Osama bin Laden Is Dead UPDATE: He Died In A Mansion? UPDATE: He Died Today In A Firefight UPDATE: GWB Congratulates BHO, Troops UPDATE: Dies On Holocaust Memorial Day

And has been dead for a week.

From FOX News:

Sources said bin Laden was killed by a U.S. bomb a week ago. The U.S. had been waiting for the results of a DNA test to confirm his identity.

The news is still breaking. Rumors say US Military Bases have gone to Condition Bravo as a result; however, I have no idea what that really means, other than they’re on higher alert than they were.

UPDATE: From Daily Caller:

Sources indicate that Osama bin Laden was killed in a mansion, outside of Islamabad, Pakistan. It seems that Pakistan has some explaining to do….

UPDATE: Allahpundit is all over this.

Reuters says US Special Forces killed him.

The report is bin Laden was killed in a firefight deep inside Pakistan today, and not by a bomb last week. There are reports that members of bin Laden’s family were killed with him. If this is true, Pakistani officials have a lot of explaining to do in regards to how bin Laden could be in a city deep inside Pakistan without getting caught until now.

UPDATE: He was killed in Abbottabad, 75 miles northeast of the Capital City of Islamabad, and outside the “tribal areas” — where the Pakistani government has little sway — and in an area where the Pakistani government does have control. This little bit from Allahpundit is rather striking:

A telling aside from O’s speech: He said that he called Pakistan’s president after the incident to let him know — which, presumably, means there wasn’t Pakistani cooperation after all. As I said earlier, relations between us will never be the same.

UPDATE: George W Bush congratulates Obama and our troops.

May 1, 2011

Earlier this evening, President Obama called to inform me that American forces killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al Qaeda network that attacked America on September 11, 2001. I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission. They have our everlasting gratitude. This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.

UPDATE: Jim Hoft reports Abbottabad, where bin Laden was killed, is the home of the Pakistani Military Academy. More questions the Pakistani government needs to answer.

UPDATE: ABC News reports bin Laden was in a million-dollar mansion many times larger than the surrounding residences, that the mansion was built like a fortress to hide someone, that women and children were present inside the mansion and that among those killed was a woman who had been used as a human shield.

According to U.S. officials, two U.S. helicopters swept into the compound at 1:30 and 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning. Twenty to 25 U.S. Navy Seals under the command of the Joint Special Operations Command in cooperation with the CIA stormed the compound and engaged Bin Laden and his men in a firefight, killed Bin Laden and all those with him.

Two Bin Laden couriers were killed, as was one of Osama Bin Laden’s son, as was a woman reportedly used as a shield by one of the men. Other women and children were present in the compound, according to Pakistani officials, but were not harmed. U.S. officials said that Bin Laden himself did fire his weapon during the fight.

According to Pakistani officials, the operation was a joint U.S.-Pakistani operation, but U.S. officials said only U.S. personnel were involved in the raid.

UPDATE: Sarah Palin speaks out.

Americans tonight are united in celebration and gratitude. God bless all the brave men and women in our military and our intelligence services who contributed to carrying out the successful mission to bring bin Laden to justice and who laid the groundwork over the years to make this victory possible. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of these brave Americans who relentlessly hunted down our enemy.

This is a victory for the American people, for the victims who were heartlessly murdered on September 11 and in Al Qaeda’s other numerous attacks, and for all the peace-loving people of the world.

May God bless our troops and our intelligence services, and God bless America!

- Sarah Palin

UPDATE: Osama bin Laden dies on Holocaust Memorial Day. Now, that’s poetic justice.

UPDATE: Key information was obtained from GITMO detainees four years ago. From Allahpundit’s updates:

Update: An Al-Arabiya correspondent claims that two of Bin Laden’s wives and four of his sons were captured during the raid. Apparently, the key to the whole operation was finding and tracking Bin Laden’s most trusted courier, a process that took years — and involved info given by Guantanamo detainees:

Some time after Sept. 11, detainees held by the U.S. told interrogators about a man believed to work as a courier for bin Laden, senior administration officials said. The man was described by detainees as a protégé of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and “one of the few Al Qaeda couriers trusted by bin laden.”

Initially, intelligence officials only had the man’s nickname, but they discovered his real name four years ago.

Two years ago, intelligence officials began to identify areas of Pakistan where the courier and his brother operated, and the great security precautions the two men took aroused U.S. suspicions.

Last August, intelligence officials tracked the men to their residence in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a relatively wealthy town 35 miles north of Islamabad where many retired military officers live.

So, while we’re busy thanking Obama, the troops, the Intelligence community, don’t forget to thank Bush and the GITMO policy for getting Osama.
___________
Cross-Post

158 Comments

  1. Pingback: Osama bin Laden Is Dead « Truth Before Dishonor

  2. Woot! Obama said he’d get bin Laden, and he did.

    Bush said he’d get Osama too – but he got sidetracked into the place with all the oil in it.

  3. Number of Americans killed because ObL ordered the Sept. 11th attacks – 2977.

    Number of Americans killed because GWB ordered the invasion of Iraq – 4404 as of May 28 2010.

    George W Bush is still alive, and has yet to be charged with any war crimes.

  4. Pho there’s a right way and a wrong way to celebrate when American forces get the bad guy – guess who’s doing it the wrong way – I’ll give you a hint, his handle rhymes with “Propecian in a lime of doughmans”

  5. “Celebrating because you got the bad guy” has a bitter ring to it given the number of perfectly innocent people slaughtered in the process. You may have also noted your country going mad, torturing prisoners, ratcheting up the security state at home, and sending its global image directly into the toilet.

    Anyway, somebody else noted that this is also the anniversary of Bush announcing “Mission Accomplished” – the majority of military and civilian casualties have, of course, died since then.

    The Republican President put on a jumpsuit and postured for teh camera. The Democrat President appears to have delivered.

  6. I agree with cbmc, which under normal circumstances would be a surprise. What isn’t a surprise is Pho is in the wrong.

    Bush built much of the apparatus Obama used for the military and intelligence agencies to finally get Osama. Bush gets the credit he deserves, Obama gets the credit he deserves, the Intelligence community get the credit they deserve, the military gets the credit it deserves, Osama gets the Hell he deserves.

  7. Obama gets Osama! Way to go, my fine brother.

    Anybody still worried that he wouldn’t pull the trigger when he had the guy in the sights? Or worried that he would defer to Pakistan, or that he would not send troops to wherever Osama might be found? All questions answered.

    And they’ve apparently been working on this for 6 weeks without a single leak. That says something, too.

    I absolutely agree with those posters up the thread that Pakistan is going to have to answer some hard questions; our worst enemy living in luxury 60 miles from Islamabad — looks bad.

    I’m looking forward to watching Obama’s SOTU speech in 2013.

  8. So, Osama bin Laden is finally getting his 72 white grapes.

    I didn’t get much time to look at the news stories; supposedly the US waited until DNA testing confirmed that it was Mr bin Laden who was killed, and his body was dumped given a proper Islamic “burial” at sea. I hope that they kept enough of the DNA sample, because disposing of the unlovely corpse where it can’t be found again gives us the possibility that there will be bin Laden impersonators, or claims that he isn’t dead. But burial at sea also means there won’t be some martyr’s gravesite the Islamists can use for their own purposes.

  9. So, Osama bin Laden is finally getting his 72 white grapes.

    Back in Roman times, Christians were regarded with disgust because they ate human flesh and drunk human blood as part of their religious rituals.

    Of course, nowadays this is seen as the Romans acting on a spiteful distortion of the Christian religion. The Romans were engaging in deliberately ignorant bigotry in order to justify their hatred of and persecution of Christians.

  10. I’m looking forward to watching Obama’s SOTU speech in 2013.

    People said the same thing in 1991 after the first Gulf War about George HW Bush when his approval #s were approaching 90%. We know how election 1992 turned out.

    Woot! Obama said he’d get bin Laden, and he did.

    He said he’d do a lot of things, like close Gitmo within one year. Many of these proclamations helped get him elected. Ironically, Obama chose to maintain many of the exact same policies as his predecessor.

  11. The news is still breaking. Rumors say US Military Bases have gone to Condition Bravo as a result; however, I have no idea what that really means, other than they’re on higher alert than they were.

    It means all gates on all posts with well armed guards. Full ID check, and car inspection.

  12. Yorkshire: “It means all gates on all posts with well armed guards. Full ID check, and car inspection.”

    It’s not like that all the time? Dang.

    As for Pakistan, the U.S. government should have officially warned them that they were approaching a suspected bin Laden hiding place… once we had the house surrounded and the phone lines tapped. The incoming calls would surely have been quite interesting.

    “…don’t forget to thank Bush and the GITMO policy for getting Osama.”

    This is disappointing to me. It’s finding out we won by cheating. Some of the people that would gloat over this would also gloat over a 50% discount at a shop, won by torturing the owner until he relented.

    America shouldn’t win by being more evil than the enemy. Or as evil.

  13. Nangleator says:
    2 May 2011 at 09:30 (Edit)
    Yorkshire: “It means all gates on all posts with well armed guards. Full ID check, and car inspection.”

    It’s not like that all the time? Dang.

    At ALPHA, it’s armed guards and ID check. The more sensetive the post, the more scrutiny. There are places that are BRAVO when the rest are at Alpha. CHARLIE is practically a strip search.

  14. My congratulations and heartfelt appreciation to all of those who risked their lives to bring justice to Osama Bin Laden. I am appreciative of the work of the CIA and the Navy Seals, and not only the selfless contributions of the US military, but also of the military men and women from the other nations who have joined in the coalition to fight the War on Terror and, of course, to both Presidents Bush and Obama for remaining steadfast in the quest to remove Bid Laden from power–by whatever means.

    I also believe those who gleaned the information from Gitmo detainees that identified Bin Laden’s trusted courier deserve the highest praise. It is their work that opened the door to the events of the past few days.

    For those who feel compelled to sound off your sanctimonious concerns about the methods that accomplished the praiseworthy end, feel free to wring your hands in mock dismay. You sound foolish and petty and woefully ignorant–but it is your First Amendment Right to display your boorishness for all to read.

  15. For all you liberals that think this action (accomplished by our military’s finest, and the intell community), will propel Obama to another term, remember this:

    At 18 months prior to the 1992 election, Bush Sr. was riding high on 92% approval in the wake of Desert Storm. We all know how that turned out.

    After the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, “detainees gave us information on couriers. One courier in particular had our constant attention. Detainees gave us his nom de guerre, his pseudonym, and also identified this man as one of the few couriers trusted by bin Laden.”

