Well, I suppose Bush might have if deep down he's just the sort of person who likes the idea of torture and brutality; someone who at some level would be disappointed to hear an agency official not respond to 9/11 by immediately requesting permission to start torturing people.
Tenet should have resigned, unless he though someone worse would have replaced him. An accurate assessment.
Of course Yglesias is right. You got one minute with the Monster and it's "We're studying the Koran and trying to bond with the prisoner" or "We're waterboarding the mutha."
You think any of the Democrats running are going to fix this one? Process the pointless detainees out of Gitmo and the rest of our secret prisons, and get sensible about intelligence gathering from anyone who it makes legal and practical sense for us to be detaining? It's a hard issue to run on.
2:You think any of the Democrats running are going to fix this one?
Yes. To a degree, not very fast or very openly, but I do think some detainees will be released, less rendition and tough interrogation under either Democrat. According to rhetoric, IIRC Katherine, Obama better than Clinton.
2) A Democrat will be much more likely to make/let the CIA do its job, of recruiting locals and managing network. A great many Arabic speakers will I hope be hired and re-hired.
3) CIA Director Valerie Plame will shape the place up starting in 2009.
Yeah, I sounded more actively doubtful than I feel -- I'm just wondering if there's any way to bring this forward as a campaign issue.
4: No, it's a loser as a campaign issue. That's America.
2: Possibly. As I understand it, most of the policy that would need to be changed is internal and influenced by the executive's temperament on this (cf. "Who will rid me of this troublesome lack of uranium data?") So the candidate wouldn't really need to run on it as much as change it once in office and put up with the panty-knotters in DC.
Cala is right; there's a big difference between the things that can be fixed and the issues that one runs on. If it gets controversial it can be sold as a "competent executive vs. that doofus" kind of thing.
6 and 7 are right. As long as the Dems don't talk about it, the Republicans won't either.
We're not even talking about a change of publicly stated policy, since the Republicans don't torture people, right?
It could be possible from a international law angle, at least. Generally, Americans don't recognize Muslims, but I suspect the mainstream wouldn't argue against water boarding classified as torture, for example.
Otherwise, it could possibly be campaigned as institutional structure reform rather than at the policy level.
"Have we gotten meaningful information [from the program]? You betcha. Tons!"
Kind of depends on your definition of "meaningful". One of my observations is that this, like much of Bushco's mode of operation, can be characterized by "malevolence wrapped inside of incompetence wrapped inside of malevolence". You start with the fundamental evil of torture, follow that with doing it in a way that is more closely associated with the extraction of false confessions than "real" information, but then, hey! you've got a bunch of assertions "straight from the mouths' of terrorists" which you can use to your political advantage as needed. How lucky for you.
See also Iraq (lies/incompetent execution/war profiteering) and Katrina (negligence/laughable response/reconstruction profiteering) for similar patterns. And I am not saying it is all carefully planned, it just sort of falls out of their way of doing business. Exactly what you would expect from people who have no respect for "government" and aided immeasurably by a bored press corps that just really does not give a fuck about oversight.
2: Chris Dodd ran on this issue. He made the the center of his campaign.
You can see how successful that strategy was.
Speaking of, did anyone see 60 minutes last night? Interesting piece on the FBI agent who interrogated Saddam Hussein before he was turned over to the Iraqi government.
I think Dodd, not Edwards, should be A.G.
12: But I would totally buy Dodd a beer if I had the chance. I wish someone would pick him up as VP, but I don't think helps any of the two frontrunners.
Ackerman writes how the CIA is so compartmentalized no one's really sure what's going on re: torture, which is pretty much textbook on how to ensure no one can be blamed. Design it so no one can held responsible.
14, as I just interjected into some other thread, I think Edwards should ask for a Supreme Court nomination. Admittedly, I think that because the only story I know about someone bargaining their delegates for something other than a V.P. spot is the Earl Warren story.
I think that incompetence is the inevitable result of hiring primarily for loyalty, and is compounded by forms of organization crafted to maximize deniability and secrecy. It's a consequence of malevolence, not an alternate explanation to malevolence.
I.E., what Stormcrow said.
God I hate that cliche "Never explain by malevolence....." People seem so pleased with themselves every time they repeat it. It's really just excusing the malevolent in advance, because there's always incompetence somewhere, and in fact it sets up the standard excuse that the malevolent make whenever they get caught: "an unfortunate accident".
17 gets it right.
God damnit, if the people who work for you commit crimes because you are oblivious to the difference between good or evil, that's not a consequence of your incompetence, it's a consequence of you being evil.
16: Any reason to think he has any particular talent for that sort of thing? It's a pretty different skill set than trial lawyering.
