Monday, September 7, 2009

Journalistic Integrity And Cheney Should Be Concerned About His Neck…Literally.

Journalistic Integrity And Cheney Should Be Concerned About His Neck…Literally.

I Can Find Nothing That Mitigates Against The Statement That:

“Dick Cheney Is As Evil As Any War Criminal Ever Brought To Justice On The Scaffolds Of History.”

Those who would live by the tools of war shall perish by the rules of war.

A Matter Of Journalistic Integrity Whether You Approve Or Not!

A decision by The Associated Press to release a photo of Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard in his final moments of life has sparked widespread controversy and a harsh rebuke from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. The 21-year-old Marine died Aug. 14 in Afghanistan.

Warning: This Gallery Contains The Graphic Image In Question. Some People May Be Offended.

Due to their decision to release a graphic photo of a dying Marine, the Associated Press (AP) has come under fire. Many including the Defense Secretary Robert Gates have criticized the AP for them releasing the image that has since been known as the Lance Cpl. Joshua "Bernie" Bernard dying photo.

In the photo taken while under enemy fire, AP photographer Julie Jacobson captured the image just seconds after Bernard was hit with a grenade in his legs. The image shows two of Bernard's fellow Marines over his bleeding body helping him. The photograph does show a puddle of blood and that is one of the main reasons behind the criticism for the release of the image.

AP is also being highly criticized since they decided to release the dying Marine photo even after Bernard's father asked them not to. A retired Marine himself, John Bernard asked that the image of his son dying on the battlefield be released after seeing the photographs by representatives from the AP.

Cheney’s Favorite Film!

More evidence that the smug Cheneys are talking out of their ample bums in what I can only presume is a preemptive effort to derail prosecution of Mr. Cheney for war crimes.

Todays' column by Ali Soufan, a former FBI Special Agent, tells us that, according to newly released memos, one from 2004 , one from 2005, and a 2004 IG report tells us what we've always known - that both Cheneys are desperately spreading bullshit."The inspector general’s report distinguishes between intelligence gained from regular interrogation and from the harsher methods, which culminate in waterboarding. While the former produces useful intelligence, according to the report, the latter “is a more subjective process and not without concern.”

And far from making us safer, as the soulless supporters of torture contend, Mr. Soufan says,

"It is surprising, as the eighth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, that none of Al Qaeda’s top leadership is in our custody. One damaging consequence of the harsh interrogation program was that the expert interrogators whose skills were deemed unnecessary to the new methods were forced out."

Still Dick "Dick" Cheney goes on Fox News to be interviewed by a fawning Chris Wallace.

Andrew Sullivan compared the interview to "a teenage girl interviewing the Jonas Brothers," and gave us a few examples of Chris Wallace's hard-hitting questions:

"Republicans have made the charge before, do you think Democrats are soft on National Security?"

And this:

"So even these cases where they went beyond the specific legal authorization, you're OK with it?"

To which Cheney says yes. If he's ever on the witness stand at the Hague, he might want to reconsider that answer.

Sullivan points out two of his favorite moments. Here's mine:

WALLACE: Well, we want to thank you for talking with us and including in your private life putting up with an interview from the likes of me.

CHENEY: It's all right. I enjoy your show, Chris.

WALLACE: Thank you very much, and all the best sir.

I was surprised that Wallace could even ask questions with Mr. Cheney's member so far down his throat. But we're used to this Cheney-fellating from Fox News.

What's more galling is Liz Cheney's unchallenged defense of her father on CNN and MSNBC where she is a frequent guest. On those rare occasions when another guest has the effrontery to dispute her bullshit, her debate style, like so much of the rabid right these days, is limited to rudeness. She shouts, she interrupts and she tells bald-faced lies without a qualm.

All in the defense of her father's war crimes, crimes that not only did nothing to protect us but, in the opinion of men like Mr. Soufan, made us less safe than before.

For those who really want to understand what works and what doesn't work, or who want to know more about what's been done in your name, here are some helpful links:

Mark Bowden's The Dark Art of Interrogation, follow-up Lessons of Abu Ghraib,and The Ploy, a piece on how traditional interrogation methods helped locate and kill Zarqawi.

Finally, Stephen Budiansky's Truth Extraction, about a WWII Marine interrogator of Japanese POWs who concluded, "The successful interrogators all had one thing in common in the way they approached their subjects. They were nice to them."

