Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Should we use waterboarding to stop terrorist attacks against schools in Pakistan?

Map of the Middle East

Map of the Middle East

Let’s use a real example to assess whether harsh interrogation techniques are ever justified.

The Wall Street Journal:

Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in northwestern Pakistan and killed at least 141 people, methodically shooting schoolchildren in the head and setting fire to some victims in a horrifying 9-hour rampage.

Shahrukh, a 17-year-old survivor of Tuesday’s attack in Peshawar, said many students were assembled in the school auditorium when the gunmen burst in and started spraying bullets. He was shot in both legs and fell to the ground.

“I saw them set one of our teachers on fire in front of me,” he said.

The scale and level of brutality in the massacre marked a grim milestone in Pakistan’s seven-year battle against Islamist insurgents. Of the 141 killed, 132 were schoolchildren. Fifteen bodies of students were burned so badly they couldn’t be immediately identified when they were brought to the city’s Combined Military Hospital, security officials said.

Amir Ameen, 18 years old, said he and 11 other students were taking an exam when two gunmen entered their classroom. They shot students one by one, mostly in the head, he said from his bed at Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital.

The attackers shouted “Allahu akbar” or “God is great” over and over as they shot each student, Mr. Ameen said. They spoke Pashto—the language of Pakistan’s Pashtun ethnic majority in northwest Pakistan and southern Afghanistan.

[…]“The dead children we transported were shot in the head and in the face, some in the eye, as if the gun was close to them,” he said. “The children who were injured had gunshot wounds on the back of their legs and arms. They were in shock, but told us they were hit as they ran away from the attackers.”

[…]“They have attacked funerals and mosques, for them there is no limit. They are operating outside human values,” said Mehmood Shah, a retired security official in Peshawar. “They want to terrorize the population into submission.”

So that’s an example of a terrorist attack. This is 100% OK with people on the left, including self-proclaimed “Christians” who think that coddling terrorists is much better than saving innocent children from terrorists. They consider themselves moral – that’s why we need to see what they celebrate by opposing tough interrogation techniques.

One quick note: Barack Obama failed to blame the Taliban for the attack. It’s just workplace violence. Fort Hood was workplace violence. The attack on the Parliament was senseless violence. It’s never Islamic terrorism, because that would insult the terrorists and make them feel bad about what they did.

Now let’s have a defense of enhanced interrogation techniques with that example in mind.

This is also from the Wall Street Journal.

Bret Stephens writes:

I am not sorry Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the operational mastermind of 9/11, was waterboarded 183 times. KSM also murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl in 2002. He boasted about it: “I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew,” he said after his capture.

I am sorry KSM remains alive nearly 12 years after his capture. He has been let off far too lightly. As for his waterboarding, it never would have happened if he had been truthful with his captors. It stopped as soon as he became cooperative. As far as I’m concerned, he waterboarded himself.

[…]I am not sorry Osama bin Laden died by an American bullet. John Brennan , the CIA director, delivered a master class in rhetorical obfuscation masquerading as epistemology when he waffled last week about the quality of intelligence yielded by the interrogations of KSM and other high-value detainees. But several former directors and deputy directors of the CIA have all attested to the link between KSM’s interrogation and the identification of bin Laden’s courier.

I am sorry that the Feinstein Report, which failed to interview those directors and thus has the credibility of a Rolling Stone article, seeks to deny this. Maybe Sabrina Rubin Erdely, author of the discredited University of Virginia gang-rape story and a pro at failing to interview key witnesses, will find a new career in Sen. Feinstein’s office.

[…]I am sorry that Mr. Cheney, and every other supporter of enhanced interrogation techniques, has to defend the practices as if they were torture. They are not. Waterboarding is part of the military’s standard course in Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, or SERE. Tens of thousands of U.S. servicemen have gone through it. To describe this as “torture” is to strip the word of its meaning.

In my previous post on this, I wrote about how waterboarding KSM also prevented a 9/11-style attack on Los Angeles.

Economist Thomas Sowell reminds us of the consequences of attacking the CIA, the military and the police.

