This New York Times editorial is a home run -- hopefully the only home run that will be coming from anything with "New York" in its name for a while:
The Obama administration has clung for so long to the Bush administration’s expansive claims of national security and executive power that it is in danger of turning President George W. Bush’s cover-up of abuses committed in the name of fighting terrorism into President Barack Obama’s cover-up.
We have had recent reminders of this dismaying retreat from Mr. Obama’s passionate campaign promises to make a break with Mr. Bush’s abuses of power, a shift that denies justice to the victims of wayward government policies and shields officials from accountability.
Victims of the Bush administration’s “enhanced interrogation techniques,” including Mr. Mohamed, have already spoken in harrowing detail about their mistreatment. The objective is to avoid official confirmation of wrongdoing that might be used in lawsuits against government officials and contractors, and might help create a public clamor for prosecuting those responsible. President Obama calls that a distracting exercise in “looking back.” What it really is is justice.
As the ever-on-the-money Glenn Greenwald notes today, the New York Times editorial page has been even more supportive of the Obama presidency than even your typical left-wing activist, so the newspaper -- with its nearly 100 percent readership among the political elites -- picking up this issue is an important development. It's part of a broader lesson about the Obama presidency that's should have been obvious since last November, but's taken too long to sink in. For everyday people who wanted to change America, electing a new president wasn't the end but the beginning. There must be constant pressure to get people in Washington to do the right thing, even when that's the popular choice, like a public option for health insurance. Regular people are winning that battle for the public option, and someday we will see justice for the torture and the other crimes that have been perpetrated in the last decade. It's just going to take a lot of work.
(Graphic by Paul Lachine)