Monday, February 09, 2009

This is very disappointing

Glenn Greenwald, Obama fails his first test on civil liberties and accountability -- resoundingly and disgracefully Salon 02/09/2009. For more details on the case, see Rendition case in S.F. to test Obama policies by Bob Egelko San Francisco Chronicle 02/09/2009.

First of all, the Obama administration made a bad decision in this case. Secondly, one of the most damaging things Obama could do to his international reputation is to be seen as defending the Cheney-Bush torture program in any way. And that's how this looks.

This action certainly doesn't foreclose prosecutions of Bush administration officials for crimes. But it's not a good sign for that, either.

Prosecuting major felonies will not insure that a future Republican administration won't do the same things, or worse. But, given the state of the Republican Party today and for the foreseeable future, not prosecuting them will virtually guarantee that the next Republican administration will resume them.

The only thing missing from Cheney's Unitary Executive program was the experience of a subsequent Democratic administration refusing to prosecute felonious acts committed.

I don't see any way to put a good face on this decision of the Obama administration.

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