Tina Brown: Bush would have been impeached by now over Obama drone policy

posted at 10:01 am on February 11, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

This isn’t the first time this sentiment has been expressed, but it’s certainly a new venue for it.  Daily Beast/Newsweek editor-in-chief Tina Brown follows up on Bill Maher’s observation that the Democratic reaction to Barack Obama’s drone use is somewhat hypocritical by claiming that Democrats would have impeached George W. Bush by now over it (via RCP):

BILL MAHER, HOST OF “REAL TIME” ON HBO: The Obama administration has been heavily targeting whistleblowers — true — and information activists. What can we do to hold the government accountable for this harsh crackdown?

TINA BROWN, NEWSWEEK: I mean, he’d be impeached by now for drones, if he was George W. Bush.

MAHER: Impeached? No.

BROWN: Yeah, don’t you think?

MAHER: Impeached, by who? Who would –

BROWN: I think if this was a Republican president, the outcry about drones would be far greater.

That outcry would have started with the national media, and not just about the drone attacks themselves.  Bloomberg’s Noah Feldman writes today about a deeper problem with Obama’s drone usage and rationalization for it — the redefining of due process downward to mean essentially nothing:

Are U.S. enemies entitled to due process? Well, no — not if they are arrayed against the country on the battlefield. In war, you don’t try the enemy. You kill him, preferably before he kills you. And if some of the Japanese troops at Guadalcanal had held U.S. citizenship, it wouldn’t have suddenly given them due process rights. If Awlaki was an enemy fighting on the battlefield, he wouldn’t have deserved due process while the fight was on. Off it, he should legally be like any other U.S. citizen, innocent until proven guilty.Yet, despite claiming that the Awlaki killing was justified because he was an operational leader of al-Qaeda, and thus in some sense an enemy on the battlefield, the white paper still assumes that due process applies to U.S. citizens abroad who adhere to the enemy. On the surface, this sounds plausible and even generous: Why not consider the possibility that a U.S. citizen abroad has some rights against being killed out of the blue?

In fact, though, applying due process analysis to Awlaki produces a legal disaster. The problem is, once you consider due process, you have to give it some meaning — and the meaning you choose will cast a long shadow over what the term means everywhere else. …

The Obama administration’s apparent belief that due process can be satisfied in secret … inside the executive branch is arguably a greater departure from precedent. It is a travesty of the very notion of due process. And to borrow a phrase from Justice Robert Jackson, it will now lie about like a loaded weapon ready for the hand of any administration that needs it.

The white paper should have said that due process doesn’t apply on the battlefield. By instead making due process into a rubber stamp, the administration is ignoring precedent and subverting the idea of the rule of law. When is some law worse than none? When that law is so watered down that it loses the meaning it has had for 800 years.

Indeed.  This is what comes from treating terrorism as crime rather than war.  Bush was wise enough to understand the difference, and the legal implications that arise for all Americans when the two are confused.


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Its all good …..all hail dear leader
-lsm

cmsinaz on February 11, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Intellectual honesty. How refreshing.

steebo77 on February 11, 2013 at 10:08 AM

it’s funny when progs have sudden bouts of honesty

what say the Zeitgeist Tina?

Slade73 on February 11, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Tina may be slow, but she’s ahead of Bill Maher.

petefrt on February 11, 2013 at 10:08 AM

When Bark has you killed you feel good about it, because an “historic” preznit ordered the hit. Dubya wasn’t historic, just another white guy.

Bishop on February 11, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Bush would’ve been impeached over this, Benghazi, Fast & Furious, Solyndra, Jon Corzine getting off scott free, hell even the economy(the Dems would’ve found a way). Take your pick.

Doughboy on February 11, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Yeah she admits it and everyone just shrugs it off
Meh

cmsinaz on February 11, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Barky is guilty of many serious, impeachable crimes for which he should have been never let into office to begin with (because he isn’t eligible and seriously broke the law by holding the largest political rally of his campaign in a friggin foreign nation … for friggin foreigners!) but there is no such thing as due process outside of American territory. The US Constitution does not extend outside of our sovereign lands. Of course, this means that Barky should have been impeached for the rules he imposed on our soldiers and spies overseas, for forcing Afghan terrorists in Afghanistan to be Mirandized (which was offensive as all get-out), for going after our CIA interrogators who were working in America’s interests off of American sovereign territory, for making illegal dictats about illegals on American soil, …

But this idea that the US Constitution extends past our shores is beyond ridiculous and does nothing but debase the Constitution, itself, and lessens its power and value over the sovereign territory and citizenry it was written for – to “secure the Blessings of Liberty TO OURSELVES AND TO OUR POSTERITY”.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on February 11, 2013 at 10:12 AM

We trust Obama unlike W
-lsm

cmsinaz on February 11, 2013 at 10:13 AM

No, he would have already been impeached for Fast and Furious.

rrpjr on February 11, 2013 at 10:14 AM

bolton’s cool with it…

Steven McGregor on February 11, 2013 at 10:15 AM

It’s funny to see how being intellectually honest actually causes them physical discomfort.

