Thursday, April 23, 2009
There are times when a leader is caught between opposing camps, and there is no good solution to appease both. Here is one. No matter what Obama says or does about the CIA's previous involvement in torture, he is going to lose part of the electorate. There are those who justify it on the basis that the US learned critical information about terrorists. There are others who condemn it as morally wrong. Obama is caught in the middle. He condemns the prior behavior, but he doesn't want to punish CIA operatives who did it with the approval of White House lawyers in the Bush administration. Hearings at this point would distract from his most pressing issue of getting the country moving again. So, he appears to be twisting in the wind, an unenviable position in itself. It would be good for him if the issue withered and went away, but it isn't likely to do that. He has to deal with a PR conundrum. How he resolves the issue will be a measure of his skill as a politician.