It's become accepted wisdom that Washington has become pathologically polarized and partisan, with every new debate inevitably breaking down along party lines. That's why it was so remarkable last week when Rand Paul's old-fashioned talking filibuster scrambled the even more old-fashioned right-vs.-left way of looking at the world. The Paul-provoked debate on the confirmation of John Brennan to head the CIA in turn provoked a wider and critical debate about the use of drones -- a debate that needs to continue well beyond Brennan's confirmation. Since 2004, only 2 percent of those killed have been confirmed as militant leaders. From mid-2004 to mid-2012, between 474 and 881 civilians were killed in Pakistan. This includes 176 children. Last week's debate allowed Americans to put themselves in the position of those living under drones overseas -- imagining, even hypothetically, life under drones. And, not surprisingly, most of us didn't like it.
America's moral leadership is gone; we have subverted our own liberties -- we have panicked in an unmanly manner. Taken together, these failures and transgressions are a heavy load on the collective national psyche. We are now a people whose timidity in acknowledging their failings is fear by another name.
Kneejerk conflation of Obama and Bush could be the most ridiculous talking point to come out of the mouths of liberals in the post-Bush era. Without the benefit of logic or historical context, it's merely a cheap crowd-pleaser used by anyone seeking the accolades of similarly nearsighted sycophants.