It is difficult for any intelligent moral citizen to stand by and watch their country self-destruct. Between the ideological idiots on the extreme right and the mere idiots on the extreme left, America is in a pickle. Elsewhere I have posited a solution for 2012.
Here I am obliged, from a sense of duty to the Republic that has been betrayed by our serving flag officers and senior executives, to point to and then demolish a book that is beneath contempt among real professionals, but all the rage among the loosely-educated and macho-shit crowd–this sadly includes a number of ranking Special Operations Force (SOF) officers that should know better. It came out in early 2010 and crap from this book is now making the rounds among the wing-nuts of the right and the uniformed officers that have never actually done any form of successful clandestine intelligence or counterintelligence. I refer to Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama is Inviting the Next Attack.
Here is a copy of the garbage that is circulating now via email among military officers:
And now to set the record straight for honest folk:
1) When this book came out, it was reviewed by a host of folks, largely negative. New Yorker’s Jane Mayer really went after the book and its disingenuousness and falsehoods in her review. Read her take!
2) In addition, a very experienced interrogator, Matthew Alexander (USAF OSI major), who was on the team that successfully interrogated a detainee who gave up Zarqawi, exposed this book’s multiple weaknesses in an article for Slate, “Courting Fear” with the subtitle “A former military interrogator unpacks the errors and fear-mongering in Marc Thiessen’s Courting Disaster.” An excerpt: “My gut reaction on reading Marc Thiessen’s new book, Courting Disaster, was: ‘Why is a speechwriter who’s never served in the military or intelligence community acting acting as an expert on interrogation and national security?’” In sharp contrast to this nakedly amoral polemic, see these two books by Alexander: How to Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq and Kill or Capture: How a Special Operations Task Force Took Down a Notorious al Qaeda Terrorist.
3) The obvious answer is that Thiessen’s book is a screed beholden to former VP Dick Cheney, immortalized for 23 impeachable act in VICE: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency. Nakedly amoral does not begin to do Dick Cheney justice–this is a man who personifies active evil (as opposed to Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi, they are a form a passive evil–they don’t have the balls to be really, really evil).
4) Dick Cheney is a documented liar, and led the telling of 935 documented lies that have cost the Republic trillions of dollars, tens of thousands of lives–including 18 veterans a day committing suicide here in the USA–and slammed the final nail into the coffin of the two-party government of, by, and for banks. Clearly Thiessen did not have to know a thing about interrogation to write this pretend book; he just dutifully put down what Cheney and other neocons told him (based on their vast interrogation experiences). The alleged successes of the now-discredited “enhanced interrogation techniques” are an article of right-wing faith (proven by the recent debate of Republican candidates which saw several embrace such stupidity, pandering to the far right “base.”) These alleged successes are bogus.
5) While I am on the subject of bogus idiocy, let me observe that I hold in contempt CIA Directors who are completely stupid to believe anything they are told by the severely corrupt Director of Operations. I know that people like Bob Gates, Mike Hayden, and Leon Panetta mean well, but they are incompetent at the real craft of intelligence, and they diminish their office and demean the honest people in intelligence when they insist that waterboarding worked. That is absolute utter CRAP. It did not work the first 182 times it was used on what’s his name, nor did it work the 183rd time. Crap. Utter crap from those beneath contempt to those who betray the public trust in continuing on with this nonsense. Hayden specifically should be busted down one grade every time he panders this shit in public or private.
6) That brings up the point of why CIA directors, nominally intelligence men, insist waterboarding worked. The answer is simple. Just as CIA officers have been indicted in Italy and have arrest warrants out for them, these pandering pimps of politicized pap know that every CIA officer and every CIA contractor who engaged in these crimes against humanity is subject to being brought before the International Tribunal one day. I would not be at all surprised to see a handful of kidnap operations take place in a few years, extracting selected individuals from the USA and drop kicking them into the hands of the International Tribunal.
7) I signed the letter to Senator John McCain against torture, as did Admiral Stansfield Turner and many others. I hold in great disdain the constituency of lawyers, bureaucrats, neocons, and (well intentioned but uninformed or misinformed) conservative or independent patriots, that is conspicuously devoid of experienced, professional interrogators or those who know and trust–as I do–the best of the best, a breed that has been diminished by a series of witless director of military intelligence and directors of central intelligence.