Obama tried and failed to close Guantanamo Bay, losing a great deal of political capital in the process. Do you think the Obama administration is writing memos encouraging the use of waterboarding, like David Addington and John Yoo did in 2003? I don't.
I don't object to this on a technicality. I object to it on the substance.
Obama tried and failed to close Guantanamo Bay, losing a great deal of political capital in the process.
Oh, spare me. Barack Obama has explicitly targeted, and killed, American citizens in drone attacks, something even Bush never did. This is public knowledge. I count myself a hawk in matters of Islamic terrorism, but I am also a libertarian and this is beyond the pale. There has to be a bright line in these killings, and American citizens must never be targeted for execution by some politician just because they think they should be dead. This is why we have courts and due process. Suddenly however, all the people who were so deeply, deeply, concerned about waterboarding have been silent about US citizens being eliminated on presidential orders.
As for your claim, evidence? He did no such thing, because he knew that as soon as the prisoners were released most would go right back to killing again (or do you think that they were mostly innocent?), as indeed several who were released already have. Even his Mainstream Media toadies wouldn't be able to cover that up.
Instead we have seen a massive gunrunning operation intended to give weapons to Mexican drug cartels, conducted by Eric Holder, Obama's chief law enforcement officer, that has resulted in the murder of four innocent Americans and who knows how many Mexicans. The legal term for this is "accessory to murder". Holder has perjured himself before Congress on this and Obama and his media has done nothing but support him. What is your stand on that?
>because he knew that as soon as the prisoners were released most would go right back to killing again (or do you think that they were mostly innocent?)
Obviously they were innocent by the very definition of it in the US system: innocent until proven guilty. Obviously if we could prove them guilty we wouldn't need Gitmo, we'd try them in criminal court. We didn't because we had nothing on them.
Also, your "went back to killing" is an assumption. How do you know they were killing before? I would expect that, once released, the people who were illegally kidnapped would seek some action against those that destroyed their lives and held them against their will for years.
In descending order of fullfilling-his-promises (all promises from his "Obama's Plan to Defeat Terrorists Worldwide" 2008 campaign document, pp. 5-6):
* He promised to end torture and rendition, and did so, AFAIK. +1
* He made a good faith effort to close Guantanamo, and failed. Let's call this a wash. 0
* He promised to revist the Patriot Act and implement "real and robust" oversight of the new powers it granted. This one's complicated, but PolitiFact seems to call it a wash. 0
* He promised to "eliminate" warantless wiretaps specifically, but hasn't done anything to accomplish this. In fact, he's signed reauthorizations of the Patriot Act twice without any change in the wiretapping sections. -1
* He promised to "restore habeas corpus". In reality, he's claimed the right to not only imprison foreigners without that right, but also American citizens. -1
* Not only that, but he claims the right to kill American citizens without trial. This isn't breaking a specific campaign promise, since even Bush didn't claim this (AFAIK), but I'm including it anyway. -1
In sum, aside from torture, he's ranged from a disappointment to a disaster on civil liberties. And I love the guy otherwise.
Zach, he did not end rendition, though he did end some of the most appalling practices formerly involved.
We also have very little way of verifying, beyond leaked information, that the administration has behaved consistently with its policies and if it has, how well (not just with regard to rendition but torture as well).
So I would place it more as a +0.5 or generously, +0.75.
Hey, I realize this doesn't add much, but I'd like to thank everyone in this thread. I"m new here, but this is why I come to HN, people are disagreeing by citing sources and not yelling or being particularly acrimonious.
Your -1 on PATRIOT leaves out significant executive branch restrictions that have been added to the wiretapping authority, which makes sense, because Obama didn't have the political capital to force a legislative change. My source: ACLU.
Your -1 on "killing Americans without trial" is an allusion to the NDAA. The NDAA is a smoke-and-mirrors issue; the problem isn't Obama's NDAA, but rather the 2002 Bush AUMF, which is still in effect. NDAA's enemy combatant language limits the powers already granted to Obama by the AUMF.
Obama also appointed Sotamayor and Kagan to the Supreme Court, but that doesn't fit nicely into a message board narrative about civil liberties.
It is a drastic overstatement to call Obama a "disaster" on civil liberties.