A Wink & Nod to Torture –
Will Spain Genuflect to Obama’s Misdirection?
Recently, I wrote an article concerning the Democratic left’s (Obama & Harold Koh) misguided infatuation with transnationalism, its undermining of American sovereignty and how transnationalism vis-à-vis unforeseen international actions/prejudices could jeopardize Obama’s precarious hold on the Presidency. I basically warned Mr. Obama that he should be careful what he wished for because he might just get it. Now, the transnational view from the Oval Office reveals more thunder clouds gathering several hundred miles behind the Azores in Spain.
In the Obama Transnational Irony, I recounted…a news article that indicated that “Criminal proceedings have begun in Spain against six senior officials in the Bush administration for the use of torture against detainees in Guantánamo Bay. “ The action appears to be based in part on the fact that the United States is a signatory to the 1984 UN Convention against Torture that requires states to investigate allegations of torture committed on their territory or by their nationals, or extradite them to stand trial elsewhere. The argument goes that because these six officials were giving critical advice to President Bush, without which “it would have been impossible to structure a legal framework that supported what happened [in Guantánamo]”, they can be held criminally liable.
If Spain does issue arrest warrants for Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, Douglas Feith, William Haynes, John Yoo or Jay Bybee and subsequently seeks extradition, Obama is going to be put in a fairly difficult position.
…If Obama orders or causes a real criminal investigation of these individuals or extradition, surely he will be opening himself up to Dr. Orly Taitz’s eligibility dragon raising its head and talons coming to the aid of these defendants. Dr. Orly Taitz is one of a number of attorneys across the country who have brought over 50 lawsuits challenging Obama’s eligibility to serve as President of the United States….
If Obama is in fact not eligible to serve, he cannot legally order extradition and his appointment of Mr. Holder would also be invalid. To date no judge has allowed an evidentiary hearing on the merits of the basic allegation that Obama is not a “natural born citizen” under the Constitution. However, given that the rights of the criminally accused to be heard, confront their accusers and to due process are paramount in American Jurisprudence that might have to change.
A day or two after writing the Obama Transnational Irony, it began to look like Obama had managed, either through luck or some sort of backroom wheeling and dealing, to avoid the possibility that his probable lack of eligibility to serve as President of the United States would be raised as a defense in a criminal proceeding. The Attorney General of Spain was recommending that matter be dropped.
However, this week it appears that Spain is continuing on its crusade against anything – anywhere that has even a hint of coerciveness to it, regardless of the views of their Attorney General. It seems Spain might be suffering from some sort of internalized guilt from their history during the Spanish Inquisition and under Francisco Franco’s rule; and now, they’re assuming the role of Don Quixote de la Mancha. In my opinion, Don Quixote had a much better grasp of reality and dangers faced in the world than the modern day Spanish judges, who appear only to pander to public opinion of ostridges. One Spanish judge has recently made a procedurally required inquiry to U.S. authorities seeking to find out if their targets were currently the subjects of judicial inquiry. A different Spanish judge has started another probe into torture allegations at Gitmo and a third is asking to interrogate eight Chinese officials concerning deaths and/or disappearance of hundreds/thousands of Tibetans. (I’m only going to address the torture aspect involving Americans.)
Earlier, I had suggested a few options available to Mr. Obama to try to avoid Spain’s pesky transnational interference with the limits of what advisors to the President should be allowed to proffer. Obama’s Administration has added a clever twist one of these.
…He will need to either start a criminal investigation here in the United States or deal with an extradition request from Spain. It might be possible for him, with a wink and a nod, to start an investigation and conclude the accused were simply giving advice that every President needs to govern and end it; or he might start an investigation and drag it out until he’s out of office. I believe the wink and nod would have to be there for Obama to pull that off….
Obama has been in the uncomfortable position of having to placate his mostly irrational Democratic left, trying to keep some level of CIA intelligence coming in from those who do the interrogating, and trying to show Spain that he is handling the matter (providing political cover) so they will drop their investigations.
