Obama Transition Team "Clarifies" Position On Torture: He May Be For It

Change we can believe in?

As a candidate, Mr. Obama said the CIA's interrogation program should adhere to the same rules that apply to the military, which would prohibit the use of techniques such as waterboarding. He has also said the program should be investigated.

[But], [u]pon review, Mr. Obama may decide he wants to keep the road open in certain cases for the CIA to use techniques not approved by the military, but with much greater oversight.

You see the proposal is to have greater oversight over the torture. Change we can believe in!

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    So much change (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by SM on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 08:46:13 AM EST
    I can hardly stand it!

    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Steve M on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 08:50:10 AM EST
    We seem to be in the midst of that game where every random advisor decides to tell the media "oh of course he agrees with me on X."  I get the feeling the message discipline of the campaign is a thing of the past, sadly.

    Although (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Steve M on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 08:52:19 AM EST
    looking at it again, the paragraph in question is sourced to "one current government official familiar with the transition."  In other words, this is a BUSH official saying "hey, Obama may want to continue our torture policy."  Not the most reliable source as far as Obama's actual intentions.

    Nonsense (5.00 / 4) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 08:55:12 AM EST
    John Brennan is behind this and I am actually appalled to learn that he has anything to do with the transition.

    He is completely unacceptable and my hope is that he is disavowed immediately. It is why I write this provocative post.

    some people want to torpedo Summers. I want to torpedo Brennan.


    More on John Brennan (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:04:49 AM EST
    Ugh (5.00 / 6) (#25)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:28:17 AM EST
    For folks who didn't read the link, it's an ABC story from I think March, when Obama was still saying he was against the FISA telecom immunity bill, and Brennan gave himself permission to break with him publicly on it and speak out to reporters about why it was a good bill.

    So sounds like Brennan has enough influence with Obama to, first of all, get away with doing that and still be a close adviser, and secondly to get him to change his mind on the vote.



    Seriously disturbing (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by andgarden on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:31:53 AM EST
    Why should it be disturbing? (4.20 / 5) (#38)
    by Pepe on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:52:55 AM EST
    All of this was right in front of our noses all the time. Obama's own words, his FISA vote, his extraordinary capacity to pander, change his mind for convenience, political advantage or damage control, back peddle on things like he has been doing his entire life, his willingness to play the double race card during the primaries...and on and on. I and others saw this all along, which is why we didn't vote for either candidate this year.

    This is all very predictable. Knowable actually. And it is only the beginning.

    I saw a new Obama bumper sticker the other day. It read:



    You're right (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Faust on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:16:59 AM EST
    we should never be disturbed by our political leaders doing anything. Lets all go on Soma holiday!

    The point is (5.00 / 4) (#58)
    by Pepe on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:47:59 AM EST
    why be disturbed about the predictable that could have been avoided? Or in this case why be disturbed about the knowable?

    And if one had a hand in bringing these predictable and knowable actions, especially on the heels of his FISA vote which was a BIG RED FLAG, then not only should you not be disturbed - you have no standing to be disturbed really.

    Can people who voted for Bush just be able to wash their hands and conscience of his actions. I don't think most here would answer yes to that.


    I'll feel guilty (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by CST on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:55:54 AM EST
    As soon as he ACTUALLY does something.

    Question - will you admit it when he does something right?  Probably not...

    Personally, I'm pretty comfortable with my vote right now, especially knowing that he already voted against torture and the guy he ran against already voted to keep torture.  But you know, those are things that have actually been DONE rather than speculation about what will happen, so that's no fun.  Funny, his previous FISA vote raises a flag but the fact that he voted against torture already doeasn't?

    I agree with BTD we need to hold his feet to the fire so this stuff doesn't gain traction.  But hold off on burning him alive until he actually does something as president.


    He spoke out strongly (5.00 / 3) (#69)
    by Pepe on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 11:11:37 AM EST
    about FISA and flip-floped. So just because he made a political vote on torture is that an iron clad guarantee that he won't flip-flop on 'enhanced interrogations. Don't bet on it. He already has the wrong people in his ear and he has already shown that they have great influence on him.

    Heh (5.00 / 0) (#73)
    by CST on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 11:24:57 AM EST
    I'll take a political vote against torture over a political vote for torture any day.

    And I hope to continue applying political pressure for him to do the right thing.

    I would never bet on politicians, but I also take things at face value and am not willing to accuse him of something he hasn't done yet.

    Then again, I have a feeling Obama could rescind Telecom Immunity, end both wars, close gitmo, pass gay rights legislation, fix the economy and solve the isreal/palestine conflict and you would STILL criticize him (note - I'm not saying he will actually do all of this I am just making a point).


    Yeah that's right (5.00 / 2) (#80)
    by Pepe on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 11:43:12 AM EST
    make it about me. lol

    So I guess thats a no. (2.00 / 1) (#84)
    by Thanin on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 12:13:33 PM EST
    You are really slooow (1.00 / 0) (#115)
    by Pepe on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:38:17 PM EST
    There wasn't a question in the post so how could I answer yes of no? Dah.

    The poster made a 'statement', then backed off it as even he didn't think all he said could happen. It's called a strawman argument mensa.

    No wonder your SOP is just down rating people. Seriously - Children!!


