President Obama upset his base last week with his announcement that off-shore drilling would be explored. He riled them up even further with his continued support for drone attacks on terror cells overseas. And although the political left will not go so far as to call the president a war criminal—as they did President Bush for similar offensives—they do show that there's a wider breach between the White House and the left than conservatives care to admit.
Obama has pandered to the far left (including the high number of young voters) within his support base with his 2008 electoral promise to close down the Guantanamo Bay prison, a move that has been mired in minutia and controversy for over a year. The White House's decision to continue the successful drone attacks in the Middle East indicates that the administration is unwilling to pander again to that same base now that Obama is in office. This has angered that base, if for no other reason than the fact that Obama has taken a page right out of the playbook of George W. Bush, a politician they reviled.
Not only has the Obama administration followed the Bush lead concerning drone attacks, it has significantly increased the numbers of attacks since President Obama took office. The policy has its flaws (civilian causalities are a morally troubling effect), but both Bush and Obama see its clear merits as well. In fighting a transient enemy without borders, drone attacks offer one of the best ways to conduct military offensives against enemy combatants without risking American casualties. From the perspective of a commander-in chief accountable to America first and foremost, the flaws of that policy are worth tolerating until better solutions are found—or the heightened threat of terror is eliminated.
This point is lost on the far left, the same group of Americans that clamors for Miranda rights for enemies of the state, closing Gitmo to reestablish military ethos internationally, and civilian trials to pursue justice for acts of war against the United States. Their positions are near-sighted, holding on to a notion that these goals cannot be met without a 180-degree reversal of the war initiatives of the previous administration.
The Obama Initiative to further the successful drone attacks is right for America at this time in the war of terror, even if it continues to offend the fringes of his political base. In his constitutional duty to defend Americans, the best way for the president to do so is to keep the enemy engaged on foreign soil and with a minimum of American lives put at risk—all while staying on the offensive in the process.
Lenny McAllister is a syndicated political commentator and the author of the book, Diary of a Mad Black PYC (Proud Young Conservative). He is featured regularly on outlets including CNN, Fox News and XM Radio. Follow him on Twitter.
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