Friday, April 17, 2009

Does This Administration Get It?

It was cute when they insulted the British Prime Minister earlier this year by treating him like he was the head of a third world nation, instead of one of our most important and stalwart allies. It was a good chuckle when President Obama broke with tradition and bowed to foreign monarchs. And I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed it when the North Koreans began to pull out of the working group and agreements set up to prevent it from being nuclear armed and the Obama Administration answered with a the way what did we do? Send a nasty email? Oh that's right, some sort of Security Council resolution.

Let's see, what else the Obama administration has been up to. Iran is continuing their progress in their quest to develop a nuclear weapons arsenal. The Russians are moving to finish up (or should I say finish off) in Georgia. I'd say that the Obama administration is doing exactly what they promised to do in the election. It's working so well, that we are further away from our goals now than we were under W's misguided attempts diplomacy.

Not content to make things so interesting in the foreign policy arena, it looks like the Obama administration wants to gut the people we need in order to effectively execute a foreign policy program that will capitalize on the early "successes" of the Obama Administration. Yesterday, President Obama ordered the release of certain memoranda covering authorizations and tactics used in interrogations of suspected terrorist.

I mean, its not like there is an actual, if not undeclared conflict going between the United States and non-state actors who deliberately targt non-military, non-governmental locations for the purposes of maximizing short-term mortality rates in those locations. It's not like we don't have government employees in various parts of the world trying to deal with these non-state actors in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to, civil reconstruction efforts, medical and humanitarian relief efforts, and targeted direct action to prevent the instigators of "man-made" mortality events. Those employees' health and well-being, as well as the success of their various governmentally-backed and sanctioned initiatives, probably benefited from these activities.

What's more, releasing how interrogations used to work gives too much information to people who already are trying to figure out how to withstand interrogatoin. If you know that the interrogator won't really put a harmful insect in your cell with you, it makes it that much easier to call the interrogators bluff and remain silent.

Am I in favor of torture? No. Then again, having read some (but not all of the memos) I fail to see how in the context of these situations (i.e. unlawful combatants captured in foreign lands, terrorist operatives caught in military operations, etc.) these can be construed as torture. There is a difference between military operations and civilian criminal cases. By blurring the lines between the two, we are going to end up hurting both.

But back to my admiration of the Obama Administration's policies over the past few months.

The only thing this can serve is to demoralize and make tenative our intelligence services, because they are going to fear being prosecuted for doing their job. It gives ammunition to our enemies out there.

But then again, the Democratic leadership, since 2003, has failed to differentiate between being anti-Bush policy and the security of the United States. At one moment, they are helping to pass massive bills which trample over our constitutional rights (i.e. PATRIOT ACT and PATRIOT ACT II). The next moment, they are trying to tear the teeth away from those entities which are trying to protect us. It leaves us a country where the government is starting to protect itself more from the people it governs than protecting the people from the threats it is supposed to protect it from.

To me this almost smacks of an administration trying to ge a "bread and circuses" thing going. Why? Because Democrat legislators are already announcing that they want to hold hearings. Nice, big, public, embarrasing hearings, which will allow the news media to flash words like "Torture" and "AGENT'S IMPLICATED IN HARMING PRISONERS" and the like. I still remember Iran-Contra and how much play that got, as well as all the big headlines. However, it wasn't until years later that I studied it in college and realized that it was not what the media made it out to be.

But back to this point, bread and circuses. While all this is going on, it's almost as if Obama is going to be using this to distract Americans from something else that is going on. Usually, when you are doing that, its because something else bad is going to happen. More nationalizations? Another capitulation on the world stage? Who knows, but there is a little piece of my brain thinking that this is a little convenient. And that the Obama's chief of staff is a big time pragmatist.

Now, before some people start saying things like "There was a court ordered deadline for disclosure", stop. I know there was. I also know that there are a lot of smart lawyers over at the Justice Department. Smart enough that they could have gotten an extention.

So back to the main point, does this administration of President Obama get it?

Sadly, I'm starting to thing it does not.

1 comment:

Leonardo said...

I have completed reading of the 2001 Bybee memo to the Justice Dept regarding torture. My question to you is: With such a convoluted view of the Constitution, are cases Bybee has adjudicated subject to appeal? I believe his ideology has dictated his decisions, therefore, he has not judged by the strict interpretation of the
constitution. Also, do you believe he should be impeached?