The politics of the torture agreement
I wanted to blog a bit this morning about the President’s reversal in position on Sen. John McCain’s call for a law banning ‘torture’ to foreign suspects in the war on terror but John Hawkins’ post on the subject pretty much sums up my feelings on this switch in position by the President. John writes:
Because we’ve been able to use techniques like stress positions, sleep deprivation, and waterboarding on terrorists for the last few years, we have undoubtedly had a lot of success in getting information out of key terrorists that we’ve captured. In fact, the use of those sort of interrogation techniques probably has a lot to do with why Al-Qaeda hasn’t been able to follow-up on 9/11 in the United States.
However, now that we’ve put political grandstanding above national security and completely handcuffed our military investigators, we can expect a big slow down in the amount of intelligence we’re getting from captured Al-Qaeda operatives…
Yep. Not only that, but think about somewhere down the line in the future, you know there’s going to be a Republican president who will want to repeal this ban on the grounds that it is “too broad.” The usual suspects, including grandstanding Democrats and moderate Republicans, will jump at the opportunity to hold press conferences denouncing that president as a “supporter of torture” – even though we all know what one person’s definition of “torture” is not necessarily someone else’s.
Because of the massive amount of attention the liberal media has given to unfortunate and embarassing incidents like what happened at Abu Ghraib, the bandwagon jumpers in DC took the opportunity it presented to call for what is essentially a ‘feel good’ law that states via implication that the US is mandated to ‘not be baddies like the terrorists’ – like we needed a law like that in the first place!! This law is one of those laws that not many politicians want to be seen as not ‘suporting’ because they don’t want people believing they are pro-‘torture’ so they’ll go along with McCain and co. on the ban so the ‘support’ on this ban, in my opinion, is not really so much about ‘supporting’ a ban on ‘torture’ but caving in to the moderate Republicans and liberal Democrats who knew going into this that they had the upper hand as far as the press was concerned in terms of how the opposition would be portrayed.
The President caved to people who, in the end, he will never please. And our intelligence agencies … and obviously our national security … will pay the price.
Update: Andy McCarthy at National Review is calling it the “Al Qaeda Bill of Rights” – sounds about right. (Hat tip: Bryan Preston)