Monday, April 27, 2009

Michael Scheuer Weighs In

A little while ago I put up a post called, "Another Torture Hypothetical." In it I speculate about U.S. choices if we captured a senior Al Qaeda figure who claimed to have knowledge of a major attack on the U.S., and then refused to say more. Normally torture opponents dismiss such  hypotheticals, no matter how plausible, as fantasy created by people who have watched too much television or read too many spy novels. Well, here's Michael Scheuer, head of the CIA's Osama bin Laden unit from 1996 to 1999, with a scenario much like mine,
In surprisingly good English, the captive quietly answers: 'Yes, all thanks to God, I do know when the mujaheddin will, with God's permission, detonate a nuclear weapon in the United States, and I also know how many and in which cities." Startled, the CIA interrogators quickly demand more detail. Smiling his trademark shy smile, the captive says nothing. Reporting the interrogation's results to the White House, the CIA director can only shrug when the president asks: "What can we do to make Osama bin Laden talk?"
Have Obama's policies endangered national security? Scheuer certainly thinks so.
in a single week, President Obama has eliminated two-thirds of that successful-but-not-sufficient national defense troika because his personal ideology -- a fair gist of which is "If the world likes us more we are more secure" -- cannot tolerate harsh interrogation techniques, torture or coercive interviews, call them what you will.
What are the possible results?
if the above worst-case scenario ever comes to pass, Americans will have at least two things from which to take solace, even after the loss of major cities and tens of thousands of countrymen. First, they will know that their president believes that those losses are a small price to pay for stopping interrogations and making foreign peoples like us more.And second, they will see Osama bin Laden's shy smile turn into a calm and beautiful God-is-Great grin.
If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you will note that much of what Scheuer wrote has appeared here before as my opinion. I'm just a nameless minor blogger. But when multiple former CIA leaders argue that our naive policies are endangering the country, it might be a good idea to pay attention.

No comments:

Post a Comment