When I ran across the video (below) attached to the story MSNBC Host: Trusting Obama More Than Bush Isn't Hypocritical at The Atlantic, which is not renowned for its sense of humor, I thought "oh, we've got parody here, this could be funny." The post started out like this—
MSNBC host Krystal Ball just became the unofficial spokesperson for progressives who support President Obama's targeted killing program, even though they would've flipped out had President Bush implemented the same drone policies. There isn't any hypocrisy in that position, Ball argued, advancing the debate by making widely held but unspoken arguments explicit.
It seemed obvious to me that there could not possibly be an MSNBC host named "Krystal Ball". That had to be a joke, right?
Moreover, it seemed an obvious way to go, using parody to criticize the stunningly compliant hypocrisy of so-called "progressives" who would have "flipped out" if W had been bombing children in South Asia with predator drones the way Obama does.
But, no! I was totally wrong! There really is an MSNBC host named Krystal Ball! And we are meant to take The Atlantic writer's criticisms of her fawning commentary seriously.
Krystal introduces her justification of American war crimes like this—
So first, let me get a few things out of the way on drones.
In general, I think drones can be a useful, effective tool of war. If there's a bad guy, a senior leader of Al Qaeda, say, who we can take out with a drone strike, I say we do it. I am, however, bothered by the secrecy, lack of transparency, and lack of oversight of the drone program. The process by which we choose targets should be detailed and codified.
The people who are killed, civilian and militant, should be public information, or at least known by Congress, so that we can study the overall impact of our drone policy on radicalizing civilian populations. And there should be some kind of judicial branch oversight such as special courts or lawsuits after the fact, perhaps.
So to sum it up, I'm okay with drones in general, but I'm not satisfied with the current way that the program is being handled.
This non-parody parody clearly presents a problem for bloggers like me. Krystal and The Atlantic's Conor Freidersdorf have crossed that subtle line on the other side of which it becomes impossible to satirize the mainstream media. I can't point out how ridiculous this discussion is because it is already so ridiculous that anything I might add would have no effect.
I have to resort to talking about "meta levels" of silliness (as in this post) in order to have something useful to say.
Speaking of dead children in South Asia, we get this news from the Washington Post (linked-in above).
NEW YORK — Attacks by U.S. military forces in Afghanistan, including air strikes, have reportedly killed hundreds of children over the last four years, according to the U.N. body monitoring the rights of children.
The Geneva-based Committee on the Rights of the Child said the casualties were “due notably to reported lack of precautionary measures and indiscriminate use of force.” It was reviewing a range of U.S. policies affecting children for the first time since 2008 — the last year of the Bush administration and the year Barack Obama was first elected president.
One day after the committee issued their report, the "U.S.-led coalition" in Afghanistan rejected it.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The U.S.-led international coalition on Friday rejected a U.N. rights group's concern about reports that U.S. military strikes have killed hundreds of children in Afghanistan during the past four years, saying they are "categorically unfounded."
The statement by the International Security Assistance Force came a day after the Geneva-based U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child said the casualties were "due notably to reported lack of precautionary measures and indiscriminate use of force."
The coalition also dismissed that claim, saying that it takes special care to avoid civilian casualties. The coalition said the number of children who died or were wounded from air operations dropped by nearly 40 percent in 2012 compared with the year before, although it did not give specific figures.
Unfortunately, I can't ridicule this emphatic denial because, on the one hand, the coalition asserted that what the Rights of the Child people said was "categorically unfounded"—what does "categorical" mean, anyway?—but, on the other hand, "the coalition said the number of children who died or were wounded from air operations dropped by nearly 40 percent in 2012 compared with the year before, although it did not give specific figures."
Let me emphasize the point.
In other words, the NATO Afghanistan coalition says they did not kill hundreds of children, but these people were counting the number of children they killed with sufficient precision to say that they had killed 40% fewer of them in 2012 than in the previous year, although specific numbers were not offered.
It appears that Krystal Ball—yes, that really is her name—is OK with killing these children, although she says "the process by which we choose targets should be detailed and codified" so we can "so that we can study the overall impact of our drone policy on radicalizing civilian populations."
After all, these aren't her children. They are the evil spawn of radicalized civilian populations in places which are so remote, even on a map, that these children effectively don't exist for Krystal or anybody else in the mainstream media or our Imperial Capital.
Despite all this, and the millions of other stories I could bring to bear on this point, I often get flack from humans for telling them that our misnamed species Homo sapiens is FUBAR. This reaction is not terribly surprising, but it doesn't change the situation.
Bonus Video — Krystal's "devastating" scandal (Huffington Post, November 29, 2012)
MSNBC host Krystal Ball joined host Abby Huntsman on HuffPost Live Thursday to discuss the reasons why her 2010 congressional campaign failed.
After winning the Democratic nomination, sexually suggestive photographs of Ball horsing around with friends at a Christmas party were released.
The photos featured Ball using a friend's Reindeer nose as a penis in several sexual poses, and Republican Rob Wittman would go on to win the seat from Virginia's conservative first district.
"It was devastating," Ball said, saying it played into her insecurities about not being taken seriously as a female candidate.