Posts tagged ‘Hayden’

“I Really Believe That When He Tells Me That…”

President DFF is being, well, a DFF as he goes about once again tarnishing our intelligence agencies and showing how truly stupid the man is. Of course I am referring to his comments about Putin’s claim of not interfering in our elections when the intelligence agencies have tons of data to show just exactly what they did do. We have tons of supportable data in the media to show exactly what they did including all the ad buys for Facebook and Twitter. But none of that matters because he has looked him in the eyes and can tell he, Putin, is insulted. Oh, where have we heard that or something very similar before? Wasn’t that George Bush?

I was at a party last night and someone who despairs this whole nightmare of President DFF and the Republicans was just despondent about this latest episode. I was not. I spent my after military service life as a lower level bureaucratic lackey serving the American public building and cleaning up things for the government. I know those people who work in the government well. Most are hard working, dedicated, and proud of what they do. President DFF just pissed off a whole bunch of people who probably have the goods on him. Here is from the Washington Post (WaPo):

On Saturday, Trump described the former top U.S. intelligence officials who concluded in January that the tampering took place — including former director of national intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. and former CIA director John Brennan — as “political hacks.” He called former FBI director James B. Comey, who testified to Congress that Trump asked him to drop an investigation of his campaign’s connections to Russian officials, a “liar” and a “leaker.”

Clapper said in a statement that “the president was given clear and indisputable evidence that Russia interfered in the election. His own DNI and CIA director have confirmed the finding in the intelligence community assessment. The fact that he would take Putin at his word over the intelligence community is unconscionable.”

…Former CIA director Michael V. Hayden said he was so concerned by Trump’s statement that he contacted the agency to confirm that it stood by the January assessment. He described Trump’s remarks as “egregious comments on the character of folks who have been public servants . . . [and] the public should know that these guys are thoroughgoing professionals, and what the president left unsaid is that the people he put into these jobs agree with the so-called hacks.”

Senior officials in the intelligence community will be dismayed by the disparagement of two respected intelligence veterans, Hayden said. “People have a right to ask at senior levels: ‘Does what I do make a difference anymore?’ ”

In other words, other than his comments being imbecilic, he just kicked a hornet’s nest. Stand by for the leaks and ever more cooperation with Mueller. I opined in this discussion that it would not be long until President DFF probably gets removed and she shuddered at the thought of Mike Pence as President. But here is the thing. Republicans got nothing, and I seriously mean that. We have problems, big problems, and we have solutions. None of those solutions are palatable to Republican ideology. So things are going to get worse. It doesn’t matter if it is pious Pence or Joe College Ryan, they got nothing.

Their plan for the economy is tax cuts that only help the wealthy. They have no plan for healthcare which should be obvious by now. If they are successful at their tax cuts, which they won’t, President DFF’s base will be hurt and there will be no jobs. If they build the wall it will drag down our economy, not to mention be an environmental nightmare. Global warming which they ignore, will just get worse, and do you really think these boys and girls are going to pony up for infrastructure improvements without it being some giant give away to corporations?

We are in a waiting game for America to wake up out of their focused ignorance and finally understand, Republicans are bad for their health, livelihood, and peace of mind. You can only watch things crumble for so long before you say, let’s do something. Ask yourself this about the effectiveness of Republicans, how many people in Puerto Rico are still without power, our fellow Americans? You could be next. When that dawns on us and it seems to already be doing, things will start to look up. 2018 could be a banner year.

Torture, Our National Shame

On some topics my knowledge is intellectual, but not visceral, not first hand.  In this case, however, I know this one in my gut.   Back in the “day” I was trained to resist torture.  I spent some time in a simulated captivity and an interrogation facility.  I was faced with the real possibility when I flew in Viet Nam, and I debriefed Tom Storey when he came back after five long years in captivity in North Viet Nam.  It was heart wrenching.  I also was one of those guys who had to sign an agreement that I understood that the bombing of Cambodia was illegal and I would never violate the will of Congress following an illegal order.  That one seemed to slip by Oliver North and Crew about 15 years later.  This is probably ancient history for most of you, but this is what informs my feelings like electricity about the disclosures we are being handed about our conduct of torture.

