Obama and U.S. National Security Issues

washingtontimes.com/news/200 … -syndrome/

From the article: What might have been a serious debate over interrogation techniques has been mishandled. Instead of trying to balance the need for intelligence on terrorist operations with the desire to respect civil liberties even in the most extreme cases, an attempt has been made to criminalize past policy decisions and demonize those who made them.

This is the rhetoric of Dick Cheney – in fact, what is said here closely mirrors Cheney’s May 22, 2009 response to Obama’s National Security speech of the same day. Obama has, in my opinion, rightfully taken a firm stance against water-boarding and other interrogation techniques that are, without doubt, forms of torture. Cheney apparently felt that it was important to point out that water-boarding was only ever used on a small number of prisoners at Guantanamo. But if water-boarding is torture (and I assume you are opposed to the use of torture), then the number of instances of U.S. government application of water-boarding becomes irrelevant; the torture of human beings, in all its forms, wherever it is used, and whoever uses it, is wrong. Obama was right to criticize former policy. We must recognize past mistakes. Obama demonized no one. To see Obama’s condemnation of torture as a demonization of past policy makers is to expose one’s own unwillingness to admit to past mistakes. This kind of outlook seems like nothing more than defensive quibbling to me.

From the article: Meanwhile, al Qaeda operatives now sleep more soundly, secure in the knowledge that, if captured, the worst that will happen is that some CIA agent of Satan will attempt to establish a “trusting” relationship with them.

This is more borrowed rhetoric. Cheney said the exact same thing in his speech. The fact that the U.S. government makes an official pronouncement against the use of torture is not likely to embolden Radical Islam. Those who do violence in the name of Radical Islam are already unafraid of the consequences of their actions because they are emotionally charged and believe that their actions are justified. And it only fuels their hatred, strengthens their convictions and, in their eyes, further justifies their violence if the U.S. uses or supports the use of torture. There is a common but mistaken response to this point that goes: “If one criticizes the U.S. in any way regarding terrorism, then one is blaming the U.S. for the terrorist atrocities committed against the U.S.” No. Violent attacks on innocent people are wrong. The wrongs done by the U.S. government under no circumstances justify such attacks, but our wrongs are still wrong, and we ought to change mistaken policy that incites violence.

From the article: Finally, it is becoming apparent that Mr. Obama’s diplomatic ‘surge’ to stop the nuclear weapons and missile development programs of Iran and North Korea is proving unproductive. Still, Mr. Obama is not yet pressing Congress to give him the tools he would need to squeeze Iran’s rulers by cutting off their gasoline supplies - the most promising of possible economic sanctions.

Maybe, and I am skeptical about this one in light of the U.S. government’s recent history, just maybe the U.S. will step back from or even reverse its practice of using military force and coercion to stop nuclear weapon proliferation. The U.S. ought to lead by example, not by force and coercion. Hopefully Obama was thinking along similar lines when he quoted Thomas Jefferson in his speech in Cairo: “I hope that our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power the greater it will be.”

This is just incorrect. Obama wants the DoJ to handle this - either the torture was illegal at the time, or it was not. And Obama has stated that he wants to limit any criminal liability to those who gave the orders. I think the DoJ’s record on the Alaska corruption trials shows that it (the DoJ) is doing its job in a nonpartisan and even-handed way. I think it’s at least reasonable to assume that they will continue to do so until they show us otherwise.

Waterboarding has been an issue among american and european liberals. I’m quite certain that Quaeda operatives haven’t given it a second thought.

It has been unproductive so far. But diplomacy takes a lot of time. Economic sanctions didn’t work on Korea, Iraq or Cuba. Why should they work on Iran?

al qaeda operatives are laughing… oh you are going to pour a little water while we saw off heads…



Americans like their wars to be pretty.

And Europeans like to stand on the sidelines and heckle.

Meanwhile, we give the military and intel impossible tasks and then criticise them for performing well.

You mean: The U.S. government likes it’s wars to look pretty.

That, too. It’s both. But then again, we are the government.