24 April 2009

Detainee Pictures To Needlessly Jeopardize National Security

What are the motivations behind all this interest in so called "enhanced interrogation" techniques? Certainly, the punditry isn't to alter policy, because Obama signed an executive order banning the controversial techniques before he even had the drapes picked out at the White House. Paul Krugman argues that it's to save America's soul, which presumably means to vindicate the far-left base that has been pushing this issue for years. Documents and photos are classified not as part of a conspiracy to keep the public uniformed, but to prevent detrimental effects on national security, and yes, the lives of troops and CIA operatives performing the grim task of protecting the nation.

The America Civil Liberties Union (which ironically has a very dictatorial style in its own internal affairs), has used a FOIA request to acquire photos of detainee abuse on May 28 that will, no doubt, lead to serious repercussions for national security. From the Military Times:

The letter from Justice said the Pentagon was preparing to release 21 photos at issue in the appeal, plus 23 others “previously identified as responsive.” The letter added that the Pentagon also was “processing for release a substantial number of other images contained in Army CID reports that have been closed during the pendency of this case.”

The ACLU and the Defense Department reached an agreement for “all the responsive images” to be released by May 28, the letter said.
The base, clamoring for the heads of Cheney and other Rethuglicans, will make available to the world photos that will accompany Jihadist propaganda around the world. While we pride ourselves on living in a transparent society, I really wish some of these "activists" would stop foaming at the mouth for two seconds and consider the consequences of their actions.


Average American said...

They won't consider the consequences of their actions because they don't even give a shit. All they are concerned with is their agenda, Socialism!

Mike said...

Its not pointless ... it a huge chink o' red meat to the Chomsky loving base.

Grung_e_Gene said...

Hurm... Would you consider releasing (hypothetical) photos of politicians accepting bribes or peace officers using "enhanced interrogation techniques" to be detrimental to the security of the United States and endangering the lives of other peace officers / politicians?

And if the techniques and their consequences were so good for saving American lives how could associated images hurt national security?

Lisa said...

Tsk, tsk, LT. The danger to our society is that we become a closeted (ahem!) dictatorial one.

We do not suffer when we question our foundational beliefs, among which are liberal humanism and legal obedience to treaties onto which we are signatories.

While it may be painful, we raise ourselves up when we have the backbone and integrity to examine our own failings. And when we allow our system to work, and when the president does not rein in Congress and Justice, as is being done now.

We are a great nation because we actually believe in these higher order moralities. We do not wallow in the mud because our antagonists may.

I understand interrogation is not a white glove affair. but waterboarding KSM 183 times is vengeance and torture, not a productive EIT.

olgreydog7 said...

Gene and Lisa make some good points. However, they both fail to recognize the issue, which LT pointed out. We have no control over what Al Qaeda or whoever will do with those images. It would be like throwing fuel on a fire. Also, some things must happen behind closed doors. If the public was intelligent as a whole, which it is not, there would be no issue with it. I agree that the government should not have free reign and that our own morality and transparency is what makes this country great. However, that does not mean that we forgo classifying things that would be detrimental to our security. It should be released to a small number of of non-related government entities that are not subject to the same boss. This will provide the check that will keep things in order. Also, for years the argument for seat belts, for example, has been that if it saves just one life it is worth it. Well, how many lives were potentially saved by water boarding KSM? My definition of torture is simple. If it would cause permanent physical damage, it is torture.

rangeragainstwar said...

Sorry olgreydog --

"Well, how many lives were potentially saved by water boarding KSM? My definition of torture is simple. If it would cause permanent physical damage, it is torture"

How many lives were saved -- apparently, zero. We still have no data from his 183 waterboardings. If it was so valuable, if it was anything, we would have heard about it. It would not have taken 183 times.

183! Permanent physical damage? How do you think you'd fare after that?

Bag Blog said...

The point is how many lives could be lost due to Al Qaeda or other crazed Muslims bombing or rioting or killing innocents people as well as targeting our military due to info put out by our government. I call it bad timing or possibly treason.

Nixon said...


I've learned to adopt a pragmatic approach to issues involving national security. The Confederacy was never prosecuted for seceding (even though I'm a descendant of abolitionists/Union soldiers/etc)...that was probably a good thing in the long run.

Lisa said...

Bag Blog,

As to, "Al Qaeda or other crazed Muslims bombing or rioting or killing innocents people as well as targeting our military due to info put out by our government."

This is pure emotionalism. That the U.S. reveals its errors says far more about our ability to endure (or maybe not) than would keeping the possible abuse of prisoners in the closet.

And how do photos of abused prisoners translate into "crazed Muslims"? If we weren't so lethargic and brainwashed, it should translate into crazed (=furious) Americans.

Lisa said...

LT Nixon,

Pragmatism is a good stance. There is nothing in the Constitution prohibiting secession, and certainly nothing would have been gained toward the larger project of creating a more perfect union by their prosecution.

There was enough suffering; the goal had been accomplished. Anything else would have been needlessly punitive.

That is a lesson we should take into our present and our future.

Grung_e_Gene said...

Also, some things must happen behind closed doorsI simply can not agree. It is the despots of history who hide their actions behind closed doors and tell their subjects its for the best they not look. No government has the right to grant itself the power to torture.

As for saving lives. Torture does not elicit true information. The Roman and Spanish Inquistions tortured tens of thousands and many confessed to witchcraft and to being in commune with the devil.

Do you believe those who confessed actually were in League with Lucifer?

Bag Blog said...

If the possible flushing of a Koran down a toilet or the drawing of a cartoon can incite riots and killings, I think we need to be careful about WHEN we release info. I'm not saying the info should not come out, but it is the timing of said info possibly putting soldiers and innocent by-standers in jeopardy.

Lets say you came to visit me and I took you to a redneck bar and let it be known that you were a gay communist who hated America and the military, and you were a Yankee to boot. Chances are you would be in for an ass-whippin’ and innocent bystanders would be hurt, too. It would not matter that the info was false or that the info could be debated as to whether is was right or wrong. In America there is no law against any of those things listed, but still some people are a little emotional about such things. AS you fought your way out of the bar, you would probably think my timing sucked and that I should have waited until you were safely out of the redneck bar before I gave out such inflaming info. I would be guilty of endangering your life.

Lisa said...

Bag Blog,

I'll have you know, it is Lt Nixon what's the Yankee 'round here! (I am a proud boarder-stater, with rebel sympathies. I do just fine in redneck bars, despite my occasionally clever Yankee-sounding rhetoric!)

Here's the thing: Your argument hinges on timing, as though you feel there is an imminent threat. And we have been made to feel so -- that we are in some kind of endless maelstrom which began 9-11, and from which we may never be released until every snarling hadji is killed.

I just don't buy it. The world has always had hatred and criminality and terrorists. There is nothing new under the sun, and nothing which justifies our willingly being led to slaughter by putting blinders on our eyes.

You are free! An American! Never fear, never hate, never be a coward. That is what submitting to secrecy and news blackouts is.