Friday, November 26, 2010

Decision Points--Enhanced interrogation

On page 168, George W. Bush in Decision Points gets around to "enhanced interrogation," aka torture for information. You will call it what you want depending on whether you hate or like George Bush, on whether you thought he was the original Satan/Hitler for taking us into Iraq and Afghanistan or whether he was keeping us safe after 9/11.

He writes, "The FBI began questioning Zubaydah [associate of bin Laden who had run a camp which trained the 9/11 hijackers], who had clearly been trained on how to resist interrogation. . . [He] was our best lead to avoid another catastrophic attack. . . [Looking at a list of options Bush was presented] George [Tenet] assured me all interrogations would be performed by experienced intelligence professionals who had undergone extensive training. . . There were two that I felt went too far, even if they were legal. I directed the CIA not to use them."

This is something that puzzles me every time a government official, from Eric Holder who seems like a shriveled wimp to Arnold Schwarzenegger with his massive body and Austrian accent, discusses a tricky decision. No government official can know everything about everything and they depend on lawyers to tell them what is legal. Lawyers don't agree, and apparently neither does case law, massive regulations or 2000 page laws passed by Congressmen who don't even read them.

So if a President is told plan A is legal, it is used, and "Zubaydah revealed large amounts of information on al Qaeda's structure and operations," and that information is in turn available to the next President who as a candidate thought and spoke ill of his predecessor, but continues to use and act on that information, which guy is Satan/Hitler, the guy who had to make the decision and did keep the country safe, or the one who tries to float above it all and not get his hands soiled?

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