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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

A tortuous report

Hey, believe what I'm saying now, and please stop bringing up what I said then:

The interrogation program was authorized by the highest levels of the U.S. government, judged legal by the Justice Department and proved effective by any reasonable standard. The leaders of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees and of both parties in Congress were briefed on the program more than 40 times between 2002 and 2009. But Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tried to deny that she was told in 2002 that detainees had been waterboarded. That is simply not true. I was among those who briefed her.

There’s great hypocrisy in politicians’ criticism of the CIA’s interrogation program. In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, lawmakers urged us to do everything possible to prevent another attack on our soil. Members of Congress and the administration were nearly unanimous in their desire that the CIA do all that it could to debilitate and destroy al-Qaeda. The CIA got the necessary approvals to do so and kept Congress briefed throughout. But as our successes grew, some lawmakers’ recollections shrank in regard to the support they once offered.

I don't think we need another whole round of debates about whether torture is ever justified, or whether it proved useful or not in this case. And the jury is still out over whether the release of this report (whether true or not) will embolden our enemies. I suspect not -- they're already pretty emboldened by their religious fanaticism. But it does seem odd -- almost kid of ugly -- to release such a highly critical report when we're still in the middle of the same war that spurred the actions it criticizes.

When they say "Don't judge the past by current standards," they usually mean some point in the distant past. But I think it applies to more recent times, too. The whole country was freaking out after the worst strike on the homeland in history, and we were suddenly in a new kind of war with a whole new set of rules nobody understood, so they just made it up as they went along. That we can judge them harshly now from the relative safety of the secure present is due in large part to the actions they took to make us safe. What's say we cut them just a little bit of slack?


Larry Morris
Fri, 12/12/2014 - 11:00am


Since I have been alive (beyond WW II), we have been hamstrung by ideals that we were a better people than our enemy.  While they were allowed to commit murderous acts to win, we had to play be a different set of rules.  Now, we are politicizing the one instance where we had to do whatever we could to get information.  But, on the other hand, it's morally sound for the Commander in Chief and his cohorts to lie to the American people on numerous occasions about legislation he wants passed.  And, then lie about lying.  Pot, meet kettle …