Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

May 4, 2011

THE ABRUPT CONVERSATIONAL DETOUR.... No one, least of all the White House, should be surprised.

Officials inside the Obama administration have grown discouraged by the abruptness with which the news over the killing of Osama bin Laden has turned into a debate over the efficacy of harsh interrogation techniques and torture.

Just days after the al Qaeda header was killed in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the political conversation has shifted from the implications of the assassination to questions of whether the waterboarding of valuable detainees was crucial in gathering intelligence on bin Laden's whereabouts.

Defenders of the interrogation technique raised the issue, earning write-ups in several high-profile publications, including The New York Times and Time magazine. It was also put forward in most bin Laden-related news interviews with Obama officials.

The moral of the story is simple: the political world tends to talk about whatever Republicans want to talk about.

In this case, the immediate goal of Republicans was to ensure the Bush/Cheney administration received some, if not all, of the credit for the raid on bin Laden's compound. Given recent history, that was a tough sell, so the focus quickly shifted to torture -- Bush-era abuses led to intelligence that started the ball rolling, leading to Sunday.

We now know the GOP arguments are largely baseless, but the question itself was provocative enough to detour the conversation.

"I think this is a distraction from the broader picture, which is that this achievement was the result of years of painstaking work by our intelligence community that drew from multiple sources," White House spokesperson Tommy Vietor said.

Well, yes, of course it's a distraction. That's how this game works.

Steve Benen 2:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (25)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

The corporate media and the repiglican party are one and the same with very few exceptions .... just observe the recent events relative to the killing of Bin Laden ... IT FUCKING SPEAKS FOR ITSELF

Posted by: stormskies on May 4, 2011 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK


Yes, and Brett Favre torturing fans in his last years was the reason Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers just won the Super Bowl.

Sheeesh...

Posted by: c u n d gulag on May 4, 2011 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and the righties trying to spin this favorably for Bush look like spiders on coke and meth.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on May 4, 2011 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

This time it isn't all the media's fault. I saw the interview with Leon Penetta. What he said didn't help one little bit.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 4, 2011 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

@Ron Byers - I missed it. Do you have a link?

Posted by: whichwitch on May 4, 2011 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's aides would be best served by keeping their mouths shut. The contrast, which isn't lost on the average nonpolitical observer is that the Bush crowd and the Republicans are all hat and no cattle. They talked a good game for eight years and didn't do a god damn thing but kill a whole bunch of the wrong people including about five thousand of our own guys. I think the average person who lived through this crap is sick to death of the swagger and tough talk. They are done with The Rhinestone Cowboy. It is time for Gary Cooper. The silent guy who gets the job done.

Posted by: SW on May 4, 2011 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

amen

Posted by: stormskies on May 4, 2011 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Obama won't release any death photos, he says. Good. It would be a sick and stupid thing to do, and it will give right-wingers something else to demonstrate that they are complete fucking fools.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on May 4, 2011 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

They talked a good game for eight years and didn't do a god damn thing but kill a whole bunch of the wrong people including about five thousand of our own guys.
Posted by: SW on May 4, 2011 at 2:54 PM

Thank you. If only the corporate media could grasp this simple fact.

Posted by: John on May 4, 2011 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/42880435/ns/world_news-south_and_central_asia/

I realize that Panetta was really mealy mouthed in his comments, but Brian Williams sure thought he said that enhanced interrogation helped collect information that lead to the Bin Laden raid.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 4, 2011 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

the speed at which the GOP/TP Public Relations team ramped up to distract the public from what was a gigantic coup for President Obama was dizzying. The extent the Media play along with it...well, that's what they do. They are Republican propaganda outlets.

Posted by: T2 on May 4, 2011 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Don't give up on successful strategy to pivot now to JOBS and as Ed Schultz is calling it "The Big 3" Social Security, Medicare, & Medicaid.

The voters will see that going to the party with the solutions or going to the circus will be the only choices.

Posted by: Tom Glover (BigSkyDem) on May 4, 2011 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

The way to fight this is for non-admin progressive surrogates to go on the talking heads shows and pushback hard, and take it to the republicans; hammering home that Bush failed to get Bin Laden for 7 years and now they're trying to steal the glory by promoting torture.

My only complaint, Steve, is that sometimes you make it sound like Republicans are winning the message war is by decree of God. They work hard at winning it and so should we.

