Torture Ideology

by digby

Did Chuck Todd recently attend a Mark Halperin seminar on how to be an insufferably obtuse purveyor of stale and useless insider conventional wisdom? (Or does he just have a natural talent for it?)

Check this out:

Competence And Ideology: One reason why intelligence has become such a tough nut for Obama to crack: There's a lot of Democratic rhetoric on intel from the presidential campaign, and it's something that Obama is allowing the intellectual left to have veto power over. Obama finds himself caught in this first intra-party vise between his instinct to pick competence over ideology. His first rumored choices for CIA were competent picks -- but both would have been eviscerated by the intellectual left because of their anger at Bush over interrogation practices. He's allowing ideology to trump competence for the first time in one of his major appointments. Now, the pick of Dennis Blair to be DNI is a tip toward competence, while the Obama folks hoped Panetta was a compromise between competence and ideology (Panetta was praised as a smart manager during the Clinton White House years). But it looks like it ain't being received that way...

Apparently being against torture is now a crazed left wing ideological position built on "anger" at George Bush. And it's incompetent, to boot.

I don't know how many times people have to make this point, but when it comes to torture it is not a matter of being mad at bush or even simple human decency. It is a matter of competence as well. Not only does torture not work as an intelligence tool, the sincere and public repudiation of torture is essential to the success of Obama's foreign policy. If he were to choose someone who was implicated in or associated with Bush's torture regime, his credibility around the world would be damaged before he even begins. It would be dramatically incompetent for him not to make a clear distinction both to the intelligence community and the rest of the world between his policies and the Bush administration's.

The fact that this is considered ideological at all by the vaunted centrist villagers tells you everything you need to know about their morals, their intelligence and their competence. But that's no surprise. These are people, after all, who giddily supported Bush and Cheney taking the gloves off, even though it was clear that it would end up making the country an international pariah and obviously, therefore, less safe. (Superpowers without a moral compass are inherently seen to be untrustworthy --- duh.)

As Greenwald said, the mere fact that the complicit whiners Feinstein and Rockefeller (who, you'll notice, immediately ran crying to the press) are upset about it, reflects well on the decision. I'm sorry that the intelligence community believes that the lefties are out to get them, but they really need to get a grip. As I've written before, the left has always supported the intelligence community and defends their intelligence gathering and analysis against the ongoing right wing attacks on them for being wimps for underestimating the threat. The left understands the need for intelligence, but they draw the line at secret coups, assassination, torture and other illegal activities. The community seems to be perfectly willing to take endless crap from the right for being befuddled, stupid and cowardly, but it goes into high dudgeon when anyone asks them to stop their more violent and illegal activities. That tells you more about them than it does about the "intellectual left."

h/t to bb