Saturday, May 16, 2009

Making a Crime out of Interrogating

The left has been in blood-lust for charging those who approved and engaged in the interrogation techniques (specifically waterboarding) agaist AQ terrorists as 'war criminals'. But what after all are the underlying facts at hand?

1. Some vicious terrorists - 3 exactly, one of whom killed 3,000 Americans and plotted to kill more - were subject to waterboarding. This is far far from the kind of civil liberties violation in war that has committed in the past, eg like FDR's internment of Japanese-Americans in WWII.

2. the "torture memos" make very clear that the Bush administration was making every effort to stay within the law. Bush admin lawyers and DOJ lawyers looked at this and said 'This is legal'. I think it is completely wrong to allege criminality of those lawyers who gave good-faith determinations on this part, that has a huge chilling effect on how lawyers will act and is a distortion of how legal procedures should work.

3. We further now know that the Congress was ALSO BRIEFED and did not consider it illegal or wrong. This further indicates that the Bush admin was not doing this outside the parameters of executive authority as some claimed.

4. There are multiple avenues of harm to the US if investigations are pursued. Already the harm of interrogators themselves being identified - they could be targets of AQ acts of revenge. Then the exposure of our techniques makes it easier for AQ to prepare/train against it. Also the investigation of CIA, WH lawyers will have a definite chilling effect on future pursuit of terrorists.

In the end, the pursuit of 'war criminals' will be a witch-hunt against people of good faith who tried to protect our nation using methods they thought (and IMHO are) justified. It will harm our national security and for what end? Only self-flagellation. There will be no 'justice' in ruining the lives of lawyers and CIA operatives who were earnestly trying to serve the country. This will end up a miscarriage of justice like the Pendleton Eight.

The scandal here is that the entire DC establishment was for this in 2002 and 2003, and now in 2009 only Dick Cheney seems to not have Alzheimer's and is around to remind us of what we were doing this for. All the political juice the Democrats could get out of this has been squeezed, and it will politically boomerang on the Democrats as many will be shown to have been complicit in this back in 2002-2005 and are now being hypocrites, cowards and liars. (which is why Obama wants to back off and move on.) Agree or disagree on it, but at least Dick Cheney has held a consistent position.

The best thing for the Democrats politically and for the nation is for them to take criminality off the table and simply focus on what if any policies changes or safeguards need to be made in the future so that, whether or not a line was crossed (I dont think it was), that it wont be in the future.

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