The Great Debate
When the United States was attacked on 9/11, every member of the Central Intelligence Agency’s clandestine services had a rule book on the conduct of interrogations. It was clear and concise.
The publication of the long-awaited summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s torture provides a useful moment to consider the lessons learned from this sorry chapter in American history and the steps that might be taken to avoid its recurrence. With the truth now told about this blatantly illegal policy, President Barack Obama has a chance to reverse his misguided refusal to prosecute the officials who authorized the torture, ending the impunity that sets a horrible precedent for future United States presidents and governments worldwide.
America — proudly dubbed the “indispensable nation” by its national-security managers — is now the entangled nation enmeshed in conflicts across the globe.
from Stories I’d like to see:
1. How government accountants value life:
Last week, the New York Times reported: “Buried deep in the federal government’s voluminous new tobacco regulations is a little-known cost-benefit calculation that public health experts see as potentially poisonous: the happiness quotient. It assumes that the benefits from reducing smoking -- fewer early deaths and diseases of the lungs and heart -- have to be discounted by 70 percent to offset the loss in pleasure that smokers suffer when they give up their habit.”
Agreement is not enough. Performance matters more.
That’s why the outlook for Democrats this November looks bleak. More and more Americans now agree with Democrats on the issues. But they are increasingly dismayed by President Barack Obama’s inability to get results.
The current fight between the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA – each accuses the other of spying on it – is part of the deep, continuing struggle between the legislative and executive branches of government over the wide-ranging power of the intelligence agency in the post-9/11 world.
Back in the 1970s, a Jewish organization commissioned a poll to investigate anti-Semitism in the United States. The poll included several open-ended questions. One asked, “Is there anything in particular you like about Jewish people?” The answers were recorded verbatim.