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Tortured Logic

Conservatives are trying to promote the idea that former president Bush deserves some, if not most, of the credit for finding Osama bin Laden, and that torture provided the information that helped find him.

For example, Representative Steve King (R-IA) wrote “Wonder what President Obama thinks of water boarding now?” and the Tea Party Express tweeted “We hope all those who attacked the CIA interrogations of detained terrorists will now apologize and shut up – you were wrong!” Former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld is even trying to give the lion’s share of the credit to policies that he himself put in place during the Bush administration.

But if you look closely at what they are saying, you can tell that they are bending the truth. Even Rumsfeld hedges by saying that the crucial intelligence “very well could have been partly a result of the interviews that took place at Guantánamo.” In other words, he doesn’t know.

And in fact, once the full story was published, officials admitted that the critical piece of information that Rumsfeld, King, and the others were referring to — the nickname of one of bin Laden’s trusted couriers — was NOT revealed during water boarding or other harsh interrogation. It was revealed during standard questioning. I repeat: Standard questioning gave us information that water boarding did not.

So to make this perfectly clear, water boarding is torture, and torture is illegal. We have hanged enemies for using water boarding for interrogation. And there is still absolutely no evidence that water boarding yielded any information that could not have been gotten though legal interrogation.

Conservatives can bluster all they want and claim that these techniques work, but it is just as likely that torture was the reason why Bush was not able to find bin Laden, while Obama was able to find and kill him. After all, Obama closed the black-ops prisons where those terrorists were tortured.

However, I would be perfectly happy to give the Bush administration complete credit now for finding bin Laden, but on one condition: that the Bush administration takes full credit for the financial collapse and financial meltdown that Obama is still pulling us out of.


© Joel Pett



  1. Tuna Supersonic wrote:

    “However, I would be perfectly happy to give the Bush administration complete credit now for finding bin Laden, but on one condition: that the Bush administration takes full credit for the financial collapse and financial meltdown that Obama is still pulling us out of.”

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Permalink
  2. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Here here!

    I saw a funny exchange on a website where a conservabot was saying that KSM was critical to the operation, KSM was waterboarded 183 times, therefore waterboarding works.

    A poster immediately responded and asked, if waterboarding works, why was KSM waterboarded 183 times?

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Permalink
  3. Tuna Supersonic wrote:


    Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Permalink
  4. No u wrote:

    They arent going to say waterboarding produced the answers. Like you said it’s illegal and they will not say we did it, no matter how many people know that we did.

    I say 50/50 credit goes to each president. It started with Bush’s term and ended with Obama’s. It’s as simple as that.

    Honestly, saying something like your economic comment is no better then the stupid shit that the republicans do.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Permalink
  5. Iron Knee wrote:

    No U, that’s exactly the point! They can’t take credit in one case without taking the credit in other cases as well.

    Sheesh, I was hoping when I named this site “Political Irony” that I wouldn’t have to explain the irony.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Permalink
  6. ThatGuy wrote:

    Who are the “they” in your first statement? The Bush administration and its supporters stood by waterboarding as something that got results, thenthirtytwo’s post points out how ridiculous that notion is.

    50/50 is generous, considering 2003 marked a huge turning point in focus for the Bush administration, taking massive amounts of manpower and funding away from the hunt for bin Laden in order to go after Iraq for… whatever the reasoning behind that misadventure was. 50/50 seems oversimplified.

    IK’s statement, to me at least, seems a little tongue-in-cheek. But it actually makes a lot more sense than saying Bush and Obama deserve equal shares of credit for locating and neutralizing bin Laden. Why? Because the economic collapse, and many of the policies leading to it, took place DURING Bush’s term. Likewise, the operation that yielded bin Laden’s capture was authorized by Obama, beginning and ending during his term.

    Steve King actually earned some respect from me saying, just after the announcement by Obama, that the President deserves all of the credit. I was shocked to hear him say this, but I guess it was just his set up for the waterboarding statement. Quite the political move.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Permalink
  7. ThatGuy wrote:

    Damn it, IK. You and your concise responses!

