Terrorism

In Other News, President Obama Is a Weak-Kneed Terrorist Appeaser

|

From National Review Online, here is Andrew C. McCarthy's take on President Obama's executive order dealing with interrogation methods:

The executive order says everyone in custody should be questioned under the Army Field Manual, which is intended for honorable combatants, meaning POWs in a military conflict. The rule would prevent trained interrogators at the CIA from using lawful interrogation techniques against terrorists who have been trained to withstand Army Field Manual techniques.

Actually, that's a paragraph from a Fox News story. I realize that Fox sees its mission as rebutting other big media outlets' left-wing bias with its own right-wing bias, but this is more heavy-handed than anything labeled as reporting that I can recall seeing on CNN or reading in The New York Times. Their bias is generally more subtle, a matter of what's emphasized or left out, as opposed to straightforward editorializing. But maybe that makes it more dangerous.

Advertisement

NEXT: Obama Re-Examines the President's Power to Disappear Enemies

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Their bias is generally more subtle, a matter of what’s emphasized or left out, as opposed to straightforward editorializing. But maybe that makes it more dangerous.

    Maybe? Nothing “maybe” about it.

  2. What if you are in the Air Force, Marines, Navy or the Coast Guard? Would you stil use the Army field manual?

  3. this is more heavy-handed than anything labeled as reporting that I can recall seeing on CNN or reading in The New York Times.

    Its pretty, umm, editorial, no doubt about that, but c’mon, CNN and the NYT routinely lard their “news” stories with lefty “analysis.”

  4. World to end tomorrow.

    Women and minorities expected to be hardest hit.

  5. Obama a terrorist appeaser? No wonder you guys like him.

    “There’s no need to fear. Underzog is here!”

  6. I’m not going to join in on any blow-by-blow criticism of the administration on this issue just yet. Let’s see how they try to solve this thorny situation first. I anticipate more window dressing than actual change, but this is one area I generally think might be improved by a new president. Oddly, I expected similar moves from McCain if he’d won.

    By the way, I understand that Rep. Murtha has offered to house the detainees in Pennsylvania. Perhaps in his backyard?

  7. That’s no worse than anything I’ve seen from NYT, WSJ, WP, CNN, MSNBC, or anyone else.

    I guess, after this past election cycle coverage, I just don’t have it in me to care much about any kind of bias other than the hilariously-massive left slant. I will eventually, I promise, but I’ll need time. To heal.

  8. more heavy-handed than anything labeled as reporting that I can recall seeing on CNN or reading in The New York Times

    Fish don’t know what water is.

  9. Look, there is a big difference between journalists trying to be objective and tell the story but because of their limited worldview and social scene leaving things out and journalists who are simply an arm, not even of a political philosophy mind you, but a political party.

    It’s like the difference between Morton Kondracke and Fred Barnes, for example.

  10. But you know, maybe we will deal with these scum more honorably than they would have dealt with us.

    Because, well, we’re better than them. I guess that never occurs to McCarthy and his ilk (“they of different tribe, me no like!”)

  11. Solana
    Any fool that puts the “WSJ” in their bemoaning of the “liberal MSM” deserves the laughter they cause.

  12. Prior to 9/11, Al Queda training manuals all taught that Americans were soft, decadent and prissy and would never harm prisoners in anyway. The manuals told captured Al Queda members to just keep their mouths shut, sit tight and wait to be ransomed in a hostage exchange.

  13. So, Shannon, if Al Qaeda told you to eat 3 meals a day, would you starve yourself?

    There are options intermediate between “Put the terrorists up at the Hilton until they can be exchanged” and “Hold people based on flimsy evidence and subject them to torture.”

  14. Shannon

    The easiest way to beat these guys is for our way of life, our example, and our principles to seem superior to theirs.

    Force alone won’t do it (look how that worked out with the Romans vs. the Christians).

    We’re better than them. Let’s act like it.

  15. Awesome.

    Cry, babies. Let’s hear it.

    Oh, what’s that? Noted torture enthusiast Shannon Love doesn’t like it?

    Now THAT’S change I can believe in.

    Fucking awesome.

  16. Shannon Love is angry because he believes that if we don’t torture our prisoners, we will be justifying the claim that we are soft, decadent and prissy.

    Notice that? Shannon thinks that failure to torture will make this supposed Al Qaeda claim [link?] true.

    No torture = decadent

    No torture = soft

    No torture = prissy

    Typical Shannon Love barbarism.

  17. Their bias is generally more subtle…maybe that makes it more dangerous.

    Fox News preaches to their own particular choir, as do all the other news entities. Dangerous? How so? Is O’Reilly more “dangerous” than Olbermann? People believe what they want to believe, with a little prodding from their media heroes. And they get precisely what they deserve.

