War on Terror

Obama's Latest Defense: I'm No Different From Bush

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Defending himself against the charge that he is soft on terrorism, especially in his handling of detainees/suspects, President Obama accidentally tells the truth:

The most important thing for the public to understand is we're not handling any of these cases any different than the Bush administration handled them all through 9/11.

Obama evidently thinks this should count in his favor. But for anyone who believed his professed commitment to due process and the rule of law, the fact that his anti-terrorist policies are very similar to Bush's is cause for disappointment. As The New York Times notes:

Mr. Obama has preserved much of Mr. Bush's counterterrorism strategy. He not only continued drone missile strikes against terrorist cells in Pakistan, but he also escalated them. American troop levels in Afghanistan are tripling on his watch. He kept the surveillance program, military commissions and rendition authority he inherited, and he plans to continue holding some detainees without charges.

Obama did officially eschew waterboarding, but so had the Bush administration by the time he was running for president. He has failed to deliver on his promise to close Guantanamo and in any event plans to continue the detention policies it symbolizes. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes sums up the situation pretty well:

The one thing that's changed is there's now a Democratic president instead of a Republican president.

In a column last month, I asked, "What's the difference between Obama's anti-terrorism policies and Bush's?"

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28 responses to “Obama's Latest Defense: I'm No Different From Bush

  1. I hate these trick questions. What the difference between Steve Smith and the Urkebold?

    1. The volume of the screams.

      1. As I understand it, there are some technical differences between rape and taint withering. I’m no medical professional, however, despite my years of work as a doctor.

  2. I thought acting like Bush was supposed to be bad.

    1. Its only bad when you hire evil Republicans to fill up the political appointments in the Federal Government, if you hire Democrats then its good, especially with full medical benefits, expense and travel accounts

    2. I am STUNNED to learn that Obama is acting white.

      1. Well, he is our first half white president.

        1. Nonsense. Bush was twice the half white Obama is.

  3. “…I’m No Different From Bush”

    You can say that about Obama in a lot of ways, but we knew that before the last election…

    He wasn’t much different than Bush on foreign policy, Bush expanded Medicare, Obama didn’t oppose the bailouts…

    Honestly, I think half the problem the center-left had with Bush was symbolic. They didn’t like his rhetoric, they didn’t like his religiosity…they didn’t like the constituency his message resonated with…

    But I’m yet to see a substantive difference between them on policy, except…maybe…on climate change.

  4. If Obama is really like Bush, and the republicans think Obama is a socialist, shouldn’t they think Bush was a socialist too?

    1. Shit.

    2. Many of them do. Hence this Tea Party thing you may have heard about.

      1. The Tea Party is anti-Bush?

        1. I don’t know much about the politicians trying to tap into it, but, yeah, from Rick Santelli’s rant of rants on down, it was against the Bush Administration’s bailouts and the Obama Administration’s continuation of those policies.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEZB4taSEoA

          They only reason, I think, the tea guys tend to skew Republican is because there isn’t any part of the Democratic Party that resonates with their anti-government intervention with taxpayer money message.

          The Democrat’s ears can’t hear anything at that pitch.

    3. Sure. Obama’s just doing things even faster, but sure. Some of us vote for the lesser evil (largely because the majority of the electorate doesn’t agree with us). Obama’s at least as bad as Bush on almost all issues, and substantially worse on a number.

      From the Congressional side, you may have noticed the Republicans disliking the auto bailout and the relative lack of support for TARP, too.

      It was obvious in 2008 that Obama was the candidate more like Bush on economic terms. Of course, Douglas Holtz-Eakin got laughed at for saying that.

  5. The most important thing for the public to understand is we’re not handling any of these cases any different than the Bush administration handled them all through 9/11.

    Change.

    It might not fit the dictionary definition, but whatever.

    1. Don’t worry – dictionary definitions aren’t really definitions when they don’t mean what you want.

    2. I think we all remember how Obama feels about the dictionary. Looking up definitions is a reach, you know?

  6. What we’re we Hoping to Change from again? I’m not clear on that.

  7. we’re not handling any of these cases any different than the Bush administration handled them all through 9/11.

    I don’t think you guys are interpreting this right. The “through 9/11” part means that he’s handling the cases the same way Bush did from Jan 20, 2001 to Sep 10, 2001.

    1. I took it to mean he is handling captured terrorists the way Bush did for one day on 9/11/2001. Pretty sure we didn’t actually catch any on that day.

  8. Mr. Obama has preserved much of Mr. Bush’s counterterrorism strategy. He not only continued drone missile strikes against terrorist cells in Pakistan, but he also escalated them. American troop levels in Afghanistan are tripling on his watch. He kept the surveillance program, military commissions and rendition authority he inherited, and he plans to continue holding some detainees without charges.

    From the halftime show last night –
    Meet the new boss
    Same as the old boss

    1. I really wished they worked that angle into the halftime show. You could have had half of America talking about that from 6 seconds of footage.

      1. If they’d flashed pictures of Obama during that song, would they have been broadcast?

        1. In light of their actual performance, it certainly couldn’t have hurt their careers. My ears were bleeding too badly by the time they hit My Generation, did they sing the “hope I die before I get old” line?

  9. Barack Obama, a would-be god of hope and change, strangled by an illusion, that will-o’-the-wisp mirage that dangles from the sky in front of the eyes of all ambitious men, all tyrants?and any resemblance to tyrants living or dead is hardly coincidental, whether it be here or in the Hit And Run Zone.

  10. Obama is totally different than Bush here! Bush would NEVER promise to do the things Obama once promised to do …

  11. Pres. Obama’s troop build-up in Afghanistan reminds me of the mid-1960’s joke:
    .
    “They told me that if I voted for (Republican Pres. nominee) Goldwater in 1964 that we’d have an escalation of the war in Viet Nam. They were right!”

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