I have been firmly in the camp of Obama sceptics, viewing the adulation with distaste and seeing little substance in his famed rhetoric. But in just 48 hours I fnd myself warming very considerably to the man. The priority he has given to reversing the worst excesses of the Bush regime in the “War on Terror” has been extraordinary. All the indications are that it is genuine. He is not just closing Guantanamo as a blind under which to continue the torture and extraordinary rendition, but is closing down the whole system.
I cannot tell you how much emotion I feel that the US will no longer be flying people to Uzbekistan, to be tortured and often buried there. I lost my livelihood trying to stop it.
This “Intelligence cooperation” continued after the US withdrew from K2 airbase in 2005, though recently at a much lower level of intensity.
Obama seems genuinely to understand that the major thrust of preventing political violence must be not to give people genuine cause to hate you. But it must go further. Obama’s moves to restore legality are an acknowledgement that what went before was illegal. There must be full openness and investigation. America’s reputation will not be restored until all of those who unleashed systematic kidnapping, torture and murder round the world are brought to justice.