I'm not going to say that I'm back, however...
Where have I been? Online, I've been working on An Unofficial Coast Guard Blog. A while back, I decided that I wanted to do something a bit more with this other blog, and I was convinced by a fellow blogger to actually spend money and purchase a domain.
I should note that I'm the king of cheap when it comes to the Internet. Aside from paying for an ISP, the only thing I've paid for in terms of online services is a "pro" account at flickr. After much hemming and hawing, I did purchase a domain, CGBlog.org. Not only did I purchase that domain, but I went hog wild and purchased peterstinson.com. That's right: I spent twenty bucks! You may have noticed that the URL for this blog has changed to tidewatermusings.peterstinson.com. Then again, like my disappearance, you might not have noticed at all.
Anyway, why am I posting? I'm posting over my outrage at the current news about the CIA and their destruction of video tape documenting the "interrogation" of alleged terrorists. And this is the story that has me riled up tonight: Lawyers Cleared Destroying Tapes. Frankly, if you have to go and ask the lawyers if you can do it, you can be assured that the real answer is no. If it was right to do so, you wouldn't have felt compelled to actually go and get a legal opinion.
And, legal opinions are like, well, you know, that body part. Everybody has one. Don't like the counsel one lawyer gives you, just shop around. Sooner or later, you'll find a lawyer who will give you the way out.
Mark Mazzetti, along with Scott Shane, continues what is bound to be award winning reporting at the New York Times:
The former intelligence official acknowledged that there had been nearly two years of debate among government agencies about what to do with the tapes, and that lawyers within the White House and the Justice Department had in 2003 advised against a plan to destroy them. But the official said that C.I.A. officials had continued to press the White House for a firm decision, and that the C.I.A. was never given a direct order not to destroy the tapes.Again, the very fact they had the discussions tells me they knew it was wrong.
“They never told us, ‘Hell, no,’” he said. “If somebody had said, ‘You cannot destroy them,’ we would not have destroyed them.”
It's like when you're angry and you draft a blog post and then you think to yourself, "Do I really want to post this?" And you hit the post button and in the morning you think to yourself, "Self, that was really foolish. I think I'll delete that post," but you discover that the Way Back Machine has already captured the post and Google has already cached it and the deed is done.
When in doubt... don't do it.
As to our friends at The Company, I'm thinking that transparency and truth are two concepts that are foreign to the culture of the organization.
Meanwhile, I keep thinking that if other countries did the sh*t we are doing, we'd be having conniptions, asserting that human rights are being abused, etc. And, if somebody did to a US citizen (or, even worse, a military member), we'd consider a full scale military attack. The only thing keeping anyone from attacking Gitmo is that we still have the biggest stick. But, that doesn't make us right. And, no one has ever had the biggest stick forever. We are, I'm afraid, on the downhill slide.
And shenanigans like the recent CIA activities are only accelerating our ride to toward the bottom.