President Obama has come under fire this week for reversing himself on releasing prisoner abuse pictures and maintaining the military commission system of trying detainees at Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba.Â Far left liberals are denouncing him for his change of heart, while critics on the right are applauding his change of mind.
Obama has discovered that campaign rhetoric can be difficult to follow through on, and it is obvious that he has learned a lot on national security issues which is changing his mind in a way we will never know in detail.Â Obviously, the danger to our country from Islamic Terrorism is much greater than we even realize, and he does not want to be accused of undermining our safety, and therefore is setting himself up to be a centrist on foreign policy issues,Â which makes a lot of sense to me.
Obama’s top advisers–Robert Gates,Â Hillary Clinton andÂ General James L. JonesÂ (the National Security Adviser)– have had an effect on his judgmentsÂ and have made him realize that being President is a lot different than running for President,Â and that the world is, unfortunately,Â a lot more complicated than one can imagine, since the ordinary citizen cannot have access to secret information.Â
Obama’s decision to conduct covert action in Pakistan, arguably the most dangerous country on earth right now,Â and also to escalate our involvement in Afghanistan and slow up the removal of troops from Iraq is,Â regrettably,Â a realist,Â pragmatic view of the outside world.Â But the point to remember is that Obama IS going to close Guantanomo Bay as a detention center and IS ending torture as a means of getting information from detainees.
So Obama is making course corrections and compromises,Â and while some will be disappointed that his is not a purist government,Â it makes total sense what he is doing.Â
It is on DOMESTIC social and economic policyÂ that much greater change and more consistency in campaign rhetoric to reality has occurred, and can be expected to continue.