April 25th, 2009

The CIA photos: Obama strikes another blow for transparency

In refusing to fight the release of the prisoner interrogation photos, the Obama administration, according to ACLU attorney Amrit Singh, is showing its commitment to transparency.

Yes, it’s transparent, all right—transparently clear that Obama is determined to strike fear into the hearts of CIA agents who did their duty under the Bush administration, even if they acted with the green light of lawyers and Congress.

Transparent that our new President will stop at nothing to discredit his predecessor, including (and perhaps especially) endangering all future intelligence and our country’s security. Do we have a single doubt that, if the ACLU had been trying to release photos of a policy attached to the Obama administration, he would have fought such “transparency” right up to the Supreme Court?

As for the ACLU, the group helpfully pushing for the release of the photos, I have nothing but contempt for that institution (to which I gave money for years long ago, and which still has me on their mailing list). I’m entirely in agreement with Dr. Mark M. Lowenthal, former Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production, who referred to the ACLU’s campaign for the photographs’ release as “prurient” and “reprehensible,” and an action the Obama administration “should have fought all the way.”

Dream on, Dr. Lowenthal. This is custom-made for Obama. He doesn’t have to actually do his own dirty work in pressing for the release of the pictures. He just has to allow others to do it for him.

What is that dirty work? The release of the photos furthers the favored Obama narrative: the US did evil things and must atone, but under the great Obama it will go forth and sin no more. Security? Intelligence? They won’t be needed in the new age of Obama, during which our new rectitude will cause other nations to drop all aggressive impulses in their awe at the guidance of our inspirational moral compass.

Remember way back during the campaign, when Michelle Obama caught such flak for saying that now she was really proud of her country for the first time in her adult life? The reason was twofold: Barack Obama was doing well, and hope was making a comeback (come to think of it, that was one reason, wasn’t it?) It strikes me now that this was a deeply felt sentiment that Barack Obama shares.

I think it’s transparently clear: the man is a dangerous egotist whose narcissism requires that his predecessor be crushed and discredited in every possible way. And he doesn’t care if he endangers our national security to do so.

[NOTE: Rich Lowry has a similar notion.]

[ADDENDUM: And this op-ed by former CIA chief Porter Goss is well worth reading (hat tip: Ann Althouse).

Goss writes with great clarity and urgency:

[O]ur government has crossed the red line between properly protecting our national security and trying to gain partisan political advantage. We can’t have a secret intelligence service if we keep giving away all the secrets. Americans have to decide now.

Read the whole thing.]

70 Responses to “The CIA photos: Obama strikes another blow for transparency”

  1. M Says:

    Yeah, we’ll have transparency except for anything that is politically disadvantageous for Obama.

  2. Vieux Charles Says:

    The DoD photographs are not related to the interrogation tactics accusations levied against the CIA, but just as the media did during the Vietnam War they will fail to provide context. Instead, they will give political opportunists the cover they need to fuse the two. Likewise, as they did with our entry into Iraq, they will not investigate Democrat legislators specious denials of complicity, and they will diminish V.P. Dick Cheney’s and Rep. Pete Hoekstra’s pleas for full disclosure.

  3. OldTexan Says:

    We never seem to learn, do we?

    In the 1970’s I was introduced to a Scandinavian by his brother who was a friend of mine. We had a long lunch together and when I told him that I had worked with the military during the 60’s doing electronic intelligence gathering from the ‘Iron Curtain Countries” he started telling me about his experiences.

    This wonderful old man had worked behind German lines during WWII for the allies and he has come close to death in a Nazi prison camp when they were trying to figure out if he was a spy. He was a spy but he managed to convince them that he was not. However, he spent the final year of the war in a concentration camp.

    We spent several hours, at the University Club in Chicago, eating blue point oysters and drinking martini’s while we looked out the windows at Lake Michigan. This gentleman was the real deal and he had survived the war and he continued to live in Europe and work with the US government for a number of years collecting data from people he knew in Eastern Europe.

    At one point tears came in his eyes and he told me that the Carter administration had done great a disservice to the world by allowing information to become public that was resulting in the death and imprisonment of some of the people he knew very well.

    I could not understand then and I certainly do not understand now why people in responsible positions think they need to tear up years of hard intelligence work for short term gain when there is no technological substitute for good, reliable, experienced information from reliable people with their feet on the ground living within an enemy social culture.

    Oh well, when today’s young, super-genius advisors and news people in their 20’s and 30’s are my age I’ll be dead and the seeds they continue to sow will be their problems and of course the problems of my kids and grand kids.

    Therefore I can only hope to pass on a little bit of my point of view to help them cope with the multi-generational crap that keeps on falling in Washington. I would love to have a brighter view of the future but I am fearful that we are reaping a decades old crop of left leaning political mis-judgement.

