Wingers v. Wingers On Release Of Torture Memos

Yesterday, implicated Bush Administration officials Michael Mukasey and Michael Hayden decried the release of the Bush Administration torture memos:

Proponents of the release have argued that the techniques . . . cost us more in the coin of world opinion than they were worth. [This] claim [does not] survive[] scrutiny.

While Mukasey and Hayden do not explain why it does not survive scrutiny, they are surprisingly countered by torture advocate David Rivkin:

At least one high-profile attorney says the declassified Department of Justice memos detailing interrogation techniques prove the U.S. did not torture[.] . . . David Rivkin . . . released a statement Friday saying the release of four memos provides a "great benefit" to the former president. . . He said the United States did not use "brute force" and the memos prove detainees weren't tortured. "In short, these memos go a long way towards rebutting shrill and unfair attacks on the integrity of Bush administration officials, and, more generally, on America's honor," he said.

(Emphasis supplied.) Oookay. In any event, it is funny to see torture defenders splitting on this. Some, like Rivkin, want to defend the memos and call themselves vindicated. Others want to attack the Obama Administration for "vindicating" the Bush Administration. Oh they will talk about how Obama has "tied his hands" on torture because, as torture supporters Mukasey and Hayden write:

There would be little point in the president authorizing measures whose nature and precise limits have already been disclosed in detail to those whose resolve we hope to overcome.

Of course that makes no sense. The techniques themselves were all known and frankly, no secret. To be honest, there really is nothing new in these memos - except for the fact that the Bush Administration lost all ability to claim they did not know about them.

If we knew all about the techniques, you can be sure al Qaida did too. Making statements from Bush lackey and torture advocate Michael Chertoff and Rivkin's statements absurd:

Michael Chertoff, former homeland security secretary, told FOX News the release gives terrorists advanced notice of what to expect during interrogation. . . . Rivkin said releasing the memos "rendered (the interrogation techniques) essentially unusable in the future," since U.S. enemies will train their operatives to "withstand" the techniques.

(Emphasis supplied.) I do not know if these people are just stupid or merely lying. We all know what the techniques were. The idea al Qaida did not is absurd.

Hell, if you really wanted to "surprise" Al Qaida with these "techniques" you would actually make a big deal of announcing you were not going to do these things and then use them anyway. I am surprised these Bush geniuses did not come up with that idea. What's a few more lies after 8 years of them?

Speaking for me only

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    Digby says it best (5.00 / 6) (#1)
    by Steve M on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 06:44:02 AM EST
    The wingnuts are shrieking like banshees today that the release of the memos has made American less safe because the terrorists know that CIA operatives aren't going to torture them anymore and now they'll be able to resist their captors. They are working themselves into a full-on hissy fit over it. That neocon nincompoop Cliff May was on MSNBC earlier, carrying on that the terrorists are all going to kill us in our beds because the terrorists will all know now that when we put a caterpillar in the coffin we've locked them that the caterpillar isn't poisonous.

    Digby, another of my favs. (none / 0) (#24)
    by ChiTownDenny on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 01:11:10 PM EST
    Speaking to the facts, torture:


    Torture does not supply reliable results.

    p.s. My only other fav, Jerome; that's a total of 3, not in any particular order!  BTD, Digby, Jerome.  (WTF!  Where are you, Jerome.  Hope you see this on TL.)


    Advance notice (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by lentinel on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 07:10:05 AM EST
    It is well known that since these torture techniques have been unconscionably leaked to Al Queda that they have been able to adapt and prepare their operatives.

    In one secret camp located in a large well-appointed cave in mid-Afghanistan, operatives have been giving special serums which allow them to grow gills and breathe under water for several hours. Sometimes the recipients of this medication have manifested tell-tale grey-green pigmentation changes and eyeballs that are someone larger than usual, but proper makeup has compensated for this.

    Another site, dedicated to "walling" provides head-enlargement pills which are quite effective. Head-banging exercises are also conducted daily.

    Teeth too. (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Edger on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 08:04:55 AM EST
    Instead of having to carry knives between their teeth while swimming across the oceans by the billions they grow knives where their teeth used to be.

