Far be it from me to withhold credit where it’s due, so without the slightest reservation, I hereby commend Obama for the following deeds:
Ordering the closure of the detention camp in Guantanamo Bay (although it’s still outrageous that he’s given them a year to do so). The existence of that place is an abomination and makes any claim to having a free society absurd.
Ordering the cessation of torture by the US military. Again, civilised countries do not torture (or put to death, for that matter) their prisoners. There’s no word yet on capital punishment and I’m not holding my breath.
Ordering the cessation of secret CIA rendition flights to transport foreign nationals, kidnapped by the US, to CIA-operated prisons in foreign states, where they were subject to torture. You remember these flights, don’t you? They’re the ones Condoleeza Rice, Bush’s defence minister, denied had ever took place. Odd that Obama feels the need to put a stop to something that never happens.
Ordering the closure of the aforementioned secret CIA prisons in foreign states.
I must admit, I’m pleasantly surprised by the extent and promptness of some of the above actions.
On the other hand, he told Hamas to end their rocket fire into Israel, but urged Israel only to reopen its border with Gaza. Nothing short of a full condemnation of Israel’s recent actions is acceptable, together with an immediate of US military aid.
Obama also pledged his support for efforts to prevent Hamas from rearming, which is excruciatingly hypocritical, given his country’s continued military aid to the other side. You can’t claim to support the peace process whilst continuing to arm one of the warring factions.
But like I say, credit where credit’s due, even if it is only a drop in a very deep ocean.