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The audacity of arrogance

Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Not too long ago, the so-called Bush “Torture Memos” were released. The debate about the alleged torture the Bush Administration perpetrated during his term in office has been and remains a contentious debate that has recently exploded with the release of the memos. Last week, the administration, through the Attorney General, decided to move forward with an investigation of the CIA techniques. Now I will admit I did not vote for President Obama, however he is my president and deserves my respect and support. But his recent actions deserve reprimand.

The media has spun this issue from day one trying to vilify the Bush Administration for using certain interrogation tactics during wartime. This has clouded the true nature of our intelligence gathering and birthed an unhealthy arrogance by the Obama election team, and now administration. This “I am holier and more moral than thou” attitude is unhealthy and dangerous. I recall President Obama urging and promising a forward looking agenda, not one that plays political games during wartime. Perhaps, those in this community have forgotten the celebrated words Martin Sheen spoke while accepting his Laetare Medal two years ago during graduation celebrations. “Arrogance is ignorance matured.”

If people would actually read the memos, which I am guessing most have not, the types of interrogation techniques that were outlined actually have quite sound legal reasoning. They are very controlled techniques with doctors and other staff on hand carrying out very detailed and limited procedures. The waterboarding technique that has garnered so much attention has been limited to specific, high value prisoners. These are prisoners that are believed to have information that could thwart an imminent threat to the U.S community; keyword being imminent threat. In fact, Obama’s Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair released an internal memo confirming that valuable information had been gained by these techniques; information that might not have been gathered otherwise. He goes on to say that while he believes he would not choose to allow these techniques, he does not fault those who made the decisions.

It is rather appalling to hear an investigation, with possible prosecution, is being used as a political tool to punish members of the intelligence community who were given authorization to use these techniques. Many people forget we are at war. This atmosphere of arrogance that Obama has shown has not only limited our intelligence gathering techniques, but has provided our enemies with details about the limits with which we can interrogate. It is ignorant to think that this politicizing of the intelligence community has not made our nation less safe.

Jared SawyerHoly Cross alumusLouisville, Ky.Sept. 1