Saturday, May 16, 2009

One Week In Constitutional Scholarship


From Greenwald today, a brief survey of "thePrez'" week in restoring the Constitution at the crucial intersection of 'national security' and 'civil rights.' Remember, we were told to vote for him because he'd restore the balance? Or something. I'm sure I remember something about...justice...right?
Monday - Obama administration's letter to Britian threatening to cut off intelligence-sharing if British courts reveal the details of how we tortured British resident Binyam Mohamed;

Tuesday - Promoted to military commander in Afghanistan Gen. Stanley McChyrstal, who was deeply involved in some of the worst abuses of the Bush era;

Wednesday - Announced he was reversing himself and would try to conceal photographic evidence showing widespread detainee abuse -- despite the rulings from two separate courts (four federal judges unanimously) that the law compels their disclosure;

Friday - Unveiled his plan to preserve a modified system of military commissions for trying Guantanamo detainees, rather than using our extant-judicial processes for doing so.
It's not the fault of civil libertarians that Obama did all of those things, just in this week alone. These are the very policies -- along with things like the claimed power to abduct and imprison people indefinitely with no charges of any kind and the use of the "state secrets privilege" to deny torture and spying victims a day in court -- that caused such extreme anger and criticisms toward the Bush presidency.
Addendum: This one graf from the Times piece is descriptive:
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.
It's hard to tell, from this, if the Times' writer thinks this is on the whole a good or a bad thing. Such a position, however, whatever its de/merits, has won praise in some moments from even rabidly militaristic departed members of the former regime, even while garnering less than ringing support from the anti-imperialist wing of the Dim/Lib/Prog's ethereal "alliances."

I'm getting weary of the by-now-inevitable shit-encrusted thumb stuck in the eye of the Left base of the Dims and the liberal independents, on the very issues which "thePrez" used to solidify that support. I am very damned tired, too, of the Polly-Obama's who can only celebrate "subtlety," where "capitulation" far better captures the dynamic.

1 comment:

Democracy Lover said...

As another old fart who lived through the sixties and the many "lone gunman" assassinations, I have to suspect that Barack intends to see his daughters graduate and get married and thus is willing to serve as a vassal of the national security state. We delude ourselves to think it possible for mere elected officials to control the government. We got a change of color and tone, but it's absolutely clear that we did not get a change in ruler.