From Bush to Obama: Not everything has changed

Obama administration seems intent on carrying on with some of Bush’s anti-terror policies

From Charlie Savage, two important stories in the New York Times: a general warning that the Obama administration seems intent on carrying on with some of the Bush administration’s controversial anti-terror policies, including the practice of “extraordinary rendition” by which Maher Arrar was spirited out of our country and into a kind of hell. And a second piece, published today, says the Obama administration has adopted the Bush government’s assertion that Afghanistan military detainees have no legal right to challenge their incarceration.

In closing Guantanamo and announcing a no-torture policy, Obama has made it clear he wants to draw a clear line under some of his predecessor’s choices in the fight against terrorism. But the balance between national security and human rights will always be a judgement call. A lot of people who vilified the Bush regime and are eager to sanctify Obama’s will be surprised to learn how closely Obama’s national-security team has, at least provisionally, modelled its judgement on that of the Bush team.

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