Friday, April 24, 2009

Tortured Debate

According to the Washington Post team Obama engaged in some rather spirited debate inside the White House on whether to release the Bush-era "torture" documents. But after reading through all the descriptions of strong opinions given by both sides of the issue--mainly Obama's side--the Post ended their reportage with two rather interesting paragraphs:
The aides also said they hope the memos' release will focus public attention on the coldness and sterility of the legal justifications for abusive techniques, with Obama telling reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday that the documents demonstrate that the nation lost its "moral bearings" in the Bush years.

A source familiar with White House views said Obama's advisers are further convinced that letting the public know exactly what the past administration sanctioned will undermine what they see as former vice president Richard B. Cheney's effort to "box Obama in" by claiming that the executive order heightened the risk of a terrorist attack.
So it's all about Cheney, not improving our rep or following the law? The question of whether we're witnessing a political sideshow or something legitimate should now be quite clear, especially after Blair's redacted memo is considered. Of course the politics isn't limited to the White House.

Now, a speculative person might conclude that team Obama is using this issue simply to bait Cheney into an open media war they know they'll win, with the goal of scoring political points towards 2010. Even if Cheney has an ace in the hole he's not the one running this debate, Obama is, and he can shut it down when the polls start dropping or milk it all the way into next year if they rise. We don't ever have to know about the documents Cheney wants released or transcripts of the meeting he says took place if Obama doesn't want us to know.

In this light perhaps Bush was the smarter one all along. Or as Rove used to say, never underestimate the power of being underestimated. Or misunderestimated.

2 comments:

Debbie said...

I don't think Cheney will get his wish on the remainder of the documents. But Obama is going to release more images of abuse to detainees. Remember the images from Abu Grab, how they when balistic on the internet, how every America-hating terrorist out there used them to fuel more hate for America. Big mistake, but what's one more mistake by Obama, when he's made so many already

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

A.C. McCloud said...

I've got a friend who's been in-country recently and will be going back soon. Talked tonight and there's no happiness about the latest developments. The general feeling was that once Obama started seeing the daily intel reports he'd change his posture. I think that's what Cheney thought, too. Looks like politics comes first.