May 29, 2012

War on Terror offers insights into Obama and legalisms

A long, in-depth piece in the New York Times, offers a great deal of insight not just into the Obama Administration’s take on the War on Terror, but that of Dear Leader himself.

The main takeaway? Obama as constitutional law scholar using legal scrutinizing to find loopholes to increase the War on Terror, whether it’s his assassinations list, expanding drone targets (and their use by calling all adult males in the vicinity of a drone strike combatants) or other decisions.

The story doesn’t actually call him “constitutional law scholar,” but it does, more than once, stress his lawyer’s background and how it has influenced him looking for loopholes.
It is also because Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent. 
Does this look like a liberal-minded president? Not to me. And, "guilty until proven innocent" has moved more and more inside U.S. borders, too.


Add to that the factor of Obama the post-presidential president:
It was not only Mr. Obama’s distaste for legislative backslapping and arm-twisting, but also part of a deeper pattern, said an administration official who has watched him closely: the president seemed to have “a sense that if he sketches a vision, it will happen — without his really having thought through the mechanism by which it will happen.” 
No wonder he's looking forward to his post-presidential days and speaking fees of $100K or more (which is at least partially tax-deducted, ergo, paid for by you and me).  No wonder his leadership style, and leadership problems, as denoted by Ron Suskind, David Maraniss and others.


The story also notes the secretiveness of the assassination list program. Although it doesn't draw the comparisons, LBJ and Tonkin Gulf comes to mind. Of course, he was aided and abetted on some of that by JFK's best and brightest. Transparency, in general, was supposed to be another hallmark of the Obama Administration that has fallen by the wayside.


Unfortunately, many knowledgeable voters will frame the 2012 presidential election as a two-party contest, making a self-fulfilling prophecy in contrapositive out of the "wasted votes" hue and cry.


Well, isn't it a "wasted vote" to vote for a man who, even in terms of modern American presidential politics, is far from whom he tries to get his followers to believe he is, and one who simply won't go to the mat with the Republican Party?


I know the answer to that one, and did before the end of 2007, to be honest.


Beyond that, as Suskind indicated and as does the second takeout, the man still at times seems in over his head. Isn't that part of what's behind the "Hillary for Veep" push — not just the idea that Obama needs someone who won't embarrass him, but also someone who will give him experience, and the backbone to take Congress to the mat?

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