Richard Cohen, ladies and gentlemen:
On April 16, President Obamareleased
the now-infamous torture memos along with a coveringstatement
that said the CIA’s old interrogation methods not only failed to “make
us safer” but undermined “our moral authority.” A week later, a woman
holding the hand of a child walked into a throng in Baghdad and blew
herself up. Apparently she had not heard of our new moral authority.
So, wait, releasing the memos was supposed to stop all terrorism ever? DAMN, no wonder people are so upset about them, because that hasn’t worked at all!
if ( show_doubleclick_ad && ( adTemplate & INLINE_ARTICLE_AD ) == INLINE_ARTICLE_AD && inlineAdGraf )
If the threat of torture works — if it has worked at least once —
then it follows that torture itself would work. Some in the
intelligence field, including a former CIA director, say it does, and I
assume they say this on the basis of evidence. They can’t all be fools
Why not? There’s no shortage of them at the Washington Post.
But it is important to understand that abolishing torture will not make
us safer. Terrorists do not give a damn about our morality, our moral
authority or what one columnist called “our moral compass.” George Bush
was certainly disliked in much of the world, but the Sept. 11 attacks
were planned while Bill Clinton was in office, and he offended no one
with the possible exception of the Christian right.
Hah hah hah … wait. What? This argument is stuffed so full of straw you might as well stand it up in a field to scare the crows away. Obama didn’t say releasing the memos would make us safer, he said torture didn’t make us safer. Does a girl with a web site really have to explain the difference to a Washington Post columnist? Also, I just have to jump in to juxstapose a few sentences here:
If the threat of torture works — if it has worked at least once — then it follows that torture itself would work.
If Obama thinks the world will respond to his new torture policy, he is
seriously misguided. Indeed, he has made things a bit easier for
terrorists who now know what willnot happen to them if they get caught.
Follow all that? The threat of torture may or may not work, so knowing all the horrible things that might happen to you or not happen to you at American hands if you do terrorism will make you more likely to do terrorism, becausethat’s not in any way the threat of torture.I don’t want to hear one more word about standards and rigorous edting of newspapers from anybody at the Washington Post.
The horror of Sept. 11 resides in me like a dormant pathogen. It took a
long time before I could pass a New York fire station — the memorials
still fresh — without tearing up. I vowed vengeance that day — yes,
good Old Testament-style vengeance — and that ember glows within me
SO GO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT or shut the hell up. God. The world is not a vengeance buffet from which you can either choose an option or bitch that there’s nothing there you like. I’m sorry if the torture served up by Head Chef Bush didn’t tempt your appetite, Rich, but there’s plenty of places down the street for you to nosh.
I mean, really, you want vengeance? Teach some Afghan school children to read. Hell, teach some children around here to read. I don’t know what the hell it is with guys like this, who seem to be waiting for the proper avenue for their holy rage, but the world is not short of stuff you can do to piss the Taliban and Al Qaeda off, not the least of which would be to stop being such a wanker all the time.
I know it is offensive to compare almost anyone or anything to the
Nazis, but the Bush-era memos struck me as echoes from the past. Here,
once again, were the squalid efforts of legal toadies to justify the
unjustifiable. Here, again, was a lesson that needs constant
refreshing: Before you can torture anyone, you must first torture the
law. When that happens, we are all on the rack.
This whole column is just so typically Cohen: “I’m against torture, but not like a pussy or anything about it, because I swore eternal vengeance the likes of which the world has not seen, said vengeance to be expressed mostly in writing about how hippies suck. Torture works, in fact the threat of torture works, but releasing memos that basically point out you’re fucked if Americans catch you terrorism-ing willl never work, because Obama hasn’t stopped all suicide bombings ever. So there.”