The early months of Obama’s presidency, the American Right did to him what they do to every Democratic politician: they accused him of being soft of defense (specifically “soft on Terror”) and leaving the nation weak and vulnerable to attack. But that tactic quickly became untenable as everyone (other than his hardest-core followers) was forced to acknowledge that Obama was embracing and even expanding — rather than reversing — the core Bush/Cheney approach to Terrorism. As a result, leading right-wing figures began lavishing Obama with praise — and claiming vindication — based on Obama’s switch from harsh critic of those policies (as a candidate) to their leading advocate (once in power).
Cheney agrees with this.
“As I say, I think he’s found it necessary to be more sympathetic to the kinds of things we did,” Cheney said. “They’ve gotten active, for example, with the drone program, using Predator and the Reaper to launch strikes against identified terrorist targets in the various places in the world.”
There are obvious parallels with the Liberal Democrats and Tories, who once in power have had to face the reality of the security threats facing the UK, and who have (despite some changes) not totally abandoned all of Labour’s policies on terrorism.
Greenwald is annoyed though. He lists three harms from Obama’s continuation of Bush’s war on terror.
- It creates the impression that Republicans were right all along in the Bush-era War on Terror debates and Democratic critics were wrong.
- Obama has single-handedly eliminated virtually all mainstream debate over these War on Terror policies.
- Obama’s embrace of these policies has completely rehabilitated the reputations and standing of the Bush officials responsible for them.
What a parochial and myopic stance.