No, calling on the admin to fix this wont do it either, the admin will get hung for being ungraceful, etc, by the usual meta manners narrative.

But congressional dems should be out there, and so should democratic pundits; the best - "experts" that can be plausibly passed off as non partisan.

Posted by: Danny on May 4, 2011 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Does no one ask whether we might've found OBL faster were it not for the use of enhanced interrogation ... ?

Posted by: ManOutOfTime on May 4, 2011 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Last night I accidentally stumbled upon The O'Reilly Factor with "Monica Crowley, Phd" using the newest and probably most offensive obfuscation of torture: "EIT". Now they can't even be bothered to say Enhanced Interrogation Techniques. It is now Washington beauracratese of letter soup.

These people are disgusting pigs.

Posted by: martin on May 4, 2011 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Imagine, if you will, Nazis demanding to all that torture worked on the Allied troops and that we should all be grateful for the information they secured by those means.

Now imagine Nuremberg where they were hung for such acts.

Now imagine Darth Cheney, Bushit and Cotton Candy Rice at the Hague...

It's disgraceful that these war crimes are not being pursued at the highest levels. What frigin hypocrisy. Nauseating...

Posted by: Stevio on May 4, 2011 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Leon Panetta essentially stated that "enhanced interrogation techniques" and waterboarding were used on some of the detainees. Which we already knew. At no point did he say that those techniques produced the information that led to OBL. But the media either doesn't care or is too stupid to understand the distinction. And because he wasn't clear, Panetta has created an opening for the torture apologists.

I don't think Panetta will be doing more interviews any time soon.

Posted by: Sam on May 4, 2011 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

The White House and Democrats are rank amateurs at playing the distraction game, or any game for that matter with the corporate MSM. It's second nature to the Rethugs, who know they can count on the MSM to pick up their manufactured issues and wrench the political conversation to their talking points.

The unprecedented consolidation of information outlets, let us remember, was facilitated by Clinton, who should have known better, but he too was/is in the pocket of corporate America.

Posted by: rrk1 on May 4, 2011 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

No one is mentioning that the Bush adminstration and the military have both conceded that "enhanced interrogation" ended in 2005. If the information obtained through these techniques prior to 2005 was so crucial to locating Osama, why then did the Bush administration put the search for Osama on the back burner, and why did it take 6 years and a different president to find Osama and take him out? These clowns just can't accept that it was Obama, not Bush, who took out Osama, so they are now going to revise history.

Posted by: ameshall on May 4, 2011 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Apologists of torture lead torturous lives!

Well, far from claiming the merit of waterboarding, these Yoo type characters should actually be frog marched to the nearest police station and run in for their utter disregard of the Nuremburg Rulings that came from the trial of the Nazis!

Conspiracy to commit war - Rumsfeld's primary directive to go after Saddam Hussian, even when the evidence pointed to Afghanistan, and his subsequent directives to gin up Saddam - al Qaeda connection.

Aggressive war - started by George Bush against Iraq based on lies!

War Crimes - waterboarding and other "enhanced" interrogation methods covered under the Nuremburg Rulings!

Crimes against humanity - innocent Iraqis of all ages killed, maimed and traumatized by US war and occupation begun by lies!

Yes, members of the previous administration, count your blessings, and quit complaining!

No one likes cry babies, complainers, or whimps and poseurs, so STFU! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on May 4, 2011 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Contrary to what some have posted here, Panetta did admit that information relevant to the strike on bin Laden came from torture. He added that whether such information would have come without torture is unknowable. That seems to be the problem with the torture discussion. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't. But except in the Jack Bauer fantasy situations, it can't be justified by any morality derivable from the major religious traditions or philosophical schools.

Posted by: keith on May 4, 2011 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

We live in a world of dumb. We also have a media with the attention span of a gnat with ADD.

Posted by: montana on May 4, 2011 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

We live in a world of dumb. We also have a media with the attention span of a gnat with ADD.

Posted by: montana on May 4, 2011 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

At least the NY Times is calling it what it is, finally:
"Bin Laden Raid Revives Debate on Value of Torture"

Posted by: BlueBelt on May 4, 2011 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

The moral of the story is simple: the political world tends to talk about whatever Republicans want to talk about.

Drat that liberal media!

Posted by: Gregory on May 4, 2011 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK
Post a comment









Remember personal info?










 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly