Editorial: Getting the Memo
It's time to put to rest any lingering hope that Barack Obama will be a serious and sensible foreign policy president. Or constitutionally-mindful, for that matter.
Over the past few weeks, America's new president has made blunder after blunder when it comes to his foreign policy and the upholding of American security interests. Whether its announcing his intention to dismantle American nuclear defense moments after North Korea launched a missile of its own, sitting idly by for 50 minutes while Daniel Ortega spewed his vitriolic anti-American diatribe, or warming ties to Cuba's communist overlords despite 50 years of brutal Marxist rule, Barack Obama has proven to be the best friend anti-Americans have ever had.
Mr. Obama even regards his jovial handshake and book exchange with self-declared American archenemy Hugo Chavez with a naiveté verging on foolhardy. As he said with regard to such encounter:
"It's unlikely that as a consequence of me shaking hands or having a polite conversation with Mr. Chavez that we are endangering the strategic interest of the United States.”
The ineptitude of such a statement is shocking if not appalling. The left, of course, champion such heinous statements and actions. And for freedom-loving Latin Americans attempting to stave off Chavez-Castro-style Marxist encroachment, they are an anathema.
Even through symbolic actions such as his enthusiastic bow to King Abdullah after the G-20 summit (and his half-hearted head nod to Queen Elizabeth II), Barack Obama has demonstrated his utter disdain for the precedent of his presidential predecessors: namely, a precedent which honors America's allies, is unapologetic for America's past, and does not defer to tyrants.
These countless blunders and sheer reckless abandon, however, culminated over the weekend with Barack Obama's decision to release classified memos detailing CIA interrogation techniques. The release of the memos—which outline the usage of intelligence gathering techniques, the most of controversial of which is non-injurious waterboarding—deals a serious blow to American foreign policy interests and gives America's enemies a clear heads-up.
President Bush remarked that the publication of the memos was “unbelievable” and Vice President Cheney “disturbing” and a mistake.
Moreover, Barack Obama's decision to abolish waterboarding, rude shoving, the brandishing of caterpillars, and other interrogation techniques is especially troubling given that the practice has helped keep American lives safe. Although the President would prefer such truth to remain concealed, the U.S. government was able to thwart a 9/11 style attack on Los Angeles simply because terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammad spilled information after being waterboarded.
These techniques have protected Americans—top intelligence and military leaders have made it clear that now intelligence gathering efforts are hamstringed. If America is to suffer another terrorist attack, Barack Obama will have a lot to account for. Echoing this sentiment, retired Army Colonel Bob Maginnis said:
“It's a strategic mistake on the part of the president to release the details on how we will address would-be or confirmed terrorists who may have information that could lead us to stop pending attacks…I find it unacceptable completely."
To add insult to injury, although harassing terrorists is now off the table, Mr. Obama recently opened up the possibility of prosecuting Bush Administration officials responsible for the interrogation techniques. Not only is such retroactive vengeance on one's political predecessors entirely Stalinist in nature, it may not even be constitutional.
President Bush made a lawful command to use the interrogation techniques, therefore prosecution cannot be brought against those executing the lawful orders. Under the Commander-in-Chief clause in Article 2, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, such commands are indeed lawful within the purview of the President of the United States. To punish Bush Administration officials for carrying out lawful orders would be an egregious enforcement of a de facto ex post facto law.
So as America's worst enemies get the free passes from Barack Obama, the American people are getting a different message—loud and clear. America's current Commander-in-Chief takes an altogether frivolous approach to protecting the safety of the American people and the serenity of the Constitution of the United States—though he is deadly serious about winning the plaudits of America's enemies worldwide.