Monday, July 27, 2009

Desperate to Prosecute Someone

Some terrorist-rights supporters have grown increasingly desperate for show trials regarding Bush-era interrogations. Today there is an op-ed in the Washington Post called "Beyond the Pale," which advocates prosecuting CIA operatives for supposed abuses. After spouting the usual nonsense, the article summarizes its conclusions as follows:  

some acts, including the violent deaths of detainees at the hands of U.S. personnel, must be investigated and addressed by law enforcement.
Once again we get the ridiculous notion that a secret intelligence organization, specifically designed to carry out illegal actions, needs to be investigated by "law enforcement." This is typical unthinking legalism in action. Dirty wars involving operations against terrorist enemies who follow no laws will always result in abuses. An organization such as the CIA operates under its own set of rules, which are not (and should not be) the same as the military, law enforcement, or other different organizations. If CIA operatives violated their own rules, they should have been disciplined by that organization, and for all we know, some of them were. The idea of having a legal investigation in order to find and prosecute individual CIA agents for things they supposedly did to foreign terror suspects during wartime is simply insane -- I don't know any other way to put it. We might as well just close down the CIA entirely, which I suspect is the ultimate goal of many terrorist rights supporters. If they can't shut it down they want to cripple it. I love this passage in the Post op-ed:  
The task before Mr. Holder is not an easy one. If he authorizes an investigation, he could be accused by some of criminalizing policy differences with his predecessors.

Really? I wonder why? Maybe because that's exactly what he'd be doing, along with inflicting massive damage on our first line of defense against future terrorist attacks. 


It's not often I agree with Glen Greenwald about anything, but here's the title of his latest at Salon:  "The Washington Post endorses Abu Ghraib scapegoating for torture." Greenwald may be one of the premier supporters of terrorist rights, and a useful idiot for our enemies, but even he can see the stupidity of prosecuting low-level CIA agents. Scapegoating is exactly the right term. If the policies of the Bush administration were actually the hideous crimes that people like Greenwald imagine them to be (which of course they were not), the people who should be held responsible are those at the top, not low-level operatives who may have committed technical violations of administration guidelines. 

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