Day: August 24, 2009

CIA Torture Interrogations To Be Investigated By Special Prosecutor

In a controversial decision by Attorney General Eric Holder, the government will use a special prosecutor to investigate violations of interrogation policy by CIA operatives in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 in secret CIA prisons and in the war zone in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The advantage of this is to promote transparency and prevent any future such use of torture in interrogations. It is horrifying to think that there were threats of killing prisoners, use of handguns and power drills as threats, suggestions that family members of suspects would be murdered,choking prisoners, and blowing smoke in their faces to make them vomit. These techniques, along with the already known waterboarding, are against international law, and a registered Republican, John H. Dunham, will be pursuing prosecution, with a record of trust from both political parties, and a reputation of fairness, rather than partisanship, in his background.

This decision, independently made by the Attorney General, will be highly controversial and make new political problems for President Obama, but what is new about that? 🙂

It seems to me to be essential that we do a thorough investigation, but also hold accountable top Bush Administration officials, all the way up to Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, and maybe, just maybe, George W. Bush himself!

The Swine Flu Pandemic Challenge For The Obama Administration

As we enter the school year and the coming of cooler weather in the next month in much of the country, the danger of a Swine Flu pandemic sends out alarm bells to all of us, including the Obama Administration.

This is an issue, that should the pandemic result in reality, will be a political loser for President Obama if the vaccine is in inadequate supply or does not succeed in lessening the number of people who would be taken sick, and also the number of deaths that would evolve.

If the vaccine turns out to be ineffective or actually causes other health problems in the population, as has happened at times in the past, then it will promote a feeling again that the government is inept, unable to deal with a crisis.

So just as Hurricane Katrina undermined the reputation of George W. Bush, the likelihood exists that even with great preparation by the Obama Administration, the President could still suffer in public opinion, and it could have an effect on the midterm elections of 2010 and even the Presidential campaign of 2012.

So we are facing a health crisis likely in the making, and the concurrent political fallout that could develop. The hope is that we will discover that we over prepared, rather than under prepared.