Protecting spies wasn’t meant to protect torture

In the mid-1970s I was a young analyst with the CIA. A friend then serving undercover as the station chief in a European country was gunned down by terrorists. His assassination followed unauthorized disclosure of his CIA identity by people opposed to American intelligence activities. Later spy scandals involving traitors Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanssen and others showed even more dramatically the devastating consequences of unauthorized disclosure of sensitive intelligence information.

This is the primary reason post-WW II era laws establishing the CIA provided extensive and unique authority for the CIA director to protect “intelligence sources and methods.”
In the 21st century, our country’s foreign intelligence capabilities are focused not against a major, adversary superpower such as the former Soviet Union , but against a variety of state and nonstate actors of more limited but still deadly capabilities. Clearly, however, the need for developing, using and maintaining effective “intelligence sources and methods” is just as critical now as it was in decades past.

Despite the broad and unique powers given the CIA chief, our government travels a very slippery slope when it allows those legal authorities to provide the excuse for covering up potential violations of the law. President Richard Nixon tried it in the 1970s when he and White House operatives employed the CIA as part of its Watergate cover up. The administration of George W. Bush elevated the defense to a whole new level.

Pleading “intelligence sources and methods” as a defense to charges of committing torture or other illegal acts should have no place in either our legal system or in the public policy arena. Using “sources and methods” as a shield to hide allegedly illegal acts abuses and cheapens an important, legitimate authority. This became evident during the Bush-Cheney administration when it refused even to acknowledge what everyone knew ­— that the National Security Agency was monitoring international phone calls to discover intelligence on al-Qaida operatives.

NSA exists to monitor, decrypt and analyze certain international communications of likely foreign intelligence value. Yet the Bush administration dogmatically refused to even acknowledge the obvious as part of its effort to defend against charges it was engaging in a far-reaching and illegal program of warrantless electronic eavesdropping on our citizens. Claiming that even acknowledging that the NSA engaged in electronic eavesdropping would offer our enemies invaluable knowledge about the “sources” (phone calls) and “methods” (intercepts) of our foreign intelligence capabilities, the Bush administration simply closed the door to any legitimate inquiry of whether it engaged in unlawful surveillance.

Likewise, when evidence surfaced that it had authorized and sanctioned the use of torture as a means of extracting intelligence from captured terrorism suspects, the Bush administration repeatedly refused to discuss or provide information on what precisely it was doing . The excuse for such stonewalling was the old “sources and methods” defense — that to allow any discussion of whether and how government employees tortured suspects would enhance the ability of other potential suspects to withstand application of such techniques in the future.

In other words, the government is telling us (and the world) that, “we won’t discuss how we torture, because this would reduce the effectiveness of torture in the future, and all this therefore is protected against disclosure by the need to protect intelligence sources and methods.”

And now we learn that former Vice President Dick Cheney wants certain of those torture reports and assessments made public after all. Why? To write a book and to show that the use of water-boarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” — even if unlawful — extracted worthwhile intelligence from suspects. For the prior administration at least, what constitutes an intelligence “source” or “method” depends more on the point attempted to be made than it does on a legitimate need to protect the names and lawful actions of undercover operatives.

66 comments Add your comment

Copyleft

May 13th, 2009
8:38 am

I agree with you here, Mr. Barr… which means your commentary will be swiftly derided and condemned by the panic-stricken “Whatever It Takes To Keep Us Safe” crowd.

Stand by for repeated explanations that “but they’re TERRORISTS, so that makes it okay!” or “anything that saves American lives is justified,” and similar lightweight excuses.

RetLTC

May 13th, 2009
9:45 am

Thank you Bob. You are on the money.

Shaye

May 13th, 2009
10:01 am

A few years ago, I would not have thought I’d be agreeing with you, but here I am.

I find it fascinating that discussion of right vs. wrong is ignored and we keep hearing “but it’s effective.” That has nothing to do with it. So would blowing up Afghanistan, etc., be effective, but it would be beyond heinous (obviously).

gatorman770

May 13th, 2009
10:07 am

Waterboarding is nothing new. It was used extensively in Vietnam to get intelligence from captured VC and I imagine it was used through most of the wars, conflicts, police actions, etc. of the 20th century, but it still is better and more humane than our countries foes have utilized such as beatings, electro-shock, breaking fingers and other bones, pouring salt on wounds, suspending or hanging prisoners in cesspools, decapitation, etc. Continue to expose and take away the tools utilzed by our intelligence agencies and expect some more days like 9/11 to arrive real soon!