  4. nyomythus Says:

    Well, if not transparency, it what you get from those who think enhanced interrogation methods went on to long after the initial attack on 9/11 and perhaps moved in to the realm of a standard policy, rather than a temporary policy immediately following the 9/11 attack, also following and perhaps seeming to be evolving into a standard policy was wire tapping, I wish, in hindsight, Bush would have transitions from this sooner, democracy is worth defending against an insidious and utterly nihilistic enemy — on the other hand what Obama is doing perhaps has long reaching effects to, I hope no one that he freed comes back to mastermind a terror attack — this is what he gambles. Anything and everything we do is a gamble from here on …. when it comes it will come out of a clear quiet blue sky .. Until then work all fronts; scoop in as much of the moderates we can, mash the extremist (liberalism is worth defending), and try to have a choice between good political candidates unlike what we did in the last cycle.

  5. dane Says:

    He’s transparent alright. I fear for the safety of the people in this country and other countries around the world who benefited from the intelligence we gathered. I think some very bad things are on the way. As I said before I am reminded of the old Ray Bradbury title “Something Wicked This Way Comes”.

    I have always said there is one main difference between conservatives and liberals – Conservatives believe the main job of the government is to protect us from all enemies (foreign and domestic like it says in the oath of office) and the liberals think the main job of government is to protect us from ourselves.

    It is becoming ever more obvious that is exactly the tenor of Obama and the liberal controlled congress.

    So many of the intelligence problems (including those with Iraq) were caused by the Clinton administration. They abandoned much of the personal intelligence network – locals on the ground. It is the kind of network that takes years to build but delivers the most reliable information. I guess the Obama administration will just have to rely on people telling us the truth.

  6. Alan H Says:

    It’s interesting to me how the Right is so concerned suddenly about the CIA feeling “protected” when the Bush administration hatched a plan at the highest level of the administration to reveal the identify of a CIA agent. Think that “chilled” the morale of CIA agents?

    Frankly, I am more concerned with the CIA observing the rule of the law than I am about them “feeling covered.” Covered? Cover-up more likely.

  7. Uh-huh Says:

    Why the hell would he even contemplate releasing these during the middle of a war? Is Obama that much of a moron? Is he trying to feed propaganda to the enemy?

    When the terrorist backlash hits over this and enemy attacks increase as our intelligence agencies will be afraid to do their jobs to avoid getting caught up in Obama’s upcoming show trials — Will the media catch on then?

  8. huxley Says:

    Well, if not transparency, it what you get from those who think enhanced interrogation methods went on to long after the initial attack on 9/11…

    nyomythus — Most people who are now speaking out against torture, or more accurately what they define as torture, are speaking from moral absolutism. They say that the US should not torture, period, whether it’s eight minutes after a 9-11 or eight years later.

    At this point I’m with former VP Cheney. We should roll out all the information, including the successes, of these programs and have a national debate. This business of selectively leaking only material that damages the Bush administration is wrong.

    And if we are going to start showing the interrogation photographs a la Abu Ghraib, I think it’s time to roll out the censored 9-11 footage of people leaping to their deaths and landing with horrific splats, and the video of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed beheading Daniel Pearl and later boasting, “I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew, Daniel Pearl” — information that was obtained from KSM at Guantanamo.

  9. Occam's Beard Says:

    (foreign and domestic like it says in the oath of office)

    From time to time I think that we’re taking care of our foreign enemies; the domestic ones will just have to wait their turn.

  10. Occam's Beard Says:

    It’s interesting to me how the Right is so concerned suddenly about the CIA feeling “protected” when the Bush administration hatched a plan at the highest level of the administration to reveal the identify of a CIA agent.

    Too moronic to be worth refuting.

  11. huxley Says:

    Powerline has a pointer to a great interview with Lynn Cheney in which she defends the interrogation programs for their successes and for not being torture, as well as her father’s role against a hostile interviewer at MSNBC.

  12. huxley Says:

    Engram, one of the most under-rated and clear-thinking bloggers around, has an excellent new post Defining Torture which points out that words naturally have fuzzy borders so, while we all agree that, say, severing limbs is torture, it’s not simple to draw the line on where torture begins and ends with less harsh methods such as waterboarding.

    From the beginning, George Bush has been clear that he supports the use of harsh interrogation techniques like [waterboarding], that he does not consider these techniques to be torture, that he understands how others could disagree, and that he wants congress to clearly draw the line so that CIA interrogators would know what techniques they could use without placing themselves in legal jeopardy.

    Until now, however, Democrats were much more interested in pointing the accusing finger at Bush and portraying him as supporting “torture.” They wanted to apply the word “torture” to waterboarding so they could then accuse Bush of being “no better than the terrorists.”

