On Voting for Obama
L&S commented on my previous post regarding the strength of the Stanford/NYU Living Under Drones report:
Does this mean you’re not voting for Obama anymore?
Not at all.
Let’s acknowledge what the report actually says.
- Around 3,000 people have been killed by drone attacks in Pakistan during an eight year period. (All these numbers are
- Around 20 to 25% of those hae been civilians. Around 2% of those are “high-level” targets.
- The U.S. Government has been horribly opaque about all of this.
- This policy terrorizes a region and has damaged the U.S. reputation abroad.
- U.S. drone policy should be “reevaluated.”
- The U.S. should absolutely stop double-striking targets if it’s worried the first strike missed. Double-strikes deter or kill first responders.
A lot of the claims floating around the internet aren’t true. For example, the claim that only “1 in 50” casualties is a miltant simply isn’t in the report.
While my vote is based on a wide variety of factors, I do think we need to reevaluate how, why, and where we’re using armed drones.
There’s really only one way to make that happen. 1. Reelect Obama. 2. Vote in enough progressive democrats to ensure Congress has the political will to do it. (Maybe, maybe some libertarian-leaning Republicans could help. But let’s be realistic. The Smith-Amash amendment to the NDAA, which was as much of a civil liberties no-brainer as you can get, failed when 219 Republicans voted against it to only 19 voting for it.)
A vote for Romney is a vote to “double Guantanamo.” Nobody even claims he would be more restrained in the use of military force than Obama.
A vote for a third party—or the decision not to vote—is a vote that’s not helping. I understand that this has a certain ideological appeal to a lot of people. But I can’t help feeling that refusing to vote because you can’t find an ideologically perfect candidate is a bit like refusing to perform first aid because you’re worried you’ll get your hands dirty.
We want to move the country in a certain direction, right? We can make a plan to get there. We can actually do it.