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February 15, 2010

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Dave (in MA)
We eagerly await the Holder investigation.
Or, as InstaPundit might put it... They told me if I voted for John McCain, we'd see rendition of enemy combatants to friendly torturing regimes--and they were RIGHT!
Dave (in MA)

Ever notice how they always dump the really big news on Saturday morning?

daveinboca

I'm sure Holder is pressing the CIA component allegedly involved in snatching Mr. Mullah Baradar to use their influence to encourage the Pakis not to subject the Mullah to intense questioning.

This AG was dumb enough to get Marc Rich a pardon, and he'd be dumb enough to make ISI & their Army buddies break out in howls of laughter by trying to intervene. Eric ain't ready for prime time yet, just like his boss, little o.

tailgunner

Neither Obama or his enablers on the left will have any problem engaging in the same techniques (and worse) they wanted to execute Bush and Cheney for.

And that's actually a good thing, if just a bit hypocritical.

Pull his fingernails out if you need to. Get the intelligence we need.

I don't give a rat's @ss how.

tailgunner

I hope Obama and Holder 'get it' this time.

If they give this piece of garbage ANY Geneva or Constitutional due process or anything but the toe of a combat boot up his @ss, this country has lost the war.

If they Mirandize this murdering scum, they'll Mirandize Osama if they ever capture HIM.

But it doesn't look good. Obama and Holder will probably talk tough but eventually drop the ball entirely...meaning this animal will be in the dock next to the pickpockets, armed robbers and prostitutes.

And it will be revealed, by the Taliban leader that the SEAL Team that captured him used a few four-letter words to him in the process, causing the entire COC to order courtmartials to show how 'fair' we can be.

Next time some SEAL's trigger finger might 'slip'.

Free Radical

Pakistan was leading the interrogation of Mullah Baradar

Pakistan will NOT come out poorly in any interrogation they 'lead.'

No matter what they do to this guy (waterboard, comfy chair) the intel will be cleansed to remove information about ISI complicity or details about other groupings that ISI still finds useful.

This is actually the worst of all worlds: a HVT subject to brutal interrogation by agents of a government who are deeply self-interested in what he says. Why doesn't Obama just issue the burn-notice in advance??

J

I'm assuming that when the interrogations get tough, our CIA steps out of the room so they can not be held legally responsible in Holder's courts. And, following that kind of interrogation, while our guys are nice and safe, outside the room, the bad guy tells all. Then Pakistan can tell us what they decide is important.

narciso

We know that the Zubeydah interrogation, supposedly according to Posner, gave up ties
to the head of the Pakistani air force, and
several Saudi princes, one of whom subsequently died of thirst, one rule of thumb is don't give interviews to Newsweek, or let your subordinates do so

fdcol63

Aren't these the same people who bashed Bush for "outsourcing" America's tough intelligence work to unsavory countries?

Jeff

If this guy was in Karachi then a drone strike was out of the question. Plus having the Paki's ready willing and able to "interview" this guy is icing on the cake. Of course if they are asking this guy hard while US officials are in the room I would line up some lawyers if I was any of those officials.

Cecil Turner

I'd assumed the previous story was talking about terrorists in the FATA area of Pakistan, in difficult terrain with no close bases, where the difficulty in capturing them is far greater than killing 'em. Obviously operating in Karachi is a totally different matter.

However, if a Taliban type is captured in Karachi, calling it a "joint" operation is probably giving a bit more credit to the US contribution than is deserved. And any subsequent interrogation is entirely under the authority of the Pakistanis.

Sue

How sick is it that we are even wondering if the CIA officials will be prosecuted? Holder needs to go. And take Obama with him.

Jack is Back!

Report from Daytona:

"SARAHTHON" - That was the headline on today's Daytona News-Journal with stories about her visit to the 500 (driver's meeting pep-talk), her book signing at Books-a-Million in the Voulisia Mall and then her speech last night to the Voulisia County Chamber of Commerce.

To give you some idea of Palin-mania down here in "cracker" country, the book signing was subscribe out in like 1 hour. The highest number of crowd for a Chamber awards dinner was 680. Last night you had over 1,000. Tickets were $150 for dinner, $100 without dinner and $50 just to stand in the back of the convention hall. No mikes, or cameras were allowed but the press could come, listen and take notes.

Then the Journal (as a left wing rag you can find and in NASCAR country) used its freedom of the press to include a gratuitous column by Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald urging Palin to run in 2012 for the wrong reason - to show America what a true idiot she and the Tea Party people are.

