The question Mr. Obama should have asked right after the inaugural parade was: What will happen after we capture the next Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or Abu Zubaydah? Instead, he took action without a meeting of his full national security staff, and without a legal review of all the policy options available to meet the threats facing our country.
What such a review would have made clear is that the civilian law-enforcement system cannot prevent terrorist attacks. What is needed are the tools to gain vital intelligence, which is why, under President George W. Bush, the CIA could hold and interrogate high-value al Qaeda leaders. On the advice of his intelligence advisers, the president could have authorized coercive interrogation methods like those used by Israel and Great Britain in their antiterrorism campaigns. (He could even authorize waterboarding, which he did three times in the years after 9/11.)
After attorney general-designate Eric Holder testified in his confirmation hearing that waterboarding was torture, Dick Cheney made the rounds of teevee talking heads to declare that it was he who had authorized the torturing of detainees at Guantanamo. Maybe that was just Dick being Dick, maybe he was trying to take the heat off Bush, but Yoo -- whose legal memos paved the way for the lovely euphemism "enhanced interrrogation techniques" -- lets the cat out of the bag here, fingering the former President of the United States.
John Cornyn's bullshit starts to make a little more sense in context of his slavish and utter devotion to protecting Bush at all costs, doesn't it?
There's a grander context here that I want to explore, however.
Most reasonable people -- including many practitioners of it -- acknowledge that torture does not work. But "work" is a loaded word.
If your intention is to extract factual information regarding terrorism then, no, torture doesn't work. But if your intention is to coerce confessions out of people who are essentially innocent, THEN IT WORKS. It works as a cover-up for your vacuous "war on terror" and its attendant policies such as wiretapping Americans, as well as a distraction for your own state-sponsored, false-flag terrorism. It works as a means to intimidate people who would speak up against you, too. It has all sorts of viable uses depending upon your intentions. And since the idea was at the time to use 9/11 as a justification to nullify constitutionally protected rights and thus implement the equivalent of an enforceable police state, one could say that having a policy of torture was essential to the plan.
It's probably safe to say that it worked well enough to get Congressional Republican majorities re-elected in 2002, and Bush re-elected in 2004.
So now that sanity has prevailed, and we have an administration and a Congress that is gradually enabling itself to acknowledge the truth, the remaining and reasonable course of action is to follow the dictates of the treaties and accords signed by predecessors of George W Bush and investigate and prosecute all of those in his administration responsible for the violations.
Let justice prevail though the heavens fall, someone once said.