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President Obama Tortured By Waffling On Interrogation

Some pundits that are reliably sympathetic to the Obama administration are finally coming around on the bizarre stance the President has taken on the use of aggressive interrogation tactics by the CIA. Mike Allen at the Politico notes:

President Barack Obama's attempt to project legal and moral clarity on coercive CIA interrogation methods has instead done the opposite -- creating confusion and political vulnerability over an issue that has inflamed both the left and right.

In the most recent instance, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair acknowledged in a memo to the intelligence community that Bush-era interrogation practices yielded had "high-value information," then omitted that admission from a public version of his assessment.

That leaves a top Obama administration official appearing to validate claims by former Vice President Dick Cheney that waterboarding and other techniques the White House regards as torture were effective in preventing terrorist attacks. And the press release created the impression the administration was trying to suppress this conclusion.

As is his habit, the president wants to have it both ways on this issue and his administration finds itself taking heat from both sides of the political spectrum. That's a good thing because an open debate on the issue of aggressive interrogation will put the world on notice that Americans favor it if they believe their safety is at risk. Allen gets to the heart of the question with this point:

The implications go beyond a typical Washington spat over "message control." Obama's moves virtually guarantee a sharp public focus on two uncomfortable questions that his team previously sought to leave vague:

*Should people be tried and even sent to prison--as many Democrats want--for what Obama regards as illegal practices under Bush?

*Even if wrong, did those practices have any positive results in stopping new attacks?


Those are the questions that will be turning over in the minds of Americans that consider national security a priority. It's apparent that the Obama administration knows the answer to the second question and therein is the dilemma. How to placate the fever swamp on the Left while protecting the country against attack? Unfortunately for Candidate Obama it requires the choosing of sides, a reality that George W Bush quickly grasped when he soldiered on at the expense of his popularity.

As the image of Candidate Obama becomes murkier by the day the actions of President Obama bring into focus a man that was clearly not properly vetted during the campaign. Jennifer Rubin notes that cross over voters may be beginning to have second thoughts about President Obama because they are finally discovering who he is, which is "(not) the Agent of Change (but) the center of the swamp". As voters learn more about this President they become less enthralled. We may be witnessing one of the quickest flameouts in political history. If the economy doesn't turn significantly by the forth quarter of this year BO may become a lame duck by 2010 midterms.


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Comments (21)

BO is already a lame duck. ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

BO is already a lame duck. You can count on a lot of "Axel-turfing" as the next election cycle nears.

I'm not getting it. There h... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:

I'm not getting it. There has to be some technique to force combatants to reveal information. In the current climate (being that the combatants think that they have God Himself on their side), those techniques have to be very forceful. Waterboarding makes the combatant think he's drowning--so what? Has anyone actually drowned?
Make the combatant think that his hand will be cut off (think Casino).
Interrogation has to be rough--there's no other way.
Show me that the US actually drowned someone or cut somebody's hand off, then we'll talk.
Welcome to the real world, Chairman Zero. Our enemies are real. Figure out a way to beat them.

That leaves a top Obama ... (Below threshold)
SkyBlue:

That leaves a top Obama administration official appearing to validate claims by former Vice President Dick Cheney that waterboarding and other techniques the White House regards as torture were effective in preventing terrorist attacks.

DJ,

Read ths statement released by Dennis Blair and tell me if he is validating that torture was effctive.

"The information gained from these techniques was valuable in some instances, but there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means. The bottom line is these techniques have hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security" - Dennis Blair
great minds.... sort of thi... (Below threshold)

great minds.... sort of think along the same lines

A fisherman is likely to ca... (Below threshold)
SkyBlue:

A fisherman is likely to catch some fish using a torn net. But that does not mean using a torn net is an affective way of fishing. As you will catch more fish using a net that is not torn.

Torture is like fishing with a torn net. You will get some vaid information. But that does not prove it is affective.

Torture is like fi... (Below threshold)
Torture is like fishing with a torn net. You will get some vaid information. But that does not prove it is affective.

Hilarious.

Waterboarding makes the ... (Below threshold)
SkyBlue:

Waterboarding makes the combatant think he's drowning--so what?

If that's the case than why was waterboarding used on one person 183 times. How many times can you waterboard the same person before he realizes he is not going to drown?

Has anyone actually drowned?

Maybe, some of the prisoners have died while being tortured. This much has been acknowledged. But the details have not been released so we don't know.

Skyblue, you are plain nuts... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Skyblue, you are plain nuts.

Barry's doctrine is release the terrorists from Guantanamo and prosecute the civilians that kept us safe. Do I have it now? ww

"Torture is like fishing wi... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

"Torture is like fishing with a torn net. You will get some vaid information. But that does not prove it is affective." (sic)

OK, SkyBlue, if I accept that this is true, what intelligence gathering mechanisms fit your metaphor of fishing with a net that is not torn?


If that's the case th... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:

If that's the case than [sic] why was waterboarding used on one person 183 times. How many times can you waterboard the same person before he realizes he is not going to drown?
Then, I suppose, it becomes even less of a "torture" technique.
"Waterboarding again?"
Is any unpleasantness during questioning to be abandoned?

Maybe, some of the prisoners have died while being tortured. This much has been acknowledged. But the details have not been released so we don't know.

If you can't drown someone in 183 waterboarding sessions, then, I suggest, you can't drown someone during a waterboarding session. Hell's bells, let's spread the news that waterboarding kills. Then we'll get even more information.
Like Cheney says--let's look at the results obtained.