    He? (5.00 / 0) (#119)
    by CST on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:53:30 PM EST

    You're right, I don't think Obama can solve the Palestine/Israel conflict.  But if he did - I would be the first to admit I was wrong.

    P.S. The only way that post was "all about you" is if you completely ignore the first half of it.


    Well that is the part (1.00 / 0) (#128)
    by Pepe on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 06:49:39 PM EST
    where you addressed me directly. Besides do you respond to my full post? No. Do you always operate on double standards?

    Still crying about down rating? (none / 0) (#136)
    by Thanin on Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 12:25:06 AM EST
    So, you want always to be in reactive mode? (none / 0) (#123)
    by lambert on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 05:59:11 PM EST
    Why so passive? Why wait 'til it's too late?

    So... (2.00 / 4) (#62)
    by Thanin on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:53:58 AM EST
    youre saying people should never speak out about things theyre against just because of a vote they cast in the past?  

    You really need to go out and pull up the Hillary 08 signs on your lawn.


    I'm saying (5.00 / 2) (#68)
    by Pepe on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 11:06:58 AM EST
    they have no standing to be disturbed by the predictable and knowable, and the forewarned as in his FISA vote.

    Sure if people want to Pretend their vote has no bearing on the backpeddling policies of Obama they can do that, but they are fooling no one, except maybe themselves. But then people rationalize away all kinds of crazy things. But rationalization does not make it so.


    and how could it have been avoided? (none / 0) (#63)
    by of1000Kings on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:54:13 AM EST
    vote for Jesse Ventura?  b/c I know you're not trying to say that H. Clinton isn't a politician just like the rest of them...lol...

    What's being a politician (5.00 / 3) (#70)
    by Pepe on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 11:16:23 AM EST
    have to do with it? Don't drag generic others in who didn't make bold statements against torture to try to water down what Obama's staff is leaking. This is about Obama.

    You sound like the mother with the wayward teenager who gets in trouble all the time and then rationalizes that other teenagers do the same thing so as to soften her own problems. It doesn't work.


    I'm not rationalizing... (none / 0) (#72)
    by of1000Kings on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 11:18:54 AM EST
    you are the one that made the statement that this could have been avoided...you didn't mention how (maybe b/c you know that would be fruitless, as I do)...

    I did mention (3.50 / 2) (#77)
    by Pepe on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 11:38:41 AM EST
    how it could be avoided. You just have a problem reading is all.

    you just said that it was predictable... (none / 0) (#83)
    by of1000Kings on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 12:06:18 PM EST
    but you didn't provide an alternate...other than not voting at all, which isn't much of an alternate...

    sure, maybe it was predictable, but that doesn't mean it was avoidable unless you think McCain would have been different--those were our choices (considering H. Clinton's vote the first time on the FISA I think we could say that this would have been predictable from her too, so no alternate for avoidance there, at least not guaranteed)....


    Ah (5.00 / 2) (#116)
    by Pepe on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:42:21 PM EST
    her last vote, a no vote, doesn't count right? Frigging cherry pickers!

    When you use half the facts you have no argument. Got it?


    so use both of them, that's fine... (none / 0) (#137)
    by of1000Kings on Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 01:54:47 AM EST
    so she flip-flopped...

    big deal, she's a politician, no one expects any different on important decisions....

    none of use have all the answers all the time, flip-flopping is just part of that...


    What do you expect (5.00 / 0) (#40)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:01:02 AM EST
    for the Obama team to say?

    "We will completely restructure our foreign inelligence apparatus"?

    I don't need an unsourced WSJ article to know that Obama isn't going to radically change our intelligence apparatus.  He will not have the political clout to do that.  

    Why you think he should engage in a war with the intelligence services right out of the gate, I have no idea.

    Obama will gradually change the situation.  It will not be overnight and it won't be reckless.


    Torture and "enhanced interrogation" (5.00 / 8) (#42)
    by andgarden on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:07:16 AM EST
    are reckless.

    I agree (5.00 / 0) (#48)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:22:55 AM EST
    and I believe that he will end them.

    Obviously "enhanced interrogation" is a pretty vague term but certainly acts that are clearly against our nature should be outlawed.


    It is a vague term because (5.00 / 13) (#50)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:27:45 AM EST
    it is a euphemism for torture.

    What you expect is irrelevant. This has been a thesis fo mine. you do not wait for Obama in his beneficence to do the right thing. You DEMAND he do the right thing.

    Obama is a pol, just a pol, at the end of the day. Please do not forget that.


    What is Obama's incentive to do (5.00 / 3) (#51)
    by tigercourse on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:34:30 AM EST
    the right thing?

    reelection... (none / 0) (#56)
    by Thanin on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:45:37 AM EST
    the internet is where he got his money and garnered votes and blogs have a long memory.

    The Internet (5.00 / 5) (#114)
    by Spamlet on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:22:08 PM EST
    is not where Obama got his BIG money. And Obama won't forget that.

    No pol ever does... (none / 0) (#135)
    by Thanin on Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 12:20:01 AM EST
    and his big money arent the only ones who voted for him.

    The WORMs are coming out ... (5.00 / 12) (#93)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 12:33:11 PM EST
    of the woodwork again.

    And I second your postulate, BTD:

    you do not wait for Obama in his beneficence to do the right thing. You DEMAND he do the right thing.

