Some say that the current furor over leaks – or releases, or communications of classified, or formerly classified information, or whatever, concerning intelligence operations against Iran and drone warfare in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen rival Watergate in, if not in illegality, extra constitutionality, especially the White House’s so called “Kill List.”.
One aspect of the situation without rival is the atmosphere of adulation in which the original story was couched in the New York Times.
From the NYT, 29 May 2012
A Measure of Change
Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will
Will, huh? Sounds a bit Nietzschean. And then there was “Triumph of the Will,” not to mention G. Gordon Liddy’s autobiography, “Will.”
Nice company. But, hey, the President has “principles.”
Aides say Mr. Obama has several reasons for becoming so immersed in lethal counterterrorism operations. A student of writings on war by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, he believes that he should take moral responsibility for such actions. And he knows that bad strikes can tarnish America’s image and derail diplomacy.
To quote Rep Pelosi in another context,”Are you serious? Are you serious?”
Really? The President historian/geographer who gave us “Intercontinental Railroad,” “Malvinas are the Maldives, Hawaii is in Asia, and “57 States” is student of the philosophy of the Just War? I would challenge anyone to produce writing or authenticated quotations form the president on this subject, referencing these philosophers.
One should be grateful perhaps that someone among the unnamed aides had enough cultural literacy to Wikipedia this stuff. Or perhaps not. The Times is always there for Mr. Obama, so might have helpfully provided a bit of color to flesh out the portrait of our drone commander. I couldn’t find enough bio on the writers, Jo Becker and Scott Shane to indicate whether they themselves have the background to come up with this, but there must be a few old-timers around the Times who had a Western Civ survey course or two, or remember discussing just war theory in the context of the Viet Nam War, as was common in my theology classes in high school and College.
Although not yet to the same scale, we have another addition to the cult of Obama with its multiple manifestations, much like that of the Olympian Zeus, or perhaps Kim Jung Il: he is in turns, and at the same time, constitutional lawyer, writer, hoop shooter, golfer and crooner, and now, warrior philosopher.
Think of Marcus Aurelius, scratching out his thoughts in the soft glow of an oil lamp, after a day of battle on the German limes, the light of reason warming the tent, the darkness of barbarism without.
Oh wait, that was in “Gladiator.” That’s where the President’s latest persona, or evolution, or better, composite, comes from. Wikipedia and the movies.
As for the cognitive dissonance of the Obama administration’s policies in the Muslim world in general, and the self defeating futility of the drone wars in particular, there will be more to follow.