    That political game works (i.e., in a time of war, the Democrats succeeded in their effort to tarnish their own president in the eyes of the nation and the world), but it is not a serious approach to the problem. Obviously, drawing the line at waterboarding is infinitely better than drawing the line at “severing limbs.”

    The whole article is excellent, as is Be Brave and Be Serious: Draw the Torture Line.

  13. Thomass Says:

    I also doubt he won’t do the same things if he needs to…. So far he has not shown himself a dove when it comes to the use of actual force…

  14. Kent Says:

    Right after the election, I comforted myself with the thought that Obama would do the right thing once he got into office. He would never endanger the citizens of this country.

    I was wrong.

    Now I fear what the next few years will bring. And I fear the long term consequences. And I really think that Obama does not care what what harm he brings to the U.S.

    For months, my wife told me that Obama hates this country. I’m starting to think she may be right. He has done nothing to convince me otherwise.

    May God help us all.

  15. Thomass Says:

    nyomythus Says:

    “Well, if not transparency, it what you get from those who think enhanced interrogation methods went on to long after the initial attack on 9/11 and perhaps moved in to the realm of a standard policy”

    So what? 3 people were waterboarded. What was sooo bad about the other techniques? No on in the MSM will say, they call it torture memos and leave it at that. Local police departments use some of these same techniques on people they’re going to interrogate (I know, I was arrested once and interrogated). BFD.

  16. neo-neocon Says:

    I think that this sort of mentality may help to explain Alan H.’s comment.

  17. Occam's Beard Says:

    Kent, I don’t think Obama hates this country. I suspect that he’s basically indifferent to it, or at best lukewarm about it. I think he loves himself (and his personal aggrandizement) first and foremost, and there’s a pretty sharp dropoff after that.

  18. huxley Says:

    Back in my progressive days I felt guilt, shame, anger, and indifference about America. I looked forward to the day when we could all be loyal to the planet, not individual countries, least of all the United States.

    When I heard Michelle Obama say, “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country,” I understood where she was coming from. I assumed that Barack Obama came from the same place — he just knew that he had to conceal that little nugget of information.

  19. Oblio Says:

    OB, do you remember what Trotsky is reported to have said about Dwight Macdonald?

    Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but Comrade Macdonald abuses the privilege.

  20. dane Says:

    Sorry, but I think Alan H needs to have a response.

    Sorry Alan but the Bush administration did not hatch some plot to out a CIA agent. Richard Armitage (Powell’s deputy and close friend) was the one who “outed her” and all the evidence points to the fact that Powell knew about it. I don’t know why they didn’t come forward with the information but I suspect the whole thing had to do with the ongoing war between defense and state as to who was going to have the upper hand in shaping policy. Armitage was a known liberal and I suspect both he and Powell had no love for Cheney and his chief of staff Libby.

    But the whole thing was idiotic anyway because just about everyone in Washington knew Plame worked for the CIA. Hell her husband (that patriotic icon Joe Wilson) used to introduce her at DC soirees as “my wife the spy”. Although she was supposedly a “covert” operative her duties did not seem to support that.

    In the end her lawsuit against all kinds of people from the Bush administration was dismissed as having no merit.

    She and her husband were / are just a couple of ultra-liberal whiners. I wonder how many really “covert” operatives lives will be in jeopardy because of what the Obama Administration is releasing – and will release in the future?

  21. Oblio Says:

    Dane, you provide an admirable precis. They are the basic facts, as anyone who followed the Plame case at all is aware. OB is correct that one must be remarkably clueless to start that rabbit, knowing the basic facts; or perhaps one must be remarkably dense not to understand the significance of the basic facts. Or you could start that rabbit, NOT knowing the basic facts, which isn’t a sign of penetrating intelligence, either.

  22. huxley Says:

    Yes, thanks Dane.

    I appreciate the effort it takes to lay out the facts and refute a few lines of snarkish moral equivalence.

    It’s far easier to muddy the waters than clarify them.

  23. Oldflyer Says:

    My guess is that Alan H having dropped his little stink bomb has departed the scene.

    Since he is capable of stringing words together into readable sentences, of finding the shift key to capitalize certain words, and attempts to punctuate; I assume, that unlike many of his fellow trolls, he is intelligent enough to know the facts of the case and simply chooses to ignore them.

  24. SteveH Says:

    The irony is a Chicago thug politician lecturing anyone on morality and torture.

  25. Lucius Says:

    Neo, I hold the ACLU and the entire Obama Administration as contemtable miscreants. President Obama actions remind me of a very famous scene from Citizen Kane. Kane, who is running for governor, is at a podium giving his acceptence address to his party. It follows thus: “…who entered upon this campaign. With one purpose only; to point out and make public the dishonesty, the downright villany, of the [Bush Administration]. Now in complete controll of this state.” The irony is how applicable it is to the President.

