Will Someone Please Tell the Washington Times That Bush and Obama Have Exactly the Same Policy on the ICC and Sudan?
Sometimes reporters and their editors get caught up in a narrative, and forget to check facts. In the case of Obama and Bush, every Obama pronouncement is presumed to represent a reversal of Bush policy. But this is simply not true (see, e.g., the predictable and apparently uncontroversial Obama retention of Bush policies on “extraordinary rendition” and airstrikes in Pakistan). And so it goes with this “exclusive report” in The Washington Time, which seems to suggest that President Obama is departing from former President Bush’s policy by approving the implementation of the arrest warrant against Sudan President Omar Bashir. (The headline reads: “EXCLUSIVE: Obama backs indictment of Sudan leader, Revisits Bush stance on international court.”)
In fact, as this December 2008 NYT article confirms, the Bush Administration has consistently supported ICC action against Sudan, and has been a consistent voice against blocking a deferral of the indictment against Sudan’s President Bashir (unlike China, Russia, France, and Britain). Now I have reasons to think the Bush Administration was wrong in supporting the arrest warrant, and that Obama is similarly wrong. But Obama is breaking no new ground here when he is basically sticking with the Bush policy. Frankly, there is no news here and the Times should either issue a correction or at least withdraw that highly misleading headline.