Victor Davis Hanson is merciless, and mercilessly on the money, in contrasting candidate Obama with President Obama. Back then, the George Bush approach to fighting terrorism was a stain on America's values. How times do change:
Senator Obama opposed tribunals, renditions, Guantanamo, preventive detention, Predator-drone attacks, the Iraq War, wiretaps, and intercepts -- before President Obama either continued or expanded nearly all of them, in addition to embracing targeted assassinations, new body scanning and patdowns at airports, and a third preemptive war against an oil-exporting Arab Muslim nation -- this one including NATO efforts to kill the Qaddafi family. The only thing more surreal than Barack Obama's radical transformation is the sudden approval of it by the once hysterical Left. In Animal Farm and 1984 fashion, the world we knew in 2006 has simply been airbrushed away.
George Geraghty elaborates:
The interrogations of KSM (which included waterboarding) and the interrogation of Hassan Ghul (held in "black site" prisons) were key to identifying the courier; the president then authorized military action in a foreign country without going to the United Nations or informing the host government; the military action was unilateral, and we did not consult with our allies; Congress was not informed of the military action; and it increasingly appears that no serious effort was made to treat Osama bin Laden as a criminal [literally shoot and ask questions later]. The monitoring of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti's phone call was a result of an extensive global wiretapping system. Furthermore, as Charles Krauthammer notes, the helicopters used in the raid came from Bagram and Jalalabad; if we had withdrawn from Afghanistan on the antiwar Left's timetable, we would have had no bases from which to launch this operation.
President Obama has been in office long enough for the mask to slip a few times. In domestic policy, the face turns out to belong to Herbert Marcuse. But in fighting the war on terror, it belongs, amazingly enough, to George W. Bush.