Send in the Drones

Yesterday, press secretary and general whipping boy Jay Carney alleviated all of our fears, stating that “[President Obama] thinks that it is legitimate to ask questions about how we prosecute the war against Al-Qaeda.”

"Yes, His Grossness. I'm sure you have a comment."
“Yes, His Grossness. I’m sure you have a comment.”

President Obama says it’s okay to question him, at least on this one issue. So let me take first crack at it.

That admission comes after the drone aspect of the War on Terror Overseas Contingency Operations has fallen into the public spotlight after the death of a 16-year-old American citizen. Quickly following was the release of the Department of Justice’s guidelines for when and where they can kill American citizens.

But I’m not going to take issue with the severe erosion of civil liberties and the collective constitutional spitting the administration is doing with this (you know I worry about that sometimes. And othertimes). I want to take sides with a younger, more idealistic politician. A politician I like to call Barry Obama.

Barry, the near luddite like I am, does not believe that good, hardworking Americans should be replaced with better, harderworking robots. There we can have some common ground, both of us ignoring those American jobs created by inventing, producing, and maintaining those robots (and those criminals who comically try to steal them).

And how soon power changes us. In those four years, my crippling paranoia has only improved (I’m typing on the original Gilligan’s Island’s coconut radio), whilst now Mr. Obama has done a complete 180, replacing good, honest American Killing Machines with actual Killing Machines (which I hope are at least American made).

The average bank teller makes $24,000 nationally. The average army sniper? $35,000. We’re taking away well paying jobs with endless potential (Yemen, here we come). We have recently seen that in America there is no dearth of gun-happy young men, (maybe because there is no jobs for them), and as much as we like to pretend, killing people needs a human touch.

In all reality, people make mistakes, too. I am sure there have been real live American soldiers who killed 16-year-old American citizens. But that’s why we have a court martial system. And if it turns out to be intentional, they get punished. Who’s going to reprimand the machine? There are so many endless amounts of fingerprints on the drones, so many difference people who could take and dodge the blame, that the buck has to stop somewhere.

I’m always cautious when killing becomes too easy. And not just with guns, because (usually) behind a gun you have a person and a conscious, who has to consider and weigh the value of his actions against the value of the opposite’s life. Can you program one of these machines to make these decisions? Can they sense the American citizenship on the heatmass in the crosshairs, realize it’s depriving due process, and kindly move on? An occupying force can win the hearts and minds of an occupied citizenry, but what do the Iraqi or Afghani people think about America when the look up at the dark shadow crossing their skies besides recognizing the sure sign of imperialism.

Brian Gross had his internship as a Doorman stripped away by that door jamb. That stupid door jamb. Help fight machines taking valuable jobs by reading his blog and telling your friends.

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The Difference it Makes (and Why Hillary Clinton Revealed Too Much)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally started unravelling the Gordian knot that is Benghazi-gate a record-setting, break-neck 134 days after the Terrorist Attack (remember when it was a spontaneous demonstration? I do)  which left four Americans dead and the maker of the “Mohammed Video” in jail, as well as the terrorists responsible dead arrested reprimanded fined still at large. Let’s slow down here, guys, we don’t want to look internationally impotent too quickly.

"Why are you mad at me? I'm just as mad at those criminals, ehr, terrorists as you are!" The Honorable Hillary Clinton
“Why are you mad at me? I’m just as mad at those criminals, ehr, terrorists as you are!” The Honorable Hillary Clinton

And in those 134 days, Hillary Clinton prepared to give the performance of a lifetime. Most politicians have speechwriters. Clinton has an acting coach. What a performance at the congressional hearings today! I laughed, I cried, it was better than Cats. The line that stole the show, however, the line that all the congressional staffers will be repeating at the water cooler, the line that will keep Daniel Day Lewis up at night nervous about the Oscars, actually reveals a terrifying mindset in the whole administration.

“What difference at this point does it make?”

For you home practitioners, the device she employs is called Pathos. Plato didn’t invent it, but its been around since him. Remind us of the loss of human life, raise your voice, and hell, through a little quiver in there. I’ve seen better acting, but not often.

In case you didn’t catch the context, Senator Rob Johnson was pointing out the inconsistency from the State Department and the Administration, trying to pawn off the attack as a random outburst from a YouTube video. Apparently that’s how you say “I was wrong” in the Obama Administration.

Here is some examples of that line employed in the aftermath of other emergencies.

“What difference does it make why the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor? Let’s not dig too deep, here. Could have been a fluke!”

“What difference does it make why Nixon broke into the Watergate Complex? I think he said that he left his coat in there.”

“What difference does it make why the Japanese Reactor blew? How can we learn from looking into things?”

“What difference does it make why Godzilla keeps attacking our city? Just point and yell ‘Its Godzirra!'”