Copyleft

May 13th, 2009
10:13 am

Thanks for the reminder, Gatorman. Another excuse we’ll hear is “But our enemies do much WORSE stuff, so that makes it okay to do this.”

Short answer: No, it doesn’t.

Billy Bob

May 13th, 2009
10:22 am

Preaching to the libtard choir here, Bob? This clearly sounds like a legislative job for our Congress. Now, if you don’t want the POTUS to have this power, then let Congress do it’s @#$% legislative job. Then you can insert the judgement of 535 senior government employees for the Chief Government Employee’s.

Case closed.

Old Physics Teacher

May 13th, 2009
10:33 am

I’m sorry Billy Bob, but this is about something higher than a “legislative job for Congress.” It’s about the strange document that says something about the “right” to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” that the previous administration bulldozed over and buried. And it’s not a judgement call: it’s the Law of the Land!

Billy Bob

May 13th, 2009
10:42 am

Oldtimer,

If what the CIA Director or the Administration, in part or whole, has done is illegal then bring them up on criminal charges; otherwise, sir, you whine.

And the change you seek is legislative.

leeh1

May 13th, 2009
10:43 am

If torture is so effective, why didn’t those Republicans use it against drug dealers, illegal border crossers and corrupt bank presidents? All of these people are threats against the US, too.
The Republicans failed in their duty to protect the US by not extending the use of torture against American illegal combatants, especially in the war on drugs.

Personally, I would enjoy seeing some of the druggie punks get a work over in order to find out who supplied them with the drugs- Oh! Now I realize why torture isn’t used against drug dealers. They may say too much, and get important people in trouble.

Rick

May 13th, 2009
10:58 am

I find it ridiculous that we’re even debating this topic. The word torture has been purposely bandied about in the media so much that it’s almost universally accepted as true. Sleep deprivation? Loud Music? Standing for extended periods of time? Torture? Hardly. Sounds like exam time at college.

Waterboarding torture? I don’t think so.

If we used the same methods as the Vietnamese did against our POWs, I’d agree. But our methods are child’s play compared to the things people like John McCain endured.

And the fact is… the “Geneva Convention” protections do not – and never did – apply to these prisoners. They were not in uniform, serving in the military of their country.

These were – and are – terrorists – nothing more. They deserve no protection whatsoever.

LOLO

May 13th, 2009
11:17 am

Mr. Barr, I agree with your argument(s) but the basis of your position is derived from the definition of torture. This argument over the definition is what keeps going round and round. I do not consider sleep deprivation or even waterboarding as torture. They are extremely uncomfortable tactics but not mob-style, disfiguring torture that the word conjures up to the American people. When bones are broken and and extreme starvation is utilized, then yes, that constitutes torture. Once real torture is engaged, then yes, I will agree with the entirety of your analysis.

Jim

May 13th, 2009
11:24 am

Torture smorture, you people are a bunch of pansies.

Billy Bob

May 13th, 2009
11:27 am

leeh1

I couldn’t agree with you more.

Anyone who uses recreational illegal drugs including pot, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, etc. are GUILTY IN PRINCIPLE of conspiracy to commit drug-related murder in the U.S., Mexico and Central America.

Jim

May 13th, 2009
11:31 am

Billy Bob, taht is the dumbest thing I’ve ever read.

Jim

May 13th, 2009
11:32 am

That’s that.

Ankish

May 13th, 2009
11:35 am

Jim,

I guess that means your “guilty-as-charged.”

Ankish

May 13th, 2009
11:36 am

That’s “you’re.”

Jim

May 13th, 2009
11:42 am

What have I been charged with? Protecting myself?

Jim Callihan

May 13th, 2009
11:47 am

Post-WWII hearings defined “waterboarding as torture”. As a result, Japanese officers were executed and America swore to never use such tactics.

Integrity is the one thing no one can ever take from you. To lose it, you must give it away on your own accord. The Bush Administration (which I voted for…and again to “keep”) has given away America’s integrity. Ironically, it was espoused by a “never-served, draft dodger” named Dick Cheney – a real puke of a human being and a war profiteer.

williebkind

May 13th, 2009
12:33 pm

I would not be so concerned about this matter of intelligence if the terrorists or other progressive liberals just wanted to kill a few people, blow up a building or two, or give the biased media reasons to sensationalize socialists/communists.

