Is Obama Up to This?

Rich Galen
By Rich Galen | August 25, 2009 | 4:23 AM EDT

(From Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Let's take these one at a time and then we'll hide under our desks like we did in a 1950's duck-and-cover drill at Hillside Grade School in New Hyde Park, NY.
First the Lockerbie bomber release.
The only person was ever convicted of his involvement in the terrorist plot to plant a bomb aboard Pan Am flight 103 which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, was released by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.
MacAskill said the decision to release the terrorist was taken on humanitarian grounds because al-Megrahi has terminal cancer.
Yes? And? His life sentence might have been shorter than anticipated at sentencing, but it still would have been a life sentence.
MacAskill, as the Justice Secretary would be the equivalent of Attorney General Eric Holder deciding - on his own - to release someone like Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh, without checking with President Barack Obama. I know McVeigh was executed which, had Scotland had a death penalty, would have been the fate of al-Megrahi.
Remember that 270 innocent civilians were sentenced to death by al-Megrahi.
But, noooooooo. Instead al-Megrahi was sent back to Libya to be greeted by Moammar Gadhaffi (with those hugs and kisses they do which are uncomfortable for Westerners to watch) which, according to MacAskill "broke a promise by giving the convicted terrorist a hero's homecoming welcome."
Moammar Gadhaffi broke a promise? Really? Who could have foreseen that?
Anyway, there is a poll which indicates 82 percent of Americans think this was a bad idea and there are calls to boycott Scottish stuff.
I am OFF mutton. Period. That's it. I am also not drinking French wine again, just because I'm still not over that whole thing. Remember when the U.S. House of Representatives made its mark on the French perfidy by renaming "French Fries" in the House Restaurants to "Freedom Fries?" Guess we showed them.
Let's rename "Scotch Whiskey" to "French Whiskey." That will make them both crazy.
Second issue - the CIA interrogation techniques.
It seems that the CIA used about the same level of harsh interrogation we see every night on USA Network reruns of Law & Order but because it is the CIA and not Detective Eames it is really, really bad.
It seems that a CIA officer, while he was interrogating the guy who we think masterminded the attack on the U.S.S. Cole, used an electric drill, a gun, and a phony assassination to get him to talk.
They didn't use the drill ON Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, he threatened him with the drill. He didn't use the gun ON Nashiri, he threatened him with the gun. According to the Washington Post, it's sister pub, Newsweek, reported that "officers staged a mock execution by firing a gun in the cell next to Nashiri's to make him think another detainee had been executed.
Note, the CIA didn't actually assassinate anyone in the next cell - they fired off a gun (don't know if it was the same gun or not) in the next cell and TOLD Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri that they had just shot a guy who wouldn't talk.
By the way, 17 American sailors were killed in the attack. They didn't have
For this, Barack Obama has decided to set up yet another White House unit to take control of an executive department or agency. According to that right-wing mouthpiece MSNBC, Obama has approved the "creation of a special unit supervised by the White House for questioning terrorism suspects."
Let's think about this. The Obama Administration and the Democrats in Congress have been in a projectile sweat about whether Karl Rove had any influence over the hiring or firing of U.S. Attorneys; the thinking being, if he was in the White House he was always acting and thinking politically.
Yet, the Obama White House believes that giving the White House direct control over CIA interrogations will somehow make them more acceptable to the ACLU and the same Democrats in Congress.
Bush White House interfering: Bad. Obama White House interfering: Good. What am I missing?
Finally, Afghanistan.
I don't know much more than you about what's going on there, but I do know that Obama is going to have to make some really tough choices. If he follows public sentiment and sets a deadline for withdrawing U.S. troops, then Afghanistan will once again become the world's summer camp for terrorist training.
If, on the other hand, he builds U.S. troop strength over the objection of much of his base, then he is will run afoul of his allies in the House and Senate.
Lesson? It is easier to be a candidate for President than to actually be President.
I hope Obama is up to all this.
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the Lockerbie story and to the USS Cole story. Also another Mullfoto from Afghanistan and a Catchy Caption of the Day.