It is a nice thought, the end of war. To make official our non-war stance, Obama wants to end the Authorization for Use of Military Force passed by Congress in the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Noting that no president can promise to end all terror, or the enmity that informs terrorism, our nation can ill-afford to continue to define itself by an endless war.

Whether the authorization should be eliminated will be debated in Congress. But lest we swoon ourselves into a state of British-style appeasement (their solution to the recent attack is for soldiers not to wear uniforms), we should be mindful that Obama has maintained and/or ratcheted up nearly every objectionable measure instituted by his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Obama kept Guantanamo because, like Bush, he discovered he couldn’t close it. He kept and boosted security measures, including increasing surveillance and expanding law enforcement powers, even though Bush was loathed for his draconian measures.