However, the thought of a nuclear bomb in a city really makes me cringe. Of course, I hope the target of the terrorsts will be New York, Atlanta, Los Angelos, San Francisco, or Chicago. In any decent city attacks is just horrible.

I am curious how the liberals will exude blame toward Bush/Chaney. You know King Obama will never become responsible until he declares himself to be god. Then we may see a few desertions. Well, I am just a product of public schools.

Copyleft

May 13th, 2009
12:50 pm

Thanks, WillieB, for illustrating why the country is ignoring the Rabid Right these days. They’re just too insane to form a coherent argument, let alone accomplish anything.

Chris Broe

May 13th, 2009
1:01 pm

If torture will prevent another 911, then the red goes on positive, the black goes on negative. Period.

Could torture prevent another 911? Is Cheney’s God on our side?

This whole affair is like a national confession – justifying broken protocol – the sad, simple occasions of venial spin.

Bush Sr. was CIA too. Anyone else nervous that Barr was CIA? Gates was CIA. All these guys know exactly what 911 was about and what we’re dealing with now.

We’re being played from three sides. Arguing about the size of 911 memorials. Bookman cant mention torture without referring to a cartoon show called 24.

America must keep reminding itself: It’s only a movie. It’s only a movie.

SaveOurRepublic

May 13th, 2009
1:03 pm

Using the 9/11 false-flag as a pretext for an Orwellian police-state, the (Globalist Elite empowered) Machievellian Neocons have shredded the Constitution via the (so-called) “Patriot”, John Warner Defense Authorization & Military Commissions Acts. In the way of torture, have a look at the notorious John Yoo torture memos…and therein lies the mindset of these Globalist Neocons!

sane jane

May 13th, 2009
1:04 pm

I didn’t realize decapitation was an effective way to gain intelligence. Seems so… final.

Billy Bob, do you consider people who grow their own ganj for personal consumption ALSO to be co-conspirators? If so, please explain.

Also, do you consider Big Pharma and the CIA to be fellow conspirators? They’ve played a wee bit of a role in this, too.

Billy Bob

May 13th, 2009
1:13 pm

moving-from-insane-to-a-more-sane jane,

When I get ticketed for speeding that old logic that “everyone else was speeding” does not convince the officer. I am still guilty of speeding.

Billy Bob

May 13th, 2009
1:16 pm

Chris Broe @ 1:01

…can’t stop laughing, can’t breathe…

anthony

May 13th, 2009
1:18 pm

People really dont understand if we torture and break our values as nation to prevent another attack. Then the terrorists have won, they can say see how weak they truly are.

williebkind

May 13th, 2009
1:24 pm

Enter your comments here

williebkind

May 13th, 2009
1:26 pm

Copyleft: I am just using that liberal logic! Did you not see the comaparison or were you too eager to blame a conservative. Are you trying to do me like your friends did Miss California on her freedom of speech and bliefs?

Democrap Party

May 13th, 2009
1:31 pm

Copyleft, the ONLY reason Obama Hussein won the election was because of the economy. NOTHING ELSE! Every single exit poll showed that 80% of the voters who voted for him said that the current economic situation led them to vote for him. AND GUESS WHAT? HE’S DESTROYING THE ECONOMY ONE INDUSTRY AT A TIME!

I say bring on the investigations into the Bush administration. BECAUSE NANCY, HILLARY, BIDEN, KERRY, AND EVERY OTHER DEMOCRAT WHO KNEW ABOUT WATERBOARDING WILL BE PROSECUTED!

Democrap Party

May 13th, 2009
1:34 pm

williebkind, copyleft is a liberal troglodyte who lives in a land of make believe. People like him demonize innocent people while pretending to be the victim. Conservatives never caused the economy to fail. GOVERNMENT DID! Conservatives don’t spend money like a drunken sailor. GOVERNMENT DID! Conservatives have all the guns! LIBERALS HAVE SPIT BALLS! HA!

IF OBAMA HUSSEIN BRINGS ABOUT A NEW CIVIL WAR THE SOUTH WILL WIN. BECAUSE THE SOUTH HAS ALL THE GUNS AND AMMO!

williebkind

May 13th, 2009
1:44 pm

Copyleft: I am just immitating your side of the house. Your side is against torture today but you are against Miss California’s freedom of speech and beliefs because they do not fit your socialist/communist agenda. Your side is not for torture but believes in abortion on demand even until childbirth. Your party agreed by not disagreeing with the decision to go the war and to interrogate the war criminals. And you rant about a rabid right!! All you really have is the biased media and many young people who does not know what is going on but that will change.

