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More than three years into the presidency of Barack Obama, itís almost a cliche` now to ask: What if George W. Bush did it? From dramatically escalating the war in Afghanistan to institutionalizing the practice of indefinite imprisonment, Obama has dashed hopes he would offer a change from the Bushís national security policies -- but he hasnít faced a whole lot of resistance from liberals who once decried those policies as an affront to American values.
Like those on the right who now crow about fascism but spent the Bush years gleefully declaring left-wing celebrities "enemies of the state," many of those on the liberal-left treat issues of war and civil liberties as useful merely for partisan purposes. When a Democratís in power those issues become inconvenient. And usually ignored.
Former dean of the Yale Law School Harold Koh, for instance, used to rail against the imperial presidency, speaking of the horror of torture and "indefinite detention without trial." Now a legal adviser for the Obama State Department, he recently declared that "justice" can be delivered with or with out a trial. Indeed, "Drones also deliver." Donít expect much more than a yawn from Democratic pundits, though, much less any calls for impeachment. Itís an election year, after all. And what, would you rather Mitt Romney be the guy drone-striking Pakistani tribesmen?