    It’s being reported also that one of the main couriers was tracked straight out of Gitmo, (the detention facility Obama has promised to close since 2007), Detainess gave us the information on these curriers. How this info was kept from the New York Times is a miracle.

    Help Wanted: Islamist Curriers—Applications will be forwarded to new undisclosed location, via the New York Times.

  16. Why would “Islamists” need people to process leather as part of their terror operations, Rove?

  17. Now I lay me down to sleep…one less terrorist this world does keep…with all my heart I give my thanks…to those in uniform regardless of ranks…you serve our country and serve it well…with humble hearts your stories tell…so as I rest my weary eyes…while freedom rings our flag still flies…you give your all, do what you must…with God we live and God we trust….Amen

    (borrowed from Facebook)

  18. The Republican President put on a jumpsuit and postured for teh camera. The Democrat President appears to have delivered.

    It’s quite a contrast: Little Boots strutting out onto the deck of an aircraft carrier, cod-piece bursting, to declare Mission Accomplished compared to Obama, eight years later, standing alone at a podium soberly stating that bin Laden had been brought to justice. And while Donald Trump was deciding whether or not to fire Lil Jon, our Kenyan, Marxist, Jimmy Carter Part Deux president was signing the executive order to put a bullet in Osama’s brain and feed him to the sharks. It puts what he said about not having time for “silliness” into perspective.

    On a lighter note…who knew that Donald Trump was such a fat-ass? I saw him marching up to the podium in New Hampshire (after getting out of his rented helicopter) and thought he looked like a Howard Taft in training. I guess it’s because you only see him behind a desk.

  19. For all you liberals that think this action (accomplished by our military’s finest, and the intell community), will propel Obama to another term, remember this:

    Thanks for the concern trolling, Rovin.

    While it’s not guaranteed to deliver a 2012 victory it will certainly take the wind out of Ann Coulter’s sails as she pens yet another rewrite of her favorite libs-r-girly-boys-Republicans-r-uber-mensch theme and that’s enough for me.

    I know it’s a crappy week for Republicans, guys, but it’ll be over soon. Weepy John Boehner is back in the Hiz-zouse.

  20. Naggy, apparently you missed the AP link.

    Update (AP): Howard Kurtz listened in on a conference call given by U.S. officials about the raid on the compound: Security at the compound was “extraordinary,” an official said, with 12- to 18-foot walls topped by barbed wire. Yet the $1 million compound had no phone or Internet service. “Our best assessment was that bin Laden was living there with several family members, including his youngest wife,” the official said.

    mike g, it’s a great day for all patriotic Americans regardless of political affiliation. There’ll be time enough in the coming days and weeks for your smarmy adolescent comments. Today, they’re not only out of place, but they also reveal the sub-standard nature of your character.

  21. Ten years of patience and diligence have paid off for us.

    This is the way to fight these terrorists. We have the expertise and technology to do this, in contrast to invading nations and causing widespread collateral loss of life and property.

    We can expect retaliation from the terrorists, however, I think our record proves that we are much better prepared now to defend ourselves than we were ten years ago.

    Now is the perfect time to rethink our Afghanistan strategy. It’s time for the Afghans to run their own country, while we continue our internal focus to keep Americans safe.

    We also need to focus on our own drug addictions, since our demand for drugs like heroin and cocaine drive the production and sales carried out by organized criminal operations. Job creation should help too.

    Finally, we must nurture and support the historic revolutions occurring in the Middle East, the latest being the consolidation of the Palestinian factions in a move for peace with Israel and a Palestinian state. These are amazing times with so much opportunity to make things better.

  22. Perry mentioned drugs. It’s important to understand the central role of the drug trade to understand events in Afghanistan. Drugs represent an enormous threat to governments, the US included, because control of the trade means vast wealth that can be spent on enough men and weapons to challenge the sovereignty of nations.

    Control of the drug trade is essential for peace and stability. When governments are to weak or divided to effectively exercise control over drugs, mutinies, revolutions, and mayhem result. Examples abound. As ugly a truth as exists is that governments must control the drug trade or it will control them.

  23. This is the way to fight these terrorists. We have the expertise and technology to do this, in contrast to invading nations and causing widespread collateral loss of life and property.

    Now is the perfect time to rethink our Afghanistan strategy. It’s time for the Afghans to run their own country, while we continue our internal focus to keep Americans safe.

    Amen and amen, Perry.

    Finally, we must nurture and support the historic revolutions occurring in the Middle East, the latest being the consolidation of the Palestinian factions in a move for peace with Israel and a Palestinian state. These are amazing times with so much opportunity to make things better.

    Unfortunately, based on who’s behind some of these “revolutions,” that’s largely a pipe dream.

  24. Nangleator wrote:

    “…don’t forget to thank Bush and the GITMO policy for getting Osama.”

    This is disappointing to me. It’s finding out we won by cheating. Some of the people that would gloat over this would also gloat over a 50% discount at a shop, won by torturing the owner until he relented.

    So, would you have preferred that no information had been thus obtained, and Mr bin Laden was still alive and free?

  25. Perry says: Ten years of patience and diligence have paid off for us.

    Kudos to you, Perry, for those words and for the rest of that very fine post. Your thoughts are excellent and very well expressed.

    We don’t agree on many things, politically, so it’s especially nice to find a meeting of the minds on this momentous occasion.

  26. Dana: “So, would you have preferred that no information had been thus obtained, and Mr bin Laden was still alive and free?”

    Actually, yes. It’s nice that he’s dead, but it’s not important. He was de-fanged long ago. If I could trade this result for my country not torturing, not abridging freedoms in the name of security, and not betraying its own ideals, I’d do it in a second.

  27. Mike G wrote:

    On a lighter note…who knew that Donald Trump was such a fat-ass? I saw him marching up to the podium in New Hampshire (after getting out of his rented helicopter) and thought he looked like a Howard Taft in training. I guess it’s because you only see him behind a desk.

    No, it’s because your eyes are normally looking at his hair. :)

  28. Something is unclear to me on this: did President Obama have to personally authorize this mission? If the rules of engagement are such that a plan to take out Osama bin Laden, dependent upon real-time intelligence, still required the explicit authorization of the President, then the rules of engagement need to be changed.

    I’m guessing that we don’t know the whole story yet.

  29. Of course, I know nothing about the RoE on this or any other mission, but Jake Tapper of ABC has reported that the president weighed several methods of taking Obama out and, IMO, deserves much credit for choosing the option that he did.

    I am among those who believed that bin Laden had been blown to smithereens long ago. I didn’t really buy into the assurances that the recorded voice we heard over the years was really his. I believed that he had been killed during one of the bombings of various cave dwellings, but that there wasn’t enough left of him to prove, definitely, that he had crossed into whatever hell awaited him.

    I, therefore, credit BO with holding out for a means to take BO out that preserved enough of his remains to conduct a DNA match. The risk to the heroes who carried out the mission was great–they are truly heroes–but their successful mission plan ensured that it was Osama bin Laden…no doubt about it…whose life was ended.

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2011/05/president-obama-had-authorized-bombing-of-compound-in-march-but-wanting-evidence-of-obls-death-cance.html

  30. And Gretchen, thanks, and right, your link gives us more details into the actual decision making leading to the execution.

    It is remarkable to me that our Special Forces and other military support were able to pull this off. This is a great day!

    Certainly the Pakistanis must be the most surprised of all, to have this happen right under their noses, undetected.

    I believe it will turn out that the Pakistanis have known for years exactly where ObL was hiding. They are now in a most embarrassing position — Good!

    And Dana, I think Gretchen’s ABC link answers your question. Also you would have to consider how sensitive it was to carry this out in the territory of an ally. If the President were not the final word, he should have been. So far it looks as though his was the final word, but again, the exercise of this mission by those who carried it out is just too, too remarkable. And you know what, we will probably not know for years exactly who these heroes are. Cheers to them!!!

  31. I, therefore, credit BO with holding out for a means to take BO out that preserved enough of his remains to conduct a DNA match

    Would this be before or after he faked his long-form birth certificate to hide the fact that he’s a MarxistIslamist born in Kenya?

    You have a “belief”, with no underlying proof save vague wishing, which you are holding to in the face of all the actual evidence presented.

  32. Henry Whistler says:
    2 May 2011 at 14:49
    Pretty sure Jack Bauer killed Osama. That operation was 24-riffic!

    No, it was Chuck Norris.

  33. Phoenician in a time of Romans says: Would this be before or after he faked his long-form birth certificate to hide the fact that he’s a MarxistIslamist born in Kenya?

    You have a “belief”, with no underlying proof save vague wishing, which you are holding to in the face of all the actual evidence presented.

    Are you so desperate to see your screen name on a blog that you would go to such an extreme to fabricate completely an attribution you give to me?

    For the sake of blog harmony, let’s see the evidence of the accusation you have tossed my way. I challenge you to find a single post of mine in which I even suggested that Obama is a “MarxistIslamist born in Kenya.” Sans that evidence (which I’ll save you time by telling you it does not exist) I will expect an apology.

  34. For the sake of blog harmony, let’s see the evidence of the accusation you have tossed my way. I challenge you to find a single post of mine in which I even suggested that Obama is a “MarxistIslamist born in Kenya.” Sans that evidence (which I’ll save you time by telling you it does not exist) I will expect an apology.

    We all won’t live long enough to see that, 8-)

  35. Henry Whistler says:
    Pretty sure Jack Bauer killed Osama. That operation was 24-riffic!

    Yorkshire says:
    No, it was Chuck Norris.

    Nope, Cartman.

  36. Are you so desperate to see your screen name on a blog that you would go to such an extreme to fabricate completely an attribution you give to me?

    Are you really so dense that you fail to see an allusion to a comparably foolish piece of conspiracy stupidity?

    [retrieved from moderation - pH]

  37. Comment in moderation.

    For the sake of blog harmony, let’s see the evidence of the accusation you have tossed my way.

    For the sake of reading comprehension, please show where I accused you of holding that equally silly conspiracy.

  38. Dana Pico says:
    2 May 2011 at 13:50

    Something is unclear to me on this: did President Obama have to personally authorize this mission? If the rules of engagement are such that a plan to take out Osama bin Laden, dependent upon real-time intelligence, still required the explicit authorization of the President, then the rules of engagement need to be changed.

    +++++++++++++++++++

    My instant guess, required because of sending American military boots way into Pakistan, i.e., not CIA but regular military enlisted. He said he would do that if necessary, long ago. I doubt the military could have authorized a mission like that on their own. If it goes wrong, that authorization makes it Obama’s responsibility.

