Worse than Bush

While George W Bush was president it was possible to sustain what turned out to be a naive hope: that much of the harm he had done could be undone once he was out of office and the neoconservatives had been dislodged from power. But the harm personified by Bush and Cheney is now being institutionalized and by the removal of ideological baggage, lightened, with the effect that the post-Bush era is nowhere near in sight.

As President Obama sucks up to Wall Street (a sure way of financing his 2012 campaign, given that he will not be able to rely on the same level of grassroots support he enjoyed in 2008) and as his Justice Department argues that whistle-blowers are more dangerous than Americans who commit treason, Glenn Greenwald notes that the latest neocon singing Obama’s praise is Dick Cheney:

In the early months of Obama’s presidency, the American Right did to him what they do to every Democratic politician: they accused him of being soft on defense (specifically “soft on Terror”) and leaving the nation weak and vulnerable to attack. But that tactic quickly became untenable as everyone (other than his hardest-core followers) was forced to acknowledge that Obama was embracing and even expanding — rather than reversing — the core Bush/Cheney approach to Terrorism. As a result, leading right-wing figures began lavishing Obama with praise — and claiming vindication — based on Obama’s switch from harsh critic of those policies (as a candidate) to their leading advocate (once in power).

As early as May, 2009, former Bush OLC lawyer Jack Goldsmith wrote in The New Republic that Obama was not only continuing Bush/Cheney Terrorism policies, but was strengthening them — both because he was causing them to be codified in law and, more important, converting those policies from right-wing dogma into harmonious bipartisan consensus. Obama’s decision “to continue core Bush terrorism policies is like Nixon going to China,” Goldsmith wrote. Last October, former Bush NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden — one of the most ideological Bush officials, whose confirmation as CIA chief was opposed by then-Sen. Obama on the ground he had overseen the illegal NSA spying program — gushed with praise for Obama: “there’s been a powerful continuity between the 43rd and the 44th president.” James Jay Carafano, a homeland-security expert at the Heritage Foundation, told The New York Times’ Peter Baker last January: “I don’t think it’s even fair to call it Bush Lite. It’s Bush. It’s really, really hard to find a difference that’s meaningful and not atmospheric.”

Those are the nation’s most extreme conservatives praising Obama’s Terrorism policies. And now Dick Cheney himself — who once led the “soft on Terror” attacks — is sounding the same theme. [Continue reading…]

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2 thoughts on “Worse than Bush

  1. Norman

    Wonder when “O” announces that he’s become a Republican? His continually turning his back on those who helped him win the office, won’t be there to support his reelection. One thing is for certain, if he tries to cut the Social Security, both parties, (the seniors) will vote against him. What the country needs is a strong President, not one who doesn’t have the guts to back up the checks his mouth wrote.

  2. Ian Arbuckle

    As usual Glenn Greenwald hits the nail squarely. It is well worth while to read the entire article.

    No Norman, what America needs is not a “strong president” it needs a population that can think for itself, and take responsibility to get off its ass in front of the TV with the talking heads and take real action to protect its own freedom and constitution.

    I am amazed by the passivity of the American electorate who believe despite all the obvious evidence to the contrary that they live in a democracy under a constitution and the rule of law. They persist in deluding themselves despite repeated and conclusive demonstrations of criminality on the part of their government while believing that the imperialist mayhem that their military cowboys reek around the world, some how will bring the poor ignorant and deprived masses of the afflicted country whichever the flavour of the day may be the great benefits of American “freedom and democracy”.

    As the article’s up date points out Seymour Hersh said in a speech “U.S. foreign policy had been hijacked by a cabal of neoconservative ‘crusaders’ in the former vice president’s office and now in the special operations community.”

    The list is not complete but the article reminds you that Gen. Hayden put it best, as quoted by The Washington Times:
    “You’ve got state secrets, targeted killings, indefinite detention, renditions, the opposition to extending the right of habeas corpus to prisoners at Bagram [in Afghanistan],” Mr. Hayden said, listing the continuities. “And although it is slightly different, Obama has been as aggressive as President Bush in defending prerogatives about who he has to inform in Congress for executive covert action.”

    And that list, impressive though it is, doesn’t even include the due-process-free assassination hit lists of American citizens, the sweeping executive power and secrecy theories used to justify it, the multi-tiered, “state-always-wins” justice system the Obama DOJ concocted for detainees, the vastly more aggressive war on whistleblowers and press freedoms, or the new presidential immunity doctrines his DOJ has invented.

    To whit I would add detention and unlawful search and seizure of anti-war dissidents and “no-fly” lists, “watch lists” warrant-less tapping and monitoring of communications, etc. etc.

    America has become a police state out of control and if heading in complete blind delusion down the road that Germany was in 1935. Remember the ten steps to Fascism, by Naomi Wolf : From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all…. while Obama has proceeded to institutionalize them…..
    1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

    2. Create a gulag

    3. Develop a thug caste

    4. Set up an internal surveillance system

    5. Harass citizens’ groups

    6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release

    7. Target key individuals

    8. Control the press

    9. Dissent equals treason

    10. Suspend the rule of law

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