Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obama – leading us out of the darkness and the torture chamber

I lived 8 years under the rule of Cheney and Bush Jr. The darkness began to lift when the Dems took the Senate, but now I’m blinking into a rising sun.

I’m mostly stunned (emphases mine) …

Obama shuts network of CIA 'ghost prisons' | World news | The Guardian

Barack Obama embarked on the wholesale deconstruction of George Bush's war on terror, shutting down the CIA's secret prison network, banning torture and rendition, and calling for a new set of rules for detainees. The repudiation of Bush's thinking on national security yesterday also saw the appointment of a high-powered envoy to the Middle East.

Obama's decision to permanently shut down the CIA's clandestine interrogation centres went far beyond the widely anticipated move to wind down the Guantánamo Bay detention centre within a year.

He cast his scrapping of the legal apparatus set up by Bush as a way for America to reclaim the moral high ground in the fight against al-Qaida.

"We are not, as I said during the inauguration, going to continue with the false choice between our safety and our ideals," Obama said at the signing ceremony. "We intend to win this fight. We are going to win it on our own terms."

In a sign of the sweeping rejection of the legal standards set by Bush, officials briefing reporters at the White House yesterday said the new administration would not be guided by any of the opinions on torture and detainees issued by the justice department after 11 September 2001.

Instead, Obama, in three executive orders, renewed the US commitment to the Geneva convention on the treatment of detainees. All detainees will be registered by the International Committee for the Red Cross, in another departure of past practice under the Bush administration.

… Another order directs the CIA to follow the US army field manual on interrogations, which bars such techniques as waterboarding…

… Obama followed up the burst of activity on detention policy by announcing that his administration would put resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the top of his agenda, "actively and aggressively" seeking a comprehensive peace deal. As a sign of that intent, he confirmed that former senator George Mitchell, a veteran US mediator, would be his Middle East envoy…

In contrast to this great post from The Guardian, Minnesota Public Radio spent most of today butchering a confused story about the restoration of US funding for international family planning. Maybe they’re even more stunned than I am.

This is a good day. All of our traditional investments have been devastated, but our investments in Obama’s election have already paid off.

Now that Obama has done his part, our task is to support the creation of an American Truth Commission and international efforts to prosecute Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld and Bush.

PS. In honor of President Obama, after more than five years of posting, I’ve added the tag called “government” – now that we have one worthy of the name.

3 comments:

alanbooker said...

Amen to all you have said! Alan

GZ said...

Given that you did not decide to use the "Government" tag with that Senate the Dems took, reveals how little they did. Throw those bums out.

John Gordon said...

I actually thought about adding 'government' over the past year. The Dems did great at the only thing they could do -- stopping Bush.

If we just looked at the past year, and ignored the last month of Bush executive orders, Bush would appear as a mediocre president who didn't do horrendous harm.

The Bush crimes were not his alone. The GOP Senate was a necessary ally, and history should judge them together with Bush and Cheney.

It's only now that we'll get to see how good the Senate is, and figure out where the bums are. What I'll be looking for is reasoned debate and a willingness to change direction when needed.