Obama: (Still) Killing Terrorists the Bush Way

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On an upcoming edition of PBS’ Frontline, former CIA lawyer John Rizzo argues that the CIA under President Obama is straight-up Bushian. “With a notable exception of the enhanced interrogation program, the incoming Obama administration changed virtually nothing with respect to existing CIA programs and operations,” Rizzo says. (Watch a clip of the Rizzo interview here.) Glenn Greenwald points out that this shouldn’t be news to anyone who’s been paying attention.

The real news: Frontline also reports that, during the 2008 campaign, Obama promised the CIA that it he had every intention of staying the course set by the Bush administration. That information, if it had come out at the time, might have damaged Obama’s end-the-war, stop-the-torture campaign mojo.

The Bush administration’s cavalier disregard for the limits of presidential power legitimized certain parts of the playbook for future executives of either party. Who couldn’t use a little more rampant, unchecked executive power? Here’s Greenwald:

Not only civil libertarians but even right-wing ideologues eager to depict Obama as “Soft on Terror” have been forced repeatedly to acknowledge this continuity and to praise Obama for it.…[Former Bush Assistant Attorney General] Jack Goldsmith in The New Republic in May, 2009, made the insightful point that not only was Obama continuing these core Bush/Cheney Terrorism policies, but was actually strengthening them by, among other things, converting them from right-wing dogma into bipartisan consensus….given how much Democrats once opportunistically pretended to find these policies so deeply offensive and intolerable—the more this realization spreads, the better. 

 

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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