Early on in the Obama administration, I had a series of blog posts labeled “Bush’s Third Term.” I meant it in a nice way. Here’s a snippet from February 2009, five weeks after the inauguration:
After winning in November, Obama co-opted Hillary and her one-time support for the war by naming her Secretary of State. But the clearest indication that the grown-ups would be in charge of the war came when Obama announced that he was retaining Bush’s Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, who oversaw the turnaround in Iraq. I feel much better about the Obama Presidency now than I did on Election Day.
More than three years have passed since then, and Obama surrogates have taken to crowing that “General Motors is alive and Osama bin Laden is dead.” The Obama campaign engaged in an unseemly end-zone dance for the first anniversary of the Osama takedown. As so often happens, it falls to Charles Krauthammer to pull all the pieces together into a sardonic mosaic. In his column yesterday, Dr. K wrote:
The Osama-slayer card having been vastly overplayed, what to do? A new card: Obama, drone warrior, steely and solitary, delivering death with cool dispatch to the rest of the al-Qaeda depth chart.
So the peacemaker, Nobel laureate, nuclear disarmer, apologizer to the world for America having lost its moral way when it harshly interrogated the very people Obama now kills, has become — just in time for the 2012 campaign — Zeus the Avenger, smiting by lightning strike.
A rather strange ethics. You go around the world preening about how America has turned a new moral page by electing a president profoundly offended by George W. Bush’s belligerence and prisoner maltreatment, and now you’re ostentatiously telling the world that you personally play judge, jury and executioner to unseen combatants of your choosing and whatever innocents happen to be in their company.
This is not to argue against drone attacks. In principle, they are fully justified. No quarter need be given to terrorists who wear civilian clothes, hide among civilians and target civilians indiscriminately. But it is to question the moral amnesia of those whose delicate sensibilities were offended by the Bush methods that kept America safe for a decade — and who now embrace Obama’s campaign of assassination by remote control.
Moreover, there is an acute military problem. Dead terrorists can’t talk.
It’s always hard to decide what to leave out of a Krauthammer cut-and-paste. Read the whole thing.