From the Feb. 7, 2013, edition of “Viewpoint.”
Today we got to watch the John Brennan confirmation hearings for CIA director, and I gotta say Mr. Brennan came off as the most thoughtful, soft-spoken, reflective man who could also kill you with his bare hands.
John Brennan was kind of like all the members of the Fantastic Four rolled into one — he looks kind of like “The Thing,” he talks like Reed Richards, he can easily set things on fire halfway across the world and he knows how to make CIA docs invisible.
Now, I know that the media’s been trumpeting that drone bombings enjoy widespread support. But so does Honey Boo Boo, and that doesn’t make it right.
Of course, drone warfare is preferable to putting U.S. troops in harm’s way. And it’s the future of warfare, whether we like it or not. Personally, I think anybody who wants to send machines into battle for us needs to watch the first three “Terminator” films.
But I was surprised that no one asked Mr. Brennan about how drone bombs don’t just kill America haters — they create new ones.
I was surprised no one asked him why all adult males are considered combatants and that’s how they keep the civilian death casualties numbers so low.
I was surprised no one asked him about the CIA’s new definition of the word “imminent” for all those imminent threats. Turns out, all they have to do is think you might be a threat one day. Nothing like a little pre-emptive Bush/Cheney nostalgia — forgive us our trespasses as we trespass against those we think might one day trespass against us.
But I guess I was most surprised by Mr. Brennan’s unwillingness to say if waterboarding was torture. He said, “I can’t say if it’s torture, I’m not a lawyer.” The only thing we learned for sure today was that John Brennan should’ve coached Chuck Hagel.
Now, to his credit Mr. Brennan was totally against waterboarding — but is OK with killing Americans for stuff they haven’t done yet because they’re an imminent threat that’s not necessarily imminent. That’s a Jersey thing.
A lot of Democrats will be upset by any criticism of President Obama, but I gotta say, some of us criticize him because we care about his legacy, and even the most hardcore down-the-line Obama defender has to acknowledge it’s a bit screwy to have policies in a world like this where he gets to keep the Nobel Peace Prize but Milli Vanilli had to give the Grammy back.
See, what most Americans don’t know — or don’t think about — won’t hurt them. In fact, I’m pretty sure you could open a waterboarding salon for the housewives of Beverly Hills as long as you told them it was good for the pores.
It’s a certainty, my friends, that Mr. Brennan will be confirmed. I hope he will keep America safe, change the policies that keep America hated and prevent people from wanting to kill Americans — because that’s the only way a so-called war on terror will or can ever be won.