Friday, May 1, 2009

Panic Time For Nancy


IT'S SHOCKING how quickly Congressional liberals have destroyed morale at the CIA and weakened our ability to fight our terrorist enemies. But now Nancy Pelosi is starting to panic. Not a minute too soon for the well-being of our country. Jed Babbin writes at Human Events:

Pelosi first said that she wasn’t briefed about waterboarding. Then she sort of admitted she had, inserting that the CIA only said that they might do it, not that they were going to do it. Which could have been plagiarized from John Kerry’s 2004 circular explanation of his vote for the war in Iraq.

As badly as that hurt Pelosi, what apparently pushed her into a panic was the feedback she and other Democrats are getting from the CIA. Pelosi learned that her actions, and those of President Obama and other Democrats over the past ninety days have so damaged CIA morale that the agency’s ability to function could be in danger.

As a result, two emergency closed-door meetings were called this week on Capitol Hill.

Nancy is a light-weight who has no one's well-being at heart but her own power and the partisan politics that keep her in office. Read the whole thing.

What part of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center do these people not remember or understand? Shocking.


Ellen said...

I was struck by the new WaPost poll that showed that the more people attended church, the more likely they were to support torture.

I think this speaks volumes to the level of hypocrisy that has been the hallmark of the religious right that has hijacked the GOP and brought about its demise.

Only 21% of Americans consider themselves Republicans in a Wash Post poll - the lowest % in nearly 3 decades. CNN poll showed that Republicans were viewed less favorably than Russia, China and Venezuela.

There IS a reason for this. As Specter and R. Paul have said, the GOP has turned far right.

For example, McCain could not have picked the most qualified person, i.e. Tom Ridge because he is pro choice. Instead, he had to cater to the extreme right wing and get a less qualified extremist/fundamentalist - Palin.

All in all, the root cause of the demise of the GOP can be traced clearly and most completely to the disastrous Bush presidency.

Webutante said...

Well Ellen, most conservatives and Christians I know understand that certain tactics---that you would insist on calling torture--- used on those who would behead any of us on television if they got the chance can and does save lives. How you could have more compassion on our enemies than your own people is certainly the craziest thing I've ever heard of.

Specter was losing his next year's GOP primary race and hadn't a chance of being re-elected. So he did what any self-first politician would do, he changed parties. Specter has done the GOP a BIG favor by leaving.

Ellen said...

Do you think we need to lower our moral standards to resemble our enemies? Do you think every Muslim wants to behead an American? Do you think the German and Spanish citizens that the US tortured wanted to behead Americans? Do you think all of the 34+ murdered after enduring US torture wanted to behead Americans? Did you happen to see the Academy Award winner for best documentary in 2007? (It documented how an innocent Afghan was tortured to death by the US).

Did you see Major Matthew Alexander's report which received the 2009 Orwell Prize for Journalism - told by a guy who personally conducted 300 interrogations of prisoners in Iraq? He said, "The reason why foreign fighters joined al-Qa'ida in Iraq was overwhelmingly because of abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and not Islamic ideology.... The use of torture by the US has proved so counter-productive that it may have led to the death of as many US soldiers as civilians killed in 9/11... it doesn't work."

Did you know John McCain pointed out the fact that the US prosecuted Japanese officers that were convicted and executed for waterboarding as a war crime?

What did you think of McCain's statement on Face the Nation on 4/26? Do you disagree? If so, on what basis?

"We violated fundamental commitments that the United States of America made when we signed the Geneva Conventions. And we disregarded what might happen to Americans who are held captive in the future. And by the way, those who say our enemies won’t abide the Geneva Conventions, they will if they know there’s going to retribution for their violation of it. ... under President Reagan we signed an agreement against torture, we’re in violation of that.." - J. McCain, CBS's Face the Nation 4/26/09Is that what you stand for and is that how you define your Christian values? So, do you think Jesus would torture? Do you see this as 'Christ-like' behavior, an example to the world?