  39. Gretchen wrote:

    I am among those who believed that bin Laden had been blown to smithereens long ago. I didn’t really buy into the assurances that the recorded voice we heard over the years was really his. I believed that he had been killed during one of the bombings of various cave dwellings, but that there wasn’t enough left of him to prove, definitely, that he had crossed into whatever hell awaited him.

    I, therefore, credit BO with holding out for a means to take [OBL] out that preserved enough of his remains to conduct a DNA match. The risk to the heroes who carried out the mission was great–they are truly heroes–but their successful mission plan ensured that it was Osama bin Laden…no doubt about it…whose life was ended.

    To which the Phoenician responded:

    Would this be before or after he faked his long-form birth certificate to hide the fact that he’s a MarxistIslamist born in Kenya?

    You have a “belief”, with no underlying proof save vague wishing, which you are holding to in the face of all the actual evidence presented.

    What Gretchen said that she believed — past tense — was that Osama bin Laden had probably been killed early on, but we didn’t have the evidence for it. Then she congratulated President Obama for having ordered the termination mission in such a way to provide final evidence that he was killed in the raid. That doesn’t speak to her holding “a ‘belief’, with no underlying proof save vague wishing, which you are holding to in the face of all the actual evidence presented,” but one in which she stated that her previous belief was in error.

    Or, perhaps you were raising an issue, a belief which you have attributed to her, seemingly without evidence, on a subject completely unrelated to this matter.

    Either way, it seems as though you are the one who is mistaken.

  40. What Gretchen said that she believed — past tense — was that Osama bin Laden had probably been killed early on, but we didn’t have the evidence for it

    Whoops, my apologies – I read Gretchen as saying that she thought Obama had preserved obL’s remains from a previous execution. This was the stupid conspiracy theory to which I referred.

    I withdraw my comment, Gretchen.

  41. Dana wrote: What Gretchen said that she believed — past tense — was that Osama bin Laden had probably been killed early on, but we didn’t have the evidence for it.

    Phoenician wrote: Whoops, my apologies – I read Gretchen as saying that she thought Obama had preserved obL’s remains from a previous execution. This was the stupid conspiracy theory to which I referred.
    I withdraw my comment, Gretchen.

    Thanks to Dana and thanks to Phoenician.

    In honor of our kumbaya moment, I’m celebrating this rare spiritual coming together by liberally painting my fingernails and my toenails with a very unconservative shade of nail polish. http://www.nailpolishdiva.com/NLH08_opi_nail_polish.htm

  42. In honor of our kumbaya moment, I’m celebrating this rare spiritual coming together by liberally painting my fingernails and my toenails with a very unconservative shade of nail polish.

    I, for one, won’t be joining your celebration.

  43. There really are people (even right this minute, even) who do believe that ObL was killed years ago. (And I’m not talking “thought he might’ve been, but had no evidence either way” like Gretchen, which seems to be to’ve been a perfectly reasonable theory, even though it turns out not to’ve been the case… at least, so they’re telling us 8>), but folks who are all but certain he’s been dead since at least 2005, and that it was pretty common knowledge in the Middle East, but blacked out of American media. I ran into three or four of ‘em via comment sections, whilst perusing news stories and blogs today…

    I mean, I know it takes all kinds… …but it can be kinda surprising to see that axiom, in action.

  44. Nangleator says:
    2 May 2011 at 15:23

    Henry Whistler says:
    Pretty sure Jack Bauer killed Osama. That operation was 24-riffic!

    Yorkshire says:
    No, it was Chuck Norris.

    Nope, Cartman.

    Capt. America 8-)

  45. Gretchen wrote:

    In honor of our kumbaya moment, I’m celebrating this rare spiritual coming together by liberally painting my fingernails and my toenails with a very unconservative shade of nail polish.

    Considering your neighbor, won’t this offend him as well? But we will need pics!

  46. Unsurprising.


    Muslim Scholar Says Al Qaeda Leader’s Sea Burial ‘Humiliates’ Muslims


    By Hamza Hendawi 05/ 2/11 01:25 PM ET

    CAIRO — Muslim clerics said Monday that Osama bin Laden’s burial at sea was a violation of Islamic tradition that may further provoke militant calls for revenge attacks against American targets.

    Although there appears to be some room for debate over the burial – as with many issues within the faith – a wide range of senior Islamic scholars interpreted it as a humiliating disregard for the standard Muslim practice of placing the body in a grave with the head pointed toward the holy city of Mecca.

    Sea burials can be allowed, they said, but only in special cases where the death occurred aboard a ship.

    Bin Laden’s burial at sea “runs contrary to the principles of Islamic laws, religious values and humanitarian customs,” said Sheik Ahmed al-Tayeb, the grand Imam of Cairo’s al-Azhar mosque, Sunni Islam’s highest seat of learning.

    A radical cleric in Lebanon, Omar Bakri Mohammed, said, “The Americans want to humiliate Muslims through this burial, and I don’t think this is in the interest of the U.S. administration.”

    Hey, we didn’t run it through a wood chipper and shoot the remains into a septic tank, so I’d say we did pretty good. :)

    Let’s face facts: there was nothing we could have done with Mr bin Laden, short of appointing him the Grand Ayatollah of the United States, that would have pleased these guys, and there’s no way that a lot of the Islamists won’t be urinated off about this killing.

    You can’t worry about people you can’t please being displeased.

  47. Ladies gentlemen, let’s just remember that knowing the info came from Guantanamo does not necessarily mean it was produced by torture. Scoops are generated by intelligent interrogation, and in fact do so more effectively.

  48. I am officially stunned!

    When are you going to live up to your word and start cracking down on right-wing commentators who continue to insult?

  49. You can’t worry about people you can’t please being displeased.

    More like – You can’t worry about pleasing people who are certifiably insane.

  50. Number of Americans killed because GWB ordered the invasion of Iraq – 4404 as of May 28 2010.

    George W Bush is still alive, and has yet to be charged with any war crimes.

    And how many people did Lincoln kill? Meaning: Your point is … ??

  51. Pho, give it a rest. Your vile hate-filled attacks are still here in this thread. If you had any self-awareness, you’d consider yourself lucky.

  52. Henry: “Ladies gentlemen, let’s just remember that knowing the info came from Guantanamo does not necessarily mean it was produced by torture.”

    Oh, good point. I hadn’t thought of that. I guess GITMO is a hot button of mine.

  53. Yeah, the instinctive urge to use this to cover for torture is pretty sad. One would think nobody had ever gotten information through humane interrogation, when most master interrogators will tell you torture produces unreliable info. Yeah, you might eventually get something real out of them, but it’s mixed in with whatever the prisoner thinks will make the torturer stop, which tends to be what the torturer already wants to hear. So there’s no proof yet that the torture produced the name of the courier, and there’s certainly no proof that the name of the courier couldn’t have been ascertained without torture.

    No, torture is always about torture, not effectiveness. We wanted to torture Muslims out of revenge, and we did it to dozens, perhaps hundreds of innocents. That will always be wrong. Torture-advocates will present a false choice, an either/or rooted in what they want to hear: Either torture/bin Laden dead or no torture/bin Laden alive. That’s not reality.

  54. Lookit Leftist folks, Conservatives do not advocate torture. And there are methods which many of us do not consider torture that you claim to be torture in order for you to claim we advocate torture. It is not the case. SERE training is not torture.

    And “we” did not want “to torture” Mohammedans “out of revenge.” We used enhanced interrogation to glean information out of torturous terrorists. There is a difference that you Leftist folks (at least here) are adamantly refusing to acknowledge could be the case. It is not our faults you refuse to even consider our position as a valid position. You could consider it a valid position and still disagree with the position, but you’re more interested in calling it evil, revenge, hate, whatever else instead of even respecting a difference of opinion on what is and what isn’t.

  55. And face it, Bush had as much to do with finally getting Osama as did Obama. How is it we on the right can credit Obama for his role while you on the left are incapable of crediting Bush for his role? Is it pure hatred and partisanship on your part? Because I can’t figure out what else it could possibly be.

  56. Google Maps has the Bin Laden homestead listed if you do a search.

    I would have guessed that a million dollars would get you more in suburban Islamabad. Maybe stretcher concrete blocks are really expensive there in Pakistan and a symbol of opulence but the property certainly doesn’t strike me as mansion-esque. It looks more like a car impound lot outside of Indio, California.

  57. A trusted source tells me the walls are a bit higher than normal, but walls are normal; the barbed wire is normal for those who can afford it while broken glass is normal for those who can’t. Much like privacy fences in the US. And the way the structure was built, other than it being eight times larger than those in the area, was not out of the normal, either.

  58. How is it we on the right can credit Obama for his role while you on the left are incapable of crediting Bush for his role?

    Oh, you mean this guy?

  59. Calling torture enhanced interrogation doesn’t make it not torture.

    Yes, Bush is apparently responsible for operations that yielded some intelligence. Yet he found most of his energies expended in Iraq, and confessed to not really caring about bin Laden that much. So yeah, it’s a little hard to pat him on the back for not capturing bin Laden given seven years.

    And it’s also known that Obama ran on making bin Laden a priority, and said he’d kill him. He dialed down Iraq, went full steam on al Queda (and, honestly, killing way too many civilians with his drones), and spent the last eight months narrowing in on bin Laden.

    So that’s “what else it could possibly be.” Not hatred of Bush, but Bush failure. Maybe if the coin had flipped his way a few more times he’d have gotten lucky, but history is set. Before and after 9/11, Iraq was Bush’s main priority. He can get credit for trying, starting the basic process of getting special ops guys out there looking and all, but Obama brought back the urgency that was missing.

    That’s what paid off.

  60. Calling torture enhanced interrogation doesn’t make it not torture.

    Likewise, calling enhanced interrogation torture doesn’t make it torture. And you projected all sorts of intention as well; intention that wasn’t involved in the decision-making. And if you call negotiating with terrorist organizations that protect al Qaida and arming al Qaida “going full steam on al Qaida,” then you’ve got problems.

  61. SERE training is voluntary (in the sense that you signed up for it, anyway), and takes place at the hands of fellow Americans who aren’t asking you questions you may or may not have truthful answers to, and that you trust will not kill you (except perhaps by accident.) Also keep in mind what one of the purposes of SERE training is; surviving torture situations… The techniques borrowed from the SERE manual by the Bush folks were methods of torture used by other countries that we wanted our soldiers to be aware of and to survive, should they be captured.

    It’s a very different experience for detainees.

    Additionally, the very same practice was called torture by the US when it was being done to our soldiers by the Japanese.

