Saturday, April 25, 2009

Let the Hearings Begin!

It's hardly news that the secular collectivist antiwar forces would love to have Dick Cheney's head on a pike. With that said, let me make the obligatory references to the latest developments in the ongoing push for "torture trials" against former Bush administration officials.

Hilzoy actually offers an interesting perspective on things, dismissing the "revenge" meme, in her essay, "
My Allegedly Vengeful Heart." She's responding to David Broder's column today, "Stop Scapegoating: Obama Should Stand Against Prosecutions." As Broder notes, citing the left's need for revenge:

Obama is being lobbied by politicians and voters who want something more - the humiliation and/or punishment of those responsible for the policies of the past. They are looking for individual scalps - or, at least, careers and reputations.
I think that's exactly it, although I would add that leftists are in fact frightened that their electoral victory is fragile, and they bet that Soviet-style show trials will work to bolster their power by casting all sorts of vicious allegations and slander against their political enemies. It's diversionary politics at its finest. Even Porter Goss, the former Director of Central Intelligence, has stepped up to speak out against the witch hunts, in "Security Before Politics."

But let's check in with one of my absolutely favorite writers, Noemie Emery, in her essay, "
Telling the Truth: Let the Hearings Begin!":

Some Democrats, from the White House on down, are pushing the idea of a "truth commission," à la South Africa, to deal with the "harsh measures" used by the Bush administration in interrogating al Qaeda detainees. Good. Let's have lots of truthtelling. Please bring it on.

Let's tell the truth about Bush's conduct of the war on terror, which is that it's been a success. His ultimate legacy hasn't been written--Iraq is improved, but not out of danger--but the one thing that can be said without reservation is that the country was kept safe. He delivered on the main charge of his office in time of emergency, in a crisis without guidelines or precedent. Attacks took place in Spain, and in London, in Indonesia and India, but not on American soil, which was the obvious target of choice. Bush couldn't say this before he left office, for obvious reasons, and after he left, attention switched to the new president. This little fact dropped down the memory hole, but with all this discussion, it will rise to the surface. Let the hearings begin!

Also dropped down the memory hole--along with the names of all the Democrats who thought Saddam was a menace who cried out for removal--is what the ambience was like in late 2001 and 2002, when fears of anthrax and suitcase bombs ran rampant, and people on all sides tried to seem tough. Let's tell the truth about all the liberals who went on record supporting real torture, not to mention the Democrats in Congress, when it was cool to want to seem tough on our enemies, who couldn't be too warlike. Then war and tough measures stopped being cool, and "world opinion" became more important. Nothing like statements under oath to revive ancient memories! And rewind the tapes.

Let's get at the truth too about the word "torture," which to different people, means different things. Some think "torture" means standing on the 98th floor of a burning skyscraper and realizing you have a choice between jumping and being incinerated. Some think torture is being crushed when a building implodes around you. Some think torture is not thinking you might drown for several minutes, but looking at burning buildings on television and knowing that people you love are inside them. They remember that being crushed, incinerated, or killed in a jump from the 98th story happened to almost 3,000 blameless Americans (as well as a number of foreigners), and that 125 Pentagon employees were killed at their desks, while many survivors suffered terrible burns. They think the choice between stopping this from happening again by slapping around or scaring the hell out of a cluster of brigands, or leaving the brigands alone and letting it happen again, is a no-brainer.

Not much polling has been done to date about attitudes on waterboarding and torture held by the general public (as opposed to and the Washington press corps), but it would surely be done in the event of hearings and trials. Not many people think being slapped hard is the same thing as having to jump from a building. Democrats might find the truth about this to be inconvenient indeed.

Let's get at the truth, not merely about the administration before this one, but of all of the ones that came before that. If we prosecute people in government who try to save American lives by doing "harsh" things to America's enemies, why should we stop at 2001? There's President Truman, who dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, killing and injuring tens of thousands of innocent people. Impeach him in retrospect, for the women and children. Talk about harsh. Go back before him, and impeach FDR: Without him, there would have been no Manhattan Project, specifically conceived to be "harsh" on the enemy. And why stop with them? There's Ike, and John Kennedy, who were in the armed forces, and certainly meant to cause harm to the enemy. They were all, of course, much too "harsh" to be president. Good liberals ought to be troubled by that.
There's more at the link, via Memeorandum. And God Bless Noemie Emery.


JSF said...


I just did a post saying (almost) the same thing -- maybe a little blunter:

Green Eagle said...

You see, here's the thing. It's only a show trial if the accused didn't commit the crime. I guess you just didn't think that detail out too well.

Dave said...

Dr. Douglas,

I must say, you certainly have a knack for attracting the most virulent, enemy-coddling, wussified, candy-ass, surrender monkey trolls currently slithering about the internet.

LOL-Please understand, I mean that not as a criticism, but a compliment, as you are clearly doing something right.

I am rather hoping the illiberal left will actually conduct this witch hunt, as it will further reinforce a long-held belief of mine, and that is that the left wishes to criminalize and thus prosecute those who act to actually defend the United States of America.

And to think, these mindless clowns profess such offense when (rightly) accused of being flagrant America-haters.

I wonder if those who so zealously want to go after Messrs. Bush & Cheney would be willing to see Billy Jeff put on trial as a war criminal for wantonly bombing the hell out of the descendants of the brave and selfless Chetniks, to whom this nation owes a debt of gratitude it has never come close to repaying.

I doubt the lefties who post here have ever even heard of the Chetniks, much less what they did for this nation during the course of WW II.


Tim said...

So why wasn't Bush torturing people before 9/11 if that was his administration's bent? He had the information at hand, that we were about to be attacked. We knew that people were taking flying lessons and skipping anything to do with landing procedures. But no, we didn't torture them then, or even do "enhanced interrogation" techniques.

That said, I still have reservations about prosecuting previous administrations. Even Nixon and Reagan. It's a sad state of affairs that every Republican administration since Eisenhower has had to face the possibility of retroactive prosecutions. I wish -- but I know it won't happen -- that Republicans would consider acting within the rule of law, and not so much outside of it in future. If they have a future.

So, in spite of all that, I'm gonna go with the NO vote on prosecutions though. There's only one person that you can tag, in my opinion, and that is GWB. The buck stopped there, or it would have, if he had any cajones to begin with.

AmPowerBlog said...

Dave: I have no idea where "Green Eagle" came from, but all fair in love and war, I guess...

Tim said...

On the other hand...

Frank RichOnce again, a brilliant takedown of the Orwellians. Not sure about the prosecutions, but still, Rich owns this argument.