Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Little Obama Dance

Out on my street corner yesterday with my "Honk for Peace" sign with four ladies who are as nuts as I am, we were talking about Obama. Specifically his announcement that anybody in the CIA who actually carried out torture on people is not going to be prosecuted. Everybody agreed that they disagreed with this. Then we got to talking about Obama and other things, such as: the additional swarm of American troops being sent to Afghanistan, the continuing bailout of the financial industry, his continuing illusion that the Republican party is one day going to cooperate with him. It turns out that none of us are particularly happy with any of this.

Now, the question arises, are people standing on a street corner in a fair-sized Oklahoma town with peace signs more likely to be uneasy with these aspects of the Obama presidency than your normal person who voted for him? The answer would be yes, I think. Of course, most Oklahomans did not vote for him, and don't like anything Obama does. But it does seem that at least this particular little gaggle of peaceniks is more to the left on most issues. Which is doubtless why I find their company so congenial. (I should observe, however, that we seem to be getting more people honking than usual. We don't have a good theory for this, but we hope it means all those honkers also think the Afghanistan thing is insane. The Iraq thing has been insane for years.)

Although the complaints against the president I've mentioned are all serious, the one getting the most attention now is the torture prosecution question. Today was a big shift in the White House position on this. Obama has responded to the outcry that's still going on about the horrifying information revealed by release of the latest White House memos on Bush torture policy. He did a little dance away from what he's been saying for weeks. He's been a broken record about "looking forward" and not back at the past on this issue, now Obama is leaving the door open for prosecution, either a bipartisan commission or justice department probe of the process and people who devised the torture policy that CIA interrogators put into effect. (He still doesn't want the torturers messed with.) Of course, the miserable little fraud and his vice president both ought to be tried for war crimes, but that's not going to happen. However, I'll be happy to see people like John Yoo and David Addington go to jail, and as many of their toady lawyer compatriots as possible.

I'm not standing up and cheering--there's no one in jail yet--but this is better than the situation was yesterday.
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