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 Ann Coulter Reply

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 December, 2007

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 Ann Coulter - Watering Down Waterboarding

How to Water Down Waterboarding

By Al Owens
“Tailgunner” Joe McCarthy died on May 2nd, 1957. He’s actually uncovered more commie infiltrators since then, than he did while he was alive. Somebody please tell Ann Coulter that.

In a little more than a month, she’s regurgitated three columns about the inept commie hunter, while there are so many more inept C.I.A. directors about whom to write.

Real news, especially when it doesn’t particularly prove some neo-con talking point, isn’t really news to a person who’d rather avoid the sad fact that McCarthy would have had problems discovering a communist inside the Politburo.

Within a week, dueling CIA mini-scandals have emerged that have sent Democrats running victory laps and Republicans hiding under their beds.

There’ve been a number of congressional hearings that have looked into the fact that the CIA has destroyed video tapes of al-Qaeda detainee interrogations. Regardless of what was on those tapes, the agency had been warned to preserve them. The agency, as it turns out, didn’t preserve them.

On Wednesday, CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden, went behind closed House Intelligence Committee doors to explain that you can get some brand new tapes down there at the Radio Shack. Besides, they’re having a two for one sale this week.

Actually, none of what was mentioned inside the hearing room has been revealed, but Hayden did emerge and tell reporters that, "I think that it's fair to say that, particularly at the time of the (tapes) destruction, we could have done an awful lot better in keeping the committee alerted and informed as to that activity." Translation: We’re in a heap a trouble.

Meanwhile there’s that familiar circular argument about the contents of the tapes – the interrogations themselves. More specifically, is waterboarding considered torture.

Waterboarding, according to neo-cons, is no worse than bobbing for apples – except without the apples. To most non-neo-cons, waterboarding is considered torture and Un-American.

In 2002, when the Justice Department gave the CIA the approval to engage in waterboarding, some parents across America cheered, because they’d been handed a new tool to get their kids to eat their vegetables.

Opinions have changed about waterboarding since then, and broccoli sales, as a result, have plummeted. There have also been serious legal challenges to the practice of waterboarding, and to whether it’s covered by the Geneva Conventions.

Legal challenges, mean calls for the preservation of evidence. The CIA didn’t get those memos, I presume. Thus, a brand new set of embarrassments for the Bush administration, and another public argument over whether waterboarding should be used to get detainees to admit they’re close personal friends with Osama Bin Laden, and that they have a strange craving to eat a radish.

I don’t know for sure that waterboarding can be considered torture. I do think that if Ann Coulter writes another one of those Joe McCarthy columns, detainees should be forced to read it. They’d squeal on their entire family.

While there are current CIA officials facing hard questions regarding interrogations, a former CIA interrogator has stepped forward and created yet another mini-scandal.

Former CIA Agent John Kiriakou, has claimed that he knew for certain that in 2002 Bin Laden’s close associate, Abu Zubaydah, had been subjected to waterboarding, and he’d handed over “actionable” intelligence to his CIA interrogators.

Suddenly, Fox News began celebrating the new revelation that waterboarding does produce good information. According to Fox’s John Gibson, “You can call it torture, but waterboarding worked.” Bill O’Reilly seized the opportunity to blame Democrats for questioning waterboarding in the first place.

After O’Reilly showed two video clips, (one with Sen. John McCain, and the other with Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid) each casting a dim view of waterboarding, he gleefully added, “That’s the Democratic line. That’s the party line for the Dems.”

O’Reilly seemed proud to announce that a Republican candidate for president, McCain, had somehow become a Democrat.

Yet, neither Gibson nor O’Reilly presented the full context on which Kiriakou had come forward. The Kiriakou interview was nearly a half hour long and was shown on ABC. (Who needs a half hour, when you can find one statement that suits your purpose?)

He clearly stated that at the time of the Zubaydah interrogations he felt that waterboarding had been appropriate. More importantly, though, he’s changed his mind since then. “I think that waterboarding is something I don’t think we should be doing,” he told ABC’s Brian Ross. “Because we’re Americans, and Americans are better than that,” he added.

Fox News must have been practicing fact avoidance by ignoring those statements.

Meanwhile, there’s been even more information that Fox News may avoid about enhanced interrogation techniques that don’t produce the hoped for results.

It’s information that helped frame the argument to go to war with Iraq.

Secretary of Defense Colin Powell went before the United Nations in 2003 armed with this little bit of fantasy, "I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these [chemical and biological] weapons to al-Qaeda."

The problem is the supposed operative, it was later discovered, had produced the Saddam Hussein/al-Qaeda connections out of thin air. He’d later claim since he’d been stuffed into 20 inch x 20 inch box for 17 hours, he would have admitted to anything.

Even to being Bill O’Reilly’s and John Gibson’s journalism teacher.