Copyleft

May 13th, 2009
1:51 pm

Wrong on pretty much every count, WillieB. I’ve always been against torture; all real Americans are.

I’m fine with Miss California demonstrating her ignorance; she has the right to express an uninformed opinion in a beauty contest.

Freedom of choice would not fit with a communist/socialist agenda (even if such a bizarre hybrid could exist).

I’m opposed to torture and in favor of abortion through the point of viability and brain development; there is no contradiction there.

I did NOT agree to the Iraq war… and it turns out I was right.

Interrogating SUSPECTS (note: NOT the same as “the war criminals,” who are members of Al Qaeda) is fine, within the limits of the law. Torture is outside those limits.

I _do_ know what’s going on, thank you; America is putting the stupidity, shortsightedness, and blind arrogance of the neocons behind us to make a better society. Too bad you’re so consumed with ODS you can’t participate in it.

Yes, I comment about the rabid right. Why not? “Crap” is a perfect illustration of their raving, screaming, irrational (and utterly fact-free) hysteria.

Jim

May 13th, 2009
2:05 pm

I bet Copyleft lives in midtown:(

Sharecropper

May 13th, 2009
2:40 pm

Mr. Barr: I have long disagreed with most of your whacko far right political leanings while at the same time admiring your commitment to your view of our Constitution. In this you are on the side of the angels. It is disheartening, and sickening, to see somebody like Lindsey Graham — a lawyer, committed to the law, and a former military man, and now a United States Senator, for god’s sakes — stand on the floor of the Senate and advocate the torture of human beings while citing a discredited, and admittedly so, former CIA agent who had to admit he had no firsthand knowledge of waterboarding et al whatsoever. That is intellectual thuggery. On the other hand, Graham is from South Carolina, so …

Democrap Party

May 13th, 2009
2:51 pm

I bet copyleft lives in her moms basement.

Copyleft, you wrote that I don’t give facts. I can provide any facts you want. The problem with trolls like you is that you don’t read facts. You dismiss any evidence against democrats because you are a blind cult follower of the democrap party. Go sell stupid somewhere else.

Peter

May 13th, 2009
2:54 pm

Great post Bob…Please tell us why Cheney and Bush gave away the Female CIA agent, when her husband didn’t find any truth that Iraq was trying to get weapons of Mass destruction material ?

Cheney doesn’t care who he hurts for HIS Personal agenda !

Democrap Party

May 13th, 2009
2:55 pm

Copyleft, you’ve never been right about anything. That’s why people poke fun at you. You’ve never provided facts, just your uneducated opinion.

The CIA, Pentagon, Clinton, Bush, Kerry, Biden, Obama Hussein and Al Quaida admit that Al Quaida is in Iraq. I guess you’re too stupid to figure that one out, bozo.

Democrap Party

May 13th, 2009
2:57 pm

Peter, Valerie Plames husband outed her. It was in Vanity Fair magazine. Oh, and Valerie Plame was never undercover nor did she do any kind of undercover work.

The only thing Dick Cheney hurt was the credibility of the democrat party. If Cheney is wrong, RELEASE THE MEMOS!

Democrap Party

May 13th, 2009
3:26 pm

Oh, and speaking of torture photos…..

Obama seeks to block release of abuse photos

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is seeking to block the release of hundreds of photos showing prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan being abused, reversing his position after military commanders warned that the images could stoke anti-American sentiment and endanger U.S. troops.

The pictures show mistreatment of detainees at locations beyond the infamous U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Word of Obama’s decision on Wednesday came after top military commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan expressed fears that publicizing the pictures could put their troops in danger. When the Abu Ghraib photos emerged in 2004 of grinning U.S. soldiers posing with detainees, some naked, some being held on leashes, they caused a huge anti-American backlash around the globe, particularly in the Muslim world.

Obama decided he did not feel comfortable with the photos release, and was concerned it would inflame tensions in Iraq and Afghanistan, put U.S. soldiers at higher risk and make the U.S. mission in those two wars more difficult, according to White House officials.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters that the president was concerned that the photos’ release would pose a national security threat, an argument the administration has not made yet in the courts.

