Monday, December 15, 2008

Yeah, about that hero worship, Mark ...

Over at Dumbnation, Mark C. sighs wistfully over the courage of the American EmmEssEmm:

Somehow I find it hard to imagine the Globe and Mail running an opinion piece like this one in the NY Times:

Mr. Obama will soon face the same awful choices that confronted George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and he could well be forced to accept a central feature of their anti-terrorist methods: extraordinary rendition. If the choice is between non-deniable aggressive questioning conducted by Americans and deniable torturous interrogations by foreigners acting on behalf of the United States, it is almost certain that as president Mr. Obama will choose the latter...

If Mr. Obama’s Democrats get blown back into the ugly world that we live in, and resume rendition (and, of course, fib about it), then President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, who have been vilified for besmirching America’s honor, may at least take some consolation in knowing that hypocrisy is always the homage vice pays to virtue.

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer, is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Why, yes, the "Foundation for Defense of Democracies" should sound familiar, thanks for asking. In blogging, as in comedy, timing is everything.

BY THE WAY, the article of which Mark is so enamored uses the "ticking time bomb" scenario as if it actually has any value:

But this third way, which is essentially where America was before the Clinton administration embraced rendition, is plausible only if Mr. Obama is lucky. He might be. If there is no “ticking time bomb” situation — say, where waterboarding a future Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (the 9/11 mastermind) could save thousands of civilians — then there is neither need for the C.I.A.’s exceptional methods, nor the harsh services of Jordan’s General Intelligence Department.

Yes, Mark, the "ticking time bomb" -- the rhetorical refuge for imbeciles everywhere, where people absolutely know there is danger, and they know the person they have in custody has all the information they need. I'm wondering how well that might have worked out once upon a time ...

"Sir, we know that Saddam Hussein has reconstituted nuclear weapons, and we know that he has chemical and biological weapons, and we know that he's going to use them against our invading troops, and we know that our prisoner has all that information, so we're going to torture him mercilessly until he tells us all about it."

(Time passes ...)

"Sir, I regret to inform you that, despite our best efforts, the prisoner died under torture, maintaining to the end that there are no weapons of mass destruction."

(More time passes, culminating in a successful American invasion of Baghdad during which, curiously, no nuclear, chemical or biological weapons are used ...)

"Sir, um, you remember that prisoner we tortured to death? The one that maintained adamantly that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction? Well, uh, funny story ..."

Fortunately for Mark, mistakes like that would never happen. Not on his watch, anyway.

: More than you really needed to know.

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