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Obama’s Turn in Bush’s Bind With Defense Policies -

Obama s Turn in Bush s Bind With Defense Policies NYTimes com


Stashed in: Ethics, Obama!, Drones

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So while Mr. Obama banned harsh interrogation techniques, he preserved much of what he inherited, with some additional safeguards; expanded Mr. Bush’s drone campaign; and kept on veterans of the antiterrorism wars like Mr. Brennan. Some efforts at change were thwarted, like his vow to close the Guantánamo prison and to try Sept. 11 plotters in civilian court.

“These are the same issues we’ve been grappling with for years that are uncomfortable given our legal structures and the nature of the threat, but the Obama team is addressing these issues the same way we did,” said Juan Carlos Zarate, who was Mr. Bush’s deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism.

Peter D. Feaver, a Duke University professor and former Bush national security aide, said Mr. Obama “believed the cartoon version of the Bush critique so that Bush wasn’t just trying to make tough calls how to protect America in conditions of uncertainty, Bush actually was trying to grab power for nefarious purposes.”

“So even though what I, Obama, am doing resembles what Bush did, I’m doing it for other purposes,” Mr. Feaver added.

Others said that oversimplified the situation and ignored modifications that Mr. Obama had enacted. “It is a vast overstatement to suggest that President Obama is channeling President Bush,” said Geoffrey R. Stone, a University of Chicago law professor who hired a young Mr. Obama to lecture there. “On almost every measure, Obama has been more careful, more restrained and more respectful of individual liberties than President Bush was.”

“On the other hand,” Mr. Stone added, “at least in his use of drones, President Obama has legitimately opened himself up to criticism for striking the wrong balance” between civil liberties and national security.

He really has opened himself up to criticism.

I guess that's what makes him a leader.

The question I have is, what will be his legacy?

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