Crossposted from Antemedius
The other day, after Barack Obama’s speech at the National Archives Building in Washington, the New York Times printed a “news analysis” piece that was one of the most offensive pieces of manipulation I think I’ve ever read, in it’s oh so reasonable sounding efforts (probably successful with the vast majority who read it) to marginalize and equate with neanderthals and the far right wing anyone who is not interested in becoming terrorists to fight invented terrorism, with it’s interpretation of Obama’s statements in his speech:
He must convince the country that it is in safe hands despite warnings to the contrary from the right, and at the same time persuade the skeptical left that it is enough to amend his predecessor’s approach rather than abandon it.
In the reductionist debate in Washington, either any sacrifice must be made to win a pitiless war against radicals, or terrorism does not justify any compromise with cherished American values.
Unfortunately, Barack Obama seems to be in complete agreement with the NYT’s manipulations of public opinion:
“Both sides may be sincere in their views, but neither side is right,” Mr. Obama said. “The American people are not absolutist, and they don’t elect us to impose a rigid ideology on our problems. They know that we need not sacrifice our security for our values, nor sacrifice our values for our security, so long as we approach difficult questions with honesty and care and a dose of common sense.”
Today, Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights, talks with Real News Network CEO Paul Jay with his own analysis of Obama’s speech and his determination to “legalize” the Military Commissions set up under George Bush with the 2006 Military Commissions Act (MCA).
Real News Network – May 23, 2009
“Absolutist” to defend the law?
Michael Ratner: It’s outrageous to equate people who demand the rule of law with those who break it
This “align with the standard of law we use in the US” rhetoric Obama’s been using to try to justify and make acceptable NOT aligning with the standard of law really bothers me coming from a Constitutional Lawyer. It’s political rhetoric and smokescreen he’s using to say one thing but do another, imo.
If he wanted seriously to “align with the standard of law” there is no need for an MCA or the commissions and they should by his own reasoning be tried in “regular” courts with the same rights to confront accusers and challenge evidence – only evidence allowed by law – accorded any other criminally charged defendants, so it is as obvious as the nose on my face that he has no intention of doing anything but circumvent the standard of law with these prisoners, and sell bullshit to the American public and anyone else he can find who will buy it and not see through it.
Two quotes from his own words on the floor of the Senate on September 28, 2006 – his own reaction to passage of S. 3930, Military Commissions Act of 2006 – which approved U.S. torture of detainees and strips Constitutional rights away from detainees, that make it clear the he has always intended to continue the so-called WOT, the dismantling of rights, and avoidance of the law:
All of us – Democrats and Republicans – want to do whatever it takes to track down terrorists and bring them to justice as swiftly as possible. All of us want to give our President every tool necessary to do this. And all of us were willing to do that in this bill. Anyone who says otherwise is lying to the American people.
I’ve heard, for example, the argument that it should be military courts, and not federal judges, who should make decisions on these detainees. I actually agree with that.