Webutante said...

Here's what I think, Ellen, in a word: YAWN.

Webutante said...

Two other points, Ellen: 1)There's a big difference between individual codes of conduct and national codes of conduct to protect its citizens.2) I do not subscribe to moral relativism, as you do.

Ellen said...

You didn't answer any of my questions. I guess perhaps too challenging? At least answer this one, do you believe that torture is in accordance with your Christian values? Or is it easier to remain in denial?

Ellen said...

One other point from US interrogator Major Alexander, the successes he achieved that led to the killing of al Zarquawi came after 6 hours of interrogation where he used traditional methods and established trust with his subject. He repeatedly said that torture does not work and that the information obtained is not reliable. This is from an experienced US interrogator. Two detainees were waterboarded nearly 200 times. How effective is such torture when it has to be done 200 times over the course of months?

You claim that torture was done in an effort to save US lives. False, torture was used primarily to save face for the Iraq policy. The Bush administration applied relentless pressure on interrogators to use torture on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and Saddam Hussein, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Army psychiatrist. (Story link below)

Is this your idea of a justification for torture? Go ahead and yawn ... but the fact is that waterboarding is torture, was authorized by Bush and Cheney, was not effective (fully documented in story below), and it violates both the Geneva Conventions and US Law.

It's a great legacy and one you can congratulate yourself for supporting. How can you call yourself a Christian and live by these principles? It's an interesting study in denial and authoritarianism.

fraydna said...

Are poll results a valid way to decide what we believe or confirm our beliefs? Poll questions frame the argument and predetermine the outcome based on who is polled, somewhat like statistical results based on flawed models or studies that use small sets of data.

It's odd that moral relativism only seems to apply to certain topics, but "torture" - now, that one is clearly defined, and "my" definition is the correct one.

And John McCain's statement, while accurate, does not go far enough. The seven executed Japanese war criminals were convicted of "atrocities and murders on a grand scale" (rapes, mutilations, massacres and starvation), which included a form of waterboarding far more harsh and dangerous than the US military practiced at A-G.

I would find Ellen's views more congruous if she were calling for abolishing the CIA, FBI, military, police, security guards, etc.

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." - George Orwell

Webutante said...

I did answer your questions. But you can't grasp the answers. Again, wrt the issue of "torture." I do not feel as an individual and follower of Christ that torture would ever be appropriate for me to perpetuate to another human being. Period.

However, I make a HUGE exception when it comes to governments that are at war, as we in America are---with nuts that want to destroy our way of life. Governments need a wide variety of responses to getting information from these thugs to protect our citizens, and waterboarding has proven a valuable tool in this.

Finally, no one likes rough tactics, least of all me. Christ was tortured and murdered by the Romans and did it all for you and me. HE also prophecized that all the Jews would be carried off to Babylon (which they were in 70 AD) and they would be tortured and the Temple ransacked because of disobedience to His Will and Commands.

fraydna said...

I think that from a Christian perspective (again, do I get to have a morally relativistic view on what constitutes being Christian?), I tend to agree with what The Anchoress has to say:

"I have not fully formed my thoughts on torture, yet. I think I am against it but with this one exception: if I have a choice between saving say, 5 million lives in a nuke-contaminated Chicago or being able to say, “but at least we didn’t waterboard that guy,” I am inclined to think I would go for torture. The 5 million might still die, it’s true, but at least I won’t have to answer for standing idly by and watching it so that my morals might remain intact. I will take the chance that my moral failing in that instance will simply join my other moral failings in life, and then God and I will work that stuff out.

Actually, you have to work out your moral failing, in either case, don’t you? If you torture, you have to work it out. If you allow millions to die because you’re “too good” to torture, that’s another moral failing you have to work out. And what is the moral failing? Not trusting that God will help you work that out.