19: None, but the biographies of many Justices who ended up doing perfectly good jobs (in terms of good jobs vis-a-vis formal legal reasoning) look like his, and I'm also in favor of expanding the pool from which Justices are drawn from beyond its current narrow confines.
LB: in general, they all say the right things but are short on details. Obama, as far as I can tell, says the right things more often & more consistently, doesn't pull crap like this, & has a noticeably better track record in office (especially in Illinois, but to a lesser degree also in the Senate).
I know some people who think it's actually a wash between them on these issues & support Clinton on other grounds. I know almost no one who supports her because of these issues.
I don't think it's a wash at all. As you see from the linked post, I tend to treat the following issues as very much linked: Iraq; immigration & refugee policy; torture & habeas & war on terror detainee issues; U.S. criminal justice. All of these involve very, very, serious human consequences for vulnerable or despised groups of people. There's a pervasive assumption--on display in this thread--that for liberals to vote, speak & act their conscience on these issues is a gigantic, sure-thing, political loser. "That's America." Clinton, as far as I can tell, completely shares that assumption, & in office is likely to continue her husband's fine traditions of throwing vulnerable people overboard to maintain political power. Obama, as far as I can tell, is very well aware of the risks, but doesn't think they're insurmountable, has a better shot at surmounting them due to his having less baggage & better political skills, & is much more willing to appeal to voters' consciences and much less willing to throw people overboard.
Mileage may vary on this, of course. But a lot of people focused on issues like this seem to agree with me. Also notable, if you look at their Senate colleagues: Obama has more red-staters, but he has 3 veteran liberal stalwarts to Clinton's zero. And okay, Durbin doesn't really count, but he didn't just pro-forma endorsed; he helped talk Obama into running. And the home state thing doesn't explain Leahy or Kennedy.
20: Fair enough. It's not that I think the Court needs more high-end appellate lawyers, but somehow I have a hard time seeing Edwards in a Warren sort of role. That may be a failure of imagination on my part.
Yeah, Edwards doesn't seem the chief justice type, and seems far more passionate about economic justice than con law. But before Earl Warren was chief justice & Mr. Brown v. Board, he was the pro-internment governor of California. So who knows.
My suggestion for Edwards was gonzo Labor Secretary with a big budget. If the various labor laws were enforced aggressively and unionization supported I think he coul make a difference.
But he's gonna be President, so it's moot.
Bob gets it right. In a way we're lucky that the Republicans have merely failed to enforce every labor and environmental law, rather than trying to set public opinion against them and getting the laws actually changed.
25: Somewhere--Sausagely's? Kleiman?--someone mentioned the Labor Dept. as enough of a mess administratively that a Secretary would need to have some serious management skills to get everyone pointed in the desired direction. Dunno if Edwards could do that or not, but it's not his background. OTOH a kickass deputy or five could probably do a lot to implement the boss' goals.
Sometimes it's evil to be incompetent.
On September 17, 2001, President Bush signed a secret Presidential finding authorizing the C.I.A. to create paramilitary teams to hunt, capture, detain, or kill designated terrorists almost anywhere in the world. Yet the C.I.A. had virtually no trained interrogators. A former C.I.A. officer involved in fighting terrorism said that, at first, the agency was crippled by its lack of expertise. "It began right away, in Afghanistan, on the fly," he recalled. "They invented the program of interrogation with people who had no understanding of Al Qaeda or the Arab world." The former officer said that the pressure from the White House, in particular from Vice-President Dick Cheney, was intense: "They were pushing us: 'Get information! Do not let us get hit again!' " In the scramble, he said, he searched the C.I.A.'s archives, to see what interrogation techniques had worked in the past. He was particularly impressed with the Phoenix Program, from the Vietnam War. Critics, including military historians, have described it as a program of state-sanctioned torture and murder. A Pentagon-contract study found that, between 1970 and 1971, ninety-seven per cent of the Vietcong targeted by the Phoenix Program were of negligible importance. But, after September 11th, some C.I.A. officials viewed the program as a useful model.
Laugh, that ye may not weep.
An interesting response to Ackerman's post here.
The Arabist article is wrong about at least one thing. Even the people who are representing the detainees at Guantanamo admit that there's no torture going on there (except, you know, the torture of being isolated 23 hours a day, which is not actually recognized as torture, otherwise we'd have a little problem in every prison in the United States). The problem with Guantanamo is not that it's a house of torture, but that the people who are there are often detained on the strength of information obtained through torture...at military bases and prisons in Iraq or Afghanistan.
However, seeing as that the Guantanamo detention camp opened in 2002, I don't really see how it's relevant at any rate.
I think Dodd, not Edwards, should be A.G.
Great idea, but not going to happen. A Republican governor would get to appoint his replacement (assuming she wins re-election).