18 January 2011

President Obama's anti-terrorism policies

Excerpts from an extensive post by Glenn Greenwald at Salon:
...everyone (other than his hardest-core followers) was forced to acknowledge that Obama was embracing and even expanding -- rather than reversing -- the core Bush/Cheney approach to Terrorism. As a result, leading right-wing figures began lavishing Obama with praise -- and claiming vindication -- based on Obama's switch from harsh critic of those policies (as a candidate) to their leading advocate (once in power)...

And now Dick Cheney himself -- who once led the "soft on Terror" attacks -- is sounding the same theme. In an interview last night with NBC News, Cheney praised Obama for continuing his and Bush's core approach to Terrorism:
I think he's learned that what we did was far more appropriate than he ever gave us credit for while he was a candidate... I think he's found it necessary to be more sympathetic to the kinds of things we did.
Gen. Hayden put it best, as quoted by The Washington Times:
"You've got state secrets, targeted killings, indefinite detention, renditions, the opposition to extending the right of habeas corpus to prisoners at Bagram [in Afghanistan]," Mr. Hayden said, listing the continuities. "And although it is slightly different, Obama has been as aggressive as President Bush in defending prerogatives about who he has to inform in Congress for executive covert action."
And that list, impressive though it is, doesn't even include the due-process-free assassination hit lists of American citizens, the sweeping executive power and secrecy theories used to justify it, the multi-tiered, "state-always-wins" justice system the Obama DOJ concocted for detainees, the vastly more aggressive war on whistleblowers and press freedoms, or the new presidential immunity doctrines his DOJ has invented...

Aside from the repressiveness of the policies themselves, there are three highly significant and enduring harms from Obama's behavior. First, it creates the impression that Republicans were right all along in the Bush-era War on Terror debates and Democratic critics were wrong...

Second, Obama has single-handedly eliminated virtually all mainstream debate over these War on Terror policies. At least during the Bush years, we had one party which steadfastly supported them but one party which claimed (albeit not very persuasively) to vehemently oppose them. At least there was a pretense of vigorous debate over their legality, morality, efficacy, and compatibility with our national values. Those debates are no more...

Third, Obama's embrace of these policies has completely rehabilitated the reputations and standing of the Bush officials responsible for them...

If Obama has indeed changed his mind over the last two years as a result of all the Secret Scary Things he's seen as President, then I genuinely believe that he and the Democratic Party owe a heartfelt, public apology to Bush, Cheney and the GOP for all the harsh insults they spewed about them for years based on policies that they are now themselves aggressively continuing.
More at the link.

I would also like to note that Glenn Greenwald is currently holding the annual fundraiser for his blog: "relying on reader support is what allows me to maintain full independence... also enables much-needed assistance for the work that is done here, including having a regular research assistant... It also means that one can work full-time on journalism, analysis and activism without any concern for accommodating the interests of corporate employers and advertisers..."

TYWKIWDBI has made a smaller-than-we-would-like contribution to that fundraising drive.  Others who wish to do so will find a Paypal "Donate" button at this link.


  1. Just made a donation. I wonder if a lefty like me would have any common ground with conservative teabag folks when looking at these assaults to civil liberty by the executive?

  2. Some friends and I were just discussing this today. What could he have learned that would make him renege on his decision to close Guantanamo? To appear to support the Bush-Cheney policies he and the Democratic Party had decried? My friends and I are quite upset about this.

  3. He learned, IMHO, that if he could be painted as "soft on terror," he was unlikely to be elected to a second term.

    (Cynical, moi??)

    --Swift Loris

  4. @BJN You betcha. I'll see you one Glenn Greenwald and raise you a Ron Paul.

    Glenn Greenwald is especially exasperating to folks like me because he pulls out his can of leftie whoop ass rhetoric... and he's right. Assassinating US citizens is perhaps not a power we should give to the executive branch, be it controlled by the Ds or the Rs.

    I could go on, but I need to get back to stockpiling my bullets, silver, and non-hybrid seeds.

  5. One of the problems Obama has faced in closing Guantanamo is what to do with all of those prisoners. The Republicans have blocked him in so many ways in trying to bring the prisoners that it's become all but impossible to close Gitmo. And there are Super-Max prisons here in the United States that are all but empty, and would love to have a chance to open full time, but no.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...