Bush Officials Praise Obama For Going Further Than Bush in Terror Crackdown

President Barack Obama has finally received praise for his terror policies . . . from Bush officials. Two of the officials commonly named as responsible for allegedly criminal acts during the Bush Administration, former National Intelligence Director retired Vice Admiral Michael McConnel and former Central Intelligence Agency Director Michael Hayden, are heaping praise on Obama for going even farther than George Bush in his policies. Now, there is an ignoble accomplishment.

McConnell is positively gushing with praise that “the new administration has been as aggressive, if not more aggressive, in pursing these issues . . . ” Hayden, who is most often cited for the unlawful surveillance programs under Bush, stated “I thank god every day for the continuity” shown by Obama in continuing Bush’s approach to the law and terror.

Hayden, who is my neighbor in Virginia, has also opposed any prosecution for torture under the Bush Administration. Obama has pleased many in the Bush Administration by insisting that CIA personnel will never face prosecution for torture — despite our treaty obligations to investigate and prosecute such crimes.

President Obama has certainly earned these professional references. He blocked public interest lawsuits in federal court on the unlawful surveillance program while blocking any investigation into torture. Hayden was the direct beneficiary of these policies. It is like Bernie Madoff praising the enforcement policies of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that allowed him to thrive in the 1990s. When many of us were stating that Hayden’s surveillance programs were clearly unlawful, Hayden was insisting that his own lawyers at the NSA had reviewed the program and were satisfied that it was lawful. This was the same tactic used by Bush in selecting biased lawyers to give clearly unsound legal analysis to support unlawful programs. Ultimately, when Hayden’s program was brought into federal court and faced actual judicial review, Hayden opposed such independent and competent review — and Obama ultimately stopped it.

I accept that people of good faith can disagree with civil libertarians on some of these programs — though even the Bush Administration came to reject the legal analysis of the torture programs. However, Hayden and Obama did not want to risk federal courts resolving this matter on issues like surveillance. Instead, they just circumvented the legal system. The pat on the back for a job well done by Hayden and McConnell should give someone in his Administration a moment of pause . . but I doubt it.

Source: SiFy

Jonathan Turley

157 thoughts on “Bush Officials Praise Obama For Going Further Than Bush in Terror Crackdown

  1. Looks like Barry O. is on his way out. Democrats are very upset with his policies and are going to whip him with the birth certificate.

    What a bunch of chicken shits. If it turns out he wasn’t eligible to run the democratic party is going to be very low in the opinion polls and so will the mainstream press.

    Only true believers in the cause will be constituents. Obama’s election has been the best thing for this country since it’s founding.


  2. FFLEO (and everyone else),

    Interpretations vary; words as symbols of meaning taken literally as though the words are what they mean, is the basis, methinks of all forms of purported -olatry. Whatever else I may be, I am not an Olatrist.

    That my reply may be well-understood, I refer whosoever reads this comment to a description of “Mazel Tov” written by Rabbi Aron Moss, as may be found by Google searching for “chabad.org” and “160965” and reading to the end of the page.

    Whence, without prejudice, in the way told by Rabbi Moss:

    Mazel Tov

  3. Dr. Harris:

    how does one communicate if words have no consistent meaning?

    Each word designates a concept. How can I call a dog a table and still be understood? Unless I engage in some long drawn out redefinition of dog and table.

    It would be a nightmare.

  4. FFL,

    I respect you and that prompts me to speak up against my own wish.

    I am a registered Independent.

    I did not vote for Obama, but believed him to be a shoe-in (old white-boy McCain couldn’t feel the American heartbeat if it were to give him a heart attack) and was happy when he was elected.

    I do not know who I will vote for next, or whether I will vote at all.

    I voted for Bush twice, a lingering symptom of my upbringing which did not disappear until after the fact. I rue the day I voted a 2nd time for Bush. It is a difficult confession to make.

  5. I did not make clear that I did not vote at all in the last Presidential election. That felt prudent to me at the time and I don’t regret it.

  6. Nate,

    I appreciate your kind comments. Your admission that you voted twice for Mr. Bush is not that bad or incomprehensible to me, although it will most certainly be to some others here. All of my kinfolk are Republicans, as I am, and they all voted twice for Mr. Bush and most of them also voted for McCain/Palin. They admire Ms. Palin and I simply do not understand that support for her, except part of it is because Palin is—or professes to be—a devout Christian.

    My family still cannot understand after being a devout Southern Baptist during my formative years how I could shun God, espouse atheism, and yet remain as perhaps the most moral person they know. During family reunions, to maintain the peace, we simply agree that we will not discuss Ms. Palin, given our diametrically opposed views regarding her intelligence or complete lack thereof. We also agree not to become embroiled in deep religious discussions, although when I am in their homes I respect their beliefs and customs while they do not impose religious customs, such as saying grace, on me.

