Thursday, November 04, 2010
President George W. Bush's book, "Decision Points," is being published next week, and advanced copies have been made available to the press, as Reuters reports:
When then-President George W. Bush was asked to approve a tough interrogation technique known as waterboarding on September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, he wasted little time in deciding.The language that the fictional Col. Jessep uses is eerily similar to the bolded terms above.
"Damn right," he said.
Bush's approval of waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning condemned by human rights activists as torture, to try to wrench information from captured al Qaeda operatives was among the most controversial decisions he made during eight years in the White House....
...In sum, Bush writes, the CIA interrogation program saved lives.
"Had we captured more al Qaeda operatives with significant intelligence value, I would have used the program for them as well," he writes.
The difference, of course, is that Bush did not throw two Marines (or any interrogators) under the bus and try to cover up his involvement in giving the go-ahead. Also, unless you believe soon-to-be-ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the CIA briefed the relevant committees on Capitol Hill, so key legislators were also up to speed with the techniques being employed on a total of three individuals.
I guess it's a good thing that Bush did not see Joe Pesci's work in "Casino," and his inventive use of a vise, and have interrogators go Nicky Santoro on key AQ personnel.
The only problem with this scene is that it's the wrong man delivering these lines. Colonel Jessep's testimony is right on point, especially about the need for honoring and respecting the Marines and everyone who protects us; but it's testimony delivered by a man who has no personal honor.
There's one other difference between President Bush and Colonel Jessep: the president didn't place the lives of the terrorists in danger when he interrogated them. Also, Jessep wasn't faced with a clear and present danger to the United States; he was faced with a Marine who could easily have been handled in a dozen other ways. He ordered him to be "trained" on a whim, not to save anyone's life.
Elijah ... exactly ... Obama is just protected by the media. No one should doubt that we're still waterboarding, still conducting renditions, still doing what needs to be done (but doesn't belong in the national dialogue). He's escalated the war, not the reverse.
Talk to real WW2 vets, pre Geneva Conventions, and if they tell you the truth, they 'did things' they left over there. We're at war, not there to die, but to live, to win, to help others, to affect geopolitical change, etc. I believe that we achieve our objectives without cutting heads off and sending the video to Al Jaz, and treat our prisoners vastly better, even if there are lapses.
"No one should doubt that we're still waterboarding"
Unlikely. Under Bush it was only ever done to three people; big, hard-core targets who were unresponsive to normal interrogation techniques.
1) I doubt we have anyone else who fits that bill in custody, and
2) I also doubt that Obama has the balls to authorize that personally, and if the CIA has any brains they won't do it without such authorization.
I see the point of drawing bright lines and saying "Americans will not do this." I see also the point in defining unacceptable acts under one name, so that "speeding" is called the same thing whether one is going 57 in a 55 zone or 110 through a school zone at 8AM.
But to maintain that waterboarding is equivalent to the great horrors of mankind that also go under the name of torture is to be willfully blind. It is a purely partisan obliviousness to distinction, and chillingly ironic from the side of the political spectrum that will not forbid partial-birth abortion because such decisions are "complicated."
It would be far easier to stomach the Progressives' handling of armed conflict if they would keep their PC attitude regarding torture, assasination and espionage a secret.
Instead, they publicly inform the world that we will not engage in such techniques...much to the encouragement of our enemies, who think we are fools.
Then again, most people who find it necessary to polish themselves with political correctness HAVE to do it publicly. That's part of the mystique.
I can think of dozens of old vets that wear their war wounds and attitudes under their skin and are silent patriots who simple know what it takes to get a job done.
It's a huge difference between them and the average horn-blowing, narcissistic look-at-me liberal.