Wednesday, April 22, 2009

we'll just fix that later...or not.

It’s not like this is much of a surprise. (There’s loads of Web chatter today on the same subject.) George Tenet was a seriously incompetent DCI; first with the ‘slam dunk’, and now this peek further behind the curtain. I don’t know much more about him, but I have watched and listened to a bunch of his ‘avert the blame’ interviews, and this simply cements his lowlight resume. This caper that led to the CIA, and military members, to torture would be comical if the result wasn’t so heinous. I was trained by one the psychologists named in this article – two or three times – and it’s hard to believe that the SERE leaders didn’t fight back harder. Even with that mark against the SERE record, the CIA, legislators, and OLC were delinquent in doing in even the most basic investigation or background work on what they were proposing. Could it be true that they had no idea about the history and success, or lack thereof, of these techniques? Did they not understand that what we use as training on US forces (and I had all of these done to me, barring the water board) was done in an academic environment with training provided and after-the-fact review? There were timeouts allowed. Very little was a surprise to us and there was a clear timeline for the end of each training session. No matter where one might stand on the issue as a whole, if you were in this situation and decided you needed to call in the OLC for an opinion on legality then you better have done your homework. What your mind is telling you is that this walks, talks, and smells like torture yet all you do at that point is sit on your ass, at a desk, and make up whatever suits your needs. It’s not a lack of knowledge that’s embarrassing - knowledge can be gained – it’s the straight-pipe sense of moral right that’s the problem. I don’t care if this was during a time when people were worried and scared – that’s why we have laws. It’s during times when common sense fails that law gives us guidance.

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