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Why I Distrust Obama April 30, 2009

Posted by rogerhollander in About Barack Obama, About Justice, Barack Obama, Criminal Justice, Torture.
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Roger Hollander, www.rogerhollander.com, April 30, 2009


If it were George Bush using imprecise and ideological laden language I could understand.  But Barack Obama is a constitutional law professor.  One can interpret his comments with near absolute certainty that he realizes exactly what he is saying; more importantly, what he is not saying.


In his 100 day press conference, as reported by the Associated Press (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090430/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_obama_50)  where he acknowledges that waterboarding is torture, he explained that he has banned the practice “Not because there might not have been information that was yielded by these various detainees … but because we could have gotten this information in other ways, in ways that were consistent with our values, in ways that were consistent with who we are.”


Consistent with our values?  What about consistent with our LAWS?  The man is a lawyer.  What he is admitting to via his sin of omission is that some in America are above the law, that we are NOT a nation of law.  We are instead, a nation of “values,” a fluid and wishy-washy notion that may be interpreted at any given moment by any given authority – and with absolute immunity from consequences.


Ironically, he is also inadvertently telling us who we are:  a nation of hypocrisy, a nation that will tolerate the barbaric authorization and use of torture by its own citizens, up to and including the president, while at the same time prosecuting those who use it against us.


Where is the change this man told us we could believe in?


Where is the courage to stand up for truth and justice, regardless of the political consequences?


A caveat: it has been suggested that Obama’s motive in releasing the torture memos and photos is to generate the public pressure that will force the political and justice system to investigate and prosecute.  This is risky business.  If this is the case, and if it does in fact succeed, than give President Obama credit for a brilliant Machiavellian manoeuvre.  This does not lead me to retract anything I have said about his lack of honesty and courage; its purpose is to generate that pressure.