    Thirdly, it’s intentional drowning, for every second it’s happening. The fact that it isn’t a drowning that comes to fruition and actually kills the person is really not all that significant, from a “effect it has on the mind and body” point of view. The water going into your lungs, the air that isn’t, and the panic that ensues is all very real the whole time it’s happening, whether it actually kills you or not. That anyone can argue that depriving an unwilling person of oxygen and filling their lungs with water isn’t torture because it doesn’t make anyone bleed or leave any marks, or because there are fellow Americans who volunteer to have it done to them under very different conditions, just doesn’t pass the smell test.

    It’s my understanding that interrogation. Experts say the info we derive from these enhanced interrogations isn’t reliable. I think that’s important, but I also think it’s beside the point. I don’t care whether or not causing people physical or psychological pain or stress produces actionable intelligence. We don’t torture folks because it’s morally wrong, not because it’s ineffective. We are Americans, and our values are such that we treat people humanely, even if they wouldn’t treat us humanely if the shoe was on the other foot. To do less is to turn our backs on what it is that makes us exceptional.

    I’ve seen no evidence thus far that enhanced interrogation (or for that matter, Gitmo, post-2004 or so) played any part in bringing about the killing of bin Laden. But even if it (or either of ‘em) did, that doesn’t justify them, to my way of thinking. It doesn’t prove that there wasn’t another (and I’d argue, better) way to gather the intelligence, that did’t require us to lower our standards and give short shrift to our values.

  62. Daan, please delete the post timestamped 2 May 2011 at 23:13. Or do you have no intention of keeping your promise?

  63. Likewise, calling enhanced interrogation torture doesn’t make it torture.

    You need to apologise to some Japanese officers then, because America executed them for teh same acts you are apologising for here. It is primarily because, JH, of statements like this that people regard you as dishonest.

  64. Additionally, the very same practice was called torture by the US when it was being done to our soldiers by the Japanese.

    Nice revisionist history there, bub. It was not “the very same practice” at all. But nice try anyway.

    for teh same acts you are apologising for here

    See above. Furthermore, point to the apology which you are accusing me of making. Or admit you made that up, like usual.

  65. The Phoenician wrote:

    You need to apologise to some Japanese officers then, because America executed them for teh same acts you are apologising for here. It is primarily because, JH, of statements like this that people regard you as dishonest.

    I’ve told you before: war crimes and international law are simply the excuses used by the winners to hang the losers.

  66. “It’s my understanding that interrogation. Experts say the info we derive from these enhanced interrogations isn’t reliable. I think that’s important, but I also think it’s beside the point. I don’t care whether or not causing people physical or psychological pain or stress produces actionable intelligence. We don’t torture folks because it’s morally wrong, not because it’s ineffective. We are Americans, and our values are such that we treat people humanely, even if they wouldn’t treat us humanely if the shoe was on the other foot. To do less is to turn our backs on what it is that makes us exceptional.

    I’ve seen no evidence thus far that enhanced interrogation (or for that matter, Gitmo, post-2004 or so) played any part in bringing about the killing of bin Laden. But even if it (or either of ‘em) did, that doesn’t justify them, to my way of thinking. It doesn’t prove that there wasn’t another (and I’d argue, better) way to gather the intelligence, that did’t require us to lower our standards and give short shrift to our values.”

    Very well stated, Repsac3, part of an overall excellent post.

    I, like you, believe that these are American values, and wish that they were embraced by all Americans. Unfortunately, in recent years, there is an element in our country who have lost sight of these values, thus persist in their downgrade, as evidenced right here on this blog in this thread.

  67. Additionally, the very same practice was called torture by the US when it was being done to our soldiers by the Japanese.

    Nice revisionist history there, bub. It was not “the very same practice” at all. But nice try anyway. [John H.]“

    Is that a fact? If so, please explain the differences between our waterboarding and that done by the Japanese on us during WWII, John H.

    Whatever, it is obvious to me that our waterboarding is indeed torture, as just discussed up thread by Repsac3 and PiaToR. There was no excuse for us to use it, not even that we ever got actionable intelligence from its use, which has never been demonstrated to my knowledge.

  68. In light of the effort to clean up this blog, how do we characterize this statement?

    John Hitchcock says:
    2 May 2011 at 23:13 (Edit)

    Pho, give it a rest. Your vile hate-filled attacks are still here in this thread. If you had any self-awareness, you’d consider yourself lucky.

    Is there a text reference made to the so-called attack? No!

    Thus, this is an attack on the individual, PiaToR, and therefore out of place here.

    Furthermore, I note that PiaToR has made every effort to modify his behavior in line with Dana’s wishes, with no credit or even acknowledgment from his critics and antagonists.

    Why is it so difficult for certain Righties on this blog to comply? Are nastiness and personal insults in their genes, requiring more time to circumvent the inherent nerve pathways of the brain? That must be the answer :)

  69. Ah, how times change:

    Hersh, Olbermann Called Bin Laden SEAL Team “Assassination Ring” In 2009

    In 2009, Seymour Hersh claimed the special operations group that took down Osama bin Laden on May 1 was Cheney’s “secret assassination ring.”:

    “After 9/11, I haven’t written about this yet, but the Central Intelligence Agency was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state. Without any legal authority for it. They haven’t been called on it yet.”

    Hersh then went on to describe a second area of extra-legal operations: the Joint Special Operations Command. “It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently,” he explained. “They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. … Congress has no oversight of it.”

    “It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on,” Hersh stated. “Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us.”

    Cue former MSNBC host (and forthcoming news host at Al Gore’s Current TV) Keith Olbermann. Olbermann pushed this story on his “Countdown” show in 2009, saying:

    Mr. Hersh is making the revelations at a forum in Minnesota two nights ago. The topic: America’s constitutional crisis. Hersh saying of Mr. Cheney and his inner circle, quote, “They ran a government within the government.” Adding, “Eight or nine neoconservatives took over our country.”

    Hersh’s bombshell allegations about the assassination ring, the result of reporting for a book he says might be still a year or two away from being published. Hersh is telling MinnPost.com in an email after the event, that the disclosures are, quote, “not something he wanted to dwell about in public.”

    However, no sooner than two years later did Olby change his tune when the same squad that he called an “assassination ring” was responsible for the death of Osama bin Laden. On his “FOK News Channel” website, Mr. Olbermann now salutes these heroic individuals.

  70. Are nastiness and personal insults in their genes, requiring more time to circumvent the inherent nerve pathways of the brain?

    Dana, please edit Perry’s post timestamped 8:08.

  71. Are nastiness and personal insults in their genes, requiring more time to circumvent the inherent nerve pathways of the brain?

    Dana, please edit Perry’s post timestamped 8:08.

    Hube, you are too funny, and predictable! But please note: mine is not a statement, but a question; and moreover, not aimed at any particular person on this blog, thus not a personal insult, except perhaps in the mind(s) of those who prefer to be personally insulted, you know, those having inferiority complexes. Do we have any Righties on this blog who have inferiority complexes? :)

  72. “However, no sooner than two years later did Olby change his tune when the same squad that he called an “assassination ring” was responsible for the death of Osama bin Laden. On his “FOK News Channel” website, Mr. Olbermann now salutes these heroic individuals.”

    Hube, you know as well as I do that context matters. This is another way of saying that there are no absolutes. Has Obama been doing this?

    ““It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on,” Hersh stated. “Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us.””

    As far as we know, Obama has not done this.

    In fact, to minimize collateral damage and a massive political problem, Obama chose to take a risk and go with the Navy SEALs under the direction of CIA Director Panetta. Can you imagine the political ramifications which would have resulted had this mission failed? Think Jimmy Carter.

    My sense is that the overwhelming majority of the American people are pleased with the operation and the outcome thereof.

  73. On my iPhone, but this is from a HuffPo article:

    Mohammed did not reveal the names while being subjected to the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding, former officials said. He identified them many months later under standard interrogation, they said, leaving it once again up for debate as to whether the harsh technique was a valuable tool or an unnecessarily violent tactic.

    Now naturally I said HuffPo so I can hear the war cries, but let’s assume more verification will be needed, but I’m doubting we’ll hear differently.

    Then again, John Hitchcock can call escalating Afghanistan and drone strikes in Pakistan “negotiating,” so there may be limits to what facts will be allowed to enter the debate.

    And at least Dana owns the double standard. If it was called torture when our enemies did it, then we do it and it’s suddenly “enhanced interrogation,” I don’t need explaining about which came first. Especially when it was illegal to torture by our own laws, and a point of pride since our inception that we didnt torture like our enemies.

    I hope that report bears out, although like I said knowing torture produced the info does not mean standard interrogation wouldn’t have produced it. Indeed, we may learn for certain that the best info was produced by standard interrogation, which actually would prove the unnecessary nature of torture.

    Torture is for revenge, not for info. Makes good tv and movies, though. Go Jack Bauer! I’m actually nuts about 24, one of the best shows of all time, easy.

  74. No, Henry Whistler, it is not a euphemism for torture since it is not torture. But nice try to weasel that in.

    And no, Henry Whistler, it is not an illusion that enhanced interrogation played a major role in turning Osama into fish food.

  75. So, we can go ahead and assume that John H. and Dana have no problem with al Qaeda treating captured American soldiers the same way we treat the prisoners in Gitmo? Or Libya, if you insist on the capturers belonging to a sovereign nation? That treatment is kosher from now on, in every country?

  76. But please note: mine is not a statement, but a question; and moreover, not aimed at any particular person on this blog, thus not a personal insult, except perhaps in the mind(s) of those who prefer to be personally insulted, you know, those having inferiority complexes.

    Perry, you can perform pretzel logic all you want and you can put question-marks at the ends of your hate-filled personal attacks all you want. It won’t change the fact you spew hate-filled personal attacks. It also won’t change the fact you have never learned what an ad hominem is despite your extremely liberal usage of them. Should you ever gain the ability to learn something, you’ll be shocked, embarrassed, and ashamed at what you have thrown forth on these pages.

  77. So, we can go ahead and assume that John H. and Dana have no problem with al Qaeda treating captured American soldiers the same way we treat the prisoners in Gitmo?

    Let’s see now, decapitation or a tall glass of water? That’s a difficult choice indeed.

  78. Hube, you are too funny, and predictable! But please note: mine is not a statement, but a question; and moreover, not aimed at any particular person on this blog, thus not a personal insult

    LOL, you’re acting as silly as Phoe is with his demands of edits. And you really believe it is OK to insult people as a group, but not individually? You really think that was Dana’s intent when he brought up the question?

    As far as we know, Obama has not done this.

    Indeed. And as far as we know, Bush hadn’t done it either. The point is that this is the exact same team that Hersh and Olbermann complained about as being an “executive assassination ring.” Even if Bush had utilized it — using it to off al Qaeda and Taliban operatives wherever they may be — so what? It has the same benefit as Obama’s decision not to use B-2′s to carpet bomb the place, a decision I hailed, BTW.

