Friday, April 17, 2009

"A Dark and Painful Chapter"

"Former Bush officials slam release of torture memos".

That from an AFP headline today. Note the casual use of the term "torture". Over the past seven years, this verbal contrivance has been thrust upon the American public by the left and its media enablers. It is disingenuous, deceitful, purposely inflammatory, misleading, propagandistic and it empowers our enemies. "Torture" is the slur that liberals have labeled Bush administration attempts to obtain critical, lifesaving intelligence from a handful of unlawful enemy combatants; intelligence that has helped protect our country from attack. "Torture" methods utilized included sleep deprivation, head seizing and holding, and face slapping. By that definition, parents of newborns and consumers being reminded that they could've had a V8 are victims of torture. In one case a caterpillar was placed in the cell of an insect averse captive. Torquemada would surely have been impressed. Only one technique, "waterboarding", even remotely approaches the level of torture. And that was used on only three high value subjects. Much of what we know about al-Queda was learned from one of those three, Khalid Sheik Mohammed.
Perhaps the most appalling lie spread by the left is that coercive interrogations were secretly carried out by the Bush-Rove-Cheney cabal. Here are former CIA director Michael Hayden and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey writing in today's Wall Street Journal.

...the methods used...were disclosed repeatedly in more than 30 congressional briefings and hearings beginning in 2002, and open to all members of the Intelligence Committees of both Houses of Congress beginning in September 2006. Any protestation of ignorance of those details, particularly by members of those committees, is pretense.

I would use a scatological substitute for the more civil term "pretense".

The Obama administration yesterday declassified and released documents relating to the interrogation techniques used by the CIA during the Bush administration. Attorney General Eric Holder also said that the government would not pursue criminal prosecutions of CIA officials involved in those interrogations. Obama, apparently precluding the use of these methods in the future, said that this ends "a dark and painful chapter in our history".

In the WSJ op-ed mentioned above, Hayden and Mukasey excoriate Obama's decision to release this information.

On the Fox News panel last night, Charles Krauthammer and Bill Kristol tore into Obama's decisions. Krauthammer disputed Obama's charcterization of "a dark and painful chapter in our history".

"If I had to weigh the numberless and nameless lives that have been saved by this technique (waterboarding) against the thirty seconds of terror in the eyes of this terrorist, I think the moral choice is easy."

Kristol was sharply critical, accusing Obama of

"moral preening and pandering to the left wing" and saying "It is pathetic to disavow the good faith efforts of the previous administration to protect us that were entirely appropriate".

Kristol contended that if it had wanted to, the Obama administration could have contested the release of the documents and won in court. He mocked Obama's phrasing, "This is a time for reflection", saying

"Isn't that nice. Reflection. We're in the middle of a war! It's not a time for reflection. It's a time to keep the country safe!"

Kristol also blasted the NY Times latest attack on the use of our terrorist surveillance program, noting the "crusade" that that paper continues against a perfectly legal program and the damage that it's done to our security. The latest "controversy" concerns the news that some telephone numbers of innocent Americans were wrongly targeted. Kristol pointed out that there was no harm done and no information was incorrectly used. The Times' story was "utterly ludicrous!"
Saving the best for last, Kristol responded to Mara Liasson who emphasized that Obama was declining to prosecute intelligence personnel who carried out interrogations. Visibly angry, Kristol said,

"It's very big of the President of the United States not to take retribution against patriotic Americans who've been serving the country in the last few years. This is the pass we've come to where we're supposed to be grateful that President Obama isn't going to prosecute CIA agents? Really."

Obama is clearly trying to have it both ways. He knows that he needs to maintain Bush's successful antiterror strategy but he doesn't want to alienate his left wing base. I just hope he understands that the former is much more important than the latter.

There's an excellent essay in the current issue of National Review (April 20) by Andrew McCarthy on the Islamic threat explaining the danger of trying to appease Islamists.

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