Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Watch what Obama does, not what he says

Obama mostly says the right things on drones, Gitmo. Will he follow through?

Watch what Obama does, not what he says

There's only one thing I can think of that President Obama has not been accused of: Not giving great speeches. In speaking out this afternoon on issues of vital national importance -- the future of drone warfare, Guantanamo Bay, and the overall "forever war." In doing so, he said about a half-dozen things with which I so wholeheartedly agree that that sounded like they came straight from this crazy radical blog, except without all the typos. I could quote some of them for you, but won't. Because something else we can all agree on after 52 months of Obama's presidency. Watch what he does. Not what he says.

If you like President Obama, the glass is half-full after today's speech. If you don't like him, the glass is half-empty. For me...well, it's 50 percent water, 50 percent air. It's great that he thinks "the war" can't go on forever, so why not take more aggressive steps to end it, right now. If you're powerful enough to kill people by pushing a (metaphorical, I hope) button, you're powerful enough to end the war, right?.

The good people at the ACLU expanded on this after the speech:

"President Obama is right to say that we cannot be on a war footing forever, but the time to take our country off the global warpath and fully restore the rule of law is now, not at some indeterminate future point. Four years into his presidency, President Obama has finally taken the first steps to jumpstart his administration's effort to make good on early campaign promises to close Guantánamo and recognized the human cost of failing to act. These are encouraging and noteworthy actions.

"To the extent the speech signals an end to signature strikes, recognizes the need for congressional oversight, and restricts the use of drones to threats against the American people, the developments on targeted killings are promising. Yet the president still claims broad authority to carry out targeted killings far from any battlefield, and there is still insufficient transparency. We continue to disagree fundamentally with the idea that due process requirements can be satisfied without any form of judicial oversight by regular federal courts.

The journey of 1,000 miles starts with the very first step. So...999.99 miles to go!

About this blog
Will Bunch, a senior writer at the Philadelphia Daily News, blogs about his obsessions, including national and local politics and world affairs, the media, pop music, the Philadelphia Phillies, soccer and other sports, not necessarily in that order.

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