Those are things I might accept more readily than Mrs. Clinton’s blatant inability to perceive the importance of whether there was a terrorist attack or a random occurrence. (Since Lewinsky, I never took her as a very perceptive one, Amiright?)

It’s not important to Clinton to investigate this distinction because it doesn’t fit in the Obama White House narrative. Osama’s dead, Al Qaeda is on the run, and isn’t nearly as much of a threat as Green House Gases, Guns, Tea Partiers, Free Speech, and Traditional Marriage. Those are the issues the White House is concerned with. The War on Terror is over, if there ever was one, and we don’t use that no-no term anymore. It’s an ‘overseas contingency operation’.

Again, why? Why is it important for this administration to use word games (think 1984) to restate what we all know is the case? Why don’t we call this a terrorist attack? Why is a director of a shitty movie in prison (and if that’s the case, why isn’t the director of Jack The Giant Killer serving life for attempted Cinemacide?) Because we elected Barack Obama, remember? And every other country loves us because of it. That’s the reality, whether the facts choose to agree or not.

Think about how she finishes that assuredly practiced soundbite.

“[It is more important] to find them and bring them to justice.”

"No one said there would be all these questions!"
“No one said there would be all these questions!”

Bring them to justice? You mean, arrest them? We bring criminals to justice. We send terrorists to hell with drones up their ass. (I feel like that could be a Hank Williams Jr. Song. HW jr., call me). And what is the timeline on this bringing them to justice? 135 days after? Because the attack lasted 7 hours with a military base 1 hour away. We had a chance to bring them to justice (drone in the pooper) on the spot. We chose not to.

Meanwhile we’re playing world police in Libya and Yemen. Could those drones be used, you know, elsewhere?

Is there a detective on the case? Because terrorists are notoriously hard to find. Is he collecting clues, canvasing the joint? Our State Department is not. A CNN reporter was able to walk into the wreckage and find the journal from Ambassador Chris Stevens, highlighting how nervous he was and how frequently he had asked the State Department for more protection.

And if that line sounds familiar, it should. She said something similar to the mother of the slain Navy Seal.

“Don’t worry, we will get that filmmaker”

Smoke and mirrors. That she could actually look a mourning mother in the eyes and tell an out and out lie, now that deserves the Oscar.

Simply put, Clinton’s State Department’s stance was to do nothing before or during the attack that left four americans dead. Why would we ever expect them to do something after?

Brian Gross recently attended a congressional hearing for the use of humor in news. They recommended he start doing it ZING! Support Congress’s recommendation and share this with your friends.

What Anti-American Protests in the Middle East Reveal

This Week in “What the Funk Just Happened in the Middle East”. A quick recap: things got wacky.

Can you spot Waldo in this picture? He gets himself into the wackiest situations…

Getting the stories on recent Mideast uprising developments is tough. Everyone has a version, everyone has a spin, and everyone has one more detail that no one else can collaborate. Essentially, however, there are two sides: the explanations from POTUS (abbrved POS) mouthpiece Jay Carney, and the side I will be summarizing. And I have three things on my side that Carney’s missing out on: some common sense, a pot of coffee brewing, and the truth (I’ll be relying heavily on number two).

In Libya, Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens died in an attack of the American Embassy to Libya in Benghazi on September 11th, 2012. The attack lasted four hours, leaving two other Americans dead. The official story is that Stevens died of smoke inhalation while our Libyan friends heroically carried him to a hospital. However, that heroic carry may also been parading. Reports have also been leaked that Stevens may have been sodomized before death. (Outside the Lost universe, I don’t know any smoke that could pull that). This story has largely been denied but not completely extinguished. It is missing from the official reports and I am doubtful that we will ever know for certain.

The allegation is that the protests stemmed from an anti-Muslim movie trailer to a film that probably doesn’t exist which has been on YouTube since July. Because that is apparently how you respond to things in the Middle East. Four months late. At an Embassy. With an RPG. (Similar to complaining to Wall Street for an undercooked burger made in China at someone’s house. Of course they’re to blame!) And oh yeah, that whole thing that it was on 9/11? Not on purpose. No one even checked their calendars that morning.

I’m not paid to think that there are coincidences out there (psyche, I’m not paid at all!) And a whopping one is sitting in front of us. Sure, I know that extremist muslims hate when we talk about the Prophet Muhammad (crap, I think I just got fatwa’ed) or draw pictures of him (remember those Danish cartoonists? Lest we forget), but who shows up to a protest with an RPG? To complain to an embassy about what their people do? And think that, by the same double-standard, we shouldn’t just bomb Libya in retaliation? (we shouldn’t, by the way, but how ironic would that be?)

