THE SPINE AUGUST 25, 2009
Can anyone, and Eric Holder in particular, "find 12 [random] Americans who would vote to convict an American citizen for threatening the life of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?" I doubt it. Not even on the Upper West Side. (The question has been posed by Michael Goldfarb on the Weekly Standard web site.) But not even that fact can dispose of the problem. Which suggests that Attorney General Holder, by foraging into what is by contemporary standards ancient history, has put himself outside the matrix of democratic standards. (In this morning’s Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens also notes the hypocrisy of those liberals who now champion the very thing they so sanctimoniously decried during the manufactured Valerie Plame controversy: the exposure of covert CIA operatives.)
No, I am not for waterboarding or other "enhanced interrogation techniques" ... and never have been. Israel's standards are strict enough for me. But I do wonder why, according to this morning's Times, the Obama administration insists on maintaining the "rendition" regimen which puts prisoners out of reach of routine U.S. supervision. Yes, what is the explanation for such an unusual arrangement? And to which cozy countries will rendition be exported?
Leon Panetta is clearly critical of Holder's intentions, as an article by Tom Braithwaite in this morning's FT makes clear. It is rumored that Panetta, a long-time and responsible public servant, intends on resigning due to this and related matters. Panetta reminded the public yesterday that the now controversial methods were known to the Department of Justice and the Congress for years.
One other matter. He also reasserted that the techniques had worked with no one dying.
And since these techniques are no longer in use ... what is the purpose of it all?