Drone Strike Hypocrisy Turns Liberal Bloggers Against Each Other

February 13th, 2013 12:41 PM

It's always interesting when liberals disagree on something because each one believes he or she is always 100 percent correct on any issue, a stance that often leads to fiery confrontations and personal attacks.

The latest example of this concept is the angry Twitter debate between Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith and Talking Points Memo founder Josh Marshall over an article entitled “7 Things Democrats Would Have Freaked Out About if Bush Had Done Them.”

The fireworks began when Marshall reacted harshly to the graphic-filled posting by Buzzfeed staffer Benny Johnson by tweeting: ”We have met the bastard child of the cat listicle and the concern troll.”

Smith then responded:

I am amused but don't see the actual objection to a compelling way of saying something that seems fairly clear and factually right.

Marshall asserted that ”only it's a completely false premise & willfully misleading? U mean other than that, it's right on target?”

The Buzzfeed editor-in-chief stated:

I would have been surprised if you and others were so sanguine on a Bush drone policy. Call me crazy.

The TPM founder then asserted that Smith seemed to think that being against preemption meant he's against drones and asked if that was the basis of his logic.

“That's you putting words in my mouth,” Smith replied. “I think TPM's pro-drone stance is even more powerful than gifs in telling this story.”

Marshall responded: “isn't that called 'context'? Or more broadly, 'what actually happened'?”

In reality, Johnson's Buzzfeed article did put the matter in context when it began:

Obama's national security policy has continued some of the most controversial moves of the Bush administration. Silence from much of the left.

“Democrats were overjoyed when George W. Bush left office in January of 2009,” Johnson noted above a small video of a man wildly clapping his hands while sitting at his computer.

“Obama had promised to end Bush's hawkish foreign policy and the 'war on terror's' detention and interrogation regime,” he wrote. “But in the beginning of his fifth year as president, Obama's record has been surprisingly similar to his predecessor's in those areas.”

In each instance, the staff writer included a graphic showing someone going wild as how the Democrats should have responded, but he followed that with a video of subdued people to indicate how they actually behaved.

The first item in Johnson's list is that “Democrats fought George W. Bush’s troop surge in Iraq in 2006,” but “Obama copied it in Afghanistan in 2009.”

Second, “American deaths in Afghanistan have skyrocketed since Obama took office,” nearly tripling Bush's figure of 575 to a total of 1,405.

“President Obama's drones and special operators are working down 'kill lists' of suspected terrorists,” the third entry stated, adding that “Obama even put Anwar al-Awlaki -- an American citizen -- on such a list,” which led to his death “under secret authorization from the Justice Department in 2011.”

Fourth, “drone attacks have risen sharply under Obama. In 2011, a teenage American citizen, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, was taken out in a drone strike without a trial.”

The fifth item in the list stated:

In Pakistan alone, the administration has launched more than 300 drone strikes. Pakistani civilian casualties due to these strikes are as high as 800, according to international estimates.

Obama promised to end the Bush-era torture interrogation practices,” the sixth entry noted. “But last year, the U.N. released three damning reports detailing torture in Afghan facilities under Obama's security watch.”

Finally, “Obama was unable to deliver on his pledge to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, which Bush had also said he would close.”

The posting concluded with a picture of George W. Bush with a caption that reads: “We're not so different, you and I.”

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Johnson's article is the fact that in its first 24 hours online, it drew almost 300,000 visitors, an impressive total under any circumstances.

Not surprisingly, Buzzfeed posted a similar file one day later by Dave Stopera entitled “26 Ways President Obama Has Completely Ruined the Country.”

We probably won't have to wait long to learn what Smith and Marshall have to say about that.