Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Excellent Article on Race, Drones and a Slew of Other Stuff

From Joan Walsh:
After the revelation of the kill list, Pew conducted a global survey about the use of drones which found that Americans supported the policy 62-28, with Republicans at 74 percent and Democrats lower at 58 percent (Americans were the only national group polled who favored the policy.)

But Huffington Post/YouGov polling after Isikoff’s scoop found that while 56 percent of respondents support using drones against “high level terrorist leaders,” only 13 percent think they should be used against “anyone suspected of being associated with a terrorist group.” And only 27 percent supported using drones “if there was a possibility of killing innocent people.” Another 13 percent opposed the drone program entirely. Given that only a minority of those killed by drones to date are “high-level leaders” – the New American Foundation estimates it’s as low as 2 percent – Americans may be more skeptical of the policy the more they learn about it.

Tesler’s research, though, suggests that their reaction may be informed by their support for the president, which is at least a little bit troubling. The U.S. is moving into uncharted political, military and moral territory with the use of drones, as well as expanded claims of presidential powers on targeted killings, on what seems to be a global battlefield in a time of endless war. Some of the very people who might be expected to raise objections to such moves are instead accepting them because they are made by Obama, and they like and trust him.

That’s common sense, on one level, but in a country that’s supposed to be governed by laws above men, it’s disturbing – and certainly worth talking about. Ironically, the very fact that the president himself has begun to promise more congressional oversight and transparency may make it more acceptable, among his supporters, for other politicians to demand it.


Kevin Holsinger said...

Good afternoon Mr. Glass.

So we've got a reverse of what you guys were talking about this weekend, with the Right's "I'm totally in favor of...wait, Obama's for it too? Fiddlesticks. I guess I'm against it." Interesting. Thanks for article.

I'd send this to Mr. Greenwald, but I imagine he'll have an article on it by the end of the week, since this is up his alley.

jim said...

Americans' steadfast loyalty to their presidential F├╝hrerprinzip shines through yet again, the lessons of Nixon be damned. After all, it's much harder to have faith in the sacred fetish of exceptionalism without one.

If Obama doesn't begin using drone strikes domestically, his successor quite possibly will - at which point one wonders if public opinion on them will shift very much.