Belmont Club

Situational Ethics

What’s changed since the bad old days of George W. Bush? Michael Hayden, Bush’s former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency summed up the differences between President Obama and George W. Bush’s tactics in fighting terrorism. President Obama kills more people.

“And so, we’ve seen all of these continuities between two very different human beings, President Bush and President Obama. We are at war, targeted killings have continued, in fact, if you look at the statistics, targeted killings have increased under Obama.”He said that was the case because, in one differing path between the two presidents, Obama in 2009 closed CIA “black sites” and ratcheted down on torturing detainees. But instead of capturing so-called “enemy combatants,” President Obama kills them instead, Hayden said.

“We have made it so politically dangerous and so legally difficult that we don’t capture anyone anymore,” Hayden said. “We take another option, we kill them. Now. I don’t morally oppose that.”

Obama’s kill list has even included American citizens.

The major difference which Hayden fails to note is that the press doesn’t talk about these things any more. There are no more “milestones” observed in Afghanistan. No more specials depicting the sad plight of innocent Jihadis. There are no more antiwar marches. No more protests. It’s just kill them, including American citizens, until they’re dead. The moral upliftment that President Obama has brought to what was formerly called the “War on Terror” consists in exactly this: you don’t read about it in the papers any more.

Then ...

Now

Optics matter. And to people who know only optics, they are all that matter. And by the way … its Romney’s fault.


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