Frank Bruni in The New York Times on Barack Obama's gay marriage calculation Days after Vice President Biden "kind of, sort of, probably came out in favor of same-sex marriage" and Education Secretary Arne Duncan offered a more solid endorsement, Bruni weighs in on Barack Obama's tenuous position on the issue, finding it politically pragmatic but sadly uninspired. "[P]art of what it says is that Obama — no matter how much he romanticizes himself or some voters still romanticize him — plays a cautious game, letting others test the waters while he hugs the shore. It's smart politics. But it's hardly audacious, and not so inspiring."
Noah Feldman in Bloomberg View on the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed trial The arraignment of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed at Guantanamo Bay presented the difficulties the government will face giving the proceedings an air of legitimacy. "U.S. military commissions do not have a stellar history of producing legitimate-looking outcomes," writes Feldman. "The fundamental problem for a military commission is that no one expects the soldiers of a state to acquit enemies of that state accused with breaking the laws of war. Once the outcome is no longer in doubt, there is every reason for the defendants to try to make a mockery of the proceedings." He offers the Nuremberg Trials as a lonely counter-example, but notes that this month's proceedings don't look like they'll be remembered as well.