Thursday, September 27, 2012

Is There A Threshold For Voting?

Conor Friedersdorf talked about what's wrong with Romney and the GOP. Now he's back for Obama:
"What I am saying is that Obama has done things that, while not comparable to a historic evil like chattel slavery, go far beyond my moral comfort zone. Everyone must define their own deal-breakers. Doing so is no easy task in this broken world. But this year isn't a close call for me... 
  1. Obama terrorizes innocent Pakistanis on an almost daily basis. The drone war he is waging in North Waziristan isn't "precise" or "surgical" as he would have Americans believe. It kills hundreds of innocents, including children. And for thousands of more innocents who live in the targeted communities, the drone war makes their lives into a nightmare worthy of dystopian novels. People are always afraid. Women cower in their homes. Children are kept out of school. The stress they endure gives them psychiatric disorders. Men are driven crazy by an inability to sleep as drones buzz overhead 24 hours a day, a deadly strike possible at any moment. At worst, this policy creates more terrorists than it kills; at best, America is ruining the lives of thousands of innocent people and killing hundreds of innocents for a small increase in safety from terrorists. It is a cowardly, immoral, and illegal policy, deliberately cloaked in opportunistic secrecy. And Democrats who believe that it is the most moral of all responsible policy alternatives are as misinformed and blinded by partisanship as any conservative ideologue. 
  2. Obama established one of the most reckless precedents imaginable: that any president can secretly order and oversee the extrajudicial killing of American citizens. Obama's kill list transgresses against the Constitution as egregiously as anything George W. Bush ever did. It is as radical an invocation of executive power as anything Dick Cheney championed. The fact that the Democrats rebelled against those men before enthusiastically supporting Obama is hackery every bit as blatant and shameful as anything any talk radio host has done..."
Pretty hard hitting stuff. One thing which Friedersdorf does not give adequate coverage is the risk of not doing some of these things. One of the reasons it is so hard to judge a president on foreign policy, at least real time, is that they have all sorts of information we don't. This is not the case when it comes to domestic issues. If there were real threats from some of the people targeted by drones, then the case becomes murkier. It is one of the reasons the war in Afghanistan has been such a difficult moral issue from the beginning, but that the war in Iraq hasn't. Al Qaeda posed a real threat to Americans, and it is not always easy to see what the best method to neutralize that threat is, particularly so when we do not have very much information to go on... 


  1. My thoughts are in very close alignment, although, I do think that's a bit too generous. I think there are cases, as in the West Wing when Bartlett orders an "extralegal" assassination on a country's leader, where it is the right call but not exactly legal. But I also think these occurrences are too frequent to be justified every time. If they are, we've got far bigger problems than we could possibly imagine.

    Sidenote: I read that article this morning and it inspired me to a do a post on third-party viability, that I hope to have up by tonight.

    1. Yeah, I would bet not all have been justified. The question is does that disqualify a person from deserving votes. I don't know the answer...

    2. Particularly, when there's no reason to believe Romney would be any different/better. I know he's calling for a vote for a third-party instead, but realistically, a vote against Obama is a vote for Romney and vice versa. This author is being very naive to think otherwise.