Posts Tagged ‘Bush’

Tortured Inertia

Posted on August 18, 2011 at 4.37 pm

Al Jazeera reports that Human Rights Watch (HRW) has asked President Obama to prosecute his predecessor and many prominent members of the Bush Administration for torture of terror suspects in legal limbo at prisons like Guantanamo Bay.  “Instead of looking at isolated cases, Obama should probe those responsible for setting up the harsh interrogation practices at Guantanamo and the secret rendition programs overseas as America went to war in Afghanistan,” the humanitarian group said in a public statement.

It’s a well-intentioned plan, certainly.  That the American government tortures (even in spite of its own Constitution and legal code) is an established and despicable fact.  The problem is that the torture didn’t stop when Dubya went home to Texas in 2009.  As with so many other issues, Barack Obama has followed in Bush’s footsteps in matter of detainee treatment, secrecy, and rendition.

HRW is correct that we must be consistent in condemning torture when we find at home as well as abroad.  But the organization’s appeal to Obama as a potential ally is…credulous, to put it mildly.

This is a map from 2010, well into the Obama presidency:

Secret prisons are not a thing of the past.  They are not unique to the Bush Administration.  Torture is a bipartisan “necessity.”  Inertia has once again taken over.

Why would Barack Obama go after Bush Administration officials for policies he’s continued?  (Each word in that last sentence is a unique link, by the way.)  This call for justice from HRW is admirable but, unless it’s secretly intended to bring the spotlight to the remarkable lack of policy change we’ve seen on this matter in the past few years, it’s more than a little naive.

Obama Traces Bush’s Footsteps Ever More Closely

Posted on March 21, 2011 at 10.56 am

As the Southern Avenger reports, President Obama has launched yet another Middle Eastern blunder on the eighth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.  Already it is expected to be another long engagement which even Bush Administration holdover Defense Secretary Robert Gates advised against.  As Gates put it several weeks ago with surprising candor, “A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses.”  Indeed it does, and attack a country which didn’t want our help is exactly what we’ve done, despite strenuous objections from within Libya, the African Union, and the larger Arab community:

Does anyone really think this is going to go well or make the US any friends in the Middle East?  I, for one, do not have such a vivid imagination.

Bush: “I’d have endorsed Obama if they’d asked me”

Posted on November 16, 2010 at 1.57 pm

President Bush told British officials in the heat of the 2008 presidential election, “I’d have endorsed Obama if they’d asked me,” according to a November 9 blog entry by Financial Times of London correspondent Alex Barker. The Financial Times is the chief British financial newspaper, a newspaper that corresponds roughly to the New York-based Wall Street Journal.

Barker observed that his two sources for the quote note that Bush had been asked by British officials in a private meeting that included British Prime Minister [Gordon] Brown what Bush thought of McCain and the U.S. presidential election. According to Barker, his two sources said Bush responded:

“I probably won’t even vote for the guy,” Bush told the group, according to two people present. “I had to endorse him. But I’d have endorsed Obama if they’d asked me.”

Yes, really.  Anyone still think the two parties are significantly different?  Because the evidence is piling up against that thesis daily.  Read the full report here.