Saturday, May 16, 2009

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Obama After Bush, Leading By Second Thought:

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s decisions this week to retain important elements of the Bush-era system for trying terrorism suspects and to block the release of pictures showing abuse of American-held prisoners abroad are the most graphic examples yet of how he has backtracked, in substantial if often nuanced ways, from the approach to national security that he preached as a candidate, and even from his first days in the Oval Office.

Mr. Obama balked on releasing the photographs of prisoners after the military — and his influential defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, the cabinet’s one holdover from the Bush administration — argued that making them public would hand Islamic militants a propaganda coup that could lead to renewed attacks on American forces.

In announcing on Friday that he would retain the military commission system set up by Mr. Bush, even while expanding the rights of detainees to mount a vigorous defense, Mr. Obama suggested that there was no inherent conflict between keeping the nation safe and reasserting values that he and many of his supporters believed had been swept aside during the Bush years.
He's even threatening allies who are, themselves, threatening to release more details of torture carried out by U.S. "contractors" during the Bush years.
Renewing a warning given to Britain while President George W. Bush was in office, the Obama administration has threatened to curb the exchange of intelligence information between the countries if a British court makes public the details of the interrogation techniques used against a former Guantánamo Bay detainee who claims he was tortured.

David B. Rivkin Jr., a Washington lawyer who was an official in the Reagan administration, said the decision suggested that the Obama administration was coming to accept the Bush administration’s thesis that terror suspects should be viewed as enemy fighters, not as criminal defendants with all the rights accorded by American courts.

“I give them great credit for coming to their senses after looking at the dossiers” of the detainees, Mr. Rivkin said.
Which of course is nonsense. Terrorism is fundamentally a criminal act, no matter what the "dossier" of the criminal might be. That the Obama administration is now agreeing these criminals are somehow outside the purvey of the courts is further evidence of Obama's cave.

All those disappointed people out there. I saw a bumper sticker on a car the other day that cracked me up: "How's That Change You Can Believe In Going For Ya?"

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