    And on torture there isn't a gray area. It's wrong.  It was always wrong. There is nothing to debate.

    In fact, the "reasonable discussions" of what constitutes torture are as frightening as the act itself.  The "banality of evil" and all that.


    I dont think that acronym means... (none / 0) (#95)
    by Thanin on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 12:37:48 PM EST
    what you think it means.  They cant be a WORM when Obama himself hasnt said anything about this yet.

    Brennan is the WORM ... (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 12:44:44 PM EST
    in this instance.

    Good point. (none / 0) (#99)
    by Thanin on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 12:45:15 PM EST
    Of course, and (5.00 / 4) (#108)
    by NYShooter on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:21:00 PM EST
    it's the height of naiveté to think otherwise.

    My father was a Polish Jew, a surgeon & and later, a psychiatrist. He survived WW2 by working with the Russian army during the war, and later, with the U.S. Government on the subject of torture, isolation, brainwashing, etc. that our G.I.'s were subjected to. (Especially during the Korean War)

    He always felt a subject that was overlooked in our political process was the obsessive ambition and hubris necessary to think oneself is qualified to be President. ( some would say, aberrant.)

    Anyway, he felt that power was THE greatest aphrodisiac recognized by the psychological community, and the hardest to let go of. Society was justifiably concerned about what Nixon might have done during Watergate and/or the impeachment; likewise GWB.

    Bottom line: anyone who doesn't understand that candidates for any high office, but especially the Presidency, are power hungry "Pols" are silly, naïve fools.


    I never will (none / 0) (#57)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:46:38 AM EST
    Believe I have NEVER had a deluded view of Obama.  The reason I supported him from day 1 is because I believe he is an exceptionally good POLITICIAN.

    But I don't believe in objecting to vague unsourced assertions. I think it is distracting and gives credence to people who may have an agenda that is squarely opposed to mine.


    Your comment makes no sense (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 11:38:17 AM EST
    It's not vague and unsourced from people who have an agenda opposed to yours, it's Obama's top advisor on  intelligence.

    No it's not (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 11:44:52 AM EST
    What quote from an Obama adviser are you referring to?  Roger Cressey?  He isn't part of the Obama team to my knowledge.

    The Brennan quote spoke about increasing oversight and nothing more.  

    All the talk in the article about backing the Bush policies had no quotes to support it and was based on vague assertions.  


    Exactly (none / 0) (#82)
    by digdugboy on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 11:48:43 AM EST
    And it was published in the WSJ. Fancy that.

    And many in the intelligence (none / 0) (#110)
    by BackFromOhio on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:34:44 PM EST
    community are opposed to torture; one of the reasons White House legal authorization was sought.

    I expect him to say what he said (5.00 / 6) (#43)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:07:20 AM EST
    during the campaign.

    Or do you take the view that it was all just convenient lying by Obama?


    Yesterday I read a post (3.00 / 2) (#75)
    by Lolis on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 11:34:24 AM EST
    by BTD lambasting people for believing anonymous sources that said Bill Clinton was calling on behalf of Lieberman.

    But today BTD loves anonymous sources about the Obama camaign that use the word "may."

    Odd how FISA is such a big issue when Obama votes for the compromise bill, but not when HRC voted for the first (and a worse) bill. I know this website is full of people who love and respect the Clintons and I have no problem with that. HRC is brilliant.

    I just think BTD should tone down the hypocrisy. I was appalled Obama voted for the compromise bill but shocked by the Clinton supporters who had never spoken out against HRC's first vote, rewriting history. She voted correctly the second time, when she was not running for president.


    In fairness to BTD (5.00 / 7) (#79)
    by CST on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 11:41:05 AM EST
    Clinton is not the president-elect, Obama is.  It is much more important that we go after him than Clinton at this point.  20 years from now we can defend his record.  Right now we have to make sure it's the right record.

    I think the point of yesterday's post (5.00 / 4) (#85)
    by lilburro on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 12:21:48 PM EST
    was not that the source was anonymous and thus not worth crediting.  The point was rather why rip into Bill Clinton for doing the same thing Obama is getting a relative pass on?  Obama is the President-Elect; Obama is the one "battered" by Lieberman through the campaign.  

    you actually read my post (none / 0) (#118)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:43:40 PM EST
    Not in all caps... (5.00 / 1) (#124)
    by lambert on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 06:02:14 PM EST
    ... because I'm trying to be polite, but:

    It's not about the Clintons. Last I checked, Obama was President-elect. This thread is about his policies.


    No such post exists (none / 0) (#117)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:43:20 PM EST
    Please learn to read.

    Well (none / 0) (#47)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:21:54 AM EST
    He hasn't said anything yet and he isn't likely to do so until he becomes President.

    Taking shots at the outgoing Administration is unseemly and unnecessary.


    Excuse me (5.00 / 7) (#49)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:26:08 AM EST
    No one asked the Brennan Camp to talk to the WSJ. They CHOSE to do so. And make no mistake this story is all Brennan.

    Now it is incumbent on the Obama camp to shoot Brennan down - NOW.

    I guess you really do not want to hold Obama to his promises on torture, Gitmo and warrantless wiretapping.

    That is your perogative. I choose a different path.


    I read the article twice (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:44:53 AM EST
    And the only quote from Brennan was this..

