Republicans are once again attempting to embarrass the president, this time by reporting that he fought President Bush on "enhanced interrogation" and now he's advocating "murder by drone."
I have yet to hear anyone suggest that there is at least one major difference between the Bush and Obama proposals. Bush proposed that enhanced interrogation of captives, that is individuals who had already been taken into custody and were no longer dangerous to U.S. citizens or U.S. interests. They had been defanged and almost all them were imprisoned either in Guantanamo or in the torture chambers of foreign countries who were cooperating with the United States, asking the questions we wanted answered.
President Obama on the other hand is taking out individuals who are attempting to kill Americans, both civilians and the soldiers fighting our wars. They have our blood on their hands, and they are constantly attempting to do us harm. Putting it simply, President Obama's drones are killing people who are trying to kill us, they operate all over the world, and they present a clear and present danger to all Americans and many of our allies. They are not defanged.
Some will say that when drones kill our enemies they may also kill innocent civilians who just happen to be in their area, I know that "collateral damage" is a phrase not much appreciated these days, but ugly as this may sound, innocent people have been killed in every war, it is lamentable but it is necessary if a war is to be won.
Torturing captives to extort information is lamentable too but moreover it is illegal: The Geneva Convention states that "No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion" may be used in gathering information from prisoners and that prisoners may not be transferred to a state that is not party to the convention. President Bush got around that by claiming that American captives were not prisoners of war, they were merely "foreign combatants" and not entitled to protection under the Geneva Convention.
President Obama makes no such claims. He believes the people our drones kill and wound are enemies of the United States and that we are entitled to kill them in self-defense. I don't think many Americans reject that theory, although we all do regret civilian casualties. And I think the vast majority of Americans approve of the president's actions in our defense.
One last point, Republicans, particularly decry the deaths of American citizens by drones. They forget that so far the American citizens killed by drones have all been acting in the interest of al Qaeda and the Taliban. Americans who aid and abet al Qaeda or the Taliban are committing acts of treason. They are traitors and the penalty for treason may be death.