Free Markets, Free People

Politics at its worst (update)

First I’d like to say that my position on torture is well known and not what this post is about.  It’s about intent and timing.  The subject just happens to be torture, or enhanced interrogation techniques, if you prefer.

Secondly, I’d like to point out that we’ve been through this before – this is truly old news.  This has been investigated.  It’s been commented upon and debated.  It is something that anyone who follows the news and politics has been aware of for years.

So why, then, in a lame duck session after which Senate Democrats lose their majority, does an idiot like Sen. Diane Feinstein decide that this is something that must be released now.  What is the utility of this report?  What is the intent of releasing it now?  What positive does a biased report that only casts America in a bad light in the middle of a war bring to the table?

Biased, you say?  How do you know that?  Well here’s a clue:

The outgoing Democratic leadership of the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on C.I.A. rendition, detention and interrogation of terrorists in the years following the 9/11 attacks. But here’s a red flag: Not one person who managed or ran the interrogation program was interviewed.

Not one?  So what sort of “report” was it then?  What sort of “investigation” took place?  Again, regardless of your views on “torture” this is pure politics.  And bad politics at that.  It is a smear dressed up as something to take seriously.

Why does it matter? Because the way this “report” was generated colors the notional facts it professes to share. Many of the “revelations” of C.I.A. techniques and black sites are old hat to most. Some approve; others don’t. Fair enough, and in a democracy, such a debate is worthy. The larger challenge comes in determining the efficacy of these techniques. Opponents insist (fueled less by fact and more by their sense of righteousness) that enhanced interrogation doesn’t work. So claims the outgoing chairman, of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein.

Here is the problem: Her claim is false. And taken in conjunction with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s unwillingness to interview the targets of their critique, one can only assume that much of the rest of the document is also tainted.

When you dig down to the very bottom of it, you realize its written to support a narrative.  It is the same sort of garbage we have seen in the Rolling Stone story about the rape at U Va.  As with this report, the “journalist” involved never interviewed anyone who might shed a different sort of light on the rape story. She never verified much of anything.  It was all about supporting a narrative.

Rape is bad.  Yes, it is.  We all accept and understand that.  But false and embellished accusations are bad too.  That’s what no one ever seems to say on the “rape is bad” narrative side of the house.  Additionally, there are two sides to every story – and if you want to report factually, you include both sides.  If you’re interested in pushing a narrative, then you don’t.

Hiawatha Bray sums up today’s journalism rather nicely and it applies to this biased piece of garbage Feinstein’s committee produced as well.

What’s wrong with journalism? Lots of stuff. But this is one of the worst features of our industry. All too many of us approach stories with preconceived “narratives.” What matters is not what’s actually going on; it’s whether a particular event gives us the chance to tell some story we already want to tell. If the story is that frat boys are incorrigible rapists, that’s how the story gets spun. What actually happened is of secondary importance. And that’s how we can get a student journalist–contra an earlier draft, I’m not sure she’s actually a journalism major–who can say without embarrassment that the facts of a story are not all that important. This is scary stuff. The only thing we have to offer as journalists–the only thing that’s worth a twopenny damn–is accurate, trustworthy information. If the facts in our stories can’t be relied upon, then those stories are worthless, regardless of what “noble cause” they’re designed to advance. To me it seems horrifying that it’s necessary to explain this.

It is the same story with this report that Feinstein, et. al, have decided must be published now.  Old news, repackaged, biased to come to a particular conclusion and intended, apparently, to embarrass the US.  Not to mention it is something which will further endanger our military in a time of war. And, of course, provide wonderful propaganda and recruiting material for our enemies (who, per some reports, are already using it).  And then there are the useful idiots who will revel in this diminishing of the country’s image.

How this helps the US is beyond my comprehension I guess.  It is something we’ve confronted and dealt with years ago.  The country is divided over the use of certain “techniques”.  And, we’ve seen a Democratic majority in government for 6 years who had the ability to ensure that whatever they believed about such use of these techniques was curtailed or eliminated.  What was the utility of this report except, as a friend of mine said, a willful “eff you” by the outgoing Senate majority?

Just when you think this sort of politics can’t get any worse … it does.

UPDATE:  Well, of course.  Feinstein’s “mission accomplished”:

A United Nations human rights official is calling for individuals who carried out, planned or authorized abusive practices against al-Qaeda detainees in the aftermath of 9/11 to be put on trial, saying the U.S. was obliged under international law to bring those responsible to justice.”

He also warned Tuesday that perpetrators could be prosecuted anywhere in the world, noting that “torture is a crime of universal jurisdiction.”

Meanwhile the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the Senate Intelligence Committee’s release of a declassified portion of a report on CIA interrogation and detention programs was insufficient, calling for the full 6,000 page report to be released, and for “accountability” for those who overstepped the mark.


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30 Responses to Politics at its worst (update)

  • “How this helps the US is beyond my comprehension I guess. It is something we’ve confronted and dealt with years ago. The country is divided over the use of certain “techniques”. And, we’ve seen a Democratic majority in government for 6 years who had the ability to ensure that whatever they believed about such use of these techniques was curtailed or eliminated. What was the utility of this report except, as a friend of mine said, a willful “eff you” by the outgoing Senate majority?”

    It’s a poison pill for the next Senate. Which happens to be controlled by the Republicans.

