David Brooks: Obama's Stand on Terror Appropriate Now
Go here for the mythbusting rundown on Obama/Biden anti-terror policy vs. Bush/Cheney anti-terror policy. Just so you're properly warned, Brooks likes what he sees.
The reality is that after Sept. 11, we entered a two- or three-year period of what you might call Bush-Cheney policy. The country was blindsided. Intelligence officials knew next to nothing about the threats arrayed against them. The Bush administration tried just about everything to discover and prevent threats. The Bush people believed they were operating within the law but they did things most of us now find morally offensive and counterproductive.
The Bush-Cheney period lasted maybe three years. For Dick Cheney those might be the golden years. For Democrats, it is surely the period they want to forever hang around the necks of the Republican Party. But that period ended long ago.
So that's Brooks' idea of history. Revisionist, much? Nah.
But here's his take on what's still ahead:
What Obama gets, and what President Bush never got, is that other people’s opinions matter. Goldsmith puts it well: “The main difference between the Obama and Bush administrations concerns not the substance of terrorism policy, but rather its packaging. The Bush administration shot itself in the foot time and time again, to the detriment of the legitimacy and efficacy of its policies, by indifference to process and presentation. The Obama administration, by contrast, is intensely focused on these issues.”
Obama has taken many of the same policies Bush ended up with, and he has made them credible to the country and the world. In his speech, Obama explained his decisions in a subtle and coherent way. He admitted that some problems are tough and allow no easy solution. He treated Americans as adults, and will have won their respect.
Do I wish he had been more gracious with and honest about the Bush administration officials whose policies he is benefiting from? Yes. But the bottom line is that Obama has taken a series of moderate and time-tested policy compromises. He has preserved and reformed them intelligently. He has fit them into a persuasive framework. By doing that, he has not made us less safe. He has made us more secure.
I wish Brooks were going to be proven wrong in a thunderbolt-strike tomorrow, but I don't see that happening.
I don't see investigations. I don't see documentation. I don't see indictments.
It doesn't matter whether we're talking about death by spreadsheet, torturing POWs Clusterfuck Dick and w the wonderdummy conveniently relabeled so they could behave sadistically with legalistic fig leaves in place, or the wholesale robbery of the American people by the banksters.
None of this will be addressed officially. Impeachment went off the table and prosecution's just a look backward in a time when the nation needs to focus on forward momentum (whether it's real momentum or the direction it's falling is forward, or just face-first, is another immaterial consideration).
Washington goes about its routine as though nothing unsavory can be considered, no crime has occurred, and there is no cause for concern about stopping repetitions (after all, there's no "deviant adulterous behavior" in the Oval Office to get exercised about) of behaviors so dishonest, actions so disgusting, and turning a blind eye to torture so blatant it's unbelievable no one's gone to jail yet.
GM's CEO stepped down, but his golden parachute strings weren't clipped. He'll be okay, so the symbolism can stand. It's a microcosm of the situation -- a headline to distract the public, but no substance in pursuit of justice, no redress of the wrongs committed, no revenance and no benefit to the victims. Meanwhile GMAC is applying for more bailout money. It's okay, though, because Bank of America's going to sell its Chinese construction subsidiary to pay back its bailout.
I mean, how much further through the looking glass can we go?
Clusterfuck Dick still gets to be on TV, and gets his props from the national fanny cyst, so there's no worries from "the media" or "public opinion". Those brown guys -- old men, young men, kids, women, little girls -- we bombed and shot up, captured and beat, burned, drowned, humiliated, molested, interrogated, imprisoned, shackled, exposed, sicced dogs on, leashed, stacked in naked pyramids, hanged, revived, terrorized, tortured, murdered? They're just brown, with no money and no family and no organization that can damage us to come looking for justice or vengeance. We're okay on that point too, see, according to the Homeland Security mafiosi consensus; the oil keeps flowing and the bucks follow naturally, so it doesn't matter what happens to the indigenous peonage.
Entrenched in the Beltway, infesting every aspect of our government, is a mindset that resists doing the right thing despite not knowing if the temporary political inconvenience feared as the result will materialize or remain only imaginary. That mindset paralyzes justice and neuters change as surely as though it campaigned openly for cruelty, indifference, inertia, and ineffectuality to resounding public acclaim.
Maybe that resounding public acclaim is the change.