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The protests and condemnations of the political Left and mainstream media following the election of Donald Trump have been deafening. To a great extent, many of us may have resorted to simply rolling our eyes and shrugging our shoulders since the complaints and accusations are non-stop.
But lately I’ve noticed a more insidious activity that is intended to influence the public consciousness. Although it is promoted with a veneer of truth, it is intended to continue to tarnish America’s reputation and character. In this case, the vehicle is “proving” that Americans are becoming complacent about torture. Let me show you how subtle and sinister these accusations have become.
Last week the MSM published articles on the 2016 report of the International Committee of the Red Cross. In particular the report highlights the American people as one group that has become inured to torture. They state,
“Forty-six percent of Americans surveyed think that captured enemy combatants may be tortured to obtained important military information, and thirty-three percent think torture is part of war,” according to the ICRC poll, said Heritage fellow Cully Stimson in a statement Monday. “These are disturbing numbers because torture is a crime, and banned under domestic and international law.”
There are a couple of noteworthy points that could lead us to question the report’s validity. The countries at the top of the list that find “torture” 100 percent unacceptable are Yemen and Colombia; since both of these countries have experienced their share of torture, we can consider those experiences drive their views. It’s also interesting to note that “Palestine” is listed as a country in the report. That insertion, I believe, also suggests an inappropriate bias of the Left. To date, I have seen the MSM publish articles on this report, but without any assessment of it. This omission of reviewing the report further contributes to the defamation of the United States.
President-elect Trump’s selection of General Mattis as Defense secretary has indirectly contributed to this negative view of the US with his comments on waterboarding. As James Mitchell, a retired Air Force officer and former CIA contractor reported in his op-ed piece in the WSJ, the general reportedly advised, “Give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers and I do better with that.” James Mitchell doesn’t agree.
James Mitchell was contracted by the CIA in 2002 to “help put together what became its enhanced-interrogation program. He spent six years at “black sites” around the world “trying to extract lifesaving information from some of the worst people on the planet.” He also points out, “It is understandable that Gen. Mattis would say he never found waterboarding useful, because no one in the military has been authorized to waterboard a detainee … I respect Gen. Mattis, but he has never employed enhanced-interrogation techniques. I have.”
Mitchell doesn’t support the use of waterboarding except with the most hardened of criminals, especially when a planned terrorist act appears imminent. And yet we have had multiple reports and individuals condemning the use of waterboarding. Mitchell says,
Critics will point to the 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report that declared enhanced interrogation didn’t work. The investigation cost $40 million and took five years, yet investigators didn’t even speak to anyone involved in the program. Anyway, a report produced by an extremely partisan congressional committee deserves skepticism to begin with.
Although I respect General Mattis and what he will bring to the Trump White House, I don’t think he realizes that he has been influenced by the mainstream media rather than relying on his own direct experience. He unintentionally has validated the ICRC report, essentially confirming their conclusions — that Americans who support waterboarding are unnecessarily supporting torture.
Most of the leaders of the Congressional armed services or intelligence committees declined to comment on the ICRC report. House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., however, spoke out:
The United States will never go back to waterboarding or any form of torture, something I believe the vast majority of the military, intelligence community and American public would never condone,” Schiff said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “Not only is it immoral, but it is also unconstitutional, ineffective and violative of both U.S. and international law.
At a time when we will need every resource available more than ever to protect our country, government officials are determined to tie our hands by eliminating a rarely used but effective tool in information gathering. And when President-elect Trump is trying to restore America’s image and leadership in the world, these types of unchallenged smears, that make no effort to study the nuanced approaches to America’s safety and security, will not be helpful.
We will need to be vigilant concerning these kinds of distortions about the United States and its people. Those who try to undermine our reputation must be called to task. Promoting the assumption that Americans are indifferent to torture is only one way to attack this country; ruling out a reconsideration of waterboarding is foolhardy and shortsighted. My hope is that President-elect Trump will use his platform to continue to call out those who misrepresent the character and values of this country, and who also put us at risk.