    They'll be looking at existing executive orders, then making sure from Jan. 20 on there's going to be appropriate executive-branch oversight of intelligence functions

    Every reference to comments suggesting a more conciliatory view towards the Bush policies were attributed to "advisers".

    If you want to believe that Brennan said this when the only quote actually attributed to him says that there will be greater oversight of actions, then I think you are simply creating a narrative.  

    I am STRONGLY opposed to torture or phystical coercion of any kind.  However I am not going to get upset about unsourced commentary by a WSJ reporter.  


    when they were quoting Cheney... (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by Salo on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 12:27:57 PM EST
    ...we kinda knew it was Cheney. So we kinda know this is a Brennan. Just like the redstaters know who is leaking against Palin.

    The RedStaters (none / 0) (#91)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 12:31:21 PM EST
    are rationalizing and choosing their preferred target.  Steve Schmidt is the scapegoat du jour so it is easy for them to blame him.

    This is simply guilt by assumption.


    What promise? (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Pepe on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:57:39 AM EST
    Now that I think back, and having dug up one of his quotes on Gitmo yesterday I do not recall him "promising" anything. In fact he never "promised' a food vote on FISA either. Just pandered - obviously.

    It's funny you think Obama is going to do away with Brennan. Ain't going to happen. FISA showed that. Obama's back peddling on Gitmo trials yesterday showed that. Think about it.


    Spare me (5.00 / 6) (#46)
    by sj on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:21:40 AM EST
    He will not have the political clout to do that.  

    Are you kidding me?  He's got more than enough clout to do this.  Does he have the moral rectitude to actually give up powers?  That's the real question.


    Just like (none / 0) (#59)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:48:08 AM EST
    Clinton had more than enough clout to push for gays in the military, right?  

    Obama must win the trust of the intelligence and military communities.  If starts off by wielding an axe he will make enemies of them and that will greatly hinder his Presidency.


    There's a pretty big difference between (5.00 / 4) (#66)
    by tigercourse on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:58:09 AM EST
    the two. I'd be willing to bet that the country was alot more anti gay then they are pro torture. There is certainly alot less political pressure to keep up the variious Bush policies then there was to keep gays out of the military.

    I doubt that- if the questions go deeper then (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by samtaylor2 on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 11:17:15 AM EST
    If you are for or against torture.  I think most people are against torture of asked are you against torture, as they think of themselves being waterboarded or something- and they are against that.  However, look at how many people cheer when Jack Bower tortures someone to save a city.  Though obvously this is a TV show, I don't think the popular sentiment of this show is far off from how the majority of our population trully feels about torturing a "terrorist".  For so many those that are being tortured are the OTHER (just as my "liberal" mother in law).

    My response (5.00 / 3) (#105)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 01:39:59 PM EST
    To the Jack Bower fans is this. flip the issue and have it your son or daughter that this is being done to. Is it torture now? We entered into the Geneva treatee to protect our own. Not to coddle the enemy. We've executed enemy for the very actions we're now engaged in.

    But it's more than just torture (none / 0) (#67)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 11:00:42 AM EST
    Abolishing torture is one small aspect to overhauling our intelligence apparatus.  

    But the intelligence community doesn't feel that they engage in torture.  So for the Obama campaign to say they do, will alienate them.

    Abolishing all forms of torture will need to be done quietly, IMO.


    Can't alienate the torturers! (5.00 / 4) (#78)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 11:40:16 AM EST
    Oh, no, Mr. Bill!  That would be sooo bad! <banging head on desk>

    Are you sure? (5.00 / 3) (#106)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 01:46:29 PM EST
    If these agengies felt they were doing nothing illegal, why did they all insist on getting the WH to put it in writing to cover their a##es?

    Agree, and (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by BackFromOhio on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:40:49 PM EST
    the issue is "much deeper" than this -- yes, it is a matter as well of abiding by our treaties.  

    Two situations not the same (5.00 / 3) (#126)
    by lambert on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 06:06:53 PM EST
    1. Clinton had only a plurality. Obama has a majority.

    2. The VRWC went for Clinton from day 1; not so with Obama.

    3. The Village hated the Clintons; the Village loves Obama (so far).

    1992 is not 2008.

    I'm seeing this concern-trollish "what about the Clintons" all over the place, and it's just foolish. The political landscape has changed, which the Obama Fan Base, when not trying to deflect criticism, is all too willing to assert.


    Obama does not have a filibuster (none / 0) (#133)
    by nulee on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 11:01:17 PM EST
    proof majority ... aka the NYT ed page Monday this can make HUGE difference.

    you a bit stuck on Clinton methinks. (none / 0) (#89)
    by Salo on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 12:28:35 PM EST
    broken record.

    What in the world are you talking about? (none / 0) (#94)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 12:34:10 PM EST
    The whole "You hate Clinton" canard was silly during the primaries.  It is utterly preposterous now.

    Everyone but the most ardent Clinton apologist would agree that Clinton's decision to make gays in the military his first major policy issue was a mistake.  He alienated the military for the next 8 years.


    It wasn't HIS DECISION ... (5.00 / 8) (#96)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 12:42:34 PM EST
    the MSM jumped on it the day after the election and wouldn't let it go.

    I have the nightly news broadcasts.  They were inappropriate.  And not subtle at all.

