“I’m not here to defend torture” writes former CIA Director (2006 to 2009) Michael Hayden in today’s Telegraph.
And I have no intention of doing so either. But I can’t be the only one who finds something a little disturbing about the witch-hunt unanimity among our mainstream media – not just on the left but on the right too – that the US Senate Intelligence Committee report into the CIA’s use of torture against suspected terrorists constitutes, as the Mail put it on its front page, the Shaming of the West.
A shaming act, I’d say, would be hijacking airliners and flying their screaming passengers into office buildings with the deliberate intent of killing thousands of workers; or throwing acid into the faces of women for the crime of seeking an education; or raping, enslaving and beheading people just because they belong to the wrong religion; or kidnapping schoolgirls and selling them into slavery; or burning people alive in churches; or holding people prisoner, then decapitating them for the benefit of lushly produced propaganda videos; or blowing people up on buses and underground trains; or running over a soldier in the street and then hacking his head half off; or blasting the legs off onlookers at a marathon. The West has been guilty of none of these things. Nor would it dream of doing such things.
So I’m really not buying into this moral equivalence nonsense – this idea that “because Guantanamo” or “because water-boarding”, we are no longer in a position to pass judgement on the barbarities committed in the name of Islam because, hey, like, we’re just as bad, man.
You expect that kind of half-baked relativist drivel from the Guardianistas, sure. But I really don’t understand why we all have to play the game just because a Democrat Senate in its dying dog days has cynically chosen to rush out a report with the purpose of trying to make its Republican predecessors look evil and to make the Worst President Ever look half way decent.
Especially not when, as Hayden notes, the report is so blatantly partial and shoddy.
The Senate Democrat document reads like a shrill prosecutorial screed rather than a dispassionate historical study. What happened here seems clear. The staff started with a conclusion and then “cherry picked” their way through 6 million pages of documents, ignoring some data and highlighting others, to make their case.
In the intelligence profession, that is called politicization.
What kind of message will this handwringing and self-abasement send out to our enemies, do we think?
Is it going to make them less likely to torture their hostages, perhaps, now that we in the West are all in full public agreement that torture is bad, m’kay?
Do we imagine that they will look on us with new admiration and respect now that they know how solicitous we belatedly realise we should have been towards the needs of those terrorists who were trying to kill us?
Or is it more likely, perhaps, that they will be laughing their faces off at our disunity, at the Democrat Senate’s willingness to make almost as free with secret information as Edward Snowden did, at the idea that we are so enfeebled by politically correct squeamishness that we’d rather see a thousand of our own people die than that one terrorist suspect should be waterboarded?