I was incommunicado for most of yesterday, first taking my final exam and then hustling to the airport and catching a plane back home to Chicago. So naturally, my first thought upon getting internet access last night was “Well, what has Obama done for me today?”.
I was all prepared to be disappointed, and then I learn that he’s halted the kangaroo courts at Guantanamo, banned administration employees from lobbying until he leaves office, has thrown open the records of the Bush Administration, and dramatically raised the legal standard necessary to deny a Freedom of Information Act request. I am grudgingly satisfied. Then today he issues the order to close Guantanamo and banning the CIA from using torture. This is a good first step.
Frankly, I won’t really be happy about the state of human rights in America unless the people responsible for torture go to prison. This would make me feel better about Obama; I would have a lot more confidence in our leaders obeying the law if they thought they’d be punished when they broke it. Of course, that’ll never happen, since the Washington establishment is so uniformly against it. On the other hand, Crazy Radical Communist Glenn Greenwald points out that this virtual uniformity of Washingtonians cuts against the majority of the American people, who want to see prosecutions for torture.
I’m pretty sure that two days ago, I heard Obama say that we can’t save our principles for when they’re convenient. Time to step up, BHO.