Monday, May 18, 2009

So How's Our Progressive President Doing So Far?

Here's a review from Glenn Greenwald of our "progressive" president's actions last week:

Monday - Obama administration's letter to Britian threatening to cut off intelligence-sharing if British courts reveal the details of how we tortured British resident Binyam Mohamed;

Tuesday - Promoted to military commander in Afghanistan Gen. Stanley McChyrstal, who was deeply involved in some of the worst abuses of the Bush era;

Wednesday - Announced he was reversing himself and would try to conceal photographic evidence showing widespread detainee abuse -- despite the rulings from two separate courts (four federal judges unanimously) that the law compels their disclosure;

Friday - Unveiled his plan to preserve a modified system of military commissions for trying Guantanamo detainees, rather than using our extant-judicial processes for doing so.

The list of disappointments from Mr. Obama just continues to lengthen:

Let's just forget about the fact that Obama never lifted a finger to stop Israel's two week rampage through Gaza which killed 1,100 unarmed civilians and destroyed much of the critical infrastructure. And let's give him a pass for equivocating on Iraq, Georgia, missile defense in East Europe, Cuba, NAFTA, FISA, torture, war crimes, the Employee free Choice Act (EFCA) and any other issue that's important to liberals, progressives, leftists or anyone else who eats with a fork or walks on two legs. And let's excuse Obama for stepping up the air war in Afghanistan even though another 140 Afghan villagers were blown to bits 10 days ago while sitting in their schools, sleeping in their beds or having dinner with their families. (After all, Obama did say he was sorry, didn't he?)

Now Obama is backing off on his promise to withdrawal troops from Iraq in 16 months. And, now he's planning to restore Bush's kangaroo courts (Military tribunals) for prisoners at Guantanamo who've never even been formally charged with a crime! And, now, he's threatening to hold some prisoners indefinitely in the U.S. without trial. (

For me, as despicable as the human rights violations Obama is helping to perpetuate, the unwavering commitment to getting us deeper into military action in Afghanistan is unforgivable. I, for one, am not willing to "excuse" Obama for ratcheting up the air war there. In fact, I'm not going to excuse him for his whole damn policy in that god-foresaken place. This man portrayed himself as somebody who would actively disengage US troops from the Middle Eastern quicksand, and instead what we've got is somebody, who as far as I can tell, is as enthusiastic about fighting wars and building the empire as Bush was. One presumes that the change of commanders in Afghanistan met with Obama's approval. The new guy, General Stanley McChrystal, a special operations guy, has been up to eyeballs in the torture mess-- See Tuesday, above--as well as running Cheney's assasination squads for the past five years. Yet another blood-thirsty yahoo. Just the dude we need to spiff up our Middle East reputation, right? Doesn't this Afghanistan mess begin to look sickeningly familiar? How soon do you think we're going to disengage? It appears that my permanent lot in life is to rage continuously against the folly and madness of war and killing.

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