Angela Y. Davis
As reported in the Washington Post,
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) forced Washington slightly off its axis Thursday after he filibustered President Obama’s pick to head the CIA. The rare “talking filibuster” generated extraordinary scrutiny of the Obama administration’s drone-strike program and revealed some surprising divisions and alliances on Capitol Hill over the president’s anti-terrorism tactics overseas.Brennan supported torture. He is the architect of the drone program. For more information, read the Salon article entitled 5 Terrifying Facts About John Brennan. I am deeply disappointed that only a few progressives opposed Brennan's nomination. His appointment exposes the Democrats' hypocrisy. It is hypocritical to oppose one policy under Bush and then support the same policy under Obama. Sadly, that is exactly what some liberals have done.
The filibuster culminated in the Senate confirmation of John O. Brennan to be director of the CIA by a vote of 63 to 34. But it scrambled the usual partisan landscape in the Capitol, with some Republican lawmakers attacking Paul for criticizing the president, while liberals and Democrats praised him. Of the 81 votes to end the filibuster, 28 were from Republicans, 13 of whom also voted to confirm Brennan.
The filibuster began Wednesday afternoon and lasted for nearly 13 hours, ending after midnight on Thursday. Paul was demanding that the White House clarify that it would not use aerial drones on U.S. soil to kill American citizens suspected of terrorism — a point on which he felt the administration had not been sufficiently clear.
Brennan’s nomination forced the administration to be more forthcoming about its secretive drone operations, which have devastated al-Qaeda’s core leadership in Pakistan and have been expanded to target affiliated groups in Yemen and Somalia.
...Brennan, a CIA veteran and former station chief in Saudi Arabia, has served as Obama’s principal counterterrorism adviser for the past four years and one of the chief architects of the program that has emerged as the spy agency’s signature counterterrorism tactic. The Brennan nomination brought unprecedented scrutiny to the administration’s use of drones to kill terrorist suspects overseas, and in recent days critics have questioned whether it could be imported to the United States to target American terrorism suspects at home.
A still-theoretical discussion about the domestic use of armed drones emerged in recent days from congressional demands to review Justice Department legal opinions that justified the 2011 drone killing in Yemen of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen.
During the Bush Administration, progressives marched in the streets and on the White House demanding an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They marched against America's drone policy. Some continue to protest. Prominent Democrats, including candidate Obama, voiced opposition to the Iraq war. In fact, many progressives voted for Obama because of his opposition to the Iraq war.
After Obama's election, most liberals became pacified and unconscious. Basically, the peace movement in America is dead. Except for a few fringe groups like Code Pink, many so-called liberals don't care about the drone program as long as Obama is the Commander-in-Chief. They don't care about the President having the power to kill Americans abroad, and possibly at home, without evidence or trial. They do not care about the government violating citizens' due process rights. They don't care about the drones killing innocent men, women and children in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and other countries around the world. They don't care about military intervention in Libya, Syria and other countries.
Some of them attempt to promote group think by demonizing and isolating anyone who has the audacity to question Obama's kill policy and Brennan's appointment. In addition, they desperately try to change the subject by demanding that people talk about Chris Dorner, the LAPD and police brutality. Those important issues should be thoroughly discussed by the media as well. However, Obama's kill policy must be discussed as well. It cannot be ignored.
Throughout our history, African Americans have been denied due process of law. Too often, police officers kill black people without evidence or trial. Clearly, we should be the last people to support Obama's kill policy. It is sickening to see so many African Americans support this unconscionable policy. It is appalling to see so many remain silent. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., there comes a time when silence is betrayal. That time is now.
Have they forgotten about all the African American leaders summarily executed during the Cointelpro era? Have they forgotten about the killing of Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Fred Hampton, Mark Clark and many others?
Today, Obama is in the White House. We may trust his judgment. But, what about the precedent being created? What about future presidents who may be even more militaristic? Today, Middle Eastern, Muslim men are the target. Tomorrow, it could be you. As Pastor Niemoller said in First They Came After the Jews,
First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.Now that Brennan's appointment is a done deal, we must speak out and demand more legislative and judicial oversight of the drone program.
Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.
This article is cross-posted on Jack and Jill Politics.