Good Lt on February 11, 2013 at 10:16 AM

and now that Tina Brown has taken her one shot at Obama…we can all forget two weeks ago when she called Obama the Second Coming. She’s intellectually serious now

Slade73 on February 11, 2013 at 10:16 AM

When Bark has you killed you feel good about it, because an “historic” preznit ordered the hit. Dubya wasn’t historic, just another white guy.

Bishop on February 11, 2013 at 10:11 AM

THANK YOU! SOMEONE FINALLY GETS IT!
–lsm

Seriously, this is bad, both now and later. Its like a snowball rolling down hill, and when it hits it will wreck everything in its path. From about 20,000ft above….

God help us.

Gatsu on February 11, 2013 at 10:17 AM

In fact, though, applying due process analysis to Awlaki produces a legal disaster. The problem is, once you consider due process, you have to give it some meaning — and the meaning you choose will cast a long shadow over what the term means everywhere else. …

Of course, with our enlightened Chief Justice, this can easily be re-defined as a tax.

Rovin on February 11, 2013 at 10:17 AM

mm-mmmm, mmm-mmm,mmm–mmm, mm-mm…

Knott Buyinit on February 11, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Interesting that she said Bush would be impeached.

Is she calling for an Obama impeachment ? No.

These folks have no shame.

Jabberwock on February 11, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Good Gawd,the OUTCRY,would be over Benghazi as well,
if this was a sitting Republican President,

and there would be Hearings,and investigations,and WitchHunts,
KangerooCourts and anything else that Pelosium could dream up!

Thank-fully,some what, Democrat Presidents are Totally
InCompetent!!

canopfor on February 11, 2013 at 10:26 AM

It is absolutely pointless to try to prove the case for the hypocrisy and double standard that is rampant in the Socialist Media and their heroes in Congress and the White House.

Conservatives already know it exists and some try futilely to prove it exists, the establishment Republicans along with “moderates” (whatever those are) know it exists and don’t really care. The moron voters have no clue and because they’re not engaged enough to see it or care about it even if they did see it. And the Dims are either in complete denial that it even exists or they know it exists and laugh daily at all the people on the right trying to “prove” it exists, which of course as I said, is futile.

I think that pretty much sums it up.

Meople on February 11, 2013 at 10:28 AM

The Prog media is America’s greatest enemy…

d1carter on February 11, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Due process rights accrue to “persons,” not citizens. If a person – citizen or not – is outside the jurisdiction of American courts, and there is no relevant extradition treaty, he has no due process rights. Otherwise every “person” in the world would have such rights. The citizen/non-citizen and combatant/noncombatant distinctions are beside the point.

He or she may have other rights under other laws or customs, but not the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause.

Pretending that an executive branch confab can ensure due process for someone who isn’t entitled to it in the first place is gratuitous, but I seriously doubt any competent judge will be terminally discombobulated by it.

Seth Halpern on February 11, 2013 at 10:28 AM

I’ll believe that the Democrat Party has honesty when Mika calls for the impeachment of Obama over this hypocrisy. Not going to happen.

Decoski on February 11, 2013 at 10:29 AM

A Democrat Senate would never vote to impeach Obama, but would be have been willing to impeach Bush over the drones and Benghazi.

SC.Charlie on February 11, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Don’t drone me bro.

rightside on February 11, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Bush would have been impeached over Libya. Heck, they wanted to impeach Bush for the war in Iraq that so many dems voted for (and then had to lie about and apologize for in 2008).

The real shame is that Barky should have been impeached over Libya but the gutless cowards in the GOP couldn’t even be bothered to raise a peep about it. Not when it happened – farming America’s military out to France – or even when the deadline for the War Powers Act passed (not that Barky was within the War Powers Act, anyway). And we got to see the American military taking out jeeps with machine guns in order to “protect the no-fly zone”. It would be hysterical if it weren’t so dangerous.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on February 11, 2013 at 10:33 AM

Maher’s disbelief and obvious dismissal of the idea that Bush would been been impeached is typical of the Left, who think they alone know what is right; they are always impartial because they are convinced they hold Absolute Moral Authority (TM). They don’t see the ironic double-standard they hold, because of their self-presumed piety and self-superiority.

Bush was simply mean-spirited and unfair, while Obama doing the same thing is ‘presidential’–a totally objective view and analysis.

Liam on February 11, 2013 at 10:35 AM

A Democrat Senate would never vote to impeach Obama, but would be have been willing to impeach Bush over the drones and Benghazi.

