Obama Invokes State Secrets Privilege to Cover Up Torture

This is horribly, horribly depressing.

If you asked me to pick three people whose views on the issue of torture and the rule of law I’ve come to respect, they would probably be Kevin Drum, Hilzoy, and yes, despite his habit of going all prosecutorial and one-sided on us, Glenn Greenwald. And if you told me that all three of them were appalled, on the same day, at the same action by the new Obama administration with regard to a matter of torture and the rule of law, I’d have to say that was pretty much game over for me in terms of my willingness to defend the Obama administration.

So: Elapsed time until losing my support: 2 weeks, 6 days.

Sigh. The torture presidency continues, apparently. Or, to extend him a whopping benefit of the doubt that I’m no longer at all sure he deserves, Obama has decided that he will stop torturing (which is a good thing). But he will also use the most questionable sorts of expansive imperial presidency power as pioneered by Bush to protect the perpetrators of torture from facing justice. No doubt Obama has determined that he would suffer politically from the perception that he was going after the torturers who preceded him in office. It would be a losing proposition for him, politically. He would be portrayed as weak on terror, a turncoat willing to burn his own people and prevent them from fighting the bad guys. So he takes the coward’s way out, presumably arguing to himself that he thereby preserves his ability to do good with his political capital, but at the same time allowing himself to become complicit with the worst sort of inhumanity.

Until now I was proud of Obama. Proud of what he had achieved, of what he stood for.

Now I’m ashamed.

6 Responses to “Obama Invokes State Secrets Privilege to Cover Up Torture”

  1. shcb Says:

    I find this quite extraordinary of course, and don’t want to stand in the way, so I’ll be brief (yea right). I mentioned this on the second or third day of the presidency that they had left a really big loophole in the executive order outlawing torture. That’s all the tooting of my own horn for now.

  2. Steve Says:

    Time will tell if you were right shcb. I’m not ready to make that judgment yet, but it’s a distinct possibility.

    This is why we can’t rely on -who- is president to fix our problems. The real issue has always been that congress did not behave as a co-equal branch of government. Hopefully the courts or the congress will do their job here…..

  3. knarlyknight Says:

    Good grief, is there no hope for you people?

  4. enkidu Says:

    steady lads, maybe this is a deeper game than it appears on the surface.

    Sen Leahy is trying to drum up some sort of truth and reconciliation commission. When asked specifically about it, Obama said he hasn’t seen the proposals but reiterated that no one is above the law. Perhaps he’s playing it down the middle and straying too far to the right for the taste of some.

    Very disappointing. We need to have an accountability moment if we ever hope to erase the stain of the bush years from our nation.

  5. Steve Says:

    No. Steadiness is wrong. The pressure for the rule of law must not relent. Even if he does have some “grand plan”, it will need pressure from the public to implement.

  6. shcb Says:

    There was a bill in the last congress, S2533 State Secrets Protection Act that would have limited the power of the government’s use of State Secrets. It was sponsored by Kennedy, Leahy, and Spector. It made it out of committee to the floor but was never voted on because Bush said he would veto it. Some of the provisions I like, some I don’t but that is besides the point. If you are as passionate about this as I think you are, perhaps you should write Leahy and Spector and ask them to reintroduce it. I think Senator Kennedy has more important issues. My prayers are with him.

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