My estimate of Obama’s three rules: Be cool, let sleeping torture lie, and don’t challenge the national security crowd
In a recent conversation with some smart guys, one suggested that Obama was naïve about national security and so got intimidated by its establishment. I think not. Rather, my estimate on Obama is that he decided on three things during the campaign, and has stuck with them: A black candidate for national office cannot afford ...
In a recent conversation with some smart guys, one suggested that Obama was naïve about national security and so got intimidated by its establishment. I think not.
Rather, my estimate on Obama is that he decided on three things during the campaign, and has stuck with them:
- A black candidate for national office cannot afford to be seen as "angry."
- There would be no investigations of Bush administration actions such as the use of torture by intelligence operatives and subsequently misleading Congress about that.
- More generally, there is no upside for a Democrat today to challenge the national security establishment.
I wasn’t saying he was right to do so — that’s another question. I was just trying to figure out what he was doing. Even so, I got some pushback from the smart friends, including:
- Actually, not being angry comes natural to him. He is a cool, stubborn, and solitary man. He doesn’t get mad, he gets remote.
- He appears to act sometimes on national security questions without regard for consequences, as in his love affair with drone killings.
- No, it is naïve to hire people inexperienced in national security for national security slots, as he did. This amounted to a challenge on his part — effectively, a statement that he would place politics above policy, even overseas.
What think youse? (And please, don’t make this a Bush slugfest. I think we all know well where everyone comes down on all that.)
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