May 03, 2011

Bush = "secret assassination ring;" Obama = "congratulations"

'Ya just gotta love Keith Olbermann back in 2009 covering Seymour Hersh's claim that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney utilized a "secret assassination ring" ... which just happens to be the same crew that recently took out Osama bin Laden:

Mr. Hersh is making the revelations at a forum in Minnesota two nights ago. The topic: America’s constitutional crisis. Hersh saying of Mr. Cheney and his inner circle, quote, "They ran a government within the government." Adding, "Eight or nine neoconservatives took over our country." (Link.) (Video at link, too.)

What's Olbermann's take on this "assassination ring" operating now ... and taking out Osama? Congratulations.

Commenter "writer59" (via the Hersh link above) perhaps says it best:

Which is why no one watches or takes these MSNBC shows seriously. They are a joke. Bush---drones, Patriot Act, troop surges, Gitmo, rendition--all BAD! Onscreen countdown of lives lost, constant battering of Bush's character, Code Pink protests, Cindy Sheehan camped out and interviewed endlessly. Obama--drones, Patriot Act, troop surges, Gitmo, rendition--GOOD! He's a hero! No more mention of how many lives lost, no more Code Pink protests, no more Cindy Sheehan interviews.

Elsewhere, giddy "progressives" are anxious to claim that, not only does President Obama deserve all of the credit for nabbing bin Laden, but that so-called "enhanced interrogation" techniques weren't even necessary (check the comments) to gather vital intel. Despite the fact that this flies in the face of what numerous past administration officials have claimed, the story of the current anti-terror victory isn't even clear yet.

Even if the current -- and yes, biggest -- nugget of info, the whereabouts of bin Laden, was gathered via more traditional interrogation methods, this doesn't automatically mean that coercive (or "enhanced") methods weren't instrumental in leading up to that point, nor that they weren't vital in getting other vital info, nor (and especially) that it's ineffective period.

This debate will rage on, as it did here with my friend Steve Newton formerly of the blog DE Libertarian. Keep in mind here, the blog title of another former DE blogger, Mike Matthews: "Down With Absolutes."

UPDATE: Uh oh, "progressives": incoming Defense Secretary Leon Panetta "acknowledges (to NBC) information from waterboarded detainees was used to help plan mission at bin Laden's compound."

UPDATE 2: NBC story on the above.

Posted by Hube at May 3, 2011 04:52 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

For the record, Hube, as you know I try to be consistent.

I am philosophically opposed to using torture to extract information from prisoners (for reasons you and I have hashed out here and there before). I do not think that this is a good or necessary development for our country.

That said, neither the Bush nor the Obama administration (nor the courts as far as I can tell) have agreed with me, so the practice is necessarily legal, and it would be unrealistic not to expect those charged with tracking down our enemies not to use it.

Likewise, I can only celebrate the death of OBL--I have lost friends with boots on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan; I have friends among two SEAL teams (at least two of whom actually agree with me on torture). The bastard is dead; the process is not what I wanted and not one I want ever repeated, but the bastard is dead.

Will I change my view on torture because of this? I doubt it. Here's why: just because a practice I consider barbaric is also pragmatically effective from time to time does change my objections to it.

(Oh, and call me inconsistent if you will, but I don't have a problem with OBL being gunned down when unarmed. There is a dramatic difference between being an interrogation specialist at Gitmo or Bagram and a SEAL dropped into the middle of Pakistan on a short timeline at high odds.)

Since you mentioned me, I figured I should come out and play at least for a few minutes.

Posted by: Steve Newton at May 4, 2011 11:52 AM