Battlepanda: The closer you get, the worse it smells


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The closer you get, the worse it smells

One of the shocking stories exposed by Ron Suskind's new book is the capture and torture of Abu Zubaydah, hyped as a lynchpin of Al Qaeda but in reality a low-level operative with mental problems. Here's a quote from a review of Suskind's book in the WaPo:
"I said he was important," Bush reportedly told Tenet at one of their daily meetings. "You're not going to let me lose face on this, are you?" "No sir, Mr. President," Tenet replied. Bush "was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth," Suskind writes, and he asked one briefer, "Do some of these harsh methods really work?" Interrogators did their best to find out, Suskind reports. They strapped Abu Zubaydah to a water-board, which reproduces the agony of drowning. They threatened him with certain death. They withheld medication. They bombarded him with deafening noise and harsh lights, depriving him of sleep. Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety - against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty. With each new tale, "thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each . . . target." And so, Suskind writes, "the United States would torture a mentally disturbed man and then leap, screaming, at every word he uttered."
Andrew Sullivan is justifiably horrified:
And so the president lied to the people of this country, and then tortured a mentally ill man for information he didn't have; and covered his tracks. [snip]This shallow, monstrous, weak, and petty man is still the president. God help us.
Sullivan, I think, feels personally betrayed by the depth this administration have sank to from 9/11 til now. "I trusted this president after 9/11" was how he began this post. Funny how the tagline to his blog is a quote from George Orwell -- "To see what is in front of one's nose is a constant struggle." I guess it certainly took Sully a while to see what was in front of his nose all along.