Senator John F. Kerry praises President Obama's executive orders last Thursday to eventually close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, to ban torture during interrogations, and to shut down secret CIA prisons abroad.
"In a season of transformational changes, these are among the most meaningful, because they send a powerful message that America's struggle against terrorism will once against honor some of the most cherished ideals of our republic: respect for the rule of law, individual rights, and America's moral leadership," Kerry writes in an op-ed posted on CNN's website today.
But the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee also reaches out to the Bush administration, which put the controversial policies in place during its "war on terror."
"And even as we embrace long-overdue change, we owe it even to those we believe made grave mistakes to acknowledge the urgency of the moment they inherited, the sacred responsibility to protect American lives which they strove to honor, and the humbling reality that there are no easy answers when it comes to such life-and-death matters," Kerry writes.
"It is true that today we face unprecedented, unorthodox, and vastly destructive enemies that respect neither borders nor rules of war. But this is not the first new challenge America has evolved to meet. Sometimes that evolution requires us to admit mistakes, learn from them and grow as a nation. The desire to do better has always been a core part of America's greatness. Last week Barack Obama and his administration wrote a new chapter in that old story."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.