Presidential Poison

Great piece regarding the raving loonies on the left who want their pound of flesh on the “torture” issue — whether justified or not.

Mark down the date. Tuesday, April 21, 2009, is the moment that any chance of a new era of bipartisan respect in Washington ended. By inviting the prosecution of Bush officials for their antiterror legal advice, President Obama has injected a poison into our politics that he and the country will live to regret.

Policy disputes, often bitter, are the stuff of democratic politics. Elections settle those battles, at least for a time, and Mr. Obama’s victory in November has given him the right to change policies on interrogations, Guantanamo, or anything on which he can muster enough support. But at least until now, the U.S. political system has avoided the spectacle of a new Administration prosecuting its predecessor for policy disagreements. This is what happens in Argentina, Malaysia or Peru, countries where the law is treated merely as an extension of political power.

If this analogy seems excessive, consider how Mr. Obama has framed the issue. He has absolved CIA operatives of any legal jeopardy, no doubt because his intelligence advisers told him how damaging that would be to CIA morale when Mr. Obama needs the agency to protect the country. But he has pointedly invited investigations against Republican legal advisers who offered their best advice at the request of CIA officials.

Will Democrat Representatives and Senators, who knew all about this and who were fully briefed  — and who reportedly asked whether we were doing enough —  be prosecuted, too? Read the rest.

12 thoughts on “Presidential Poison”

  1. If Pelosi, Jane Harman, et al knew about the torture program, they should be investigated too. Are you implying that those of us who opposed torture are interested in merely partisan games? To quote Glenn Greenwald: “The need for criminal investigations is motivated by one simple, consummately apolitical fact: serious and brutal crimes were committed at the highest levels of the government, ones that left a trail of many victims. A country that purports to live under the rule of law has no choice but to treat its most powerful members who commit serious crimes exactly the same as ordinary citizens who do so. That has nothing to do with Republicans or Democrats.”

  2. “Are you implying that those of us who opposed torture are interested in merely partisan games?”

    Yes. This in nothing more than a game of gotcha, despite the crocodile-tear-laden protestations to the contrary. Your side is at fault for creating this atmosphere. So spare me the moral indignation. It’s bullshit.

  3. I felt indignation when 3,000+ of my countrymen were murdered by religious fanatic barbarians on September 11, 2001.

    I feel indignation when the Democrats do everything they can to make us lose.

    I feel indignation when the Democrats raise hypocrisy to a fine art.

    I feel indignation when folks like you cannot pull your heads out your asses long enough to see the threats — internal and external — that threaten this country.

    This country needs to do whatever it takes to defeat the Islamofascists and prevent another attack. We need a 1944 mindset, not a 1968 mindset.

    Never again.

  4. Democrats like Ninoska Perez-Castellon and Enrique Encinosa. Flaming liberals like Philip Zelikow. A fierce partisan of the left like Bruce Fein. A rabid Obama supporter like James B. Comey. Why do you keep seeing this as a Dem vs GOP issue when you’re clearly wrong, especially when the facts suggest (and you correctly point out in your first post) that the DEMOCRATS in Congress are the problem too? Or are you just playing cynical games again?

    This country needs to do whatever it takes to defeat the Islamofascists and prevent another attack. We need a 1944 mindset, not a 1968 mindset.

    Write to your Congressmen to change the law then. I don’t want to live in Cuba. As I told your friend Prieto the other day, my family is very aware of what a lovely young man by the name of Ernesto “Che” Guevara authorized for the sake of national security.

    Never again.

  5. I don’t mind when liberals criticize with sincerity about things they disagree with. But when Obama does many of the things Bush did and does Bush one better, their voices are silent. Consider Obama’s going into Afghanistan alone, with no coalition. Just imagine if Bush tried that. Consider his not only continuing the eavesdropping, but authorizing much more of it on private citizens in private calls in this country. Consider his wanting to silence people on the radio or on the internet. Consider his not permitting bankers to opt out of TARP and return the money. Consider his pushing for the end of the private ballot for those voting for unionization. Where are your scruples at these displays of tyranny?
    Look, Mr. Soto, the rule of law was followed at every turn by the Bush administration. The congress signed off on this at every turn, despite their protestations to the contrary. This reconstruction of history is a farce. We didn’t break arms, we didn’t cut fingers off; what you are calling torture is no worse than what our servicemen have to undergo as part of their training. It is ridiculous that this has to be repeated constantly. But no one on your side pays attention anyway. This is a pure game of revenge fantasy. Bush lost the election. Sadly, more of the country is on your side in a lot of things than on mine. You got what you wanted. Relax. Bush and his associates can’t do this anymore.
    And I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but you’d better pray that our president is not as squeamish as you are. The bits of water boarding that we used or other techniques worked! They saved many lives, maybe even yours. You act as if we live in a world where if only we could talk to each other with mutual trust none of these awful things would happen anymore. We are at war, whether you like it or not. “24”, MI-5 and programs like those are popular because people like the satisfaction of knowing or at least hoping that our intelligence agencies and leadership are not as squeamish as you are.

    And stop comparing us to Che Guevara! No one here is standing you or me up against a wall and shooting us on a whim. And stop calling them victims. If they didn’t want to be victims, they should have thought of that before they joined up with thugs who want to blow us all to smithereens or cover our women in burkas. I don’t have sympathy for those gangsters. Why do you?