“The president does not believe that the strongest case regarding the release of these photos was presented to the court and that was a case based on his concern about what the release would do to our national security,” Gibbs said.

Gibbs said that the main argument previously was a privacy one.

The move represented a sharp reversal from Obama’s repeated pledges for open government, and in particular from his promise to be forthcoming with information that courts have ruled should be publicly available.

As such, it was sure to invite criticism from the more liberal segments of the Democratic Party that want a full accounting — and even redress — for what they see as the misdeeds of previous years under former President George W. Bush.

Federal appeals judges have ruled, in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, that the photos should be released. After those losses in federal court, the Justice Department concluded that any further appeal would probably be fruitless.

Last month, Gibbs said the president had concurred, though without commenting on whether Obama would support the release if not pressed by a court case.

Through an arrangement with the court, the Pentagon was preparing to put out, by May 28, two batches of photos, one of 21 images and another 23. The government had also told the judge it was “processing for release a substantial number of other images.” The total number of photos to be released was expected to be in the hundreds.

The official emphasized that the president continues to believe that the actions depicted in the photos should not be excused and fully supports the investigations, prison sentences, discharges and other punitive measures that have resulted from them. But that is not likely to quiet Obama’s critics.

Indeed, the ACLU quickly lambasted Obama’s move.

“The decision to not release the photographs makes a mockery of President Obama’s promise of transparency and accountability,” said ACLU attorney Amrit Singh, who argued and won the case in front of the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals in New York. “It is essential that these photographs be released so that the public can examine for itself the full scale and scope of prisoner abuse that was conducted in its name.”

On Capitol Hill, the top Republican welcomed the move.

“I agree with the president that the release of these photos would serve no purpose other than to put our troops in greater danger,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. “The president made the right decision and I applaud him for it.”

The president last week instructed administration lawyers to challenge the release in court and to make the case that the national security implications of such a release have not been fully presented, the official said.

The president informed Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of U.S. troops in Iraq, of his decision during a White House meeting on Tuesday.

Gen. David Petraeus, the senior commander for both wars, had also weighed in against the release, as had Gen. David McKiernan, the top general in Afghanistan. Defense Secretary Robert Gates fired McKiernan on Monday for unrelated reasons.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said military “commanders are concerned about the impact the release of these photos would have for the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq,” and that Gates shares their concerns. Gates wanted the photos blocked from release or at the very least delayed, Morrell said.

Military commanders’ concerns are most intense with respect to Afghanistan.

There the release would coincide with the spring thaw that usually heralds the year’s toughest fighting. Morrell also noted the release as scheduled would come as thousands of new U.S. troops head into Afghanistan’s volatile south.

Since the circuit appeals court both ruled against the government and denied its request for a follow-up hearing, the case could now land at the Supreme Court.

The new case is a contrast to Obama’s decision last month to release documents that documents that detailed brutal interrogation techniques used by the CIA against terror suspects. Those also came out in response to an ACLU lawsuit.

A military group said it was relieved Obama would fight the photos’ release, adding that soldiers’ lives could otherwise be put at risk. Brian Wise, executive Director of Military Families United, said the pictures “will only serve as propaganda to our enemies who will use the images as a recruitment tool to enlist terrorists.”

“The president has said that he wants to improve the image of America throughout the world,” Wise said in a statement. “This is not the way to accomplish that. These photos represent isolated incidents where the offending servicemen and women have already been prosecuted. There is no good that can come from releasing these photos.”

williebkind

May 13th, 2009
3:32 pm

Democrap Party: KOTUS will not release the memos because it will find Prince Harry and Prime Mistress Pelosi were involved–heavily. But sometimes wolves eat their own but in this case no memos because it does not fit the liberal agenda.

Copyleft is an American I know this from deep inside me. He is the product of years of biased media and progressive propagation.

Jim

May 13th, 2009
4:05 pm

That’s funny Willie.

Billy

May 13th, 2009
6:14 pm

Bob, you can’t apply your legal argument if it means a nuke is going to go off and some nut bag spitting in your face and laughing knows where the button is. C’mon!! When the chips are down I want our spooks to beat it out of the guy if he’s one of them. Evil doesn’t have a seat at the jusris table. Evil is just plain Evil.