  26. Lucius Says:

    Kane link here.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jbz81vk1yY&feature=related

  27. Oh, bother Says:

    Uh-huh Says (1:13 pm): Why the hell would he even contemplate releasing these during the middle of a war?

    I suspect that in large part, it’s because it’s what came to hand at a time his poll numbers are dropping at an unprecedented rate. The opportunity to cause damage to U.S. military and intelligence efforts is a plus. We read of intelligence personnel losing all confidence that their efforts would be supported by the government. I can’t imagine that senior military personnel in the field feel much better. None of those guys would be on Obama’s invitation list anyway, so what the hell? Who cares about their careers? We can only pray the fallout doesn’t cost any of our foreign assets their lives.

  28. Occam's Beard Says:

    Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but Comrade Macdonald abuses the privilege.

    Oblio, I’d heard the statement (and even cribbed it for my own use), but hadn’t appreciated the attribution, for which I thank you.

  29. Darrell Says:

    This appears to be about discrediting and demoralizing all of the institutions that are required to defend the country, these pictures will look bad on the military most likely, I am assuming they are abu ghirab type photos. They are already wreaking havoc on the defense budget.
    Intelligence activities: Check, memos, mixed messages
    Military: Check, pictures/Budget
    Create an ammunition shortage: Check:
    http://www.theshootist.net/2009/03/dod-ends-sale-of-expended-military.html
    Whats next?

  30. huxley Says:

    This appears to be about discrediting and demoralizing all of the institutions that are required to defend the country…

    The pedestrian explanation is that the ACLU has been pursuing FOI queries for these memos through the courts and was, we are told, on the verge of obtaining them.

    This was the impetus for the Obama administration to go into a huddle on the matter and decide, after a few weeks deliberation, to have the DOJ release the documents. The photos are part of a similar ACLU FOI squeeze play.

    Clearly the Obama administration did not have to release the memos when they did. Whether the courts could have forced an uncooperative DOJ to release the memos is not clear to me, but frankly I assume that Obama and AG Holder have more say in the matter than they admit.

    However, Glenn Greenwald and DailyKos are pushing for prosecutions irrespective of Obama’s wishes. They believe that an apolitical court will see it their way on strictly legal considerations.

  31. Darrell Says:

    We are on dangerous grounds here, not sure they really realize it, prosecution for offering a legal opinion? chilling to say the least, here is the most common sense explanation I have seen despite the loaded questions and assumptions by the liberal host in the den of snakes…”but its to protect our soldiers” Barf..
    http://hotlineoncall.nationaljournal.com/archives/2009/04/l_cheney_us_did.php Watch the whole thing, this is starting to look like Salem, “Cheney directed the lawyers to say what he wanted”, jeez…

  32. Steve J. Says:

    1) torture is immoral
    2) torture is illegal
    3) the twisted freaks who authorized torture should
    be prosecuted.

  33. Lex Says:

    Steve J: Simple question. Your youngest child has been kidnapped. They nab one of the guys who did it when they go to pick up the ransom. Your youngest child is still in the hands of someone who has made your youngest child scream into the phone in order to convince you they mean what they say.

    The guy they nabbed still ain’t talking, though he knows where your kid is.

    You: (a) approve of waterboarding to find the answers
    (b) disapprove.

    If (a), how is this different from prevention of 10,000 being killed in a terror attack in your home city?

    If (b), please take me over your reasons again?

  34. Thomass Says:

    Steve J. Says:

    “April 26th, 2009 at 4:01 am
    1) torture is immoral
    2) torture is illegal
    3) the twisted freaks who authorized torture should
    be prosecuted.”

    4) I’ll define torture as anything I like to prosecute my political enemies…

    Fascist…

  35. physicsguy Says:

    Lex, good try but wasted effort.

    Those who take the position Steve J did have no interest in actual human life. Their ideal is a utopian world which in their infinitly superior (that is, superior to your view) wisdom, anything is justified to bring that fantasy to reality. Just look at the millions around teh globe who were sacrificed for that vision in the past 100 years; the Soviet Union and China in particular, though Cuba et al certainly have a stake in the game.

  36. SteveH Says:

    This whole issue has its genesis in the Alinski rules for radicals. Demonstrate the areas in society’s current moral standards that fail in creating a perfect utopia, then posit that having moral standards at all is the culprit.

    A leftist doesn’t get his professed morals through thought and introspection. He gets them by taking a 180 degree contrary stance to whats provably the best ethical system ever concieved by flawed men.

