Friday, June 01, 2007

Why the Surge Is Not Working; and Oatmeal for Brains in the Senate

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A few months of surge cannot make up for over four years of catastrophic mistakes:

The reason [it] is not working is a no-brainer: An 11th-hour change in modus operandi and a paltry 30,000 additional troops are not going to undo the damage inflicted by the White House in four-plus years of stage managing a war that should not have been fought in the first place and was fundamentally misunderstood and underresourced from Day One.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has come to a startling conclusion [emphasis mine]:
The Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday questioned the continuing value of the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret interrogation program for terrorism suspects, suggesting that international condemnation and the obstacles it has created to criminal prosecution may outweigh its worth in gathering information.

The committee rejected by one vote a Democratic proposal that would essentially have cut money for the program by banning harsh interrogation techniques except in dire emergencies, a committee report revealed.

“More than five years after the decision to start the program,” the report said, “the committee believes that consideration should be given to whether it is the best means to obtain a full and reliable intelligence debriefing of a detainee.”

It added: “Both the Congress and the administration must continue to evaluate whether having a separate C.I.A. detention program that operates under different interrogation rules than those applicable to military and law enforcement officers is necessary, lawful and in the best interests of the United States.”

The sweeping report, which accompanies the annual bill authorizing the activities of all of the spy agencies, reflects a striking reassertion of aggressive oversight since Democrats took control of Congress this year. Some Republicans joined in the skeptical language about several spying programs, and the report as a whole was approved 12 to 3, with the backing of all eight Democrats and four of the seven Republicans.

Wow! What breathtaking political courage! I am impressed.

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