Monday, December 22, 2008

President-Elect Obama's Problem With Left-Wing Bloggers

This could get even more interesting:

"Obama Intelligence Pick Torpedoed By Bloggers"
FOXNews (December 22, 2008)

"President-elect Barack Obama has shown almost perfect pitch in crafting his new administration, aptly choosing old hands instead of fresh faces and bringing in the experience he lacks.

"But there is one glaring void. Obama has yet to name key intelligence officials to manage the war against terrorism.

"And one of the central reasons he hasn't come forward with a pick for one of the top jobs is because he's running into pressure from an unexpected source -- left-wing bloggers...."

Obama apparently wanted John Brennan, but some bloggers thought he was involved in torture. So, Brennan won't get the job.

Politics, Purity, and Common Sense

My own opinion about waterboarding and other "enhanced" interrogation techniques is politically incorrect, and I know that other people have strongly-held contrary opinions. And, I can understand how someone who wants to protect terrorists from discomfort would not want a supporter of waterboarding in the Obama administration.

As the article put it, "...[Glenn] Greenwald and other bloggers blamed Brennan, though, for condoning harsh interrogation methods, as well as rendition -- the practice of capturing terrorists, like 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and taking them to the U.S. or other countries for interrogation and imprisonment...."

The thing is, Brennan apparently had no part of the decisions to use waterboarding.

The article concludes: "...Greenwald said Brennan's support for rendition and 'all of the other enhanced interrogation techniques beyond waterboarding' makes him 'unqualified' for the job.

"Intelligence veterans, however, say that sets an impossible standard.

" 'If you were involved in a senior position in the intelligence community during the war on terror, you can't be nominated for another senior position,' [former assistant CIA director Mark] Lowenthal said."

This sort of 'purity' might purify qualified people out of the Obama administration.

Be Careful What You Wish For

Well-intentioned people like Mr. Greenwald may succeed in purging the Obama administration of people whose backgrounds make them qualified to protect America. I hope that doesn't happen, because I like living in a country where a citizen can criticize government policies and officials - and not disappear, get beheaded, or be enrolled in a reeducation program.

Like it or not, the leaders of Al Qaeda, and others, want to change the way America works. And, if they have their way, they'll almost certainly be less concerned with individual freedom than America's current leadership is.

Maintaining effective intelligence is very important in keeping Americans safe and free. And that means doing things that terrorists don't like: including, sometimes, waterboarding.

A concern for the rights of the accused, and of prisoners of war, is admirable.

However, a concern for the lives of innocent Americans1 is also important. Which is why I hope that the Obama administration isn't kept pure for the sake of bloggers like Mr. Greenwald.

A Few Words About Waterboarding

I can't take the idea that waterboarding is torture seriously. Not when protesters willingly - and repeatedly - had themselves waterboarded to show how awful it was; and the American military includes being waterboarded in its training programs.

As I wrote before, if waterboarding is torture, and should be banned, "then final exams should be banned, too."

Related posts: In the news:
1I'm one of those people who think that "innocent American" isn't an oxymoron.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.