The Daily Hysteria: Haynes Is A “War Criminal”
Yesterday, Andrew Sullivan declared Fourth Circuit nominee Jim Haynes a “war criminal” that “was instrumental in the endorsement and enabling of torture” when he was “general counsel for president Bush.” Today, Scott Johnson has posted a rebuttal to Sullivan’s now typical hyperbole, with the aid of John Yoo, at Power Line.
“Money quote” from Yoo:
According to the many investigations that have been conducted on Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, there is no evidence that “Haynes was in the White House in November 2002” making decisions about interrogation policy. Haynes is the general counsel of the Defense Department, not the “general counsel for president Bush,” as Sullivan seems to think. If Sullivan cannot even get such basic and obvious facts right, he is likely to be wrong about most everything else he says.
One clear example to show the mistakes of Sullivan and the left’s torture narrative is the discussion of waterboarding. Haynes’s decisions were the exact opposite of Sullivan’s claim. It was uniformed military in Guantanamo Bay that requested enhanced interrogation methods to use against a single al Qaeda operative who was believed to have actionable intelligence. His name was Mohamed al Kahtani. He was captured fleeing Tora Bora in December 2001. He had been turned away when he tried to enter the United States at Orlando airport in August 2001; waiting in the airport at that same date and time was Mohammed Atta, the ringleader of the 9/11 attacks. Haynes did not approve waterboarding; in fact, he and other Defense Department advisors rejected it. When the Defense Department later assembled a broader working group to study interrogation standards, Haynes again as a matter of policy recommended against adoption of many more aggressive interrogation methods, including waterboarding.
Furthermore, Sullivan sites this report by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker as proof of Haynes’ “complicity in torture.” But a thorough read of the piece reveals that it hardly is an indictment of Haynes as “complicit” in torture. Rather, it describes his role in interrogation policy shaping post September 11th at DoD and it specifically notes that Haynes rejected techniques such as “nudity; the exploitation of ‘aversions,’ such as a fear of dogs; and slaps to the face and stomach.” But remember, according to Sullivan, he’s a “war criminal.”