Tried to go to sleep, but could not, so I thought I would remark on the amazing 60 Minutes interview tonight with Jose Rodriguez (video here and here). The whole thing was horrendous. Rather than rotting in jail for selling our nation’s soul to the devil, this war criminal was on CBS selling his book and continuing to spew his bile. A sample:
Which is why Jose Rodriguez says that when he ran the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center, he came up with the idea of employing harsh interrogation techniques. And10 years later, he feels he still has to justify their use.
Lesley Stahl: You had no qualms? We used to consider some of them war crimes.
Jose Rodriguez: We made some al Qaeda terrorists with American blood on their hands uncomfortable for a few days. But we did the right thing for the right reason. And the right reason was to protect the homeland and to protect American lives. So yes, I had no qualms.***
ose Rodriguez: The detainee was strapped to an inclined board with his feet up so that no water would go–
Lesley Stahl: So his head was back.
Jose Rodriguez: So his head was back. And a cloth was placed over the mouth and nose. And water was applied to it.
Lesley Stahl: Oh he couldn’t breathe through his nose.
Jose Rodriguez: So when he was saturated, then the air flow would be stopped.
Lesley Stahl: And he’d have the sensation of drowning.
Jose Rodriguez: And he would have the sensation.
Lesley Stahl: And was he naked?
Jose Rodriguez: In many cases, nudity was used extensively. And it worked well.
Lesley Stahl: Why is nudity effective?
Jose Rodriguez: It is effective because a lot of people feel very vulnerable when they’re nude. And also because of the culture. Nudity, it is not something that is common.***
Lesley Stahl: Oh, what’s the insult slap?
Jose Rodriguez: It’s just slapping somebody with an open hand so that you don’t hurt ’em.
Lesley Stahl: By “hurt,” you mean you don’t break his jaw?
Jose Rodriguez: We don’t break his jaw. And the objective is not to inflict pain. The objective is to let him know there’s a new sheriff in town, and he better pay attention.***
Lesley Stahl: There was no reason to think that it had been effective or that it was safe. This is your inspector general.
Jose Rodriguez: Well our own inspector general in many cases did very sloppy work. That report is flawed in many different ways.
Lesley Stahl: Why would they make it up?
Jose Rodriguez: I don’t know if it’s made up. I don’t know if they were advocates. You know, the inspector general himself, he was opposed to this. I mean, but this was the policy. So he was wrong.
But many of the tips from detainees reportedly led to blind alleys and expensive wild goose chases. Jose Rodriguez maintains the information from KSM and the other detainees enabled the CIA to disrupt at least 10 large scale terrorist plots.
Lesley Stahl: Would the plots have been stopped without the harsh interrogation techniques? In other words, could it have happened without waterboarding?
Jose Rodriguez: I can’t answer that question. Perhaps. But the issue here was timing. We needed information and we needed it right away to protect the homeland.
Lesley Stahl: You told us that the whole rationale, justification for the whole interrogation program was to stop an imminent attack. The inspector general says it didn’t stop any imminent attack.
Jose Rodriguez: I submit to you that we don’t know. We don’t know if, for example, al Qaeda would have been able to continue on with their anthrax program or nuclear program or the second wave of attacks or the sleeper agents that they had inside the United States that were working with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to take down the Brooklyn Bridge, for example. So, it’s easy, years later, to say, “Well, you know, no ticking time bomb– nothing was stopped.”
In short, we basically know that becoming a third world torture regime didn’t help us at all. And here is our regime’s chief torturer, not hiding in jail and begging for mercy from the court, but proudly bragging that he basically just tortured people for shits and giggles. That, in and of itself, should make you sick. But what really struck me was how similar this sociopath’s demeanor was to Michael Oren, who was also on 60 Minutes just last week. There, he was seen lying about the role Israeli policies have had on the complete destruction of the Christian community in Israel:
Michael Oren, who used to be Israel’s director of Interreligious Affairs, is Israel’s ambassador to the United States.
Michael Oren: We have to protect our country. But sometimes you have to do what you have to do in order to survive.
For Palestinian Christians, the survival of their culture is in danger. In towns like Bethlehem, which used to be distinctively Christian, Muslims now are a clear and growing majority. The veil is replacing the cross. But inside Israel, in Christian towns like Nazareth, Arabs are Israeli citizens and, according to Ambassador Oren, they’re thriving. The reason Christians are leaving the West Bank, he says, is Islamic extremism.
Michael Oren: I think that the major problem in the West Bank as in elsewhere in the Middle East is that the Christian communities are living under duress.
Bob Simon: And this duress is coming from Muslims, not from the Israel occupation?
Ambassador Michael Oren: I believe that the major duress is coming from that.
[Zahi Khouri: Great selling point. Easy to sell to the American public.]
Zahi Khouri is a Palestinian businessman. He owns the West Bank Coca-Cola franchise.
Zahi Khouri: I’ll tell you I don’t know of anybody and I probably have 12,000 customers here. I’ve never heard that someone is leaving because of Islamic persecution.
You really have to watch both videos to really get the full feel of how these two seemingly disparate issues are so much alike. Oren later actually called CBS news to have the report quashed, because he found it unfair- even though he didn’t even know what the report would be. The causes may be different, but the sincerity and creepy devotion to “duty,” however malevolent, is present.
But the demeanor of these two is what I find horrifying. Both Rodriguez and Oren are so convinced what they are doing is right, that no amount of evil behavior is invalidated, because their cause is so just. We’re just guided and led by zealots, everywhere. Rodriguez champions a covert torture regime for the benefit of all, while Oren champions apartheid for the good of the few.
We’re being ruled by mild-mannered, soft-spoken sadists and sociopaths.