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar

May 13th, 2009
6:20 pm

Face it cons – the Bush the Least’s (as opposed to his father, Bush the Lesser) Iraq War was a criminal enterprise, “masterminded” by the morons and thugs of the Bush administration, led by the Chickenhawk-in-Chief itself, George Dumbya Bush. It led to the murder of 100 thousand + innocent Iraqis, the death of four thousand+ American soldiers (and the maiming of tens of thousands more)

Obama has to clean-up a seriously effed-up crime scene, and try to make sure that no more decent Americans get hurt.

Che was a hhomicidal maniac

May 13th, 2009
7:15 pm

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar, you may be the dumbest most naive troll to grace the blogs of the AJC.

Bacrock and Biden are idiots:

FACT CHECK: Data belie Biden stimulus anecdotes

WASHINGTON (AP) — In his first quarterly report on the nation’s stimulus package, Vice President Joe Biden uses anecdotes to paint a glowing picture of an economy on the rebound. In reality, the picture is incomplete and the colors far more muted.

It is not disputed that Washington is spending historic amounts of money at a rate far faster than normal. Workers are getting tax breaks, Washington is picking up a greater share of state Medicaid costs and road construction projects are beginning.

Even Recovery.gov, the Web site that has yet to live up to its billing as a one-stop way to track every penny, offers more information than typical government programs, and faster.

But the effect of that spending is less clear. Many of the claims the White House is making are based on anecdotes selected to fit the Obama administration’s message. For instance, the report cites a newspaper article about workers being rehired at a factory in Chicago. That account is true, but is no more an accurate snapshot of the nation’s economy than a story, not cited in the report, about a Roanoke, Va., railcar factory closing.

Capturing the full effect of the stimulus at this early stage is difficult, but the administration has set high bars for success. In championing those successes, however, the White House plays a little loose with the facts.

___

BIDEN SAID: First-time homebuyers are “driving increased activity in the home sales market,” while mortgage and title companies are hiring more workers because of the first-time homebuyer tax credit included in the stimulus bill.

THE FACTS: The report cites anecdotes from a New Orleans business journal to back up the claim. It’s true, buyers are taking advantage of the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credits. The IRS said more than 567,000 tax returns claimed the credit in just the first weeks of the program. But that hasn’t provided an immediate turnaround in the market.

Since February, sales of existing homes have fallen 3 percent and new home sales are down .6 percent.

And the number of jobs in the real estate industry has declined by about 20,500, according to the Department of Labor.

There are signs that the housing market is improving. But the numbers suggest that if the market bottomed out, it did so in January, before the stimulus was passed.

___

BIDEN SAID: Employment agencies are placing more workers in jobs, and demand is up since February.

THE FACTS: The report cites an interview with an employment service manager quoted in the same New Orleans business article. The anecdote may be true, but it’s impossible to extrapolate that any further, even just to New Orleans. The city has lost more than 200 jobs since February. Overall, Louisiana lost 16,085 jobs over the same span, according to the Department of Labor.

___

THE WHITE HOUSE SAID: The stimulus has created or saved 150,000 jobs.

THE FACTS: Since February, the nation has lost more than 1.3 million jobs, according to the Department of Labor. To make the case that the country created jobs over that same stretch, the White House has put forward a benchmark of jobs created “or saved.” The argument is that the job numbers would have been even worse had it not been for the stimulus, and the difference between those numbers is a net positive.

To visualize that disconnect, consider this: The administration has promised to create or save 600,000 more jobs in the next 100 days. Even if the nation loses another 5 million jobs during that span (a highly unlikely prospect) the White House could still claim success.

There are few hard numbers when it comes to tracking stimulus jobs. The Obama administration numbers are based on estimates by the White House Council of Economic Advisers, based largely on a formula Obama’s transition team put forward. It estimates the effect of tax breaks, government spending and social programs on job growth.

Spending money will put people to work. But spending has a cost. At some point, Washington will have to pay for this program, either by raising taxes or interest rates, and those policies typically hurt job growth. The Obama administration’s job data do not take into consideration this back-end cost, an omission some economists, particularly conservative economists, say is a flaw in the analysis.

Che was a hhomicidal maniac

May 13th, 2009
7:17 pm

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar, you call other people dumb yet you have so many grammatical errors in your lame excuse for a post. No wonder the democrat party is the choice of felons, high school drop outs and welfare baby mamas! They have people like you to look up to! Troll

the evil rich

May 13th, 2009
10:59 pm

Hey Copy left….I’m a real American, too. I’m FINE with waterboarding, day and night, and extra on the weekends!