    The networks actually ran stories with file footage of Marines in showers.  I kid you not.

    Fly, you're probably too young to remember this.  But this is what happened. He had to deal with this upfront, because the media attacked him on it day after day during the transition.

    I'm not crazy with how he dealt with it.  But calling it "his choice" is simply wrong.


    So he let the media... (none / 0) (#98)
    by Thanin on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 12:44:54 PM EST
    choose for him?  Thats just as bad.

    The media sets most of ... (5.00 / 2) (#100)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 12:52:26 PM EST
    the agenda for politicians.

    Personally, at the time, I thought he should have gone the "blue ribbon panel" route.

    But you can't always end run the media.  Clinton got better and better at this throughout his administration.  But few politicians could have avoided what he faced on the gays in the military issue.

    It came completely out of left field.  And it started the day after the election.  The media didn't cover this issue during the campaign.  And I believe Clinton had made only one or two statements on it.


    Well... (none / 0) (#102)
    by Thanin on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 12:57:58 PM EST
    on a practical level youre probably right, but ideally its just as bad.  I suppose if Clinton had a perceived mandate he could have bullied the press around more on it.

    Robot, I agree with (none / 0) (#139)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 02:02:22 AM EST
    what you said above:

    The media sets most of the agenda for politicians.

    I would add that corporate interests set the agenda for the media. The media then puts pressure on the politicians and spins the message to the public.


    Actually (none / 0) (#103)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 01:04:32 PM EST
    I was in the military when this was happening.  Granted I was in Germany but I do remember when it happened.

    The media doesn't create the story.  They can hype the story but they don't create the story.

    President Clinton had campaigned on ending the ban on gays in the military.  The military bristled at this and started objecting to it.  This created a media buzz.

    8 days after his inauguration he proposed the policy that has become known as don't ask don't tell.  He let that issue hijack his early days.

    What he SHOULD have done is defuse the situation by saying "While this is an important for all Americans we cannot, at this time, offer a comprehensive solution to this issue.  We will begin working immediately with our military to find a solution to this daunting problem" or something to that effect.

    It was a tactical error by his Administration.  They miscalculated and took a hit.  That is the only point I am making here.  Most Presidents make mistakes early in their administrations.  


    Well, disagree on the GITM (5.00 / 2) (#107)
    by brodie on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 01:54:16 PM EST
    take.  Technically you're right about Bill being the one responsible, ultimately, for "creating" the story, but for all practical purposes it was the corp media which latched onto it (as others have noted above) and wouldn't let it go during the transition and early weeks of the new admin.

    They made a huge story out of it just as they did Whitewater, Filegate, Haircutgate, and all the other bogus or wildly overhyped stories and pseudo-scandals.

    President Clinton had campaigned on ending the ban on gays in the military.  The military bristled at this and started objecting to it.  This created a media buzz

    This leaves an incorrect impression.  GITM wasn't a major issue in 1992 -- not during the Dem primaries, and (interestingly) not during the GE.  Poppy and Perot, to the best of my recollection, did not bring up the matter in the debates or at any time and use it to bash Bill.  For some reason, the Repubs decided not to run wild with this hot-button matter, something they normally don't hesitate to use.

    When GITM became suddenly very important to the MSM and the Repubs during the transition, Bill and proponents of the reform were caught off guard and were on the defensive from the get-go.  Certainly the grass-roots backers of the change weren't adequately organized to withstand the fierce and powerful opposition.

    As for your point above, though, about Obama probably not being able to fundamentally change the direction of our intel culture, that one we agree on.  At least during his first term -- apart from immediately stopping the appalling policy of "enhanced interrogation techniques", something which I believe Obama will have plenty of public and cong'l backing to eliminate.

    2d term would be the time for major intel reform.  He'll need a very smart and tough new DNI and DCI to begin to change that inbred culture, though.  60 yrs now with virtually no substantial oversight -- just the one time in the mid-70s with Sen Church's committee.  That's gotta change ...



    Thanks for that thorough and (none / 0) (#140)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 02:07:07 AM EST
    thoughtful post. (I'm talking to you Brodie.)

    Ummm... yes they do (none / 0) (#132)
    by sj on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:45:47 PM EST
    The media doesn't create the story.  They can hype the story but they don't create the story.

    The classic example is Whitewater.  That was 100% media created and hyped.  $40 million dollars later they finally created a scandal.  

    Which had nothing to do with Whitewater.


    I have a personal request (none / 0) (#109)
    by CST on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:29:21 PM EST
    Can we stop assuming everyone who disagrees with us is "too young" for something?  First of all, it's almost always a wrong assumption and the person is almost always older than one expects when they use that term.  Second of all, being young doesn't make you stupid/unaware/wrong and this use of it just demonizes an entire group of voters.  I for one, am young.  But guess what, I also remember the Clinton years pretty clearly.  And I am not an idiot about everything that came before.

    Sure, being young sometimes has it's drawbacks as a voter, missing historical context and all that.  But sometimes that's a good thing - see prop 8.


    You will notice that (5.00 / 3) (#113)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:16:38 PM EST
    Andgarden and others here who are quite young are rarely dumped on for being "too young."  That's because they post intelligently and knowledgeably, but more important, don't post flat pronouncements about things they don't have more than fragmentary knowledge of.

