The Washington Times reports more on Obama’s expected executive orders closing GTMO in 12 months and closing all “so-called [CIA] black sites” where terrorist subjects have been interrogated, as well as requiring all interrogations be conducted according to US Army Field Manual.
The report suggests these orders are consistent with Obama’s Inaugural Address:
“In his Inaugural address Tuesday, he said, “we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals … Those ideals still light the world and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.”
I know these decisions will make his supporters happy but Obama should frame the issue honestly. This isn’t about ideals vs expediency. The issue is ideals vs national security.
In most cases, expedience should bow to ideals but it’s not so easy to say national security should take a back seat. That’s probably why Obama refused to say it that way.
The El Paso Times reports on last night’s arrest of a man accused of shoplifting a pair of sunglasses from a Target store. Unfortunately, that’s the least of his problems:
“Police spokesman Javier Sambrano said Gregory Pracht, 33, of the 300 block of McCune, entered the Target store at 1901 George Dieter at 6:20 p.m. A store security guard told police that after Pracht entered the store, he noticed Pracht begin to smoke marijuana and unwrap music CDs. After calling police, the security guard kept an eye on Pracht.
As Pracht, wearing a pair of sunglasses he allegedly lifted from the store, walked out, a police officer stopped Pracht and contacted the store’s security guard. Sambrano said after the guard identified Pracht as the man he saw smoking marijuana and taking the sunglasses, the officer arrested and handcuffed Pracht for theft under $50.
Sambrano said as the officer took Pracht into custody, he told the officer he had a puppy in his car. When the officer looked inside Pracht’s car to check on the pitbull puppy, he also found a small amount of cocaine …”
That’s not all: Pracht was also charged with assault on a public servant for allegedly attacking the officer after the discovery of the cocaine.
“We decided that because it was so much fun …,” Obama joked to reporters who followed press secretary Robert Gibbs into the room. No TV camera crews or news photographers were allowed in. A few of Obama’s closest aides were there, along with a White House photographer.
Roberts put on his black robe.
“Are you ready to take the oath?” he said.
“Yes, I am,” Obama said. “And we’re going to do it very slowly.”
Roberts then led Obama through the oath without any missteps.
The president said he did not have his Bible with him, but that the oath was binding anyway.
I never would have thought it necessary myself, but after reading this article this morning citing experts who were concerned (because the exact wording of the oath appears in the Constitution), I think this was a prudent move.
Maybe this explains The One’s sour look when Joe Biden joked about it:
Democratic Rep. John Murtha represents part of Western Pennsylvania and on 9/11, Murtha’s district included Shanksville, Pa. where one of the four hijacked planes crashed. In 2008, Murtha won re-election despite labeling some of his constituents racist rednecks.
The New York Times reports Caroline Kennedy has ended her bid to replace Hillary Clinton as New York Senator, citing concerns about the health of her uncle Ted Kennedy:
“On Wednesday she called the governor, David Paterson, who is making the selection of who should succeed Senator Hillary Clinton. Her concerns about Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s deteriorating health (he was hospitalized after a seizure during the inaugural lunch on Tuesday ) prompted her decision to withdraw, this person said. Coping with the health issues of her uncle, with whom she enjoys an extraordinarily close bond, was her most important priority; a situation not conducive to starting a high profile public job.
She was planning to issue a statement on Wednesday evening.”
Stay tuned. I’m sure there will be more on this story in the coming days.
During the Presidential campaign, Obama promised to “have the Army Field Manual govern interrogation techniques for all United States government personnel and contractors.” Thus, Obama implied he would reject the more aggressive interrogation tactics like waterboarding that had been considered and, in rare cases, used by the Bush Administration.
Now that he’s President, it appears Obama will implement his campaign promise to have the military guidelines govern interrogation techniques. However, he is also considering expanding the military guidelines to permit more aggressive techniques:
“At least two more executive orders are expected in coming days, according to two Obama officials.
One official said the first will require all U.S. personnel to follow the U.S. Army Field Manual while questioning detainees. The manual explicitly prohibits threats, coercion, physical abuse and waterboarding, which creates the sensation of drowning and has been termed a form of torture by critics.
The second order will set up a study of interrogation methods that could be added to the Army manual, including some that may be more aggressive than those currently permitted.”
Obama’s governing style is to present himself as bipartisan by appearing even-handed, but this is also an example of how Obama’s vague campaign promises did not clarify what he might do as President. Some people may be glad he’s willing to consider Bush Administration policies, while others will be unhappy. I think this makes Obama look devious, and we don’t need another President in the mold of Richard Nixon.
Cults of personality are not healthy for the body politic, which may be why Salam could not be bothered to offer an argument in favor of ignoring the one in our midst — aside from the fact that continuing to note it might offend one of his worshipping friends.
You may recall that PBS’s Gwen Ifill, the moderator of the Vice-Presidential debate, just coincidentally wrote a book titled “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama,” which just coincidentally was published on Inauguration Day. When the news became widely known, plenty of Ifill’s colleagues in the media seemed determined to ignore the ethical questions these coincidences raised.
After all, anyone in the Beltway establishment media who seriously considered those questions might not have been invited to the launch party. Click through for the pictures of the Obama cookies served to the David Broders and Jim Lehrers beneath Shepard Fairey “Be The Change” Obama propaganda posters. No word on what drinks were served, aside from the standard-issue Kool-Aid.
We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished.
In other words . . . the fundamentals of our economy are strong — the exact point that John McCain was pilloried for making during the campaign.