Obama fails torture test

Ryan Day

I don’t mean to be a downer. I want to actively praise President Obama as the great change-bringer in the United States, as so many do. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I bought into the Obama campaign rhetoric of change and hope. But now, only weeks into the Obama presidency, I’m frustrated.
Let’s talk torture again. Monday, five victims of the Bush administration’s extraordinary rendition program (a program that ships suspected terrorists out of the United States and sometimes into, some claim, countries that allow for torture) brought a case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The suit was for what The New York Times called “serious allegations of torture.”
If you remember, when unwanted cases such as this came up against the Bush administration, they had a clever little tactic that would make the case disappear. That tactic was to have their lawyers claim that the evidence used in the suit were “state secrets,” and it would endanger national security to even mention the evidence in a court of law. Bush invoked the state secrets strategy 23 times post 9/11, and it was frighteningly successful across the board.
This past Monday, lawyers for the Obama administration used this same despicable argument. I’ll say it again: I’m frustrated.
Is this the same Obama that we watched for months campaigning, making promises of change? The same Obama who promised to clean up Washington? Unfortunately, I believe he is, and I’m beginning to wonder if we’ve been duped.
Senate Democrats, including Obama, decried the use of the state secrets strategy. At one point, a bill cosponsored by Joe Biden was even put into the Senate to severely limit the use of the tactic.
Now the Obama administration is using the tactic themselves. You all know my opinion on the torture issue: It needs to be investigated and taken to court, and those Bush administration officials that allowed it to happen should be rightfully punished. Just a few days ago, the Obama administration proved what many people had suspected earlier. They proved that the torture issue would not be dealt with properly.