Friday, December 23, 2016

What "look forward, not backward" really means

This, too, is a major part of Obama's legacy, in particular his "look forward, not backward" policy when it comes to prosecuting serious crimes like torture on the part of senior government officials: Dick Cheney Emerging As Key Adviser to Trump Administration The Intellectualist 12/18/2016.

John Dean used Lord Cheney as a prime example in his 2006 book, Conservative Without Conscience:

Bad judgment is Dick Cheney's trademark. It was not George Bush who came up with the idea of imposing blanket secrecy on the executive branch when he and Cheney took over. It was not George Bush who conceived of the horrible - and in some cases actually evil - policies that typify this authoritarian presidency, such as detaining "enemy combatants" with no due process and contrary to international law. It was not George Bush who had the idea of using torture during interrogations, and removing restraints on the National Security Agency from collecting intelligence on Americans. These were policies developed by Cheney and his staff, and sold to the president, and then imposed on many who subsequently objected to this authoritarian lawlessness. It was Cheney and his mentor, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who convinced Bush to go to war in Iraq, which is proving to be a protracted calamity. Colin Powell's former top aide, Laurence Wilkinson, rather bluntly puts it: In 2002 Cheney must have believed that Iraq was a spawning ground for terrorists, "otherwise I have to declare him a moron, an idiot or a nefarious bastard." Colonel Wilkinson, it appears, has a rather solid take on the vice president's thinking, for there is no evidence that Cheney believed - or had any basis for such a belief - that Iraq was a spawning ground for terrorism - before we made it into one.

The issue of Dick Cheney's judgment must be raised because he is the catalyst, architect, and chief proponent of Bush's authoritarian policies. In fact, Cheney's authoritarian vice presidency has simply swallowed the president, and Cheney sought to take the office way beyond even Nixon's imperial presidency, which they had accomplished by the end of the first term. [my emphasis]

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