Obama finding his campaign rhetoric a poor fit with reality
But then a reporter asked the president-elect a particularly inconvenient question: During the campaign, Obama claimed the right for U.S. forces to go after terrorists inside Pakistan. Does the Indian government -- which believes the Mumbai killers launched their assault from Pakistan -- have the same right?
Obama refused to answer, saying only that he recognizes India's right to defend itself and supports the government's efforts to track down those responsible for the Mumbai atrocity. Soon, though, it will be Obama's responsibility -- and that of Clinton, as the new architect of U.S. diplomacy -- to find a way out of this kind of logical cul-de-sac.
Another self-inflicted problem:
No one asked Obama about another of his campaign promises -- to promptly close the Guantanamo prison camp, where "war on terror" detainees have been held without formal charges, adequate legal representation or any meaningful right to prove their innocence. Holder has been a vocal critic of the Bush administration on issues of torture and indefinite detention. Soon, it will be his job to figure out how to deal with the remaining detainees -- some of whom may indeed be innocent, many of whom surely are not -- within legal norms consistent with both the nation's honor and its citizens' safety.