I will predict right here that the investigation ordered last week by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. will not result in prosecuting CIA agents or any top officials of the Bush administration. If the investigation uncovers a clearly rogue interrogator guilty of some murderous outrage, that's one thing, but those who were working under close supervision from Washington, complying with their instructions, no matter how outrageous some believe them to be, will not be charged with crimes. Ordering the investigation will please those on the left who are more angry than most Americans about harsh interrogation methods, and they may shed further light on whether such tactics worked - early indications are that they did.As far as “pleasing those on the left” is concerned in the matter of investigating torture, I should note that “close to two-thirds” of those surveyed here claimed that they wanted an investigation (this information is from February, which was the most recent data I could locate; given the leveling of other Obama polling numbers, though, I can easily envision that it’s closer to 50-50 by now).
However, even at 50-50, that’s an awfully big group of people “on the left,” wouldn’t you say?
And in response to “Deadeye Dick” Cheney’s claim that “coercive interrogation techniques” were successful, CNN’s Peter Bergen tells us the following (here – as his bio tells us, Bergen, CNN's national security analyst, is a fellow at the New America Foundation)…
Historians will likely judge the putative intelligence gains made by abusive interrogation techniques were easily outweighed by the damage they caused to the United States' moral standing.And as Think Progress tells us here…
That is certainly the view of Adm. Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence, who wrote in April 2009, "These techniques hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefits they gave us and they are not essential to our national security." Quite.
There have been no documents supporting Cheney’s claim that torture was essential to saving American lives. Even CIA memos from 2004 and 2005, which Cheney claimed would back him up, have been released and have no evidence linking torture to valuable intelligence. In fact, these memos show that “non-abusive techniques actually helped elicit some of the most important information.”I guess observations such as this from Bowden will no doubt curry favor from sources that would be amenable to providing material for future books, so from a marketing perspective at least, columns such as this one could be judged as a success.
But from a standard of basic journalistic integrity, if this is the best Bowden can do with his every-other-month-or-so columns for this failing newspaper, than he shouldn't even bother at all.
"Shabazz brandished a deadly weapon" - a nightstick, the complaint said. "Shabazz pointed the weapon at individuals, menacingly tapped it [in] his other hand, or menacingly tapped it elsewhere."Well, maybe Justice decided not to prosecute because they felt that the goal of keeping the thug Samir Shabazz from the polling place had already been achieved, and they felt there wasn’t enough of a case against anyone else named in the complaint and decided not to waste time and taxpayer dollars in the effort (to say nothing of giving these characters more publicity than they deserved).
The complaint continued, "Shabazz and Jackson made statements containing racial threats and racial insults at both black and white individuals" and "made menacing and intimidating gestures, statements and movements directed at individuals who were present to aid voters."
"That would be intimidating to anybody," says Linda A. Kerns, an attorney who was representing the GOP city committee that day. The police were called and they escorted Shabazz from the polling place. Jackson, a credentialed Democratic poll watcher, was allowed to remain - and credentialed again for last spring's primary.
The Panthers and their national chairman, Malik Zulu Shabazz, were also named in the complaint.
As none of the defendants had responded to the complaint, the case could have been won by default. But (the Obama Justice Department) dismissed the case against the Panthers, their chairman, and Jackson in May. Samir Shabazz was banned from "displaying a weapon within 100 feet of any open polling location on any election day in the City of Philadelphia."
That slap on the wrist leaves too many questions unanswered.
But of course, that doesn’t placate the easily offended conservative sensibilities of Ferris and his brethren.
Oh, and by the way, Inky, one of the reasons why I’m bothering to post about this at all is because I left a comment on this story to this effect that was not abusive in any way, but you declined to publish it all the same.
I hope you don’t make this mistake too many more times. The last thing an operation in your precarious financial straits can afford to do is turn away readership.
Update 9/1/09: This should make Ferris happy (hat tips to Atrios and The Opinionator at the New York Times), though, as Mary Frances Berry said, the Civil Rights Commission "totally lack credibility in the civil rights community."
SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Senator Jim DeMint, the South Carolina Republican who predicted that President Obama’s effort to overhaul the health care system would become his “Waterloo,” is doing his best to make that happen.As Atrios would say, “THE STUPID….IT BURNS US!!!!”
Taking questions from a friendly crowd of 500 people here the other day, Mr. DeMint did little to correct their misimpressions about health care legislation but rather reinforced their worst fears.
When one man said the major House bill would give the government electronic access to bank accounts, Mr. DeMint told him the bill was never about health care. “This is about more government control,” he declared. “If it was about health care, we could get it done in a couple of weeks.”
That being said, I should point out that Seelye actually does plug in some context towards the end of the story to balance the wingnuttery a bit, such as the fact that “South Carolina, much of which is poor and rural, faces some particular challenges. Its unemployment rate of 11.8 percent exceeds the national rate of 9.4 percent. And 16.2 percent of the population has no insurance, more than the national average of 15.3 percent.”
However, would it have killed Seelye to also point out the following (from here)?...
The 1,017-page bill passed by the House Ways and Means Committee does call for electronic fund transfers—but from insurers to doctors and other providers. There is zero provision to include patients in any such system.(And by the way, in the matter of our elected leaders acting like adults, this Guest Opinion that recently appeared in the Bucks County Courier Times tells us that Patrick Murphy has included a bill in the health care legislation to close a loophole involving Medicare and Medicaid fraud…as always, read the comments from “my2cents” and ignore just about all of the others – my God, what hideous trolls!)
And finally, getting back to DeMint, we learn the following from Seelye…
…(South Carolina) voters seem more interested in whether Mr. DeMint might run for president.I wouldn’t bet on that.
“I wouldn’t get out of my driveway without my wife shooting me in the back,” he said in Greenville. “You’ve got to find somebody who’s smart enough to be a great president but dumb enough to want to be president. Right now, I think I’m still too smart to be president.”