There Is No Media Silence on Drone Assassinations

The media has never been silent about drone assassinations. Instead it has been pushing all the anti-drone and pro-Awlaki stories that some conservative blogs decided to pick up in the last two days. And then they began shouting that the media was hypocritical for not talking enough about drone assassinations and Anwar Al-Awlaki.

Opposition to the War on Terror is not a conservative agenda. It’s a liberal agenda. The media has been talking about it and will go on talking about it until either all the terrorists go away or all the non-terrorists do.

“Entrusting the Kill List to ‘High-Level Officials’ Sets a Reckless Precedent” The Atlantic shrieks.

“Drone Worries to Put Charge in CIA Hearing: Obama’s Nomination of John Brennan as Spy Chief Gives Senators Chance to Question Overseer of Targeted Killing Program” quoth the Wall Street Journal.

The Washington Post Editorial Board blasts Obama over it. “Outrage Mounts in Media Over Obama Drone ‘Kill Rules'” screams The Nation.

There’s more hysteria at NBC News, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Dallas Morning News. The only place the “media silence” exists is in the echo chambers of blogs that have decided to pretend that the path to victory lies through making things up in the hopes of winning over the Michael Moore demographic.

Unless they’re packing a lot of bacon bits, it’s not going to happen.

Here’s a rational article on the subject from the National Review.

If all this sounds harsh, or “chilling,” or scary, that’s because it is. War is hell. And there is no constitutional doctrine that exempts American citizens from that hell when they choose to wage war against their own country. Any other legal doctrine will create yet another perverse terrorist incentive: Can an American terrorist now be a unique human shield to prevent direct attack? An American al-Qaeda member would suddenly become the most deadly and dangerous of terrorists — enjoying unique legal protections not enjoyed by, say, Americans who wore German uniforms in World War II.

Or you can stand with Joe Scarborough.

“Here you have something truly chilling,” Scarborough said of the drone news. “Here you have the United States government saying, we can kill you, American citizen. You have no constitutional right to a jury by your peers. You have no constitutional right even to probable cause or to due process. You have no right to a lawyer. You have no right to counsel. You have no right to anything. If we suspect you, just suspect you, without evidence, that you were thinking about committing an act against the United States of America, we can kill you.”

There’s your argument. And if half the blogs today seem to be sounding like the third-biggest fraud on MSNBC, you know something is wrong.

  • rogueoperator

    Oh, get a grip.

    • Ziggy Zoggy

      Get a grip? Is criticizing media lies homophobic or something?

  • tagalog

    Contrary to what Joe Scarborough says, the government of the United States has ALWAYS had the power to kill Americans without due process. That's the bottom line of govenment power.

    What is that people are concerned about when it comes to distrusting government if it's not the ability of government to muster overwhelming killing power against the governed? Why the hell do conservatives want government be small? I don't think it's because they want to prevent Social Security acts.

  • Edward Cline

    I do not understand these people. If an Awlaki brain brother is "over there" waging war against the U.S. or at least helping the enemy in the way of aiding and abetting its war against us, where's the loophole in taking him out when he's in the company of genuine, certified, Islamic-garbed enemies? Why is this logic so elusive to the liberals? Frankly, anyone who's gone to the Dark Side and is caught with his allegiance down to his ankles in enemy territory has forfeited any and all Constitutional protection and guarantees. He's voluntarily surrendered them. He's the enemy, too, in or out of uniform, in or out of Arab garb. Are these anti-drone chompers perceptually arrested, or what? How do they spell "logic"? With two L's and a K?

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Me either.

      If we had to give every enemy with American citizenship on the battlefield "due process" during WW2, the Nazis could have marched back into Paris with a few dozen American traitors out front as human shields.

  • Beanman

    However, during the initial actions in Afghanistan and elsewhere, there was a trivial necessity to actually declare that an individual was a specific threat, provide evidence, and then have a judge sign off on it, even if it was done in secret there was a legal decision from a judge. This was done for American Citizen Padillia (forgot his first name) who is now serving time in some SuperMax prison somewhere. He was declared an enemy combatant and it was signed of on by a judge. If he had done what he did during the Obama administration he'd probably be dead. Now, according to the DoJ memo, there need not be any evidence that the individual is involved in any actual plot to commit treason or an act of terror, just that the person has said this and such and can now be killed. Oh btw, there is nothing in the DoJ memo that says it can only happen overseas so maybe a drone flying over someone's compound in northern Idaho can just take out the skinheads that live there because they could be loosly associated with terrorism and terrorism can mean just about anything the DoJ and/or the President want it to, the memo says its okay.

