simultaneously claiming that all males over 18 are enemy combatants just because of where they are or who they might be near... it boggles the mind. It would be laughable but people are dying, and truly the justification is this: 'we can kill them just because they have a penis and they are in a certain part of Yemen [e.g.] and we know we are right because we carefully studied a single case of a local person who has a penis over several weeks and we have to kill them right now because they are an imminent threat to strike before we could even talk to anyone and anyway we can't talk to anyone because we have unilaterally declared it all a state secret.' I think I just threw up a little....
Lookat the stats that Chris Hayes presents - the host and all the guests missed the fact that even these admitedly vague and 'round' numbers on these strikes (drone only mind you) have killed on average one civilian in every strike. Ecuse me, but I hold 'innocent until proven guilty' as a basic human right of all people no matter what their gender or nationality or current residence.
In effect, it fatally criminalizes peoples' entire lives just upon where they happen to reside and their gender, even when they have ABSOLUTELY NO INTENDED OR ACTUAL EFFECT within the US. That is morally, ethically, Constitutionally and legally contrary to US and international law in more than one way. It is a clear violation of the principles of due process and habeas corpus which apply to citizen and non-citizen alike. It allows neither check nor balance by legislative or judicial branches - it is executive tyranny, All that before the whole secrecy aspect which doubles down and locks in the tyranny by making it a crime to talk about it if one should happen to really know what is going on.
Get this plain, constant, immutable fact: At the very least, there is no legal basis for withholding the abstract legal basis for administration actions in this area - NONE! Yet all that is available is a leaked white paper whose arguments are scorned by left and right alike. Check the "How America Kills" discussion on Up! with Chris Hayes this last weekend - a Hoover Institution conservative law professor who thinks we can take them out because we are at war - even he repeatedly makes the point that - legally - it doesn't matter whether or not they are citizens - due process and habeas corpus are recognized as basic principles of law in the US (and I note) they are both recognized as essential to the rule of law everywhere and they are both completely and irredeemably violated by summary execution.
The US was founded out of a document that comes from a basis in 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness'. Consider that any one of US would be understandably upset by the killing of our cousin, or our neighbors cousin by some unreachable foreign superpower. We would naturally foam at the mouth and speak words of revenge that we might well recant later on the basis of forgiveness or simply common sense. Does that make us terrorist and thereby anathema?
Finally, given the US dominance of the international arms market and the fact that tens of thousands of people are killed in Mexico and Colombia by weapons made in the US around black market drug trafficking that is created by US demand and the US Drug *>WAR<* (enforced by US internationally) -- by the same specious reasoning of the Obama administration -- MANY countries HAVE AN EVEN MORE VALID justification to undertake drone or special ops strikes against US weapons factories, US weapons exporters, US crack houses and low level or 'druglord' traffickers in the US no matter their citizenry. I say it is is even more valid because they do not have to resort to the sophistry of claiming self-defense against possible future actions - there is plenty of evidence of past actions - the number of Latin American Drug War deaths dwarfs the deaths on 9/11 and it includes many public officials. Consider that this reasoning even exposes the DEA and Customs to copy-cat blowback from South of the Border for the 'Fast and Furious' program.
My apologies to Mexico and Latin America - I intend no moral slander -- Ima just sayin' it looks fair within these specious arguments given by Brennan...
Brennan for head of the CIA? In a word -- NO.
Jazzjoy - The problem as always boils down to "who's in charge of the drones and what are they're up to?"
David J Cyr - you're forgetting one teeny weenie little fact: there isn't a RCH's difference between the Republican and Democratic Party's complicity in any of this shit. Samsnead said it best: "Imperialiam is bipartisan"
Sam, you have my vote for Pres next time around (whether you run or not;-) Loved your comment!
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Jesus, sorry folks. I've gone around the bend...
sorry, double post....
how liberals wage war: their killing accomplished remotely, safely far away from any combat zone, so no blood spatters upon the chic clothing of the killers
The APT: American Political Terms:
Sorry I didn't make myself clear. The "Shock and Awe" attack was so horrible to see, knowing the agony under the light display. I was sickened by our actions. I have watched this country attack since WW2 newsreels. I have donated to Democracy now. Watch MSNBC, Current and link and Got Mother Jones in the 60's....Relax.
Smells like it is already a done deal. Imperialiam is bipartisan. You have to admire Code Pink's activism during the hearings. It says alot for fighting the good fight in spite of just how rotten and fixed things are. Remember Nancy Pelosi taking impeachment "off the table" some six years ago? It might have been a function of her before the fact and during the fact complicity involving torture utilization in the name of "National Security" in private (secret) briefings (meetings) involving the leaderships of the house intelligence committee with dumbya and his henchmen as early as 2002 . Didn't stay so private after it was leaked out years later. Republocrats and Demopublicans bought off by profiteering corporations.
The entire fiasco is a joke. There was an ex General on FOX NEWS this morning and was commenting on the Sequester and how it will effect the Military. We will not be able to send another boat to the Persion Gulf if the Sequester goes through. I thought, SO WHAT! Our entire economy is based on the defense department. President Eisenhower was so absolutely correct and now we are living with the military industrial complex. Thom is right, our economy is going to collapse; sooner than later.
Jazzjoy says "I would rather have drones than watch another 'Shock and Awe' attack someplace."
Really! Long as it ain't YOU living in the attack zone, taking the brunt of it all. Try watching Democracy Now instead of CNN or FOX... You sound like you could use a good stiff dose of unsanitized reality. - Alice I.W.
The confirmation hearings seemed scripted. So what else is new? Brennen avoided direct answers and the whole business seemed like a lot of the same ol' nonsense. Obviously few on capital hill seem to give a hang about anything other than who's lining their pockets, the war/industrial bunch among others. I really think the USA has made its point that we're the toughest kid on the block and can wipe out anyone we want. The problem, similar to that of ancient Rome, after conquering everyone and anyone within reach, everyone wanted to sack Rome and eventually just about everyone did. As we fail to bolster our middle class and economy, and focus on messing with the rest of the world, are we setting ourselves up to be an eventual target of the world? Let us find the wisdom to learn from history, and turn things around.
On another note: thanks for having Sen. Bernie Sanders on. He's refreshing and genuine. Wish we had 60 or so more senators like him and just as outspoken.
Elections have consequences.
Predictable Obamanable policies were the consequence of the 2008 election.
Predictably, again, even more Obamanable policies will be the consequence of the 2012 reelection.
"In recent years, the fascism this nation has visited upon others for so long has gone out offashion. Itʼs become unpopular... giving hope that we might become a better nation, a betterpeople. My fear is that the American Idol candidate (Obama), much like Kennedy, will makefascism fashionable again."— David J. Cyr, in a proxy POTUS debate at SUNY-Delhi. on 10/29/2008
Yes, as I warned then, (D)evil devoted liberal voters have made fascism fashionable again.
Nothing moves America on further into the Right than getting more Democrats elected does.
Voter Consent Wastes Dissent:
Look folks, drones are here to stay. I suggest we think of home uses for them: hover over your children instead of a gun in enery classroom, walk the dog, follow an errant mate, replace the neighborhood watch club, watch tne neighbors.
Serioussly I would rather have drones than watch another " Shock and Awe" attack someplace.