We’ve perhaps mentioned Obama’s Drones Over America program once or twice, n’est-ce pas? Well, guess what’s coming home to roost?
Obama does not deserve all of the blame for fortifying the national security state. He was aided by Democrats and liberals no longer willing to speak out against and oppose war and civil liberties abuses for fear of dinting their standard-bearer.
When George W. Bush was in power and set about creating this vast system and asserting the right to ever more extreme unilateral powers in the name of national security, Democrats were outraged, decrying these measures as an attempt to create an “imperial presidency.”
Seven years later, as one of their own was handed the reins to this extraordinary power, this outrage melted away. Rather than use Obama’s election to dismantle the national security state they had once railed against, Democrats allowed it to expand under Obama’s virtuous hand.
As Democratic leaders and liberal pundits ignored issues of civil liberties and presidential excess, relegating what was once a central critique of Bush into a niche issue, various commentators sounded the alarm over entrusting Obama with such expansive powers. In 2012, speaking about the Obama administration’s drone program, the ACLU’s Hina Shamsi stated:
“Anyone willing to trust President Obama with the power to secretly declare an American citizen an enemy of the state and order his extrajudicial killing should ask whether they would be willing to trust the next president with that dangerous power.”
A year later, the Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf wrote about the broad national security powers claimed by Bush and Obama, warning that such tools could eventually be misused by a tyrant:
“Yes, it could happen here, with enough historical amnesia, carelessness, and bad luck. We’re not special. Our voters won’t always pick good men and women to represent us. Some good women will be corrupted by power, and some bad men will slip through.”