    In sum, most of the people I have known all my life voted for Bush and ‘believe’ that he is a good Christian, while admitting that he was a “disappointment”. Therefore, do not be too hard on yourself. Breaking with religious and/or political tradition is extremely difficult to accomplish and there is little doubt that some lingering resentments occur. Thank you for your candor.

    Perhaps you and I can gain some insight from this blawg and other sources to learn of a decent, honest, and educated politician for whom we can vote; one who will preserve our civil liberties and shore up this great—although declining—experiment we call a Republic/Representative Democracy.

  7. FFL,

    I might be wrong here, but it is possible that what you described is the root of our societal failings. What I mean is that the people you described, the ones we’re a product of, are the overwhelming majority.

    Obviously not on this blog but in the real world. It is -their- views and wishes that both influence and create the realpolitik. While they might acknowledge the “disappointment [of Bush]”, they aren’t good with self-analysis and the required humbleness to acknowledge how disastrous their intentions turned out. The result is simply not to go there – just let it go and not talk about it.

    I’ve cut them out of my life – and my faith remained intact. It was either them or my faith.

    Fucking hypocrites.

  8. Nate,

    As long as people unabashedly ‘believe’ in an anthropomorphic Man-God-Creator who has final discretionary powers over all of our lives, then what you see in the US and elsewhere will be the outcome. The overwhelming number of Americans—yes the majority—‘believe’ that the USA is a Christian Nation and their belief in the “our father in heaven” faith is stronger than their ‘belief’ in science—even those Christians who are accomplished scientists. This is the most irrational ‘nut to crack’—a veritable unsolvable conundrum.

  9. Herman the Hermit, and everyone else:
    RE: your comment of December 29, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    In all seriousness, your question, “how does one communicate if words have no consistent meaning?” ran my “profound question” detector past what I had previously thought to be its maximum limit.

    Methinks we live in said nightmare, most of us acclimated to it for want of experiencing anything else.

    Please, let me paraphrase your question, the better to learn whether I actually understood it adequately.

    My version, using my agglomeration of available words, might be: “How does anyone communicate accurately using words that have (whimsically?) inconsistent meanings?”

    My response, “We don’t, because we can’t; hence human conflict.”

    Every question so serious that it is impossible to answer it seriously demands humor. Forgive me. I make fun of no person.

    Ir only hurts when I laugh; because, if I stop laughing with love for the human comedy, I am already dead.

    I am doggedly working to respond decently, by putting on the table everything I can find to share.

    From the writing of Loyola Law School Professor Emeritus, Robert Benson, in “The Interpretation Game: How Judges and Lawyers Make the Law” (Carolina Academic Press, Durham,NC, 2008), excerpts from Chapter 2, “The Modern Story,” pages 31-32 (for passing muster with WordPress, note the nested single and double quotes, which are not exactly so in the original printing):

    ” Keeping the source of law ambiguous and the language specialized, the priestly interpreters maintained there position throughout history even as faith in the divine origin of law faded. Another scholar notes:
    ‘ Secularization of the law has consisted not only in doing away with the “incomprehensible nature of authority” but in censoring any mention of this. When formerly it was divine in its origins authority “resounded,’ and its voice was heard like Biblical thunder, unassailable, irrefutable, and unintelligible. Today, in its secularized form, authority still derives its effectiveness from being incomprehensible, with the centralized state installed on the Papal throne.” (From Benson’s Notes, page 168, “The quotation about secularization of the law is from A. Glucksmann [italics on]The Master Thinkers[italics off] (1980) quoted in [italics on]Reading the Law[italics off] at 5.”)
    The interpreters simply became secular priests, their power continuing to reside in the claims that the commands of the law emanated not from them but from authoritative sources which happened to communicate in a language only they could understand.”

    And, from Benson, op.cit., page 33:

    “There can be no rule that plain meaning must be followed, because words have no plain meanings.”

    As for dog and table, I can imagine making a machining lathe dog in the shape of a table of size suitable for a doll house. A lathe dog is useful when turning between centers.

    Consider the contrasting meaning of “turning between centers”:

    As the small forward, turning between centers, I passed the ball to the power forward, who scored the winning basket.

    Or, “scored”:

    To minimize stress from temperature changes, I scored the replacement storm window glass to have a eighth of an inch clearance. I bought the glass at a clearance sale.

    Communication Theory (something I studied before college, at university, and since, accords to any given communication symbol any amount of meaning and to any amount of meaning any number of communication symbols. Claude Shannon, at Bell Labs was one of the communication theory pioneers.

    B. P. Lathi’s 1968 book, “Communication Systems” can often be found, used, for not all that much money. The 2009 version, “Modern Digital and Analog Communication Systems” seems to go for over a hundred dollars. There exists a well-founded science upon which I base my comments about words and their meanings.

    One of the Amazon reviews of the 2009 book comments about the difficulty of this engineering field. I am working on putting together a collection of words for a web site name for which I am paying, there is nothing of consequence there yet, I have not yet found words that I deem adequately well chosen.

