This story from the AP on our wonderful President and his mildly-stated suggestion that maybe there might be prosecutions for officials in the Bush administration who devised some legal authority for interrogating enemy jihadists during the recently-terminated War On Terror is just another example of the dangerous times we’re in.
Regardless of whether you think things like waterboarding or making a prisoner stand up for a long time constitutes torture, and regardless of whether you think those methods are illegal, it’s hard to imagine why it’s a good idea to go after a bunch of lawyers for writing legal opinions on whether certain methods are beyond the pale or not.
This has “witch hunt” written all over it. It also invites recrimination against this administration for whatever it might do that a subsequent administration doesn’t like. And who is going to tackle controversial issues or act decisively if they can be prosecuted after the fact for it?
The Obama administration stood silent when a gaggle of Spanish socialists laughably investigated the possibility of indicting several Bush officials like Douglas Feith and Jay Bybee for giving advice to the President. When that gambit on the part of the Spanish collapsed under the weight of common sense, it now seems that Obama is considering picking it up. Couple that with the ongoing flap about the CIA memos that Obama released to the public despite the overwhelming counsel not to by virtually every intelligence professional in Washington, and one wonders what part of America’s national security apparatus Obama actually likes.
Let’s remember that intensive interrogation of terrorist suspects, whether you call it torture or not, wasn’t something Bush’s people put into practice to get their jollies. It was done in an attempt to stop future attacks. Dick Cheney was on Hannity last night addressing this topic, and Cheney made the point that if Obama wanted to release the CIA “torture memos” he should release everything – because the American people ought to know what was revealed in those interrogations. Were it made commonly known that those interrogations actually saved American lives, as Cheney suggests, I’m not sure Obama would see this as such a great political move.
This is the Apology Tour in action here at home. It’s not enough to apologize to our enemies abroad; now we’ve got to dismantle the framework of intelligence, counterterrorism and covert operations which RIGHT OR WRONG has kept this country free from terrorist attack since September 11, 2001.
I hate to make this prediction, but the odds have always been that we were going to get hit again with a terrorist attack, and it’s going to happen. I’d say America is going to suffer an attack at some point regardless of who the president is. But given current events, where Obama is eliminating and possibly prosecuting the collection of high-value information about those who would conduct those attacks, one gets the impression the likelihood of a future attack is growing.
And should such an attack happen, heaven help Obama and Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano. The public perception is going to be that these people were spending their time trying to demonize political opponents and military veterans as potential terror threats rather than DOING THEIR JOBS. And at that point, Obama’s pumped-up popularity ratings (he’s only at plus-2 in the Rasmussen presidential popularity tracking poll right now, which means he’s polarizing and not popular) are going to tank very quickly.
I am very much interested in seeing Obama fail – but not like this. But it’s his actions which put his presidency and the safety of the American people in jeopardy, not those of the folks who don’t like what he stands for.
Would someone please tell these people to grow up?
Cross-posted at www.thehayride.com