  37. Joel D. Says:

    To Steve J. :

    Ahh, to be young and simplistic again…
    I wish I could go back to those years again myself…

    Of course, I wasn’t tall enough then to get on more than half the rides at Disneyland. And I still could only dream of the day I would be old enough to get my very own drivers license.

  38. Cappy Says:

    Blah blah blah blah. Let’s cut to the chase. I’d like to know who amont the architects of Obama’s policy on this, or whatever you could actually call it really believe that Bush, or nefarious others actually blew up the towers, and are just waiting to spring this on us as a result of their “investigations”.

  39. Oblio Says:

    On “torture,” we have been over and over this ground. Lex succinctly summarizes the “ticking bomb” scenario, but I am afraid that physicsguy has it right: Lex, you are wasting your breath. Steve J’s sophomoric preening has everything to do with moral vanity and striking a pose.

    The most efficient way to help Steve J to become educated on the subject is to direct him to Richard Fernandez:

    http://pajamasmedia.com/richardfernandez/2009/04/22/terrorism-and-moral-torture/

    Wretchard speaks from practical experience and theoretical understanding with eloquence and humane wisdom that are matchless. Let Steve J go there for some insight into the world of adult responsibility and then let him come back and try to make a contribution, if he has anything to say.

    On persecuting the legal advisors, I think Darrell is right, and this is one of the most chilling developments so far. The argument is very simple:

    1. The Rule of Law is essential; everyone is subject to the law.

    2. We, the emerging cathedocracy, own the law; it is what we say it is. (cf. Humpty-Dumptyism)

    3. Ergo, everyone is subject to Us.

    It is hard to imagine a more dangerous threat to republican principles and the liberty of citizens.

    On releasing the photographs, in addition to advancing a domestic political firestorm, the inevitable result around the world will be that the enemies of the US will have new opportunities to whip up hatred. This is more than an own goal, and it is obvious to anyone with half a brain. The dictum “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity” comes to mind; I can’t credit this Administration with being that stupid.

  40. Scottie Says:

    My own belief is this: Obama has spent his entire political career not being held accountable for anything.

    This includes his actions, his words, and his associations.

    There’s never been a downside for him, no matter what he did.

    Now he’s president of the US, and he’s continuing to conduct himself in the same short sighted manner he’s always done because that’s what’s worked for him in the past.

    At the moment, he is diligently attempting to tear down his predecessor in every manner possible. Opinions can vary as to why he’s doing this – but his actions speak volumes about the truth of that viewpoint.

    In the end, he’s putting personal and political party advancement ahead of the protection of this nation, and this in turn is going to cause those who actually have put their necks and careers on the line to pull back from working as hard as they have in the past.

    Why should they, after all, when you have such an egotistical president willing to sell out anyone associated with the previous administration for petty political gain, and you seemingly have a nation willing to elect this guy to the top office?

    It likewise gives our enemies a source of inspiration, aid, and encouragement. After all, the US is now led by a man seemingly unwilling to protect his own people and even willing to blame the US for every possible wrong that can be asserted, whether that assertion is accurate or not.

    As a result, my gut feeling is we’re going to be hearing about a “resurgent” Al Quaeda over the next year, gaining new recruits and attempting to move back into Iraqi areas previously cleared of their presence as US troops withdraw.

    You will also hear about greater pressures on the Afghanistan government, greater instability in Pakistan, and we’ll be treated to additional stories regarding Obama “reaching out” to Iran even while Iran continues to harbor and aid our enemies.

    Finally, and this is the last one that I’m really worried about, I feel there will be a new vigor on the part of AQ to attack within the US again.

    It may not be on a scale of 9-11, but I fear it will happen as intelligence agencies pull back for fear of being scapegoated.

    All so The One’s ego can be stroked as he attempts to discredit Bush in every way imaginable….

  41. huxley Says:

    Oblio — That’s a great Fernandez article. I recommend it too.

    Also from a Barone editorial from yesterday:

    Whence cometh the fury of these people? I think it arises less from revulsion at interrogation techniques — who thinks that captured al Qaeda leaders should be treated politely and will then tell the whole truth? — than it does from a desire to see George W. Bush and Bush administration officials publicly humiliated and repudiated. Just as Madame Defarge relished watching the condemned walk from the tumbrel to the guillotine, our contemporary Defarges want to see the people they hate condemned and destroyed.

    The Left’s angry mob recalls Madame Defarge

    Barone goes on to remind us (Steve J might want to listen up) that in the event of a captured al-Qaeda operative and a ticking bomb scenario that when asked whether we might “beat it out” of the captive, Obama himself said “there are going to be all sorts of hypotheticals, an emergency situation, and I will make that judgment at that time.”

