The News: Moving swiftly to undo the most notorious tyrannies of the previous regime, President Obama issued executive orders scheduling the close of Guantánamo prison, prohibiting secret CIA renditions and forbidding harsh interrogation techniques. Obama also cancelled Bush/Cheney secrecy acts designed to keep their official papers under seal.
The Note: The president's action cannot but be welcome. However, the question remains, Why were our institutions so incapable of resisting the clear tyranny and shameful thugishness of the neocon administration? Why was Congress so cowardly and supine in face of acts which undermined our liberties and appalled the world? Why did the Supreme Court cowtow and grovel like some trembling satrap before supposed presidential "prerogatives"? Obama's orders today are like those of the "good Caesars" of yore who released the falsely imprisoned, remitted unjust penalties and burned the secret reports of informers. But none of these welcome rectifications restored the Republic. The rule of law is not restored by the acts of a man.