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Permalink
  8. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Torture is wrong, doesn’t work and gets poor results. Just ask John McCain. This is one time where I completely side with the liberal caucus. The conservatives are absolutely wrong and trying to create some credit. Yes Bush started it and maybe it was luck or the course of tireless effort or the right people at the right place and time, you all call it. The current President had to develop the situation, weigh the outcomes, double check his thinking and still make a call that could have blown up in his face. He gets the Presidents share of credit as the decision maker. Those who developed the intelligence deserve the tireless anonymous brains award and the Special OPS personnel who had to trust the Presidents judgement and the intelligence community and head out into the darkness on an educated guess, by all accounts. Those guys are the Hero’s and we’ll probably never know their names. So to the conservatives quit wining and grow up, to the liberals be thankful we have Hero’s that can make any President look good.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Permalink
  9. Iron Knee wrote:

    Hear hear, PSgt!

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Permalink
  10. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Re: Bush and his role, I feel THATGUY is right. In 2002, Bush said of Bin Laden, “I am truly not that concerned about him.” Then began the great march into Daddy’s battlefield for justice, or something.

    I noticed today that Bin Laden is marked as deceased on the FBI 10 most wanted list. I wish the SEAL’s and intelligence officers could all split the ~22 million dollar reward offered for his capture. How awesome would that be?

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Permalink
  11. Bard wrote:

    Nov 13th 2002 “I don’t know where bin Laden is, I have no idea and I really don’t care It’s not that important. It’s not our priority.” George W. Bush

    Also on Nov 13th 2002 “The idea of focusing on one person really indicates to me people don’t understand the scope of our mission.” George W. Bush

    1. Less than six months after 9/11/2001 G.W. Bush stated that bin Laden was “not a priority”
    2. The Bush Administra­tion ordered special clearance for bin Ladens relatives to leave the US by plane in the hours immediatel­y following 9/11

    Bush shelved the special program that was designed to capture bin Laden in 2002. President Obama revived the program in June of 2009 and ordered staff to make it their top priority

    Oct 7th 2008 “We will kill Osama bin Laden.” Barack H. Obama.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Permalink
  12. Dan wrote:

    We have to think about the message sent by Bush, that 9/11 was aan excuse to eventuall attack Iraq. I like the message that if you attack us, we will get you better. I was at B&N book store this evening, there was a book there about how how tofight the evil that was taking over the country, it was about Obama’s policies.
    Like I tell my teenager, you will hear that 9/11 changed everything, but the Constitution remains the same, its just those activist right wing judges that have been eroding our freedoms. I think it was O.W. Holmes who said that the Constitution will not fall to a tyrant, but to well meaning people…

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Permalink
  13. Dan wrote:

    It looks like Steve King will be in the same district as Tom Latham next year. We can only hope.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Permalink
  14. ebdoug wrote:

    Please people. Bin Laden killed no where near the number that Bush did. Saddam killed no where near the number Bush did. Bush is responsible for over 4000 US deaths. Many more in injuries, failed families, etc. Bush was responsible for an estimate of 600,000 Irai deaths by the end of 2006. “The Occupation of Iraq” by Ali A Allawi. Where is the justice here? If he wanted Bin Laden, he would have gone for Bin Laden. Instead he wanted many, many more notches on his Texas gun. He in no way wanted Bin Laden, half brother of his buddies in Texas. Tell me why Bush is not the Ace of Spades, with Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rove all being the other Aces? “And I horrer why?”
    Do people forget? And do people forget Repeal of Glass-Steagal in 1999 that allowed the banks to go to hell in the next ten years? Sponsored by three dirty Republicans? And I was raised pure unadulterated Republican until I reached the age of Reason.

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 4:46 am | Permalink
  15. Jeff wrote:

    I think it’s a bit ridiculous that people are trying to take credit away from Obama completely by saying that he had nothing to do with the actual operation or intelligence gathering. He wasn’t in a chopper, didn’t fire the shot, and didn’t interrogate a single prisoner. Therefore, he deserves no credit.

    But the irony there is that no commander-in-chief has ever done any of those things themselves. Bush didn’t invade Iraq himself, yet he stood in front of a “Mission Accomplished” banner on a battleship and took credit for the war. No, Obama deserves the credit he gets for orchestrating the operation, putting the tools in place to find bin Laden, and to do what the three previous administrations could not. Hats off to him.

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 6:38 am | Permalink
  16. Sammy wrote:

    From comedian Mike Drucker: “This has to be the first time in history that old white men tried to take credit from a black guy for someone getting shot.”

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 11:42 am | Permalink
  17. BTN wrote:

    Most soldiers don’t favor torture for the same reason that most non-soldiers shouldn’t: we lose the moral high ground and it makes it MUCH more likely that our soldiers will be tortured when captured.

    Sunday, May 8, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Permalink