He writes:

One of the most obscene acts of the Obama administration, when it first took office, was to launch a criminal investigation of CIA agents who had used harsh interrogation methods against captured terrorists in the wake of the devastating September 11, 2001 aerial attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Right after those terrorist attacks, when there were desperate fears of what might be coming next, these CIA agents were trying to spare fellow Americans another attack that could take thousands more lives, or perhaps millions more. To turn on these agents, years later, after they did what they were urged to do, as a patriotic duty in a time of crisis, is both a betrayal of those who acted in the past and a disincentive to those in the future who are charged with safeguarding the nation.

[…]The ease with which politicians are willing to pull the rug out from under people whose job is to safeguard our lives — whether they are CIA agents, the police or the military — is not only a betrayal of those people but a danger to us all.

People who are constantly denouncing the police, including with demonstrable lies, may think they are showing solidarity with people in the ghettos. But, when police hesitate to go beyond “kinder and gentler” policing, that leaves decent people in black communities at the mercy of hoodlums and thugs who have no mercy.

When conscientious young people, of any race, who would like to help maintain peace and order see that being a policeman means having race hustlers constantly whipping up mob hostility against you — and having opportunistic politicians and the media joining the race hustlers — those young people may well decide that some other line of work would be better for them.

High crime areas need not only the most, but the best, police they can get. Taking cheap shots at cops is not the way to get the people who are needed.

When people who volunteer to put their lives on the line in the military to defend this country, at home and abroad, see their buddies killed on the battlefield, and sometimes themselves come back minus an arm or a leg, or with severe physical and mental damage that they may never get over — and then see some headstrong politician in the White House throw away everything they fought for, and see enemy forces take back places for which Americans shed their blood, that can be galling to them and a deterrent to others who might otherwise take their place in the future.

If we cannot see beyond the moment today, we will pay dearly tomorrow and in many more tomorrows.

How about you? Would you be tough on a terrorist in order to prevent an attack like the one on the Pakistan school? Toughness deters future aggression. Or would you rather let the children die? I don’t have any trouble assessing these alternatives.

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Democrat leak of counter-terrorism secrets endangers Americans and alienates our allies

First off, let’s get the facts on the report that the Democrats want to release to the public, and to our enemies, today.

This article from the left-leaning McClatchy DC has most of the facts.

It says:

U.S. forces and diplomatic missions overseas braced on Monday for the release of the public version of a long-awaited Senate Intelligence Committee report into the CIA’s use of torture after a U.S. intelligence community warning of a “heightened potential” for a “violent response,” U.S. officials said.

The report’s roughly 500-page executive summary, which the White House said would be unveiled on Tuesday, excoriates the CIA, concluding that it didn’t gain significant intelligence or the cooperation of detainees by using the harsh interrogation methods, had wrongly subjected some people to the procedures and misled the White House and Congress about the results.

The Democrat-led committee’s conclusions, which were obtained in April by McClatchy, are being fiercely disputed by current and former CIA officials, former President George W. Bush and senior officials of his administration, and some lawmakers, mostly Republicans. They contend that the program produced valuable information that disrupted terror plots and led to the capture of key al Qaida operatives.

[…]The committee voted in December 2012 to approve a final draft of a 6,300-page classified version of the report and an executive summary, findings and conclusions for release to the public. But the release was delayed by an uproar over CIA monitoring of the committee staff’s computers and a battle over administration demands to black out information that it contended could reveal the identities of undercover CIA officers and anger foreign governments.

So this is the issue – will CIA personnel be compromised? Will CIA techniques be compromised? Will America’s allies in national security be compromised? Will Americans die because our enemies are able to use this information to their advantage?

Let’s find out some more about the report:

Minority Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA were expected to release separate rebuttals rejecting the findings shortly after the report is made public.

[…]The investigation has been marred by an unprecedented breakdown in relations between the committee and the CIA over the agency’s monitoring of computers used by the Democratic staff to review the more than 6 million pages of emails, cables and other top-secret documents on which the report is based.

The CIA accused the Democratic staffers of removing without authorization highly classified documents from a top-secret agency reading room in Northern Virginia. The Justice Department declined to open criminal investigations into either matter, and – according to the Huffington Post – the Senate Sergeant at Arms Office, the chamber’s law enforcement agency, dropped an investigation looking into the alleged classified document removal allegation.

Let me be clear about this. Enhanced interrogation techniques were used on the mastermind of the 9/11 attack in order to prevent a similar 9/11-style attack on Los Angeles.

