Exulting the ‘ends’ of Osama’s death’ while prosecuting its watery ‘means’
Anyone who watched Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace interview the president’s national security adviser last week got an authentic and disturbing view of just how unthinking, irrational and indefensible the administration’s position is on waterboarding and other get-tough interrogation tactics in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s killing.
Wallace, the son of longtime 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace, had Obama’s top security adviser, Tom Donilon, completely hog-tied in the strangling inconsistencies that choke logic from the modern liberal’s view of enhanced interrogation of radical Islamist terrorists.
Before rolling the tape on the Fox News interview, this prologue: I don’t begrudge the Obama administration its victory lap after bin Laden’s kill call.
President Barack Obama and every American have a legitimate right to relish the thought of Osama bin Laden thrashing out of his bed on hearing helicopters landing just outside his compound; on the thought of his heart exploding out of his jihadist jammies when hearing the noise of gunfire downstairs; on the image of the white panic that must have set in as the footsteps of American boots neared his door.
It’s been said that blood-lust is an unhealthy human phenomenon. I agree. Usually.
Thus, even the harshest critics of President Obama should forgive him for a fit of glee when the bin Laden mission was accomplished. It was Obama’s mission after all.
But, as much as it pains all the national security know-nothings on the left to admit, it was not Barack Obama’s mission alone. Not by a long shot.
Indeed, if Barack Obama had been president on or after 9/11, there’s reason to believe that Osama bin Laden would have never been found at all, and certainly not by this team of SEALs on this night.
Much evidence suggests that America probably would have never found, captured or killed bin Laden but for the enhanced interrogation stratagems that the Democratic Party has so popularly vilified — enhanced interrogation techniques that Obama has battered, beaten and bollixed, techniques that his White House has banned and his own Department of Justice has attempted to criminally prosecute.
Think of it: In the surreal world of Barack Obama-land, CIA operatives who waterboard terrorists are prosecuted as criminals, but special forces who use the intelligence derived from that waterboarding are national heroes. That’s odd even for Team Hope & Change.
It may be possible for a Christian to love the sinner and hate the sin, but, unfortunately for Obama, it’s not possible to hate the waterboard and love the intelligence that the waterboard pulled from the terrorists’ lips.
When Chris Wallace pointed this kernel of hypocrisy out to Donilon last Sunday, it sent the Obama security czar into a near clinical fit of stammering, stuttering, and excuse-making. Let’s roll the tape:
Wallace: “Since the raid, the CIA director, Leon Panetta (and others) say enhanced interrogation, including waterboarding, provided some of the information that led to that raid on the bin Laden compound. Are they right?”
Donilon: “Well, I can answer it this way — as the national security adviser, I’m not going to comment on specific pieces of intelligence gotten from specific sources.”
Wallace: “Did any of the information, any of the fruits of enhanced interrogation — was that part of the jigsaw puzzle?”
Donilon: “It doesn’t really work that way, though, right? I mean, it works in terms of a whole mosaic of information being put together.” (He went on to call bin Laden a horrible person.)
Wallace: “I’m not asking you why it was OK to shoot Osama bin Laden. ... What I am second guessing is, if that’s OK, why can’t you do waterboarding? Why can’t you do enhanced interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was just as bad an operator as Osama bin Laden?”
Donilon: “Because, well, our judgment is that it’s not consistent with our values, not consistent and not necessary in terms of getting the kind of intelligence that we need.”
Wallace: “But shooting bin Laden in the head is consistent with our values?”
Donilon: “We are at war with Osama bin Laden.”
Wallace: “We’re at war with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.”
Donilon: “I didn’t say it was inappropriate to get information from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.”
Wallace: “You said it was against our values.”
That is exactly the confounding contradiction emanating from this administration. Love the intelligence, but hate the waterboard that obtained it; exult the “end” — bin Laden’s death — even while criminally prosecuting its very “means.”
Josh Penry is a former Colorado Senate minority leader and a graduate of Grand Junction High School and Mesa State College.