Saturday, December 20, 2008

How Else Not To Fight Terrorism

On December 11, Michigan’s Democratic Senator-for-Life, Carl Levin, released yet one more report styled an “Inquiry into the Treatment of Detainees in U.S. Custody.”

Last Friday’s Detroit News summarized it as follows:

Officials at the top of the Bush administration bear the blame for use of interrogation tactics on military detainees that were designed to help U.S. troops endure torture at enemy hands, says a report released Thursday by a Senate panel chaired by Sen. Carl Levin.

The report, the product of a two-year investigation by the Senate Armed Services Committee, means the Obama administration “needs to look for ways in which people can be held accountable for their actions,’ Levin said in an interview Thursday.

(“Report pins detainee abuse on Rumsfeld”).

When Levin calls on the incoming administration to work for “ways in which people can be held accountable,” he means people like U.S. military interrogators, intelligence officers, and political officials charged with protecting the American people. That jihadist detainees may face consequences for their efforts, some of them successful, to kill us is completely absent from the analysis.

Read the News article, or Levin’s report, and you’ll never known that the captured jihadists, whom he refers to only as “detainees in U.S. custody,” are anything more than victims of American civil-rights violations. For all we can learn from Levin’s 19-page lecture, we don’t know why or how these men became “detainees in U.S. custody,” or if they share any more culpability in their situation than orphans trapped in a corrupt and inefficient foster-care system.

For example, here is how Levin’s Executive Summary disposes of the phenomenon of Islamic jihadist terrorism: “Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists are taught to expect Americans to abuse them. They are recruited based on false propaganda that says the United States is out to destroy Islam. Treating detainees harshly only reinforces that distorted view, increases resistance to cooperation, and creates new enemies.”

The editors at National Review had a swift and potent response to Levin’s report, (“Torturing the Evidence”), that skewers Levin’s report as “flawed in its fundamental assumptions and fictional in its sweeping conclusions.”

The document, the editors write, is only “the latest chapter in the Democrats’ torture narrative — a warped tale that trivializes true torture by confounding it with less extreme forms of interrogation. The committee thoroughly misrepresents the legal standards that govern detainee treatment and ignores non-partisan investigations that have found no evidence of a systematic program of abuse.”

Moreover, Levin’s report falsifies the history of our detainee and interrogation policies, in order to blame any possible wrongdoing exclusively on Rumsfeld, Bush, and Republicans:

In September 2002, senior leaders on the Senate and House intelligence committees — Democrats and Republicans — began receiving briefings on the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation program,” including the use of waterboarding on top al-Qaeda operatives. Among the leaders briefed was Nancy Pelosi, now speaker of the House.

The lawmakers raised no objections. According to Porter Goss, a congressman at that time and later head of the CIA, their chief concern was whether “the methods were tough enough.” But Carl Levin, the Democrat who runs the Senate Armed Services Committee, managed to suppress any mention of Speaker Pelosi and her congressional colleagues last week when his committee released its misleading and relentlessly partisan report, titled “Inquiry into the Treatment of Detainees in U.S. Custody

I find Levin’s action all the more odious as this kind of incendiary propaganda isn’t even timed to help Obama get elected. The object, as suggested in the News headline, was to "pin abuse on Rumsfeld." It is intended only to further slander the Bush administration, and to handcuff Obama so that he will lighten the pressure on Islamic radicals.

I believe there ought to be reasonable debate about what constitutes torture, and the levels to which those on the front lines--commanders primarily concerned with protecting their soldiers, and intelligence officials with a duty to protect innocent people from attacks--can go to obtain information from captured jihadists.

But Democrats are no more capable of discussing that subject reasonably than they’ve been able to discuss America’s military strategy in response to 9/11. (“Quagmire!”--“Blood for oil!”--“Imperialism!”-- “Bush lied!!!”). For some reason Democrats just have to boil everything down to a simplistic invective meant to demonize Republicans in power, or to silence opposition from the minority when it is them in power.

Rather than foster a national discussion about the complex moral and political problem--and a never before encountered problem--of detaining and interrogating stateless, lawless, homicidal fanatics who think nothing of losing their own lives if it means killing infidels for Allah--the Left simply began screaming that we had no right to detain them at all if we’re not going to extend full protections to them as criminal defendants under the Bill of Rights. This is a profoundly stupid idea, and even Obama has been backpedaling away from it since it's his turn to tackle the problem now. This either/or approach always ends the discussion before it has a chance to begin.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We share victim status with the detainees. The mortgage industry collapse had its initial tumble followed by the big crumble as a result of policies such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Those responsible for these government loans bare a large portion of the blame. According to the NYT that person is Bush.

Now that all the history books have been reconstructed from records of facts into anti-reason manifestos for social change, the journalists can focus on deconstruction of tomorrow's history. This will leave the socialist University professor with a lot of time on his hands. I wonder what they will do with this extra time?