Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Flip-Flopping Opacity

Can someone tell me why President Obama is starting to morph into his predecessor?
April 24th, Pentagon announces abused prisoner photos will be released.
Then today... Obama reverses that statement, in a direct violation of the ruling of the 2nd circuit court of appeals, stating they would be embarrassing.

I do understand wanting to prevent riots, and kidnappings, and inflaming fundamentalist hatred... but dammit... why say you would, and then reverse it?

And this is not an isolated incident of symptoms revealing a lack of cluefulness and consistency. Air Force 1 fly overs. Tax dodging nominees. Relabeling terrorism as "Man made disasters". Serious discussion of taxing employer provided health benefits (something McShame originally embraced and Obama poo-poo'ed on the campaign trail).

Has the Obama administration bitten off more than it can chew? I am beginning to wonder. Yes, it is MUCH better than the clueless, evangelical, uncurious, anti-Science, inept, nationalistic, hubris filled W administration... so far... but the Obama adminstration is starting to make some pretty dumb calls. I just hope this is a small string of anomolies, and not a new trend of reversals & incompetence.

Oh - and for the hardcore Republicans who visit this blog, I heard about Obama's latest reversal on that right wing biased advocacy show Rachel Maddow this evening, as I ate dinner. So much for that "vast left wing conspiracy" that Faux News imagines it's up against.


  1. I don't want to sound like like I am defending Obama's torture transparency flip flip too much, but I have to assume he is doing this for good reason, since he is a very reasonable shrewd guy. I would guess there are two main reasons:
    - With a new commander and a new offensive in Afghanistan he doesn't want to jeopardize this with anti-American poison (albeit somewhat deserved).
    - More importantly if he pursues the whole torture investigation to its full extent, which would implicate people like Cheney to violations of serious American and international law (tortured capture Iraqi *POW* to find a link between al Qaeda and Iraq), then the ensuing circus would consume his whole presidency. Forget about the economy, healthcare, and energy independence. Those would whither on the vine in comparison. I bet it is a calculated choice to focus on what are arguably more important things to 300M people right now.

  2. true, I do agree. The Maddow piece painted it in a really really bad light, from a pure civil libertarian perspective. But in my perspective, as you've stated (and McCain and others have supported as well) if not revealing the pics helps to reduce violence against US troops, and it saves even one life from a pissed off Iraqi sniper or road side bomb planter, then it is the right move. The circus avoidance, is another good aspect as well.

    I had DVR'ed Maddow, and when Traci got home and I replayed the rabid commentator piece, she laughed and rolled her eyes at the over-the-top over-generalizations that the Washington University Constitutional Law Prof was making. I was guilty of an over-reaction as well, in my posting here.

    It is humourous, in my perspective, how liberal media outlets are covering this like it is the end of the world, and conservative media outlets don't even mention it, or dismiss it with passing nuance - but instead focus on Dijon mustard, organic gardening, and what Pelosi might or might not have heard in a CIA briefing in 2002.

  3. I'm not ready to explain this away, guys. The two moves this week are dead wrong, and one borders on unforgivable.

    The detainee photos chronicle systematic abuse at the hands of US soldiers and their civilians counterparts. People know they exist, and that alone will incite hatred. It's not the photos people's the abuse those photos depict. Release the photos, let the chips fall where they may, and let it lead to calls for prosecution. That's exactly what this country needs, or it will happen again.

    Keeping Bush's kangaroo courts around will also make our efforts much more difficult. It doesn't matter if they added a few's lipstick on a pig and it's unamerican.

    Top that off with Pelosi's admission this week that she knew about torture in 2003 and did nothing. It's starting to feel absolutely Clinton-esque.

  4. Joe, I disagree. "chips fall where they may" - that'll be somewhere between 1 and several hundred US servicemen killed... that's too many in my book, but I am the father of a draft aged child. Yes, there WILL BE and IS domestic fall out... but the international unproductive reaction won't be beneficial.

    Let's see what happens, 6 months form now, a year from now... I do agree with Matt that it Can and probably Would CONSUME the next 3 or 7 years with trials. There's more important issues pressing down hard on us now.


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