Maybe when you don’t have an idea that you and God can work out your moral failings, you have a tougher time dealing with them? I don’t know. But “who saves a life saves the world, entire” may come into play here. I don’t want to kill the guy I’m torturing. But I want to save 5 million lives."


Webutante said...

Good points, Fraydna; thanks for weighing in on these most difficult issues. No one, no president, no government undertakes these procedures lightly. And it's a weighty, most difficult matters that every human beings must grapple with. In my liberal days, I would be standing with Ellen on this, but today, I have a completely different view after much struggle

One other thing: We can armchair this and take a stand, but in the end we can't know what we'd do in many situations until we're there.

I give thanks there were no new attacks after 9/11. We'll just have to let the new Obama "nice policies" play out and see the results. I fear it won't be pretty....but certainly "hope" I'm wrong.

Ellen said...

If torturing a proven terrorist killer would save even one America life, I'd say go for it, but torture does not and has not worked. The motive for torture was not to save lives but to save face for a policy, and that is a war crime if there ever was one. As John McCain and others have said, America is better than that, we needn't lower ourselves to resemble our enemies.

Further, the Bush Administration lied about torture being successful in thwarting an attack on an LA skyscraper. This was reported by every branch of right wing news (Fox, CNS, and other biased sources) and swallowed by the faithful. Amazing how willingly manipulated authoritarians are. However the facts are:

The “planned attack on Los Angeles” refers to an announcement made on February 9th 2006 in which it was claimed that an Al-Qaeda plan to fly a plane into the LA Library Tower was thwarted in 2002. The release of the news that the plot had been prevented by means of tapping terrorist suspect’s phone, and not torture as the CIA now claims, was politically timed to coincide with the start of legal hearings on the Bush administration’s domestic eavesdropping program.

The day after the announcement, twenty three separate intelligence experts, all with either CIA, FBI, NSA or military credentials, both in and out of service, angrily disputed Bush’s remarks about the alleged L.A. plot, with one going as far as saying that the President was “full of shit.”

Another described the claims as “worthless intel that was discarded long ago.”

A New York Times story cited “several counter-terrorism officials” as saying that “the plot never progressed past the planning stages…. ‘To take that and make it into a disrupted plot is just ludicrous,’ said one senior FBI official.”

The New York Daily News cited another senior counterterrorism official who said: “There was no definitive plot. It never materialized or got past the thought stage.”

The Washington Post also dismissed the alleged plot as nothing more than talk, noting that no actual attack plan had been thwarted.

The LA attack plot arose from the same discredited informant who said that Washington and New York financial institutions were being targeted, which led the White House to raise the terror alert right as the 2004 election campaign was beginning.“The President has cheapened the entire intelligence community by dragging us into his fantasy world,” said a veteran field operative of the Central Intelligence Agency. “He is basing this absurd claim on the same discredited informant who told us Al Qaeda would attack selected financial institutions in New York and Washington.”

In June 2004 John Pistole, the FBI’s counterterrorism director, said he was “not sure what [the CIA] was referring to,” after a CIA counterterrorism official who testified under the alias “Ted Davis” said that the US had prevented aviation attacks against the east and west coast.

Despite the alleged plot being thoroughly debunked a year prior, President Bush again cited it in his January 2007 State of the Union speech.

Now the CIA has recycled the same hoax in order to try and deflect accusations about its involvement in the torture program.

Webutante said...

You are certainly entitled to your opinion and to cite your sources. However, to say that waterboarding and various other techniques employed under Bush/Cheney never worked is beyond ludiicrous. Our military, CIA and others need to be able to use whatever is necessary to get the job done with terrorists.They cannot or should not be ham strung or sissified into oblivion.

vienna va said...

Jane, let me know when you're trapsing through our neck of the woods again. I'd be happy to drive you out to Langley where you can tell actual CIA personnel they're being "sissified" by not being able to waterboard. Trust me, they'll love it.

Webutante said...

Well actually, V, I have my own connections there. But thanks anyway.