I was on a BBC radio show to discuss the interrogation memos and my column. The only line from my column the host quoted:
[L]et’s not sacrifice a single American life to score public-relations points in the cafés of Europe.
I said no offense to you Europeans but, yes, the lives of innocent Americans are more important than are your opinions of me. If that means I should expect sub-standard service the next time I order a croque–monsieur on the Champs–Élysées, I’ll have to live with that.
This more serious thought has occurred to me since writing my column: Why not set up a truly blue-ribbon panel to review all relevant interrogation techniques and then report to the president which are effective?
Then the president can indicate which of these effective techniques:
- we never do, no matter what (because they “shock the conscience” and therefore constitute torture under American law);
- we will only do in the most extreme circumstances and under specific presidential authority;
- the DNI may authorize on his own under approved guidelines;
- SOP for all qualified CIA interrogators;
- SOP for all military interrogators (e.g. the Army Field Manual).
Isn’t that the way to strike a balance?
BTW, I was just on “To The Point with Warren Olney” on these issues — single-handedly arguing against Phillip Zelikow, Jane Mayer, and Glenn Greenwald. (To Warren’s credit, he gave me sufficient time for responses.) The show is broadcast at 10 PM in Washington, I believe.