SC.Charlie on February 11, 2013 at 10:29 AM

This Dimocrat Senate is so devoid of values and principles of right and wrong that they would have impeached Bush for absolutely anything they could have dreamed up and pushed through the House.

All they see and all they care about is politics and how they can continue raping America and the tax payers.

Meople on February 11, 2013 at 10:37 AM

We trust Obama unlike W
-lsm

cmsinaz on February 11, 2013 at 10:13 AM

That to me is maybe the most offensive excuse to come out of the drive-bys in a long time(and they’re full of excuses when it comes to Obama). As if we’re now supposed to arbitrarily decide which Presidents and politicians are worthy of being entrusted with this kind of power based on whether or not a bunch of elitist scumbags in the media approve of them.

You either believe the President(any President) or one of his designated underlings has the right to sentence an American citizen to death without due process or you don’t. Pick one.

Doughboy on February 11, 2013 at 10:39 AM

I find the administration’s position on this drone matter very curious considering that early on they seemed pretty cool with giving KSM a civil trial.

DaveDief on February 11, 2013 at 10:39 AM

despite claiming that the Awlaki killing was justified because he was an operational leader of al-Qaeda, and thus in some sense an enemy on the battlefield, the white paper still assumes that due process applies to U.S. citizens abroad who adhere to the enemy. On the surface, this sounds plausible and even generous: Why not consider the possibility that a U.S. citizen abroad has some rights against being killed out of the blue?

What do you all think of this idea…

We could send in a quadcopter drone with a payload of a document serving said U.S. citizen with notice that they are being put on trial in the U.S. for treason. Give them a chance to be present in court, but if they choose not to come, try them in absentia. IF THEY ARE FOUND GUILTY OF TREASON, in a U.S. court of law, THEN THE PENALTY FOR TREASON IS DEATH.

At that point, it is fully Constitutional to put them to death. That could be accomplished by any means necessary… sniper, special ops team raid, or drone.

With each option, there are risks… boots on the ground could lead to losses on our side, while a drone strike may kill others beyond the intended target. We could send in a second quadcopter drone serving notice that the intended target had been found guilty of treson, and that anyone associating with the target is putting there own life at risk… that would mitigate “collateral damage”, but would also give the intended target forewarning of the impending strike, and they could possibly escape without being detected. Still, it’s taking the high road and if we found them once, we could probably find them again.

ITguy on February 11, 2013 at 10:47 AM

Indeed. This is what comes from treating terrorism as crime rather than war. Bush was wise enough to understand the difference, and the legal implications that arise for all Americans when the two are confused.

Every threat of violence and act of violence is terrorism. So every human alive at one point or another has become an enemy combatant?

astonerii on February 11, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Every threat of violence and act of violence is terrorism. So every human alive at one point or another has become an enemy combatant?

astonerii on February 11, 2013 at 10:48 AM

No, but nice strawman, I particularly like the use of multiple lenths and gauges of straw to pruduce a very interesting surface mottling effect…

JFKY on February 11, 2013 at 10:50 AM

ITguy on February 11, 2013 at 10:47 AM

I would be OK with a trial in absentia where first, the list of those to be tried have been placed in a public easy to access place. Where families and third parties can represent the accused. Where the trial is made viewable by the press and public at large. Where the findings can be challenged by the individual or their family but not a third party anymore.

astonerii on February 11, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Democratic reaction to Barack Obama’s drone use is somewhat hypocritical

Nah, they’d use the term “nuanced”.

GarandFan on February 11, 2013 at 10:56 AM

I would be OK with a trial in absentia where first, the list of those to be tried have been placed in a public easy to access place. Where families and third parties can represent the accused. Where the trial is made viewable by the press and public at large. Where the findings can be challenged by the individual or their family but not a third party anymore.

astonerii on February 11, 2013 at 10:53 AM

So you want to involve the COURTS, in war? Good plan, i can see nothing wrong with that…I mean there is nothing the US needs more than courts OK’ing military actions.

And of course, the defendant can then subpoena all sorts of classified information revealing sources and methods….

Beyond some Constitutional, technical, legal issues I see nothing wrong with your approach at all.

JFKY on February 11, 2013 at 10:56 AM

No, but nice strawman, I particularly like the use of multiple lenths and gauges of straw to pruduce a very interesting surface mottling effect…

JFKY on February 11, 2013 at 10:50 AM

definition… the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.

No straw there at all. Like everything, it eventually gets defined downward to encompass anything and everything and thus nothing.

My argument is that once you make the argument that someone engaging in terrorism, using violence, or even just accused of doing so, does not have the right to due process it means none of us do.

astonerii on February 11, 2013 at 10:56 AM

JFKY on February 11, 2013 at 10:56 AM

Only when you are talking about citizens of the USA.

astonerii on February 11, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Only when you are talking about citizens of the USA.

astonerii on February 11, 2013 at 10:57 AM

So yuo STILL involve the courts in an area they have NOT been involved in…and you STILL give the accused the chance to gray-mail the government….