These are the facts:

The Central Intelligence Agency told CNSNews.com today that it stands by the assertion made in a May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that the use of “enhanced techniques” of interrogation on al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) — including the use of waterboarding — caused KSM to reveal information that allowed the U.S. government to thwart a planned attack on Los Angeles.

Before he was waterboarded, when KSM was asked about planned attacks on the United States, he ominously told his CIA interrogators, “Soon, you will know.”

According to the previously classified May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that was released by President Barack Obama last week, the thwarted attack — which KSM called the “Second Wave”– planned “ ‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles.”

KSM was the mastermind of the first “hijacked-airliner” attacks on the United States, which struck the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Northern Virginia on Sept. 11, 2001.

After KSM was captured by the United States, he was not initially cooperative with CIA interrogators.  Nor was another top al Qaeda leader named Zubaydah.  KSM, Zubaydah, and a third terrorist named Nashiri were the only three persons ever subjected to waterboarding by the CIA. (Additional terrorist detainees were subjected to other “enhanced techniques” that included slapping, sleep deprivation, dietary limitations, and temporary confinement to small spaces — but not to water-boarding.)

Everyone who opposes enhanced interrogation techniques – be it the ACLU, libertarians, leftists, etc. – were all in favor of thousands of American civilians dying in another 9/11-style attack. Obama was in favor of that attack. Holder was in favor of that attack. Feinstein was in favor of that attack. That’s what it means for Democrats to coddle terrorists in order to sound moral by embracing evil as if it were good – it means Americans die. Democrats would rather that Americans die than that we poured water on men who planned terrorist attacks.

Here is an editorial that appeared in the leftist Washington Post by Jose Rodriguez, a 31-year veteran of the CIA who knows something about how enhanced interrogation techniques were used.

He writes about the Democrat’s report:

The report’s leaked conclusion,which has been reported on widely, that the interrogation program brought no intelligence value is an egregious falsehood; it’s a dishonest attempt to rewrite history. I’m bemused that the Senate could devote so many resources to studying the interrogation program and yet never once speak to any of the key people involved in it, including the guy who ran it (that would be me).

According to news accounts of the report, Feinstein and her supporters will say that the CIA violated American principles and hid the ugly truth from Congress, the White House and the public. When the report comes out, I expect that few of the critics who will echo Feinstein’s charges will have read it — and far fewer will read or understand the minority response and the CIA’s rebuttal.

The interrogation program was authorized by the highest levels of the U.S. government, judged legal by the Justice Department and proved effective by any reasonable standard. The leaders of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees and of both parties in Congress were briefed on the program more than 40 times between 2002 and 2009. But Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tried to deny that she was told in 2002 that detainees had been waterboarded. That is simply not true. I was among those who briefed her.

There’s great hypocrisy in politicians’ criticism of the CIA’s interrogation program. In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, lawmakers urged us to do everything possible to prevent another attack on our soil. Members of Congress and the administration were nearly unanimous in their desire that the CIA do all that it could to debilitate and destroy al-Qaeda. The CIA got the necessary approvals to do so and kept Congress briefed throughout. But as our successes grew, some lawmakers’ recollections shrank in regard to the support they once offered.

[…]On May 26, 2002, Feinstein was quoted in the New York Times saying that the attacks of 9/11 were a real awakening and that it would no longer be “business as usual.” The attacks, she said, let us know “that the threat is profound” and “that we have to do some things that historically we have not wanted to do to protect ourselves.”

[…]If Feinstein, Rockefeller and other politicians were saying such things in print and on national TV, imagine what they were saying to us in private. We did what we were asked to do, we did what we were assured was legal, and we know our actions were effective. Our reward, a decade later, is to hear some of these same politicians expressing outrage for what was done and, even worse, mischaracterizing the actions taken and understating the successes achieved.

I’m confident that my former CIA colleagues who are still on the job will do what is necessary to protect the nation from new Islamic State and continuing al-Qaeda threats. But in the back of their minds will be the nagging thought that, as they carry out legal, authorized and necessary actions, they may be only a few years away from being criticized and second-guessed by the people who today are urging them onward to the “gates of hell.”

His previous Washington Post editorial is here.

