Over at Wizbang there is a post up that reflects much of what I was thinking when I wrote yesterday about President Obama's extremely foolish decision to cripple the CIA, by restricting it to military interrogation rules, and forcing the closure of secret detainment facilities. Kim Priestap writes
I guess we can take War on Terror off of the Wizbang category list as Barack Obama has determined that we should no longer aggressively pursue our enemies and has put an end to the War on Terror with his executive orders. He insists of course that counter terrorism efforts will continue, but they sound purely defensive. It sounds like he will respond after we are attacked instead of aggressively preventing an attack.This is in reference to a Washington Post article that says straight out, "Bush's 'War' On Terror Comes to a Sudden End." As Priestap says, "And to think I actually believed Obama wouldn't do anything rash regarding national security and our safety."
I was fooled also. One of the main reasons I opposed Obama for president, or any liberal Democrat for that matter, was that I believed he simply could not be trusted with national security. I thought his inexperience, his left-wing base of support, and many of his statements indicated that he had a naive view of foreign policy and national security affairs. After his election and some of his appointments, however, my opinion began to shift. It began to look more and more as if I'd been wrong about him, and that he would take a realistic, pragmatic approach and focus his misguided liberal idealism only on domestic policy. No such luck.
Almost everyone agrees that intelligence is critical in fighting terrorism. The U.S. is a large, open society with porous borders. We value our freedoms, and there is a limit on just how many internal security measures we are willing to tolerate. We can't defend everything. Individual terrorists and terrorist groups are difficult or nearly impossible to deter, especially if they are willing to commit suicide. The primary method of stopping terrorist attacks is to discover plots before they can be launched, and to disrupt terrorist networks in various ways. You don't do this by placing a bunch of simplistic restrictions on our main intelligence agency. You don't do it by listening to morons who think terrorists deserve Geneva Convention protections, or even the same rights as U.S. citizens. Most of those who hold those opinions are deluded fools who think the terrorist threat isn't really all that serious, or that unconventional conflicts can be fought according to precise rules and laws.
Intelligence gathering has always been a dirty business that operates outside normal rules and laws. Intelligence agencies have to deal with counterparts abroad, and unsavory elements of all types. The very nature of what they are doing is often illegal. They cannot be constricted on the basis of what is and is not legal within the United States. And again, they are not the same as the military and should not be tied to the same restrictions. The very notion that the CIA should have to use the exact same interrogation rules as the military makes no logical sense whatsoever. I'm not looking forward to the Obama administration's next moves. It appears that he is going to be just as weak on national security as many of us feared.