Tuesday :: Jun 23, 2009

Bob Herbert's Scathing Critique Of President Obama

by Turkana

New York Times columnist Bob Herbert has been a strong and loyal supporter of President Obama. He remains one. Which is why his scathing critique of the president is so important. Particularly for the president's strongest and most loyal supporters.

He begins by pointing out the obvious: policies that were wrong under Bush remain wrong under President Obama. It's quite simple. It's akin to what many of us have been saying about the necessity of investigating and prosecuting Bush administration war crimes. And all other Bush administration crimes. Because we are a nation of laws or we are not. Laws apply to all equally or they don't. And if they don't, we are not a nation of laws; if they don't, we are a nation of personalities and personal privileges.


One of the most disappointing aspects of the early months of the Obama administration has been its unwillingness to end many of the mind-numbing abuses linked to the so-called war on terror and to establish a legal and moral framework designed to prevent those abuses from ever occurring again.

Failing to end the abuses is even worse than failing to investigate them and prosecute any involved criminality. Failing to end the abuses is complicity in their continuance. Herbert credits the president for banning torture, but points out that other abuses have not been banned. He specifically mentions "preventive detention." And the president's continuing the opacity of Bush era secrecy and state-secrecy.

It was thought by many that a President Obama would put a stop to the madness, put an end to the Bush adminisutration’s nightmarish approach to national security. But Mr. Obama has shown no inclination to bring even the worst offenders of the Bush years to account, and seems perfectly willing to move ahead in lockstep with the excessive secrecy and some of the most egregious activities of the Bush era.

Again, I remind the reader that this is Bob Herbert writing, and he urges the Center for Constitutional Rights, the ACLU, and others- including individuals- which, of course, means individuals such as you and me- to push harder, and intensify the pressure on the president to do what is right.

Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, noted that Mr. Obama had promised to bring both transparency and accountability to matters of national security. It’s the only way to get our moral compass back.

Last summer, I began wondering when the then-nominee would dare take a stand that would offend the likes of Village mediocrities such as David Broder. Call it "The David Broder Test." I continue to wonder.

Turkana :: 4:38 PM :: Comments (11) :: Digg It!