    That sure sounds like a backdoor to “enhanced interrogation techniques” to me. And given Obama’s love of expediency over principle — running in 2008 despite promising not to, throwing Rev. Wright under the bus, and reneging on his campaign finance reform pledge — I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Obama did much the same as Bush in 9-11 circumstances and possibly more.

  42. IGC Blogger Says:

    Neo: Your “transparency” analysis is right on the money. Thank you. I linked to it from my blog.

  43. huxley Says:

    If those photos come out, I don’t think that there will be any stopping a “truth commission” and we will be in a new Iran/contra controversy.

    A potential upside: the resulting firestorm, as Oblio described it, will cause Washington to grind to a halt for months as the circus plays out. It will cripple Obama’s first-year momentum.

    Has Obama thought this through even in terms of his own agenda? If he has, I believe he has profoundly miscalculated.

  44. dane Says:

    Watching that old lovable fuzzy-wuzzy Leahy on Tv this morning (and other later on – Donna brazile, etc.) They all keep saying we need to know who broke the law and why?

    This whole “Golbal warming is real the science has already been decided” argument is something the liberals are very good at.

    They have all the surrogates out there saying they broke the law when the truth is though torture is against the law, waterboarding (and other techniques they used) were not against the law. There has been no specific law passed classifying it as torture. This is all based on liberal interpretation of the law. This is the very reason why so many laws are written without specifics and the very reason they “should” have those specifics included.

  45. Occam's Beard Says:

    Huxley, you’re absolutely right. If Obama had any brains, he’d put this behind him and look forward. Rehashing the past will inevitably stall his agenda (actually, the only good thing about it).

    The problem is that Obama isn’t intelligent to figure that out, and hasn’t yet been told what he thinks. Increasingly I see him as the spokesmodel for others; I’m just trying to figure out who.

    There is no evidence of substantial intellect there, despite the gushing of the media. They’re just trying to buff his virtually non-existent credentials, and prove their liberal bona fides by marveling at how bright this black man is. I judge intellect by the facility with which one can deal with abstractions extemporaneously (i.e., off the telemprompter – prepared speeches don’t count). And I am distinctly underwhelmed by Obama in that connection.

    Steve J, be patient. We’re still dealing with foreign enemies now. Domestic ones will just have to wait their turn.

  46. huxley Says:

    Interesting. Usually these big scandals — Watergate, Iran/contra, the Clinton impeachment — are enacted against the sitting president and had the effect of lame ducking that administration, partly because it reduced the president’s credibility but mostly because it swamped everyone’s bandwidth to think about much of anything else.

    Obama has consistently complained about anything that obstructed his agenda for America as a “distraction” from the important issues facing the nation. Well, this is going to be a huge distraction. Hoist meet petard.

  47. Baklava Says:

    Nyom said, “I wish, in hindsight, Bush would have transitions from this sooner,

    Therefore let’s prosecute because they didn’t follow your wishes.

    In fact. Let’s prosecute FDR administration because they went too far in protecting this nation with internment camps for German and Japanese citizens and what not. And don’t get us started on the FDR domestic surveillance. We should take a net to all FDR administration officials and ALL of their FAMILIES and put them in jail for what they did. Right Nyom! Let’s do it. Because they didn’t follow your wishes!!!

    Steve J

    The Bush administration REPEATEDLY and incessantly said the U.S does not torture. The legal opinions that were rendered here are key. YOu and other leftist appeasers think waterboarding is torture. Other people don’t. So… .while we have a disagreement – you want to go back and prosecute somebody for a decision they made. Judges aren’t prosecuted for the decisions they make. That is the sign of a banana republic. You sir, are immoral for acting that way and turning this country into a banana republic.

    I wouldn’t have you protect my shirt from wrinkles. You are pathetic.

  48. Occam's Beard Says:

    The other aspect, which we previously touched upon, is that by not preventing the rehash Obama is giving hostages to Fortune. If we spend a year performing this liberal auto de fe, gutting our intelligence and anti-terrorist capability, and then suffer a major terrorist attack, it will be laid at Obama’s door – and rightly so. He will be vilified more than Jimmy Carter, and condemn the Democratic Party to the wilderness for a generation.

  49. br549 Says:

    Torture was having to make the decision between standing at the window on the 85th floor and being roasted to death, or holding the hand of the person standing next to you as you both looked down and then at each other, and decided that jumping was the lesser of the two gruesome ways in which you were to die.

    I am more concerned with the enemy within at this time, than any enemy anywhere in the world.

  50. br549 Says:

    Torture is reading statements by Napolitano being more concerned with returning American soldiers or republican / conservative voters being potential terrorists – or Canadians – than she is of those who would repeat those evil acts every hour of every day if they could.

