The Washington Post, on page 1, no less, fesses up: “Sept. 11 Plotter Cooperated After Waterboarding.” It seems there was a “transformation of the man known to U.S. officials as KSM [Khalid Sheik Mohammed] from an avowed and truculent enemy of the United States into what the CIA called its ‘preeminent source’ on al-Qaeda. This reversal occurred after Mohammed was subjected to simulated drowning and prolonged sleep deprivation, among other harsh interrogation techniques.” It seems the MSM has thrown in the towel: enhanced interrogation techniques worked.
Reuel Marc Gerecht’s must-read piece highlights the implications of the Obama administration’s CIA investigation. For starters, it will fuel European inquests: “If the Justice Department starts prosecuting CIA officers, some hard-left European magistrates, who are still furious that their governments abetted the Bush administration’s counterterrorism in clandestine ways, won’t be far behind in bringing lawsuits against U.S. officials.” And then there is the damage here at home: “It’s a very good guess that the organization right now has no volunteers coming forward for this work, and those who are currently indentured will free themselves from this profession as soon as possible.”
Cliff May on the Bush administration’s enhanced-interrogation memos: “By the way, it is inaccurate to refer to those memos — as they have been in most press reports — as ‘torture memos.’ They are anti-torture memos: They draw a line between torture, which is prohibited, and harsh but legal techniques designed to prod uncooperative terrorists to reveal information about ongoing operations. One can argue over where to draw the line — precisely how many hours of sleep deprivation constitute torture? — but one cannot seriously argue that no attempt was made to draw it. Nor can one argue, based on the evidence, that these methods did not prevent terrorist attacks and save American lives.” Well, not even the Washington Post does anymore.
And we are going to “engage” these people: “Tehran continues to defy an international community deeply skeptical about the ultimate intent of its controversial nuclear program, the U.N.’s atomic watchdog said Friday. The latest quarterly report of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency sets the table for a month of intense diplomacy during which the U.S. will seek to rally international support for new economic sanctions on Tehran. . . . It also came as Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad escalated his rhetoric about domestic opponents, calling for the prosecution of the leaders of protests against his recent re-election.”
Fred Barnes explains that the missing cost cutter in health-care reform is tort reform: “Tort reform works. Texas is a good example. In 2003, the state enacted caps on noneconomic damages (so-called pain and suffering) and added a requirement that lawsuits be approved by a panel of medical experts. Over the next four years, premiums fell 21 percent, the drift of doctors out of the state was halted, and 7,000 new doctors set up practices.” Almost like bending the cost curve while improving access to health care.
Perhaps Holder should have gotten some advice on how hard it is to convict under the torture statute before ginning up a special prosecutor: “Legal experts say special prosecutor John Durham, named by Attorney General Eric Holder to lead the investigation, will face high hurdles to sending anyone to jail. ‘I think it’s going to be pretty challenging because if you look at the torture statute it is very narrowly drafted,’ said Thomas McDonnell, a law professor at Pace University in New York. ‘Even using the drill as a threat, according to the torture statute, there was no physical harm so there has to be severe mental harm. But the statute then defines as it having to be prolonged mental harm,’ he said. ‘So unless you can show that it produced severe and long mental harm, it may not even fit.’ ” Maybe that was why career prosecutors previously decided not to press ahead.