    My sense is that the overwhelming majority of the American people are pleased with the operation and the outcome thereof.

    Of course. And I said so at Colossus yesterday. But a very legitimate issue is Obama not only making use of a “hit squad” that was chided by “progressives” as seen above, but the use of intel that was gathered by interrogation methods also chided by “progressives.”

  79. Hopefully we can move the dialogue forward from here instead of entertaining any more illusions that torture or its various euphemisms produced the info.

    Obviously, you did not read the entire article.

    Here’s what Bush is responsible for: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2011_05/029221.php

    Ah, right. They “closed it down;” however, Seymour Hersh and Keith Olbermann were complaining about Bush/Cheney’s “executive assassination squad” roaming around seemingly at will offing al Qaeda and whoever else they wished. See above. So which is it? Most likely in context, Hersh was correct — he (and Olbermann) didn’t like it because they thought (think) Bush and Cheney are inherently “evil,” but now that Obama is president it warrants a “job well done” by Olbie. (Again, see above.) Hey, remember — Nancy Pelosi claimed that the CIA “lies all the time.” Of course, it’s somehow inconceivable that them “shutting down the bin Laden unit” was “misinformation,” eh Nang?

  80. No, Henry Whistler, it is not a euphemism for torture since it is not torture. But nice try to weasel that in.

    And no, Henry Whistler, it is not an illusion that enhanced interrogation played a major role in turning Osama into fish food.

    I’m sorry, are you trying to repeat a mantra to yourself to will away reality?

    I’ve provided the news report, Hitchcock. Your raw assertion doesn’t carry weight by itself.

  81. I’ve provided the news report, Hitchcock. Your raw assertion doesn’t carry weight by itself.

    Except, as I noted, you missed the instances in the article referencing the benefit of CIA secret prisons. Are you seriously claiming that we found bin Laden after a decade based on one single phone call?

  82. Hube: “Obviously, you did not read the entire article.”

    Right after there is the part where you’re supposed to tell me what I missed.

    Mohammed did not reveal the names while being subjected to the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding, former officials said. He identified them many months later under standard interrogation, they said,

  83. “LOL, you’re acting as silly as Phoe is with his demands of edits. And you really believe it is OK to insult people as a group, but not individually? You really think that was Dana’s intent when he brought up the question?”

    First of all, Hube, I did not even insult a group, let alone a person. I asked a question! Please pay attention, Hube! Secondly, I believe Dana was addressing personal insults primarily, but it won’t hurt any of us to be more mindful of civility, yours truly included.

    “The point is that this is the exact same team that Hersh and Olbermann complained about as being an “executive assassination ring.”"

    That’s probably true, but with a different CoC, which could make a big difference. Therefore, using your usual equivalency argument is invalid.

    “But a very legitimate issue is Obama not only making use of a “hit squad” that was chided by “progressives” as seen above, but the use of intel that was gathered by interrogation methods also chided by “progressives.””

    Re “chided”, see response above. Re the “use of intel”, it is not clear yet to me what intel was used. Wasn’t bin Laden’s courier a major source of the intel? I don’t believe he was tortured. We need more information on any tie-ins where torture was employed.

  84. Right after there is the part where you’re supposed to tell me what I missed.

    No problem:

    In a secret CIA prison in Eastern Europe years ago, al-Qaida’s No. 3 leader, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, gave authorities the nicknames of several of bin Laden’s couriers, four former U.S. intelligence officials said. Those names were among thousands of leads the CIA was pursuing.

    One man became a particular interest for the agency when another detainee, Abu Faraj al-Libi, told interrogators that when he was promoted to succeed Mohammed as al-Qaida’s operational leader he received the word through a courier. Only bin Laden would have given al-Libi that promotion, CIA officials believed.

    He identified them many months later under standard interrogation, they said, leaving it once again up for debate as to whether the harsh technique was a valuable tool or an unnecessarily violent tactic.

    Why’d you leave off that last part of the quote, Whistler? Do you really think KSM divulged info in vacuum?

  85. Perry, were you radical Leftists born that intellectually vacuous or did you have to work hard at it? Note that isn’t an insult, personal or otherwise, because it is a question I asked and not a statement. So, please don’t let your “inferiority complex” issues get in the way of your answering my question, which isn’t an insult, personal or otherwise, by your own definition.

    Or, perhaps, you could actually try learning something for a change.

  86. You’re shifting the goal posts, Hube. Having black sites is not the same as producing intel via torture.

    Look, I’ve said it already, Bush started a hunt for bin Laden, got some intel that later proved useful. But his clear shift in energy from bin Laden to Iraq and lack of results for the trillions he obligated us to (still not paid for) makes his record mostly one of failure. He gets a little credit, Obama, his admin, and the special forces get most.

  87. “Why’d you leave off that last part of the quote, Whistler? Do you really think KSM divulged info in vacuum?”

    Excuse me? The article plainly states that the info was divulged via standard interrogation, not torture. Nothing I left out says anything differently.

  88. “Perry, were you radical Leftists born that intellectually vacuous…”

    Intellectually vacuous, like asserting that torture isn’t torture because it isn’t torture, or that torture produced the intel that reports say was not produced by torture? Asserting these things as if your own ability to say something counts as proof?

  89. You’re shifting the goal posts, Hube. Having black sites is not the same as producing intel via torture.

    Hardly. But really — why do we maintain black sites if “ordinary” methods work just fine?

    Try this:

    Some reports now claim that KSM gave up the information that led eventually — and with a lot more legwork — to the identification of bin Laden’s courier though more conventional means of interrogation, not as the direct result of enhanced interrogation techniques. Commenters below claim that this somehow undermines the argument that enhanced interrogation played some role in the eventual identification of bin Laden’s compound and his subsequent demise. But this argument is specious. When KSM was captured, he was resistant to any form of interrogation, conventional or otherwise. As our colleague Marc Thiessen learned in writing Courting Disaster, KSM’s resistance was “superhuman.” It was only after being subjected to waterboarding and other enhanced measures that he became compliant, and from that point forward, cooperated with more conventional techniques. As one of the CIA interrogators told Marc, “If we had not had these techniques, we would have gotten zero from him.” So enhanced interrogation methods played an integral role in all of the intelligence collected from him.

    Excuse me? The article plainly states that the info was divulged via standard interrogation, not torture. Nothing I left out says anything differently.

    Because even whoever wrote the article plainly recognizes (y’know, ‘cuz it’s sort of inherent with the maintaining of black sites) that harsh methods played a role in gathering some intel. It’s why he writes “leaving it once again up for debate as to whether the harsh technique was a valuable tool …”

    Believing that there was NO benefit from using harsh interrogation methods is as silly as believing Obama closed Guantánamo prison.

  90. I believe it is going to take years before the utility of the use or non-use of waterboarding in this quest for ObL is known, therefore, having currently only a paucity of information, I suspect we are spinning our wheels right now on this topic.

    However, significant information is beginning to emerge on the details of the hunt, described in some detail by AP’s Goldman and Apuzzo in their very well researched and written piece of reporting.

    Here is a summary , and here is the original AP report:

    Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo have fleshed out the story I linked here, describing the threads of intelligence that led to the courier–whose name they report as Sheikh Abu Ahmed–who in turn led to Osama bin Laden. The story includes the following steps:

    * Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, months after he was waterboarded and via “standard” interrogation, admits he knows someone named Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, but denies he has anything to do with al Qaeda.
    * Hassan Ghul, who was captured in Iraq in 2004, reveals that Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti was an al Qaeda courier
    * Under CIA interrogation, Abu Faraj al-Libi admits he learned he was replacing KSM through a courier, but denied knowing al-Kuwaiti so strenuously CIA figured he must be important
    * Via still unclear means, CIA learns Abu Ahmed’s real name
    * US picks up Abu Ahmed talking to someone else it was monitoring, speaking from a location away from the compound
    * US tracks Abu Ahmed back to compound

    Before extensive speculation and political spinning, I suggest a careful read of the AP report is in order.

  91. So, if Bush lured OBL into a false sense of security by ignoring him… and the whole war that was started to find him…

    Then we can also credit Clinton for killing OBL, too, right? Or do we skip him and apply credit to Bush 1 and Reagan, instead?

    Too bad Obama spent us into oblivion from 1980 to 2008. Except for Clinton’s term. Which Ayn Rand can take credit for, right?

    Hey! It’s fun being a conservative! I think I’ll go punch a kitten!

  92. But really — why do we maintain black sites if “ordinary” methods work just fine?

    The answer to your question, of course, is that there are individuals who believe as you do, that torture works, or perhaps that, whether it works or not, it’s use creates fear in the minds of our enemies and makes us appear more resolute in their eyes… …and perhaps in the eyes of some of our own citizens, as well. We maintain (or maintained, I hope) black sites because the people in charge believe(d) that harsh interrogation methods that would not withstand the scrutiny of the US citizenry had some actual or propaganda value, and they also had power to put their theory into practice.

    Of course, Hube, there is a correlation to the argument you’re offering. If enhanced interrogation was significantly more effective than non-coercive means, it’s use would be far more widespread and accepted here in America and throughout the world. However we choose to classify the “water cure,” and other such methods, they’ve been around for a very long time, and countless military and law enforcement theoretical experts and in-the-field practitioners have had plenty of time to evaluate the effectiveness of such treatment on a detainee’s willingness to provide truthful, reliable, actionable intelligence. So the question is, if the interrogation methods used at black sites are so effective, why are they not more prevalent in military/law enforcement interrogation rooms throughout the world?

  93. Ah, so you go to a different article, one using hearsay from official torture apologist Marc Thiessen. So I didn’t leave anything out, I just forgot to read my rightwing propaganda.

    And now we’re down to torture not producing the info, but doing so indirectly, with hearsay speculation that it was necessary and standard interrogation practices would never have worked.

    Keep those goalposts shifting, Hube.

  94. Beside, Hube, while the theory that “if it exists, there must be a need for it” may be persuasive to some, one only has to consider the pet rock, or the KFC Double Down sandwich to realize the folly of the idea as a useful or accurate meme.

    I’m just sayin’…

  95. Beside, Hube, while the theory that “if it exists, there must be a need for it” may be persuasive to some, one only has to consider the pet rock, or the KFC Double Down sandwich to realize the folly of the idea as a useful or accurate meme.

    Repsac3 readies his trusty WWII-era flamethrower… He aims in… He squeezes the trigger… Scratch one straw man!

