Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 28, 2009 / 4 Iyar 5769

The Opposite of Intelligence

By Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The mantra from the left during the Bush years went something like this: The world is not black and white. Sophisticated minds should seek out different, nuanced opinions.


Now that Barack Obama is president, you can say a farewell to nuance. The left chants, "torture doesn't work" — defining waterboarding and sleep deprivation as torture. Obama has a longhand version of that mantra in his rejection of the "false choice between our security and our ideals."


In Obamaland, somehow there never are difficult choices. From the presidency that was supposed to promote intellectualism comes the argument that waterboarding is immoral — which is a fair argument to make, until its adds: and it doesn't work.


But common sense tells you that techniques like sleep deprivation, waterboarding and a forced bland diet work, at least some times.


Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (aka KSM) didn't exactly want to help the CIA. Yet Americans are supposed to believe that asked-nicely interrogations yielded or would have yielded the same information as "enhanced techniques" designed to inflict extreme discomfort and dread?


As I reported last week, the newly released Bush administration memos credited the use of waterboarding and other methods with leading to the discovery of a planned "second wave" attack on Los Angeles and other terrorist plans. But there are contradictions in the official accounts of when that L.A. attack was foiled. At one point, the Bush White House had claimed the plot was discovered and interrupted in 2002 — the year before Mohammed was captured.


Even if that Los Angeles claim does not stand up — and we don't know at this point — we do know that former CIA chiefs George Tenet (a Clinton appointee) and Porter Goss believe the "enhanced techniques" program worked. OK, you say: They supported waterboarding, so of course they say it worked. But Obama's director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, a critic of the use of the "enhanced techniques," also said they yielded "high-value information."


Blair, however, maintains that the information was not worth the damage to America's image. I guess it is a sign of the modern age that U.S. forces can deploy unmanned drones to attack the enemy in Afghanistan — risking the lives of innocent people, among whom the guilty are hiding — but the left gets its hackles up if KSM loses his beauty sleep.


White House Adviser David Axelrod told CBS's "Face the Nation" that waterboarding and sleep deprivation were "one of the key tools al-Qaida has used for recruitment."


Which begs the question: If these methods serve as a recruiting tool, why is Obama releasing the four Bush waterboarding memos? By his team's own lights, isn't that waving the red flag?


Obama banned "enhanced" interrogation techniques in his first week in office, as he had promised to do during the 2008 campaign. That's not enough, some opponents say. There needs to be a Truth Commission or federal investigation to make sure, as Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., argued, "it never happens again."


The irony is that the CIA stopped waterboarding — a practice used on three high-value al-Qaida detainees in 2002 and 2003 — in March 2003. Sometime after 2005, the practice was removed from the CIA authorized list of techniques. Waterboarding ended during the Bush administration.


It ended in part because the longer a detainee was in custody, the more he was separated from usable information. Risk aversion — intelligence operatives' fear of having to hire expensive lawyers to defend themselves — and perhaps aversion to waterboarding itself — did the rest. The mere prospect of a new round of federal investigations has sent the message to all U.S. intelligence operatives that there is no upside in aggressive interrogation. To the contrary, it's a career killer.


The 9/11 commission was supposed to, among other results, prevent intelligence lapses so that 9/11 could never happen again. Now some Democrats want to investigate what they see as post-9/11 intelligence excesses. This isn't about gathering more information to prevent further disasters. It's scalp collecting.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment JWR contributor Debra J. Saunders' column by clicking here.

Debra J. Saunders Archives

© 2009, Creators Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles