By Dan Froomkin
1:42 PM ET, 06/ 2/2009
President Obama yesterday issued a proclamation in honor of "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Month," in which he asserted: "The LGBT rights movement has achieved great progress, but there is more work to be done." But Obama has remained publicly opposed to gay marriage, and there is no sign of action on his promise to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the military.
Joe Sudbay writes for Americablog: "Obama wants us to know he 'continue[s] to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans.' That's good. But, he's President now, not a candidate. A lot of people worked very hard to elect Obama, due in part to his campaign promises of equal rights for LGBT Americans. But, now, we need action, not more promises - at the very least, we need the inklings of a plan of action. So far, we've seen no indication of how, or even if, Obama is going to turn his support of those measures into reality."
Nancy A. Youssef writes for McClatchy Newspapers: "President Barack Obama reversed his decision to release detainee abuse photos from Iraq and Afghanistan after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki warned that Iraq would erupt into violence and that Iraqis would demand that U.S. troops withdraw from Iraq a year earlier than planned, two U.S. military officers, a senior defense official and a State Department official have told McClatchy." But was Maliki right? Or was he just trying to save his own political career?
Mark Benjamin wrote for Salon on Saturday: "Retired Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba denied reports that he has seen the prisoner-abuse photos that President Obama is fighting to keep secret, in an exclusive interview with Salon Friday night. On Thursday an article in the Daily Telegraph reported that Taguba, the lead investigator into Abu Ghraib abuse, had seen images Obama wanted suppressed, and supported the president's decision to fight their release. The paper quoted Taguba as saying, 'These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency.' But Taguba says he wasn't talking about the 44 photographs that are the subject of an ongoing ACLU lawsuit that Obama is fighting."
Benjamin adds today that according to Pentagon officials, "there are about 2,000 images related to detainee abuse, none of which are from Abu Ghraib, and the images do not include depictions of sexual abuse."
Mark Silva blogs for Tribune: "Former President Jimmy Carter -- who invested some of his own presidency three decades ago in the pursuit of peace in the Middle East -- suggests that President Barack Obama, bound for a meeting with Arab leaders and an address to the Muslim world this week, should have revealed photographs which portray abuses of military prisoners and says a 'complete examination' of what the Bush administration authorized and conducted in the 'ehanced interrogations' of detained terrorists should be made."
Jack Hidary writes for Huffingtonpost.com: "General Ricardo Sanchez, the former commander of all coalition forces in Iraq, called for a truth commission to investigate the abuses and torture which occurred there. The General described the failures at all levels of civilian and military command that led to the abuses in Iraq, 'and that is why I support the formation of a truth commission.'"
Jake Tapper and Jason Ryan write for ABC News: "In a court filing submitted in the middle of [Friday] night, President Obama's Justice Department is continuing the 'state secrets' argument of his predecessor in litigation over the National Security Agency's Terrorist Surveillance Program."
Josh Gerstein writes for Politico: "President Barack Obama has won more breathing room to revamp detainee policies after a federal judge agreed Monday to put on hold a ruling permitting legal challenges by some prisoners in U.S. custody at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan."
Fear works. Susan Page writes in USA Today: "Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to closing the detention center for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay and moving some of the detainees to prisons on U.S. soil, a USA Today/Gallup Poll finds. By more than 2-1, those surveyed say Guantanamo shouldn't be closed. By more than 3-1, they oppose moving some of the accused terrorists housed there to prisons in their own states. The findings underscore the difficult task President Obama faces in convincing those at home that he should follow through on his campaign promise to close the prison in Cuba, especially in the absence of a plan of where the prisoners would go.... 'Coming up on eight years after Sept. 11, fear remains, and fear is politically potent,' says political scientist Paul Freedman of the University of Virginia, who studies public opinion. 'When it comes to the issue of terrorism … people are inclined to err on the side of that fear.'"
Obama on Sunday issued a statement condemning the shooting death earlier that day of Kansas abortion doctor George Tiller: "I am shocked and outraged by the murder of Dr. George Tiller as he attended church services this morning. However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence."
Michael D. Shear writes for The Washington Post about Obama's visit yesterday to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. "'The president met with 26 inpatients and approximately 30 outpatients and their families. He also met with hospital staff,' said assistant press secretary Tommy Vietor in an e-mail. 'Additionally, the president awarded 2 Purple Hearts.'"
Lois Romano writes in The Washington Post: "Valerie Jarrett is not simply the highest-ranking woman serving in the White House these days. She has the kind of power that comes with long history and deep friendship, a voice in the room that confidently reflects her 20-year Chicago-based relationship with Barack and Michelle Obama." There's also video.
Alexandre Deslongchamps writes for Bloomberg: "Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush showed camaraderie in a joint appearance Friday while disagreeing on easing the Cuban trade embargo and allowing same-sex marriages." Jim Rutenberg writes in the New York Times: "If there was anything that even bordered on a sharp exchange, it was the discussion over Iraq."
New York Times opinion columnist David Brooks likens Obama's GM takeover to -- hold onto your hat -- Bush's invasion of Iraq: "The federal merger will not accelerate the company’s viability. It will impede it. We’ve seen this before, albeit in different context: An overconfident government throws itself into a dysfunctional culture it doesn’t really understand. The result is quagmire. The costs escalate. There is no exit strategy."
Julie Pace writes for the Associated Press: "President Barack Obama has chosen a Republican congressman to be the new secretary of the Army, adding to the ranks of opposition party figures in his administration."
Micah L. Sifry blogs for TechPresident.com on how "the Open Government Dialogue created as part of the Obama administration's new initiative to engage the public in a participatory discussion of ways to make the federal government more transparent and collaborative looks like it is being overrun by the so-called 'birthers'--conspiracy nuts who think the President isn't legitimately a U.S. citizen." He notes: "All online interactive sites are subject to gaming, especially when the stakes are high. Presumably the more often government invites public participation and the lower the visibility of the results, the less often these nuisances will occur."