First, Obama tried to float the let’s just move on argument that it would serve no purpose to pursue criminally members of the Bush Administration. We want to look forward and not back. That blew a fuse with the far left. Moveon.org said move back and think again.
Then, in less than 24 hours, Obama came out and said that the CIA interrogators would not be pursued if they acted within the four corners of the interrogation documents. But as for others in the Bush Administration, he would leave it up to Holder. This sent a chill through the CIA and increases the likelihood that we will not be able to discover as many terrorist plots because we now have a gun shy CIA. (In the Art of War, Sun Tzu expresses his deep awareness that foreknowledge is a critical factor for success in war and that foreknowledge cannot be elicited from spirits. It comes from people.)
…Those in intelligence are “gong to become increasingly wary about doing dangerous things,” Lowenthal said. “They feel at the end of the day they won’t be covered. It’s not irreparable right now, but it’s problematic.”…
Now, Obama is allowing the release of many more troubling photographs and refusing to provide any memos/documentation showing how successful these interrogation techniques have been. In fact, these interrogation techniques have provided critical information that prevented a 9/11 type attack in Los Angeles and another planned attack against the Brooklyn Bridge saving many lives.
Of course, Obama has given several speeches condemning torture, apologizing to the world, saying that Churchill never condoned “torture.” However, he was totally mistaken.
And finally, we find out that Mr. Holder is not likely to prosecute these former Bush officials, but may try to get several of these individuals (Yoo & Bybee of California) disciplined by their respective Bar Associations. Disbarment is in fact a very fairly sever punishment for an attorney or Judge. Lucky for Mr. Gonzales, he is from Texas and Texans seem to use more “common sense” when balancing interrogation and preventing the possible deaths of thousands, if not millions, of Americans. (This Justice Department inquiry may be released in the coming weeks.)
All of these self-serving actions put America’s security and her troops in greater danger by telegraphing to our enemies just how far we will go (allowing enemies to prepare against our interrogation attempts) and by casting a disparaging light on our military and CIA personnel (undermining moral and resolve). Obama epitomizes the President who looks at the issues of interrogation, “torture”, and war through the lens of one beholding to the people who got him elected. To appease his supporters and cover his liabilities, Obama seems willing to do whatever he can as quickly as possible.
However, the group most culpable for endangering America’s security is the American media. Their Bush hating war reporting during the last eight years has emboldened our enemies and caused a concurrent lack of resolve in the American people. The media’s gushing support for and failure to vet candidate Obama brought to power the most divisive and extreme person ever to sit in the Oval Office. (Rezko, Ayers, Socialism, Larry Sinclair, ACORN, campaign funding issues and lack of “natural born citizen” status should have derailed Obama’s candidacy early on.)
Will America’s enemies respond positively to Obama’s apologies and showings of weakness? I doubt it and the damage can’t be undone easily.
Will this last step of hoping bar discipline to allow Obama to once again sidestep answering the allegations that he is not a “natural born citizen”- and is therefore ineligible to hold the Office of the Presidency? Maybe so, since Holder vis-à-vis Obama would not be involved. (Passing the buck to protect the golden goose?)
Will the self-righteous left be placated? Seems unlikely to me.
However, the bigger question is – Will Spain be placated by this result and submissively genuflect to Obama because he’s basically one of them, a transnationalist, who has gotten himself into a pickle with this whole birth certificate/eligibility mess? It depends if Spanish judges, looking at Obama’s wink and nod of political cover, believe it is sufficient for them.
It’s probably appropriate to share my opinion/bias about war and interrogation.
I am strongly opposed to torture.
With the exception of water-boarding being used only when “ABSOLUTELY” necessary, the interrogation techniques that were described in the memos that Obama released do not constitute “torture during war” if the individuals subjected were legitimately believed to have actionable intelligence that could prevent loss of life at the hands of terrorists and the methods were carefully monitored. I realize that this is a broad harsh statement and arguments are always present concerning who is defining who a “terrorist” is, what a “legitimate belief” is, what “careful monitoring” is, and what our ethics are.