    I am more concerned with the enemy within at this time, than any enemy anywhere in the world.

    I could do this 100 times without breaking a sweat. So could millions just like me.

  51. nyomythus Says:

    Baklava — I would NOT be in favor of prosecution.

  52. nyomythus Says:

    ….so don’t weird out on me.

  53. dane Says:

    as the tanks are rolling toward the Canadian border (don’t-ya-know) I am going on the net and send all those democrats on the intelligence committee (as well as Frank and Dodd) a gift basket of Ginko Baloba

  54. S. Graham Says:

    I was at one time a Democrat and a liberal.Neo, let me say that ,with this post,your conversion is complete.I applaud you.

  55. njcommuter Says:

    I’ll take the risk of copyright violation and repost here a comment I made over on hotair.com:

    You’re right that these people Don’t Get It. Kathleen Parker says, for instance, that torture is a violation of what we stand for. What we stand for is civilization. But civilization isn’t a choice like tea vs. coffee; civilization is a sanctuary in a wilderness of barbarianism, a sanctuary that exists only because someone has cleared it, and continues only because someone continues to hold the borders against attack. If we are able to avoid barbaric behavior in the civilized world, it is because we hold the barbarians at bay at those borders. And that means that we must fight at least as effectively as they do. That we can kill without personalized cruelty better than the barbarians can allows us to avoid that personalized cruelty most of the time, but if we shrink from it when it is needed, the barbarians will choose that kind of war simply because we refuse to fight it–and they will win. And there will be no civilization. And it will not come back for a long time, and at great cost to the very many who should have been nurtured by it. And where will Ms. Parker be then?

    Ms. Parker, tell me, how would you fight back against an army of thousands of children armed with AK-47s, taught to kill, bullied to kill and bullied to train them as heartless bullies? Do you think you could capture their hearts and stop them? I wouldn’t let you try; it would be letting you commit suicide. They will have to be contained and either killed or allowed to kill each other. To the people who train them most certainly apply the words of Jesus: that the man who leads them astry would be better off in the sea with a great millstone around his neck. But these mass-murdering children, this self-perpetuating, kidnapping army must be dealt with. And if you can’t see this, then you are not prepared to protect, preserve, and defend civilization.

  56. Gray Says:

    1) torture is immoral
    2) torture is illegal
    3) the twisted freaks who authorized torture should
    be prosecuted.

    4) the “torture” was really just temporary inconvenience.

    5) the “torture” saved your life

  57. Logern Says:

    The “ticking bomb” or as it’s more frequently referred to “ticking time bomb” scenario doesn’t take into account that you can actually plan (if you’re a terrorist) a fairly effective counter strategy should someone fall into the authorities’ hands.

    –Flexible choice of targets (plans for numerous targets) Training for numerous targets.
    –Flexible time periods (never agreeing to specific times until nearly the moment is at hand) e.g. The Autumn Plan, Spring Plan, Winter Plan, generalized dates.
    –(Corollary to that last one) Time sensitive plans – short shelf life to an active plan
    –Compartmentalizing your information. No one knows everything. Even at the top this is possible to lesser extent.
    –Making sure surrogates have plenty of phony information that they believe is true. (multiple decoy)
    –Cancellation/or activation — working out methods to know if something in action has been compromised.

    Interestingly enough, in that Richard Fernandez article someone referred me too, he helpfully illustrates how they made the torturer’s methods mute.

    Voila’

    When I ran safehouses in the anti-Marcos days the first order of business whenever a cell member was captured by the police was to alert the surviving members, move the safehouse and destroy all links to the captured person.

    Um, so effectively, they no longer could torture that information out of them. How much more easy is it for the nomadic terrorist types?

    Okay, you can argue that terrorist aren’t smart or would adapt. How likely, if they acquire a nuke to go to the extra trouble of making sure they aren’t thwarted when they’re trying to carry out the big one?

    Yeah, I think the ticking bomb scenario has some merit when you’re talking the rough thug plan (kidnapping some person for ransom) because putting that much into it is not worth the effort.

  58. Gray Says:

    The “ticking bomb” or as it’s more frequently referred to “ticking time bomb” scenario doesn’t take into account that you can actually plan (if you’re a terrorist) a fairly effective counter strategy should someone fall into the authorities’ hands.

    Your counter strategy requires the training and resources of a nation, not a terrorist organization.

    Why do you think our guys resist better than Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or any “brave moslem fighter” we’ve ever caught?

  59. FredHjr Says:

    Torture is reading what passes for reasoning from people like Comrade Logern. But the depressing reality is that said Comrade and his fellows have won the Cold War. We did not win the Cold War. Yeah, yeah, the Soviet Union “fell” but in reality it was a controlled collapse designed by Andropov and Gorbachev as they were phasing in Gramscian Marxist ideology and phasing out Leninist orthodoxy. The West was conquered by the people who burrowed deeply into our transmission belts after WWII and who educated our young people on up to the present time.

