The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Less Safe

Those on the Left justifiably criticize those on the Right who adopt the mime—“My country, right or wrong.” There are situations in which justifiable criticism and action are required. Unfortunately, the developing CIA investigation is not one of them.

In fact, the current machinations of the Obama administration and Congressional leadership, leads an objective observer to believe that they have adopted an alternative mime—“My country … is always wrong.”

Using a hyper-procedural view of the Law that he thinks will provide him with cover, President Obama has sanctioned a Special prosecutor to investigate claims of “torture” within the ranks of the CIA. Using instances described by former CIA Inspector General John Helgerson in his 2004 report, Obama’s legion of supporters in the media breathlessly describe instances where serious threats were made, cigar smoke was blown in the face of a murderous Islamist terrorist (oh! the humanity), and yes, water-boarding was used. What these so-called journalists fail to report (it simply doesn’t fit into the mime) is described by The Wall Street Journal :
… the [Helgerson] report says the CIA "invested immense time and effort to implement the [program] quickly, effectively, and within the law"; that the agency "generally provided good guidance and support"; and that agency personnel largely "followed guidance and procedures and documented their activities well." So where's the scandal?

Mr. Helgerson describes how the CIA collaborated with the Pentagon, the Justice Department and even outside experts to develop specific guidelines for 10 enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, that passed legal muster. The enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) "would be used on 'an as needed basis' and all would not necessarily be used. Further, the EITs were expected to be used 'in some sort of escalating fashion' . . ." The agency had psychologists evaluate al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah, to ensure he would not suffer physical or long-term mental harm.

As the program expanded, the CIA "implemented training programs for interrogators and debriefers." By early 2003 it had created guidelines on detention and interrogation and required "individuals engaged in or supporting interrogations be made aware of the guidelines and sign an acknowledgment that they have read them." The guidelines also made "formal the existing . . . practice of requiring the field to obtain specific Headquarters approvals prior to the application of all EITs." This was hardly a rogue CIA.

There are undoubtedly millions on the Left who would love to see the CIA’s efforts against Islamist terrorists neutered. In fact, if this investigation proceeds and prosecutions begin, they will have gotten their wish. If the Special Prosecutor broadens the investigation (as special prosecutors always seem to do, recall the travesty that was the investigation of Bill Clinton) and indicts members of the past Bush administration, the Bush Derangement Syndrome crowd will be absolutely orgasmic. After all, why bother considering the long-term effects of indicting a past administration over what amounts to policy differences. No reason to consider the political payback that will invariably occur down the road. Nah, BDS is alive and well, and it’ll be fun to, um, torture the past administration in the courts.

I sometimes wish that the extreme Left could be left alone to suffer the consequences of a CIA pogrom. But, of course, that can’t happen. If the CIA is neutered, if intelligence gathering suffers as a consequence, we’ll all be suffer the consequences.

Those on the extreme Left will feel wonderful as they preen from their self-defined moral high ground. But below, in the valley that is the real world, forces that aren’t quite so moral will observe what we’ve done and rest easier at night because our efforts against them will have been irreparably harmed. We’ll all be less safe, even though all of us did not participate in this evolving travesty.