I am at a loss for words at President Obama's decision to release CIA memos detailing interrogation techniques used on terror suspects. Regardless of one's opinion on the techniques themselves, publicizing them to the world makes no sense at all. If Obama believes they are torture and should not be used (a view that is highly debatable), fine: issue a presidential order to that effect. But why not keep it internal? Why shout it to our enemies? What he has done is to make us more vulnerable to attack by showing a big part of our "hand" to the other side.
Here's what Charles Krauthammer had to say about Obama's action on Fox News:
I think it does harm the United States. It gives away a lot of our techniques.
And I disagree. I don't see it as a dark chapter in our history at all.
You look at some of these techniques — holding the head, a face slap, or deprivation of sleep. If that is torture, the word has no meaning.
I would concede that one technique, simulated drowning, you could call torture, even though the memos imply that legally it didn't meet that definition. I'm agnostic on the legalism….
But let's concede that it's a form of torture. I think it's perfectly reasonable to use it in two cases, that the ticking time bomb, if an innocent is at risk and you've got a terrorist that has information that would save that innocent and isn't speaking. That's an open and shut easy case.
A second case is a high-level Al Qaeda operative, a terrorist, who knows names and places and numbers and plans and safe houses and all that, and by using techniques to get information, you're saving lives.
If I have to weigh on the one hand the numberless and nameless lives saved in America by the use of these techniques, and we had a CIA director who told us that these techniques on these high-level terrorists was extremely effective in giving us information.
If you have to weigh on one hand that the numberless and nameless lives saved, against the 30 seconds or so of terror in the eyes of a terrorist who is suffering this technique, I think the moral choice is easy.
It's not a dark chapter in our history. It is a successful one. We have not had a second attack, and largely because of this.
There are many--people like Vice-President Dick Cheney and former CIA chief Scott Hayden--who say that the interrogation techniques Obama has now nullified are responsible for thwarting numerous terrorist attacks during the Bush administration--including one that would have left a hole in Los Angeles as big as the one in New York. Announcing to our enemies that we are throwing some of our best weapons out the window can only increase their resolve to go after us.
I keep telling myself that President Obama wants the best for our country and that he just has a different--and in my opinion wrong--idea of how to go about it. But actions like this--actions that seem to have no regard at all for our country's best interests--make me wonder if I'm living in denial and if have elected a man who sees the presidency not as a sacred trust but as a tool for him to get what he wants. If it truly is the latter, then the obvious question is, what does this man want? And do I really want to know the answer?