    In addition (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by lentinel on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 10:21:40 AM EST
    Al Queda operatives have been growing "skin-suits" which provide the false appearance of nakedness, thus fooling their horny and overly excited interrogators.

    The one thing I can't figure out (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Edger on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 10:44:51 AM EST
    is how they managed to convince so many people that they came from the Middle East instead of from New Haven, Connecticut... Lincoln, Nebraska... and got to Washington DC.

    To prepare for the insect box, (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by steviez314 on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 08:23:52 AM EST
    top Al Queda operatives have entered as contestants on next season's Fear Factor.

    Wooboy (5.00 / 5) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 07:54:05 AM EST
    Who knew crazy came in so many shades?

    It must be torture for the wingers (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by Edger on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 08:02:15 AM EST
    to have the world know they've been torturing children.

    For a few it probably burns (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 08:08:44 AM EST
    The rest of them though are quite capable of creating and delivering an argument up of how and why it was and is necessary.

    Yes, there should be one along any minute now (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by Edger on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 08:11:23 AM EST
    to explain why only "real men" would do this.

    MT: have I got a novel for you (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by oculus on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 01:51:37 PM EST
    to read.  Ellen Gilchrist's "A Dangerous Age."  You two are soul sisters.  

    I just went and checked it out (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 06:20:07 AM EST
    at Amazon and it sounds terrific.  Something strange happened to me during the Bush presidency.  I stopped reading works of fiction.  I guess maybe I felt like I was living one.  I remember feeling like calming reading a made up story could be a dangerous waste of energy as well as a dangerous distraction.

    Plenty of connection w/reality in (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by oculus on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:37:17 AM EST
    this novel.  The main character is editor of the Tulsa newspaper and has skin in the game re U.S. military.

    Thanks oculus (none / 0) (#35)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 06:11:33 AM EST
    I'll hunt it up.

    Re-runs of a popular MTV show is required (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by vicndabx on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 09:11:30 AM EST
    viewing for all al qaeda operatives now.  As well as listening to Metallica for at least two hours daily.

    Head-banging exercises are also conducted daily.

    I think anyone with half a brain (5.00 / 5) (#10)
    by Anne on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 09:20:23 AM EST
    understands that the torture apologists are engaging in - and the memos were an exercise in - answering the age-old question: how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

    It's like arguing that pulling the wings off a fly wouldn't really be hurting the creature, per se, and might in fact be helping it in the end, because, while it wouldn't be able to fly anymore, it would still be able to see and walk, and it would really be a better version of itself because its inability to fly would greatly reduce its ability to spread disease.

    The more they attempt to explain and justify the treatment on the basis that the techniques are essentially harmless, the more it raises the question of why the techniques could have been so gosh-darned effective.

    I guess the interrogation tapes would really tell the tale, but our chances of ever seeing those are infinitesimally small, as they have probably all been destroyed by now - unless they are in some sick f**k's private collection - which would not surprise me one bit.

    If the "techniques" were effective (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by lentinel on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 10:19:05 AM EST
    at all, you'd think that they would release information about a specific attack that had been averted by specific information obtained from some specifically identified half-drowned soul.

    Now we can add "walling" to our every-growing Orwellian vocabulary.

    Now many can you name, students?

    Wanton slaughter of civilians: collateral damage
    Banging someone head into a wall: walling
    Suffocating someone: waterboarding
    Unlimited polluting of the air: clean skies
    Darkening the sky and fouling the air: clean coal technology

    Gotta go.


    Memo to the GOP (5.00 / 6) (#11)
    by nellre on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 10:08:42 AM EST
    Sadism is not a virtue.

    Memo to the DNC (5.00 / 8) (#14)
    by Rojas on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 10:38:59 AM EST
    Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

    By not prosecuting (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 11:06:38 AM EST
    the Democrats believe that prosecuting sadism amounts to tit for tat.  What does that make them?

