Sakset/Fra hofta

President Barack Obama har som president i økende grad overtatt sin forgjengers policy og metoder i krigen mot terror. Det innrømmer selv hans medarbeidere og tilhengere, men de presiserer at det er George W. Bush i hans andre periode, ikke første.

Bush cleaned up his act i den andre perioden; han nedla torturprogrammet og avviklet black sites, de hemmelige forhørssentralene CIA drev rundt om i verden. Dette var metoder kongressmannen Obama skarpt hadde kritisert. Han lovte å rydde helt opp: stenge Guantanamo og stille noen av de ansvarlige for 9.11. for en sivil rett.

Slik har det ikke gått. Obama har beholdt militærtribunalene, overvåkingen, de hemmelige fullmaktene og dronekrigen. Fremfor alt dronekrigen er blitt hans. Obama er blitt the drone warrior. Ikke alle demokrater synes det er stas.

Høringen i Senatet sist uke med John Brennan som går fra stillingen som sikkerhetsrådgiver til CIA-sjef, kom til å dreie seg like mye om denne siden ved Obamas krig mot terror.

But in broad terms, the conversation generated by the confirmation hearing of John O. Brennan, his nominee for C.I.A. director, underscored the degree to which Mr. Obama has embraced some of Mr. Bush’s approach to counterterrorism, right down to a secret legal memo authorizing presidential action unfettered by outside forces.

Det hemmelige memoet er retten til å ta ut også amerikanske borgere.

På den annen side har Obama lært av Bushs «feil». Han ønsker ikke å bli dratt inn i en ny krig i Midtøsten.

 

With troops only recently home from Iraq, Mr. Obama made clear that he was so intent on staying out of another war against a Middle East tyrant that he did not want to be involved even by proxy, especially if the proxies might be questionable.

Denne pragmatismen er det nok mange i establishment som deler. USA har ikke krefter til en ny krig. Det må ryddes i eget hus.

Men særlig venstresiden blant demokratene blir mer og mer skuffet over Obama.

Dronekrigen gjør at Obama slipper ett av Bushs problemer: Han slipper å ta fanger han ikke vet hva han skal gjøre med. Han slipper å putte flere inn i Guantanamo. De blir rett og slett kremert på stedet.

 

By emphasizing drone strikes, Mr. Obama need not bother with the tricky issues of detention and interrogation because terrorists tracked down on his watch are generally incinerated from the sky, not captured and questioned. By dispensing with concerns about due process, he avoids a more traditional war that he fears could lead to American boots on the ground.

Republikanere og konservative reagerer på dobbeltmoralen: Obama slipper unna med ting som Bush ble korsfestet for. Hvis det hadde vært Bush som hadde drevet et aggressivt droneprogram, ville hele det liberale establishment hisset seg opp.

 

“These are the same issues we’ve been grappling with for years that are uncomfortable given our legal structures and the nature of the threat, but the Obama team is addressing these issues the same way we did,” said Juan Carlos Zarate, who was Mr. Bush’s deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism.

Peter D. Feaver, a Duke University professor and former Bush national security aide, said Mr. Obama “believed the cartoon version of the Bush critique so that Bush wasn’t just trying to make tough calls how to protect America in conditions of uncertainty, Bush actually was trying to grab power for nefarious purposes.”

“So even though what I, Obama, am doing resembles what Bush did, I’m doing it for other purposes,” Mr. Feaver added.

Others said that oversimplified the situation and ignored modifications that Mr. Obama had enacted. “It is a vast overstatement to suggest that President Obama is channeling President Bush,” said Geoffrey R. Stone, a University of Chicago law professor who hired a young Mr. Obama to lecture there. “On almost every measure, Obama has been more careful, more restrained and more respectful of individual liberties than President Bush was.”

“On the other hand,” Mr. Stone added, “at least in his use of drones, President Obama has legitimately opened himself up to criticism for striking the wrong balance” between civil liberties and national security.

Årsaken til at Obama ender opp med en politikk som til forveksling ligner Bush i andre periode er at den er et svar på uløselige problemer knyttet til asymmetrisk krigføring.

Liberale blottlegger en naiv idyllisering av egen posisjon når de på ramme alvor kan mene at de stoler på Obama, men ikke ville stolt på Bush med de samme fullmakter.

Tidligere CIA-sjef Michael V. Hayden, som også ledet National Security Agency, sier at en belastende politikk må ha støtte i opinionen hvis den skal overleve i det lange løp. Obama liker hemmelighold.

Michael V. Hayden, the C.I.A. director under Mr. Bush, said that if Mr. Obama learned one thing from experience it should be that controversial programs require public support to be sustained. “Err on the side of being open, at least with Congress,” he said. “Otherwise you’re going to find yourself in a politically vulnerable position.”

For four years, Mr. Obama has benefited at least in part from the reluctance of Mr. Bush’s most virulent critics to criticize a Democratic president. Some liberals acknowledged in recent days that they were willing to accept policies they once would have deplored as long as they were in Mr. Obama’s hands, not Mr. Bush’s.

“We trust the president,” former Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan said on Current TV. “And if this was Bush, I think that we would all be more up in arms because we wouldn’t trust that he would strike in a very targeted way and try to minimize damage rather than contain collateral damage.”

But some national security specialists said questions about the limits of executive power to conduct war should not depend on the person in the Oval Office.

Amerikanere kan ikke tolerere den slags cæsarisme. Det er systemet man er avhengig av, det er det man må kunne ha tillit til, ikke blind tillit til en person. Det er uamerikansk.

“That’s not how we make policy,” said Douglas Ollivant, a former national security aide under Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama and now a fellow at the New America Foundation. “We make policy assuming that people in power might abuse it. To do otherwise is foolish.”

Obama’s Turn in Bush’s Bind