Monday, December 15, 2014

The Feinstein CIA memo will make it more difficult to understand what happened

On the Friday after 9-11, I took our 11 year old to first fall baseball game.   The reality of 9-11 hit me right between the eyes.  The field was empty and the game was canceled because parents were concerned about going out.  It was a weird feeling but it confirmed just how scared everyone was.
I remember driving around to my business appointments for days after the attack.   Everyone was furious and ready to take whatever action to prevent another attack.   Over and over again, I heard about those kids who lost their fathers and those sickening images of people jumping to their deaths.
Torture?  Yes torture was watching those towers collapse and know that hundreds were killed instantly!   Yes torture was knowing that kids like my 3 sons would grow up with a dad to play catch with or talk sports.
For the record, I think that the Bush administration reacted with proper urgency after 9-11.    We had just lost 3,000 Americans, and worse than that, we had no idea of who we were at war with.  
This is what the partisan Feinstein memo did not take into consideration.   This is why CIA Director Brennan, and his predecessors, sound so credible when they speak of the awful choices that the CIA had to make, as David Gergen wrote
"Brennan also made clear that the CIA (he served as deputy director under President George W. Bush) was not prepared to run a detention and interrogation program -- who would have thought they needed one?  
They put it together quickly, but -- as Brennan readily conceded -- some agents then went far beyond the rules, employing brutal interrogation techniques.
He should also have conceded that was torture.  
What has been missing in much of the hyperventilation over the Senate report is that the number of people water boarded was actually tiny: three says Brennan, though the Senate Committee insists the number is slightly higher.  
With numbers that small, it is far more believable that most agents -- as Brennan said -- acted within the rules.
Is this any basis for treating the CIA like a brutal, rogue operation?" 
It would have been nice if this report would have been like the 9-11 or WMD reports.   In other words, bipartisan.
On the contrary, the Feinstein memo was highly partisan and will contribute nothing to understanding what happened or lessons we can learn from what happened.
Again, bipartisanship roared its ugly head and everyone is a loser.
P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.

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