A day after the US ambassador to Libya was killed, Romney made some comments about Obama’s reaction to the killing, getting the chronology wrong and making a fool of himself, something not very uncommon for him, but something also that doesn’t upset his supporters much for some reasons that might be of interest to anthropologists.
Reacting to those comments, Obama told the CBS News that his Republican Challenger is prone to making rash comments:
“There’s a broader lesson to be learned here. And I — you know, Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later. And as president, one of the things I’ve learned is you can’t do that, that, you know, it’s important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts, and that you’ve thought through the ramifications before you make them.”
On being further asked whether he considered it was irresponsible, he said he will let the American people judge that.
In the run up to the Democratic National Convention, Obama made clear “his administration’s criteria for carrying out drone strikes and targeted assassinations abroad” while speaking on CNN in “some of his most extensive comments on the drone attacks to date”.
It has to be a target that is authorized by our laws. It has to be a threat that is serious and not speculative. It has to be a situation in which we can’t capture the individual before they move forward on some sort of operational plot against the United States. And this is an example of where I think there’s been some misreporting. Our preference is always to capture if we can, because we can gather intelligence. But a lot of the terrorist networks that target the United States, the most dangerous ones, operate in very remote regions, and it’s very difficult to capture them. And we’ve got to make sure that in whatever operations we conduct, you know, we are very careful about avoiding civilian casualties.
In a joint report on by the Stanford and New York University law schools on the use of drones in Pakistan that reveal the strikes have killed far more civilians than American officials have previously acknowledged, James Cavallaro, one of the authors of the reports said:
And finally—this is something that I think has to be emphasized and cannot be emphasized enough—the New York Times reported—and I have not heard the administration deny this in a way that’s credible—so the New York Times reported in May of this year that the administration considers that all adult males killed in drone strikes are combatants. Now think about that for a minute. What it authorizes authorities to do is to kill first, knowing that afterwards whoever is killed will be termed a combatant, unless there is posthumous evidence of that person’s innocence. I think that fact, which is extraordinarily damning, helps to explain the unreal numbers that the government has been churning and issuing to us for months and years. But it’s a fact that ought to cause us very, very significant concern as citizens of the United States and as people who are concerned about what the most powerful government in the world is doing.
For some similar reasons that might also be of interest to anthropologists (or psychologists or both), the above (and many many other such things) do not upset Obama’s supporters much.
Do anthropologists do such research?
It would be safe to say that, by the above, Obama is not making a fool of himself. This is a profound philosophical question:
Why is it that Romney, by getting the chronology wrong and many other things that he does, makes a fool of himself, whereas Obama, by doing things that are far worse (as he is the President now, Romney might catch up with him, or even overtake him if he gets into the same position), by saying things that seem to be very appropriate while at the same time doing things which are straight out of a text book on absurdity, does not make a fool of himself?
The question, in fact, generalizes to Republicans and Democrats and many such duos.