  96. I was unaware of that. I don’t visit that many blogs. Nice to see my dissenting opinion aired with respect, though.

    I get silly with my comments sometimes. The kitten thing was out of line. I was trying to underscore the contrast between Bush’s involvement two years into the next administration, while he’s absolved of efforts that bore bitter fruit before he even left office.

  97. John, your responses are hardly… …well… responses.

    Granted I’m new here, but most of what I’ve seen thus far is flat out denials of what others post, with nothing but your own voice to back them. So I respond to your latest offering in kind:

    Repsac3 readies his trusty WWII-era flamethrower… He aims in… He squeezes the trigger… Scratch one straw man!

    No I don’t.

    Consider your comment rebutted.

  98. repsac3> Let me go through it for you slowly so your hippie brain can digest it more easily: The US doesn’t torture. Waterboarding isn’t torture. So Bush didn’t torture anybody. But we caught OBL because of Bush’s torture so torturing prisoners is great and Gitmo, which doesn’t practice torture, should remain open in perpetuity because torture/not torture works. Also, Flight Suit Boy, who said that he wanted OBL dead or alive later declared that he didn’t care about Osama bin Laden whereabouts so he deserves some if not all of the credit catching/not catching OBL.

    Got it?

  99. No it isn’t but that isn’t to say that it is not indeed torture and does not work because torture does work even when it is isn’t. Torture works but we don’t torture so therefore torture has been proven to work because George W. Bush killed Obama bin Osama using information that he gathered using not torture. I mean Osama bin Obama. Whatever.

    Also, Jimmy Carter, Cloward/Piven and John Galt.

    Seriously, you silly liberals have no idea how the world outside of your little ivory towers works.

  100. Links have already been given showing a number of deaths considered “homicide” by the coroner due to this “enhanced interrogation”. I wonder if the torture apologists would mind explaining how people can be dying from mere “interrogation”?

  101. Because even whoever wrote the article plainly recognizes (y’know, ‘cuz it’s sort of inherent with the maintaining of black sites) that harsh methods played a role in gathering some intel. It’s why he writes “leaving it once again up for debate as to whether the harsh technique was a valuable tool …”

    Well done on spinning non-data into a positive assertion. How positively brilliant, PB.

    Of course, this disagrees with what professional interrogators say about torture, and it ignores the idea that if the US had engaged in interrogation instead of torture, they would have got this information faster.

  102. Furthermore, I note that PiaToR has made every effort to modify his behavior in line with Dana’s wishes, with no credit or even acknowledgment from his critics and antagonists.

    Why is it so difficult for certain Righties on this blog to comply?

    Dana, do you ever intend to keep your word and demonstrate some personal integrity?

    I think this exercise demonstrates two things:

    - the problem with insults on the blog lies with the right-wing rather than the liberals.

    - Dana’s claim to objectivity is contradicted by his actions.

  103. Obama’s poll numbers rise slightly. Also, Bush gets spectrum-wide credit for his role in getting Osama.

    As for Bush, 65 percent of respondents say he contributed to bin Laden’s death, including 61.3 percent of independents and 47.7 percent of Democrats (45.8 percent of Democrats say he didn’t contribute). So clearly most Americans remember that the hunt for bin Laden began in the Bush administration.

  104. Of course, this disagrees with what professional interrogators say about torture, and it ignores the idea that if the US had engaged in interrogation instead of torture, they would have got this information faster.

    Here we go:

    Apologists for torture say that it was a “necessarily evil” to stop future terror attacks.

    However, the top interrogation experts all say torture that doesn’t work:

    * Army Field Manual 34-52 Chapter 1 says:

    “Experience indicates that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation. Therefore, the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear.”

    * A declassified FBI e-mail dated May 10, 2004, regarding interrogation at Guantanamo states “[we] explained to [the Department of Defense], FBI has been successful for many years obtaining confessions via non-confrontational interviewing techniques.” (see also this)

    * Brigadier General David R. Irvine, retired Army Reserve strategic intelligence officer who taught prisoner interrogation and military law for 18 years with the Sixth Army Intelligence School, says torture doesn’t work

    * A former FBI interrogator — who interrogated Al Qaeda suspects — says categorically that torture does not help collect intelligence. On the other hand he says that torture actually turns people into terrorists

    And:

    Accused Sept. 11 organizer Khalid Shaikh Mohammed told U.S. military officials that he gave false information to the CIA even after undergoing punishing bouts of interrogation, according to documents made public Monday.

    Mohammed made the assertion during hearings held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the militant leader was transferred in 2006 after being held at secret CIA sites since his capture in 2003.

    “I make up stories,” Mohammed said, describing in broken English an interrogation probably administered by the CIA that concerned the location of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

    “Where is he? I don’t know. Then he torture me,” Mohammed said. “Then I said, ‘Yes, he is in this area.’ ”

    So, let’s see what we have:

    - Under torture, KSM lied to his torturers.
    - Later, under interrogation, he gave a piece of information
    - With careful police work, said information was turned into real intelligence.
    - That intelligence was used with a precision strike. Pakistan was not invaded, and the town was not shelled in order to “liberate” it.

    Looks like the liberals were right.

  105. BO finally is showing what he can do with his Nobel Piece Prize. They gathered all the pieces of UBL and made him Fish Food.

  106. Yes, Pho, because prisoners in a US-run prison in northern Iraq were told if they didn’t settle down and behave appropriately, they would be sent back to the Iraqi Police. And the prisoners immediately straightened up their act so they wouldn’t be sent back to the IP. (And I got that information from a first-hand account.) Interesting how that works. Threaten someone with something they’ve experienced to gain their cooperation.

  107. Looks like the liberals were right.

    Oops:

    RT @BreakingNews: Panetta acknowledges information from waterboarded detainees was used to help plan mission at bin Laden’s compound – NBC

  108. Keep those goalposts shifting, Hube.

    Yeah — linking to an article that supports my rebuttal is somehow “goalpost shifting.” Check.

    At any rate, catch up on current events, Mr. Obama-Is-The-Greatest-President-In-My-Lifetime.

  109. Pho:
    Dana, do you ever intend to keep your word and demonstrate some personal integrity?

    From someone who couldn’t go two posting without insulting someone and everyone.

  110. 1. Islamic Terrorists have a goal: Eliminate all Jews and Christians and set up a world-wide Islamic Caliphate.

    2. Islamic Terrorists’ Holy Book, the Koran, states explicitly that it is perfectly acceptable to lie to all who are not Mohammedan.

    3. Islamic Terrorists spread lies about what was or wasn’t done by those who are fighting terrorism.

    4. Liberals believe the lies of Islamic Terrorists over the words of those who are trying to put an end to Islamic Terrorism.

    Par for the course, actually, since Liberal members of JournoList:

    A) declared it is perfectly acceptable to lie to advance the Liberal agenda;

    B) suggested different lies to spread in the advancement of their Liberal agenda.

    And yes, the JournoListers were already documented on this blogsite, multiple times, so it’s common knowledge.

  111. Furthermore, I note that PiaToR has made every effort to modify his behavior in line with Dana’s wishes, with no credit or even acknowledgment from his critics and antagonists.

    Why is it so difficult for certain Righties on this blog to comply?

    Ah, one of the PiaTor critics/antagonists has self-identified, and his name is Yorkshire. For shame!

  112. 1. Islamic Terrorists have a goal: Eliminate all Jews and Christians and set up a world-wide Islamic Caliphate.

    It would be nice if you would provide basic, JH, citations.

    ObL has never stated eliminating all Jews and Christians as a goal, nor has Al Qaeda stated this, nor would it be acceptable under Islamic doctrine. His concern has been for the purity of the Muslim world, and hence control over it; “taking over the world” is not really on Al Qaeda’s radar.

    You are engaging in demonization based on your own fantasies, rather than any understanding of who your enemies really are and for what they fight. Which is great as a shibboleth to equally ignorant members of the Right, but less than useful for actually dealing with the world.

    To quote Wikipedia

    Following an extreme form of Islamism, bin Laden believed that the restoration of God’s law will set things right in the Muslim world—or as he put it, his hope that the revelation unto Mohammed will be resorted to for ruling. When we used to follow Mohammed’s revelation we were in great happiness and in great dignity, to Allah belongs the credit and praise,[4]

    has been noted for its simplicity.[4] He believed “the only Islamic country” in the Muslim world was Afghanistan under the rule of Mullah Omar’s Taliban before that regime was overthrown in late 2001.[5]
    [...]
    Bin Laden was profoundly anti-Semitic, and delivered many warnings against alleged Jewish conspiracies: “These Jews are masters of usury and leaders in treachery. They will leave you nothing, either in this world or the next.”[25] He has also made at least one clear denunciation of Christians: “Every Muslim, from the moment they realize the distinction in their hearts, hates American, hates Jews, and hates Christians. This is a part of our belief and our religion.”[26]

    Bin Laden’s videos and interviews said nothing about Shia Muslims, but it is reported that he disapproved of attempts by people like Hassan al-Turabi “to make common cause with Shiites.” Al-Qaeda ideology classes in Afghanistan listed Shia along with “Heretics, … America and Israel,” as the four principal “enemies of Islam”.[27]

  113. Furthermore, I note that PiaToR has made every effort to modify his behavior in line with Dana’s wishes, with no credit or even acknowledgment from his critics and antagonists.

    Yeah, Perry, about that…

    cbmc says:
    1 May 2011 at 23:58 (Edit)

    Pho there’s a right way and a wrong way to celebrate when American forces get the bad guy – guess who’s doing it the wrong way – I’ll give you a hint, his handle rhymes with “Propecian in a lime of doughmans”

  114. Pho, I don’t think what you quoted means what you think it means. In other words, it contradicts what you are pushing. But nice try with your untrustworthy wiki quoting, though.

  115. Here’s the story link aside from the previous Twitter link:

    WASHINGTON — Intelligence garnered from waterboarded detainees was used to track down al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and kill him, CIA Chief Leon Panetta told NBC News on Tuesday.

    “Enhanced interrogation techniques” were used to extract information that led to the mission’s success, Panetta said during an interview with anchor Brian Williams. Those techniques included waterboarding, he acknowledged.

    Panetta, who in a 2009 CIA confirmation hearing declared “waterboarding is torture and it’s wrong,” said Tuesday that debate about its use will continue.

    “Whether we would have gotten the same information through other approaches I think is always gonna be an open question,” Panetta said.

    Panetta’s right — the debate will continue (as it does here). But in this case, it sure appears “enhanced interrogation” played a role in the ultimate outcome of bin Laden.

