For my many and manifold sins, I have been subjected to an administrative duty at the law school this semester that has entailed reading a great deal of second-rate, deeply biased, and one sided "scholarship" by so-called "progressive" scholars. As you can imagine, it is a universe in which George Bush is the epitome of evil and there is no imaginable defense for anything the Bush administration did to defend us after 9/11. Conversely, almost none of the so-called scholars have anything to say about the Obama administration's decision to keep Guantanamo open or to ramp up the use of unmanned drones to confuct essentially lawless targeted killings. Note that I very carefully chose the word "lawless." It may be that the killings are legal under the law of war, but there is no clear domestic US law governing their use.
My annoyance with the double standard I see in these articles--damning Bush while giving Obama a pass--came to a head today, when I saw the latest news account of how Obama planned to respond to the issue if Romney had won the election. I quote Althouse's summation:
Fearing election loss, the Obama administration rushed to "develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones."
The NYT reported the other day. Its sources say they wanted "a new president [to] inherit clear standards and procedures."
That means that the President was fine with the lack of rules/standards/procedures to confine his own power.
Mr. Obama and his advisers are still debating whether remote-control killing should be a measure of last resort against imminent threats to the United States, or a more flexible tool, available to help allied governments attack their enemies or to prevent militants from controlling territory.
Why are they still working on it? I imagine that every attempt to put the rules in writing and to cover everything they've already done (and want to keep doing) ends up with something they can't justify explicitly saying.
Like any thoughtful person, I have serious qualms about the Bush policy on issues like detention and interrogation. (Check the archives as far back as at least 2004.) I just wish that my fellow legal academics on the other side of the aisle were as eager to condemn Obama's policies as they were those of Bush 43. After all, the moral distance between Bush and Obama has gotten quite narrow.