CrimProf Blog: "Cheney Is Wrong: There Is Precedent for the ...
By CrimProf BlogEditor
Cheney argues that this investigation poses a new risk to our government. No U.S. president has overseen the investigation and – as Cheney predicts – the prosecution of the agents or officers of a prior administration. ...
CrimProf Blog -

Former High-Ranking Intelligence Officer: Cheney Responsible for 9/11

David Steele is a former 20-year Marine Corps infantry and intelligence officer, the second-ranking civilian in U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence, and former CIA clandestine services case officer.

Steele has previously written that "9/11 was at a minimum allowed to happen as a pretext for war".

This month, Steele went further, writing:

Pakistan briefed Cheney [about the plans for the terrorist attacks ahead of time] …nations also got wind of this and warned the CIA. We also had two walk-ins to the FBI, one in Orlando, one in Newark, that were dismissed by the FBI because the names were all virgins and not in the FBI data base—the arrogance of stupid bureaucracy.

Cheney saw an opportunity for what Bush called his trifecta, and gave it to him by giving the go-ahead to ISI and Al Qaeda, and ordering up a terrorism exercise that allowed him to send all relevant close-in air defense strip alert craft away from the target areas, and to disable the NORTHCOM normal response to flight path diversion.

While the details might be open to debate, many other very high-level intelligence officers have said the "official" explanation for 9/11 makes no sense. And see this andthis.

Dick Cheney: Should Obama Drop Torture Investigations?
Seattle Times
Former Vice President Dick
Cheney is again on the talk circuit --in conservative venues that will have him. This time his message is about how President ...
See all stories on this topic

Afghanistan: Let's Go Home

We should get the hell out of Afghanistan as soon as possible. The expense of continuing this foreign adventure and the danger to US citizens of staying has simply become unacceptably high. The concept of victory is no longer meaningful or practical. The sooner we face this, the better off we will be. I don't feel good about this, but sentimentality won't change the facts on the ground.

Let me be clear, I supported the American led effort to topple the Taliban after 9/11. Unlike the totally misguided invasion of Iraq, we were displacing a government that gave aid, comfort and shelter to our enemies. And while we arguably did nothing to damage Al-Qaeda, we did remind the world that we're awfully good at regime change. From time to time that's an unfortunate necessity.

Unfortunately, the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld combo forgot something that most parents endeavor to teach their children: you break it; you own it. In other words, when we invaded, we assumed responsibility for a snake pit that had already humbled the Soviets and the British in the past 150 years. Knowing that, we should have been ready not only to topple the government but also to have a plan for what to do with the place after.

Our 'plan,' as you may recall, consisted of dropping Hamid Karzai into power, invading another country and hoping that the neo-con fantasy of a liberated people immediately adopting a democratic government and a free-market economy would magically happen. Sure, we kept some troops there to hunt - usually ineffectively - Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, but really we threw everything into Iraq.

Jumping forward to 2009, it's clear that we made a mistake. While we were occupied in the Middle East, the Taliban was reorganizing. Even if we had wanted to engage in real nation building, we simply did not have enough troops on the ground to protect the population. Meanwhile, our political client was sliding down the path of clinging to power at any cost. Most recently, this consisted of building coalitions with bad people (warlords, drug cartels and tribal leaders) in order to remain the titular head of the country. And when that didn't work, he resorted to out-and-out fraud to win the election.

So here we are, supporting an illegitimate regime in a country in which we have proven unable to deliver basic security. Not surprisingly, we're not winning many hearts and minds in the process. Beyond that, we are fighting an enemy that still moves largely at will across the Pakistani border, a place where our ground troops cannot go. True, the Pakistani government has been more cooperative of recent, but it seems unlikely that will continue once the 'existential threat' to that nation has been removed.

Now, we're trying to make up for lost time by moving into a counter-insurgency mode that requires ever more troops, while reducing their capacity to use lethal force. Such strategies can work but they can take a decade to yield results. We simply don't have that kind of sticking power and everyone -- including the Taliban -- knows it.

Add it all up, and it seems clear that we are spending a fortune in treasure and American lives to prop up a bad regime without gaining anything in the bargain. Maybe this could have been avoided, but it's time to own up to the fact that our presence in Afghanistan is not making America safer. Knowing that, we should leave, the sooner the better.

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