“We know that the most aggressive tactic ever authorized was waterboarding, which was used in only three cases against hardened, high-ranking al Qaeda operatives, including Abu Zubaydah after he was picked up in Pakistan in 2002. As for ‘stress positions’ allowed for a time by the Pentagon, such as hooding, sleep deprivation or exposure to heat and cold, they are psychological techniques designed to break a detainee, but light years away from actual torture.” [WSJ 12.19.08]
We have heard the endless drumbeat from the Left for years: Bush and Cheney are war criminals. They torture people. We should be ashamed. They should be prosecuted.
Never you mind about the facts and the truth. Bush and Cheney are already convicted by many people in D.C., in media, and in the minds of many average citizens. Repeat something frequently enough and it becomes the accepted narrative, like global warming is man-made, evolution defies the existence of God, capitalism is inherently evil, and so are Republicans, the war in Iraq is illegal, the surge failed, it’s a civil war, the war is lost.
Now comes a comprehensive report in the WSJ shining light of various facts that, when taken together, present an entirely different picture than the ones painted by the NY Times, Salon, Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and MSNBC and the rest.
For instance, in the Dec. 19 article The Real ‘Torture’ Disgrace, the WSJ reports:
“Not one of the 12 nonpartisan investigations in recent years concluded that the Administration condoned or tolerated detainee abuse, while multiple courts martial have punished real offenders. None of the dozen or so Abu Ghraib trials and investigations have implicated higher ups; the most senior officer charged, a lieutenant colonel, was acquitted in 2006. Former Defense Secretary Jim Schlesinger’s panel concluded that the abuses were sadistic behavior by the ‘night shift.’ ”
Nonetheless, Sen. Carl Levin is pressing for further investigation and prosecution of Administration officials, claiming Bush and Cheney pushed for torture in defiance of American Law and Geneva Convention rights, denying terror suspects their legal rights and committing illegal and immoral acts of interrogation abuse.
Never mind the facts do not bear any of this out.
Furthermore, even Obama’s nominee for attorney general, Eric Holder, was agreeing with the Administration that terrorists do not qualify under Geneva stipulations.
“Nearly every element of this (Levin’s) narrative is dishonest. As officials testified during Mr. Levin’s hearings and according to documents in his possession, senior officials were responding to requests from the CIA and other commanders in the field. The flow was bottom up, not top down. Those commanders were seeking guidance on what kind of interrogation was permissible as they tried to elicit information from enemies who want to murder civilians. At the time, no less than Barack Obama’s Attorney General nominee, Eric Holder, was saying that terrorists didn’t qualify for Geneva protections.
“This was the context in which the Justice Department wrote the so-called ”torture memos’ of 2002 and 2003. You’d never know from the Levin jeremiad that these are legal — not policy — documents. They are attempts not to dictate interrogation guidelines but to explore the legal limits of what the CIA might be able to do.
“It would have been irresponsible for those charged with antiterror policy to do anything less. In a 2007 interview former CIA director George Tenet described the urgency of that post-9/11 period: ‘I’ve got reports of nuclear weapons in New York City, apartment buildings that are going to be blown up, planes that are going to fly into airports all over again . . . Plot lines that I don’t know — I don’t know what’s going on inside the United States.’ Actionable intelligence is the most effective weapon in the war on terror, which can potentially save thousands of lives.”
Saving American lives was the business of the Bush Administration from 9/11 forward. Protecting the country was the priority. The success of their efforts on our behalf is obvious, and as thanks, Sen. Levin and others prepare to prosecute. What a disgrace.
Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to prosecute the following for sedition: Harry Reid, John Murtha, Dick Durban, Carl Levin, John Kerry, Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi, to name a few?
The same WSJ report reveals the duplicity of Congress:
“Starting in 2002, key Congressional leaders, including Democrats, were fully briefed by the CIA about its activities, amounting to some 30 sessions before “torture” became a public issue. None of them saw fit to object. In fact, Congress has always defined torture so vaguely as to ban only the most extreme acts and preserve legal loopholes.
At least twice it has had opportunity to specifically ban waterboarding and be accountable after some future attack. Members declined.”
Obama has said he will look into prosecuting Bush administration officials and Levin welcomes the establishment of a commission to lay the ground work for such prosecutions.
The WSJ again:
“Obama and Holder would be foolish to spend their political capital on revenge, but Mr. Levin is demanding an ‘independent’ commission to further politicize the issue and smear decent public servants.”
Perhaps the new administration will determine we have better things to do than punish the very people who’ve worked hard for seven years protecting us from further attack, but then again, expecting non-partisan reasonable policy out of D.C. is comparable to expecting terrorists to give us information because we ask real nice, pretty please.