A story in Thursday’s Washington Post about establishing Obama’s “foreign policy legacy” goes a long way toward explaining why the Senate Democrats and the media have been trashing the Bush administration’s very productive enhanced interrogation program as “torture.”
Titled “Obama’s foreign policy plans collide with wars abroad and politics at home,” the story by Greg Jaffe and Juliet Eilperin made it clear that CIA director John Brennan’s defense of the agency had thwarted Obama’s plan “to move the country beyond what he [Obama] has described as the fearful excesses of the post-9/11 era.” While Obama has banned what he calls “torture,” he has failed to close the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (Gitmo), established by the Bush administration to house terrorist suspects. Other problems outlined in the Post article include the continuing war in Afghanistan and a new war in Iraq and Syria against ISIS.
What Obama calls “torture” is what the media call “torture.” If you needed any more proof of a pro-Obama media bias, just look at how regularly the personalities on CNN, supposedly more moderate than MSNBC, have adopted his terms of the debate. This is the media’s way of saying that Obama was right and that it’s good he has banned this way of getting information from terrorists. Never mind that Obama’s way of murder through drone strikes is decidedly more “harsh.” Bush grilled them, Obama kills them.
Without a foreign policy “legacy” of some kind, Obama’s two terms will look like a failure and the Democrats will be doomed in 2016.
Domestically, his only real “accomplishment” at this point looks like the Eric Holder policy of suspending enforcement of federal marijuana laws. This will be a “legacy” of interest to fellow pothead members of Obama’s “Choom Gang” in Hawaii, and the emerging cannabis industry. But it’s doubtful most people will appreciate this historic development.
Obama’s signature “accomplishment” in domestic affairs, Obamacare, has been exposed as a massive fraud and deception. According to a new CBS News poll, race relations have dramatically deteriorated under the first black president. It’s true he is moving forward unconstitutionally with amnesty for illegal aliens. But House Republicans are promising to do something about that next year. The economy is still lackluster. So foreign policy is really his only hope of doing anything positive, and he’s running into the facts of life there, too. The terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans is only one part of his legacy. The legacy of that attack hurts both Obama and Hillary Clinton, his former Secretary of State and likely 2016 Democratic candidate. And it’s doubtful that an Iran with nuclear weapons would qualify as a positive foreign policy legacy for Obama, either.
One can suppose that Obama will try to claim he was the one who got Osama bin Laden. But Brennan made it clear on Thursday that the enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) from the Bush-era played a role in killing the terrorist kingpin. Brennan said, “It is our considered view that the detainees who were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques provided information that was useful and was used in the ultimate operation to go against bin Laden. Again, intelligence information from the individuals who were subjected to EITs provided information that was used in that. Again, I am not going to attribute that to the use of the EITs; just going to state as a matter of fact, the information that they provided was used.”
What Brennan is saying is that he cannot pinpoint with any degree of accuracy that a particular form of interrogation led to the terrorists divulging certain information. That’s because nobody was taking precise notes on when terrorist X or Y said one thing or another at any particular time in the interrogation process. But the record is clear that the EITs contributed to the terrorists getting to the point where they decided to spill their guts.
CNN, which is increasingly trying to sound like MSNBC, headlined the Brennan news conference as “Brennan: No Proof Harsh Tactics Led to Useful Info.” How can his phrase that “intelligence information from the individuals who were subjected to EITs provided information that was used” to get bin Laden be interpreted as “proof” that it wasn’t useful? CNN was lying. CNN gave the opposite impression of what he actually said.
Before he held his news conference, Brennan met with Obama and was probably instructed to finesse his language somewhat so that a certain amount of ambiguity could be left in some minds. CNN and other media tried to take advantage of that for Obama’s sake. Still, Brennan’s statement was a vindication of the Bush policy. That means that any attempt by Obama to claim credit for the death of bin Laden will ring hollow. There goes his foreign policy legacy.
These facts help explain the desperation of the media and why they have adopted Obama’s rhetoric on “torture.” They must figure that if they use the term often enough, many people will assume that the techniques were, in fact, torture. In order to drive that point home, Andrea Mitchell of NBC News used the Brennan news conference to mention some of the techniques. She referred to “waterboarding, near drowning, slamming people against the wall, hanging them in stress positions, confining them in small boxes or coffins, threatening them with drills, waving guns around their head as they are blindfolded…”
She could have mentioned the horrible deaths suffered by those in the World Trade Center or the Pentagon or Flight 93 on 9/11. She could have mentioned the 9/11 jumpers—the people who jumped from the towers rather than be burned to death.
But Mitchell didn’t think it was worth mentioning any of that.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tapper have been fixated by a phrase in the Senate Democratic report on “rectal rehydration.” Tapper called it a form of torture. In fact, it’s a medical procedure to keep the terrorists alive when they resist sustenance. Would Tapper have preferred that the terrorists be allowed to die? Then the program would have come in for even stronger criticism. This goes to show that all of this discussion is just another attempt to tarnish the Bush presidency and make Obama look good by comparison. Tapper said he was dumbfounded by the talk of “rectal rehydration.”
No, he was just dumb.
Obama, the Senate Democrats and the media look foolish and unpatriotic. It looks like they are deliberately playing into the hands of America’s enemies in order to score partisan political points. Obama has abandoned proven techniques to get information from, and about, terrorists and has adopted in their place a policy of killing the terrorists and their families through drone strikes that don’t yield any intelligence data at all. How on earth does this make any sense?
From an objective point of view, does a Hellfire missile hitting a human being look more or less “harsh” than waving a gun over someone’s head, turning on a drill, or pouring water on a terrorist?
The answer should be obvious to anyone with half a brain. But most of our media are so determined to save Obama’s presidency that they can’t think clearly.
The Post and other media are desperate to construct a “legacy” for America’s first black president. The real concern should be saving the country, not Obama’s presidency.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted at [email protected]