Krauthammer: Obama a 'drone warrior'

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," June 5, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: "Back of the Book" segment tonight. President Obama, terror warrior.

Actually, the president is the drone king, conducting the war on terror from space, killing al Qaeda and Taliban leaders with Hellfire missiles.

Some Americans believe that if George Bush or Dick Cheney had conducted the war like that, the American left would have gone nuts. But there is largely silence from liberals on Mr. Obama's drone strategy.

Joining us now from Washington, Charles Krauthammer, who wrote a syndicated column this week on this subject.

Not only in the United States, but around the world. You don't hear, you know, remember the unilateral. Well, the drone program is certainly unilateral. And certainly, the guy that's deciding is President Obama and nobody else. So the silence is deafening all over the world.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, RAILWAY HOST: And it's across the board. It's on just about every comparable issue. Think of Gore. For years and years, the left here and abroad was complaining about this was a very big denial. Updating a role that America holds dear.

Obama himself opposed it, railed against it. When he was president, he went around the world on his first apology tour, speaking about what a stain it was and now it remains open to hear a peep from the left. You hear nothing. I've never -- with the Patriot Act, eavesdropping, wiretaps. Preventative detention; indefinite detention in addition to prisoners.

All of these with the Bush administration tearing up the Constitution. Every single one is still in place. Do you hear a word from the left?

And the worst is just the Afghan war itself. Think about this. Obama triples the number of troops. He doubles the casualty rate. So it isn't only the rights of people, but Americans are dying.

Can you imagine if this war were being conducted with the higher rate of casualties with the surge by George Bush or even by John McCain? They would be out there in the streets. Because it's Obama, because it's a liberal, because it's a Democrat, you get nothing.

I have respect for principled lefties like a Kucinich, who opposes this, left, right, no matter who's in power. But for the rest of them, they are hypocrites, and they are acting entirely out of tactical advantage and not out of principle.


Now, President Obama himself perceived to be a very liberal guy. Certainly is on domestic issues. But this is not a liberal policy, the drone attacks. I mean, obviously, it's not. This is something that Dick Cheney would support and does support. George W. Bush would support. John McCain would support.

So how do you square in your mind, because I know you studied President Obama. How do you square this? Is President Obama just a liberal guy on domestic issues and he's a hawk on foreign-policy issues?

KRAUTHAMMER: No. I think it's the same -- it's the same process that happened on Guantanamo. Rendition, the Patriot Act.

You're in opposition. You're a lefty. You're a liberal. You're against all this stuff. It's all, for you, a theory. Then you become president. You've got -- you have 300 million Americans who depend on you for their lives. You still have these incredibly stupid lapses into abstract liberalism as to when the Christmas day bomber, the guy who tried to blow up the airliner over Detroit. He is arrested and he is read his Miranda rights. That's loony.

You still get Holder trying to take Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the guy who did 9/11, and to give him a civilian trial in New York so he can show the whole world that, you know, that we'll give him his constitutional rights, which he's not entitled to in the first place. They will still slip into this idiocy.

However, conducting the war, protecting us against terrorists is a national security imperative. Any president, left, right, and center, would have to come to the same conclusions. But that is why the hypocrisy and the attacks by the left in those eight years are so despicable.

O'REILLY: With all the reportage -- wait, wait, wait. With all the reportage on President Obama, it all indicates that he takes this drone thing very personally. All right? All of the reporting says that he wants to know -- he says al-Awlaki, that -- what's his name, the American. He said, "Get that guy." It's personal to him.

Another liberal might, you know, be recoiled from it a little bit but do it under pressure, whatever. With Obama, it seems that he wants to do it. He relishes it.

KRAUTHAMMER: I think you're reading it wrong. I think that's probably the impression he'd like at least independents or people in the center to have of him, because he's been so weak in other areas of foreign policy. The Russians walking all over him. The Iranians doing nothing on Syria. He must look like a tough guy.

That entire story was leaked to the New York Times. And that story came two weeks after a Times story which revealed all kinds of secrets about the cyber war we are conducting against Iran, the nuclear program and the virus.

He wants to show himself to be a tough guy. But, look, Lyndon Johnson was a liberal's liberal. He's the guy, famously, he picked out the bombing targets in Vietnam.

O'REILLY: I know.

KRAUTHAMMER: So it has nothing to do with Obama. A president ought to delegate all this and let the generals who know how to conduct a war do it.

O'REILLY: All right.

KRAUTHAMMER: He should set the policy. He should not be the one who picks the targets, but he wants that impression so he'll look like a tough guy.

O'REILLY: But I think he does have his finger on the trigger in this case.

Charles, thanks very much.

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