January 22, 2009

Elections matter

And we are seeing that with every executive order from this administration. As I have noted, each smart utterance and each smart appointment makes me that angrier at the stupidity we tolerated for the last 8 years.

Take our approach to terror. As hilzoy notes:
"it's also worth noting Obama's claim that he wants to win the war on terror "on our terms". One of the maddening aspects of the Bush administration's policies in this area was that they so consistently accepted al Qaeda's terms instead of creating their own. This was not just morally repellent, but stupid: in addition to sacrificing a whole lot of good will throughout the world, it made our actions a lot more predictable, and a lot easier to take advantage of.

Al Qaeda could never have destroyed our commitment to liberty, human rights, and the rule of law by itself. It could only hope that we would respond unthinkingly and do the dirty work ourselves. We obliged them, and in so doing did a lot more damage to ourselves than al Qaeda could ever have dreamed of doing. "

We have talked about this before. Under Bush, it is as if we were doing al Qaeda's bidding rather than fighting them. Taking out their hated enemy in Saddam; torturing detainees at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib; ratcheting up fear among the populace; and of course, encouraging that same populace to dispense with historic values because of that fear.

Time we chose differently.

That stupidity isn't going away, of course. I also saw yesterday that Republicans are questioning CIA chief nominee Leon Panetta for his role in extraordinary rendition under the Clinton administration. I have no problem with the questions even if they embarrass the Clintons. We should talk about this. But what is amazingly hypocritical, even for Republicans is that the practice of extraordinary rendition not only went from a smaller program (still wrong) where we sought some assurances that the suspects would not be tortured (certainly a "wink wink" from countries like Egypt) to Bush doing this on a massive scale and including sending suspects (including the innocent Maher Arar to Syria, even though the Bushies considered that country part of the "axis of Evil." Oh, and of course, those same Republicans didn't raise a stink when Bush defended rendition.

By all means, lets talk about it. But the Republicans who tolerated and enabled torture under Bush have no credibility. None.

Elections matter. Voting for stupid people leads to stupid policies. Never forget that.

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