    You're right, sometimes it's people older than "young" who do that, but they're invariably people who only discovered politics this time around and therefore make the same errors and pompous announcements about things they don't actually have familiarity with beyond today's headlines.

    IOW, CST, if the shoe doesn't fit, don't put it on.  Nobody's going to put it on you against your will, it's something you have to earn. :-)


    Sure (none / 0) (#120)
    by CST on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:09:03 PM EST
    I guess my frustration is that whenever people post "flat pronouncements about things they don't have more than fragmentary knowledge of" it is assumed they do this because they are young.  Which for one, isn't true in many cases, and for two, makes an insinuation that young people are more likely to do that - which I find pretty baseless.

    I think a lot of the time, people make those pronouncements based on their personal experience, not allowing for the fact that situation and circumstances may have influenced their perception of things.  But that often has to do with living through something, and not being able to see the many "other sides" rather than accepting something you were taught as fact.

    I am not trying to put the shoe on here - but I just find it really condescending when it is used that way.


    I'm sorry, CST, but (none / 0) (#134)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 11:24:39 PM EST
    young people are more prone to doing that.  It's part of the disease of being young and smart and thinking you've got it all figured out and all the old fogeys are full of it.  I remember it well, actually.  Been there, done that.

    It's also very rarely the case that that accusation is thrown against someone for one comment.  It's usualy because there's been quite a pattern of arrogant ill-informed lectures.

    One of the things most people, not all, learn as they get older is to suggest or to ask about stuff that's new to them rather than proclaiming a sweeping conclusion from one event or one series of events.

    You're quite right, it's condescending, and it's usually intended to be condescending.  Sorry about that, but you'll understand better in 30 or 40 years.  (Heh.)

    I drove my elders crazy, too, when I was 20-something, and got smacked down hard for it once in a while, probably nowhere near as often as I deserved to be.


    There were plenty who called Bill (none / 0) (#122)
    by hairspray on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 05:46:07 PM EST
    a wimp for not demanding the miliatry integrate gays back in '92.  Did the left rationalize his decision at that tme?

    And your evidence for Brennan's involvement? (none / 0) (#54)
    by digdugboy on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:44:36 AM EST
    If it isn't true (5.00 / 5) (#16)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:07:50 AM EST
    expect a strong denial quickly.  If all we get is crickets, I think the conclusion is obvious.

    Crickets (none / 0) (#138)
    by robrecht on Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 12:09:56 PM EST
    I agree we have to wait to confirm/deny the truth of BTD's hypothesis.  But there isn't enough attributed substance about torture here that can be actually denied yet.  I'm afraid the hypothesis is true enough, and BTD is right to highlight the warning signals, but I doubt Obama or his team would directly address this issue until after inaugeration.

    Promises of change.... (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 08:52:58 AM EST
    you'd have to be a fool to believe in.

    Even if Obama had the desire to reign in the CIA, I'm not sure if the CIA would allow it.

    Remember what happened to Kennedy.

    Ah yes (none / 0) (#39)
    by Pepe on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:54:48 AM EST
    Bush found the CIA a very convenient scapegoat also on many occasions.

    Decades later, during World War II, the U.S. Army used the resort as a top-secret interrogation center for prisoners of war - one of only two such interrogation centers in the nation, the other being in Virginia. In a novel experiment, guards let the mostly Japanese inmates soak in the spas and party in the swank rooms - and then clandestinely recorded their relaxed conversations, gleaning what Army researchers now say were important tips about enemy operations in the Pacific. SF Chronicle 11/9/2009

    Okay, I'm not sure that article is very (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by tigercourse on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 08:59:52 AM EST
    convincing. As you say in your title, "may be for it" says anonymous person speaking hypothetically. I wouldn't start tearing out my hair yet.

    After the fact (3.40 / 5) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:02:29 AM EST
    it will not matter. Pull your hair out now so you do not have to do it for real later.

    Agreed. (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by lilburro on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:09:22 AM EST
    This type of policy is not part of his mandate.  And IMO, bad decisions on national security issues are exactly the kind you must nip in the bud.  It's going to be hard to repair civil liberties broken now in the middle of 2010.

    The BTD Hair Pulling Doctrine (none / 0) (#45)
    by Faust on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:20:44 AM EST
    Obama isn't POTUS until Jan 20th (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by barryluda on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:00:12 AM EST
    Anything HE says I'll listen to.  But in this case you're getting all worked up over what "one current government official" surmises about what Obama might do [emphasis added].

    I say we wait until Obama says something himself, or at least wait until we hear something from someone actually on his transition team, rather than one of Bush's staffers.

    I say we put the pressure on now (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:01:59 AM EST
    Oh come on (5.00 / 3) (#41)
    by Pepe on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:01:49 AM EST
    Do you really believe 'pressure' is going to work with this egomaniac?

    He already beat you to the punch. He nipped 'pressure' in the bud. Remember the 'pressure' on FISA? What did that yield? I'll tell you what it yielded. It yielded a statement and a letter saying 'We will not always agree'. He put us on notice right then and there. We got served. Start pulling your hair out because we have also been had.


    He also said "If that is a deal breaker (5.00 / 1) (#125)
    by hairspray on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 06:05:45 PM EST
    for you than so be it."  It was about the FISA vote and it was for me.

