In his speech yesterday outlining his rationale for embarking on a "new direction" in the fight to keep us safe from "man-caused disasterism" (by the way, what does it mean to set off in a new direction given that the last direction has kept us safe for almost eight years?) President Obama said this:
I know some have argued that brutal methods like water-boarding were necessary to keep us safe. I could not disagree more," Obama continued. "As commander-in-chief, I see the intelligence, I bear responsibility for keeping this country safe, and I reject the assertion that these are the most effective means of interrogation. What's more, they undermine the rule of law. They alienate us in the world. They serve as a recruitment tool for terrorists, and increase the will of our enemies to fight us, while decreasing the will of others to work with America. They risk the lives of our troops by making it less likely that others will surrender to them in battle, and more likely that Americans will be mistreated if they are captured. In short, they did not advance our war and counter-terrorism efforts - they undermined them, and that is why I ended them once and for all.
I'm sure President Obama believes all these claims, but I don't know why. He certainly offers no reasons why anyone else should believe them. He refuses to release the relevant CIA memos Dick Cheney has asked him to make public that would show us how effective these measures really were. He simply tells us that they were counterproductive and expects us to take his word for it. He declines to tell us which methods he's referring to when he says that there are more effective ways of getting information from terrorists. He cites no evidence for his assertion that waterboarding or confinement at Guantanamo serves as an effective recruitment tool for jihadis or increases their will to fight us - a claim, by the way, which I find particularly risible since every Arab in the world knows that compared to the brutalities his own government inflicts on its enemies, being captured by the U.S. is like being taken into custody by a bunch of Amishmen. Nor is there any reason whatsoever to accept his naive belief that the Islamists would treat captured American soldiers kindly if only we hadn't waterboarded Kalid Sheik Mohammed.
In other words, the President's entire paragraph is little more than a recital of left-wing myths which no one ever really challenges and everyone just "knows" to be true. Well, I don't know that any of them are true, and I'd like to hear just once from someone who advances these myths a little bit of evidence in their behalf.
But this paragraph wasn't the only instance of the vacuity of yesterday's address. See the following post for more examples.RLC