Gen. David Petraeus will be sworn in today as CIA director — politically his toughest mountain yet.
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Petraeus, by his reputation and experience, is precisely the right person to make the case that the “EITs” have to be restored. President Obama, in one of his first acts, prohibited them. But now, after the CIA found Osama bin Laden, the value of the EITs cannot be questioned.
Petraeus can revive the enhanced interrogation techniques by starting to talk about their absolute value as two of his predecessors — George Tenet and Gen. Mike Hayden — have gone on record to say.
As I wrote last year, Tenet’s memoir says that what the terrorist detainees gave us under the EITs “was worth more than the CIA, NSA, the FBI and our military operations had achieved collectively.” Hayden, in a June 2 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, credited the EITs — used on three detainees — for leading the CIA to bin Laden. Given their value, and that these techniques are not torture, Petraeus could — and should — build a case to resume their use. But to do that, he will have to take on his president and Eric Holder.
Petraeus has probably trekked up mountains in Afghanistan that were easier to climb than that political hill. He can either make the attempt, or fail in his principal mission: to transform the CIA into the effective intelligence agency our nation needs.
In the Iraq and Afghanistan counterinsurgencies, Petraeus’s Sisyphean performance can be forgiven because of the constraints imposed on his command by presidents and adversaries. The terror-sponsoring nations (such as Iran, Syria and Pakistan) were — and remain — immune to action which could have enabled some permanent results from Petraeus’s counterinsurgency campaigns. There will be no forgiveness if Petraeus fails at CIA.
Our nation was vulnerable on 9/11 because of successive failures in gathering and analyzing intelligence. The Iraq war was begun, in good faith, on the basis of another massive intelligence failure. And still — a decade after 9/11 — we still don’t have reliable, penetrating intelligence on Iran, China, North Korea or even WikiLeaks.
Current, accurate and well-analyzed intelligence is the foundation of national policy. Without it, national security policymaking is nothing more than guesswork.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
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The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?