Tuesday, January 19, 2010


On Jan 29, 2008 I wrote:   "Obama would be well advised to declare what we all know to be the case: that today's Republican Party is bankrupt."  Of course, Obama didn't do that.  He spent the rest of 2008 seeking "bipartisanship."  Whether health care, national security, or the economy, the new US president behaved as if the Republicans actually had ideas worth listening to.  Today Paul Krugman observed, "Mr. Obama didn’t do what Ronald Reagan, who also faced a poor economy early in his administration, did — namely, shelter himself from criticism with a narrative that placed the blame on previous administrations."  Tomorrow, in a Senate by-election in the liberal state of Massachusetts, a Republican is considered likely to win. 

Not only concerning the economy, but also the question of detainees, Obama declined to make a clean break with the Bush Administration.  One decision in particular may really come to haunt Obama. In "The Guantánamo “Suicides”: A Camp Delta sergeant blows the whistle" Harper's Scott Horton reports today:
... new evidence now emerging may entangle Obama’s young administration with crimes that occurred during the Bush presidency, evidence that suggests the current administration failed to investigate seriously—and may even have continued—a cover-up of the possible homicides of three prisoners at Guantánamo in 2006.

Late in the evening on June 9 that year, three prisoners at Guantánamo died suddenly and violently. Salah Ahmed Al-Salami, from Yemen, was thirty-seven. Mani Shaman Al-Utaybi, from Saudi Arabia, was thirty. Yasser Talal Al-Zahrani, also from Saudi Arabia, was twenty-two, and had been imprisoned at Guantánamo since he was captured at the age of seventeen. None of the men had been charged with a crime, though all three had been engaged in hunger strikes to protest the conditions of their imprisonment. They were being held in a cell block, known as Alpha Block, reserved for particularly troublesome or high-value prisoners.
I suggest you read the whole story.  No summary can do it justice.

I agree with Andrew Sullivan that there needs to be an independent investigation. Sullivan writes, "among those who need to be subpoenaed are the former president and vice-president of the United States."

But a cover-up has occurred under Obama's watch as well.  Should members of the current administration not also be compelled to testify?

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