Friday, May 22, 2009

Obama Sucks at Transcending Our Ideological Divisions

Carol at No Sheeples Here! points us to some anti-Obama grumbling at Daily Kos, "Obama Now Officially Sucks."

That post takes issue with the Obama administration's refusal to rekindle Valerie Plame's lawsuit against Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and Richard Armitage. But Carol's Photoshop applies to the Daily Kos program all around. For example, note the pushback from Meteor Blades against Obama's speech yesterday, "Moving Forward REQUIRES Looking Back":

... Guantánamo is more than a symbol. It's representative of a whole system which says it's appropriate to permit indeterminate detention without trials and/or trials that allow inadmissible evidence to be used to convict special categories of special people. So far, we have yet to hear either the President or more than a few others in the Democratic Party challenge that system at its core.
And here's Joan McCarter at Daily Kos fudging the vengeance rationale:

The election was not an end to the debate. We are not re-fighting any debate because the debate is ongoing, however much we would like to move on. The very fact that President Obama had to schedule this speech today to pre-empt Dick Cheney is proof of that. Anger is not the primary fuel for those of us who want to see accountability for what the previous administration did in our names. The fuel is a commitment to justice.
Joan's right: This is debate will not end. But not for the reasons leftists think. For all of their tough talk and faux moral outrage, leftists do not really believe we are at war. And Barack Obama not only exacerbates and prolongs the debate, he weakens America's security to boot. As Christian Brose notes:

The debate over "enhanced" interrogation, the rule of law, and national security will never end. But I fear the tragedy is just beginning. Before 9/11, America's counter-terrorism policies suffered from excessive caution and risk-aversion. After 9/11, that pendulum swung too far in the other direction, toward what Cheney once called "the dark side." Now that pendulum is swinging right back toward the other extreme again -- not because Obama wants it to, or believes it should, or mandated that it must in his policies, but because of unnecessary actions he took without adequate "foresight," and the manner in which he took them. The professionals entrusted to keep America safe now work in fear of taking the risks that their jobs entail. And the people they're charged with protecting still don't have the facts to reach a political consensus on this issue (and likely never will, even if Cheney were to get his way).
And here's Andrew McCarthy, via Memeorandum:

President Obama’s speech is the September 10th mindset trying to come to grips with September 11th reality. It is excruciating to watch as the brute facts of life under a jihadist threat, which the president is now accountable for confronting, compel him forever to climb out of holes dug by his high-minded campaign rhetoric — the reversals on military detention, commission trials, prisoner-abuse photos, and the like.

The need to castigate his predecessor, even as he substantially adopts the Bush administration’s counterterrorism policy, is especially unbecoming in a president who purports to transcend our ideological divisions.

So, yes, May 21, 2009, is an important date in our ongoing divisions over national security.

May 21st will go down in the history of this administration national security policies as establishing the line of demarcation between those (the Republicans) who would genuinely secure the nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and those (the Democrats) who make allies with them.

See also, Arthur Herman, "The Gitmo Myth and the Torture Canard."

3 comments:

Grace Explosion said...

Hi Donald,

I'm still 100% against torture. Plus, Bush is not all he appears. If he was truly a conservative, that would be one thing. But he isn't. I guess I don't see this as "us against them" - like Bush/Cheney somehow represent "us" and Obama represents "them". I think the American people are "us" - and most politicians are "them".

I believe it is completely wrong to enforce detention without due process - for anyone.

I bring to everyone's attention this saying of our Constitution: All men are created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights... life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Are the rights of our Constitution "American" rights, Donald?? Or are they representative of "higher law" and do they not apply to all human beings created by God??

How can we be Christian and love our neighbor as ourselves - and love even our enemies as ourselves - and dehumanize fellow human beings in our own sight to the point that we deny them basic human rights??

On what moral basis can people be held by our government without the rights to trial, representation, etc., etc., etc.?? How can this be moral or just that people are detained with no rights??

There is no rule of law in the absence of human rights.

We must not become what we despise because we do not love our enemies as we love ourselves - and we do not see the humanity of all mankind made in the image of God.

There are times when we have power that we seem "above the law" as we refuse to apply the rule of law. However, in those cases we will answer to God, not man, for our inhumanity to man.

I think we should picture ourselves standing before God answering to Him in how we are treating our fellow human beings - our equals - persons created equal before God.

I don't think excuses for waterboarding - hold water, for example. My understanding is that we executed Japanese soldiers for waterboarding US POW's.

I think we need to see ourselves equally under God with all people - not over people nor in power - to see things as they are.

I think it is pride which has lead to this incredible error of the worst form of human imperialism which is to mistreat anyone under our power in prison.

Hellish, that's what it is to have someone under your power in a prison and to mistreat them or deny them human rights. Quite frankly, I would say, it's of the devil.

It's certainly not Christian.

Anyway, this is a subject I'm impassioned about because it's a matter of how we represent God to the world - and our faith as Christians - when we take a position on this issue.

However, I've been reading your posts - and have been enjoying the reading. (But, I kinda wish you'd get out of the babe blogging. :) )

Hope everything is well with you and yours. (I especially liked the tea party coverage you did. Keep up the good work.)

Grace.

Dave said...

LOL-So some of the Kos Kids have their boxers in a bunch over Obama.

Sweet.

-Dave

Anonymous said...

This is a very touchy and morally complex issue. I would say frankly that cynically tolerating torture in some circumstances without officially condoning it is a better alternative to either promoting it as a policy or preventing anything that could prevent terrorism.