Monday, July 13, 2009

A Small, Green Shoot of Hope?

So, in the overall hope-and-despair cycle, the latest round goes to hope. For quite some time I have been concerned that the only Bush-era policies Obama will even try to modify (let alone reveal) will be torture, and that he will quietly continue whatever warrantless surveillance was in place. It now appears that the warrantless wiretapping will not be forgotten quite so easily.

As required by the Democrats' general capitulation on warantless surveillance, the Inspector General has issued a report on such surveillance that reveals (unsurprisingly) that the portions acknowledged by the Bush Administration were merely the tip of the iceberg and that something much larger was going on. What that "something" was remains a closely guarded secret, but perhaps that knowlege that improper surveillance was happening will spur Congress to look into what it was. I have downloaded the report and intend to read it and give a (belated) opinion on it at some time in the future. (And I have already read the Torture Memos and not commented yet).

As a preliminary matter, I will make a few comments. First, it is disturbing that Congress was not able to unearth any of this information on its own, but had to rely on an executive investigation. This is yet another disturbing example of the overwhelming executive domination of our government these days -- and the spinelessness of Congress unless the executive leads the way. As a small measure of comfort, this executive investigation was at least done on the command of Congress.

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