    Maybe I’m just a tad depressed of late, but all the signs are there that we have lost this fight. I am resigned to being a man who knows he is living in the decline of Western Civilization. I no longer live in hope to see a revival of our Republic. Instead, I now seek refuge in the spirituality of my Roman Catholicism in order to find meaning beyond this life and within this existence. Enjoy what kinds of happiness remain, but cognizant of the clear trends.

  60. Poole Says:

    The President has created a precedent that he and his supporters will regret.

    American democracy has worked because the peaceful transition of power depends on the assumption that the new administration will not seek to punish the former administration over political decisions and policies.

    President Obama is intent on using his office to orchestrate the punishment of former President Bush and members of his administration. Former President Bush made every effort to assist the incoming Obama administration with an easy transition and worked with Obama on legislation after the election. Obama has shown his true character by his words and actions – he cannot be trusted.

    One day, Obama will be president no more and unless he avoids alienating the voters against his party, he will be succeeded by a Republican who may in turn seek to punish Obama over political differences.

    The cliches come to mind, “He who lives by the sword…” and “Payback’s a …”

  61. strcpy Says:

    Sadly, as I have said in other threads, since I have been actively watching politics (end of Reagan to start of Bush Sr) this has been the pattern.

    Democrats accuse Republicans of gross excesses in executive power, succeed in artificially driving approval of that president, then once in power actually *do* those abuses of power. No different now and it is what has us in the current situation where our federal govt has near to actual single digit approval rating with our military in the high 80′s and 90′s. Sadly our current crop of Republicans have mostly just given up and are making no real effort to fix things.

    They very much knew that Plame and some of other things Bush was accused of was not true, they very well knew that they would eventually get power, and they very well knew that by then they will have many (if not most) accepting of said actions. It isn’t a plan per se, as much as just knowing how to take advantage of the situations.

    However at some point that cycle will fail, sadly I think it is soon. You will note that by many in the upper reaches realize this too – note the recent conservatives and ex-military are near terrorist memo.

    I do not think it can survive a few more presidential cycles, though all it will take is a strong “third” party to come along and blow them both out of the Water. I hope that happens before something else does. The drive for power at all costs (or if I feel like being charitable the thought that the Democrats are the best choice no matter the actions needed – I think some believe that) is going to kill us.

  62. Logern Says:

    Well, you think I’m bad huh, woo — some of you guys are wout out there alright on the fringe

    (I happened to find the following quote in the wiki entry on Ticking time bomb}

    For instance, it is asked whether torture would be limited to suspects, or whether one could torture the family and friends of a suspect to make him compliant. According to John Yoo (the former Department of Justice official who wrote memos justifying President Bush’s policies on torture) this would be legally permissible, including crushing the testicles of the person’s child to obtain information.[6] If we imagine that officials might attempt to justify torture of people whose phone numbers happened to be in a suspect’s mobile phone or agenda-book, in their desperation to find useful information, the range of possible victims of “ticking bomb” torture becomes much wider.

  63. Logern Says:

    (The lack of a good editing function is certainly some minor torment around here)

  64. Oblio Says:

    Logern, I am pleased that you have returned without the snarkiness you displayed on the other thread (e.g. you references to the Bataan Death March), but you don’t seem to understand the argument Fernandez is making.

  65. Adrian Says:

    Transperancy is being forthcoming about your own actions and intentions, not someone elses. This is nothing but a shell game to keep our eyes wher he wants them.

  66. goesh Says:

    There is no ticking bomb but there are high value operatives with real time operational knowledge who somehow end up in Egypt, Syria or Jordan for ‘questioning’.

  67. Baklava Says:

    Neo,

    Off topic:

    They closed a middle school in my area because of the swine flu.

    http://www.sacbee.com/topstories/story/1812164.html

  68. Oblio Says:

    Logern, the editing function works perfectly. Follow these easy steps:

    1. First, think about what you want to say
    2. Write your clear and cogent argument
    3. Check your spelling and grammar
    4. Check your thinking
    5. Fix the errors in 3. and 4.
    6. Post

  69. Baklava Says:

    Oblio,

    Those steps would turn into:
    1. First, think about what you want to say (thoughts would mean conversion from liberalism) :)
    2. Write your clear and cogent argument (writing thoughts down would be writing something with common sense)
    3. Post !

  70. Oblio Says:

    Personally, I spend a lot of time on #4 and #5 and not enough on #3 from my list. I wish I wrote with Baklava’s economy of style.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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