Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dilemma


Boy, talk about your rock and your hard place.

Torture-loving RWS™ are falling all over themselves to claim that it was torture that led to discovering OBL. And yet here is their hero, their poster-boy, near-drowning them, as it were, in cold water:
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tells Newsmax the information that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden was obtained through “normal interrogation approaches” and says the notion that terrorist suspects were waterboarded at Guantanamo Bay is a “myth.”

Rumsfeld also claims that elements of Pakistani intelligence could have been complicit in hiding the terrorist mastermind, asserts that his killing exonerates George W. Bush’s approach to fighting terrorism, and warns that terrorists will likely try to avenge bin Laden's death with new attacks against America or its allies.

Now, of course we understand that Rumsfeld is trying to cover his own ass, North, South, East, and West. But it's a hard sell to say there was no harsh interrogation of the guy that led to the guy that led to the guy, and to claim vindication of Bush's approach. Other than torture and renditions (and unnecessary mismanaged wars), what was Bush's "approach," and how did it play any sort of unique role in the operation? (And -- need it be said -- we know torture has led to false information -- lies that justified invading Iraq, for one. About "good" information obtained through torture, we'll never know if it could have been obtained through acceptable methods. Other than experts, over and over, saying it could.)

Almost gotta feel sorry for the Donald, and for those trying to make the argument: that much bending into non-anatomical positions must be pretty painful. (Bonus viewing of Rumobushian intelligence-gathering here.)

But the ass-heading is is full force; it'll continue unabated until history is fully re-written, packaged in tea bags, dipped and drunk and retained like fluid in the belly of an alcoholic. And it will be. Oh yes, it will.


6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dr. Sid,
Thought you might be interested in yesterday's Rumsfeld interview. I think his position is pretty clear.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDcbiZBwdzw

Regards,
PT

Sid Schwab said...

Well, I guess you can take your choice: what he said in a moment of candor, or what he said later, when the horror of his truth-telling got to him.

And, either way, I'd hardly call Rumsfeld an unimpeachable (would that he'd been...) source of truth, historically speaking.

You can take your pick of experts: the RWS™ are committed to defending war crimes, and there are plenty of people saying what they want to hear. And there are others, pointing out the time lines that don't comport with the claims, the fact that KSM was boarded 180+ times and still gave an erroneous name.

And no one can say for sure who said what, and when; moreover, none can say what info would or would not have been obtained, and whether it'd have been sooner than 180+ episodes, from "normal" interrogation techniques. But it's undeniable that false information was obtained from torture; and that the main use of torture over the centuries has been to obtain false confessions.

If torture was such an important cog in the process, I wonder why it took another six years to put it all together...

Finally: anything said on Hannity's show is a lie until proven otherwise. Hannity lies like he breathes: falsely edits video; makes outrageous claims, such as yesterday when he said that Obama's going into Pakistan is "the exact opposite" of what he said when he campaigned for office. He's perhaps the most pathetic of them all, because he's not only a liar, like all of them, but he's demonstrably dumb, the dumbest of them all, except, perhaps, for a certain former half-term quitter.

Other than that, I'd say we're on the same page.

Sid Schwab said...

This is worth a read, too, PT.

Anonymous said...

Interesting article. Thanks for sharing.

Unfortunately, neither of us knows the extent of real, non-public information that was gathered as a result, either immediate or distant, of the harsh interrogation techniques. It will likely be a source of contention for some time. Without access to all of the information gained, I'm refusing to choose a side of the debate.

Knowing that intel is often not shared with the public, how can you be so without doubt of the non-efficacy of "enhanced interrogation techniques"?

Regards,
PT

p.s. The article you posted mentioned that the person who provided the key piece of information leading to OBL was captured in Iraq. Maybe there really were some "shenanigans" goin on in Iraq?

Sid Schwab said...

My opinion is based mostly on what I've read and seen from experts, and not ones trying to cover their asses for having committed what have been recognized (by the US, too) as war crimes.

I don't doubt that torture can produce information, some of which would be true and useful. But I also understand that it produces false information, like that which led to the so-called WMD held by Saddam. And experts say other techniques are as effective, and more reliable.

I also think torture diminishes us as a nation, and potentially destroys those who perform it.

So: unreliable, unethical, and no better -- according to experts -- than acceptable techniques.

As to the specifics of this situation, I agree with you, and have said it: we don't know.

Sid Schwab said...

PS, PT: Here's the thing about torture that ought to give you pause. Traditionally, it's used by despots to coerce false confessions. At that, it excels.

So whereas I assume you don't worry about an upstanding and honorable guy like former president Cheney using torture, I'd think the idea of a terrorist like Barack Obama having authority to use it would scare the crap out of you.

Think of him rounding up guys like you, getting them to confess to believing in gay marriage, and then releasing them in the middle of a crowd of armed teabaggers.

Republican suspicion of government power, and love of torture. Seems sort of incompatible, don't you think? (Of course, we both know that R suspicion of government power only applies to when they're not in power.)

Oh, and yeah, there sure as hell were shenanigans in Iraq; when Bush turned it into a lawless refuge for al Queda... Right?

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