Obama and the Imperial Presidency
Even John Yoo, who once argued the president can authorize the torture of a suspect's children to make him talk, is disturbed by Obama's expansion of the use of drones. But "progressives" aren't raising so much as a peep in protest. So now both torture and murder by presidential decree have become institutionalized:
There are some disturbing similarities between the Obama white paper and the Bush torture memos. Both use slippery legal language to parse dark government programs. Both have been deliberately hidden from public and even congressional oversight. And both involve the blurring of C.I.A. and military operations, and even include some of the same personnel. John Brennan, Obama’s nominee to direct the C.I.A., is a long-time veteran of the agency who, prior to joining the Obama Administration, served as chief of staff for former C.I.A. director George Tenet, under the Bush Administration during the depths of the torture scandal. Despite this, several human-rights experts have endorsed Brennan’s promotion, and Obama seems to respect him deeply. Whether that trust is well-placed remains to be seen; Brennan’s refusal, during his Senate confirmation hearings last week, to admit that waterboarding—the partial drowning of a prisoner—is a form of torture was a chilling display of institutional loyalty.Candidate George W. Bush promised a "more humble" foreign policy. Candidate Barack Obama, the constitutional lawyer, promised "the most transparent administration" in US history. So who thinks the next election will produce a president who will restore liberty and peace?