About the release of the Senate Intelligence (only the Democrats) report about the CIA interrogation program following 9/11/2001 – 13 years ago. It’s a question of what’s more important: the best interests of our country, which is fighting a war today, or a last political shot at the George W. Bush administration and CIA directors and deputies of the past 13 years. The victor is: a last political shot.
The report centers around “enhanced interrogation methods” some of which have been labelled and clearly are torture. We can’t condone torture, but these measures were officially banned in 2009, and actually stopped before that. The subject is not new and was broadly vetted then. As a country we took our internationally political hits then. Baring our breast with a detailed 6,000 page report condensed in a 500 page summary is pointless if the real purpose is to make sure no one in this country uses torture again. That’s already been done. Frankly, it is as shameful and disgraceful as the torturing itself.
We’re in the midst of a very active war. The enemy, extremist Muslims, are cleverly recruiting world-wide for their jihad and using every bit of information to inflame radical young people. How active? Follow what is happening (or happened) in Sydney, Australia, or the recent beheadings and shootings and killings in the Middle East. Our other enemies – the UN, China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela – are already tut-tutting and some are talking about war crimes.
Release of the report, it was acknowledged, could lead to deaths of Americans. Asked how she would feel about that, Diane Feinstein, chairman of the Senate committee, said she would feel badly. Wow. That will make the families feel good. The report had no input or support from Republicans on the committee, it did not interview directly those involved, and has no support from former CIA directors and their deputies who also pointed out that members of congress, during the period in question, were told about the methods used and no one objected. An exception to that was Republican Sen. John McCain, himself a torture victim, who objected, behind the scenes at the time and does support the report now.
That is significant, but can one imagine such a report being released during WWII, Korea or Vietnam Wars? All the report has done now is divide the country, the administration, and undermine the CIA. It is safe to say that the wariness and rivalries between the intelligence services who are going into CYA modes big time has gone up a notch or two. Recall that 9/11 was partially blamed on lack of coordination between the agencies. Even the administration is split. President Obama, while backing his present CIA director, John O. Brennan who mildly objects to the report, is taking no side – at least publicly.
A minority report has been or is being issued by Republicans, and former CIA directors and deputies and those involved in the interrogations have joined to issue a rebuttal. This can be viewed at ciasavedlives.com. That helps make my point about how divisive this is.
I’m all for questioning, confronting, challenging powerful and potentially dangerous government agencies but timing and methods are critical to the process.
Anyone for focusing on enemies to this country?