So, how about you? Would you like to work for the CIA right now? Would you like to protect America from attacks like the Los Angeles attack, and then have your government come after you as a scapegoat, because it might help them to win an election? That’s what’s happening to current employees of the CIA who did their best to protect us – more than the corrupt community organizer and his gangster attorney general ever did.

I don’t know if I need to keep saying this, but waterboarding is a standard part of SERE training. We do it to all our pilots to train them in the event that they are captured.

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ISIS on the doorstep of Baghdad as Obama fundraises in San Francisco

First, the progress of Isis, as reported by the leftist UK Independent.

Excerpt:

In an offensive in Iraq launched on 2 October but little reported in the outside world, Isis has captured almost all the cities and towns it did not already hold in Anbar province, a vast area in western Iraq that makes up a quarter of the country. It has captured Hit, Kubaisa and Ramadi, the provincial capital, which it had long fought for. Other cities, towns and bases on or close to the Euphrates River west of Baghdad fell in a few days, often after little resistance by the Iraqi Army which showed itself to be as dysfunctional as in the past, even when backed by US air strikes.

Just a note about those air strikes – it’s just a political diversion. The actual number of sorties is 10% what were doing during the Iraq war. It’s just something so that Obama can say he is “doing something” about the beheading videos. It is election season, after all. And that drives foreign policy if you’re a Democrat.

More:

Today, only the city of Haditha and two bases, Al-Assad military base near Hit, and Camp Mazrah outside Fallujah, are still in Iraqi government hands. Joel Wing, in his study –”Iraq’s Security Forces Collapse as The Islamic State Takes Control of Most of Anbar Province” – concludes: “This was a huge victory as it gives the insurgents virtual control over Anbar and poses a serious threat to western Baghdad”.

The battle for Anbar, which was at the heart of the Sunni rebellion against the US occupation after 2003, is almost over and has ended with a decisive victory for Isis. It took large parts of Anbar in January and government counter-attacks failed dismally with some 5,000 casualties in the first six months of the year. About half the province’s 1.5 million population has fled and become refugees. The next Isis target may be the Sunni enclaves in western Baghdad, starting with Abu Ghraib on the outskirts but leading right to the centre of the capital.

What caused all this mess? Obama’s decision to pull our troops out of Iraq. And Iraq is now begging for us to send our troops back.

Excerpt:

As Islamic State troops move closer to Baghdad, Iraqi officials have issued a plea for American ground troops to return to the country.

A senior governor claimed that up to 10,000 Islamic State fighters were closing in on the capital, amid reports that forces had reached Abu Ghraid, a suburb of Baghdad, The Telegraph reported Saturday.

Iraqi officials are worried the Pentagon will not be keen to send U.S. soldiers back to an area once dubbed “the graveyard of the Americans” in Anbar Province. In 2004, U.S. troops fought the Battle of Fallujah in Anabar province, the bloodiest battle involving American troops since the Vietnam War.

Regardless, government officials believe that if the province were to fall to the radical Islamic Fighters, then it would be a strategic launching point for a full-force attack on Baghdad.

Nearly 1,500 U.S. troops are already stationed in Baghdad, training the Iraqi army.

So where is Obama?

He’s in San Francisco, fundraising for Democrat candidates in the midterms. And Joe Biden is busy calling for more gun control.

 

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Who warned about the consequences of pulling out of Iraq in 2007?

From the leftist Washington Post, of all places.

Excerpt: (links removed)

In the summer of 2007, Bush warned of the dire consequence of pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq against the advice of our commanders on the ground. All of Washington was telling Bush that the surge he had launched would fail and that the time had come to withdraw from Iraq and accept defeat.

At a White House news conference on July 12, 2007, Bush declared: “I know some in Washington would like us to start leaving Iraq now. To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we’re ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region and for the United States. It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to al-Qaeda. It would mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It would mean we’d allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It would mean we’d be increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.”

[…]In 2010, Obama did precisely what Bush warned against and withdrew all U.S. forces from Iraq — overruling his commander on the ground, Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, who had recommended that Obama keep 24,000 troops. And since then, everything that Bush warned would happen has come to pass.

Bush warned that withdrawing against the advice of our military commanders would result in “mass killings on a horrific scale.” Check. We’re now seeing mass killings on a horrific scale — summary executions, women and children buried alive, people being crucified, the attempted genocide of the Yazidis and two American journalists beheaded.

