- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 3, 2009

If President Obama gives in to the demands of MoveOn or certain MSNBC hosts to investigate the Bush administration’s interrogation policies, what will the nation be in for?

It will be expensive, and there will be lots of scolding. It could be boring, too. Such an investigation would serve as an annoying grandstand for only a select few.

Broadcasters will be delighted though; imagine all the smartly framed shots of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the fancy graphics and soulful commentary to be had. An investigation could provide a most convenient smorgasbord, a veritable bounty of Bush bashing for those so inclined.

Investigators better get their facts straight, though. A much ballyhooed New York Times report that said Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in one month by CIA interrogators proved erroneous.

According to a 2007 Red Cross report, he was subjected to a total of “five sessions of ill-treatment. The water was poured 183 times, each pour was a matter of seconds,” a U.S. official told Fox News.

Meanwhile, the investigators may encounter more fight than they bargained for.

“If not only George W. Bush and Dick Cheney but their Cabinet, their staff and — perhaps most insultingly — the members of the CIA who have taken extraordinary risks to keep this country safe since 9/11 are now going to be dragged through show trials worthy of a banana republic, then, three words. Bring it on,” says Jeffrey Lord, a former Reagan administration staffer and now a contributor to the American Spectator.

“Or, as Ronald Reagan once quoted his friend Clint Eastwood: ‘Go ahead. Make my day.’”

“Torture” okey-dokey

Waterboarding, vermin in close spaces, and don’t forget the uber-amplified “Sesame Street” music — a new Gallup poll has determined that the majority of us actually approve of “harsh interrogation techniques” when questioning terrorism suspects, despite claims to the contrary in the mainstream media.

The survey found that 55 percent of all Americans say the use of harsh interrogation techniques for terrorism suspects is justified.

“One of the key findings of this Gallup Poll is that a majority of Americans in retrospect believe the use of harsh interrogation techniques by the Bush administration was justified,” says Gallup analyst Jeffrey Jones.

“Some of those who believe the techniques were justified still believe that an investigation into what transpired would be appropriate, but when all is said and done, just a bare majority of 51 percent of Americans support an investigation, while 42 percent oppose it.”

Naturally there is a huge partisan divide: 80 percent of Republicans favor the use of such techniques, 15 percent oppose it. Among Democrats, 39 percent favor the method, 54 percent oppose it.

Democrats are ready to party, however: 66 percent of Democrats would favor an investigation, compared to 37 percent of Republicans.

The poll of 1,044 adults was conducted April 24 and 25.

By the numbers

51 percent of Americans do not approve of the overall job President Obama is doing on the economy; 49 percent approve.

57 percent are confident the White House will produce sound economic policies, 43 percent are not confident.

39 percent expect the economy to improve in the next year.

35 percent say it will remain the same, 26 percent say it will get worse.

23 percent expect their own finances will improve in the next six months.

46 percent expect their finances will stay the same, 31 percent say they will worsen.

Source: A Harris Poll of 2,401 adults conducted April 13 to 21.

Days of yore

Happy birthday today to Niccolo Machiavelli, born in Florence in 1469 and author of “The Prince,” a volume of political philosophy and statecraft that has given politicians considerable pause for centuries.

Happy 207th birthday today to the city of Washington, D.C. — incorporated as a city on this day in 1802.

May 3 also marks the first time National Public Radio went on the airwaves. Funny, it seems like NPR has been broadcasting for longer than that.

All hail the gracious “Iron Lady” today as well, marking Margaret Thatcher’s victory for the Conservative Party 30 years ago in Britain’s general elections of 1979. Dame Thatcher was sworn in as the nation’s first female prime minister within 24 hours.

Finally, it was three years ago today that al Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Quotes of note

“H-2-Obama” — new bottled designer water from Mount Desert Spring Water of Bangor, Maine.

“Environmentalism has become less about saving the planet and more about worshipping it.” — AWR Hawkins, Pajamas Media.

“In Afghanistan, we are building; not rebuilding,” — Army Gen. David H. Petraeus.

“If Senator Specter survives into the fall, get ready to go to the mat, baby, because we’re coming after you and we’re taking you out.” — Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, to CNN.

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@Ewashingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085. Follow her at twitter.com/harperbulletin.

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