Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Unexceptional Americans

by Noam Chomsky and Tom Engelhardt, May 20, 2009

"Murder, torture, abuse… and photos of the same. We’ve seen some of them, of course. Now, evidently under pressure from his top generals, President Obama has decided to fight the release of other grim photos from the dark side of the Bush years of offshore injustice – on the grounds that their publication might inflame opinion in the Middle East and our various war zones (as if fighting to suppress their publication won’t). In this way, just as the president is in the process of making Bush’s wars his own, so he seems to be making much of the nightmare legacy of those years of crime, torture, and cover-up his, too.

The photos his Justice Department will fight to suppress (for how long or how successfully we don’t yet know) are now officially “his”; next, assumedly, come those military commissions, suspended as Obama took office, which are evidently about to be reborn as Obama-era tools of injustice. (This brings to mind, in grimmer form, the old saw about how military justice is to justice as military music is to music.) And with those commissions comes that wonderfully unconstitutional idea of detaining chosen prisoners indefinitely either entirely without trial or with trials that will be mockeries. And with that, evidently, goes the idea of possibly setting up some sort of new “national security court” to try some detainees. (Keep in mind that the Obama administration is already hanging on tightly to Dick Cheney’s “state secrets” privilege to block various lawsuits by those wronged in all sorts of ways in the Bush years.).....

Obama’s national security world is now coming into view – and it’s not a pretty picture, but then, as Noam Chomsky points out, in a tour de force piece below, it hasn’t been a pretty picture for a long, long time......"

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