While these actions will certainly please his base -- gone are the cries of an "imperial presidency" -- they will also seriously handicap our intelligence agencies from preventing future terrorist attacks. In issuing these executive orders, Mr. Obama is returning America to the failed law enforcement approach to fighting terrorism that prevailed before Sept. 11, 2001. He's also drying up the most valuable sources of intelligence on al Qaeda, which, according to CIA Director Michael Hayden, has come largely out of the tough interrogation of high-level operatives during the early years of the war.
Right, because we NEVER stopped terrorist attacks before 9/11. Maybe someone should remind this jackass of the PDB that was entitled "bin Laden determined to strike in the United States" that was NOT the product of any torture interrogations. But what he's not done...
What such a review would have made clear is that the civilian law-enforcement system cannot prevent terrorist attacks. What is needed are the tools to gain vital intelligence, which is why, under President George W. Bush, the CIA could hold and interrogate high-value al Qaeda leaders. On the advice of his intelligence advisers, the president could have authorized coercive interrogation methods like those used by Israel and Great Britain in their antiterrorism campaigns. (He could even authorize waterboarding, which he did three times in the years after 9/11.)
Attorney General Eric Holder pay attention. I think we have a public admission of guilt here. And we didn't even have to use torture to get it!
The CIA must now conduct interrogations according to the rules of the Army Field Manual, which prohibits coercive techniques, threats and promises, and the good-cop bad-cop routines used in police stations throughout America. Mr. Obama has also ordered that al Qaeda leaders are to be protected from "outrages on personal dignity" and "humiliating and degrading treatment" in accord with the Geneva Conventions. His new order amounts to requiring -- on penalty of prosecution -- that CIA interrogators be polite. Coercive measures are unwisely banned with no exceptions, regardless of the danger confronting the country.
Eliminating the Bush system will mean that we will get no more information from captured al Qaeda terrorists. Every prisoner will have the right to a lawyer (which they will surely demand), the right to remain silent, and the right to a speedy trial.
At this point I am reminded from a quote I posted a couple of days ago coming from retired Major General Paul Eaton “torture is the tool of the lazy, the stupid, and the pseudo-tough." John Yoo is a typical NeoCon who is scared of his own shadow yet is a cheerleader for torture. What I would love to see is him get waterboarded much like journalist Christopher Hitchens did and then see him give another legal opinion that it is not torture.
Now could someone find for me the section of the Geneva Conventions that deals with a right to an attorney or a right to remain silent? Those are rights afforded to United States citizens not enemy combatants or even for that matter for captured soldiers of another country. Or maybe they just forgot about all that during WWI and WWII. It should say something that the guy who said torturing enemy combatants didn't violate the Geneva Conventions doesn't have a good understanding of the Geneva conventions in the first place.
It is naïve to say, as Mr. Obama did in his inaugural speech, that we can "reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals." That high-flying rhetoric means that we must give al Qaeda -- a hardened enemy committed to our destruction -- the same rights as garden-variety criminals at the cost of losing critical intelligence about real, future threats.
Is it naive to believe that our ideals should really mean something in this country or cynical to assert that they shouldn't? Again thats the kind of guy some of you out there want to get away scott free "for the good of the country". And what happens the next time a Republican wins the presidency? What will stop John Yoo from being appointed to a position that doesn't require confirmation? While you think on that let me provide you with his coupe de grace.
But in his decisions taken so precipitously just two days after the inauguration, Mr. Obama may have opened the door to further terrorist acts on U.S. soil by shattering some of the nation's most critical defenses.
So there you have it ladies and gentlemen. In order to justify his own and the rest of the Bush Administration's advocation of torture John Yoo practically invites terrorist attacks on our soul. What a great American he is. How proud many of you Bush apologists must be. If we as a country don't have the heart to investigate and prosecute this asshole and his asshole bretheren for ripping up our Constitution and our international treaties then we don't deserve to be called a democracy.