What’s our Return Policy?

State of Disbelief sent me this link earlier today.  I very rarely  just post some one else’s stuff outright, but this column by Ted Rall is just is beyond belief.  I’m looking forward to her comments and background work over on The Confluence later, hopefully, today.[UPDATE:  LINK] But right now, I’m pretty speechless.  Let’s just file this under Buyer’s Remorse.  Ted, talk to me, why didn’t you do your homework earlier now that we’re stuck with him? We couldn’t even get Bush impeached and we still can’t get his war criminal cabinet investigated and there’s a majority of Dems in Congress?  You think any one’s going to seriously discuss resignation with  Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi on the Flight Deck?

Published on Thursday, May 28, 2009 by TedRall.com

An Early Call for Obama’s Resignation

With Democrats Like Him, Who Needs Dictators?

by Ted Rall

We expected broken promises. But the gap between the soaring expectations that accompanied Barack Obama’s inauguration and his wretched performance is the broadest such chasm in recent historical memory. This guy makes Bill Clinton look like a paragon of integrity and follow-through.

From healthcare to torture to the economy to war, Obama has reneged on pledges real and implied. So timid and so owned is he that he trembles in fear of offending, of all things, the government of Turkey. Obama has officially reneged on his campaign promise to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. When a president doesn’t have the ‘nads to annoy the Turks, why does he bother to show up for work in the morning?

Obama is useless. Worse than that, he’s dangerous. Which is why, if he has any patriotism left after the thousands of meetings he has sat through with corporate contributors, blood-sucking lobbyists and corrupt politicians, he ought to step down now–before he drags us further into the abyss.

I refer here to Obama’s plan for “preventive detentions.” If a cop or other government official thinks you might want to commit a crime someday, you could be held in “prolonged detention.” Reports in U.S. state-controlled media imply that Obama’s shocking new policy would only apply to Islamic terrorists (or, in this case, wannabe Islamic terrorists, and also kinda-sorta-maybe-thinking-about-terrorism dudes). As if that made it OK.
In practice, Obama wants to let government goons snatch you, me and anyone else they deem annoying off the street.

Preventive detention is the classic defining characteristic of a military dictatorship. Because dictatorial regimes rely on fear rather than consensus, their priority is self-preservation rather than improving their people’s lives. They worry obsessively over the one thing they can’t control, what Orwell called “thoughtcrime”–contempt for rulers that might someday translate to direct action.

Locking up people who haven’t done anything wrong is worse than un-American and a violent attack on the most basic principles of Western jurisprudence. It is contrary to the most essential notion of human decency. That anyone has ever been subjected to “preventive detention” is an outrage. That the President of the United States, a man who won an election because he promised to elevate our moral and political discourse, would even entertain such a revolting idea offends the idea of civilization itself.

Obama is cute. He is charming. But there is something rotten inside him. Unlike the Republicans who backed Bush, I won’t follow a terrible leader just because I voted for him. Obama has revealed himself. He is a monster, and he should remove himself from power.

“Prolonged detention,” reported The New York Times, would be inflicted upon “terrorism suspects who cannot be tried.”

“Cannot be tried.” Interesting choice of words.

Any “terrorism suspect” (can you be a suspect if you haven’t been charged with a crime?) can be tried. Anyone can be tried for anything. At this writing, a Somali child is sitting in a prison in New York, charged with piracy in the Indian Ocean, where the U.S. has no jurisdiction. Anyone can be tried. Why is it, exactly, that some prisoners “cannot be tried”?

The Old Grey Lady explains why Obama wants this “entirely new chapter in American law” in a boring little sentence buried a couple past the jump and a couple of hundred words down page A16: “Yet another question is what to do with the most problematic group of Guantánamo detainees: those who pose a national security threat but cannot be prosecuted, either for lack of evidence or because evidence is tainted.”

In democracies with functioning legal systems, it is assumed that people against whom there is a “lack of evidence” are innocent. They walk free. In countries where the rule of law prevails, in places blessedly free of fearful leaders whose only concern is staying in power, “tainted evidence” is no evidence at all. If you can’t prove that a defendant committed a crime–an actual crime, not a thoughtcrime–in a fair trial, you release him and apologize to the judge and jury for wasting their time.

It is amazing and incredible, after eight years of Bush’s lawless behavior, to have to still have to explain these things. For that reason alone, Obama should resign.
© 2009 Ted Rall

Ted Rall is the author of the new book “Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?,” an in-depth prose and graphic novel analysis of America’s next big foreign policy challenge.

3 Comments on “What’s our Return Policy?”

  1. Gyllian Robb says:

    Followed your link from The Confluence.

    What you got to realize about Ted Rall is that he’s never seen a president he doesn’t hate. You wanna see what he had to say about Bill Clinton in his day. Look it up – he was savage. And right, I guess. But even Clinton did more to make the world a better place than Ted Rall ever has.

    I know old Ted’s words agree your current agenda, but it’s a bit lame to be relying on him as some totem of remorse from a whole sector of the electorate who voted for Obama.

    • dakinikat says:

      Well, mostly I liked his analysis of Obama’s reversal on the domestic security agenda which was always the most appalling thing about the Bush agenda to me. However, I have to say seeing one ‘progressive’ call for resignation this early on made me tingling in the leg … mea culpa.

      • 1539days says:

        The Kool-Aid crowd is pretty disloyal. Arianna Huffpo started her career as the wife of a reluctant politician. She criticized Bill Clinton almost daily until her conversion around 2000. Now that she doesn’t have W to kick around, she’ll be turning her constant displeasure toward the new target.

        And Kos is nutty as a fruitcake, too. As far over on the “left” as he is now, he was once a precinct captain for Henry Hyde. You don’t get much more right wing than that.