Liberal voices, especially Glen Grenwald, have criticized Obama for maintaining the majority of Bush’s anti-terrorism policies. Now on the other side of the spectrum, conservative columnist David Brooks is making very much the same argument. According to the recent Brooks’ article in the New York Times, Cheney is actually continuing the internal debate he had within the Bush White House — and lost — during Bush’s second term, and Obama is now only continuing, with some added rhetorical improvements, the Bush second term dismantling of Guantanamo, rendition, and torture.
In other words, both Obama and Cheney are both hoping to define the entire Bush administration as belonging to its first term, and not the second one where more moderate influences reigned in on Cheney. Obama does so because he only gains points by reminding people of the unpopular Bush. Cheney, on the other hand, has a much more concrete personal interest in the matter. To stay out of jail. Cheney’s speech about the threats of a nuclear armed terrorist on U.S. soil if we close Guantanamo are offensive to our intelligence — how does transferring the unarmed Guantanamo detainees to U.S. supermax prisons create the threat those same prisoners will access nuclear weapons along the way? And his claim that Obama, not the repeated conservative dominated Supreme Court decisions and the final Bush years, is the one making us unsafe is contrary to the record. Finally, were those measures necessary, wouldn’t it have been better to legalize them instead of creating an extra-judicial detention facility and secret interrogation policy with the specific purpose of circumventing the law?