  116. Pho, I don’t think what you quoted means what you think it means.

    To be perfectly blunt, JH, your opinion matters little to me, as you are usually uninformed about whatever you’re making wild assertions on.

    You stated “Islamic Terrorists have a goal: Eliminate all Jews and Christians”.

    Where’s your proof?

    I’m reading Destiny Disrupted at present. It provides a context which makes it clear just how Al Qaeda fits into Muslim history and an Islamic view of the world, and reinforces ObL’s own comments on the goals of Al Qaeda – it wants to establish a pan-Islamist caliphate – establising the rule of God on Earth and purifying corrupt Muslim regimes. Or, in their eyes, re-establishing it. “Taking over the world” would naturally occur after a purified Islamic community is formed.

    The US, not understanding this, continues to make mistakes that help lead to Al Qaeda’s objectives. The primary focus is revolution and control over Saudi Arabia.

  117. See here:

    Ideology and Goals

    The principal stated aims of al-Qaeda are to drive Americans and American influence out of all Muslim nations, especially Saudi Arabia; destroy Israel; and topple pro-Western dictatorships around the Middle East. Bin Laden has also said that he wishes to unite all Muslims and establish, by force if necessary, an Islamic nation adhering to the rule of the first Caliphs.

    According to bin Laden’s 1998 fatwa (religious decree), it is the duty of Muslims around the world to wage holy war on the U.S., American citizens, and Jews. Muslims who do not heed this call are declared apostates (people who have forsaken their faith).

    Al-Qaeda’s ideology, often referred to as “jihadism,” is marked by a willingness to kill “apostate” —and Shiite—Muslims and an emphasis on jihad. Although “jihadism” is at odds with nearly all Islamic religious thought, it has its roots in the work of two modern Sunni Islamic thinkers: Mohammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Sayyid Qutb.

  118. Mr Whistler wrote:

    Yeah, the instinctive urge to use this to cover for torture is pretty sad. One would think nobody had ever gotten information through humane interrogation, when most master interrogators will tell you torture produces unreliable info. Yeah, you might eventually get something real out of them, but it’s mixed in with whatever the prisoner thinks will make the torturer stop, which tends to be what the torturer already wants to hear. So there’s no proof yet that the torture produced the name of the courier, and there’s certainly no proof that the name of the courier couldn’t have been ascertained without torture.

    No, torture is always about torture, not effectiveness. We wanted to torture Muslims out of revenge, and we did it to dozens, perhaps hundreds of innocents. That will always be wrong. Torture-advocates will present a false choice, an either/or rooted in what they want to hear: Either torture/bin Laden dead or no torture/bin Laden alive. That’s not reality.

    Through many comments, that’s the liberal meme being given. For the record, Mr Whistler also posted, on his fine site:


    Torture didn’t produce the info.

    There are a lot of memes trying to get started on the right in their efforts to shift more credit to Bush for Obama nabbing bin Laden, and one is that torture at Gitmo worked.

    Yet it wasn’t torture that got the info, it was standard interrogation. Which would surprise few expert interrogators…

    Mohammed did not reveal the names while being subjected to the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding, former officials said. He identified them many months later under standard interrogation, they said, leaving it once again up for debate as to whether the harsh technique was a valuable tool or an unnecessarily violent tactic.

    Sorry, guys. No “bonus” here justifying illegal and immoral torture. It was always unreliable, and wrong

    .

    I’d suggest this article by Heather Horn in The Atlantic, which notes that the information we’re getting is inconsistent, depending upon the source:

    Already, there are big discrepancies in reports of how the U.S. identified bin Laden’s courier. Which report you read may make a big difference in whether your feelings about Guantanamo interrogation have shifted by the end of the article. The New York Times says merely that it was post-2002 and that it involved matching information from detainees in secret prisons with the denials of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and others (who were in Guantanamo):

    It wasn’t until after 2002, when the agency began rounding up Qaeda operatives — and subjecting them to hours of brutal interrogation sessions in secret overseas prisons — that they finally began filling in the gaps about the foot soldiers, couriers and money men Bin Laden relied on.

    Prisoners in American custody told stories of a trusted courier. When the Americans ran the man’s pseudonym past two top-level detainees — the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed; and Al Qaeda’s operational chief, Abu Faraj al-Libi — the men claimed never to have heard his name. That raised suspicions among interrogators that the two detainees were lying and that the courier probably was an important figure.

    Meanwhile, The Telegraph‘s Tim Ross said it was KSM, not others, who let the courier’s identity slip, while “a second source–also an al-Qaeda ‘leader’ held at Guantanamo Bay–then confirmed the courier’s identity.” This second source, if matched up to WikiLeaks documents, looks to be Abu Faraj al-Libi, which The Times also mentions. Both KSM and al-Libi were, Ross points out, “subjected to harsh techniques during their interrogations in CIA prisons.”

    But Reuters’s Mark Hosenball includes details that tell a different story, hearing from multiple “current and former U.S. officials” that the crucial courier information only came long after harsh interrogation techniques like waterboarding had been abandoned. It wasn’t just post-2002 that this happened, but post-2004, i.e. after the CIA had “suspended” the harsh techniques, according to Hosenball. “The first key intelligence reports identifying the al Qaeda courier reached U.S. counter-terrorism officials in 2004,” writes Hosenball, citing “a former U.S. national security official with direct personal knowledge.”

    It seems to me that one important point has been omitted: Khalid Sheikh Muhammad had been broken by waterboarding and whatever other “harsh interrogation” techniques he faced. If the information which he, and others, provided came only due to standard questioning, but it came after he was broken, it is impossible to say that the standard interrogation techniques which produced the information would have been effective if he was not already a broken man.

    Mr Muhammad was a very proud man, who wouldn’t tell interrogators squat before he was waterboarded, and he supposedly resisted being broken by waterboarding for quite some time. But, in the end, he sang like a canary.

    The argument is being made that harsh interrogation does not produce reliable information, because the questioned man will say anything to make it stop. But if someone like KSM has not been broken yet, there’s no particular reason to believe that he would provide anything truthful; either silence or outright lies would serve the unbroken subject just as well as the truth, and allow him to maintain his pride that he was still resisting his enemies. Yet, now broken, we seem to be getting useful information from Mr Muhammad without having to resort to the techniques which broke him in the first place.

    Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that Mr Muhammad had been treated the way some of our friends on the left think he should have been treated: arrested, charged with federal crimes, and kept in conditions consistent with pre-trial incarceration for criminal defendants. The very first right that Mr Muhammad would have had would be to refuse to be interrogated without his attorney present. Well, that would have been it: no confessions, no useful information, nothing, because any attorney with any sense would have told his client under such conditions not to say a single word.

    The Atlantic article concludes:

    Given Hosenball’s notes, separated by a few paragraphs in his piece, that “veterans of the Bush administration [have been] quick to claim credit for the torture-like techniques,” while “Obama Administration officials confirmed the sequence of events–U.S. intelligence did not learn the identity of the courier until after the CIA interrogation program was terminated,” it seems likely there could be some spin even in information from anonymous sources; the obvious issue with anonymous sources, for the reader, is that you don’t know who they are or what agenda they might have. That said, it certainly looks like both sides face hurdles in maintaining their positions: waterboarding supporters have to deal with the fact that the crucial information leading to bin Laden’s location came after the waterboarding stopped. Anti-Guantanamo activists have to deal with the fact that such quality information came from illegal detention centers, including Guantanamo.

    By the way, we’re starting to get a bit harsher with the personal stuff here; please, knock it off.

  119. It seems to me that one important point has been omitted: Khalid Sheikh Muhammad had been broken by waterboarding and whatever other “harsh interrogation” techniques he faced. If the information which he, and others, provided came only due to standard questioning, but it came after he was broken, it is impossible to say that the standard interrogation techniques which produced the information would have been effective if he was not already a broken man.

    Save, of course, that professional interrogators say that torture is counter-productive, and that your entire comment proceeds from no information and pure speculation based on wanting to justify the torture of prisoners.

    Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that Mr Muhammad had been treated the way some of our friends on the left think he should have been treated: arrested, charged with federal crimes, and kept in conditions consistent with pre-trial incarceration for criminal defendants.

    Then “it seems to me” you would have the same information you got from standard interrogation, just earlier – without the torture.

    By the way, we’re starting to get a bit harsher with the personal stuff here; please, knock it off.

    This might have something to do with your unwillingness to enforce your new rules consistently, giving the right-wing commentators a free pass to continue insulting. This speaks volumes about who the real culprits are, and your priorities.

  120. I stand by what I’ve said. I do question the effectiveness of “enhanced” interrogation techniques, on the grounds that many interrogators have said that they elicit too much false information, and because the world wouldn’t willingly choose not to engage in such methods if they really did lead to more reliable information, and/or do so more quickly. Obviously, others, both “expert” and ordinary citizen, believe otherwise. Whether such methods work, either as tools to get reliable information themselves, or to “break” a prisoner’s spirit and thus get reliable information later–and the attendant questions of whether either/both outcome(s) are possible via more traditional and widely accepted means–will of course continue.

    But to me, the effectiveness of “harsh” “coercive” “enhanced” interrogation techniques is a secondary issue, even if they did provide the key info that lead to the killing of Osama bin Laden.

  121. Premature postage… (still getting used to the iPad on-screen keyboard) The rest to come (once I tap it out)

  122. Phoe, even the White House doesn’t agree with you:

    The chain of clues that led to the Abbottabad compound where Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. special forces early Monday began with human intelligence. Senior administration officials have said key members of bin Laden’s inner-circle were flagged by post-9/11 detainees under interrogation, and that has raised an inescapable question: Did the chain begin with information gleaned from “enhanced interrogation” or waterboarding, the Bush-era technique President Obama and CIA chief Leon Panetta have decried as torture?

    The White House insists that not only is the answer unknowable, but ultimately moot. “It’s impossible to know whether information obtained by [Enhanced Interrogation Techniques] could have been obtained by other forms of interrogation,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor tells TIME. “I think this is a distraction from the broader picture, which is that this achievement was the result of years of painstaking work by our intelligence community that drew from multiple sources.”

    Distraction or not, the debate is emerging as a partisan issue in Congress, the first since post-bin Laden afterglow set in on the Hill. “We obtained that information through waterboarding,” Republican House Homeland Security Chair Peter King told Fox News unequivocally Monday night. “…We got vital information which directly led us to bin Laden.” Democratic Senate Intelligence Chair Diane Feinstein issued a direct denial.”To the best of our knowledge,” she said at a Tuesday morning press conference, “based on a look, none of it came as a result of harsh interrogation techniques.”

