Sunday, May 24, 2009

Facts by Decree

There has been much discussion about the dueling speeches on enhanced interrogation between President Obama and Cheney. In my mind, the heart of the debate is whether the very few instances of "waterboarding" - done to a grand total of three, to the worst of the worst and apparently the highest ranking with the most valuable info including the mastermind of 9/11 - actually saved American lives.

Yet the most crucial facts of the most hotly contested issue of our day are deliberately withheld. The released "torture memos" showed the effects of waterboarding (and an anti-interrogation road map for terrorists world wide) but specifically excluded the results of the interrogation. Many at the highest levels, including the former head of the CIA, say the memos explicitly show how the interrogations saved thousands.

The high minded rhetoric of the importance of being "better" than the terrorists (forget the fact that electrocuting, dismembering, and killing loved ones is considered "torture" to the terrorists, not a procedure that the Navy Seals and Smart Alec journalists undergo voluntarily) would seem less lofty if being better meant sitting by and knowingly watching your citizens get killed by the thousands, on a theory that effectively allows the terrorists to accomplish the mass murder because it somehow is bad for them and good for you.

And so instead of being shown the evidence, the fact of waterboarding being nothing more than an "experiment" that went horribly wrong, is decreed from above.

This is perhaps the most important issue of disclosure in our generation and the media takes a pass. We know with some certainty, that the group that went to the ends of the earth to determine the uteral affairs of a VP nominee's daughter, doesn't lack the capacity to have the facts released. It lacks the will. They know they won't like the answer. They prefer the facts as they are decreed.

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