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First, let me state without reservation or qualification, that having Barack Obama as President is a far superior situation for America than if John McCain, with his full-throated, neo-conservative military and foreign policy ideology, were guiding the ship of state.
That said....not only has Obama followed Bush/Cheney footprints on state secrets, transparency, and, now, indefinite detention......but he's also using the same self-contradicting style of "logic" that Mr. Bush and his lackeys repeatedly used in their numerous dissemblings.
Let's take two statements from Obama's Thursday talk about national security. Full transcript here.
"Some have derided our federal courts as incapable of handling the trials of terrorists. They are wrong. Our courts and our juries, our citizens, are tough enough to convict terrorists."
"...there remains the question of detainees at Guantanamo who cannot be prosecuted yet who pose a clear danger to the American people."
Our courts are "tough enough" to take on trials of hardened "terrorists", except for those cases which "cannot be prosecuted" because, apparently, they're too tough.
What Obama is trying to do here is have it both ways, politically. In the first statement, the President is backhanding the conservative movement's ridiculous sniping about how dangerous it would be to "release" big bad "terrorists" "into the United States". In the second statement, Obama is backhanding the leftist law-and-order crowd while, simultaneously, offering a sop to the scared right, by saying that American law, as it now stands, is insufficient to deal with some "detainees."
Obama's dissonance is similar to George W. Bush's after he illegally ordered the wholesale vacuuming up of all electronic communications by Americans while telling us "wiretaps required a warrant from a judge." It's maddening.
Obama went on to mention the successful federal trials, convictions and imprisonments of Islamic extremist criminals Ramzi Yousef and Zacarias Moussaoui, saying....
"If we can try those terrorists in our courts and hold them in our prisons, then we can do the same with detainees from Guantanamo."
But then goes on to say this....
"But even when this process is complete, there may be a number of people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes, in some cases because evidence may be tainted, but who nonetheless pose a threat to the security of the United States."
Many criminals, some dangerous, have been released by our judicial system because of various legal violations by law enforcement and/or legal professionals. That's the risk of having a democracy based on the rule of law rather than the rule of men.
But Obama, like Bush before him, want to have it both ways, particularly on this "terrorist" stuff. They want to appeal to the rule of law when convenient, and then appeal to some "extraordinary, everything has changed", circumstances when he wants to rely on his own version of a rule of men.
Finally,...I find this Obama statement breathtakingly identical to something the last administration would say in defense of their lawless plans.....
"But I want to be very clear that our goal is to construct a legitimate legal framework for the remaining Guantanamo detainees that cannot be transferred."
The United States already has "a legitimate legal framework" from which to either build or throw out criminal cases against suspects. Obama had just referred to that "legitimate legal framework" with praise when he pointed out the already successful convictions of "terrorists", Yousef and Moussaoui.
But, just like Bush and Cheney, Obama wants to do what he wants to do.....wants to have his "legal framework" cake and eat it too.
I'm not sure the nation can successfully navigate yet another dissonant presidency.