#Drones and Race
Drones and Race
General Atomics Predator
There’s a mention of drones way down in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ fascinating article “Fear of a Black President”. Despite the other strengths of Coates’ writing and analysis, this passage exhibits the crippling effect of the “progressive consensus”
The political consequences of race extend beyond the domestic. I am, like many liberals, horrified by Obama’s embrace of a secretive drone policy, and particularly the killing of American citizens without any restraints. A president aware of black America’s tenuous hold on citizenship, of how the government has at times secretly conspired against its advancement—a black president with a broad sense of the world—should know better. Except a black president with Obama’s past is the perfect target for right-wing attacks depicting him as weak on terrorism. The president’s inability to speak candidly on race cannot be bracketed off from his inability to speak candidly on everything.
Barack Obama came into office promising to wage war on Al Qaeda. He has done so with great success. To argue, as Coates does, that President Obama’s drone war on AQAP results from a craven “submission” to right wing fear mongering is to attack President Obama’s character for the sin of doing what he said he would do and for not doing what Dennis Kucinich promised to do. The progressive fantasy that the President somehow should be following their policies and not his policies is a damaging fantasy. Coates even alludes to the progressive complaint that their criticism of the President meets with hostile response from many Democrats but he does not understand what draws the hostility. Progressives don’t seem to be able to make policy criticisms without insisting that the President is, as the Republicans claim, a weak vacillating character whose statements about his own intentions can be ignored. Such arguments don’t make much sense, but they do have the effect of amplifying the fundamental GOP marketing message that Democrats are weak and untrustworthy. Enough of this stupidity. We have a strong Democrat in office - give him his due.
And the fixation on drones is strange. The United States government has been regularly conducting air-strikes in third world countries since World War II ended - directly and via proxies. How can anyone argue that a drone strike is somehow less humane than a B-52 bomb raid, or attack from a helicopter gunship, or a jet fighter strike or an artillery cannonade? Obviously all of those are more likely to go astray and wipe out whole villages…