While the Obama administration and State Department denied that the attacks were preplanned, the President of Libya, Mohamed Magariaf, says that it is clear they had been premeditated for months by an outsider group and that the Libyan intelligence agency had warned of a potential attack up to three days before.

The Egyptian consulate had the foresight to apologize for the video before the attacks (spoiler, they were still attacked). In a disturbing statement, the embassy said that it “condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.” Three prong reaction.

1. Why is it their duty to apologize or condemn these statements? These are Americans who understand that other Americans have the freedoms to do whatever the funk they want, even stupid stuff. The movie (if it was really made) was probably a waste of money. Do I condemn him for making it? No #1stamendment.

2. Continued efforts? What, by stupid people? Like all these people who have mentioned the Prophet Muhammed (oops I did it again!) are in a league together (Muahahaha, we’ll get those Muslims’ religious feelings! And their little dog, too!).

3. When has the Egyptian embassy released a statement condemning the treatment of Jesus Christ in anything? Or Moses? Watch an episode of Family Guy, tell me how many religious jokes I should be bringing an RPG to their studios over (answer? #1stamendment). If they claim that they are as sensitive to all religious sensibility, then they better back it up. In all reality, I don’t really care, because I know that other people’s opinions about my religion have absolutely no bearing on anything. As long as I have the freedom to worship it, I don’t need the state interceding and condemning anything.

The American Embassy in Egypt was breached, the American flag was torn down, replaced with the black flag of Al Qaeda. It seems like coming out and saying “Hey, no, we’re on your side, we’re just as mad as you!” doesn’t really do much.

Such destruction. Such senseless destruction.

Protests, riots and attacks have continued on embassies in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and as well as others. Al Qaeda has come out in a statement encouraging more attacks on embassies (Al Qaeda… don’t I know that name from somewhere? Those are those extremist film critics, right?) One thing has become indelibly clear, however: killing Bin Laden did not cripple the terror network. As much as we all bought into the hype, as we heard about Osama’s plan to assassinate Obama and leave bumbling Joe Biden in command to wrought his own chaos, about how well stocked the compound was and how much information was filtered in and out through OBL, the clear fact is that it was a moral victory, not a strategic one. Osama’s death does not even have the weight we intended because those dedicated to his cause make his death more of a rallying cry than a caveat emptor.

What the Anti-American Protests in the Middle East reveal (omg he said the title!) is simply that there is still strong Anti-American sentiment in the region, and it hasn’t been mollified by the current administration. In fact, it might have gotten worse, because a good number of Middle East countries bought into the Hope and Change rhetoric and assumed it would mean a cessation to American interventionist policies. With the Obama administration’s choices to arbitrarily back winning horses in “popular uprisings” in Libya and Syria while leaving the Green Movement in Iran to themselves (and a very angry Mahmoud Ahmadinejad), with their classic double-speak calling the clearly-undemocratic illiberal Muslim Brotherhood’s takeover of Egypt part of the “Arab Spring” while Obama says that Egypt is neither a friend nor foe, it has taken four years for them to shape a foreign policy as clear as mud.

Essentially, the Middle-East is the ex-girlfriend we really really really funked over. No matter what we try or say, we’re never making that one right. There is always going to be some resentment, so getting drunk and leaving her message at 2:33 am telling her we’ve changed will only get you a restraining order from the state of Illinois… I mean, will only lead to future disappointment.

At the risk of being honor-killed, I’ll lay out the real problem between America and many extremist Muslim-dominant countries: different ideologies. The Obama administration has carefully tried to present this situation as an abnormality in an otherwise improved relationship. I suggest that the instability stemming from the Arab Spring led to the calm in protests geared towards America (because they were too busy with each other) and that many of these groups recognized that Uncle Sam loves backing underdogs in revolutions. That doesn’t mean they like us. In fact, with some semblance of calm in the region these countries have returned to their favorite past-time: burning American flags and calling us the Great Satan.

Don’t blame some Youtube video (which is really hilarious, by the way) for the fact that Muslims from Middle Eastern countries have a very different interpretation of free speech and religious freedom than Americans. And don’t try to pawn that off as the reason someone shot an RPG at an embassy; reactions to the video are a symptom of a deep, longstanding hatred for American values that has not been ameliorated by some spotty assistance to revolutions and by a paltry couple of billion dollars we’ve been sending in aid. If anything, it just reminded a few people “oh yeah, hate America today.” And unfortunately, despite the fact that President Obama promised that the day he’s inaugurated Muslim hostilities will ease, he’s been more talk than action on that change.

It just took a few years for the Libya, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen and countless other Middle East countries to realize that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

-Brian Gross

Brian is a devout Satirist living in the Great Satan who really really really really doesn’t want to be fatwa’d. Promote his pro-humor, anti-honor killing agenda by recommending him to someone you know who needs a little Republican Funk in their lives.