Fair enough, but The One would counter that the bad press and enemy propaganda generated by the memos ultimately did more harm than good by hurting our “standing in the world.” And you know how much he cares about that, given his escalation in Afghanistan and stepped-up drone attacks and foot-dragging on Gitmo and indefinite detentions without trial and “rendition lite.”
Image is everything, baby.
I did not do this to win any popularity contests, least of all those held in the faculty lounge. I did it to help our president—President Obama, not Bush. Mr. Obama is fighting three wars simultaneously in Iraq, Afghanistan, and against al Qaeda. He will call upon the men and women serving under his command to make choices as hard as the ones we faced. They cannot meet those challenges with clear minds if they believe that a bevy of prosecutors, congressional committees and media critics await them when they return from the battlefield.
This is no idle worry. In 2005, a Navy Seal team dropped into Afghanistan encountered goat herders who clearly intended to inform the Taliban of their whereabouts. The team leader ordered them released, against his better military judgment, because of his worries about the media and political attacks that would follow.
In less than an hour, more than 80 Taliban fighters attacked and killed all but one member of the Seal team and 16 Americans on a helicopter rescue mission. If a president cannot, or will not, protect the men and women who fight our nation’s wars, they will follow the same risk-averse attitudes that invited the 9/11 attacks in the first place.
Follow the link for the gory details on how fanatically — and, according to Yoo, unethically — the DOJ’s ethics department pursued him and Jay Bybee. The irony is, as alluded to above, that interrogation is the one narrow area of counterterror where Obama hasn’t doubled down on Bush practices. Repudiating Yoo is essentially his political cover for doing the full Cheney on everything else, a fact not lost on former Bush press secretary Dana Perino. Quote:
The Obama administration is working with Pakistani intelligence to interrogate Mullah Baradar, reportedly the Taliban’s number-two man. We’ve been a little underwhelmed by the Left’s reaction to this news.
As others have pointed out, the Pakistanis made the arrest and are taking the lead in gathering intelligence from Baradar. But the Pakistanis are not subject to President Obama’s ban on interrogation techniques that go beyond those authorized in the Army Field Manual. The Pakistanis don’t know the Army Field Manual — and probably think the enhanced interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation, used in years past against certain al-Qaeda detainees such as Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, are rather quaint…
We suspect … the Obama administration worries day and night about being accused by its base of Bush/Cheney-like behavior, even though it understands that many Bush-administration policies were effective in protecting the country. They needn’t worry. The Left has already shown that it will avert its eyes when it’s Obama calling the plays.
Actually, according to the LA Times, the CIA’s worried not that Pakistan is being too hard on Baradar but that they’re being too easy: Evidently he hadn’t produced much useful info initially (although that may have since changed) and they wanted him transferred to their custody at Bagram for by-the-book questioning. Except — surprise — there are legal obstacles involved, and the ol’ sticky wicket of our standing in the world: “The prison already holds several detainees captured outside Afghanistan. The Pentagon has been reluctant to accept more out of concern that the facility might become a source of international scorn, much like the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.” Maybe O could hire John Yoo to help sort through the regulations? Word on the street is that he’s pretty sharp, although he’s never defended a terrorist so he may not be DOJ material.
Exit question: In light of the reports over the weekend that Baradar led Pakistan to Taliban chieftain Maulvi Kabir, how seriously should we take that LAT piece claiming that Baradar isn’t talking? Isn’t it more likely, given all the arrests lately, that he is talking — and if he is, why shouldn’t we believe that Pakistan’s getting rough with him while the CIA looks the other way? Renditionmania!