JFKY on February 11, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Yepper doughboy

cmsinaz on February 11, 2013 at 11:01 AM

I sniff a troll-free thread.

Noel Sheppard had this to say about this the other day at NewsBusters:

what was telling was how this was met with very little applause from Maher’s liberal crowd thereby proving Brown’s point: Obama can do anything he wants INCLUDING killing Americans and his devoted fans will continue to support him.

Del Dolemonte on February 11, 2013 at 11:04 AM

So yuo STILL involve the courts in an area they have NOT been involved in…and you STILL give the accused the chance to gray-mail the government….

JFKY on February 11, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Of course they have been involved in this before.
We are not talking about shooting a guy on the battlefield here. We are talking about a guy who took his son back to the country of his roots and maybe was showing him around the countryside when he was blown away, far away from the battlefield in a country we had no war with.

Anyone hardened down with guns pointed at our men are fair game, citizen or not.

But that is not what this is about, this is about whether outspoken against our government people should be easily targeted for assassination. Nothing at all to do with WAR. Make the exemption for the government in this case, and they will walk the limit right down to political foes. You know, former military have been named as potential terrorists. Christians too. Anyone who believes in the 2nd amendment have been targeted as well.

I will not let you allow the government to define DOWNWARD my rights as a citizen!

astonerii on February 11, 2013 at 11:06 AM

But that is not what this is about, this is about whether outspoken against our government people should be easily targeted for assassination.

Uh Medea Benjamin preaches against the war…Al_Alawki called for JIHAD against the US, in short he advocated war, against the US, not an end tot he war….

JFKY on February 11, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Small bites…

Admissions like this if done in very short and small increments remind me of the frog in a pot of water slowly being brought to boil. Of course at some point the frog would notice the water getting warmer… but then brush it off as being a good thing or being not that bad… yet.

By the time they admit how bad Obama is it will be too late to reverse his destruction.

RalphyBoy on February 11, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Uh Medea Benjamin preaches against the war…Al_Alawki called for JIHAD against the US, in short he advocated war, against the US, not an end tot he war….

JFKY on February 11, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Does not matter. Citizens are owed due process. No due process and it is unconstitutional.

astonerii on February 11, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Does not matter. Citizens are owed due process. No due process and it is unconstitutional.

astonerii on February 11, 2013 at 11:35 AM

It’s good to see reality doesn’t intrude…so if he had an AK-47 is he owed Due Process?

If not why, not? He’s STILL an American Citizen?

JFKY on February 11, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Citizens are owed due process.

On American soil. If they want due process they can go to the nearest embassy or consulate. Otherwise, they are outside of the Constitution.

No due process and it is unconstitutional.

astonerii on February 11, 2013 at 11:35 AM

The US Constitution does not extend to the entire galaxy. It is for American sovereign territory, which is why the amnesty-mongers are so thoroughly offensive and treasonous as they attack the Constitution on our own soil for the benefit of aliens who have forced themselves onto our sovereign lands.

But, back to this issue, once you leave American territory you are taking your chances since you are under the jurisdiction of other governments, not the American government. This is also why these laws that declare acts by Americans overseas to be American crimes are beyond ridiculous.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on February 11, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Just think, ignoranti such as Tina Brown use to call Reagan ‘The Teflon President’ … my how things change with D after the name.

With his PERSONAL protection coming from the LSM since 1994, I’m thinking Dear Liar should be considered ‘The Diamond Coated President’ And the way He squanders our future worth both on himself and his Gimmedat friends the association with diamonds is appropriate.

Now if Tina would just wipe the bag balm off her lips and get up off her knees (from servicing King Putt) and get on with pursuing the basic purpose of journalism … that is to be the Watch Dog of the Republic. You know ‘report the facts, just the facts’ all these dark days of President 3X Downgrade COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED.

Missilengr on February 11, 2013 at 11:52 AM

well.

I will not let you allow the government to define DOWNWARD my rights as a citizen!

astonerii on February 11, 2013 at 11:06 AM

I agree.

Remember Ruby Ridge. Or Waco. Want to bet if they had drones they would have used them?

itsspideyman on February 11, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Tina felt free to be frank with Maher because she knows nobody is watching his show.

Don’t look for consistency in the drone policy. The Obama policy on all fronts is that he picks the winners and the losers: GM, the Catholic church, Obamacare waiver recipients, phony green energy donors, Morsi and Mubarak, Lybia, gun owners, unions.

He automatically knows who are the good guys, without even thinking about it.

virgo on February 12, 2013 at 12:19 AM