President Obama has repeatedly promised not to second guess the interrogation methods, or seek to punish interrogators, who were acting in good faith when following orders while questioning terrorists and enemy combatants captured and detained during the Bush administration.
Recently, Democratic lawmakers -- in direct contradiction to what the president has said about the issue (not wanting to “look back,” etc.) -- have begun searching for scapegoats.
There is no doubt that the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress have fundamental differences with the prior administration about how to treat terrorists. They see the larger “War on Terror” as a law enforcement action as opposed to a true act of war.
Now it appears that Democrats want and need scalps to hold high as they seek to deflect attention away from their disastrous decision to try those responsible for 9/11 in civilian federal court as just blocks from Ground Zero. So whose scalps do they want? Well, they know that they cannot go after former President Bush, Vice President Cheney or any ex-presidential appointees so they are trying to target intelligence agents who were just doing their jobs.
The men and women Democrats now seek to demonize are heroes. They are professionals and serve our country out of a clear sense of duty and patriotism. The work they do is sensitive and exposes them to great personal danger. The task they perform is vital to the protection of the United States and our allies. It is no accident that America has not experienced another successful domestic terrorist attack since 9/11. The reason we have been kept safe is a direct result of the actions taken by the brave personnel who serve our government covertly and overtly.
This past week, while the nation’s attention was riveted on the president’s now infamous “health care summit,” the Democrats of the House Intelligence Committee were scheming to sneak the following amendment into the House Intelligence Authorization Bill. It’s being called the “Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Interrogations Prohibition Act of 2010.” The amendment is poorly drafted and seeks to outlaw certain ill-defined interrogation methods and impose prison sentences of up to 15 years on government personnel who practice such methods.
Thanks to the efforts of Republican House members like Pete Hoekstra and Peter King, who turned up the heat on the White House and the Democrats -- their efforts were thwarted and the amendment was abandoned.
Democrats should be lining up to support the men and women who work to keep us safe. They should not be spending their time trying to figure out ways to demoralize and criminalize them.
The president is not a leader who commands even the respect of many members of his own party. For Democrats to boldly embark on these rogue actions is troubling at best and dangerous at worst. Their actions undermine the president and our nation and they hurt the efforts of those who work night and day to prevent further harm to our country.
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University. A frequent Fox Forum contributor he is president of Kent Strategies LLC.