    • Daniel Greenfield


      The two cases have nothing in common.

      Jose Padilla was arrested in Chicago. He wasn't on the battlefield. And no one is sending drones to Chicago. Not Obama or anyone else.

      (Whether Chicago could use some drones is an open question)

  • Beanman

    You may disagree with me and I don't hold with any terrorist of any stripe but I believe that the U.S. Government does not have the right to kill any American citizen anywhere in the world without ANY type of due process whatsoever. In the history of this country, or any civilized country where the rule of law has been instituted, there has never been an inherent right for the government to kill its own citizens without any sembelance of some sort of due process. Taking power like this unto ones self is unprecedented in this country. Beware!

    So now the government can shoot them down with a drone fired missle and splatter their guts over a dozen buildings but they can't waterboard them, now that would be just downright unfair and cruel wouldn't it.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Do you also think that the United States had to apply due process to American citizens serving in German infantry units during WW2 before bombing them?

    • Ar'nun

      I think where you are getting confused is the citizen part.

      Part III–Loss of Nationality
      " (7) committing any act of treason against, or attempting by
      force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States,
      violating or conspiring to violate any of the provisions of section
      2383 of title 18, or willfully performing any act in violation of
      section 2385 of title 18, or violating section 2384 of title 18 by
      engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by
      force the Government of the United States,

      Anwar Al-Awlaki was no longer a US citizenship when he was splatttered, as he filed no formal greivances to retain his Citizenship after violating the law.

  • Ar'nun

    There is a clearly stated Constitutionally upheld law that if you take up arms with an enemy of the United States, or openly plot the destruction of the United States, your citizenship is automaticly revolked, permanently. And the only way to avoid losing your citizenship is by appeal to the Courts.

    So why does anybody continue to pretend Anwar Al-Awlaki was a US citizen at the time of his death? He clearly participated in actions that cost him that honor, therefore he does have NO Constitutional rights, PERIOD.

    Although I would have prefered they put him in an exhibit at the Brooklyn Zoo for the rest of his life with the other animals.

    • jakespoon

      Traitors must hang,one way or another. Lethal injection, .45 behind the ear,or a hellfire missile in his back seat,doesn't matter.

  • Edward Cline

    Beanman: I think Mr. Greenfield has made it quite clear what he means. He is talking about Americans who have taken up arms against the U.S. and are on foreign battlefields. The Mideast is in large part a foreign battlefield. Whether the American is over there with our enemies, cooing to them about the righteousness of their cause and serving them thick coffee, or brandishing an AK47 and shouting "Allah is great!" or "Screw you, America!" he can be taken out as quickly and guiltlessly as any Muslim wearing a dish towel and sporting a lice-ridden beard. It should make no difference to our military. Soldiers and drones really don’t have the time to spend on authenticating anyone's citizenship when there's a chance to shoot back or eliminate a terrorist. Drones don’t carry computers that can determine whether or not a guy has a New Jersey DMV-issued license that says he's American.

  • Ar'nun

    Too bad there weren't drones in the 60's and 70's. We may be looking at a different Mass Senator as Sec of State! And how many awful Jane Fonda movies would no longer exist due to that butterfly effect?

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Or they could have just been denaturalized and both moved to France, gotten married and given birth to a devil baby.

  • Laura

    Thanks for your sane take on this issue as opposed to these knee-jerk partisans on talk radio and the blogosphere. That conservatives are taking the position of the left on this issue is for no other reason than to be contrary to the Obama administration. There are a million issues with which to condemn Obama over, this is not among them.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Yup it's not. I have no idea where this turn came from.

  • jakespoon

    John Walker Lind (remember him?) should be under the turf of Afghanistan. You do not go on foreign soil and try to kill other Americans.