She is so much in their heads they are going to need more than Tylenol to calm the pounding.

Jack is Back!

Forgot to include the link to the News-Journal. LUN

Appalled

Curious what you guys think of the LUN, in which Peter Beinart argues that Cheney isn't just criticizing Obama on interrogations, he is openly criticizing steps taken in Bush's second term.

RichatUF

narciso-

I thought more than one Saudi prince died of thirst. And that Paki AG general should have done a better inspection of the last aircraft he boarded.

Very odd all these stories coming out.

fdcol63

Appalled, I generally disagree with Beinart on many things. But here, he may be on to something.

Personally, I think Cheney has good reason to criticize much of the shift that occurred in Bush's 2nd term (The Surge exempted).

Jack is Back!

Appalled,

Marc Thiessen makes the same conclusion in his book "Courting Disaster". Says, after Goldsmith took back the memo that You and Bybee prepared and after Hamdan, Cheney was really P*ssed off. It was from this point that Bush and Cheney had a bit of a strained relationship.

Sue

Appalled,

He admitted that on the Sunday show. He did not agree with Bush during his second term.

Captain Hate

Appalled, I wasn't at all pleased with a lot of Bush's execution of the war and his contribution to the religion-of-peace bend-over-backward-to-see-no-evil attitude regarding Islam. And Beinart's a douche that is correct about 5% of the time by accident; ie. smarter than Olbermann but that's about it.

anduril

Pat Buchanan (he who is unknown to Google) poses an interesting question: Is Iran Running a Bluff?

Did Robert Gibbs let the cat out of the bag?

Last week, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the world that Iran, unable to get fuel rods from the West for its U.S.-built reactor, which makes medical isotopes, had begun to enrich its own uranium to 20 percent.

From his perch in the West Wing, Gibbs scoffed: “He [Ahmadinejad] says many things, and many of them turn out to be untrue. We do not believe they have the capability to enrich to the degree to which they now say they are enriching.”

But wait a minute. If Iran does not “have the capability” to enrich to 20 percent for fuel rods, how can Iran enrich to 90 percent for a bomb?

What was Gibbs implying?

Is he confirming reports that Iran’s centrifuges are breaking down or have been sabotaged? Is he saying that impurities, such as molybdenum, in the feed stock of Iran’s centrifuges at Natanz are damaging the centrifuges and contaminating the uranium?

And the article continues with more detail. Well worth considering.

Jane

OT - this (if Type pad will let me post it) is clearly the best news of the day.

Appalled

The Pakistani reaction to the NYT (a non-denial denial) is LUN. This quote, however, is dedicated to our host, who might want to make it his new motto.

“If the New York Times gives information, it is not a divine truth, it can be wrong. "
Appalled

OK. here is the LUN

narciso

I forgot Rich, the other died in a traffic accident with a camel, in the middle of the desert, hey it happen to anyone, just like that Russian coup plotter who committed suicide with the three bullets with his gun
on the nightstand.

And yes, Appalled, Rumsfeld and Cheney certainly understood the need for Gitmo, and the interrogation practices conducted there, much more than Rice or any of their
underlings, Much of this, is outlined by
Thiessen

Sue

Appalled,

The link isn't working for me.

fdcol63

Anduril,

We can hope! It would be nice if we got inside Iran's efforts and contaminated their feed stock which resulted in damage to their centrifuges, wouldn't it?

Rob Crawford

I thought more than one Saudi prince died of thirst.

As I recall, one died in a car accident, then another died of thirst after a breakdown on the way to the first one's funeral.

Appalled

OK. Let me imitate Andruil, then. The link is from dawn.com, an Englaish language Pakistani daily:

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Tuesday branded as “propaganda” reports that the top Taliban military commander had been arrested in a joint Pakistani-US spy operation.

Speaking to reporters outside parliament in Islamabad, the cabinet minister stopped short of either confirming or denying the media reports.

The New York Times and other US media cited US government officials as saying that US and Pakistani intelligence services arrested Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Karachi “several days ago”.

“We are verifying all those we have arrested. If there is any big target, I will show the nation,” Malik said.

“If the New York Times gives information, it is not a divine truth, it can be wrong. We have joint intelligence sharing and no joint investigation, nor joint raids,” Malik added.

“We are a sovereign state and hence will not allow anybody to come and do any operation. And we will not allow that. So this (report) is propaganda,” he added.

