Friday, April 22, 2011

Oh the irony...

Predator Drone: A flying earmark
On April 21st President Obama authorized the use of the Predator Drone to aid NATO forces in their efforts in Libya. The pilotless drone is controlled remotely. The Predator and has proven useful in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan; it has become a weapon of choice for the US Military. According to Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs General James Cartwright:
What [Predators] will bring that is unique to the conflict is their ability to get down lower, therefore to be able to get better visibility on targets that have started to dig themselves into defensive positions…They are uniquely suited for urban areas. [link to full story]

Today media outlets are reporting that John McCain is in Libya. According to the Voice of America McCain’s visit is aimed at gaining recognition of the Libyan rebels, and encouraging the U.S. to take a larger role in the conflict. McCain is quoted saying:
I came here to get an on the ground assessment of the situation….We are meeting with the [rebel transitional] council, we’re meeting with the military, we’re meeting with lots of people. The [rebel fighters] are my heroes.

By authorizing the use of Predators in the Libyan conflict Obama has, at least partially, granted McCain’s wish that the US provide more support for the rebels. Obama’s decision also made McCain’s trip possible by ensuring that the Senator is free from danger during his visit to Benghazi.

The irony is that the Predator Drone began its life as an earmark, the kind of congressionally directed appropriation against which Senator McCain has led a holy war. McCain often challenged fellow Senators’ earmarks on the Senate floor. In fact, his antipathy toward earmarks was a centerpiece of his presidential campaign.

Oh the irony: John McCain being protected in Libya by the robotic love-child of an earmark.