Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Our Political Culture: Still Broken

Greenwald via Kos:
Note how warped our political culture is: Sen. Dick Durbin was forced to tearfully apologize on the Senate floor for accurately comparing our treatment of detainees at Guantanamo to the techniques used in Soviet gulags and by Gestapo interrogation squads, but those who perpetrated these war crimes have apologized for nothing, remain welcome in decent company, and are still shielded by our Government from all accountability.
Greenwald rightly lays into Obama for continuing despicable Bush/Cheney era policies of concealment in this area:

So candidate Obama unambiguously vowed to his supporters that he would work to ensure "full accountability" for "past offenses" in surveillance lawbreaking. President Obama, however, has now become the prime impediment to precisely that accountability, repeatedly engaging in extraordinary legal maneuvers to ensure that "past offenses" -- both in the surveillance and torture/rendition realm -- remain secret and forever immunized from judicial review. Put another way, Obama has repeatedly done the exact opposite of what he vowed he would do: rather than "seek full accountability for past offenses," he has been working feverishly to block such accountability, by embracing the same radical Bush/Cheney views and rhetoric regarding presidential secrecy powers that caused so much controversy and anger for the last several years.

And note the pure deceit on the part of Senate Democrats who justified telecom immunity by continuously assuring the public that the Bush officials who ordered the illegal surveillance (as opposed to the telecoms who broke the law by enabling it) would still be subject to legal accountability even once the Congress immunized telecoms. It was obvious at the time (as was often pointed out) that they were outright lying when they said this -- because all sorts of legal instruments had been invoked by the Bush DOJ (such as "state secrets" and "standing" arguments) to protect those government officials from that accountability (legal instruments Democrats knowingly left in place). And now it is Barack Obama, by employing those very same instruments, who is leading the way in making a mockery of the assurances given by Senate Democrats -- don't worry that we immunized the phone companies because Bush officials, who were the truly guilty parties in the illegal spying, will still be subject to legal accountability.

So much more work to do.

I like Obama in the areas of international diplomacy, stem cell research, budget, fair pay, economic stimulus, and numerous other areas.

But I don't like his Afghanistan policy (more troops!), his bank policy (more money for those who torpedoed our economy!), and his policy about revealing what happened during the previous administration (nothing to see here! move along!).

Let's not fall asleep, liberals.


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