Obama’s Pretty Words

President Obama gave what was billed as a very important speech on the war on terrorism on Thursday, addressing such issues as Gitmo and the use of drones. You can read the full speech here. And it contained a lot of hopeful rhetoric, which would be a lot easier to believe if he hadn’t lied about his own previous actions in this regard:

After I took office, we stepped up the war against al Qaeda, but also sought to change its course. We relentlessly targeted al Qaeda’s leadership. We ended the war in Iraq, and brought nearly 150,000 troops home. We pursued a new strategy in Afghanistan, and increased our training of Afghan forces. We unequivocally banned torture, affirmed our commitment to civilian courts, worked to align our policies with the rule of law, and expanded our consultations with Congress.

Worked to align their policies with the rule of law? Did he say that with a straight face? Obama has done nothing but undermine the rule of law since he took office. He’s done everything in his power, and much that is not in his power, to ensure that no executive action undertaken in the ostensible pursuit of fighting terrorism can ever be challenged in court and that no victim of illegal surveillance, torture or any other illegal executive action could ever have access to justice.

If he had actually given a damn about the rule of law, he would have prosecuted Bush administration officials that authorized torture. Doing so is required by the UN Convention Against Torture, which is the law of the land in this country. If he gave a damn about the rule of law, he would have stopped using the broad version of the State Secrets Privilege in every single legal challenge to the executive branch. He hasn’t just failed to support the rule of law, he has intentionally and flagrantly destroyed any possibility of its application.

You know what pretty words mean? Not a damn thing. If you want us to believe you, Mr. President, actions not only speak louder than words, they are the only thing that speaks at all.

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  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    “… worked to align our policies with the rule of law…”

    Give him a break. It was a simple slip of the tongue. He got the words out of order.

    He meant to say

    “…worked to align the rule of law with our policies…”

  • http://www.gregory-gadow.net Gregory in Seattle

    Ed: the word you want is vaporware.

  • Ichthyic

    I read:

    Worked to align their policies with the rule of law? Did he say that with a straight face? Obama has done nothing but undermine the rule of law since he took office. He’s done everything in his power, and much that is not in his power, to ensure that no executive action undertaken in the ostensible pursuit of fighting terrorism can ever be challenged in court and that no victim of illegal surveillance, torture or any other illegal executive action could ever have access to justice.

    and essentially have to agree with theschwa. Technically, if you change the law such that your behavior is no longer illegal, that too is in a way “working to align your policies with the law”.

    FWIW, the exact same thing is happening here in New Zealand as well. Intelligence operatives have acted WELL outside the scope of defined law in monitoring various citizen groups and in other activities that have been documented here in great detail over the last several years. So, instead of fixing the abuse problem, the law was simply rewritten (under rushed parliamentary procedure no less), so that there instead was no more breach of the law for their previous activities. Problem solved!

    post hoc lawmaking is bad, m’kay.

    It is indeed quite concerning, as this is NOT something that would be considered “usual behavior” for the government in these parts, from what I understand.