While the editors and linke... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

While the editors and linked authors are tweaking in the front parlor guarding against fake mailmen, is the back door still unlocked? Anybody?

Because Congress is liable to JUST BARGE IN like wild Indians swinging subpoenas like tomahawks and stealing your livers.

Obama might do a cameo as "Sage Man", the peace chief. We know how that works in the script, but it adds humanity to the Indians.

OK, SkyBlue, if I accept... (Below threshold)
SkyBlue:

OK, SkyBlue, if I accept that this is true, what intelligence gathering mechanisms fit your metaphor of fishing with a net that is not torn?

DaveD,

I'll provide you with some links to the National Defense Intelligence College website. The Department of Defense chartered the college in 1962. Admission is restricted to employees in the federal government that hold Top Secret security clearances. They offer degrees in intelligence gathering and educate future intelligence leaders in the Armed Services, the US Combatant Commands, and the Departments and agencies of the intelligence and homeland security communities.

It is a reliable source of information and it is not run by liberals, I highly suggest you check it out.

Here is a link to their publications.

This link compares the techiques used in World War II, Vietnam and Iraq.

skyblue - Maybe, some o... (Below threshold)
marc:

skyblue - Maybe, some of the prisoners have died while being tortured. This much has been acknowledged. But the details have not been released so we don't know

All your links are nice, but before I wade thru them might you give one to the assertion that "prisoners have died while being tortured."

And don't give me any cockamamie stories about other nations killing people, U.S. only and confine them to the last say... 15 years.

If they can't be produced just go away.

skyblue - Maybe, some of th... (Below threshold)
retired military:

skyblue - Maybe, some of the prisoners have died while being tortured. This much has been acknowledged. But the details have not been released so we don't know

So in short. We dont know. You nitwit. What has been acknowledged? That someone may have died? Who acknowledged that SOMEONE MAY HAVE DIED? Hell anyone can say SOMOENE MAY HAVE DIED. Oh but we dont know. In short, you have zero proof, and nothing but an accusation.

Hey I have a signed affadivit from Obama that says noone died from torture and that you are a nitwit.

Prove me wrong.


SkyblueNot sure what... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Skyblue
Not sure what your point of your links. Surely you are not claiming soft techniques don't allow intelligence to slip through. Your link is from three undergraduate students. From what I saw they didn't do a fair comparison between soft and harsh techniques. They recited a few opinion comments from a few individual. Do you put much value in a Democrat Congressman commenting on Bush? After that they pretty much recite some buzz phrases and say what some consider are idea candidates for our general style of interrogation. Even our "soft" style has harsh methods in them.

If you want to know how effective torture interrogation then you need to go to sources that have used them. Many who have don't want to discuss it. One exception is Russia and they have said that it does indeed work. Like any interrogation, there are methods to make it work and methods that are ineffective.

Be careful when listening to American train interrogators. They are a product of their training. Many are taught that their methods is the best method and are told things to help keep them from trying others methods. This is natural of any training, martial arts, sports, business techniques, etc. Although I trust the instructors that are more open minded but understand the benefit of strict discipline techniques.

As I say many times before, I believe the American model is the best approach for the vast majority of the cases. However I recognize that there are times to deviate from it. As long as we don't deviate from it too often, we should be find and will have little impact with our general reputation.

Anybody want to respond to ... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Anybody want to respond to jmc's comment (#16)? Anybody?

HyperI will take y... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Hyper

I will take you up on your challenge and I expect you to answer mine.

a. From what I read, what was done to the individual was wrong, and against the law. The people who did it should be punished along with any who condoned it.

b. There is no proof that even remotely high up the chain of command that this was condoned.

c. If it had been condoned at even the star (general level) I doubt the coroner's report would not have been as accurate as it apparantly was unless the MAJ wanted a quick end to her career (yes things like this happen on occasion and generally they end up with officers getting relieved and or in jail).

Now that I have responded to your statement respond to mine.

Why is killing an unborn innocent child, especially those in the middle and last trimesters) who can fully feel pain, have developed brains, hearts, muscles, limbs, fingers, toes, etc not considered torture but having a terrorist stand up for long periods of time in a broom closet is considered torture? Why does the killing of the unborn children not matter a wit to the left as long as it is allowed to happen but a terrorists getting stuck in a closet with a bug sends the left shrieking about torture. Why does the death of a million unborn children a year not matter a wit to the left and yet waterboarding does and is fully known by the democrats in Congress at the time it is going on yet is now a problem.

Your response to my questions hyper.

BTW HyperD. It wa... (Below threshold)
retired military:

BTW Hyper

D. It wasnt mentioned in post 15 that at least 3 of the soldiers were brought up on charges.

Also if the soldiers who were involved had been involved in antiwar marches and / or stop loss I am sure that the left would come rushing to their defense saying that the evil Bush made them stay when they didnt want to, yada yada yada.

BTW I dont feel proud at al... (Below threshold)
retired military:

BTW I dont feel proud at all of that hyper.

THe same way I dont feel proud of politicians espousing that abortion is good and a right.

BryanD is right. All those ... (Below threshold)
maggie:

BryanD is right. All those commitments
have expiration dates, and the back door
probably isn't locked.

Whatcha talkin bout Willis?... (Below threshold)
Elmo:

Whatcha talkin bout Willis? (BO may become a lame duck by 2010 midterms) ... I can already hear the quacking. And the reason why it in fact, will be a very looong four years.




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