As Barack Obama’s presidency continues in the United States, it’s safe to say that a pattern is now emerging that reveals his true tradition. He is a politician, lest we forget, and his loyalties lie with nationalist and capitalist interests. That he should act accordingly should not surprise us. That he should make campaign promises to secure election and consequently turn from those should also not surprise us.
And so it also should not surprise us that Obama would turn his Change Chariot right back around in the direction previously traveled by one George W. Bush.
We have experienced a lot in the last few days, with a decision to try to block the release of photos showing prisoner abuse and another decision to avoid pursuit of the Bush era officials who may have sanctioned torture. Obama’s explanations are cluttered and mystifying, far from the straight-ahead platform of change he ran on.
The latest volte-face finds Obama restoring military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay and sending a very clear message that the architecture of his predecessor is good enough for him.
The Obama Administration seems to have itself fixated on moving forward, pressing the public to hurriedly move beyond the appalling torture of the Bush years and into a new, sunlit future. But if Barack Obama is adopting many of the same policies from the Bush Doctrine, how can the public be expected to see change on the horizon?
As a candidate, Obama criticized the military trials of the Bush Administration and claimed a desire to restore the rule of law and dignity to the United States on the global stage. Shortly after taking office in January, the president announced that he would close up shop at Gitmo within a year. He also suspended the military trials there, establishing a task force to deal with the detainees and the legal process mess.