Bush/Cheney/Obama radicalism

So that’s where the American consensus now lies.  The practices used by Britain, Spain, India and Indonesia (and the Reagan administration) of treating Terrorists as criminals and convicting them in normal courts — with due process — is too fringe Leftist for the United States, which has spent decades sermonizing to the rest of the world about the need for due process and the evils of arbitrary detention.  Instead, our political and media establishment demands that we replicate the policies of Libya and Saudi Arabia:  simply hold accused Terrorists without trials or, at most, invent special due-process-abridging military tribunals to ensure they are convicted.

George Bush and Dick Cheney ended up as two of the most despised political leaders of the last century, so our establishment had to pretend that they, too, found their policies to be distasteful and extreme.  But that was clearly a pretense.  In those very rare instances where Obama and his Attorney General try to deviate, they’re accused (including by leading members of their own party) of accommodating “the Far Left” and being “Soft on Terror.”

The undeniable truth is that our establishment craves Bush/Cheney policies because it is as radical as they are.  That one is automatically accused of being too Leftist merely by literally reciting Reagan administration policy on Terrorists (in words if not deeds)  — and that one can be “centrist” only by standing with the due-process-denying practices of Libya and Saudi Arabia — reflects just how far the American spectrum has regressed.

Glenn Greenwald | Salon