    I'll buy that, to be sure it doesn't happen (none / 0) (#14)
    by barryluda on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:06:04 AM EST
    But how do you gather the info didn't come from a Bush staffer, but rather from John Brennan, as your Nonsense comment indicates above?

    Because (4.00 / 4) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:08:52 AM EST
    It is obvious, to me at least, that this is a "John Brenann is the power on intelligence" story- which means it comes from John Brennan's camp.

    Brennan is a cancer and we need to push against him now.


    Who do you like for Dir of National Intelligence? (none / 0) (#21)
    by barryluda on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:20:21 AM EST
    It looks like hubdub gives Brennan a 17% chance.

    By the way, if your real motive is to prevent Brennan from gaining traction, I bet there are better, more direct ways, of going about that.


    I think this is a good start (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:22:13 AM EST
    A "Who Is John Brennan?" post is in the offing.

    he's the bloke who downgraded you (none / 0) (#92)
    by Salo on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 12:32:30 PM EST
    in your own thread.  That's a good start.

    I agree (5.00 / 0) (#20)
    by kmonster on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:18:16 AM EST
    Let's all just relax.  None of this means anything yet.

    wow (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by andgarden on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:03:08 AM EST

    Stop attackng Obama (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Exeter on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:07:28 AM EST
    Torture is obviously required in some circumstances. He never said that to prevent another 9/11 he wouldn't allow torture... I guess some people want another 9/11...

    And some people want the same old (none / 0) (#29)
    by ThatOneVoter on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:34:24 AM EST

    So you love Bin Ladin? (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Exeter on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:36:20 AM EST
    I was snarking ; )

    more change (5.00 / 6) (#23)
    by cpinva on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:22:45 AM EST
    than you can shake a stick at! so much change, it starts to resemble what we have right now.

    would you like to supersize that change?

    I'm a skeptic concerning Obama but (5.00 / 0) (#24)
    by kempis on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:26:58 AM EST
    I don't think there's enough here to get all worked up about.

    There is, however, enough here to cause me to pay very close attention to any further remarks from the transition team, Obama, or his eventual administration on their approach to torture.

    Any indication whatsoever that more than one source thinks an Obama administration would condone it in any form should be enough to send people into the streets--me, too.

    Right now, though, wailing and gnashing of teeth seems premature and Kossack-like. Being alert to any future signs that the Obama administration may adopt a Bush-like policy on torture, however, is a necessity.

    Obama ran a very disciplined campaign. (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by ThatOneVoter on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:32:13 AM EST
    Either he is lacking discipline in his transition, or we are seeing its results. Which conclusion is more likely?

    Actually the idea that Obama ran (5.00 / 3) (#127)
    by hairspray on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 06:09:09 PM EST
    his campaign and therefore had executive experience always seemed far fetched to me.  I thought it was Axelrod and a couple of others who really did the heavy lifting.

    Pushing back on this idea from day one (5.00 / 3) (#37)
    by Maryb2004 on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:45:49 AM EST
    is important.  And against Brennan in general.  

    I hope you're wrong about this (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by CST on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:34:39 AM EST
    Keep pushing though.

    "greater oversight" - does that mean they will tell us when they torture?

    The sky is falling! The sky is falling! (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by digdugboy on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:42:35 AM EST
    The WSJ article says that because Obama changed his vote on telecom immunity, he may change is policy on CIA torture. That's all the article says.

    The new president could take a similar approach to revising the rules for CIA interrogations, said one current government official familiar with the transition. Upon review, Mr. Obama may decide he wants to keep the road open in certain cases for the CIA to use techniques not approved by the military, but with much greater oversight.

    Geez, people. Some current government official is speculating and BTD says it's coming from the Obama transition team. Where's the evidence for that?

    Some reality-based post there, BTD.

    If a "current government official familiar with the transition" is actually making up false s*it about Obama and putting it in a major newspaper, why didn't Obama immediately issue a strong statement condemning that particular story?

    Imo, Obama purposefully wants this story to come out incrementally, and via a third party. He wants to cushion the impact of his revised, 'centrist', position on torture.


    the reality is that obama (5.00 / 4) (#60)
    by cpinva on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:50:06 AM EST
    is not a progressive, in the commonly accepted definition of the term.

    Some reality-based post there, BTD.

    anyone who seriously thought he is, is bound to be disappointed. i didn't, so if this is true, i will not be at all surprised.

    think: FISA

    think: Roberts

    oh, all the thinks you can think!

    Overreaction is awesome!! (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by RussTC3 on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:52:45 AM EST
    1) Obama isn't president yet, 2) He hasn't made any decisions yet, 3) He's already a right-wing conservative.


    I love reading overreactions from those on the left.  At the moment it's #2 on my list of things I'm enjoying after the election.  Second only to  laughing at the nonsense still spewed by ultra-right-wing radicals.

    "Change we can believe in"?  Nah, how about "Stupidity we can laugh at".  And what's awesome is that it comes from both sides of the aisle these days!

    Keep it coming, please. :)

    all three are arguably true. (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by Salo on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 12:31:06 PM EST
    Quelle Surprise! (5.00 / 6) (#74)
    by Jackson Hunter on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 11:27:24 AM EST
    Oh how unexpected that Obama would pander to the Right.  He's already demanding that Lieberman, a man who all but called him a traitor, not get punished for becoming a d*mn traitor himself so this is no shock.

