This post, originally intended to be titled “Mitt Romney Hates Me” in response to the decision of whoever manages his Youtube channel to ban me from leaving any further comments after I spent last week debating with some of the commenters on one of his videos. There’s something else in the news however that is a little more disconcerting than being banned from further debate by someone who wants to be the president of the country that champions free speech and democracy. It is about the so-called investigation in the corridors of power about someone in the Obama administration leaking “sensitive” foreign policy information.
It began about a week or more ago when two consecutive New York Times articles came out one of them boasting that President Obama has a “Kill List” of wanted terrorists marked for death by the US drones that he personally supervises. The other talked about an extensive cyber war conducted by the administration and Israel in which computer systems in Iran were targeted with debilitating viruses. Responses to the two articles were mixed. The response to the Kill List article was definitely very mixed, and very weird. Republicans and other right-wing conservatives who had tried to paint the president as otherwise soft on terror suddenly found themselves faced with a well-done reportage that showed that the commander-in-chief had actually been personally conducting a strong, brutal, foreign policy. The Left however, the otherwise human-right touting base of the president who beat up on George Bush for being such a hawkish man who misled the country into war in which innocent lives (and of some bad people too, no less), kept curiously quiet. They found no contradiction whatsoever in the image of a president who won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2009 personally supervising the killing of suspected terrorists not yet convicted of any crimes.
Therefore, in a weird twist of fate, logic, and political identity, Democrats silently cheered that their president finally locked down the foreign policy cred (nevermind that his supervising of the killing of Osama Bin Laden already wrote him into the history of decisive leadership), while Republicans – otherwise usual supporters for whistleblowers who leak government information that show abuse/misuse of power – are now up in arms, jumping up and down, and making loud noises that the leaker of the said information should be found. Why? Because the leaked information made the president look good. Of course if the information “leaked” to the New York Times had included some embezzlement or some sort of information, these same Republicans would have been the first to find ways of protecting whoever the person is, touting him/her as a hero.
So, here’s where we are. The biggest developing news on TV today (bipartisan, nevertheless) is about the call for a private investigation, not – as you would imagine – to examine the rationale for the president himself personally supervising the life/death decision on who lives or who dies in Yemen, Afghanistan or Iraq tomorrow, but to punish whoever made that information public. The Republicans making the most noise about the call for this panel do not care much for those accused bad guys (and the innocent collateral deaths accompanying it), but they hope on some level that the investigation would lead to the president himself, and he would thus be embarrassed. Again, not so that the killings would stop or become more open, but so that he would be painted as a weak, narcissistic leader. The president himself, calling the insinuations that he purposefully leaked classified information “offensive” is investigating the leaks so as to plug it, and not really to stop or modify the draconian policy that made some mockery of his 2009 Nobel Prize and his earlier stance on the policies of the George Bush administration.
It all just seem weird to me. But what do I know. I’m just one naive observer. But all liberal observers now keeping quiet would do best to remember that Obama won’t be president forever. The spy and killer drones however, and the capability for government abuse, will.