So with the latest revelations and President Obama’s pledge to not prosecute those that thought they were following legally constituted orders, I had mixed emotions.  But with a little introspection, the fog disappeared.  First, is the obviously flawed “legal” memos themselves and the techniques that they revealed.  Actually nothing here is new since Jane Mayer, in her book, The Dark Side, has already described all of this in detail.  What she didn’t have were the actual memos, only accounts of them from interrogators and lawyers who knew their illegitimacy.  Now they are exposed for all of us to see.  If the techniques don’t sound bad to you I suggest you pick up her book and read how these and other techniques were applied and in some cases, killed detainees.  And of course they got them to talk.  Problem is they would tell you anything you wanted to hear.  Some of the “intelligence” that justified the Iraq war was nonsense from one of these interrogations that later turned out to be totally false.

Should President Obama have pledged not to prosecute those who thought they were following legal orders when they were actually performing torture that is illegal in this country?  Should we have let the guards who walked people into the gas chambers at Dachau go free because they were just following orders?  Is just following orders a justifiable defense?  I don’t think so if we don’t want a repeat of this episode.  If we accept this line of thinking, what is to prevent the next President (or in this case Vice President (Dick Cheney and his legal counsel David Addington)) from finding some sycophant like John Yoo to write horribly flawed legal memos justifying anything so those that carry it out have a get out of jail free card?  Nothing.

Now I don’t think most of these people (there were men, women, doctors, nurses, psychiatrists involved) were evil, but torture is torture and they should be duly tried and if deemed culpable, punished.  Most would never serve a day because they were really pulled in and thought they were doing the right thing for the country in tough circumstances.  But some killed people, or decided to keep prisoners when they knew they had the wrong person.  This has to come out and those that did this must face justice for their crimes.  The message is that we all know what torture is, in this country we don’t do it, and if you do, some get out of jail pass is not going to protect.  Under these circumstances there is very little likelihood that people won’t think first before they go down this road again.  The Japanese have an interesting philosophy that if you injure someone else, even though it was innocent and you had no intent, you still owe a debt.  These people would partook in torture owe a debt to those that they tortured and in some cases ruined innocent lives.

Then there is the Mulkasey and Hayden defense of torture and criticizing of the Obama Administration’s release of the memos in the Wall Street Journal, saying in effect that the administration was tying its hands in the war on terrorism, causing agencies like the CIA to be too timid in the future, and of course, torture worked.  Here are two individuals who need very badly to believe this because they let all of what followed happen.  They are two people who should never hold public office ever again.

Their argument that it ties our hands and lets the enemy prepare for “rough” interrogation is disingenuous if you consider that we are not going to do it any more.  Second, all the techniques that were used were already common knowledge.  Remember my training in torture resistance was just a short-term ploy to allow tactical information that I might have to become obsolete before they got it out of me.  What we learned in Viet Nam is that sooner or later they will get you to say whatever they want, true or not.  Finally, our own commanders in Iraq have told us that torture did us more damage by recruiting more al-Qaeda recruits than any information we might have gained (if we did) to prevent a terrorist attack.

By releasing the memos, we can now see how people in our government abused and misused the law to violate the law.  It demonstrates the fallacy of their legal thinking and hopefully drives a stake in any attempt in the future to use such flawed legal thinking to justify violating our laws.  Then there is their final argument that torture worked.  Oh really?  There is documentation from the FBI who were conducting these interviews without the torture, that they were making great progress before the CIA took over and then began getting confessions to things these guys never did.  We can go on forever having these arguments about whether torture works, or we can put an end to it by fully investigating what happened, what real intelligence we got, if any, and whether it was worth it.  I think after listening to many experts on interrogation, (See the Dark Side, Torture Team, etc.) what they got was nothing and spent most of their time on wild goose chases while causing irreparable damage to our nation.  They badly needed to believe what they were doing was justified and that became self-fulfilling.

So if we don’t investigate what happened and really understand where we went and for what, we are going to be left with an open wound.  The President must pursue these investigations at all levels.  But back to my gut.  I always wondered if I could match up to the bravery of our own POWs who endured hell in the prisons of Viet Nam.  But one thing that kept me going was knowing we didn’t do that kind of stuff.  We really were better than they were.  Now I know we aren’t.

Related Blogs:  Torture and Justice, Torture and Fiction