Waterboarding Comes to the UW

May 29, 2009

I wrote a column defending waterboarding for the school newspaper on May 12th. Here’s an excerpt:

Waterboarding received such extensive coverage that you might think its use by the CIA was routine. However, it was revealed in 2007 by the CIA that waterboarding had been used just three times, each time against high-level al-Qaida operatives. The CIA later said the technique yielded valuable information from the operatives that likely saved American lives. This is what makes liberals’ outrage so comical. They know waterboarding worked, but they’ve decided not to acknowledge that. Instead, they’re choosing to go after the Bush administration for “torturing” our enemies. This is highly irresponsible — and to pretend to have the moral high ground on this issue is disingenuous.

I also talked about how the Convention Against Torture, which was ratified by the U.S. Congress in 1994, defines torture as the intent to “inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering” upon a person in custody. Waterboarding does neither, and therefore, shouldn’t be considered torture. Liberals can’t figure this concept out, so they go onto campuses like the UW and stage ridiculous demonstrations like this:

From the UW’s “Daily”:

Waterboarding Simulation in Red Square Protests Torture

On May 13, President Barack Obama reversed a court order mandating the Pentagon’s release of photographs illustrating U.S. military personnel allegedly torturing prisoners of war. The photos were supposed to be released yesterday.

To protest this refusal to publish the pictures, members of World Can’t Wait (WCW), a national organization that says they’re dedicated to, among other issues, prosecuting those who permitted torture during the Bush administration, held a waterboarding demonstration in Red Square yesterday as part of the National Day of Resistance to U.S. Torture.

Here’s my favorite part of the article (emphasis mine):

Kaplan volunteered for a simulation of the procedure, allowing two “interrogators” to question her and slosh water over her face — covered with a mask to prevent any water from actually entering her lungs — as she shouted and struggled.

“It’s really, really scary because you can’t move, you’re tied down and you have absolutely no control over what’s being done to you, and they’re asking these questions, and I don’t know the answers,” Kaplan said following the experience. “There are a lot of people who have been detained who don’t know anything about al-Qaida or terrorism.”

THREE men, all high-level al-Qaeda terrrorists, were waterboarded by the CIA. That’s it! This girl has no idea what she’s talking about.

Btw, here’s the accompanying photo to the article.




You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me

May 29, 2009

I’m speechless.

From HotAir:

Great News: Obama learns of Defense Dept. agency for first time at burger joint

Obama: What do you do Walter?

Walter: I work at, uh, NGA, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Obama: Outstanding, how long you been doing that?

Walter: About six years

Obama: Yea?

Walter: Yes.

Obama: You like it?

Walter: I do, keeps me…

Obama: So explain to me exactly what this National Geospatial…uh…

Walter: Uh, we work with, uh, satellite imagery..

Obama: Right

Walter: [unintelligible] …support systems, so…

Obama: Sounds like good work.

Walter: Enjoy the weekend.

Obama: Appreciate it.

Good News Seattleites! U.S. Could ‘Likely’ Intercept NK Missile

May 29, 2009

I would hope for a little more reassurance from the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation, but I guess ‘likely’ is better than ‘no chance at all’.

From Bloomberg:

May 29 (Bloomberg) — U.S. ground-based interceptor rockets would “likely” knock out a long-range North Korean missile before it could reach the American mainland, the Pentagon’s independent testing official said today.

“I believe we have a reasonable chance” of an intercept, Charles McQueary, director of operational test and evaluation, said in an interview as North Korea defied international condemnation of a nuclear test with another short-range missile launch.

“I’d put it ‘likely’ — than ‘highly likely’ — as opposed to putting it ‘unlikely,” he said on his last day in office after almost three years as the top weapons evaluator for the Defense Department.

And now, a look back at some promises our brilliant president made while on the campaign trail:

Don’t you just feel better after watching that?

Btw, here’s Dennis Prager analyzing Obama’s April 5th speech in which he called for a nuclear-free world. Prager calls the president ‘incredibly naive’ on the issue:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Military Technology Just Keeps Getting Cooler

May 29, 2009

From Wired Magazine’s “Danger Room”:

If you walk weird, make funny faces, or sweat a little too much — watch out, when you walk into an airport. The U.S. military wants to use those irregularities as “indicators” of “possibly suspicious and harmful intent.”The Army recently asked for proposals for a new suite of biometric sensors that will hunt for bad-minded people by examining their “expressions, gait, and pose” from afar. The “Image Analysis for Personnel Intent” project is also supposed to spot would-be evil-doers through their “abnormal perspiration and changes in body temperature.” (Note to would-be Osamas: Don’t send the sweaty guy to hijack the plane.)

Phew, I think I’m OK. I frequently make funny faces, but I’m pretty sure my walking and sweat levels are normal.

Now, for the specifics:

The idea has been around for a while. Pentagon wacky science arm Darpa spent millions of dollars looking for unique “odortypes.” In 2002, by a team of Minnesota scientists used thermal changes around the eyes to spot deceit on a test of 20 new military recruits. The researchers claimed that their system nabbed the liars about 80 percent of the time – the same as a standard polygraph test. The following year, Boeing patented a device that used hyperspectral scans to identify surges in body temperature prior to “a stress-induced blush.” Hyperspectral systems monitor wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, which are emitted by living, breathing bodies, and can detect faint changes in heat that precede blushing or perspiration.

But one cannot confirm malice using sweat detection alone. The military wants a “light, portable” sensor that combines this hyperspectral system with spatial surveillance, to spot threatening changes in expressions and body movement.