  18. Thanks, joe.

    I was a little annoyed there for a second.

    You reminded me to stop and savor the bouquet of this first bottle of Freeper Tears.

    [Fluffy sniffs cork.]

    Ahhhhhhhh…….

  19. ed
    That’s cynical. Some journalists really just want to “cover” their prospective stories.

    Really.

  20. Psst…

    Hey, Fluffy…

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord…

  21. Hey, Shannon, I want you to close your eyes and pretend it’s 2004. Now, can you start reciting the koolaid about freedom and democracy being on the march? Cuz when you juxtapose that with your crybaby demands for torture, it’s fucking awesome.

  22. The blatant problem with the Fox News perspective is that if the enemy is dishonorable, we should be dishonorable too.

  23. Oh also, the whole “if they’ve been trained for it, we need to up the ante” thing.

    There’s a slippery slope for you.

    There are guys who are accustomed to butchering their prisoners like goats, after all. We’re not likely to win a brutality pissing match. And I wouldn’t want to.

  24. This prisoner still says he doesn’t know where the bomb is.

    He’s been trained! Crafty devil.

    bzzt. bzzt. bzzt.

  25. I don’t buy that Al Queda preached that the US was soft. They claimed we were evil, that we were ruthless in our bombings and military actions, that our morality was corrupt, and that we were a stain of camel dung upon the world.

    If they firmly believed those claims, yet expected to be mollycoddled when captured, then 120v nipple clamps are too good for them.

  26. It is much easier to train people to be physically tough than to resist the psychological tricks a good interrogator can employ.

    “Tell me where the ticking bomb is, Abdul!” Yeah, right. They get people talking in order to roll up entire operations.

    But that’s, you know, soft and prissy.

  27. The bomb explodes!

    Crafty devil!

  28. Shannon Love apparently has Marty McFly syndrome. AQ said the US won’t torture because we’re chicken. Shannon’s solution is to forget whether or not it’s a good idea and do it. That’ll show Biff Osama.

  29. What if you are in the Air Force, Marines, Navy or the Coast Guard? Would you stil use the Army field manual?

    Because the Army is the service proponent for this topic.

  30. The Air Force uses the Girl Scout manual, the Marines can’t read a manual, the Navy uses the latest Emeril cook book, and the Coast Guard just offers to put you back on the sinking ship they plucked you from.

  31. “Their bias is generally more subtle, a matter of what’s emphasized or left out, as opposed to straightforward editorializing.”

    But if Fox doesn’t report, and I mean report the whole thing, how am I to be expected to decide?
    I feel boxed in by their very own catchphrase.

  32. “the Marines can’t read a manual, the Navy uses the latest Emeril cook book”

    I though that the Marines were just a unit of the Navy that slept in slightly less cramped quarters?

  33. Yeah, I’m going to agree with the people who said that this isn’t any more biased than any of the crap put out by any of the media agencies with the opposite bias.

    The chief word here that dips in to the ground of opinion is “legal,” but that’s the kind of dip that is actually quite common when any journalist structures a paragraph to support their opinion. Now had they said “critics say…” or used “previously authorized” instead of “legal,” it might have made a difference and actually provided a valid perspective on the order. But any perusal through CNN, MSNBC, WSJ, or whatever will find analysis puffed with the personal biases of the author using broad definitions to suit their purposes.

    And by the way, Shannon – your thesis fails simply because al Qaeda could still hijack a plane and demand all the prisoners be released immediately – whether they are being held, processed and interrogated with respect to basic human dignity under habeas corpus or whether they are being tortured in Guantanamo.

    Also, wouldn’t sticking these dudes in a maximum security prison with America’s worst criminals punish them far worse than our own interrogators could? I mean, they wouldn’t be in proximity to each other to be able to plot, and I bet they would replace child rapists at the top of the “shower bitch” totem pole. After Big Bubba has his way with them, I doubt they would ever want to fuck with America again…

  34. What amuses me about the people who say torture should be legal in the Jack Bauer “ticking bomb” scenario is that they don’t consider the possibility that the suspect will give them misleading information, and the bomb will go off before they realize it’s false…and now you can’t torture the prisoner anymore because there’s no longer a ticking bomb.

    If you’re going to torture, you have to do it right, and you have to be willing to do it at any time. Our Saudi and Egyptian friends could teach us game.

  35. I thought Obama was a weak-kneed terrorist appeaser because of the terorrist fist bump?

  36. I would have doubled Gitmo and tripled torture!

  37. “You reminded me to stop and savor the bouquet of this first bottle of Freeper Tears.”

    nothing seasons meat like genuine freeper tears!