Pakistan's government is a close US ally in the war on Al-Qaeda and the eight-year conflict against the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan, but the relationship is controversial in an increasingly anti-American country.


narciso

Beinart, like the proverbial blind squirrel, is inadvertently right, an examination of the subjects on the No. 11 flight, that Kohlmann put together, the
bouncing of Col. Coughlin, Cully Stimson, all indicate the enormous inertia that any
any serious member of the war cabinet was under.

Sue

I suspect Pakistan doesn't really want anyone to know they allowed CIA agents to join them in a "raid". Let them say what they want, as long as they continue to help.

anduril

fdcol63, in addition to interesting details in the article, such as:

What explains Gibbs’ confidence? Perhaps this.

According to a report last week by David Albright and Christina Walrond of the Institute for Science and International Security, “Iran’s problems in its centrifuge program are greater than expected. … Iran is unlikely to deploy enough gas centrifuges to make enriched uranium for commercial nuclear power reactors [Iran's stated nuclear goal] for a long time, if ever, particularly if [UN] sanctions remain in force.”

Thus, ISIS is saying Iran cannot make usable fuel for the nuclear power plant it is building, and Gibbs is saying Iran lacks the capability to make fuel rods for its research reactor.

Which suggests Iran’s vaunted nuclear program is a busted flush.

ISIS insists, however, that Iran may still be able to build a bomb. Yet, to do that, Iran would have to divert nearly all of its low-enriched uranium at Natanz, now under UN watch, to a new cascade of centrifuges, enrich that to 90 percent, then explode a nuclear device.

Should Iran do that, however, it would have burned up all its bomb-grade uranium and lack enough low-enriched uranium for a second test. And Tehran would be facing a stunned and shaken Israel with hundreds of nukes and an America with thousands, without a single nuke of its own.

there's another question worth posing:

When devout Al Qaeda members drag their prayer rugs out 5x per day, what do you think tops their prayer list? How about this:

Please, please, Allah, send a war between Iran and the West!

According to Jean-Pierre Filiu: It would create endless chaos in the Gulf, and provide perhaps their only vehicle to get back into Saudi Arabia, which is a main goal. (Unnoticed by most Americans, the Saudis won a major counterinsurgency campaign against Al Qaeda during the last decade.) A battle between the crusaders and the Shi’ite heretics is their dream—and major hope to revive their movement.

fdcol63

The Cheney criticisms remind me of Doug Feith and what he recounted in his book War and Decision:

http://www.morec.com/wmd/

narciso

Anytime we take their statements at face value, we forget about the Mousavian message
to the Ayatollah, Heinonen's discovery of Project 110 and 111, headed by Fakrizadeh.

fdcol63

Anduril,

I certainly hope that a lot is going on "behind the scenes" and that we the public don't know everything about covert efforts to undermine Iran's nuclear ambitions.

I hope that Western and Israeli intelligence officials are aware of all this, and that this is why we haven't already seen any other military action against Iran.

I think there are 2 tracks occurring here:

1) is the hope that the Iranian people will overthrow the mullahs themselves, which I think was part of the overall strategy of waging wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to change the dynamics in the region to promote freer and more democratic governments on both sides of Iran - and failing that, we at least had more proximate staging areas available to military action.

2) we're racing against the clock, hoping that Step 1 occurs before the mullahs actually acquire nukes, which will change things for the worse. Even if we could tolerate a nuclear Iran or contain it, it would cause other unstable Sunni Muslim countries in the Middle East to develop their own nukes to provide a deterrent against Shiite Iran, and I think we all know that Israel will do what it must to protect itself or engage in their own version of MAD with Iran, which is the worst possible scenario.

But with both of these tracks, we're dependent on the quality of the intelligence gathered and analyzed by everyone, and as we've seen, this is an inexact process, open to interpretation and error.

More often that not, we under-estimate the capabilities of enemies, although sometimes we over-estimate them,

However, I'd prefer that we err on the side of caution ... which, in this instance, is doing whatever is necessary to prevent Iran's acquisition of nukes, even if that means over-estimating their capabilities.

Cecil Turner

Peter Beinart argues that Cheney isn't just criticizing Obama on interrogations, he is openly criticizing steps taken in Bush's second term.

Mostly nonsense. Caught on the losing side of an issue, the Dems start with a tu quoque, using Richard Reid as an exemplar. That fails to follow, primarily because Reid was initially thought to be a lone actor, and when links to Al Qaeda were discovered, had already been charged. Confirmation came around the same time he'd been convicted. There also was no tribunal system in place at the time.

