My Continuing Adventures in the Drone Debate

My rather lengthy Monday column begins like so:

Over the weekend, I spent several hours debating the overlapping topics of drones, the war on terror, Eric Holder, Rand Paul and, yes, semantics with Glenn Greenwald on Twitter. Not shockingly, several of my closest friends wondered out loud why on Earth I would engage in such an endeavor considering how, in their view, Greenwald is incapable of conceding even the smallest point and therefore debating him in 140 characters or less is not unlike smashing my face against a brick wall. Of course, my only response to their concerns is the honest one: I simply can’t help it. Louis CK, in his Live at the Beacon Theater show, observed how women “get to” have perverted thoughts, but men “have to” have them. And so it is with me and debating politics. My friend Chez and others get to. I have to. It’s my nature. It’s not the debate that will give me an aneurism — it’s not having the debate that’ll make my head explode.

I have no intention of recapping the entire debate here. You’ll have to click over to Twitter for the play-by-play, but mainly, though, I’d like to cover a few points that Greenwald and others have made throughout the last week or so on these adjoining topics encompassing the president’s war powers and his use of targeted killings. [continue reading here]

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  • ranger11

    I read this whole piece and I still don’t get why you’re debating these guys. God bless ya I guess but geez man! I took a lot of political science courses back in college and encountered many persons like this. Most of my professors in fact. It wasn’t much fun at all. It was a game to them making anybody who didn’t agree with their various philosophies feel like an idiot. More power to you but you’d have just as much luck influencing the mind of an evangelical fundamentalist than these fine fellows.

    • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

      “you’d have just as much luck influencing the mind of an evangelical fundamentalist than these fine fellows”

      Indeed, I don’t agree with Bob that Greenwald doesn’t have an underlying agenda. He’s a libertarian so of course he has an underlying agenda. It’s the nature of the beast.

      • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

        “I don’t agree with Bob that Greenwald doesn’t have an underlying agenda.
        He’s a libertarian so of course he has an underlying agenda. It’s the
        nature of the beast.”

        Co-sign.

  • i_a_c

    Greenwald, Wheeler, etc. don’t even stop for one moment to think about why a president might want to use those powers granted to him. So what, he’s supposed to ignore the intelligence services and decline to launch strikes against al Qaeda to curry favor with the Leftier Than Thou progressives? Then if the worst happens and there’s another large-scale attack on US soil, the political upheaval would be truly epic. Bush got the benefit of the doubt after 9/11. Obama would get no such thing–just take a look at the trumped up Benghazi nothingburger. If he didn’t do everything in his power to prevent an attack the nutjob teabaggers and neocons would eat him alive.

    You would struggle to find a single president in history that declined to use powers granted to him. Congress needs to step up to the plate, which means someone needs to change the hearts and minds of the public. Americans still broadly support strikes against al Qaeda even as they are turning against the Afghanistan war. If those who claim to be Leftier Than Thou care, they might want to focus on that instead of hurling invectives at the president and his supporters.

    And just on a side note, hitching their wagons to Rand Paul’s conspiracy mongering was absolutely embarrassing.

    • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

      The President is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. It’s a testament to his patience that he hasn’t told them to just eff off and stopped explaining anything to them.

    • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

      “hitching their wagons to Rand Paul’s conspiracy mongering was absolutely embarrassing”

      Agreed. Not that they don’t take similar positions all the time. I’m sure you recall the time when Greenwald and Hamsher teamed up with Grover Norquist.

  • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

    ” several of my closest friends wondered out loud why on Earth I would engage in such an endeavor”

    Masochism? ;)

    • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

      Yeah. I’ve had a couple of go-rounds with Greenwald on Twitter, and I finally decided that it wasn’t worth it. He is an immovable mountain, unable to give credence to any opinion but his own, and those who agree with him.

      And his belligerent followers frequently gang up on those who disagree with him. He is an ass.

  • mrbrink

    My sentiments pretty much echo that of everyone here. Arguing with Greenwald is a dirty job, sometimes stupid filthy, but someone’s got to do it and you’re the best America has got, Bob.

    “Stand with Rand,” and you are standing with, “A dogmatically anti-choice nullification supporter hailing from the pre-Civil War John C. Calhoun school of pro-slavery, pro-states rights orthodoxy…”

    In other words… Obamabot!

    Rand Paul made a sort of joking remark during his babbling filibuster about how he probably wasn’t going to break Strom Thurmond’s record. Nothing like a gentlemanly awe-shucks hat tip to his ideological forefather. His spirit lives on.

    But you almost have to excuse Greenwald because during the Bush years there was no shortage of scandals and conspiracies to latch on to. He spent the better part of his formative years pretty much recounting the John Yoo memo. He really needed Holder’s memo to pan out. He was going to retire into his golden years on this memo! Without this, he’s looking into the abyss.

    I hope Greenwald’s enthusiastic support for Rand Paul works out for America. We need more kooks in Congress working on behalf of America’s Tea Party Birthers while calling everyone else brainwashed O-bots. Progress!

  • D_C_Wilson

    Personally, I’d rather have a proctoscopic exam with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire than debate Greenwald. I don’t have the patience for that.

    Good on you for standing your ground.