The Wages of 9/11
As a candidate, Barack Obama insisted that the United States was paying a heavy reputational price for violating international standards of human rights. “We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers, and that justice is not arbitrary,” he promised in one campaign speech. Obama is not, of course, responsible for the Supreme Court’s conservative majority, which carried the day on Florence. But he has not, with a few exceptions, changed the practices, or the underlying logic, that make the United States such an outlier in the West. Obama has not done nearly as much as he expected, and his supporters hoped, to restore the damage incurred by the Bush administration. This has been one of the great failures of his time in office.