What’s so great about the military developing this new technology is that the Left won’t be able to screech as loudly about “racial profiling.”  The color-blind system will trigger an alert if it suspects someone of acting suspicious, at which point law enforcement will intervene. Obviously human judgement will still play a vital role, as machines malfunction, break down, etc., but the total reliance on those judgements will no longer be necessary. With humans and hyperspectral systems working together, efficiency will dramatically increase, as will the likelihood of catching the bad guys.

Hope and Change in Pennsylvania! Toomey Closes 20-point Gap on Specter, Now Trails by 9

May 28, 2009

HT: HotAir.

Here’s the poll.

Specter Tops Toomey By 9 Pts. In Pennsylvania Senate Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds

Former U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey, the likely Republican challenger in the 2010 Pennsylvania Senate race, has gained some ground and now trails newly-converted Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter 46 – 37 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

This compares to a 53 – 33 percent Specter lead in a May 4 survey by the independent Quinnipiac University poll.

In this latest look at the Specter-Toomey matchup, Republicans back Toomey 73 – 16 percent. Specter leads 73 – 10 percent among Democrats and 43 – 33 percent among independent voters. The Democrat leads 47 – 39 percent among men and 45 – 35 percent among women.

Pentagon Bolstering South Korea’s Arsenal

May 28, 2009

So were these the kind of details Robert Gibbs didn’t want to discuss with Jake Tapper the other day? If so, why not? Why would you want to project an image of weakness by talking about the U.N. Security Council, when you could talk about how proactive we’re being and project an image of strength? That doesn’t make any sense. It’s almost as if Obama had nothing to do with this decision at all (which I don’t know if that’s the case), and just told Gibbs to give the standard “we’re concerned” answer. You know Obama, wouldn’t want to ruffle too many feathers.

From Wired Magazine’s “Danger Room”:

While North Korea strikes an increasingly belligerent pose, the South Korean government is planning a serious military upgrade — with some help from Washington.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency — the Pentagon arm that manages foreign military sales — made public plans to sell the South Koreans more surface-to-air missiles and upgrade its F-16 fighters so they can drop Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) smart bombs.

The proposed upgrade of 35 F-16s, the agency said, would allow the Republic of Korea Air Force “to adequately operate the F-16 weapon system to its fullest and utmost capability in both a deterrent role and a coalition role with United States Forces Korea and the Combined Forces Command.”

In other words, it will allow South Korean F-16s to hit artillery and anti-aircraft systems that are often hidden in bunkers and caves north of the DMZ. South Korea’s fleet of F-15Ks (pictured here) already have a precision strike capability; upgrading F-16s would allow the Republic of Korea Air Force to take on more “hardened facilities” in North Korea.

DSCA notified Congress of the pending arms sale late last week, before North Korea’s test of a nuclear weapon; the planned sales are part of an existing South Korean defense modernization program conceived before the current crisis. Recent events, however, may spur an expansion of that defense package. The Korea Times reported yesterday that South Korea’s defense ministry is now planning to increase its stock of JDAMs and air-launched cruise missiles.

Along with the fighter upgrade, DSCA also announced the pending sale of Standard Missile-2 Block IIIA and Block IIIB missiles. Those missiles are already in South Korea’s inventory, but will boost the country’s offshore defenses.

Hugh Hewitt Owns MSNBC’s Larry O’Donnell

May 28, 2009

Podcast link is here, and the transcript is here.

There’s so much to love about the smack down Hugh puts on O’Donnell, but my favorite part is when Hugh asks him to back up some claims he made to Liz Cheney on waterboarding. You know the expression “silence is deafening?” Well, that expression applies perfectly here. You have to listen to whole exchange to really appreciate it, but here’s an excerpt:

HH: Okay, Larry, let’s get to the big debate you had with Liz Cheney on waterboarding a few days back.

LO’D: Yeah.

HH: You said people have been prosecuted for exactly this. Did you mean for waterboarding?

LO’D: Yeah.

HH: Who?

LO’D: Well, we’ve done it, you know, this country has prosecuted that, that, torture method before.

HH: When?

LO’D: Um, I don’t know, what’s…I think it is was…umm, I don’t know. I…you know, I’ve…I know that we’ve done it, and I don’t have the research in front of me as to exactly when we’ve prosecuted who for it and which conflict.

HH: Because you told MSNBC, “This government has prosecuted people in the past for doing exactly this.”

LO’D: Yeah, let me, I’ll get the internet fired up. I’ll find it for you.

HH: And for waterboarding specifically?

LO’D: Sure.

HH: You’re sure about that?

LO’D: Well, let’s…come on, we’ve got all the time in the world here with the internet. We’ll find it.

HH: But if you’re wrong…

LO’D: Oh, if I’m wrong, then I’ll be corrected.

Needless to say, he was wrong, and he was corrected (after trying to use Wikipedia as a source). Hugh wrote on his blog after the interview:

During the break he consulted wikipedia, and referred my audience to the case of Major Edwin Glenn, prosecuted for his conduct during the Spanish-American War, but after O’Donnell had departed, Lileks sent me a note pointing out the fact that Glenn had been prosecuted for using the “water cure,” not waterboarding.  Intentional misinformation, or just Larry’s inability to navigate wikipedia at high speed?


The other juicy part of the interview comes when Hugh asks O’Donnell what the last book he read on terrorism was. You’ll have to listen to the interview to find out his response, but I can almost guarantee that his answer won’t surprise you.