    (they’re not harvested from tired, strained eyes, ruined by reading books)

  38. “It is much easier to train people to be physically tough than to resist the psychological tricks a good interrogator can employ.”

    I am completely against torture, but this argument is ridiculous. A person willing to endure physical agony is a person who could probably keep his mouth shut for the time he is held in detention.
    I think you’ve watched that interrogation scene in LA Confidential too many times.

  39. The easiest way to beat these guys is for our way of life, our example, and our principles to seem superior to theirs.

    I tend to agree, but can we at least keep the hookahs and that double apple tobacco? Civilisation is better for it.

  40. As I suggested, this can be completely avoided with a simple legal solution that puts zero blood on the governments’ hands:

    1.) Let go the people who are tried and found innocent.
    2.) For the rest, divide them up and make America’s absolute worst killers and rapists from Federal prisons their cellmates.
    3.) Offer the Guantanamo prisoners a private room and protective custody if they are willing to share everything they know. I bet most of them cave faster than you can say “Waterboarding.”

    As dirty as I feel in proposing such a plan, wardens don’t really have to factor roommate preferences into their placements. We all know child rapists get “punished” in prison and yet most of us aren’t going to complain about it; I don’t know if I’d complain about al Qaeda officials getting punished there either…my plan would satiate the right-wingers, end torture/close Guantanamo, protect habeas corpus and likely provide us with more intelligence than we get from our current tactics.

  41. To be fair, not all of the CIA techniques were torture or even controversial. To the extent that the non-toruturous ones had any effecitveness, I don’t see what’s wrong with using them.

    I remember reading about one technique that was called something like “the attention getter” and it involved the interrogator clutching the detainee’s lapels. I always found it kind of odd that CIA folks couldn’t have figured out lapel-grabbing on their own, and had to read about it in a book. I also wondered what kind of pussy terrorist would cave in and start talking because of that.

  42. Nooge | January 22, 2009, 8:23pm | #

    The bomb explodes!

    Crafty devil!

    Yet another reason that even the “ticking bomb” scenario fails to justify toruture: all the crafty devil has to do is hold out for a little while, or lie.

  43. duderman,

    A person willing to endure physical agony is a person who could probably keep his mouth shut for the time he is held in detention.
    I think you’ve watched that interrogation scene in LA Confidential too many times.

    Actually, I’ve read the statements from the FBI interrogator who worked Saddam Hussein, and the military interrogator who tracked down Zarqawi, and they both stated that they used human, psychology-based methods, because they work best.

  44. “Tell me where the ticking bomb is, Abdul!” Yeah, right. They get people talking in order to roll up entire operations.

    I don’t know anything about ticking time bombs and I do wish you would stop pouring water on the towel you have shoved in my mouth.

    But seriously, even when defending the Bush administration’s aggresive questioning/torturing, no one from the Bush administration ever claimed to have been confronted with a “ticking bomb” type scenario. While such scenarios are common in TV drama, they’re pretty rare in actual life.

  45. Not YOU, Abdul. Some other guy named Abdul. 😉

  46. Brian Williams says things like “the first family was dazzling”. Katie Couric does puff pieces with Obama, and manhandles Palin. Charlie Gibson does the exact same as Couric.
    NBC news calls the Iraq war a “Civil War” for months and then one day just stops calling it that. The morning shows all love their liberal guests and hate the conservative ones. Just look at how they treated Rachel Maddow on one day, and then Ann Coulter the next. They are the same two sides of a coin…but they were treated very differently.
    That is why I get my news from the internet…I can read an article and cut out the fat.

  47. Also, wouldn’t sticking these dudes in a maximum security prison with America’s worst criminals punish them far worse than our own interrogators could?

    What a brilliant idea. Because the most bizarre strains of Islam aren’t already spreading quickly enough throughout US prison populations.

  48. What keep the Army from adding torture to their field manual at this point?

  49. Since this is shaping up to be the Parsin’ Presidency, should we attach any significance to the fact that Obama’s choice for head of the CIA has declined to call waterboarding a form of torture?

  50. They are the same two sides of a coin…but they were treated very differently.

    Who’s death has Rachel Maddow called for?

    Who’s Ann Coulter’s Pat Buchanan?

  51. The Maddow Coulter analogy is pretty weak. I consider Coulter the conservative answer to stand-up comedy, which has long been an incubator for far left, sensational political rhetoric.

    Maddow is just another left-glazed pundit who, if you listen to her, rarely deviates from the center normatively. Olbermann is the same way. These people make a living by ingratiating themselves with the left without ever saying anything legitimately radical.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.