    The Obama administration is steering clear of anything declarative. Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters Tuesday that he simply doesn’t know whether EITs could have yielded vital intelligence. “There was a mosaic of sources that lead to the identification of the people,” he said. And the White House is prepared to press the “mosaic” case aggressively.

    Did you catch that part? Even the Obama Administration is saying that the “enhanced interrogation techniques” might have played a role in the information which was obtained, and that it’s “impossible” to know whether the information could have been obtained absent it, which pretty much matches exactly what I said, “it is impossible to say that the standard interrogation techniques which produced the information would have been effective if he was not already a broken man.”

  123. (continued)

    From all I’ve read, and from what my own common sense and experiences tell me, water boarding — the intentional drowning and simulated death of an unwilling participant, is a form of torture. We here in the US have successfully prosecuted both our own citizens and military men in other countries for committing the same/very similar acts on US citizens and servicemen. And while redefining the word torture and the act of water boarding can make once illegal acts legal, it cannot change the morality of committing them. (Whatever one’s stand on abortion or homosexuality, the same rule applies; legality ( or illegality) doesn’t affect morality.) For me, it’s that simple. While I have my doubts about the effectiveness of torture, my position would be the same even if it could be conclusively proven that torture produces the most reliable intelligence, and do so in half the time. Like the man said, “…sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I’ll never know because I won’t eat the filthy [thing].” We’re Americans, and we live by a set of ideals. Whether or not torture works, it’s still a filthy thing, and I’m going to continue to speak out against anyone willing to lower our American standards and values enough to metephorically swallow it.

  124. Did you catch that part?

    Yes – I caught the bits where they said they didn’t know, Dana. I’ve also been catching the bits where you’re trying to spin lack of knowledge into “torture did the trick”.

    “It is impossible to know” because it is a counter-factual. However the people saying torture is not necessary are the professional interrogators, and the people saying torture is necessary are authoritarian followers who are merely kibitzing – torture apologists.

    Torture is illegal under both US and international law. Unless you can provide solid proof that it is absolutely necessary, you should not do it. And any government official who authorises it should be charged with crimes against humanity, and anyone attempting apologetics for it rightfully regarded with disgust.

  125. We’re Americans, and we live by a set of ideals.

    No, you don’t. America now stands squarely for torturing prisoners and invading other countries.

  126. No, you don’t. America now stands squarely for torturing prisoners and invading other countries.

    Is this contagious? And perhaps more importantly, is there a cure?

  127. Is this contagious? And perhaps more importantly, is there a cure?

    Yes, and yes. The answer to your latter is both honesty at the national level and the rule of law.

    As has been described elsewhere, the US runs on bullshit these days, and the rule of law crumbles with plutocracy. I think you’re screwed.

    [retrieved from moderation - pH]

  128. What Repsac3 said. It’s unfortunate to see that there are conflicting reports about this one piece of info that say it came from torture/didn’t come from torture, but I said from the beginning it wasn’t impossible for torture to produce some info. If we owe that initial piece of information to torture, this will undoubtedly verify things in the minds of the right, who are objectively pro-torture.

    Yet we know that standard interrogation does produce results, so we’re left with the problem that history can’t be repeated to run tests. Dana would like to assert that we couldn’t have gotten the information without torture, yet he can’t know that either. Whether one pays the toll or smashes through the gates, one still gets to the other side of the bridge. It’s just that smashing through the gates has a price.

    More importantly, we are told KSM was “superhuman” in his ability to resist either method of interrogation, and he was reportedly waterboarded (tortured) 183 times, and that’s just the one method of torture that was used. Torture was used almost exclusively, with no evidence of it working, over and over and over again. Was such determination implemented to test standard interrogation? Obviously not. Consider the hundredth time he was waterboarded, to no avail, was it reasonable to keep doing it because it was a matter of fact that KSM would resist standard interrogation indefinitely? No, it was a belief.

    It’s worth pointing out that Bush did figure out where bin Laden was hiding once, in Tora Bora, and had him surrounded. He lost him, relying on Afghans instead of US troops to do the job. He never found bin Laden again. So it’s all nice and good that Bush managed to get another lead sometime in the seven years he was president after 9/11, but the bulk of the credit goes towards how that lead was gestated into actionable intelligence and the plan that was implemented under President Obama. Given Bush’s general level of incompetence, fixation on Iraq, and dismissal of the importance of bin Laden, I’m certainly glad Obama was in the Oval Office this past year. He ran a tight, steady yet determined operation with no leaks and no casualties.

    Bush may claim a fraction of the credit, but we’re quite lucky he didn’t get a chance to bungle the operation.

  129. Senate Intel Chair: Torture Did Not Lead To Bin Laden In Any Way

    More and more evidence suggests a key piece of intelligence — the first link in the chain of information that led U.S. intelligence officials to Osama bin Laden — wasn’t tortured out of its source. And, indeed, that torture actually failed to produce it.

    “To the best of our knowledge, based on a look, none of it came as a result of harsh interrogation practices,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee in a wide-ranging press conference.

    Moreover, Feinstein added, nothing about the sequence of events that culminated in Sunday’s raid vindicates the Bush-era techniques, nor their use of black sites — secret prisons, operated by the CIA.

    “Absolutely not, I do not,” Feinstein said. “I happen to know a good deal about how those interrogations were conducted, and in my view nothing justifies the kind of procedures that were used.”

    This is a mix of fresh, on-the-record information and push back against Republicans — many of them former Bush administration officials — who are tying themselves in knots to claim that Bush’s interrogation policies got the ball rolling on the bin Laden killing.

    “I would assume that the enhanced interrogation program that we put in place produced some of the results that led to bin Laden’s ultimate capture,” said former Vice President Dick Cheney on Fox News.

    Here’s Rep. Peter King (R-NY), chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, also on Fox: “We obtained that information through waterboarding. So for those who say that waterboarding doesn’t work, who say it should be stopped and never used again, we got vital information which directly led us to bin Laden.”

    However, multiple reports preceding Feinstein’s remarks suggest that waterboarding failed to produce the key piece of information — bin Laden’s courier’s nom de guerre.

    Feinstein went even further, claiming that change to U.S. intelligence processes ushered in by the Obama administration were seminal in capturing bin Laden.

    “I think the red-teaming of the intelligence was significant, and they red-teamed and red-teamed and red-teamed. And of course what that means is they looked for reasons why what they had as a piece of intelligence might not be accurate, or might indicate something else,” Feinstein said. “And that’s a very good process — it’s a solid process — because it exposes weaknesses in the intelligence…. It didn’t happen over the Iraq National Intelligence Estimate.”

    Feinstein further claimed that the Obama administration’s decision to reconstitute the CIA’s bin Laden unit — which the Bush administration shuttered in 2005 — was a key factor in the mission’s ultimate success. “I think it was very crucial,” she said. “I mean this has been there for a substantial period of time. People become experienced with the intelligence.”

    Not all Republicans are claiming that bin Laden’s killing vindicates torture. At a Capitol press conference Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) stood apart from his colleagues in the GOP. “This idea we caught bin Laden because of waterboarding I think is a misstatement,” he said. “This whole concept of how we caught bin Laden is a lot of work over time by different people and putting the puzzle together. I do not believe this is a time to celebrate waterboarding, I believe this is a time to celebrate hard work.”

    Not that the actual truth is going to stop the same discredited lie being trotted out time after time after time – witness the reappearance of the “waterboarding isn’t torture” lie.

  130. Right on Henry, repsac3, and PiaToR ==> excellent statements!

    It is a mad scientist who would run the same experiment 183 times in order to prove a demonstrably failed hypothesis. Those who did so were mad, translated: insane.

    Note also that both the FBI and the Military Code define waterboarding as torture. Isn’t that enough?

    Our use of torture is not only obviously inhumane, but also a diminution of our core values.

    Finally, why give license to our enemies to impose the same treatment on our own when captured and incarcerated? Are those making decisions on the use of torture the least likely to ever become a POW?

    Why is it that the Liberals on here are so troubled by our use of torture, whether it be a Repub or Dem regime doing it, whereas the Conservatives spin and twist in every way possible to justify its use? It boils down to a question of character and core values, in my view.

  131. “it is impossible to say that the standard interrogation techniques which produced the information would have been effective if he was not already a broken man.”

    Teeny tiny minor problem

    Mohammed did not reveal the names while being subjected to the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding, former officials said. He identified them many months later under standard interrogation, they said, leaving it once again up for debate as to whether the harsh technique was a valuable tool or an unnecessarily violent tactic.

    Let’s stress that again – he gave up the information many months after being tortured. So if it was necessary to break him – why the wait, Dana?

  132. Pingback: The best result « Common Sense Political Thought

  133. The Phoenician wrote:

    Let’s stress that again – he gave up the information many months after being tortured. So if it was necessary to break him – why the wait, Dana?

    You have misunderstood. The point is that Khalid Sheikh Muhammad was already a broken man, and that anything he gives us subsequent to being broken cannot be regarded as wholly free of him having been broken.

    And, of course, what you have written above is contrary to what you have written before, on a different subject:

    My brother in law was locked up in a Cuban prison for about 8 months, cold, starving, scared, with little Spanish. But the very worst thing he recalls is when he was put in solitary confinement. He thinks it was for about a week, but can’t be sure. He can’t be sure, because he remembers how his mind began to slip after about 2 days. He remembers it as the most horrific experience of his life: the total loneliness, the pull into madness, the way his mind began to feed on itself in desperate need for companionship and something to do.

    That’s a week. Manning has been that way for 6 months.

    When the subject was Bradley Manning, you had total sympathy, because his mind is being/has been broken, not by waterboarding or physical torment, but by solitary confinement, which you also labelled torture. Yet, when it comes to KSM, why, the waterboarding was well over, so it couldn’t have any effects on him now, or whether or not he would have disclosed the information he did had he never been “harshly interrogated.”

    It seems odd to me that your conclusions about the effects of poor treatment on the mental status of the prisoner differ based upon what point you wish to make.

  134. I dunno, everything I’ve read so far says it was KSM’s complete denial of the courier that tipped off investigators. So he was still lying, he just lied too emphatically.

    Stories are still coming in, but the torture doesn’t seem to have had much direct effect. If it was so effective, we could have caught bin Laden in 2004.

  135. Henry: “If it was so effective, we could have caught bin Laden in 2004.”

    Heh. There goes the ticking bomb justification. You can use torture if there’s an atomic bomb with a 7-year timer counting down…

  136. John Hitchcock says:
    3 May 2011 at 18:52 (Edit)

    Obama’s poll numbers rise slightly. Also, Bush gets spectrum-wide credit for his role in getting Osama.

    Yeah right, John:

    GIVING CREDIT

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