December 16, 2014

Jared Del Rosso asked "What's left for America's torture apologists?" in an article this week over at The Huffington Post and explained perfectly what we saw for a good portion of this Monday's interview with former CIA director Michael Morell on the Charlie Rose show, where he did his best to try to justify his agency's actions and the torture committed in our country's name.

For the past several years, America's torture apologists have been telling stories about the CIA's "enhanced interrogation" program. The stories go like this: Following the capture of high-value al Qaeda members, particularly Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the CIA found traditional interrogation techniques inadequate. Facing both the threat of imminent attacks and recalcitrant detainees known to have information about those attacks, the CIA turned to "enhanced interrogation." Agency interrogators prevented detainees from sleeping by keeping detainees in stress positions, swung detainees into walls, and, in only three cases, waterboarded detainees. These and other "enhanced" practices underwent rigorous legal review. They were employed with care by trained professionals, who immediately stopped using the techniques when detainees divulged the information that the Agency needed.

Which is exactly what Morell did during the first few minutes in the clip above, along with making sure, just as Cheney did, that everyone knew that George W. Bush was fully aware of the techniques that were being used and that he signed off of most of them. When Rose asked him specifically what the list of items were that Bush had approved, rather than name them, here's what Morell offered up.

MORELL: So, you know, kind of the least was grabbing somebody by the lapels to get their attention if they're not paying attention all the way to waterboarding, right? Sleep deprivation, you know, kind of near the far end there. Sleep deprivation, one of the most effective. Waterboarding, very effective. So they ranged, right?

But he approved them. He approved these specific techniques. He said so in his book, right? Now here's where he gets to the morality question. So legal and effective and certainly thought to be effective at the time, right? So the morality question is not easy.

I think some people make it sound really easy, right? Why would you ever do this? The morality question is actually quite difficult. On the one hand, the question is how could you possibly do the stuff at the far end, right, to another human being? Particularly done by a country that stands for human dignity and stands for human rights. How could you possibly do that, right?

I understand that. It resonates with me to some extent as it does with a lot of people, right? But then you look at the other side of the morality coin. How can you possibly not do those things when you believe that you need to do them in order to stop plots and save Americans from being killed?

I'd say it's time for someone to reexamine their belief system is he honestly thinks that's the only two choices we had. That garbage is straight out of a plot line for 24.


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