By Mark Green
*On Drones and Death. A Drone strike in Yemen last week killed the American-born and avowed jihadist Anwar al-Awlaki. Mary and Hilary agree that this killing was justified since he was engaged in a stateless war against us and couldn't be apprehended. (To hear audio of entire show, click below.)
But. We listened to objections from the Right and Left and explore the hard issues of precedent and morality. Why him and not others? Who reviews this? All in secret? Hilary notes that congressional committees and an interagency group do carefully review who is targeted and that a restrained Obama has not used drones against terrorist camps and regions, though she candidly admits that she wouldn't be so sanguine if Bush-Cheney had made the same decision.
Mary wonders why there was so much more opposition to the prior administration's waterboarding program than to the execution of an American without any due process. The host asks about comparing the torture of a prisoner under your control and killing an admitted enemy leader in the theater of war. Also, will such a relatively cheap way to prosecute a war -- like it's a video game and without body bags coming home -- instead make it too easy for future presidents to go to war? And if this attack is justified, what happens when other countries, even rogue groups, buy and use Drone technology against their perceived enemies in the U.S.? Like nuclear weapons, will their use lead to years of negotiations against their proliferation?
We hear Dick and Liz Cheney in effect suggest that Obama apologize for criticizing 43 for overreacting to 9/11 since 44's policies are similar (except for the invasion and torture parts)? Hilary argues that Obama got the no-invasion-of-the-wrong country doctrine exactly right while Mary thinks the two POTUSs on terrorism are more alike than different.
*On Occupy Wall Street - a new silent super-majority finally speaks? Moving from Yemen to Manhattan, the women differ on the growing and spreading protests on and against Wall Street.
We hear Bill O'Reilly say protestors want "income equality... like in Cuba and Zimbabwe... by force if necessary." Mary discounts them as "useful idiots [see Lenin] and new-age hippies" interested in lots of things, including animal rights - and unlike the Tea Party, they lack any specific agenda.
This really, really misses the big picture, Hilary responds, arguing that they're rightly angry at how Wall Street has screwed Main Street. Also, this is an evolving movement which started with a tactic (daily protests with a tight theme) and will eventually organically move toward a program (say, enacting Clinton's top tax rates and a law making it easier to "move your money," plus keeping Dodd-Frank and Health Care Reform intact.
Again, the women exchange views about "class warfare," as the host plays audio of the President complaining the unfairness of "bus drivers" paying higher tax rates than millionaires - that is, President Reagan (courtesy of the Center for American Progress).
Is Mary worried that her GOP will be tagged as the Party of Wall Street in 2012 given all the polling support for the Millionaire's Surtax, Buffett Rule and American Jobs Act... and unpopularity of House Republicans? Can Democrats channel street anger in voting? No, since the real issue, she repeats, are deficits and unemployment under this president. Hilary reminds us that the economic data shows that the wealthy are getting wealthier, the rest of us are not, and most Americans know this.
*Quick Takes: McCain against war; Robertson against marriage; feminists as "sluts"? Hilary and Mary largely agree with Senator McCain, normally a consistent proponent of military force, who predicted there wouldn't be more U.S.-led wars in the Middle East because "the public wouldn't stand for it." They also discuss the complicated issue of whether divorce is preferable to adultery when a husband has a spouse with Alzheimer's and wants to have companionship with another woman.
Last, is it an effective or counter-productive tactic for women to go on "Slutwalks" around the country to protest a Toronto cop who told a rape victim not to dress so "provocatively"? Consensus alert: they enthusiastically agree that it's a sassy and effective way to expose "the objectification of woman" since nothing women wear can justify the crime of rape.
*On the Radar, cont'd. We close by following up last week's conversation about Walter Isaacson's upcoming biography next month of Steve Jobs, who died Wednesday, as well as a) Mary's pride (for James) while attending the 20th reunion of Clinton's presidential campaign and b) Hilary's pride hearing President Obama's speech lauding gay soldiers at the Human Rights Campaign dinner because "the way we get to a better, bigger America is by giving everyone an opportunity to do their best."
Mark Green is the creator and host of Both Sides Now, which is powered by the American Federation of Teachers.
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