- Unbeliebable: White House turns Bieber petition response into immigration screed
- Obama signs law denying Iran ambassador’s visa, but says law is ‘advisory’
- Mich. judge to laughing convicted killer: ‘I hope you die in prison’
- Man charged in Kansas City-area highway shootings
- Keystone XL pipeline still on hold after State Dept. decision
- Fla. man charged with killing 16-month-old son to play Xbox undisturbed
- Drones from the deep: Pentagon develops ocean-floor attack robots
- Michigan mayor slaps back atheists’ try to erect ‘reason station’ at city hall
- PHILLIPS: Where is the conservative establishment?
- 7.5-magnitude earthquake shakes southern Mexico
White House embrace of Bush-era anti-terrorism policies continues
Raid in Libya reignites questions
President Obama’s decision this weekend to authorize capture and rendition of a top terror target in Libya has reignited questions about his use of Bush-era tools and tactics — and has given more ammunition to critics who say it’s time he makes a clean break from policies of the past.
Just as the Libyan government on Monday condemned the U.S. operation that captured al Qaeda operative Abu Anas al-Libi, a coalition of top human-rights and civil-liberties groups wrote a letter to Mr. Obama urging him make good on his campaign promise to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba.
Mr. Obama’s continuing embrace of rendition, along with his inability to shutter Guantanamo, are proof, analysts say, that the president’s lofty rhetoric as a candidate has collided head-on with the realities of being the commander in chief.
“Part of it is the problems are more complex than they seem on the outside,” said Jonathan Hafetz, a Seton Hall University Law School professor who specializes in national security, human rights and constitutional law. “I think there’s been an institutionalization of war-on-terror policies such as indefinite detention, military tribunals, the expanded use of drone strikes. The policies have been reformed, but they’ve continued. Ironically, President Obama, through his more-moderate sounding approach, has probably helped make these policies more sustainable.”
The White House confirmed Monday that the president ordered the al-Libi raid, along with a failed attempt to capture a senior al-Shabab terrorist network leader in Somalia.
Since the raids, administration officials, including Secretary of State John F. Kerry, have stepped forward to defend them.
“He is a legal and an appropriate target for the U.S. military,” Mr. Kerry said of al-Libi.
Legality aside, renditions such as this — the White House wouldn’t say on Monday where al-Libi is being held — were a frequent target of candidate Obama.
In 2007, Mr. Obama wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine that the U.S. must end “the practices of shipping away prisoners in the dead of night … of detaining thousands without charge or trial.”
On the campaign trail, he repeatedly pledged to close Guantanamo, painting the facility as a stain on America’s global reputation.
But Guantanamo is still open and renditions continue — though in fairness, the administration maintains that al-Libi will be tried in an American court.
Still, partisan critics have gleefully pointed out the chasm between Mr. Obama’s campaign words and his presidential actions.
“Bush’s 4th term continues: No-lawyer interrogations; Secret renditions; Snatch & grab on sovereign soil; Indefinite detention,” tweeted Ari Fleischer, a press secretary for President George W. Bush.
Mr. Obama also has come under fire for ramping up U.S. drone strikes, criticized by human-rights groups at home and abroad for their civilian casualties.
But inaction on Guantanamo, which continues to house terrorism suspects indefinitely, remains the most glaring unfulfilled promise.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ben Wolfgang covers the White House for The Washington Times.
Before joining the Times in March 2011, Ben spent four years as a political reporter at the Republican-Herald in Pottsville, Pa.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Joe Biden's biggest gaffe: VP blowing his 2016 head start
- Obama conciliatory on immigration
- Obama: Conversation with Cantor was 'friendly'
- Obama: 'Our hearts ache' over South Korean ferry tragedy
- Beau Biden announces Delaware gubernatorial bid
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- Justice at last: 'Evil woman' outed for grabbing girl's game ball
- EDITORIAL: Mark Warner running scared?
- Hillary swoons at admitted illegal immigrant: 'Wow,' you're 'incredibly brave'
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- CHARLES: Holder's undermining of the law deserving of contempt
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.