    Replaceable (5.00 / 8) (#17)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 11:38:32 AM EST
    Expendable. n/t (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Fabian on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 12:11:39 PM EST
    Complicit-able! (none / 0) (#28)
    by Dr Molly on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 02:02:50 PM EST
    Gutless, cowardly, spineless. (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Anne on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 04:54:32 PM EST
    and clueless.

    Oh, and let's not forget, shameful.


    The wingers (5.00 / 6) (#19)
    by KeysDan on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 12:34:37 PM EST
    seem capable of holding, at once, a spin from reality that the torture that occurred was good and that torture did not occur.  The unhinged behavior with release of the legal opinions, in my view, is a harbinger of what would be brought to an investigative "Commission".  A fundamental mistake is to assume that the residual Republican party is a serious political party, rather than a collection of thugs with their elected  party officials either fronts or captives. Even a special prosecutor would not have an easy time of it.  In the days of the Iran-contra investigation, Judge Lawrence Walsh, himself a Republican, was vilified by senate leader, Bob Dole, for spending vast amounts of tax payer's money on a frivolous investigation and attacked Walsh personally--and those were the days before FOX, Rush, Delay, Gingrich,  Perry, Palin, Boener and their ilk.

    How right you are, Dan... (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by oldpro on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 01:00:56 PM EST
    "a collection of thugs."

    I'll never forget how shocked I was to hear Jimmy Carter refer to Gerald Ford as his best friend.  Gerald Ford, the Republican attack dog in the House who got a makeover as president.  Of course he only attacked 'liberals' and Carter wasn't a liberal, so....

    Sham.  It's all sham.  Brutal people with selfish values who will do anything...even torture and defend it...for power and wealth.

    It should be an embarrassment to be labeled a Republican.


    It should be an indictable offense. (none / 0) (#25)
    by Edger on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 01:50:02 PM EST
    U.S. Statutes at Large, Public Law 637, Chp. 886, p. 775-780

    Sec. 2. The Congress hereby finds and declares that the [Republican] Party of the United States, although purportedly a political party, is in fact an instrumentality of a conspiracy to overthrow the Government of the United States. It constitutes an authoritarian dictatorship within a republic, demanding for itself the rights and privileges accorded to political parties, but denying to all others the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution.
    Sec. 4. Whoever knowingly and willfully becomes or remains a member of (1) the [Republican] Party, or (2) any other organization having for one of its purposes or objectives the establishment, control conduct, seizure, or overthrow of the Government of the United States, or the government of any State or political subdivision thereof, by the use of force or violence, with knowledge of the purpose or objective of such organization shall be subject to all the provisions and penalties of the Internal Security Act of 1950

    I remember it well. (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by oldpro on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 02:25:28 PM EST
    In the 50s, as a college student employed in the dining hall, I was asked to sign a loyalty oath!  I scribbled a fictitous name, mentioning to the person administering the 'oaths' that it seemed to me that the first person to sign would be a communist, ready and willing to cover up for the fifth column.  

    Blank look.

    Logic never pays with stupidity.


    Hmmm"just stupid or merely (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by oldpro on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 12:46:56 PM EST

    Reminds me of how stupid the Nixon-Kissinger team thought the citizenry was as they lied and lied through the Laos and Cambodian bombings, invation.

    We knew.  They knew we knew.  Still they lied as long as they could...and Nixon was reelected.

    In my vengeful little Irish heart, I want every one of the policymakers/recommenders prosecuted.  Short of that...let me waterboard 'em, judge.

    It's not really torture.  Honest.  No harm, no foul.  I'll be gentle.  It'll be good training in case Al Qaeda ever captures one of them.

    Apologists also think Al Queda (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by BackFromOhio on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 12:57:48 PM EST
    is stupid.
    Last night on Olbermann, hosted by David Shuster, both Jonathan Turley & Matthew Alexander were featured.  Alexander is former Air Force Intelligence interrogator.  Gist was: From Turley, I believe, illegal torture is clearly disclosed in the memos just released, & from  Alexander: Memos did not disclose anything Al Queda & others didn't already know from detainees; torture did not deter any would be U.S. enemies and was in fact well known and cited by many as a reason they signed up to assist the "enemy"; and the effect of torture techniques on captives who were interrogated was NOT to coerce them into disclosing information helpful to the U.S. but instead to harden the resolve of those tortured not to disclose such info.



    invasion...not invation.. (none / 0) (#21)
    by oldpro on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 12:48:35 PM EST
    Sometimes preview doesn't save you...

