FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Obama / Bush: Not quite the same on the GWOT.
I can’t quite agree with this passage:
John Ashcroft, who was Attorney General when Marri was designated an enemy combatant, makes no such apologies. Interviewed just before the Inauguration, he defended what he described as a “sound decision” to “maximize the national interest,” and predicted that, in the end, President Obama’s approach to handling terror suspects would closely mirror his own: “How will he be different? The main difference is going to be that he spells his name ‘O-b-a-m-a,’ not ‘B-u-s-h.’ ”
(Via NRO MediaBlog; well, technically via Think Progress, but I don’t link to pro-torture apologists if I can help it.)
Anyway, while I see his point, given that:
- President Obama will follow Bush-era rules on Bagram detainees (see here for a particularly good scream of outrage;
- President Obama will continue to use the ‘state secrets’ argument (see here [Via Hot Air] for the latest iteration, this time involving FISA);
- and, of course, President Obama isn’t going to go after Bush administration officials for enhanced interrogations (did you forget about that one?);
…I don’t actually agree with it, or at least with the implication. While the end results may be the same, the motivations are different. Bush did all of this because he thought that it was a good idea. Agree with it or don’t, but I think that we can agree that his prosecution of the GWOT was a deliberate choice. Obama seems to be doing all of this because he’s worried about how things will poll. Because he campaigned on a different set of opinions, and if he”s changed his mind on them, I’ve yet to hear it.
The Marri case is actually a case in point. Shuck away the pious mutterings of the ACLU for a moment: what we have here is a guy who is accused of being in an AQ training camp, possessing bank accounts under fake names, was found to have a briefcase full of cash when arrested, and had all sorts of interesting jihadi-related material on his laptop. He got yanked out of the criminal justice system before trial, and putting him back in it will give his lawyers an excellent chance at getting all the charges dismissed. Some of you may think that this is a good thing.
The problem is that the Obama administration is not certain that you are right – and if they release him anyway, and this guy ever does anything afterward that harms a single American, the American people are not going to care why he was released. Hence their hesitation, at the precise moment that people are yelling at them to speed up.
You know, if it weren’t for that na-na-wey-hey thing on Inauguration Day, I might even be interested in helping the administration out of this mess. But, given that the same kind of people who did that to Bush are the same kind of people who are giving him grief now…
Crossposted at Moe Lane.