Clever guy, this Barack. The problem at Gitmo has always been that these guys are being held without trial. So Obama announces that he’s not going to make any decision for 120 days – they just sit there, waitin’ for Barack - and he gets the media to buy his story that this is a reversal of the Bush policy. The other problem is that people claim that the prisoners there were tortured, at least during the first few weeks. So Obama assures everyone publicly that we will not torture, absolutely not, except when we might really need to, and his CIA director won’t quite commit to calling waterboarding always a form of torture. (My money is on: it’s torture when someone else authorizes it).
Also, we are continuing to bomb villages in Afghanistan, which the Taliban claims is killing women and children. Our sources say no, it’s all jihadists we’re killing. No change there, except here’s the thing: Obama apparently believes our sources now, unlike in 2007, and our media seems willing to take his word for it. Problem solved! We’re putting more troops there, and everyone’s fine with that. The idea that we might have to take military actions within Pakistan’s borders hasn’t prompted the left to talk about quagmires, or cycles of violence, or American imperialism.
This is bittersweet for conservatives. At one level, we’re thrilled that Obama gets it, now that he’s looking at the daily security briefings. That was always the case, as most Democrats who actually had the real information usually signed off on the Bush Administration actions. Once terrorists move from being pawns in the American political game, mere abstract counters where people get to preen about how noble they are, to actual dangerous people in our custody who want to kill Americans, what to do with them becomes much more problematic. Obama is smart enough to understand the situation and adjust. That’s a good thing.
It is more than a little irritating, however, to see Obama given a pass, or even praise, for the very things even he attacked Bush on. All that rhetoric about fascists, and cabals, and BusHitler, that made the rounds over the last few years – what was that all about? All that relief progressives feel about not having to worry about Bush-Cheney anymore – was there ever anything more to it than feelings? The idea that whoa, those guys are cowboys, we’d be much safer with one of our guys in charge turns out to be the entire basis of foreign policy? All those foreigners must hate Bush for the same reason we do, but once we have one of our good guys in there, the world will deal with us better. Whew, sure glad we got the guys from our tribe in there! What a narrow escape, huh?