Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sunday Drive By

I'm debating whether I'll be able to watch the Dick Cheney interview on this mornings Meet the Press. It might be worth watching just to see how insulting Cheney is to all the administration's critics, whose moral and intellectually clarity he questions, who he calls a traitor, etc. He may unveil a new talking point or two. I'd hate to miss that. It could be fun to see how often Tim Russert refuses to push back when Cheney talks nonsense. (Then again, it might be hard to keep count.)


The New York Times has a pair of interesting articles this morning. David Johnston reveals information about the CIA secret prison and interrogation system. It's a pretty good insight on how the program worked, and gives compelling details on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, the first Osama bin Laden henchman captured after 9/11. Zubdayah apparently gave the C.I.A. some interesting information about American terror suspect Jose Padilla.
Mr. Zubaydah dismissed Mr. Padilla as a maladroit extremist whose hope to construct a dirty bomb, using conventional explosives to disperse radioactive materials, was far-fetched. He told his questioners that Mr. Padilla was ignorant on the subject of nuclear physics and believed he could separate plutonium from nuclear material by rapidly swinging over his head a bucket filled with fissionable material.

Padilla, you'll recall, is the American citizen whom the Bush administration sought to deny access to the courts by labeling his as an enemy combatant.

Also in the Times Adam Nagourney tells us the GOP has lined up behind Senator Lincoln Chafee to block a challenge to his Rhode Island primary nomination. They fear his Republican opponent, Stephen Laffey, is to conservative to win the general election. It's a sign of the times when the Republicans back a liberal candidate in hopes of maintaining its majority in the Senate. Brian Nick, communications director for the Republican Senate campaign committee, says that if Laffey wins the primary, the party will cede the Rhode Island senate seat to the Democrats. Laffey is apparently so far behind in the general election polls it would be a waste of money to back him.


Well, here's Cheney on Russert's show. Guess I'll have to watch.


  1. Of course you're going to watch. You can't stop yourself. It's like a bird confronted by a deadly snake. We all have this fascination with danger, although most of us are content to play with "wet paint" signs on benches, rather than with hand grenades.

    You already know what he's going to say; the fascination lies in wondering just what vile concoction of themes he will introduce this week.

    You're an adrenalin junkie, Jeff. ;)

  2. I'm watching now. He's horrifying.

  3. I guess if young mister bush had gone to SERE school he'd have learned something. Well in case, perhaps not; no Gentleman's "C's" in SERE.

    It doesn't work. Schmucks. John McCain was tortured and could have gone home when his dad was CinCPAC. Did the torture work? How much further do you need to look for an example than that? The POWs who were held in Hanoi endured phenomenal torture ... things whose descriptions would make Captain Corndog and Huge Halfwit shit themselves and didn't "break" unless instructed to do so by other members of the POW command, or to keep themselves alive.

    I still remember the "refrigerator officer" story from SERE. I figure that everytime CIA brings out the Justice Department-approved thumbscrews the terrorist du jour being interrogated probably brings out their version of that story to make the pain stop, and no one is probably the wiser. We are no better at Muslim culture than the North Vietnamese torturers were at understanding surfing and cheeseburgers.

  4. I have yet to hear a single professional interrogator say torture works.