Thursday, April 30, 2009

On Churchill and Torture

Obama's presser declaration that George W. BushCheney engaged in 'torture' by waterboarding is making the gleeful hay over in leftyland. To many it will signal a door-opening towards frogmarching but they probably missed the other side of Obama's mouth, David Axelrod, who later told Keith R. Morrowmann that Obama is still interested in "looking forward". Anyone who can decipher such 360 degree vision just might be a savant.

But aside from the partisanship from our post-partisan friends a few things were worthy of a hearty tea bag wave regards the presser. Obama's use of Winston Churchill's refusal to use torture in 1940 against captured Germans (HuffPo is saying he stole it from Andrew Sullivan) as a way to blast Bush was tortured at best and must be put down like the rabid dog it is. Here's context:

First, Churchill knew Hitler didn't have WMDs yet. Messers bin Laden, Zawahiri, and KSM were all actively pursuing them and Bush didn't know whether they had them or not. The memos might shine some sunshine on that question but we won't be allowed to see them evidently. Even so, there's obvious differences between a flight of Dorniers and mass casualty weapons.

Second, the captured Germans were uniformed and Churchill was no doubt worried about retaliation on his own captured airmen and soldiers should be cross that line. No such line exists with AQ--heads will always roll no matter how we act. To deny this fact denies an understanding of Islamic fundamentalism.

Third, according to a very fine book on the Battle of Britain called "With Wings Like Eagles" by Michael Korda, Churchill's Chief Air Marshall Hugh Dowding knew where the German air bases were. He had radar installations to see the Luftwaffe coming across the English Channel. They had spies and recon flights and knew the Germans were massing watercraft in preparation for Operation Sea Lion, the amphibious assault on Britain.

He also knew Bletchley Park was making progress in cracking the Enigma Code. The NSA was trying to crack AQ codes when KSM was captured (which the left opposed) but it's doubtful we knew how many sleeper units might exist in the states and how they might be activated.

Air Marshall Dowding also knew the weather was on Britain's side in late 1940 and that if they could shoot down enough Dorniers, Heinkels and Messerschmidts while maintaining some presence in the air it would delay the Germans from launching Sea Lion until it was too late into Autumn. In other words, the weather would prevent the invasion by itself. And that's indeed what happened, which allowed them time to regroup.

It would have done Churchill little good to order torture on rank and file soldiers/airmen when it was pretty clear only Hitler knew the exact date and time of the invasion and that information would soon be known to allied codebreakers anyway. Other than the invasion, there was no single secret that would have prevented the waves of bombers from taking off so Obama's analogy lies as flat as a pancake.

But in discussing all of this he might have leaked some information. He said he was "comfortable" with his decision to remove an important tool in our terrorist toolbox, then said that nothing he'd seen over the past 100 days (threats) warranted any enhanced interrogations. Is he trying to say.... that..... Bush won the War on Terror?! Surely he can't take credit for it yet. That is, unless he's hinting that terrorism is way overblown, both then and now. If so then look out for the investigations. But how could he, after this?

MORE 4/30/09

Technically Sullivan was referring to captured spies not airmen but the premise still holds--nothing told them by a captured spy could not have stopped the German bomber assault on London and they had the code broken anyway. The comparison between Islamic radicals and their suicidal dedication to Jihad and Nazis is a rather specious one anyway.

But before we "prosecute him" (Cheney) as Sullivan demands Obama should at least release the documents so we can all see how ambiguous and ineffective the process was.


Darth Rob said...

Thats my main problem with Obama, ne never tells us anything important. Like we are all outraged at his spending, well maybe if he took the time to explain in laymens terms what his plan is then maybe we could find a reason to support it. For the life of me I cannot figure how he is gonna save the economy by burying us under all that debt. I would be happy if he just tried to explain things, I might not get it, but some other person might. I also think he wants to persecute republicans, thats why he wants Bush and Cheney imprisoned.

Anonymous said...

Er, anybody ever heard of Dresden?