Change we can believe in – civil liberties, Gitmo, indefinite detentions
On August 1, 2007, Obama posted on his site a long list of what he would do as President. Part of that included:
…..This brings me to the fourth step in my strategy: I will make clear that the days of compromising our values are over.
Major General Paul Eaton had a long and distinguished career serving this country. It included training the Iraqi Army. After Abu Ghraib, his senior Iraqi advisor came into his office and said: “You have no idea how this will play out on the streets of Baghdad and the rest of the Arab world. How can this be?” This was not the America he had looked up to.
As the counter-insurgency manual reminds us, we cannot win a war unless we maintain the high ground and keep the people on our side. But because the Administration decided to take the low road, our troops have more enemies. Because the Administration cast aside international norms that reflect American values, we are less able to promote our values. When I am President, America will reject torture without exception. America is the country that stood against that kind of behavior, and we will do so again.
Waterboarding’s out, everything else is still subject to interpretation.
I also will reject a legal framework that does not work. There has been only one conviction at Guantanamo. It was for a guilty plea on material support for terrorism. The sentence was 9 months. There has not been one conviction of a terrorist act. I have faith in America’s courts, and I have faith in our JAGs. As President, I will close Guantanamo, reject the Military Commissions Act, and adhere to the Geneva Conventions. Our Constitution and our Uniform Code of Military Justice provide a framework for dealing with the terrorists.
Obama now supports indefinite detentions, a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions by Obama’s definition. However, as many have argued before, detaining terrorists is not dealt with in the Geneva Conventions in the first place. So, I’m all for Obama’s decision. However, I am curious as to how the rabid left wing will respond. As noted in the link in this paragraph, several considered Bush a war criminal for detaining terrorists indefinitely. I now expect them to start labeling Obama as such OR acknowledge how hypocritical they are. I’m not holding my breath for either response.
This Administration also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand. I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom.
That means no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are. And it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists. The FISA court works. The separation of powers works. Our Constitution works. We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers, and that justice is not arbitrary.
The wiretapping will continue as it was in the past. I fully expect Russ Feingold to either apologize to Bush, condemn Obama, or publicly admit how hypocritical he is.
The pictures of torture will not be made public either. I fully expected people who had complained for eight years about the cloke of secrecy of the Bush administration to go nuts, but this is what they are saying so far:
I think it shows how the presidency can change a person’s mind about the tradeoffs between transparency and what’s best for the country. Obama came into office promising to be more transparent than any president before him – and this was a big campaign issue – but he has slowly come to realize that transparency without context can be costly. That’s not an excuse for what he did, but it explains why he is open to changing his mind in these circumstances.
So, they trash Bush for eight years over not being transparent enough, then when Obama does it, it shows “he is open to changing his mind”.
How long will it take before these people finally admit that what they elected is no different than what they hated for eight years?
- We’re still in Iraq and not going anywhere soon.
- We’re still in Afghanistan and no closer to resolving it.
- We’re still wiretapping whoever The White House sees fit.
- We’ve still got detainees in Gitmo.
- We’re still detaining prisoners indefinitely with no guarantee of a court appearance.
- The White House is obviously withholding “criminal” activity from the public.
- Osama Bin Laden is still on the loose.
- North Korea is building bigger missiles.
- Terrorists are sixty miles from obtaining a nuclear bomb.
I would expect Nancy Pelosi to defend all of Obama’s flip-flops and abandonded campaign promises, but she’s got her own issues to deal with right now. It appears that she was in on the wiretapping, the torture, and about everything else she has railed against for eight years. However, as with Obama, the left blogosphere that railed rabidly against any Republican that was sitting in the same country as the issues occurring are now contorting themselves into pretzels trying to defend Pelosi as well:
Of course she knew. At some point, anybody who was paying any attention at all knew in general if not in detail what was going on. As early as January 2002, remember, the Bush administration was already announcing that it would not be bound by the Geneva Conventions in handling prisoners captured in Afghanistan.
So, regardless of Nancy saying it was criminal in 2003, the fact she lied about whether she was aware of what was going on is “yawn“. And, although Russ Feingold sought to censure Bush over illegal wiretapping, he has been noticeably silent on Nancy Pelosi’s involvement in them. In fact, the entire issue has suddenly become moot since it’s obvious that Nancy was right smack in the thick of it, and Obama plans to continue doing it. Where is Feingold now?
The hypocrisy to protect Obama at this point is sickening. However, I don’t think people like Feingold and the rabid left can hold out much longer. Heck, I’m saving irresponsible spending, economic policies, and a whole bunch of other issues for later.