Just a few more columns to cite about those interrogation memos.
One is written by William McSwain, executive editor of the Church Report which analyzed interrogation methods for the government in 2005. As others have done, McSwain puts those methods into the context of the threat the country faced.
He also has this to say about their severity.
The aggressive techniques in the CIA memos are also undeniably safe, having been adopted from Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) training used with our own troops.
I have personally been waterboarded, put into stress positions, sleep deprived, slapped in the face. While none of this was enjoyable, I am none the worse for wear.
While such techniques are used in U.S. military training, some apparently consider them too brutal, too abusive, too inhumane -- in short, too much like "torture" -- to be used on fanatics like KSM who are bent on the mass murder of innocent American civilians. And if legal advisers such as Steven G. Bradbury, Jay S. Bybee and John Yoo are to be prosecuted for having sanctioned their use under careful controls, who's next? Every commander who ever implemented a SERE course?
There are those now wringing their hands over the "mistreatment" of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who in his own words "...was responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z," and who beheaded WSJ reporter Daniel Pearl. Here's some wit and wisdom from KSM, courtesy of NRO's Deroy Murdock.
Your intelligence apparatus, with all its abilities, human and logistical, had failed to discover our military attack plans before the blessed 11 September operation. They were unable to foil our attack . . .
Our prophet was victorious because of fear. At a month distant, the enemy did not hear from him. So, our religion is a religion of fear and terror to the enemies of God: the Jews, Christians, and pagans. With God’s wiling [sic], we are terrorists to the bone. So, many thanks to God.
The Arab poet, Abu-Ubaydah Al-Hadrami, has stated: “We will terrorize you, as long as we live with swords, fire, and airplanes.” . . .
We will make all of our materials available, to defend and deter, and egress you and the filthy Jews from our countries. . . .
We ask to be near to God, we fight you and destroy you and terrorize you. The Jihad in god’s cause is a great duty in our religion…Your end is very near and your fall will be just as the fall of the towers on the blessed 9/11 day. . . .
So we ask from God to accept our contributions to the great attack, the great attack on America, and to place our nineteen martyred brethren among the highest peaks in paradise.
By all means, grant this likable fellow the Constitutional rights that American citizens enjoy. Ignore his unlawful combatant status and afford him Geneva Convention protections too.
A very detailed post appears on the NRO blog site explaining just some of the lifesaving intelligence mined from the enhanced interrogation program.
Finally, there's Victor Davis Hanson's excellent piece on NRO. He warns of the potential damage that could result from Obama's unprecedented openess to a legal assault on a previous administration.
Dwight Eisenhower did not open hearings to pave the way for indictment of federal officials of the Roosevelt administration or California lawyers working for Gov. Earl Warren, who in concert planned and carried out the forced internment of American citizens into camps. Much less did he bring Truman & Co. up on charges of using nuclear weapons to incinerate Japanese civilians.
Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge did not seek indictment of Woodrow Wilson’s Justice Department, which did everything from strengthening segregation to jailing war critics and helping foster the odious vigilantes of the American Protective League. No subsequent administration tried to arrest Lincoln’s Cabinet members for signing off on the suspension of habeas corpus after Fort Sumter — unconstitutional decrees that eventually would mean some 15,000 Americans were held without charges for indeterminate length.
President Obama would not a want a putative President Palin to begin hearings on who ordered the targeted executions of two suspected Somali pirates, taken out in the middle of protracted negotiations. He would not wish a President Sanford one day to indict those Obama officials who approved the assassination-by-Predator-missile of suspected terrorists and their families in Pakistan — without habeas corpus, Miranda rights, or avenues of appeal. He would not enjoy a future President Giuliani’s bringing indictments of Obama officials over the NSA’s exceeding its allotted e-mail intercepts, or the CIA’s conducting overseas renditions of suspected terrorists without providing them the benefits of U.S. law.
Hanson notes the hypocrisy of the whole business.
Sharks smell blood. Now enters one Austrian professor, Manfred Nowak, the “U.N. special rapporteur” for torture who hails from a country that routinely sells Iran everything from sniper rifles to nuclear technology. Professor Nowak informs the world that the Bush officials must be punished. He is eager to please the Obamians, but not so eager to displease the Chinese, Russians, Libyans, Iranians, Saudis, and most of the rest of the world, where torture is as commonplace as its investigation is futile — if not dangerous.