Jonathan Turley authored one of those op-ed things in today’s LA Times, or as I like to call it, the I-405 Contingency Plan. Publication aside, the George Washington Law Professor makes some painfully self-evident points about the Obama Administration and Civil Liberties.
Protecting individual rights and liberties — apart from the right to be tax-free — seems barely relevant to candidates or voters. One man is primarily responsible for the disappearance of civil liberties from the national debate, and he is Barack Obama. While many are reluctant to admit it, Obama has proved a disaster not just for specific civil liberties but the civil liberties cause in the United States.
Civil libertarians have long had a dysfunctional relationship with the Democratic Party, which treats them as a captive voting bloc with nowhere else to turn in elections. Not even this history, however, prepared civil libertarians for Obama. After the George W. Bush years, they were ready to fight to regain ground lost after Sept. 11. Historically, this country has tended to correct periods of heightened police powers with a pendulum swing back toward greater individual rights. Many were questioning the extreme measures taken by the Bush administration, especially after the disclosure of abuses and illegalities. Candidate Obama capitalized on this swing and portrayed himself as the champion of civil liberties.
However, President Obama not only retained the controversial Bush policies, he expanded on them. The earliest, and most startling, move came quickly. Soon after his election, various military and political figures reported that Obama reportedly promised Bush officials in private that no one would be investigated or prosecuted for torture. In his first year, Obama made good on that promise, announcing that no CIA employee would be prosecuted for torture. Later, his administration refused to prosecute any of the Bush officials responsible for ordering or justifying the program and embraced the “just following orders” defense for other officials, the very defense rejected by the United States at the Nuremberg trials after World War II.
Obama failed to close Guantanamo Bay as promised. He continued warrantless surveillance and military tribunals that denied defendants basic rights. He asserted the right to kill U.S. citizens he views as terrorists. His administration has fought to block dozens of public-interest lawsuits challenging privacy violations and presidential abuses.
I too believe the quick dismissal of investigating the previous administration’s criminal activities was a turning point in this no-longer-a-debate. The perpetrators acted with impunity. The consequences left to be shouldered by the country as a whole, and specifically our ever-ready-and-weary volunteer armed forces.
For those who can only deal in military analogies, it’s similar to when the Americans came to the Filipinos aid, dispatched the Spanish out of the region with the help of Filipino rebels, and then subsequently planted the American flag and sent many of them to prison camps. Obama/McKinley’s Korpse ’12!!!
This country has lost the will to fight and champion civil liberties. Those who care about these founding principles have been defeated and muted as Obama has not even bothered to use his pulpit to advance the causes he once championed. But hey, at least he’s trying to seek bipartisan solutions with a party that has no interest in solutions as long as there is a democrat in the White House.