WASHINGTON -- President Obama recently told the United Nations that the era of George W. Bush's foreign policy was over and that he is taking a bold new approach to international diplomacy and dealing with the world's troublemakers.
He declared that he has ended Bush's policy of conducting aggressive interrogation techniques against some of the most dangerous terrorists in the world; that he was closing down the Guantanamo Bay detention facility; that he ended the war in Iraq; and that he's determined to defeat the Taliban offensive in Afghanistan.
But much of the president's speech was filled with pomp, exaggeration, political posturing and over-the-top promises that he is going to have a hard time fulfilling -- from climate change to persuading the world's thugs and despots to abandon their nuclear threats and be nice to their neighbors.
Ending "enhanced interrogation" methods, which intelligence reports tell us have yielded critical information about Al Qaeda's operations and foiled terrorist plots against us, certainly isn't going to make the United States or the world safer. To the contrary, the terrorists couldn't be happier to hear this, and no doubt some of the U.N. member nations who harbor terrorists or support them were applauding Obama the loudest.
Other changes on the terrorist front would move a number of detainees through the U.S. court system, where, presumably, their rights can be better protected, resulting in prolonged, if not endless, litigation -- but to what end?
As for closing the Guantanamo Bay prison, eight months into his presidency, it is still open and operating and detaining some very dangerous people who should never be let out -- which was Bush's policy and that we now learn Obama has apparently embraced.
Indeed, the Washington Post reported last week that the Obama administration "has decided not to seek legislation to establish a new system of preventive detention to hold terrorism suspects and will instead rely on a 2001 (Bush era) congressional resolution authorizing military force against Al Qaeda and the Taliban to continue to detain people indefinitely and without charge."
But the Obama administration -- against the advice of its top intelligence advisers -- has begun an investigation into the CIA's interrogations under Bush's presidency, with the inherent threat of criminal prosecution. That has plunged morale among our best intelligence officers, but no doubt has improved it among the terrorists.