Beinart's piece is the second installment of the same type of argument, but he ignores some inconvenient facts. The waterboarding and black sites stopped after they were made public (which made the former far less effective and the latter politically unworkable with our allies), and the tribunals were effectively stalled by lefty lawsuits, SCOTUS decisions, and Congressional foot-dragging (and stupidity). It's becoming a lefty journo meme (Mara Liasson repeated it near verbatim on Fox last night), but essentially obscures the differences between Obama's current policies and what he claimed at length were the moral failures of Bush's. Can't have it both ways.

narciso

One recalls that the Mossad abducted or other wise disabled the chemical rocket program
that Nasser was building in the early 60s,
including one tactic, favored by Mr.s Bishop,
they also went after a facility in France in 1979, two years before Osirak.

anduril

fdcol63, as for

1) I discount the ability of the Western oriented minority in Iran to seize the reins of government--and even they would be inclined to continue with current nuclear policies. I also discount our touted "successes" in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both have Islamist constitutions which disrespect the rights of minorities and women--that was scarcely worth fighting for! Failing that, yes, we do have more proximate staging areas. As I have endlessly insisted, that was one of the main reasons for going into Iraq. Establishing democracy IMO didn't make into the top three reasons. As a rationale, that was strictly for chump consumption.

2) I agree with Roth (and you) that a nuclear Iran would lead to Sunni states seeking their own nukes. Roth believes this is an undesirable but potentially manageable situation.

I believe you get the intelligence situation exactly backwards. In reality, "More often than not, we OVER-estimate the capabilities of enemies, although sometimes we under-estimate them." I believe history would bear out this assessment, which is a respectable argument against being stampeded into action based on the assertions of parties who do not engage in full disclosure.

Caution is "doing whatever?" I don't think so. This has been one damn slow moving clock, and the consequences would be drastic: chaos throughout the Persian Gulf region with equally drastic ramifications for the world economy. Do you really think the US or Israel will do that, given, for example, the degree to which China and Japan depend on Gulf oil? If I were China, I would definitely view that as either 1) an outright hostile act or 2) an act taken with reckless disregard for China's most basic interests.

Cecil Turner
Which suggests Iran’s vaunted nuclear program is a busted flush.
More arrant stupidity, similar to the various (internally inconsistent) memes vis-a-vis Iran:
  • Iran isn't trying to build a bomb;
  • Iran has good reasons to build a bomb;
  • Iran is trying to build a bomb but can't;
  • Iran is trying to build reactor fuel but can't (so they enrich for nothing);
  • Iran will eventually build a bomb so resisting is futile;
  • It's all okay, Iran can be trusted with a bomb.
On this particular issue, the problem they're having is with making specialized fuel for the reactor they claim is the goal. The WaPo nails it for once:
Indeed, Iran does not have the expertise to build the specialized fuel rods needed for the research reactor -- only France and Argentina are expert at it -- so the main consequence of Iran's decision appears to be moving up the enrichment ladder. [emphasis added]
No kidding. So we're back to the "they're making excuses while they build the bomb" conclusion . . . which unlike the maunderings of the apologists, is both simple and consistent and fits all the known facts.
fdcol63

Anduril,

You've demonstrated that we view the world in mirroring and opposite ways. LOL

narciso

A different take on the ISIS report, in the LUN

Appalled

CT:

You have an interesting argument, and I expect that it is one someone like Glenn Greenwald or The Atlantic's amateur gynecologist would use in arguing that no credit accrues to Bush for moving away from waterboarding or the black sites. But it is one Cheney seemed to ignore in his Sunday morning talkfest, and it is also an argument that Obama himself is constrained from taking Cheney's advice.

You know, it's got to be tough being Condi Rice these days. Cheney's followers hate her as being the voice of Euro-wimpiness, and the left hates her for being a tool of the detestable Bush.

Rob Crawford

But with both of these tracks, we're dependent on the quality of the intelligence gathered and analyzed by everyone, and as we've seen, this is an inexact process, open to interpretation and error.

More often that not, we under-estimate the capabilities of enemies, although sometimes we over-estimate them,

A good rule of thumb is that the CIA will provide whatever talking points are necessary to advance the conventional wisdom among the Northeast intelligentsia.

Captain Hate

You know, it's got to be tough being Condi Rice these days. Cheney's followers hate her as being the voice of Euro-wimpiness, and the left hates her for being a tool of the detestable Bush.

