"For all of its well-deserved reputation for pragmatism, American popular culture frequently nurtures or at least tolerates preposterous views and theories," writes Gen. Michael Hayden in a column in today's Wall Street Journal. "Witness," Hayden writes, "the 'truthers'....[and] the 'birthers.'"
Let me add a third denomination to this faith-based constellation: interrogation deniers, i.e., individuals who hold that the enhanced interrogation techniques used against CIA detainees have never yielded useful intelligence.
Maybe popular culture has proven too tolerant of birthers and truthers. But popular culture, as anyone as professionally observant as Gen. Hayden must surely have recognized, isn't at all interested in deniers. No, denying the usefulness of enhanced interrogation is the preoccupation of the mainstream media, in particular of the New York Times. Just get a load of this, from a May 4 Times editorial:
There is no final answer to whether any of the prisoners tortured in President George W. Bush’s illegal camps gave up any information that eventually proved useful in finding Bin Laden....most experienced interrogators think that the same information, or better, can be obtained through legal and humane means. No matter what Mr. Yoo [Ricochet's own John Yoo, who, like Gen. Hayden, has been standing up for enhanced interrogation] and friends may claim, the real lesson of the Bin Laden operation is that it demonstrated what can be done with focused intelligence work and persistence.
It isn't Rush Limbaugh or Fox News or the New York Post or any other outlet of popular culture that indulges the fantasies of deniers, and Gen. Hayden simply has to know it. If you're going to roll up a newspaper to smack somebody on the nose, General, then for goodness's sake smack somebody who deserves it.