Wednesday’s strip makes reference to one of the first major offenses of the Obama administration. I’m not talking about corrupt appointees or the failures of some very smart people to comply with every aspect of a far too complex tax code. I’m talking about the decision by Obama’s justice department to endorse the Bush administration’s grossly-expanded “state secrets” privilege.
Glenn Greenwald’s account at Salon.com can be found here: Obama fails his first test on civil liberties and accountability — resoundingly and disgracefully
Let’s be clear: this isn’t about the ability of the executive branch to have “state secrets,” it’s about their abuse of that privilige as a mechanism to do whatever the hell they want and to stop courts from even examining the potential offenses.
I’m inclined to cut the new adminstration some slack given that Obama hasn’t even finished filling his cabinet yet and has inherited both the worst financial crisis in 80 years and two wars but there’s no sugar-coating this. Much has been said of Obama’s Lincoln-esque desire to heal the country and an ingredient of that seems to be to not punish and basically forgive the previous administration. I won’t get into the pros and cons of that “forward looking” forgiveness but we certainly can’t have the Obama administration use any of the tools which the Bush administration never had any right to use in the first place.
Bush violated human rights, civil liberties and the power of the courts when he abused the “state secret” privilege. Obama has just done the exact same thing regarding the exact same case. Without a doubt: on Monday, the Obama administration violated human rights, civil liberties and the power of the courts.
The only difference is Obama can fix this. Obama’s D.O.J. must completely reverse itself in this case or – less than three weeks into Obama’s presidency – they’ve become complicit in Bush’s offenses and perpetuated them.
Simply, it was wrong for Bush and it’s still wrong now.
– SteveStumble it!