Thursday, April 23

Okay, Let's Faux-Try This Faux-Again

Scott Shane, "At Core of Detainee Fight: Did Methods Stop Attacks?" April 22

WASHINGTON — Even the most exacting truth commission may have a hard time determining for certain whether brutal interrogations conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency helped keep the country safe....

Senior Bush administration officials, led by Vice President Dick Cheney and cheered by many Congressional Republicans, are fighting a rear-guard action in defense of their record. Only by using the harshest methods, they insist, did the intelligence agency get the information it needed to round up Qaeda killers and save thousands of American lives.

Look: Dick Cheney can broadcast from his private news bunker all day, every day, from here until that Doomsday he missed his chance to initiate, and it won't mean a jot, nor should it have inspired one. How does Dick Cheney have any credibility, even on FAUX? He's the ShamWow! guy of American political infomercials, except besides punching a hooker his Miracle Washday Product turns out to have be made from recycled nuclear reactor fuel and extract of poison ivy.

Let us say this again: if you wouldn't accept the argument from the garage mechanic who was trying to charge you $950 for a repair he estimated at forty bucks, then a "controversy" has not been created just because the same sort of crap comes out of the mouth of an opposition politician, especially an unindicted war criminal with a 0-4000 won-lost record over the past eight years.

Just as with Marc Thiessen, the Former Co-Disastrous Fucking Occupier of the Oval Office is welcome to provide us with some evidence, instead of screeching to a halt before demanding President Obama do it for him; otherwise what they say should be treated as nothing more than a yelp of pain coming from someone who shot himself while drunk. Sheesh, Cheney had plenty of opportunity to release them himself back when he controlled the records and what was selectively leaked from them. Okay, so Judy Miller lost her phone privileges; Tim Russert was still kickin', and Andrea Mitchell will be with us always, apparently. Guess he didn't care to call attention to the program back then. If pointing West and yelling, "The Library Tower! The Library Tower!" did the trick the matter would have been settled in back 2005.
Even President Obama’s new director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair, wrote in a memorandum to his staff last week that “high value information came from interrogations in which these methods were used,” an assertion left out when the memorandum was edited for public release.

1) So what? and 2) So what? In the first place, this is Blair carrying Obama administration water in the effort to assure Spooko-Americans none of them would be losing his job, let alone going to jail, for torture. The memo's a bit scant on details, and Blair wasn't even on teevee, let alone under oath. Suggesting it was "left out" cuts both ways, y'know. Again, if it were prima facie evidence of the efficacy of torture the matter would be closed.

But it's not, and it brings up a question: Could we keep our fucking eyes on the ball? Just for practice? Whether "high-value information" comes from someone after a little round of Uncle Dick's Favorite Drinking Game has nothing to do with it. The issues are a) whether you got that info because of the "enhanced techniques"; b) whether you got it only because of those techniques or whether c) you achieved some benefit of timeliness over other methods; d) how you could have known about this so-called "ticking timebomb" when you ordered the torture; and e) how you could possibly believe it, or sort it out from whatever else bubbled up just to get you to stop.

And just for starters we have ample evidence that all of this is bogus, that whatever you get out of a torture victim is useless. And that doesn't begin to address the opposite side of the argument, from the violation of the law, to the moral repugnance of torture, to the noxious effect on American principles and our international standing, to the practical question of how much time you waste chasing worthless information just to get something slightly less dubious. Add to that the fact that the Bush administration decided to go proudly semi-public with the whole thing, mostly to court the critical BDSM and Bloodthirsty Racist Statesider votes, before trying to pedal backwards again. What sort of damage did Abu Ghraib cause? What sort of "high-value information" did we get there in exchange?

Nope. Instead we've just transferred the argument to one of Dick Cheney's choosing, for no reason other than he's opened his maw again, safely away from anyone who might possibly shut it for him, as always. Restating the argument as the cheap plot of a teevee serial didn't actually work back when Darth Vader there had some strings to pull. Now it's just froth. And along with his party's resounding renunciation at the polls, the difference is that we now know, know, that the administration ordered torture just for torture's sake. There's no fucking way to make the argument that the 171st simudrowning of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed promised to do something the first 170 hadn't. We're running out of time! We tortured these guys because the pathological certifiables who got control of the White House wanted to. We turned criminally untrained Army Reservists, their canine pals, and 3.1 megapixel technology loose on Iraqi civilians because Donald Rumsfeld has a depraved indifference to human life. We didn't do anything to prisoners in US custody that the Republican party hasn't been doing in that Fantasyland it inhabits since the end of the Vietnam war. Except that this time it wasn't just metaphorical. This time the moral fucking cowards could order someone else to do it, and they imagined they had enough cover from 9/11 Changing Everything that they'd never face the consequences of their belligerent psychopathy, just as none of that bunch ever has. Cheney can mouth off forever without changing "the core" of the debate, or anything else, for that matter, and we hope FAUX will continue to give him the opportunity. Nightly. Unless the courts do.


John said...

You mean, it's not all Lyndie England's fault?

Anonymous said...

Cʻmon, it was never about gleaning information. It was always the frathouse hazing thang, except it was electrocution and drowning and rabid dog "play" instead of Deke hot coathangers, and nobody needed to worry about actually allowing some of those brown creatures into the frat. Wasnʻt seeing that happy Sorority Sister Smile on Lyndieʻs face worth it? It was gonna be a thousand-year reich so we all just knew thereʻd be no consequences ...

With no aloha for any of these sadists,


StringonaStick said...

I'm hoping the courts get a chance to ask questions. A LOT of questions. And I am hoping the court in question has a Dutch address and name.

Anonymous said...

One of the most deeply depressing aspects of all this is that Cheney and Bush and Rumsfelf and all the rest of 'em are the same species as me.

Li'l Innocent

Anonymous said...

On a less gloomy note, dear Mr. Riley, I think it's getting to be time to update your Clip & Save post. You've been adding stuff. I recognize some of these luminaries - Buster, Bessie, Richie Pryor - but not most of them. I have a suspicion some of them are jazz and blues greats I've admired for yrs. And who wouldn't want to know the identity of Ms. Mojo? That's what I call insoucience.

I hope somebody helped that poor hedgehog.

Li'l Innocent

Kathy said...

Bush & Cheney and the rest were frightened and humiliated by 9/11. They had to terrorize back and used torture to frighten the world. Torture = Terrorism.

cavjam said...

A few observations:

Since the time of Torquemada, the purpose of torture has been to break the subject to the will of the torturer, to obtain confirmation of accusation for affirmation of the torturers' tenets (pardon the pun). It's a propaganda excercise whether done by the Dominican priesthood or the STASI and KGB statists.

Will the swallowers of Rush Limbaugh's syphilitic jism ever wake to the fact that little Donnie Rumsfeld, architect of said torture, blamed it all on the troops?

When confronted with a Mexican come to El Norte to pick chiles for ten dollars/twelve hour day, the rightie-tighties are quick to fluster with ruddy opprobrium, "What part of illegal don't you understand?"

According to the law of the land, not investigating and prosecuting these allegations is illegal. According to that same law, "I vas chust following orders" is no defense for the little Eichmans in the CIA.

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jackd said...

"It was necessary and it worked," is an argument that Cheney et al should be able to make all they want - during the sentencing phase of their trials.