Monday, February 15, 2010

"Just Shoot the Bastard"

I'm slow to this story from The Washington Post but I did want to just make note of it here. The story, of course, is about the Obama strategy to just kill terrorists now instead of capture them. Marc Theissen sums it up perfectly at The Corner:

The Post tells the story of a senior leader of al-Qaeda in East Africa named Saleh Ali Nabhan who was located last September. The White House was given the choice of either killing him or capturing him alive for interrogation. The military wanted to take him alive. But the White House chose instead to take him out. A senior military officer is quoted as saying: "We wanted to take a prisoner. . . . It was not a decision that we made." The Post adds: "The opportunity to interrogate one of the most wanted U.S. terrorism targets was gone forever."

You can read the entire Post article here.

Theissen's analogy to a jigsaw puzzle is spot on. Actually, I guess it's Michael Hayden's analogy, but Theissen reports it in Courting Disaster:

In the book, former CIA director Mike Hayden explains that intelligence is having to put together a puzzle without being allowed to see the picture on the cover of the box. You can't see how the pieces are supposed to fit together. There are lots of ways to get more pieces. But the only way to find out how they fit together is to capture the senior leaders who know what the picture on the cover of the box looks like.

So these days we are left with little random pieces of stuff and no way of knowing how to put it together. Case in point - Abdulmutallab. We never even attempted to put him together with the other pieces because no other agencies were called in for information when we questioned him.

Theissen explains the interrogation process at Gitmo, for example, in his book. Under questioning, you might obtain a bit of information from a detainee. He gives up a name, for example, or a part of a story you heard from another detainee under questioning, also at Gitmo. You go back and forth between the two, or three, or however many you are talking to, and work the pieces around until they fit into the right places. Then you have the bigger picture. Quite possibly a big picture than none of them actually had in its entirely, but one that you now hold because you have all the pieces.

That will no longer be the case. Under Obama's plan we will have no prison in which to take them and no way to question them because they'll likely get Mirandized.

And now, we just shoot them. Much easier than dealing with the lawyers, the human rights issues, the prisons, and the bad publicity. Never mind obtaining information that could stop future attacks and save lives.

Is it their intention to just kill them all? Their heads will continue to grow back like a Hydra. Have they not considered the better plan might be to find out what they know?

As Ed Morrissey sums it up:

We could restore the ability to get that kind of intel if we just admitted we need Gitmo to remain open. The goal in the war on terror is to dismantle the al-Qaeda network and stamp out the ability of radical Islamists to conduct major terrorist operations against the US and our allies, not to kill terrorists one at a time and then try to go after their replacements.

(More at Memeorandum)


Red said...

I'm so burnt out on it all. I've got nothing.

Red said...

On another note, does it thrill you to know that you're living in the bottom 10 of the happiest cities?