Interrogations are not pleasant and they certainly should bother everyone involved – the interrogator and the people interrogators are trying to protect. Harsh interrogation must never become common place; but it must be recognized that under certain circumstances, circumstances where lives are at stake, we must have interrogators who can do what we and they hate. (I do believe that if an interrogator truly enjoys the rough stuff, they need find some other way to serve.)
Rough techniques, much rougher than those described in the memos, have been used by almost all countries when lives are at stake. I certainly believe that Obama would try to get CIA interrogators to utilize every technique if people he loved were in imminent danger. However, considering the recent political actions of Obama regarding interrogation techniques and possible prosecutions, it is possible that interrogators would refuse out of fear Obama would send the Justice Department after them at some later date.
Interrogations are not nice and wars are horrific. Wars are horrific so as to be avoided if at all possible. However, sometimes both are unavoidable. It would be great if Obama could get information from terrorists with foot rubs and Jacuzzis; and fight wars with paint balls. However, when fighting a determined adversary, the only thing such thinking will accomplish is defeat, loss of liberty and even greater loss of life. We don’t live in a politically correct world and we can’t fight wars that are politically correct on one side and hope to remain free or even survive in the face of the Sharia world as envisioned by people such as the President of Iran.
There is a differentiation between the ethics we have when survival is at stake and those when we are at peace. There are basic survival instincts that shape and compromise our abilities to hold high and ideal ethics. There are also desperate situations that call upon individuals to bend society’s ethics for the moment, regretfully, but resolutely. If your children are hungry or seriously ill, the ethics of taking a loaf of bread that you can’t pay for pales in comparison. Ethics are struggle. They are not black or white – in life or war. (Unless you’re a politician or in the main stream media, then your ethics can seemingly go as far as you can get away with.) What would you parents do to keep your daughter from being forced to wear a burka? What would you parents do to keep your son from be forced to change his religion to suit Sharia law? What would you parents do to keep your children alive? Would you say to the interrogator please do what you need to do to stop this – I thank and forgive you? The interrogators hopefully understand that your children are in jeopardy, that their lives, freedoms and futures are at stake. Hopefully, with your forgiveness, their own, and their God’s – they will make it though the days remaining to them.
I do realize that there are some who genuinely believe that it is better to perish rather than lift a hand in anger or self defense, and they live that way. Are they walking unattached in this world, unattached to this world, unattached to country, unattached even unto themselves? Christ like? I don’t know. However, it seems that such a position takes a lot of courage and awareness. I suspect their numbers are very few; and that for most who profess such belief, it is more or less a notion that has not been put to the test. Regarding the far, far left, it seems me that they are mainly dominated by self-righteous, intolerant, arrogant, America bashing elitists. One thing that’s for certain, America can’t count on them to protect our friends, family, freedoms or Constitution.
My thanks go to the United States Military and militaries of our allies.
Unless a person is one of the very few as described above, the following quote sums up my feelings on defense of family, freedom, America and her Constitution:
A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
John Stuart Mill
My fear is that one day many may come to believe that under Obama’s ideology and control, America has ceased to be something that is worth fighting for. If the people who Janet Napolitano believes could be domestic terrorists won’t fight for America, who will? Barney Frank? Chris Dodd? Nancy Pelosi? Harry Reid? Chris Matthews? Katie Couric? ACORN? The extreme left? The Media? George Soros?
We are not there yet, but our rights and freedoms are being quickly eroded by the Obama Administration and Congress. We need to organize and vote out people who are not fiscally responsible, vote out people who do not adhere to the Constitution, and vote out people who are more concerned with their own power than the people’s power. We need to boycott companies like GM, Chrysler, Citigroup and others who are acting as parasites clinging to the nation’s teat. We need to buy from companies like Ford who reject government control of business.
If America ever does become something, whose ideals and values are not worth fighting for, the only advice I can give is to sell your stock in Anheuser-Busch, iron your burkas and grow your beards because life is a changing – for the WORSE!