Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Is Obama insane enough to let torture stay legal?

I find it a little hard to believe, but Andrew Sullivan reports "Mr. Obama may decide he wants to keep the road open in certain cases for the CIA to use techniques not approved by the military, but with much greater oversight."

Sullivan adds "It's obviously being placed by some Clinton and Bush officials angling for more continuity with Bush's torture regime."

A (still-Obama-hating FWIW) blogger at Talk Left refers to a John Brennan of Bush/Clinton CIA years as Obama's head of intelligence transition issues.

The New Yorker describes Brennan as a supporter of CIA torture techniques even despite the practical problems: "Setting aside the moral, ethical, and legal issues, even supporters, such as John Brennan, acknowledge that much of the information that coercion produces is unreliable."

It's all hard to believe. I'm actually hoping that the torture has even stopped with Mukasey now heading DOJ, so why Obama would want to keep the door open?

I'm seeing some blogs saying, don't criticize Obama until he's actually done something wrong, but what we're seeing is a push from the Democrats' right, and we need to push back.

Somewhat related issue on the other end of the spectrum is the rumor about appointing Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to the Environmental Protection Agency. A great environmentalist and fine lawyer, RFK Jr. has not used science appropriately in the whole mercury-vaccine issue and wouldn't be right for the job. Again we're told not to respond to rumors, but again I see a trial balloon sent up by somebody, and it's a problem.

A final footnote: I had read somewhere that RFK was representing mercury-vaccine plaintiffs, although I can't find confirmation of it. If true, it makes it very difficult for him to renounce the claims following new scientific results. I'd give a little slack to a lawyer stuck in the position of being a mouthpiece for his clients, but still....

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