Where Did All The Liberal Civil Liberties Advocates Go?Submitted by emalvini on Wed, 04/25/2012 - 19:35
Where Did All The Liberal Civil Liberties Advocates Go?
It wasn't so long ago that liberals were denouncing President George W. Bush for his administration's violations of civil liberties. It wasn't that long ago that panic gripped civil liberties advocates about the possibility of a "PATRIOT ACT II," which would erode our freedom even more than the first did. From warrantless domestic wiretapping to the use of military tribunals instead of trials for detainees to its authorization of the use of torture ("enhanced interrogation techniques"), the Bush administration was devastating for American civil liberties and, arguably, the Constitution.
When then-Senator Obama began his campaign in 2008, we hailed his promise to shut down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. President Obama, of course, has yet to do so.
Instead, we got what Salon.com dubbed "kinder, gentler" military commissions.
Instead, we got President Obama's signature of the National Defense Authorization Act, which included provisions permitting the indefinite detention of American citizens and their rendition to military authorities. (In fairness, Obama did issue a "signing statement" essentially promising not to use these provisions. However, these is no legal mechanism to hold him to that promise, nor is there any assurance that future presidents will do the same.)
Instead of a president dedicated to the preservation and even restoration of civil liberties we had thought we voted in, we got a president who is now being criticized for not protecting our civil liberties by the lawyer responsible for justifying the Bush administration's authorization of torture. The Los Angeles Times ran an op-ed titled, "Obama: A disaster for civil liberties."