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Debate Over Military Drone Strikes Divides Democrats

FILE: Military Drone
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration’s appointment of John Brennan to serve as director of the CIA has brought to the fore some troubling questions about the rationale for lethal drone strikes. These questions are also exposing a political divide on the left.

For the most part, the left-wing in American politics is a combination of cultural liberals, concerned with maximizing personal freedoms, and economic progressives, focused on tempering the negative consequences of unrestrained capitalist accumulation on society. With the possible exception of the 2nd Amendment, which liberals tend to argue is being conveniently and egregiously misread to ignore the “well-regulated militia” part, the Bill of Rights is considered sacrosanct by the left. This is the reason why the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization that exists only to protect the freedoms accorded by the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments, is considered by right-wing entertainment media to be an ultra lefty extremist group.

The actions of the Obama administration with respect to eliminating terrorist groups like al-Qaida, has put Democrats in an uncomfortable position. During the previous administration, every controversial move from the Patriot Act to warrantless wiretapping was scrutinized and created a fresh outpouring of healthy liberal outrage. Now that a Democrat resides in the Whitehouse, we have heard little about this controversial expansion of executive powers.

Partisan loyalty to, and trust of President Obama have allowed Democrats to ignore the fact that our country has been prosecuting a secret war in the Middle East through the use of drone attacks. Reports of the Obama administration’s legal justification for skirting due process requirements and using drones to kill American citizens, who are both linked to al-Qaida and operating abroad, have been quietly making the rounds for months. Despite these reports, there were precious few protests, and nothing like the white hot fury that would have surfaced if it were a Republican secret panel deciding who lives and who dies.

The election is over and the Democrat won in a landslide. It is time for Obama supporters to join the rest of the left, and Libertarians for that matter, in holding the President’s feet to the fire and demanding the constitutional scholar in chief recognize that this is a dangerous executive overreach and unnecessary degradation of civil liberties. After all, Obama isn’t going to be President forever, and the next guy might not be so trustworthy.

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