Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Democrat's empty torture rhetoric

You have to laugh when history comes back to bite those that try to rewrite it, or forget it completely. On the issue of torture, Democrats are quick to point fingers at the Bush administration, and scream "war criminal!" They consistently claim that the administration was conducting torture on the enemies we caught on the battlefield. Of course to believe that one would have to agree on their definition of torture, which we don't. (For the record, we don't think waterboarding is torture.)

Like I said, it sucks for them when history slaps them in the face and in today's Wall Street Journal the editors drop the history book on the Democrat's collective head:

Beginning in 2002, Nancy Pelosi and other key Democrats (as well as Republicans) on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees were thoroughly, and repeatedly, briefed on the CIA's covert antiterror interrogation programs. They did nothing to stop such activities, when they weren't fully sanctioning them. If they now decide the tactics they heard about then amount to abuse, then by their own logic they themselves are complicit. Let's review the history the political class would prefer to forget.

According to our sources and media reports we've corroborated, the classified briefings began in the spring of 2002 and dealt with the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, a high-value al Qaeda operative captured in Pakistan. In succeeding months and years, more than 30 Congressional sessions were specifically devoted to the interrogation program and its methods, including waterboarding and other aggressive techniques designed to squeeze intelligence out of hardened detainees like Zubaydah.

The briefings were first available to the Chairmen and ranking Members of the Intelligence Committees. From 2003 through 2006, that gang of four included Democrats Bob Graham and John D. Rockefeller in the Senate and Jane Harman in the House, as well as Republicans Porter Goss, Peter Hoekstra, Richard Shelby and Pat Roberts. Senior staffers were sometimes present. After September 2006, when President Bush publicly acknowledged the program, the interrogation briefings were opened to the full committees.

If Congress wanted to kill this program, all it had to do was withhold funding. And if Democrats thought it was illegal or really found the CIA's activities so heinous, one of them could have made a whistle-blowing floor statement under the protection of the Constitution's speech and debate clause. They'd have broken their secrecy oaths and jeopardized national security, sure. But if they believed that Bush policies were truly criminal, didn't they have a moral obligation to do so? In any case, the inevitable media rapture over their anti-Bush defiance would have more than compensated.

Ms. Harman did send a one-page classified letter in February 2003 listing her equivocal objections to the interrogation program. She made her letter public in January 2008 after the CIA revealed that it had destroyed some interrogation videotapes. After lauding the CIA's efforts "in the current threat environment," she noted that "what was described raises profound policy questions and I am concerned about whether these have been as rigorously examined as the legal questions." Ms. Harman also vaguely wondered whether "these practices are consistent with the principles and policies of the United States," but she did not condemn them as either torture or illegal.

This wasn't the only time a politician filed an inconsequential expression of anti-antiterror protest. Mr. Rockefeller famously wrote a letter to Vice President Dick Cheney objecting to warrantless wiretapping, but then stuck it (literally) in a drawer. Like Ms. Harman, only after the program was exposed did he reveal his missive to show he'd been opposed all along, though he'd done nothing about it.

According to Mr. Goss, some Members at the time even wondered if our terror fighters were harsh enough as they tried to extract potentially live-saving information. Mr. Goss, who later served as CIA director from 2004 to 2006, told the Washington Post in 2007 that, "Among those being briefed, there was a pretty full understanding of what the CIA was doing. And the reaction in the room was not just approval, but encouragement."

And no wonder. The context at the time was that the government knew very little about international terror networks and further strikes inside the U.S. seemed possible. That the U.S. has so far prevented another attack is due in part to the human information that interrogations have elicited. To have some politicized panel second-guess this now that the public mood has changed would be a more dangerous replay of the Frank Church Committee of the 1970s, which damaged CIA capabilities for years. Now that Mr. Panetta and Admiral Blair will be responsible for keeping the U.S. safe and for maintaining the morale of our spooks, we can't imagine why they would want such a political spectacle.

The real -- the only -- point of this "truth" exercise is to smear Bush Administration officials and coax foreign prosecutors into indicting them if Mr. Obama's Justice Department refuses. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees already possess the relevant facts, and Senator Carl Levin and his staff have spent two-and-a-half years looking at mountains of documents -- with nothing to show for it.

If Mr. Panetta doesn't want to go down as another Frank Church or (Carter-era CIA Director) Stansfield Turner, he'll tell his fellow Democrats to drop their "torture" vendetta against intelligence officials who were acting in good faith and with the full knowledge of key Members of Congress.

Democrats wail and gnash their teeth over the fact that we did engage in some harsh tactics to keep this nation safe. Why, we have no clue because without those methods the United States would have likely been hit again. Honestly, if being a little heavy-handed will get us the needed information from these animals I say drag out the rack and thumbscrews.

But the editors are correct in labeling this what it is which is nothing more than a witch-hunt against President Bush and his administration. They don't want the light shined on their culpability on this issue because it makes them look like hypocrites. They cry out that they tried to warn people, and yet they did nothing about it. A letter to Cheney left in a drawer? Yep, we're sure that reached the vice president's desk. A letter questioning the methods but not condemning them? Yes, Representative Harman, that'll show them. This whole circus is asinine.

Again, we'd have to agree with Democrats on their definition of torture, which we don't. We'd prefer that our interrogators were a little harsher than what they are. (Just take a look at how the detainees at Gitmo are treated with their free prayer rugs, Korans, and religiously-inoffensive meals.) Not that what goes on down in Gitmo is bad, per se, but you can't make nice with these animals. They'll kill us in the long run. We're in the middle of a war with an enemy that hates us because we're not followers of the infamous "religion of pieces." (We use "pieces" because it's far more accurate; cue the bomb blast now, please?) We can't reason with them. We can't negotiate with them. They understand only one thing -- force.

So if there are any prosecutions that occur from the "torture" we've engaged in, we suggest the governors in the respective states get ready to appoint a ton of vacancies because Congress is just as complicit as the president; moreso due to the fact that they didn't do anything to stop it. They wrote meaningless letters. And they wrote those letters only after they questioned those giving the briefings if the interrogators were being harsh enough in the extraction of real-time, necessary intelligence. If the president goes down for this issue (which he won't) then Congress needs to be indicted right along with him.

Publius II

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