    Logically then that becomes, “The Republicans are in favor of torture and didn’t do anything about this!” when they report “The SENATE, has known about this for years!!!!!”.
    Or “What is Mitch McConnell going to do about this outrage!!!!, what are the REPUBLICANS going to do about this outrage!”

    It’s more than an “eff you”, it’s a deliberate booby trap for the Republicans to have to spend time defusing,
    And which will give cover not only to the Dems who knew as well as anybody (Republican Senate! Republican Senate!) but cover for Barack to continue his ‘good deeds’ to ‘fix this mess’.

  • Feinstein is insane, and I don’t mean that as a pejorative but as a clinical observation. She’s an old lying Lefty who occasionally pretends to have “conservative” views, but the lies and the pretense are the least of it.

    I don’t recall your views on “torture,” Bruce, but I suspect that I don’t agree with them.

  • This could…I hope it won’t…have the same killer effect on US intelligence as “the Church report”.

    Feinstein said “Never again”. I say, EVERY TIME. If water-boarding is OK as a mandatory training component for certain service members, it AIN’T “torture”.

  • And the old harridan’s keister is covered – “I investigated and released a report! (that took over 5+ years…..)”

    Given that the Obama administration agencies claim Executive Privilege on everything and conveniently lose information and stonewall better than T.J. Jackson himself, why should anyone believe that report has any actual information in it.

    • Well, we do know this….

      the “investigation” never asked the right people ANY questions. I mean, the people who KNEW what happened and why.

      If you get that ONE fact, you really don’t need any more inquiry. It was a hit job from the git.

      • She just wanted to make it clear “NOT ME!!”, but she wanted to make that clear AFTER her party lost control of the Senate. She was perfectly happy to let it go on as long as Harry Reid led the Senate with his Fairy Tales about Felonious Mitt Romney, and the many Kochenstein monsters.

  • More humor, the CIA will continue to do as they’re told by the people who keep throwing them to the sharks with fickin laser beams attached to their heads.

  • Yawn. Sore losers just want to trash the place on their way out. The UN is toothless and Christmas is around the corner. This petty, impotent act will be forgotten even before the egg nog is properly spiked. Cheers! 🙂

  • “In the years after 9/11, with legitimate fears of further attacks and with the responsibility to prevent more catastrophic loss of life, the previous administration faced agonizing choices about how to pursue Al Qaeda and prevent additional terrorist attacks against our country,” he {Obama] said.

  • Tell you what- the report paints the CIA in pretty bad light. Which is fine with me- I remember all the BS they put Bush through including the trumped up Plame thing. So eff ’em. Let the prosecutions begin.

    • But, shark, there isn’t A CIA, just as with the State and Justice Departments.

      There are factions, and that explains the leaks and other subversive stuff that all of them use. There have been, since at least before WWII, strong Collectivist cells in all the various departments.

      • I’m somehow sure the majority of the factions are loyal to the left one way or the other so eff em all

        • I feel sorry for the individuals, but the divisions as a whole know what the other divisions are pulling.

    • The funny part is that the CIA is part of the blue empire, not the red. They can eat their own all they want. 🙂

      • They always do. The larger irony is when they get power, to considate power/loyalty back with the mainstream public, they throw their special interest groups under the bus. Ask Ernst Rohm.

    • CIA also managed to believe WMD’s were in Iraq but didn’t call the Pakistani nuke.

  • of course the reason for the timing of this thing was politiece, Obamacare is Obama’s signature piece, and the revelations of the wise involved in getting the thing past we’re supposed to happen at exactly the same time that the Democrats decided to release this report.

    this is, for lack of a better description, a scorched earth policy.which, in reality, should exclude the Democrats from ever taking any office above the level of dog catcher again. Of course, it won’t, but there it is.

  • The labor of the Great Soviet is enduring and ceaseless.

  • IIRC Nancy was ok with water boarding. Was that mentioned in the report?

  • 337 “When we have a criminal trial, we actually interview the witnesses, the people who were there, and often the people involved. We don’t rely entirely on documents, because you need to know the context, you need to know what was in the mind of the person referred to.”

    That did not happen in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report: “When Feinstein is asked about this, her answer is, there was a concurrent investigation by the Department of Justice and, thus, we were not able to interview them. Well, that is total rubbish, because the investigation ended in 2012. It’s now the end of 2014. They had over two years to interview and talk to anybody involved, including the highest officials, who were never excluded from interrogation in principle, but who were never spoken to.”

  • Maybe the authors of the report are looking for jobs with Rolling Stone.

  • Ah, on cue – the Bush Cheney KNEW hysteria articles are free to roam.

    Not one word about 5 years in the making, not one word about what St. Barack was going to do about the report that St Dianne must have given him a heads up on.

    Liberals – you’re a sorry bunch of lying shirts.
    It’s 2014 kids, Bush/Cheney haven’t been Prez and Vice Prez for a looooonnnnnnnnnngggggg time now and your folks did exactly jack all with this oh so important report.
    I’ll give you a minute to “Splain Lucy”, you morons, and then shut your stupid hypocritical traps.

  • “Listen, I think it’s very facile for people to say, ‘Oh, torture is terrible,’” Scalia told the Swiss radio network. “You posit the situation where a person that you know for sure knows the location of a nuclear bomb that has been planted in Los Angeles and will kill millions of people. You think it’s an easy question? You think it’s clear that you cannot use extreme measures to get that information out of that person?”

    “I don’t know what article of the Constitution that would contravene,” the conservative justice added in reference to the harsh treatment of terrorism suspects.