Thursday, October 04, 2007

CIA torture revelations....wait, this is the CIA we're talking about, right?

(title link) So we're shocked, shocked(!), to find out that the CIA has been authorized to use torture. But the CIA has always used torture. The only difference between now and then is that the Justice Department has explicitly endorsed some techniques in a way that's left a paper trail. My impression is that the CIA is doing what it's always done. For example, there's a great book by Douglas Valentine called "The Phoenix Program" that outlines a CIA run "counter-insurgency" program in Vietnam that relied on the commission of random murders in suspected disloyal towns in Vietnam to scare the townspeople into supporting the Americans. Valentine documents Army personnel sneaking into houses, slitting the throats of all the people in them, and occasionally nailing playing cards into the foreheads of victims, among other examples of random terror. The actions were planned and overseen by the CIA, which in turn got its orders from the executive branch in collaboration with the military. There's also the issue of the CIA torture manual found in the possession of a Central American death squad in the 1980s, not to mention CIA order assassinations and coup plotting/executing. So it kind of strikes me as odd that the CIA being exposed as using torture is a "stop the presses" kind of thing. I think it's strategically important in that the paper trail can be used to bring down sections of the Bush administration through legal challenges and Congressional hearings, but strategery is strategery, and we shouldn't act like innocenti in relation to this 'revelation'.

1 comment:

Renegade Eye said...

I disliked the liberal left, supporting Valerie Plame, as if we care that a CIA agent is outted. The law used to protect her, was written against the left.

Strengthening and uniting the antiwar movement might be a good first step. The Democrats can't be trusted.