Pushback Against Arrogant Torture Apologists Like Michael Hayden
We need to have zero tolerance for people like Michael Hayden, who seem to believe that it’s legitimate for our government to perform deeply morally questionable acts on our the public dime without any serious public oversight or discussion (or even, if seems, without serious research and thought put into what they were doing). What the CIA does, it does in our name.
Hayden is defending his decisions, and by proxy, his own ass. He describes the CIA being put in a “horrible position” by subjecting it to the political process. But think about what that actually means. It means that Hayden objects to himself, or anyone like him, being subjected to moral judgment and scrutiny by the very country he claims to represent.
If Hayden and others really want to make a case for their use of torture, fine. But to bristle over the fact that their decisions will then be put under scrutiny and face criticism is deeply arrogant and unamerican. The idea that somehow memos exposing their behavior hurts the ability of the US to defend itself is utterly laughable. Terrorists have never had any problem imagining that the US would do all sorts of things to try and break and defeat them. We’ve simply turned their paranoia into reality.
But it’s really rather worse than that at this point. Not only did the CIA conceal what it was doing, it used unofficial sources to flat out lie to the American public about the nature and extent of what it was doing. They even tortured people into confessing crimes they didn’t commit: confessions that later damaged the prosecution of the real perpetrators.
And then, most disgusting of all, comes the news that many of the “enhanced interrogation” that went on was not, in fact, done for the purpose of saving American lives. Some of it was done in order to try and help the Bush administration save face by trying to torture up evidence of operational links between Al Qaeda/Saddam. I’m still undecided on whether invading Iraq was in our best interests as a nation. But pointlessly torturing even terrorists because they won’t tell you what you want to hear to help sell a war to the American public is way way beyond the pale. Especially when it turns out that they don’t anything, and most experts were convinced from the start that they wouldn’t, because the whole thing was wishful thinking on the part of a PR effort.