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.
- Kevin Drum: State secrets
- Hilzoy: Dear Obama administration
- Glenn Greenwald: Obama fails his first test on civil liberties and accountability — resoundingly and disgracefully
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.