There's only one thing wrong with today's New York Times headline, "U.S. Engaged in Torture After 9/11, Report Shows." It's written in the past tense. It insinuates that the war crimes have stopped under the Obama Administration.
If anything, they have only gotten worse. Torture is still ongoing at Guantanamo, as evidenced by yesterday's powerful oral history of an editorial dictated by a hunger-striking unindicted inmate chained to a bed and undergoing forced feeding. It's still being outsourced to so-called black site prisons. Worst of all, waterboarding and other "harsh interrogation techniques" have largely been supplanted by the ultimate torture. Euphemistically known as the Disposition Matrix, it is effectively The Final Solution, Obama-style. This is the Terror Tuesday Kill List, the ongoing program of "signature" drone strike executions, conducted simply on the basis of age, ethnicity, and location, location, location.
Not only is the Obama Administration continuing the Bush-era war crimes, it is going out of its way to punish whistleblowers coming forward to report on them. It has just issued yet another blanket gag order on all federal agencies in the convenient name of "national security," hoping to ensure that the chilling effect on journalism solidifies into a monolithic glacier of unprecedented opacity.
Of course, with yesterday's terror attack in Boston, the last thing to enter the minds of the leadership class will be anything remotely resembling regretful self-reflection. They have officially never heard of Blowback, or chickens coming home to roost. Instead, they'll double down, stand their ground, burst into an off-key cacophany of America the Beautiful. They'll ratchet up the price of admission to National Security Theater, a grotesque show of authoritarianism in which we once again become both the actors and the audience.
They are all George Bush now. They're comfortable with what they did, they're comfortable with what they'll keep on doing. They're too big to fail and too big to jail. The government of the United States maintains its function as a monstrous protection racket for the rich and the powerful.
You'd think that Grand Compromiser and Consensus Builder Obama would praise the bipartisan nature of the torture report released today by the Constitution Project. Don't hold your breath. After all, it does criticize Obama for his own abject failure to investigate the Bush era abuses, even as it stops just short of indicting him for his own ongoing reign of terror. But it at least suggests that Obama himself is guilty of war crimes for failing to hold his predecessor accountable. It also criticizes him for his "excessive secrecy."
With more and more people expressing revulsion at everything from the slashing of the safety net, to inhumane treatment of people both here and abroad, to the relentless kowtowing to private interests at public expense, the very legitimacy of this administration is becoming rapidly eroded. The scales are falling off, the blinders of the populace are coming off.