Home/Daniel Larison/Another “Move To The Center”?

Another “Move To The Center”?

Via Joe Carter, this article on intelligence policy under the next administration should (I hope!) give our Obama fans pause:

President-elect Barack Obama is unlikely to radically overhaul controversial Bush administration intelligence policies, advisers say, an approach that is almost certain to create tension within the Democratic Party.

Civil-liberties groups were among those outraged that the White House sanctioned the use of harsh intelligence techniques — which some consider torture — by the Central Intelligence Agency, and expanded domestic spy powers. These groups are demanding quick action to reverse these policies.

Mr. Obama is being advised largely by a group of intelligence professionals, including some who have supported Republicans, and centrist former officials in the Clinton administration. They say he is likely to fill key intelligence posts with pragmatists.

“He’s going to take a very centrist approach to these issues,” said Roger Cressey, a former counterterrorism official in the Clinton and Bush administrations. “Whenever an administration swings too far on the spectrum left or right, we end up getting ourselves in big trouble.”

Ah, there’s that wonderfully flexible word for “flexible” politicians–pragmatist! Pragmatists who can “get things done” by treating people as things. Of course, we must always have a “centrist” approach, which means an approach least likely to challenge established practices. It is as if opposition to torture was not the position that commands the broad middle of reasonable opinion. We don’t want Obama going off on some crazy jag about human dignity–who knows where that might lead?

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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