Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Progress Report? C+

OK, so it's been a while since I've posted. Sorry about that, work's been a bit hectic with all the f'ng economic catastrophe going on and all.
Back in the posting saddle anyway. Well. It's day 100 or so if my counting is correct of the Obama administration and how's he doing? I think it is a decidedly mixed progress report. Several things have been accomplished that I am very pleased with. I appreciate the immediate executive directive banning the use of torture. I applaud the decision to close Gitmo. I am very happy to see the President stay focused and on point with the majority of his campaign promises. So, why not an A+ you say?
So here's the punch-line. I'm extremely pissed at the administration on their lack of transparency regarding the financial bail-outs. I'm pretty damn certain that Larry Summers, an acolyte of Robert Rubin was one of the schmuck's who got us into this economic tsunami, so what the hell is he doing try to get us out? Not going public with the results of the financial stress tests on the banks bothers me as well. Suffice to say in this brief post that Secretary Geitner, Mr. Summers and the rest of the team working the bank rescue don't inspire a great deal of confidence. Mr. President, what's your measure of success here? When will it be time to replace these guys? Stay focused on this please and don't let it drag on too long.
The other thing that upsets me is the waffling on the investigation and prosecution of the policy makers who authorized the use of torture. During the time since my last post, de-classified memos from Bush Administration lawyers (John Yoo, Jay Bibey, others) have come out describing in a detailed manner what was allowed and what wasn't. This information as well as the acknowledgement that Water boarding was used against two prisoners, Khalid Sheik Mohammad, and Abu Zabaida 183 and 83 times respectively. Now, Michael Hayden, former CIA chief indicates these methods yielded high value information regarding plots against the United States, therefore were worthwhile. Republican talking heads Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the rest of their ilk (not to mention the former Vice President, Darth Cheney), are bleating that we can't publish the information or those naughty terrorists will know what we are doing. Please. What really burns me though is the administrations position that they won't prosecute the people who performed the torture nor the policy makers who told them to do so. The Obama Administration has repeatedly said they want to look forward. What are we to make of this? I don't know, but am sorely disappointed.
I hope the President reverses himself on this position. Upholding the rule of law is one of the things that has been a bedrock principle in this country since its founding. Torture is against the law. So much so that we have prosecuted people in the past for doing exactly what we have been doing. We need to stay true to the principle that we are better than that.
There needs to be accountability and this involves yes, looking backward. "Those who don't learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it's mistakes" We have an opportunity now to say to ourselves and the rest of the world the US is better than that. We can say, "We will clean our own house. We don't stand for our elected officials to break the law with impunity."
To do otherwise dishonors those kids (more than 4 thousand) and adults who put on the uniform and died attempting to take our principles to Iraq.
So, Mr. President, you get a C+ from me right now. We will continue to monitor your progress, but we may need to have some counseling sessions if things don't improve.
Tell me what you think.