Bin Laden Is Dead - Let's Come Home!
Last week marked an important milestone in the war on terrorism for our country. Osama bin Laden applauded the 9/11 attacks. Such deliberate killing of innocent lives deserved retaliation. It is good that bin Laden is dead and justice is served. The way in which he was finally captured and killed shows that targeted retribution is far superior to wars of aggression and nation-building. In 2001 I supported giving the president the authority to pursue those responsible for the vicious 9/11 attacks. However, misusing that authority to pursue nation-building and remaking the Middle East was cynical and dangerous, as the past ten years have proven.
It is tragic that it took ten years, trillions of dollars, tens of thousands of American casualties and many thousands of innocent lives to achieve our mission of killing one evil person. A narrow, targeted mission under these circumstances was far superior to initiating wars against countries not involved in the 9/11 attacks, and that is all we should have done. This was the reason I emphasized at the time the principle of Marque and Reprisal, permitted to us by the US Constitution for difficult missions such as we faced. I am convinced that this approach would have achieved our goal much sooner and much cheaper.
The elimination of Osama bin Laden should now prompt us to declare victory and bring our troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq. Al Qaeda was never in Iraq and we were supposedly in Afghanistan to get Osama bin Laden. With bin Laden gone, there is no reason for our presence in the region - unless indeed it was all about oil, nation-building, and remaking the Middle East and Central Asia.
Hopefully bin Laden does not get the last laugh. He claimed the 9/11 attacks were designed to get the US to spread its military dangerously and excessively throughout the Middle East, bankrupting us through excessive military spending as he did the Soviets, and to cause political dissention within the United States. Some 70 percent of Americans now believe we should leave Afghanistan yet both parties seem determined to stay. The best thing we could do right now is prove bin Laden a false prophet by coming home and ending this madness on a high note.
Tragically, one result may be the acceptance of torture as a legitimate tool for pursuing our foreign policy. A free society, calling itself a republic, grounded in the rule of law, should never succumb to such evil.
At the very least we should all be able to agree that foreign aid to Pakistan needs to end immediately. The idea that bin Laden was safely protected for ten years in Pakistan, either willfully or through incompetence, should make us question the wisdom of robbing American citizens to support any government around the world with foreign aid. All foreign aid and intervention needs to end.
Our failed foreign policy is reflected in our bizarre relationship with Pakistan. We bomb them with drones, causing hundreds of civilian casualties, we give them billions of dollars in foreign aid for the privilege to do so, all while they protect America's enemy number one for a decade.
It is time to consider a sensible non-interventionist foreign policy as advised by our Founders and authorized by our Constitution. We would all be better off for it.
FBI, CIA, Military Interrogators All Say Torture Doesn't Work
Interrogation Experts From Every Branch of the Military and Intelligence Agree: Torture DOESN'T Produce Useful Information
Please click on and read the above link. It contains a wide array of quotes of FBI, CIA, and military experts including a 4-star general that all say the same thing: torture does not work.
Desert Storm 4-Star General Blasts Torture
Please consider 4-Star General Calls for Probe of Bush White House
General Barry McCaffrey is a retired 4-star General who commanded the 24th Infantry Division in Desert Storm. In his autobiography, Schwarzkopt called McCaffrey the hero of Desert Storm.
General Barry McCaffrey:
We should never as a policy maltreat people under our control, detainees.
We tortured people unmercifully. We probably murdered dozens of them during a course of that, both by the armed forces and CIA. [Releasing the memos] was the right thing to do.
Meanwhile, legendary covert CIA officer Robert Baer also calls for an investigation.
The Administration was absolutely right to declassify the Department of Justice-CIA interrogation memos. The argument that the letters compromise national security does not hold water.
But Obama should not stop there.
The memos justify abusive interrogations by the completely discredited "ticking time-bomb" defense -- that if we don't torture a suspect when we know there is an imminent threat, we stand to lose many, many American lives.
The Ticking Time-Bomb defense is made-for-TV hype, not a real-world application. Nonetheless, some torture-defending clown tried to spring it on me last week.
McCain on Torture
Also consider Senator John McCain on the Use of Torture, Remarks on the Floor of the U.S. Senate, 12 May 2011.
"Mr. President, the successful end of the ten-year manhunt to bring Osama bin Laden to justice has appropriately heightened the nation's appreciation for the diligence, patriotism and courage of our armed forces and our intelligence community. They are a great
"But their success has also reignited debate over whether the so-called, "enhanced interrogation techniques" of enemy prisoners, including waterboarding, were instrumental in locating bin Laden, and whether they are necessary and justifiable means for securing valuable information that might help prevent future terrorist attacks against us and our allies and lead to the capture or killing of those who would perpetrate them. Or are they, and should they be, prohibited by our conscience and laws as torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
"I believe some of these practices - especially waterboarding, which is a mock execution, and thus to me, indisputably torture - are and should be prohibited in a nation that is exceptional in its defense and advocacy of human rights. I believe they are a violation of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and Common Article Three of the Geneva Conventions, all of which forbid cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of all captured combatants, whether they wear the uniform of a country or are essentially stateless.
"I opposed waterboarding and similar so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" before Osama bin Laden was brought to justice. And I oppose them now. I do not believe they are necessary to our success in our war against terrorists, as the advocates of these techniques claim they are.
Under torture a person will say anything he thinks his captors want to hear - whether it is true or false - if he believes it will relieve his suffering. Often, information provided to stop the torture is deliberately misleading. And what the advocates of cruel and harsh interrogation techniques can never prove is that we could not have gathered the same intelligence through other, more humane means - as a review of the facts provides solid reason to be confident that we can. The costs of assuming otherwise can be hugely detrimental.
"It has also been reported, and the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee confirms for me, that a man named Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, who had been captured by the United States and rendered to Egypt, where we believe he was tortured, provided false and misleading information about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction programs. That false information was ultimately included in Secretary of State Colin Powell's statement to the UN Security Council, and, I assume, helped to influence the Bush Administration's decision to invade Iraq.
I have not found evidence to suggest that torture - or, since so much of our disagreement is definitional, interrogation methods that I believe are torture, and which I believe are prohibited by U.S. law and international treaty obligations we are not just a party to, but leading advocates of - played an important part in finding and killing bin Laden. Rather, I think his death at the hands of the United States argues quite the contrary: that we can succeed without resort to these methods.
McCain on Motivating the Enemy, the Constitution, the Geneva Convention
Link if the above video does not play - http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7365944n
"When someone inflicts torture on someone else, it does great damage not only to the person who receives it, but also the person who engages in it."
I agree with McCain on torture but side with Ron Paul on the need to get the hell out of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Kidnapping, Torture, and Reflections on Alleged "American Values"
In case you missed it, please see my May 5th post Kidnapping, Torture, and Reflections on Alleged "American Values"
"Thinking that torture is wrong is not a liberal or conservative value - it is simply a value."
It is high time the US disavow torture and charge those doing it with crimes. Just don't expect that anytime soon given that kidnapping, torture, and holding people for 9 years without trial are actions openly condoned by Republican and Democrats presidents alike. That is the sad state of affairs of alleged "American Values".
As a follow-up, please see Torture Never Works; Ron Paul on Torture and Secret Prisons; "Torture is What the Nazis Did"
I am proud to be ahead of the curve on this issue and I commend Senator John McCain and Congressman Ron Paul for their steadfast opposition to torture.
"Thinking that torture is wrong is not a liberal or conservative value - it is simply a value."