Saturday, April 05, 2014

Jose Rodriguez, Then and Now


When we captured high-ranking al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaida in 2002, we knew he could help us track down other terrorists and might provide information to allow us to stop another attack. Those who suggest we should have questioned him more gently have never felt the burden of protecting innocent lives.


"[Rodriguez] would always say, 'I'm not going to let my people get nailed for something they were ordered to do,'" -- Robert Richer, then associate deputy director, Central Intelligence Agency

"[Rodriguez thought] the heat from destroying is nothing compared to what it would be if the tapes ever got into public domain -- he said that out of context they would make us look terrible; it would be 'devastating' to us." -- Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, then executive director, Central Intelligence Agency

In 2005, Rodriguez destroyed evidence. That doesn't prove that he possessed a moral compass of sufficient quality to leave him ashamed of what he'd done, but it's at least prima facie evidence that he knew damn well what he'd done was illegal.

As of 2014, he's comfortable engaging in Eichmannesque bluster about his crimes, although presumably that's because he's confident he'll never face justice for those crimes rather than, like Eichmann, just wanting to get it off his chest because he knows his goose is cooked.

If the US government had actually been based on "rule of law" back then, Rodriguez would never have been permitted to commit his crimes.

If the US government was based on "rule of law" now, Rodriguez would stand condemned by his own testimony and the only real question would be whether his actions merit execution (as was the case at the end of World War II, when US occupation authorities hanged a number of Japanese officers for doing it to Americans) or just a really, really long prison term.

There is no legitimate argument that waterboarding is anything but torture.

It is an irrefutable fact that waterboarding is illegal under both US law and the United Nations Convention Against Torture, to which the US is signatory.

There is no doubt that Jose Rodriguez is a vicious, violent and unrepentant criminal.

While I don't blame the Post for publishing his self-congratulatory crap, I wish that the paper would have noted that last fact in its description of him. Not doing so is the equivalent of running a piece by Charles Manson with the bio line "Manson is a musician and motivational speaker from California."

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