The Liberals' Grand Bargain We'll trade you Afghanistan and Pakistan for Guantanamo and torture — deal?

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In the age of Obama, we’re going to have to get used to the new zeitgeist in Washington, and in the media: the perpetual high moral dudgeon of contemporary liberalism. While the Bush administration had its own style of moralizing — the rhetoric of “liberation,” the idea that we were doing the people of Iraq a favor by invading and occupying their country — the Obama crowd is much more sophisticated than that, and, simultaneously, more vulgar. On the one hand, they are all up in arms about torture, and the lawless treatment of the Guantanamo inmates, and on the other hand the prospect of a much wider “war on terrorism” — extending not only into Afghanistan and Pakistan, but the ring of ‘stans that encircle the new battlefield, — doesn’t seem to bother them in the least.

Amid hosannas from liberals, Obama declared an end to torture, and promised to close the Guantanamo facility within a year. This has been the signature issue of the left-blogosphere, and the estimable Glenn Greenwald led the way, with his relentless exposure of the pro-torture would-be appointees to top positions in Obama’s CIA. It’s too bad, however, that Glenn’s fellow progressives haven’t followed his lead on other issues, such as the war crimes engaged in by Israel in the Gaza Strip.

Guantanamo is a symbol of the Bush years that has to go, for a number of reasons — one of which is that we don’t want to have to lock up captives from the Afghan front in that infamous penitentiary. This would give the war we’re planning to fight in Pakistan the moral taint of the Bush years, and implicitly acknowledge that Obama’s Afghan “surge” is merely an escalation of Bush’s war.

In his remarks to the U.S. State Department on Thursday, President Obama made it clear that our policy of relentless military aggression in the region, far from being over, has barely begun.

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Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.

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