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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 27, 2009 at 4:00 PM


Unbalanced reporting ignores Cheney

The Washington Post article carried in the May 22 Seattle Times is a masterpiece of one-sided journalism [“President, Cheney duel over how to fight terror,” page one].

Numerous Obama quotes and commentator quotes completely swamp the single Cheney quote, which noted that the central debate is about whether the comprehensive Bush strategy for fighting terrorism has worked and should be continued, or whether the 9/11 attack should be considered a one-time event of insufficient importance to sustain a continued wartime effort.

With regard to the Obama administration’s publication of memos about the details of enhanced interrogation techniques while withholding the results of such techniques, the following Cheney quotes were omitted:

“For reasons the administration has yet to explain, they believe the public has the right to know the method of the questions, but not the content of the answers.”

“We had a lot of blind spots after the attacks on our country, things we didn’t know about al-Qaida. We didn’t know about al-Qaida’s plans, but Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and a few others did know.”

“… to completely rule out enhanced interrogation in the future is unwise in the extreme. It is recklessness cloaked in righteousness and would make the American people less safe.”

— Edward Wittmann, Seattle

Most believe torture is justified

I take issue with David Brooks’ statement that torture/enhanced interrogation is morally offensive to most of us and is counterproductive [“Obama (and Bush) defeat Cheney,” Opinion, May 23]. Regardless of the words chosen to describe it, the real question is: Was it justified?

When it is used judiciously on those who have information that can save American lives, it is. Whether it yields no information, false information or solid intelligence, I and most others believe it’s justified.

From what we’ve been told by credible sources in both administrations, it was used very selectively and did provide information that probably saved American lives. The techniques were used to extract information, not for retribution, and no lasting damage or injury was caused.

As for American values, let’s put it in perspective. During wartime, we have bombed infrastructure, causing civilian casualties; targeted places where terrorists were hiding, but women and children were sometimes there, too; we used the A-bomb on cities to force an early end to a war; we executed American traitors without a trial; etc.

The idea that a few terrorists have been subjected to temporary discomfort somehow damages American values and is morally offensive is ludicrous. Brooks seems to admire the packaging of policy by Obama more than the substance of Bush/Cheney.

— Ted Madison, Redmond

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