What exactly did Bush and Cheney do wrong?
February 2, 2010 by Glenn Greenwald
As I noted several days ago, it is not only Republicans — but Democratic and media establishment figures as well — who clearly crave the preservation of the Bush/Cheney approach to Terrorism and civil liberties. When Bush’s popularity collapsed to historic lows, political and media elites pretended for awhile to object to his administration’s fear-based and radical policies as extremist and an assault on “our values.” But that was all just such a transparent pretense. In those few instances where Obama has rejected the Bush/Cheney template, the outrage and hysteria from Democratic and media voices is pervasive, and is growing louder.
Just look at these illustrative incidents. Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell went on Fred Thompson’s radio show yesterday to demand that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed be put before a military commission — at Guantanamo. Over the weekend, Time‘s Joe Klein lambasted the Obama DOJ, and embraced Bush’s former CIA and NSA Chief Michael Hayden, by objecting to the criminal charges and Constitutional rights afforded the accused Christmas Day bomber, with Klein decreeing: “the bomber is an enemy combatant. He doesn’t have Miranda rights.” MSNBC personalities Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie chatted yesterday with their boss, MSNBC Washington Bureau Chief Mark Whitaker, all agreeing that the decision to grant civilian trials for “Terrorists” is “a pure, self-inflicted wound.” When Najibullah Zazi was arrested for allegedly plotting a serious Terrorist attack, The New Republic‘s Michael Crowley said he was so frightened by this that he was open to torturing Zazi. Democratic Senators are threatening to join the GOP in cutting off funds for civilian trials. Democratic members of Congress joined with the GOP to prevent even modest reforms of the Patriot Act and other surveillance abuses. City officials compete with one another over who can be the most frightened and terrorized by Terrorists.
And The Washington Post‘s Richard Cohen — who was so frightened by Terrorism that he wrote multiple screeds screeching that we must have vengeance on Saddam — devotes his entire column today to criticizing Obama for putting us In Grave Danger by rejecting a handful of Bush/Cheney Terrorism policies
look at what Cohen is saying: Bush “soiled America’s image,” but what he did was right, just and necessary, and Obama should follow that — which is essentially what many Democratic Party and media elites are saying as well. Seriously: if you were a Bush follower, wouldn’t you feel as though you were owed a major apology for all the accusations and the fuss that came from Democrats and media figures, accusing you of supporting radical and Constitution-shredding policies when, it turns out, they actually crave those policies in order to feel safe? Doesn’t all of this bolster the Republican claim that those attacks on the Bush administration for civil liberties abuses were not due to genuine conviction, but rather for partisan gain (in the case of Democratic officials) and cheap, preening, wet-finger-in-the-air moralizing (in the case of media stars)?
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