Friday, September 17, 2010

EDITORIAL: Barack Obama, war criminal

The president brings back the credibility gap

The Washington Times
, August 18, 2010

The discovery of tapes of Sept. 11 plotter Ramzi Binalshibh being interrogated in Morocco has drawn the attention of Justice Department investigators. The tapes were made in 2002 at a facility the CIA used near Rabat and purportedly were found “under a desk” at the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center. Ninety-two other such tapes are said to have been destroyed.

The Justice Department‘s dogged quest to root out alleged war criminals raises the question of when it will begin investigating the Obama administration. Mr. Obama‘s increasingly public dirty little secret is that he has widened the use of covert actions against terrorists that were pioneered by his predecessor, President George W. Bush. Mr. Obama‘s secret war is disturbing mainly to his left-wing base, whose members apparently believed the sanctimonious rhetoric of the early days of the administration, when it seemed that war-crimes show trials against members of the Bush national security team were imminent.

That notion of targeting the previous administration faded quickly, in part because it would have destroyed the gossamer fabric of trust necessary for the intelligence community to operate – and also because Mr. Obama discovered that there are significant advantages to waging a covert war against terrorism. Much of what is being done in the name of the United States would not fit well with Mr. Obama‘s finely cultivated internationalist image. Best to keep it out of the public eye. Official secrets mean never having to say you’re sorry.

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