    I don’t know you. I could be completely misjudging you and if I am, I apologize. But I’ll bet you are in favor of lifting the embargo on Cuba. I’ll bet you are in favor of that handshake between our president and Chavez. If I am correct, then you are only worried about crimes, imprisonments and torture when it concerns our doing these things to those who want to destroy our way of life. You probably have no concern for the what the Castros have done or Chavez to their own citizens who want nothing but freedom. I’ll bet you sympathize with the plight of the Palestinians, too and consider Israel the aggressor who must be put in her place. But, again, if I misjudge you on these things, I apologize.

  6. Look, Mr. Soto, the rule of law was followed at every turn by the Bush administration. The congress signed off on this at every turn, despite their protestations to the contrary. This reconstruction of history is a farce. We didn’t break arms, we didn’t cut fingers off; what you are calling torture is no worse than what our servicemen have to undergo as part of their training. It is ridiculous that this has to be repeated constantly. But no one on your side pays attention anyway. This is a pure game of revenge fantasy. Bush lost the election. Sadly, more of the country is on your side in a lot of things than on mine. You got what you wanted. Relax. Bush and his associates can’t do this anymore.,

    The only true statement here is regarding Congressional complicity. If we find out that Pelosi, Bob Graham, Richard Gephardt, and Tom Daschle were involved, prosecute them too! What’s so difficult to understand? I’m not protecting Democrats – I want to prosecute them. I’m going to repeat this, and you can read it slowly: TORTURE. IS. ILLEGAL. If you think we should drop out of the Geneva Convention or the UN Convention Against Torture (signed by Ronald Reagan), then write your Congressman.

    What the Bush administration did is akin to a president saying, “We know murder is illegal. Let’s get the Office of Legal Counsel to find ways to avoid calling it murder, then devise ways to get rid of a suspect that wouldn’t violate state or federal law.” That’s what happened with torture. Any good lawyer will tell you that plenty of lawyers have been prosecuted for devising novel methods to break the law.

    SERE training, to which you refer, prepares soldiers for what they might face. It’s an aberration to use defensive techniques as offense. That’s not what it’s for.

    This is a pure game of revenge fantasy. Bush lost the election. Sadly, more of the country is on your side in a lot of things than on mine. You got what you wanted. Relax. Bush and his associates can’t do this anymore.

    That’s not how justice works. If you’re caught with a certain amount of marijuana in your car, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the Florida law, and deservedly. It’s the same as the AIG, Freddie Mac bullshit with their CEO’s: we have to pay bailout money AND they’re not going to jail? The Bush administration broke the law, it didn’t keep us safe (torture policy at Guantanamo, it’s now clear, led to Abu Ghraib and the marvelous way in which it served to embolden Sunni insurgents in Iraq), and it should be punished, just as you and I would be punished if we broke the law.

    And stop calling them victims.

    You’re the first person to refer them as such. Find any post of mine in which I’ve defended these suspects.

    I don’t know you. I could be completely misjudging you and if I am, I apologize. But I’ll bet you are in favor of lifting the embargo on Cuba. I’ll bet you are in favor of that handshake between our president and Chavez. If I am correct, then you are only worried about crimes, imprisonments and torture when it concerns our doing these things to those who want to destroy our way of life. You probably have no concern for the what the Castros have done or Chavez to their own citizens who want nothing but freedom. I’ll bet you sympathize with the plight of the Palestinians, too and consider Israel the aggressor who must be put in her place. But, again, if I misjudge you on these things, I apologize.,

    Yes, you’ve misjudged every one of my positions, especially Cuba, about which I was pretty clear in my second post. You’re under the mistaken impression that opposition to torture makes one a liberal. As I said to George, you might want to talk to Enrique Encinosa about it. Finally, I did not vote for Obama in the last election.

    Thank you for being polite, though.

  7. Mr Soto,
    I’m sorry to inform you that no Democrats will be prosecuted. After the show trials for Republicans, Congress and the media will lose interest in the issue and we’ll all be urged to move on. Your temporary friend Mr Greenwald will join the chorus as will Mr Sullivan and the remainder of the elite. Should you demand any action against Pelosi, etal, you will find that your taxes will be audited and other delightful reminders of who won the election.

    I will assume you honestly believe that torture was used and should be punished. I disagree as to your definition of torture but be that as it may, any prosecutions undertaken at this point will be purely political. No Democrats, except those the leadership wishes to destroy, will ever be investigated let alone indicted. Your moral absolutism will be used by a dishonest administration to gain political advantage and for no other reason. I am as offended by selective prosecution as I am by torture. I am certainly in more danger of the former, as are you. Your dedication to the eradication of a specific evil is being used to promote other evils. I am willing to bet that if those evils triumph, their practitioners will find torture to be useful and “effective”.

    The media has dubbed Mr Obama as post-partisan. He is trying to achieve this making partisan opposition to his policies and his person unacceptable and dangerous. Do you really wish to contribute to that?

  8. While we’re at it, let’s all go back to the reign of His Royal Goatglandedness King Willard the First and look at things like Demshevik memos written which advise bombing civilian targets in Serbia, including the CHICOM embassy… Or did Sandy Berger steal them all? The problem with electing a criminal enterprise to run the country is that they treat everyone else like criminals and let themselves off the hook — two sets of rules, OK for me but not for thee…

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