More “More Of The Same”

November 11, 2008

Don’t have a good explanation for how I missed this paragraph this morning, other than I was barely awake:

“Mr. Obama said he opposed providing legal immunity to telecommunications companies that aided warrantless surveillance, but ultimately voted for the bill, which included an immunity provision. The new president could take a similar approach to revising the rules for CIA interrogations, said one current government official familiar with the transition. Upon review, Mr. Obama may decide he wants to keep the road open in certain cases for the CIA to use techniques not approved by the military, but with much greater oversight.”

(Italics are Sullivan’s; his post was where I noticed this.)

I’m not going to start launching into Obama for a decision he has yet to make, especially when the source is unnamed and we’re just starting up the transition.  But, if we’re in January and we hear more like this, or later, and nothing’s been done — actually, wait, I’m with Joe Carter on how to avoid waiting until then for an answer:

“Rather than asking silly questions about his hypoallergenic dog, the press should put the question directly to President-elect Obama: Will you sign an executive order prohibiting the use of any techniques that fit this legal definition of torture?”

And when it comes to torture, I’m basically with Andrew (who, no matter what one thinks of him, has undeniably done a damn good job hammering home the the extent of the torture problem in American policy):

“There is no centrism in adhering to the Geneva Conventions. Either we do or we don’t. We haven’t and we now must. There is no middle way here.  [. . .]  No torture ever. No exceptions ever. No separate CIA track. Executive power, allowed to torture, is dangerous regardless of which president is in the White House, of whichever party.”

I don’t have much else to say because I genuinely don’t want to start ranting prematurely.  But let’s be clear: an Obama Administration that meant even a modicum of anything it said on that campaign trail should not be within a flagpole of considering allowing our current torture policies and programs to stay in place.  Any president who does so is abusing his power; any media that refuses to press such a president has failed its responsibility to the public; any public that is complacent in the face of it has failed itself and its republic.