    An even bigger "surprise" is all of the Obama diehards giving him a free pass on this.  If Obama won't stand up for our principles after a big Election win and a Media that is so completely in the tank for him (Cults of Personality are never good) then when in the H*ll will he?!  He is shining a lot of you on and you're calling people on your own side stupid.  Gee, I can't wait for the Second and Third purges of the Blogoshere, they should be really fun.

    I'm so glad that we got rid of that evil racist c*nt Hilary, because God forbid that we have a triangulator that won't stand up to the Right.  Oh, wait a minute...

    What a joke our "Reality-Based" blogoshere has been and continues to be.  Such a waste of a potent tool.


    Agenda Pushing (5.00 / 3) (#87)
    by KeysDan on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 12:26:40 PM EST
    is underway, of course.  It is sometimes difficult to discern between trial balloons and agenda influencing.  Harold Ford of the DLC and Bob Ehrlich, Republican Governor of Maryland, were part of a cable TV panel discussing the new administration in a reasonable manner, until Ehrlich stated that Obama would be replacing Bush, a center-right (how about right wing extremist, but that is not my point here) with Obama, a center-left president.  Boy, Ford was not having it; the previous demeanor of Ford morphed into a fierce and uncommonly spirited one.  No way, Ford said.  It was almost slander to call Obama center-left, Obama is center, and very mainstream and don't you forget it. So, a lot of pulls and tugs are going on, so it is wise, as BTD warns, to let our positions be known, fast--no torture should be a no-brainer, it is abhorred by most of the electorate and acknowledged by experts as generally ineffective, but the legal liability is probably  a paramount concern to the intelligence community.  And, it is first things first for these guys.

    Jackson, what do you think about (none / 0) (#142)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 02:33:38 AM EST
    Obama's comments on torture during the more recent 60 Minutes interview?

    Ugh ... (5.00 / 7) (#86)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 12:22:28 PM EST
    one thing that worries me about Obama.  His critics, especially those on the Dem side, can predict his behavior better than his strong supporters.

    That, imo, is not a good thing.

    Yes, well (5.00 / 5) (#101)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 12:56:59 PM EST
    this kind of behavior is what the critics saw most likely from him in the beginning and why we argued against supporting him for the nomination.  But we were drowned out in a tsunami of WORM, weren't we.

    I am a Hillary supporter, and almost PUMA, (5.00 / 2) (#112)
    by magnetics on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:45:32 PM EST
    who planned to sit out this election, but who voted, in the end, for Obama, because I was frightened of Palin.

    Nonetheless, I have always thought this guy was a three dollar bill, and he seems intent on proving me right.  

    Note to BTD: I respect your opinion, and your scrupulous even-handedness (unique among Obama supporters); but I think even you may be wondering how to cure a Kool-Aid hangover.

    Yes we can (5.00 / 2) (#121)
    by Left of center on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 05:24:25 PM EST
    torture goat herders.

    Back paddling number 2 (2.00 / 0) (#7)
    by koshembos on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 08:58:37 AM EST
    Gitmo was number 1. We'll stop counting when we reach 4 digit numbers; it's just a question of time.

    Interesting... (2.00 / 0) (#19)
    by allpeopleunite on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:15:19 AM EST
    Who would have thought that law would be where the first cracks in the Obama monolith begin to appear?

    Torture (none / 0) (#28)
    by Joe the carpenter on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:33:02 AM EST
    New here, but I have been visiting the site for a long time..
    But Exeter thinks that theres good torture and bad torture? Should obama not carry through with i thought were his committments to fix all the crap done by bushco?

    I hope.... (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:36:12 AM EST
    Exeter was being sarcastic, but who knows.

    "Good torture" is an oxymoron of the first order.


    Exeter is snarking (none / 0) (#31)
    by andgarden on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:35:23 AM EST
    I hope. . .

    Exeter was snarking (none / 0) (#36)
    by SM on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:39:41 AM EST
    He/she said clarified in a later comment.

    What Clarification? (none / 0) (#30)
    by bluegal on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:34:46 AM EST
    This is all unsourced speculation as far as I am concerned.  Again, Obama isn't President yet and to think that the Bushies aren't going to try to push their agenda one more time before leaving office is absurd.

    Obama has not said anything about being for torture so to claim that he is based on an anonymous report is ludicrous.

    snarks (none / 0) (#35)
    by Joe the carpenter on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:37:32 AM EST
    ty andgarden...
    learned to really like what you and btd write here

    This seems very similar to Clinton (none / 0) (#104)
    by The Realist on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 01:05:00 PM EST
    campaigning against NAFTA and before he even took the Oath of Office,changed his position. Both seem to be an attempt to reach across the isle. I did not like it then and i don't like it now.

    Surely you're not suggesting that (none / 0) (#143)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 02:36:55 AM EST
    there is an equivalence between Bill Clinton changing his position on NAFTA and Obama changing his position on torture?

    Uh-oh. (none / 0) (#130)
    by No Blood for Hubris on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 08:52:50 PM EST
    Couldn't he have waited a bit until he showed his true colors?

    Media Dahling with feet of clay. (none / 0) (#131)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:27:31 PM EST