Monday, October 26, 2009

Serious failure to break with the past

The New York Times editorialized last Sunday that The Cover-Up Continues, referring to the Obama administration's practice of continuing to use the state secrets excuse in hiding potential evidence of serious governmental misconduct. I was particulary struck by this paragraph:
We share concerns about inflaming anti-American feelings and jeopardizing soldiers, but the best way to truly avoid that is to demonstrate that this nation has turned the page on Mr. Bush’s shameful policies. Withholding the painful truth shows the opposite.
What Mr. Obama seems not to grasp is that this is not just about the past but that going forward anyone, here or abroad or in the government itself, is justified in suspecting that official lawbreaking is not over. Only a fool could trust verbal assurances so conspicuously not backed up by meaningful action. The very absense of such action tells us that trust is not justified. Moreover, until there is a transparent and complete break with past misconduct there will survive a climate of impunity that will practically guarantee new abuses.

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