    The name will be veritalogue.org as a non-financially-connected way of sharing what I can put there about a way of having and using intrapersonal and interpersonal communication which is inextricably error-recognizing and error-correcting.

    Veritalogue is an error-finding-and-fixing enhancement of the human communication system of “dialogue.”

    “Dialogue,” as I am using the word, is usefully explained in two books which are apparently in print:

    David Bohm, “On Dialogue” (Routledge Classics, 2nd Edition,l 2004)

    From the work of the Dialogue Project at MIT, William Isaacs, “Dialogue – The Art of Thinking Together” (Crown Business, 1999)

    While the method of dialogue as described in those books will tend to ferret out differences in understanding among people, it is rather oblivious to mutually shared errors of understanding.

    My intent in the design of veritalogue is identifying and correcting errors of understanding not shared among those communicating with one another and especially identifying and correcting errors of understanding which tend to be concealed by traditional consensus-based thinking.

    I have inquired of Arthur Schwartz, the General Manager and General Counsel of the National Society of Professional Engineers (of which society I am a member) regarding legal-engineering-ethics aspects of my work and heard a variation of “without objection” as his reply. I have also asked NSPE if they have any evidence of any other Registered Professional Engineer who has, or is, undertaking the form of engineering I have taken on, and have searched the Internet, inquired of other engineers, and done everything else I have thought of in searching for a peer research colleague. Haven’t yet found anyone.

    Hence, whether what I do is eventually shown to be useful or useless, or worse than either of those, consensus ain’t my con.

    Veritalogue is dialogue enhanced through successive-approximation paraphrasing of what one understood was meant.

    When my wife and I were being clobbered by the adversarial system after our son and daughter-in-law were killed when their car exploded (in goodly measure because of faulty spot welds), we did attempt to work with a few trusted attorneys. One of them began to complain to me, and to my wife, that I was not listening to him. As he said this more and more, finally, I asked to meet with him in person.

    I drove from Door County to Oak Park, Illinois, where we met. I asked him if I understood correctly that he believed that I was not listening to him. He answered affirmatively. To which I said, “We can test that.”

    I said to him, “I can tell you six ways what you have been telling me.”

    I told him the first way.
    I told him the second way.
    I told him the third way.
    I asked him, “Is it clear to you from those three ways that I have been listening to you, or do you need the other three?”

    He said it was clear to him that I had been listening.

    I said, “Now, I am going to guess that you cannot tell me in even one way what I have been saying to you.”

    He said, “You’re right.”

    I said, “Then who hasn’t been listening to whom?”

    He said, “Most people can’t handle what you just did.”

    I said, “We have a philosophical difference. If you do not know what my actual needs are, how can you act be of any actual help to me?”

    With the method of veritalogue, I could have given sixty ways, six seemed likely to be enough, and three sufficed

    For want of any means of paying attorneys for their services, we became pro-se in the court system, knowing full well that we (my wife and I) were utter fools for so doing. Nonetheless, by the people who believed in the adversarial system acting in such ways as to become our adversary’s overt agents, the adversarial system itself constrained us to that dreadful “utter fools” condition.

    An ordinary lathe dog has but one leg; such a dog with four legs would work if made, but I have already tabled the notion of proving I can machine one. Other than as a puny joke, best forgotten.

    Meanwhile, from “The Oxford Book of Legal Anecdotes,” the 1987 reprinting, page 15, with WordPress-tolerable formatting changes:

    Armstrong (fl. 1875) Serjeant-at-Law
    Serjeant Armstrong (cross-examining a so-called handwriting expert): ‘And what about the dog?’
    Witness: ‘I do not understand.’
    Armstrong (slowly and deliberately): ‘What-about-the-dog?’
    Witness: ‘My Lord, I do not understand what the Serjeant means.’
    Armstrong (taking not the least notice of either witness or Judge, but repeating the question yet more slowly and deliberately): ‘What—about—the—dog?’
    Witness (losing all patience and bursting out angrily): ‘WHAT DOG?’
    The Serjeant: ‘The dog that Chief Baron Pigott said he would not hang on your evidence.’

    You were correct. My goodness, what a long, drawn out babble just happened.

    If it takes a long, drawn-out redefinition of what it is to be a person who is free of child-hurtful deception, and if that takes a long, drawn-out redefinition of every word ever used, I favor getting going as soon and as safely as is feasible.

  10. I suppose the reality of the matter is that we have ample opportunity to do our best, and see where that journey takes us.

    I’m hoping for breath taking🙂

  11. As long as we can take breaths, then many *natural* down-to-earth actions are possible and open to us all to do what is best for us all.

  12. FFL,

    I’ve enjoyed talking to you.

    I wonder to myself if it’s possible to die of happiness – happiness so overwhelming it takes your breath away [and you die].

    The scientist in me is hard at play searching for the answer…

  13. Same here, Nate. If you find out any answers, please inform us; however, you might require a spokesperson regarding the happiness-causing-death scenario—otherwise, all of my theories are moot…

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