Tuesday, December 09, 2014
The Real Torture Is The Lies,Selective Amnesia And Scramble For Political Cover
The Democrat-dominated Senate Intelligence committee finally made public its report on the CIA’s interrogation policy during the Bush years. There was no credible reason to make this report public,since the Justice Department has already investigated this not once but twice and failed to file any charges.
These incidents of enhanced interrogation - which hardly constitute torture in any case,given the circumstances - occurred over a decade ago. Members of America's security establishment, including Democrats Leon Panetta and former CIA Director George Tenet were emphatic in their opposition to this report being released publicly because of the danger to national security. Releasing this and allowing the Professional Left and the media to go crazy has provided what amounts to a primer for jihadis in what to expect from American interrogators and what to claim was done to them in the future. It intimidates those men charged with interrogating known terrorists and makes them less effective and it endangers personnel serving overseas as well as to American prisoners in and the hands of Islamic State and elsewhere. As Colonel Ralph Peters and others put it, it amounted to aid and comfort to America's enemies..or would if we were actually in a declared war.
So why release this publicly now? Simple, really. It accomplishes three things. First it provides political cover for Democrats who were fully briefed about the enhanced interrogation techniques at the time and who now claim they knew nothing, particularly Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, wielding the gavel for the last time and Senator Jay D. Rockefeller IV from West Virginia who is now leaving the senate. The second reason is to afvance the narrative beloved by the Left, that America is always guilty. And that leads to the third reason, score settling with the CIA, and crippling it so that it no longer can function. The rest of the Democrats on the committee are either lame ducks on their way out who no longer care or hard edged members of the Left like Ron Wyden and Barbara Mikulski, who have always hated things like the CIA as a matter of principle.
Senator Rockefeller has been known to try this sort of thing before, and as it happens, there's a clear record he was fully briefed on all of this at the time. Senator Feinstein's record of selective memory on this is almost as laughable as her California colleague Nancy Pelosi's.
Yes, they knew, and just picked a convenient time to drop the bomb.
None of the Republicans on the committee participated in this dangerous nonsense and exercise in political thuggery,not even Susan Collins. This committee report was exclusively a Democrat project.
NBC's chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel was fairly blunt about this, to the point where I'm surprised it got on the air:
I think this is really about changing the narrative of American history. This process went on, it was a brutal process. It was legal at the time, whether it should have been legal or not, I think, is highly debatable. It was legal at the time. The CIA was asked to do it. The CIA was passing on its intelligence to the President. So everyone in the world knew what was going on, including by the way, the Senate, which is now pretending to be a bit of a babe in the woods. They knew what was going on at the time and in many cases were quite happy with the intelligence they were getting.
I think this is about rewriting the narrative of history. When we look back, how are we going to remember the period? Are we going to remember a period in which the rogue evil CIA was beating people, in some cases to death, and the politicians didn't know about it? Or are we going to look back and say the politicians were plenty aware of this, the CIA beat people to death, and then Senate tried to come out and say, "Well, you know, we didn't know anything about it," and trying to wash their hands of the situation? And to be honest, I think it's a little bit of the latter.
Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., a 31-year CIA veteran who ran the program reiterated this in an outspoken editorial today in the Washington Post. Not only was congress fully briefed, but they actually urged the Agency to do whatever it took to defeat al-Qaeda in the days after 9/11.
Like most essentially disloyal and self serving politicos, they were more than willing for far braver men and women to do what was needed to protect them..just as they are now willing to disparage their efforts and put the lives of others at risk for their own personal gain and false narrative.
Not only that,but a bi-partisan group of former CIA heads and intelligence personnel, in anticipation of this nonsense have actually put together a response and a website to give a true picture of what actually went on, and to rebut the more egregious of the report's accusations.
The allegations themselves? A lot of them are second and third hand accounts of supposed misdeeds that remind me a lot of the sort of 'evidence' used in failed attempts to try to court martial and imprison the Camp Pendleton 8 or those three Navy Seals who performed a hazardous mission to capture the terrorist in charge of murdering four Americans in Falluja. But briefly, what the media frenzy is about here is that in order to save American lives, our CIA interrogators and others (of course, the report only mentions and attacks the CIA) water boarded known terrorists, kept them in stress positions for long periods of time, subjected them to sleep deprivation, and at times allegedly threatened their loved ones to induce them to give intelligence on what were imminent threats to American lives.
Oh, the humanity!
I've actually explored the subject of torture before, back when Attorney General Eric Holder released the so-called 'torture memos' which came to nothing except to seriously lower the morale and efficiency of the men tasked with interrogating America's enemies and to inform al-Qaeda and other jihadis about our interrogation techniques and the limits placed on our interrogators:
The problem with most physical torture is that it can be incredibly inefficient much of the time. Given an individual with a sufficiently strong will, it can take hours, days, months or even years to accomplish the desired end.
Combining the administration of drugs like sodium penathol, baradanga, and sodium amytal with a skilled interrogator is normally quicker, more efficient and easier on the basement janitorial crew afterwards. It also eliminates the nasty problem of false confessions and information that sometimes tends to go with the territory when you get your answers by using an electric drill on somebody's hands. However, there's no doubt that waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques can work quite well, especially when a threat is imminent and time is of the essence. And they're useful tools as psychological threats to promote cooperation, even if the techniques themselves aren't used.
I'll even go a step further and let you know that if I thought a jihadi had knowledge of an imminent attack (which turned out to be the case with Khalid Sheik Mohammed and probably with others)and I was in a position to make the call, I'd have done exactly the same thing and perhaps even gone a bit further. American lives matter, to use a slightly different version of a popular slogan out there these days.
When I wrote that five years ago, I suggested that what was really needed was a covert, clear policy that could be invoked in situations when information is needed quickly and American lives are at stake as well as suggesting a few other non-violent but effective psychological techniques that could be used in such cases.
Of course, this being the era of Obama, nothing like that has even been considered, let alone implemented.
For now, this sordid attempt at revisionism and political kabuki theater will of course be front page news,pushed by the usual suspects. Of course, none of those usual suspects is going to blame these senators and their accomplices - I can think of no more appropriate word - when and if we get hit with a major terrorist strike in the future.
Nor will they want anyone to make the connection that it happened because we missed out on operational intelligence because our CIA was handcuffed in how it gathered information, or because our interrogators were too intimidated to question jihadis in custody with sufficient vigor to save American lives.
Instead, they'll be looking to blame someone else. Anybody else.
UPDATE: The Committee's Republicans were unanimous is disputing this report's findings. In fact, they have filed a minority rebuttal disputing it in detail.