Philip

May 13th, 2009
11:23 pm

It’s funny how the libs pick and chose their battles. Where were you Copyleft, etc, when millions of Iraqi civilians were being treated inhumanely by one of the harshest “leaders” of the past 100 years, Sadaam Hussein? Nowhere to be found. Never heard a peep out of you libs about the women and children being abused. Iraqi civilians are much safer today than 6-7 years ago. So 4,000 of our bravest losing their lives doing their job is not worth the million + innocent civilians being saved? But because our military roughs up some extremist terrorists, you and the ACLU sob mercifully? WHat is that about? Everyone’s got their own opinion.

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar

May 14th, 2009
7:12 am

The best guestimates of Iraqis killed by Saddam’s regime range from 100-200K, not counting the Iraq-Iran War (of course, Reagan sent Rummy to shake his hand for a job well done, and Saddam received plenty of US money and assistance in that war). Over almost 30 years, that’s between 3-6K per year.

Since the criminal invasion of Iraq, Iraqi civilians have been dying at a rate 15-20K per year. Over 100K in 6 years.

And between 2.5 and 3 million Iraqis, around 10% of the population, have left the country since Bush the Least put the US in “charge”.

Brad Steel

May 14th, 2009
7:30 am

Bob,
I thought you ere the conservative columnist. Regardless, you’re dead-on with this matter.

Funny, in his post-VP role, Al Gore raises awareness about a potential environmental disaster. In his post-VP role, Dick Cheney is attempting to justify his role in organizing torture and fighting the progress of the current president.

No wonder the GOP is crumbling.

You Distort/We Deride

May 14th, 2009
8:30 am

You idiots defending torture don’t get it. This isn’t about politics. This isn’t about Democrat vs. Republican. This is about the United States of America, its Constitution, its treaty obligations, and its standing as the role model of a democratic society.

If Democrats were complicit with Cheney’s Gang, then they too should feel the full force and effect of our punishment for the lies, obfuscations, and contravention of our basic principles.

Democrap Party

May 14th, 2009
9:03 am

You Distort/We Deride, you wrote: If Democrats were complicit with Cheney’s Gang, then they too should feel the full force and effect of our punishment for the lies, obfuscations, and contravention of our basic principles.

OK BOZO, THAT MEANS THAT 90% OF THE DEMOCRATS GO TO PRISON. THEY ALL SIGNED ON FOR THE WAR AND THEY ALL KNEW ABOUT WATERBOARDING WHICH ISN’T TORTURE.

You Distort/We Deride

May 14th, 2009
9:07 am

Hey Democrap

Fine. Good riddance of the 90%.

And by the way, since you know the numbers of Democrats in Congress who were aware with such certainty, name them, punk.

Oh, and one more thing, BOZO: Equating the authorization and implementation of torture with the knowledge of torture is…well…tortured logic. Not that logic enters into any of your thought processes, of course.

Democrap Party

May 14th, 2009
9:23 am

You Distort/We Deride aka Bin Ladens lover, I would get booted for taking up too much space on this blog. Even for you, a high school drop out, it’s easy to type in a simple Congressional votes for the Iraq War on Google.

Oh, and Bozo the retard, WATERBOARDING IS NOT TORTURE. NO ONE GETS HURT, NO ONE DIES. BUT GUESS WHAT STALIN! KNOWING HOW STUPID AND WEAK THE CURRENT PRESIDENT IS ON NATIONAL SECURITY WE MAY ALL FIND OUT QUICK HOW THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE MAY DIE. PRESIDENT TELEPROMPTER HAS NO IDEA HOW TO RUN THE MILITARY OR NATIONAL SECURITY. ESPECIALLY WHEN HE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW HOW TO RUN GM!

Democrap Party

May 14th, 2009
9:26 am

You Distort/We Deride, also, you democrats are in for a big surprise pretty soon. I’m watching the poll numbers and I guarantee you they will drop dramatically very soon. President Teleprompter will let Al Quaida get its hands on a nuke from Pakistan and NYC will be history. Much like the democrat party.

One more thing, when we are hit again by an attack, IT’S OVER FOR OBAMA!

williebkind

May 14th, 2009
9:56 am

Am I getting this right? According to the progressive liberal agenda, we can go into oblivion by attacks from terrorists and by others as long as we do not use enhanced interrogations. We will die with principles and such. Yeah!

