President Barack Obama and his Administration set a new level of hypocrisy this weekend with calls on the Chinese government and military to end censorship and be more open with the public while barring disclosure of embarrassing photos of detainee abuse.
Obama appears much more fervent in his commitment to civil liberties and open government when it is someone else’s government. Recently, his Administration took an extraordinary step of demanding an investigation of a visiting defense official on allegations of torture — in Sri Lanka, here.
Obama waxed poetic in China in explaining how the government should not be afraid of allowing the free flow of information and openness.
He insisted “I’m a big supporter of non-censorship. I recognize that different countries have different traditions. I can tell you that in the United States, the fact that we have free Internet — or unrestricted Internet access is a source of strength, and I think should be encouraged.” Of course, we had a tradition of open disclosure of government documents and photos before the Bush and Obama administration argued that embarrassment alone is sufficient to bar release of such information.
For the China story, click here.
To make the hypocrisy complete, Defense Secretary Robert Gates took the occasion of this weekend when Obama was lecturing the China on openness to block the release of any more pictures of foreign detainees abused by their U.S. captors. The Obama Administration is opposing free speech and good government groups in the Supreme Court who have denounced his policy of nondisclosure as a dangerous and extreme policy of government control of information.
For the Gates story, click here.
Then there is Rear Adm. Kevin Donegan, commander of the U.S. aircraft carrier group for the Asia-Pacific, who specifically used the same period to lecture the Chinese military on transparency in its activities. There seems no concern that Donegan was making such demands while Gates was denying transparency in Washington.
For the military story, click here.
The Obama Administration continues to leverage heavily on the growing cult of personality surrounding Obama — much like the one surrounding Bush in his first term. For many, Obama’s popularity is unaffected by the fact that he is pursuing the very same hostile policies as Bush on civil liberties, privacy, and open government. More importantly, there appears no reaction to the disconnect between his rhetoric and his actions. Once again, liberals are committing the same mistake that conservatives committed with Bush. Many continue to display blind loyalty and offer little criticism of the President while core values continue to be challenged by his Administration.