More Criticism of Obama's Flip-FLops on Detainees

The New York Times in an editorial today takes President Obama to task for his flip-flops on the release of torture photos and reinstatement of military tribunals.

It was particularly distressing to hear Mr. Obama echo Mr. Bush by saying that releasing the pictures would not add “to our understanding of what was carried out in the past by a small number of individuals.” This was not the fault of a few individuals. It was widespread, and systemic, the result of policies set at the highest levels of the Bush administration.

Mr. Obama was elected in part because of his promises to correct these lawless policies. He must create clear rules to deal with prisoners. And there must be a full accounting of what went so horribly wrong and how. Otherwise, Mr. Obama risks turning Mr. Bush’s mistakes into his own or, in the case of the photographs, turning Mr. Bush’s cover-up into his own. More important, he risks missing the chance to make sure the misdeeds and horrors of the Bush years are never repeated.


Frank Rich also has some ideas, calling for a commission. Others say only a special prosecutor will suffice.

The administration can’t “just keep walking” because it is losing control of the story. The Beltway punditocracy keeps repeating the cliché that only the A.C.L.U. and the president’s “left-wing base” want accountability, but that’s not the case. Americans know that the Iraq war is not over. A key revelation in last month’s Senate Armed Services Committee report on detainees — that torture was used to try to coerce prisoners into “confirming” a bogus Al Qaeda-Saddam Hussein link to sell that war — is finally attracting attention. The more we learn piecemeal of this history, the more bipartisan and voluble the call for full transparency has become.

Rich talks about today's GQ article on Donald Rumsfeld. It's got a slideshow with never-before seen documents showing how Rumsfeld mixed religion and war.

This mixing of Crusades-like messaging with war imagery, which until now has not been revealed, had become routine. On March 31, a U.S. tank roared through the desert beneath a quote from Ephesians: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” On April 7, Saddam Hussein struck a dictatorial pose, under this passage from the First Epistle of Peter: “It is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.”

There's so much Americans and the world don't know about the excesses and abuses of the Bush Administration. Whichever way you favor, a truth commission or a special prosecutor, it's got to be one or the other. It's too late to just sweep it under the rug and pretend it's all okay because of a President's promise that this chapter in history won't repeat itself.

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  • Display: Sort:
    The Bush/Cheney "echo" (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by KeysDan on Sun May 17, 2009 at 01:34:28 PM EST
    of just a few individuals involved was particularly distressing.  The few "bad apples"  it seems, could be found at the top of the barrel.

    And why is Liz Cheney suddenly (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by oculus on Sun May 17, 2009 at 02:19:38 PM EST
    a credible spokesperson re anything?

    Interesting (none / 0) (#3)
    by cal1942 on Sun May 17, 2009 at 05:59:29 PM EST
    When the Cold War ended Lynn Cheney was part of a group that searched for a new enemy to replace the Soviet Union.

    Forever war.

    The fact that she's given a public voice is way past alarming.

    As KeysDan says above, it's disgusting that "our understanding of what was carried out in the past by a small number of individuals." is coming from  Obama. Worse really than hearing it from Bush.


    Just as Truman (none / 0) (#10)
    by jondee on Mon May 18, 2009 at 03:50:31 PM EST
    searched for a new enemy to replace the Axis powers.

    The militarized economy must stay in place.


    No search (none / 0) (#11)
    by cal1942 on Tue May 19, 2009 at 01:55:11 AM EST
    was necessary.  Postwar circumstances dictated.  

    In fact Conservatives wanted to continue to fight hot wars abroad and found 'enemies' hiding under their beds at home.  It was when Conservatives first began to sleep with night lights.


    Morph (none / 0) (#4)
    by lentinel on Sun May 17, 2009 at 06:46:41 PM EST
    "Obama is morphing into Bush".
    "How absolutely distressing."
    "Is that worse than 'disquieting' m'dear?"

    The GQ article is well worth reading, (none / 0) (#5)
    by Anne on Sun May 17, 2009 at 07:04:36 PM EST
    even though it's blood-boiling, stomach-churning stuff; in addition to learning just how monumental Rumsfeld's ego is, we also learn the extent to which religious messaging was being used at the highest levels of the military.

    It adds another layer to what we already knew, and made me realize just how much we still do not know, Rumsfeld's "unknown unknowns" notwithstanding.

    I haven't read the GQ (none / 0) (#12)
    by cal1942 on Tue May 19, 2009 at 02:26:00 AM EST
    article yet but this article Rumsfeld's Long March from a couple of years ago ties together some recent history very nicely and is worth reading, especially the role that Rumsfeld played in dumping Charlie Halleck for Gerald Ford. The mind boggles at what that move set in motion, unwittingly of course but mind boggling nonetheless.

    You may be familiar with the story, but, just in case.


    A couple of my republican co-workers (none / 0) (#6)
    by easilydistracted on Sun May 17, 2009 at 08:25:59 PM EST
    are emboldened by Obama's recent flip-flops. They are convinced the constant barrage of right-wing rhetoric is causing Obama to waffle. Thus, they are convinced that the BS from the right should be ratcheted up even more.    

    Well (none / 0) (#7)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun May 17, 2009 at 08:36:58 PM EST
    what else would've made him waffle? Maybe he really has the same core beliefs as Bush or maybe it's wanting the approval of the Broders. Who knows but the caving is becoming a daily occurence.

    I don't know for sure why, (none / 0) (#8)
    by easilydistracted on Sun May 17, 2009 at 08:42:49 PM EST
    but that these right-wing fanatics I know are claiming victory, well... that is troubling, indeed. Get ready for even more noise from the right.

    Its not a flip-flop, its (none / 0) (#9)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon May 18, 2009 at 09:53:11 AM EST
    Sappy Article (none / 0) (#13)
    by cal1942 on Tue May 19, 2009 at 02:31:50 AM EST
    No leader here.