Kirk Lippold is running against Sharron Angle for Heller's Congressional seat in Nevada. If his remarks on Fox & Friends Sunday are any indication, he's at least as nuts as she is. He appeared to make a case for why torture should be used, why keeping Guantanamo open is a good thing, and in the process, embodied everything see as evil about the Bush administration.
As the former commander of the USS Cole, I'm certain he has resentment and anger about being attacked by Bin Laden. I understand that. But the answer to resentment and anger is NOT losing our humanity, at least not in my opinion.
HOST: This is your first political race, and you actually helped the Bush administration create the detainee policies that are in place still today. We know that Guantanamo Bay is still open. Do you believe that politics is at play here?
LIPPOLD: Absolutely. When you look at what the president has done and the policies he's put in place especially with his attorney general, he has not made use of all the tools that are available to him. His quest -- misguided quest -- to try and shut Guantanamo Bay is the clearest example.
The American people have spent almost three hundred million dollars to put that facility down there as an intelligence collection and analysis center. He wants to close it because of the opinions of others.
The reality of it is you look at the intelligence that started us down the path that eventually led to the capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden. It started at Guantanamo Bay, there were other threads that were built from Guantanamo Bay over the years and to not use that as a resource does put our nation at risk.
Lie #1: Waterboarding was done at Guantanamo.
Truth: As far as I know, the waterboarding was done at black sites by the CIA and other actors in order to maintain plausible deniability, not at Guantanamo, nor did taxpayers understand that Guantanamo was anything other than a detention center to hold detainees who were considered a threat to national security.
Lie #2: Waterboarding yielded information that led to Bin Laden. I swear, we've beaten this horse to death, but just look at all the different posts here on C&L about how much it did NOT yield that information. If there is still any doubt left, have a look at the voluminous evidence Marcy Wheeler has compiled on the topic, starting with this post.
Nevertheless, Candidate Lippold wastes no time condemning and bear-hugging torture in the same breath.
HOST: Well, the president was met with reality at Guantanamo Bay. It's clearly still open, it looks like it's going to be open for it looks like at least the next couple of years. Give us a sense of how stopping the enhanced interrogation techniques have hurt, have jeopardized our country in the past couple of years.
LIPPOLD: Well, first and foremost, I do not support torture, but I think the president needs to give himself and others the flexibility that should there be a time and a place where enhanced interrogation may be necessary to be used in the war on terror, he needs to be able to provide that authorization. To not do that does endanger us because while in fact enhanced interrogation techniques may have worked to get us those threads they should only be used in the most extreme of circumstances.
But to unilaterally say we will never use them is not a responsible action.
HOST: President Barack Obama has said he is against these enhanced interrogation techniques and yet CIA director Leon Panetta did not deny that waterboarding or these techniques may have been used to help bring Usama Bin Laden to justice. Do you think it's an important part of what leads to a domino effect, leading from one piece of information to another?
LIPPOLD: It could have very well. I'm not sure of the exact specifics. I frankly believe that the only reason the administration right now is even telling us they used enhanced interrogation techniques is a political calculation going into the 2012 elections because they want to say "Look, even though we got vital information as a result of those enhanced interrogation techniques we don't use them any more. And look at what the great intelligence is that we have. "
I think it's a political calculation that we're being told about this and has nothing to do with the reality of fighting the war. And we need to preserve every option available to us in order to keep this nation safe.
What bothers me about this segment (even though it's likely that only about 3 people saw it), is how glibly a candidate for the United States Congress just lies about the facts in order to make a case for something that is evil. It's not just immoral. It's evil. That is all. Evil.