She should've cleaned house in the State Dept instead of listening to those quislings. The left was never gonna like her anyway so why bother trying to appease them?

fdcol63

Both Rice and Powell became infected with the prevailing liberalism at Foggy Bottom, and both lost a lot of my respect for them.

Thank goodness I never got a chance to regret my vote for them.

Cecil Turner

But it is one Cheney seemed to ignore in his Sunday morning talkfest . . .

IIRC, Beinart's argument was after Cheney stopped talking, so he didn't get a chance to respond. The idea that Bush was backpedalling without being pushed is rather ahistorical, however.

anduril

Rob, most of the prominent Neocons were born in what I would call the Northeast--places like NYC and Philadelphia.

narciso, it's an interesting analysis, but NOT necessarily a different take.

You've demonstrated that we view the world in mirroring and opposite ways.

Another way of saying, I can't respond or have reasons for not wanting to? The fact is, I outlined significant areas of agreement.

fdcol63

" .... or have reasons for not wanting to?"

Many. The main one is that it's usually pointless to debate such things. Neither of us will convince the other to change our positions.

narciso

That's not what he meant, he meant the 'leading lights' of the foreign policy establishment. We didn't know about the Qum facility till a little over a year ago, we didn't know about Natanz till the NCR pointed
it out. The NIE was flawed, not to say totally
wrong

narciso

An interesting panel on some of these topics in the LUN

JM Hanes

anduril:

Ahmadinejad exaggerates for the sake of effect! Jihadis are praying for war with the West! Who knew?

The fact that Iran apologists are reduced to quoting Robert Gibbs (via Pat Buchanan!) as a beacon of truth is far more telling.

There's not a lot of news here; see the current NIE on the "Iranian WMD and Missile Program" and its "Growing Authoritarianism and Efforts to Expand its Regional Influence."

Ahmadinejad's hyperbole and the fact that Iran may be struggling with its nuclear program at the moment speaks to timing, not fundamental threats, especially should Ahmadinejad's brutal consolidation of power succeed. So, too, the significance of aid and comfort from Russia, China and Venezuela rarely figures in the narrowly focused alarmist calculus.

daddy

TU QUOQUE

One entry found.

Main Entry: tu quo·que
Pronunciation: \ˈtü-ˈkwō-kwē, ˈtyü-, -ˈkō-\
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin, you too
Date: 1614
: a retort charging an adversary with being or doing what he criticizes in others

Jane

Gee, my website should have been Tu Quoque Congress.

Cecil Turner

One entry found.

I'm surprised they didn't have another entry for the relatively famous fallacy of the same name:

Illegitimate use
In many cases tu quoque arguments are used in a logically fallacious way, to draw a conclusion which is not supported by the premises of the argument.

You-too version
This form of the argument is as follows:

A makes criticism P.
A is also guilty of P.
Therefore, P is dismissed.
This is an instance of the two wrongs make a right fallacy.

That's exactly the way Beinart used it, in a dishonest attempt to change the subject to avoid defending Administration handling of the underwear bomber (which the American public polls 76%-19% against).

Appalled

CT:

I'm not sure what Beinart has written on the underwear guy. (Not sure I care.) But I am interested to figure out, if Bush was forced by public pressure to stop waterboarding and close the special interrogation sights, how Obama would be able to take Cheney's advice, and restart enhanced interrogation techniques.

If it became impossible for Bush, why would it now be possible for Obama?

It works.  Sorry about that.

Efficacy, my dear boy, efficacy.
===================

Cecil Turner

If it became impossible for Bush, why would it now be possible for Obama?

I hope you're not intentionally floating a red herring here. The question is whether or not we treat the underwear bomber as an unlawful combatant (or whether we Mirandize him and give him a lawyer), not whether we restart waterboarding.

Beinart understands what he's obfuscating. I'm having a hard time believing you don't.

clarice

Move them all to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Lahore.

Cecil Turner

The fact that Iran apologists are reduced to quoting Robert Gibbs (via Pat Buchanan!) as a beacon of truth is far more telling.

Yes, and their analysis is clearly uninformed anyway. The point that Iran's enrichment program is unlikely to produce fuel for their stated purpose doesn't mean they can't build a bomb, it means their excuse is a lie. Which doesn't mean a bomb is a less likely explanation . . . it means a bomb is the only likely explanation.

And unlike the technical issues of making fuel for the research reactor, enriching uranium for a bomb is a straightforward engineering challenge with decades of data available. There is little doubt the Iranians can accomplish it given time (probably in the next couple of years).

The comments to this entry are closed.

Wilson/Plame