However, could it be the “I HATE Bush factor” that is spilling over? (because Bush defeated al whacko gore) These are individuals and media possessed by so much hate they allow their country and family to cease to exist. Or is it a scare tactic on the young and restless?

This is a result of the mass public media who also will fail. You can not have freedom of speech and especially freedom of the press in a socialist society–just look south at Cuba and Venezuela.

I know–torture is not the same thing as abortion. In abortion you rip the body apart! Marriage can be between a person and a pig! This is why I am conservative. I think y’all should join in too.

You Distort/We Deride

May 14th, 2009
12:25 pm

Hmmm. Voting in favor of allowing Bush the option of invading Iraq is the same thing as endorsing torture? Tell you what, pal. Your logical disconnects make it impossible to argue points with you. I have no agenda. I’m an American first, unlike you. You gauge your decisions through the lens of your political affiliations. I don’t. If Obama authorized waterboarding, I would be calling for his prosecution. If Nancy Pelosi gave her tacit approval of the measure, I would prosecute her for conspiracy. The fact that the Republican Party was chiefly involved is irrelevant. It was a vile crime perpetrated in my name and your name. Our enemies in past wars were executed for the crime of waterboarding. Your arguments are pointless and your opinions are founded in lies and emotion. It’s embarrassing to know you’re parading around pretending to be an American.

Copyleft

May 14th, 2009
12:26 pm

Willie: Really? Is it so hard to understand that we’d rather face the risks and dangers of living as a free society, than give them up in the name of safety?

It’s sad when so many people are so frightened that their “commitment” to the principles of this country just vanishes.

“Crap:” Not quite correct. What you regularly produce are CLAIMS that all the facts support your arguments; you never actually provide the facts themselves.

Copyleft

May 14th, 2009
12:28 pm

(Side point: Notice how eager “Crap” is for another terrorist attack to hit America, if it will somehow hurt Obama and the Democrats? Now THAT’s a partisan lunatic for you!)

Jefferson

May 14th, 2009
12:36 pm

Waterboard Cheney until he admits he broke the law when he and his buds “outed’ a CIA agent for political payback.

Democrap Party

May 14th, 2009
12:41 pm

Copyleft, I’m not eager for an attack. President Teleprompter is allowing us to become more vulnerable.

By the way, Obama Hussein has broken most of his campaign promises. Iraq troops remain, no troop has come home, he is not closing Gitmo and he is wrecking the economy.

Unemployment is at 9%. 5.6 million jobs lost since he took office. GM and Chrysler are going bankrupt. The list goes on and on pal.

Jefferson, Cheney didn’t break any laws. THE DEMOCRATS SIGNED ONTO WATERBOARDING AND DID NOT OBJECT. DEMOCRATS SIGNED ON FOR THE IRAQ WAR.

HA HA HA BOZO!

Jefferson

May 14th, 2009
12:46 pm

Pay attention, son.

Democrap Party

May 14th, 2009
12:57 pm

Copyleft, it’s fact. Obama never talks about national security. He wants to close Gitmo. Where will these killers come? Right here pal. Get real. If we are attacked again the democrats will be blamed because they are weak on national security.

Also, you’re one to talk. For 8 years your crap party talked about wanting Bush to fail. Loser.

Democrap Party

May 15th, 2009
9:02 am

I find it interesting that the Left ignores the fact that over ONE MILLION INNOCENT BABIES WERE MURDERED WITH ABORTION YET THEY CRY OVER MURDEROUS ISLAMIC TERRORISTS FOR PRETEND DROWNINGS.

BOTTOM LINE: THESE ISLAMIC MURDERERS GET TO KEEP THEIR PATHETIC LIVES BUT ONE MILLION INNOCENT HELPLESS BABIES LOST THEIRS.

SHAME ON YOU LIBERALS!

Copyleft

May 15th, 2009
10:53 am

Keep screaming, “Crap”–and keep whining that anybody else dares to post intelligent counters to your ravings here on Your Personal Property, the Barr Blog.

Neither tactic will make the slightest difference. You’re still wrong, and it still drives you crazy.

Che was a homicidal maniac

May 15th, 2009
11:20 pm

Copyleft, tell your mama I said hello. I’ll be sure to pay her later. Tootles.