The Corner

From War Crimes to Yawns?

Recent news that President Obama is now going to press ahead with military tribunal reminds us of candidate Obamas sharp criticism of George Bushs plans to do the same: As president, I will close Guantanamo, reject the Military Commissions Act, and adhere to the Geneva Conventions…Our Constitution and our Uniform Code of Military Justice provide a framework for dealing with the terrorists … Our Constitution works. We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers, and that justice is not arbitrary.

These abject reversals on military trials, Guantanamo, civilian courts for killers like KSM, Iraq, wiretaps, intercepts, renditions, and Predators is bewildering for a variety of reasons. Should the Right welcome Obamas radical rejection of his earlier positions and welcome (per Vice President Cheneys point that the president now ratifies the Bush protocols) Obamas about-face — or still reserve a certain contempt for Obama’s past demagoguery and cheap caricatures of critical national-security protocols that were vital to our security?

And what are we going to make of all the past talk of the Left that Bush’s national security efforts were violations of the Constitution and synonymous with war crimes? What happened to all that? So the outrage was simply about power all along without a shred of principle? After all, since 2009 we have not seen a sequel to Rendition or Redacted or any other such Hollywood films. Will any more Ivy League law deans sue the Obama administration on behalf on Guantanamo inmates, or citizens targeted by Predators, or are they now working for Obama against such challenges? In short, the Obama complete embrace and often expansion on the Bush protocols, and the lock-step party-line, media-approved of ‘that was then, this is now’are some of the weirdest reinventions in American political history.

Victor Davis Hanson — NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.

Most Popular

Culture

Courage: The Greatest of Virtues

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Or Listener), As the reporter assigned the job of writing the article about all of Sidney Blumenthal’s friends and supporters told his ... Read More
Immigration

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More
U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More