May 18, 2009

Apparently Pete King either hasn't read Janis Karpinski's book, or he thinks that the rest of the public hasn't and will believe his spin while arguing with the ACLU's Anthony Romero on Face the Nation. I had a hard time watching Congressman King because he looked like he was so excited he was hyperventilating for the entire interview while he made the ACLU out to be pretty much the equivalent of evil incarnate.

Everyone knows the ACLU is just an evil, partisan, liberal front group and would never come to the defense of someone like oohhhh... a Rush Limbaugh....right?

Heaven forbid we might want some accountability for torturing prisoners which we are finding out came from the top, was as Mr. Romero indicated wide spread, and was not used to keep America safe, but to justify invading another country that was never a threat to us.

You can watch the entire exchange at CBS's web site.

Smith: Let's move on to the interrogation photos. It's a rather significant reversal of Obama policy because it was quite clear, two courts have already decided these photos should be made public. Then apparently on the advice of Gen. Odierno and Defense Sec. Gates, that these photos should be held. What do you think?

Romero: Well we're all concerned about the safety of our soldiers. That's obvious. Look what's also true is that it's not the photos that put them at risk. It's the policies that authorized torture and abuse that was authorized at the highest levels and then went down the chain of command across the theaters of war. When we're talking about 2000 photos that talk about abuse or torture in American custody, we're not talking about a few rogue apples.

We're not talking about a few rogue soldiers. We're talking about decisions made at the highest levels of our government and the only way to deal with that would be to have investigations and prosecutions to insure accountability.

Smith: We'll get to that in just a second. Congressman, should these photos be made public or should they be kept secret?

King: Absolutely not. They serve absolutely no purpose and it is absolutely wrong to say this was approved at the highest levels of government. Not just President Bush, but President Obama, President Obama said that those who were guilty of this have been punished. It was a few people and the fact is anyone involved in this absolutely disgraceful conduct, they should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. But to somehow think that by floating all these pictures out there, somehow we're going to find that somebody at a high level was involved, this is absolutely wrong.

It does put our troops in danger and it serves no purpose other than to denigrate and down grade the military of the United States and this canard is always out there. People at the highest levels approved it. I don't know anyone at the highest levels that approved Abu Ghraib, but if President Barack Obama for a moment thought that somebody at a high level had approved it he would go after them.


Smith: The idea of these harsher interrogation methods has been part and parcel of the Bush administration going back to all the way back to 2002. That's been documented. And people who were convicted in Abu Ghraib..ahh..travesty, feel especially the lower level folks, feel like they were scapegoated by this. Might these pictures not in fact show that this was endemic and part of the process?

King: No. Because there was no connection at all between the CIA memos, the interrogations that were carried out, the extra interrogations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the others have nothing to do with what MP Reservists might have been doing at Abu Ghraib. That was out and out torture. That was out and out humiliation and debasing of prisoners and there's no way that they knew what was going on as far as the CIA examining Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. That is a phony argument that was thrown out there to try to meld it all together.

The fact is the CIA memo was very precise, very direct. What those others were doing was all upon their own and the ACLU is trying to meld it all together so they can just attack the United States.

Smith: Alright. Anthony Remoro is this an issue of transparency or security?

Romero: Absolutely it's about both. And we should be clear, the government chose not to make this a question around national security. There are exemptions around the Freedom of Information Act the government chose not to claim. This is a question about how do we redress the secrecy that was endemic in the Bush administration? This law suit I might remind the public is a law suit we filed in October 2003. We asked for any and all documents related to torture and abuse at Guantanamo, at Abu Ghraib and in Bagram.

The 2000 photos, the sheer volume of them show that these were not a couple of isolated incidences. We're likely to find photos from across all of the theaters of war. They are likely to show exactly those enhanced interrogation techniques that were authorized at the Office of Legal Counsel's highest levels and frankly that's why we need them in order to insure accountability.


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