Change Is More Than A Word
With his action, Obama started changing how the United States prosecutes and questions al-Qaida, Taliban or other foreign fighters who pose a threat to Americans – and overhauling America’s image abroad, battered by accusations of the use of torture and the indefinite detention of suspects at the Guantanamo prison in Cuba.
“The message that we are sending the world is that the United States intends to prosecute the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism and we are going to do so vigilantly and we are going to do so effectively and we are going to do so in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals,” the president said.
Here’s what else Obama has done:
- Required all U.S. personnel to follow the U.S. Army Field Manual while interrogating detainees. The manual explicitly prohibits threats, coercion, physical abuse and waterboarding, a technique that creates the sensation of drowning and has been termed a form of torture by critics.
- Directed the Justice Department to review the case of Qatar native Ali al-Marri, who is the only enemy combatant currently being held on U.S. soil. The review will look at whether al-Marri has the right to sue the government for his freedom, a right the Supreme Court already has given to Guantanamo detainees.
And there are more reversals of Bush policies, including meeting with generals to discuss speeding the process for leaving Iraq
He also signed a series of executive orders and directives intended to slow the revolving door between government service and lobbying, and ordered his administration to share information more freely with the public.
Obama called President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel, King Abdullah II of Jordan and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. Obama pledged “active engagement” for a fragile cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, aides said.
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