Monday, May 4, 2009

Krauthammer Is Easily Compelled

Charles Krauthammer claims that the current evidence that torture works is “fairly compelling.” Here is the evidence he provides:

(1) George Tenet said that the "enhanced interrogation" program alone yielded more information than everything gotten from "the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency put together.

Would that be the same George Tenet who claimed that the case for WMD in Iraq was a slam dunk? Would that be the same George Tenet who begged George Bush not to investigate the CIA’s failure to connect the dots prior to 911? Doesn’t Tenet’s assertion point to the overall shortcomings of America’s intelligence communications just as much as to the effectiveness of torture?

(2) Michael Hayden, CIA director after waterboarding had been discontinued, writes with former attorney general Michael Mukasey) that "as late as 2006 . . . fully half of the government's knowledge about the structure and activities of al-Qaeda came from those interrogations."

Once again, doesn’t this point to the incompetence of the CIA if fulfilling its intelligence gathering mission? Do we really want to sanction torture merely to establish an enemy’s organizational chart?

(3) Even Dennis Blair, Obama's director of national intelligence, concurs that these interrogations yielded "high value information."

Isn’t “high value information” awfully vague? If this is the criteria, can we ever set any limits on when torture is permissible?

Surely we need something more compelling than this before we sell our national soul?


  1. I don't know if you've perused my blog on this topic, as I've posted several articles of my own, with links to opinions of others, in an attempt to get to the real point.
    -The release of the memos was a bad idea for the purposes of revealing that for which the enemy can now prepare itself.
    -The release of the memos was to provide that which would produce a negative public outcry toward the previous administration, rather than any fraudulent claim of moral concerns.
    -The notion that such tactics are worthy of the term "torture" is questionable.
    -To use the term "torture" is a strategic action designed to inflame anti-Bush sentiment.
    -Is there legitimate reason to believe that any of these techniques were used for the fun of it, that is, without what the people on site felt were justifiable reasons on specific uncooperative individuals with what was believed to be time senstive info.
    -Is there anything we should NOT do to save the lives of our people and our allies.

    It is interesting that the moral outrage comes from the same direction that is totally cool with the torturous deaths of the unborn, few of whom have ever threatened one single American life. The irony is torture itself.

  2. Abortion!!

    How convenient that this allows you to dismiss the ideas of anyone who does not write for Townhall or American Thinker.

  3. I don't dismiss ideas, Vinny. I refute them and expose them as baseless or outright lies, as the case may be. What's more, I find the irony in the arguments of (most of) the left to be valid as regards their horror over a few known evil-doers getting roughed up, while being perfectly cool with abortion.

  4. I appreciate your spunk MA, but in my opinion you don't refute jackshit. What you do is cite articles from right wing websites that you believe refute liberal positions. Unfortunately you don't examine the liberal positions for yourself and you accept what you get from your conservative sources uncritically. I don't think you really have any basis to know whether the ideas you attack are baseless or well-founded.

    I, on the other hand, don't rely on some liberal columist or talk show host to tell me what the conservative believe and why they are wrong. I read the conservatives for myself (e.g., Medved) and I check out the facts that I read in liberal sources for myself.