Bush warned that withdrawal would “allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan.” Check. The Islamic State now controls a safe haven the size of Belgium.

Bush warned withdrawing too soon would “mean we’d be increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.” Check. The Islamic State is far more dangerous now, the United States is back carrying out airstrikes in Iraq and Obama will address the nation on Wednesday to lay out a new military strategy to defeat the Islamic State.

That’s not all. In a July 14, 2007, radio address, Bush also warned that U.S. withdrawal would allow “terrorists to . . . gain control of vast oil resources they could use to fund new attacks on America.” Check. The Islamic State now controls vast oil resources, which are bringing the group an estimated$3 million a day — helping it to become the wealthiest terror network in the world.

In a Sept. 13, 2007, Oval Office address, Bush warned that “Iran would benefit from the chaos” after U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. Check. Just last week, the United States provided air cover for Iranian-back Shiite militias as they took back the town of Amerli — which means we are now serving as the de-facto air force for the same Iranian-backed militias who were responsible for many of the U.S. casualties in Iraq.

[…]In an April 24, 2007, news conference Bush warned that U.S. withdrawal “could unleash chaos in Iraq that could spread across the entire region.” Check. After the United States withdrew from Iraq, the Islamic State moved into Syria, killing thousands and using that country as a staging area to recruit jihadists and plan its re-invasion of Iraq.

He was one of the good ones, and I miss his moral clarity – especially when it comes to foreign policy. This man knew right from wrong. If you want to have an influence in a theater of war where your enemies are active, then you need to have boots on the ground. We have an enemy in the Middle East, and that enemy is radical Islam. Bush knew that, and Obama – well he plays golf while American-born journalists have their heads hacked off. Bush knew how to promote American interests abroad with strength, but Obama does not.

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Barack Obama to reporters on ISIS: “we don’t have a strategy yet”

The leftist Washington Post reports on the story.

Excerpt:

President Obama said Thursday he has not decided on stepped-up military action against the Islamic State in Iraq or Syria, cautioning that he remains committed to a strategy that protects U.S. interests and builds broader partnerships to combat the threat posed by the militant group.

“We don’t have a strategy yet,” Obama said during a White House news conference, referring to increased military action. “Folks are getting a little further ahead of where we’re at. …The suggestions seems to have been we’re about to go full-scale on some elaborate strategy for defeating ISIL [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] and the suggestion has been we’ll start moving forward imminently and somehow with Congress still out of town, they’ll be left in the dark. That’s not going to happen.”

And in other news, Russia has invaded more of Ukraine, and Obama responded.

Excerpt:

President Barack Obama refused to label Russia’s military action inside eastern Ukraine as an ‘invasion’ on Thursday, calling it an ‘incursion’ despite facing a reporter’s specific action about his choice of words.

Following a conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Obama told reporters that the two leaders agree ‘that Russia is responsible for the violence in eastern Ukraine. … Russia has deliberately and repeatedly violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.’

‘And the new images of Russian forces inside Ukraine make that plain for the world to see.’

He insisted that the Russian tanks filmed rumbling through Ukraine on Thursday are merely ‘a continuation of what’s been taking place for months now.’

[…]Arizona Sen. John McCain, the Republicans’ top dog on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reacted angrily before Obama’s brief press conference.

‘Russia’s ongoing aggression in Ukraine can only be called one thing: a cross-border military invasion,’ he said. ‘To claim it is anything other than that is to inhabit President Putin’s Orwellian universe.’

‘A sovereign nation in the heart of Europe is being invaded by its larger neighbor,’ McCain declared. ‘This runs completely contrary to the civilized world that America and our partners have sought to build since World War II.’

Obama’s careful parsing was in keeping with State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki’s lukewarm refusal hours earlier, during an interview on MSNBC, to discuss varying ‘terminology’ related to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military moves.

Oh, I don’t think we have anything to worry about. It’s not an invasion, Obama says it’s not:

Baghdad Obama says: "There are no Russian tanks in Ukraine"

Baghdad Obama says: “There are no Russian tanks in Ukraine”

The nice thing about foreign policy is that when you screw it up, the consequences come quickly, so you know where the failure occurred. With the borrowing of the 7 trillion dollars, Obama’s managed to cloak his economic policy failures so far. But he can’t hide this foreign policy mess.

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