Sunday, February 26, 2012

Precision Murder

That President Obama has been just as much a hawk as President Bush, if not more so, has been for the last three years a major source of embarrassment to liberals and some progressives. He seemed like the most peaceful of the leading candidates, but to be fair that was in comparison to Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Then shortly after he was elected, on the expectation of what he was going to do instead of anything he had actually done, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

And he went on to expand the number of countries that had United States military involvement to include Yemen, Libya, and Somalia, as well as keeping up the military activity in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. He did keep his promise to withdraw from Iraq, but only after signaling that he intended to break that promise and keep the troops there indefinitely and thereby forcing the Iraqi government to force a withdrawal. Plus he continued the saber rattling against Iran.

So how is a liberal or progressive to cope with this embarrassment? Apparently the effort is to say that Obama's use of precision weapons somehow makes his interventions morally superior. The argument is that Bush carpet bombed from B-52s while Obama is very precise and surgical with his use of drone warfare.

Of course this overlooks how Obama is precise and surgical when he bombs emergency response teams from his previous bombing runs, and how Obama is precise and surgical when he bombs funeral processions that result from his previous bombing runs.

Because Obama's murder of innocent civilians is allegedly so much less indiscriminate than Bush's murder of innocent civilians, it is considered crude and unenlightened to say that the murder of innocent civilians by Obama is morally equivalent to the murder of innocent civilians by Bush.

There is one problem with that analysis: innocent civilians are still being killed either way. If a person murders an innocent, it doesn't matter if he used a chain saw or a scalpel, and it doesn't matter if he carefully selected the innocent rather than picking one at random. It also doesn’t matter if he killed two or ten. The person is still a murderer. Obama is still morally equivalent to Bush, and both are war criminals.

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