Monday, April 20, 2009

Who's Torturing Who?

SBD was out of sorts when he discovered that the Obama administration had released DOJ memorandums detailing the efforts of our intelligence agencies to prevent another Al Qaeda attack on the United States and the murder of American men, women, and children. He was even more disgusted to find that one of the memos entailed a detailed discussion of the use of insects – yes insects - against a particularly tough nut named Abu Zubaydah, who has a fear of insects. Now, SBD thought at first that CIA interrogators wanted to tie Mr. Zubaydah down to stakes in the desert near a fire ant colony. No such luck. Instead, the debate centered on the introduction of a single insect into a small holding cell, with the CIA interrogators telling Mr. Zubaydah that it was a stinging insect. The DOJ made it clear to the CIA that it could not use an actual stinging insect and they intimated they may have had trouble with the idea of lying to Mr. Zubaydah to make him believe that the insect was of a stinging type. The insect torture was never employed.

We now learn that we waterboarded Mr. Zubaydah 83 times in one month, although it’s not clear if that was before or after the failed insect consideration. The media has us believing that people “break” after one round of the bucket because several intrepid asshats, er reporters, have volunteered during sweeps week to be waterboarded and after doing so have declared that, if they were terrorist masterminds, they would fold like a Connecticut hedge fund in 2008. Perhaps.

We also learn that Khalid Sheik Mohammad, aka Fat Fuck, the confessed mastermind of the September 11, 2001 crime against humanity, was waterboarded 183 times during March 2003. Fat Fuck was captured in Pakistan on March 1, 2003, so apparently we wasted no time. 183 is a big number, and of course our innumerate society has difficulty with big numbers, as they shock and titillate. We are supposed to believe that “the law” was broken 182 times or even half that many times. But the lawyers had carefully prescribed the use of waterboarding to a certain number of minutes in a 24 hour period. Even Fat Fuck has stated that he was waterboarded five times. Whatever, SBD is not going to do the math himself to figure out how the interrogators used their allotted waterboarding time and how 183 “times” makes sense. He doesn’t fucking care. The point is the Fat Fuck broke and revealed a great deal of information that confirmed known knowns, revealed known unknowns and helped frame some unknown unknowns, as one crank once put it. Mission accomplished. But ongoing.

SBD does care that our enemies now know what our limits are. It’s no longer a scary rumor about those blood-crazed, revenge-driven crusader Americans with secret prisons, but about those legalistic, lily-livered, flop sweating mother-may-I pansy Americans discussing whether or not the use of a non-poisonous bug against an entomophobic islamo-fascist terrorist makes us all Nazi storm troopers.

SBD also cares that Americans are not getting the complete picture of how the Bush administration may have saved some of their butts with the information obtained from Fat Fuck. Even former Vice President Dick Cheney is asking for declassification of some memos that provide that type of information. It’s called context. If Mr. Obama is such a believer in full disclosure, than let’s have full disclosure. Let’s hear about what was at stake. But it’s all a sideshow and distraction, as if we are still not hunted day and night by the worst sorts of America haters. We are still at war.

SBD would prefer if no damn memos saw the light of day. Intelligence is a dark art that should stay dark. SBD would prefer that the information be revealed in a some summertime beach reading when he is well into retirement 30 years hence. Releasing this information makes it easier for some dickwad to ruin SBD’s retirement.

One of the adults who used to be in a position of responsibility, former CIA director Michael Hayden, stated it plainly and without profanity on Fox News with Chris Wallace:

I think that teaching our enemies our outer limits, by taking techniques off the table, we have made it more difficult in a whole host of circumstances I can imagine, more difficult for CIA officers to defend the nation.

There's another point, too, that I have to make. And it's just not the tactical effect of this technique or that. It's the broader effect on CIA officers.

I mean, if you're a current CIA officer today — in fact, I know this has happened at the agency after the release of these documents. Officers are saying, "The things I'm doing now — will this happen to me in five year because of the things I am doing now?"

And the answer they've been given by senior leadership is the only answer possible, which is, "I can't guarantee you that won't happen, but I do know it won't happen under this president." Now, think what that means.

The basic foundation of the legitimacy of the agency's action has shifted from some durability of law to a product of the American political process. That puts agency officers in a horrible position.

So I think the really dangerous effect of this, Chris, is that you will have agency officers stepping back from the kinds of things that the nation expects them to do. I mean, if you were to go to an agency officer today and say, "Go do this," and, "Why am I authorized to do this?"

And I say, "Well, it's authorized by the president. The attorney general says it's lawful. And it's been briefed to Congress." That agency officer's going to say, "Yeah, I know, but I see what's going on here now. Have you run it by the ACLU? What's the New York Times editorial board think? Have you discussed this with any potential presidential candidates?"

You're going to have this agency on the front line of defending you in this current war playing back from the line.

In addition to making an ass of himself and the United States during his little jaunt to the Southern hemisphere this past week, which is so beautifully treated here by Heritage's Ray Walser, Mr. Obama has damaged this country’s intelligence gathering capabilities by allowing the release of this information. It’s all part of the grand plan, though. It’s part of Mr. Obama’s Great Moral Washing of the corrupted American soul; Act I in Mr. Obama’s Making Amends Musical Tour of the world. This performance will be a protracted affair with no intermission and no water breaks. Absolute torture.

Fresh from that trip, and after throwing the Agency under the bus, the Man Child running the country had the gall to visit the CIA today and stand before the Wall of Stars and tell the assembled CIA employees to not let his predations on their work distract them. "I know the last few days have been difficult," he said. "You need to know you've got my full support."

Uh, huh.

This man receives a daily briefing of the terrors arrayed against this country. He does not do what he does and does not say what he says in ignorance. It's all in foolishness and arrogance. As with every other action of his, he seeks to damage this country, to declare it's sins (they're not his!), to bring it low, and when he is ready and it is deserving, he will raise it up and save it.

The kid's a punk. A dangerous punk.