    Some quotes from Hayden/Mukasey Article: (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Green26 on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 01:03:08 AM EST
    "as late as 2006, even with the growing success of other intelligence tools, fully half of the government's knowledge about the structure and activities of al Qaeda came from those interrogations."

    Half of US knowledge of structure/activities of Al Qaeda came from these interrogations.

    "Details of these successes, and the methods used to obtain them, were disclosed repeatedly in more than 30 congressional briefings and hearings beginning in 2002, and open to all members of the Intelligence Committees of both Houses of Congress beginning in September 2006. Any protestation of ignorance of those details, particularly by members of those committees, is pretense."

    Methods of interrogation disclosed in 30 congressional briefings and hearings.

    Bullspit (none / 0) (#37)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:19:22 AM EST
    Reminds me of the line from (none / 0) (#39)
    by Green26 on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:38:34 AM EST
    A Few Good Men:

    "You can't handle the truth!"


    Heh (none / 0) (#40)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:43:29 AM EST
    Look in the mirror.

    Torture never worked and never was intended to work as you say.

    Of course, it goes without saying that it takes a high level of malevolence to even consider torture, which of course is against the law of the United States and the laws of war, as a policy option.

    But Republicans are like that.


    I saw Hayden on TV this morning (none / 0) (#41)
    by Dr Molly on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:24:59 AM EST
    Um, yeah, we should just believe him -- is what he told us. It 'worked' and we don't need to know anything else. Obama just put us in more danger. We are at war. Uh huh. Sounded very familiar.

    After seeing that BS interview this morning, where Hayden sounded like he was channeling Cheney and Rumsfeld, trying to intididate Obama and the public on this issue, I have new found respect for Obama just for releasing the documents, even if no one gets prosecuted.


    The head of the CIA says (none / 0) (#42)
    by Green26 on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 01:02:30 PM EST
    half of what the US learned about Al Qaeda came from these interrogations.

    You can say these interrogations didn't obtain any useful information all you want, but that won't make you right.

    There may be many arguments against these interrogations and torture, but saying they don't result in any useful information is not accurate. In fact, it's just plain silly. If the interrogations and torture didn't result in useful information, they wouldn't be used.

    By the way, do you think the US just got lucky in stopping, so far, major attacks on the US and US facilities after 9/11? Recall the first WTC attack, attacks on two US embassies in Africa, USS Cole. Recall some of the apparent plots that were foiled after 911. Or, might the tough interrogation tacics, which started after 9/11, have had anything to do with it?


    Unconvincing without back up facts. (none / 0) (#43)
    by Dr Molly on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 01:46:31 PM EST
    By the way, do you think the US just got lucky in stopping, so far, major attacks on the US and US facilities after 9/11?
    half of what the US learned about Al Qaeda came from these interrogations.

    And there never are any. Only bluster.


    Oh, come on ... (none / 0) (#44)
    by FreakyBeaky on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 06:06:23 PM EST
    If the interrogations and torture didn't result in useful information, they wouldn't be used.

    Engage in circular logic much?


    i do. (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by cpinva on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 03:27:35 AM EST
    I do not know if these people are just stupid or merely lying.

    they are just incredibly stupid. as ron white notes, "you can't fix stupid." more annoyingly, they assume the rest of us are as stupid as they.

    gen. hayden's and mr, mukasey's op/ed is filled with unsupported assertions which, in the aggregate, plus a dollar, will buy you a small coffee at mcdonald's.

    but then, what were you expecting, from two people vainly attempting to defend the indefensible?

    Re: America's Honor (none / 0) (#27)
    by CDN Ctzn on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 01:52:51 PM EST
    Allow me to be the little boy in the parable, "The Emperor's New Clothes".
    The "Emperor" is Naked!!