Monday, April 13, 2009

Obama, pirates and privacy

Earlier today, President Obama made a bit of a gaffe while discussing the triumphant victory of America v pirates (tune in next week, when Obama prevails over rogue ninjas!) Obama stated:

"And I want to be very clear that we are resolved to halt the rise of privacy in that region."

We all know Obama is no Bush--i.e. he's no gaffe laugh machine. Coincidentally, many progressives and Libertarians are taking issue with the Obama administration's behavior regarding state secrets and civil liberties. Freudian slip perhaps?

I've found this administration's insistence upon extending the unconstitutional, inhumane foreign policies of the Bush administration--injustices such as the denial of Habeas Corpus, persistence in carrying out extraordinary renditions, and insistence of warrantless wiretapping very strange, very strange indeed. Is this president progressive...or regressive?

(A brief Talking Points Memo concensus: here).

I know that it's going to be hard for Americans to see the importance of moving past the savagery of the past eight years--whatwith our economy turning to shit and all. But we need to evolve from the dark days of that cowboy monkey man. Immediately. As painful as it is to face the realities of our torture practices, our leaders need to practice a little moral certitude and call for a stop this involvement in all matters clandestine abroad. These innocent men that our troops are beating; psychologically and sexually humiliating? Their stories won't die even if they themselves do by our own country's hands. Nor should they.

Author Mark Danner gave a brilliant analysis of 14 detainee testimonies filed by the Red Cross:

"...monumental decisions taken after the attacks of September 11, 2001—decisions about rendition, surveillance, interrogation—lie strewn about us still, unclaimed and unburied, like corpses freshly dead.

How should we begin to talk about this? Perhaps with a story. Stories come to us newborn, announcing their intent: Once upon a time... In the beginning... From such signs we learn how to listen to what will come. Consider:

I woke up, naked, strapped to a bed, in a very white room. The room measured approximately 4m x 4m [13 feet by 13 feet]. The room had three solid walls, with the fourth wall consisting of metal bars separating it from a larger room. I am not sure how long I remained in the bed...."

Read the rest here.

It's a horrifying thought: Obama continuing the cycle of torture and abuse that once seemed to horrify him as well--at least when he was selling himself on the stump, that is. I can forgive our president for many things, but this one--I don't think anyone can afford such forgivance.

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