McConnell Can’t Take Criticism, Confirmed
Thursday, March 13, 2008 at 9:09 am
Wow, does Admiral McConnell leave no doubt about his inability to tolerate even the slightest criticism. More from yesterday’s Johns Hopkins forum. This exchange is worth posting in full. If anyone has video of McConnell’s appearance, email me at sackerman-at-washingtonindependent-dot-com.
So first McConnell says this about waterboarding:
DR. STEVEN DAVID: Again, just to clarify, if you felt the situation warranted it, you would us waterboarding, and you do believe in certain situations it’s effective and the only way of extracting information.
DIRECTOR McCONNELL: Were you listening?
DR. DAVID: Yeah, I listened to every word.
DIRECTOR McCONNELL: Well, I said it’s not in our list of techniques. If we decided we needed it we would go through a procedure to get permission and we would go notify the Congress.
So if it’s not illegal and it would prevent an attack on a city that would save hundreds, thousands of lives, would we use it? I would certainly be persuaded in that direction, given that the Attorney General verified it’s a legal technique.
Does it work? Yes, it works.
And then an audience member stands up to McConnell. It’s long, but it’s really, really worth reading:
QUESTION: I just want to read a couple of quotes here and then I have a little short questions.
This is a quote from David Petraeus. He says, “This fight depends upon securing the population which must understand that we, not our enemies, occupy the moral high ground. Beyond the basic fact that such actions are illegal, history shows that they also are frequently neither useful nor necessary.”
DIRECTOR McCONNELL: What is neither useful nor necessary? I missed the point.
QUESTION: We’re talking about waterboarding. We’re talking about torture.
DIRECTOR McCONNELL: Okay.
QUESTION: From a letter written to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that says, “We believe it is vital to the safety of our men and women in uniform that the United States not sanction the use of interrogation methods it would find unacceptable if inflicted by the enemy against captured Americans.” You understand that one, right?
DIRECTOR McCONNELL: Uh huh.
QUESTION: We don’t want that happening to our people in uniform.
DIRECTOR McCONNELL: In uniform. Remember that audience, the key is “in uniform”.
QUESTION: In uniform, absolutely. Here’s the folks who signed onto that statement.
DIRECTOR McCONNELL: It would be the entire nation.
QUESTION: No, it would be General Joseph Hoar, United States Marine Corps; General Paul –
DIRECTOR McCONNELL: It’s the law of the nation.
QUESTION: General Paul Kern, United States Army; –
DIRECTOR McCONNELL: Put Mike McConnell on the list, too. I signed up to it.
QUESTION: — United States Marine Corps; General David Maddox, United States –
MR. ROSE: Do you have a question, sir?
QUESTION: I’m almost done. General Merrill McPeak, United States Air Force. I’m going to get to the question. I’ve got three more names. Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn, Admiral Stansfield Turner. You know all these people, don’t you?
DIRECTOR McCONNELL: I know them all. I agree with them.
QUESTION: And you agree with them. Okay.
DIRECTOR McCONNELL: So what’s your point?
QUESTION: The point is that we have a national security infrastructure, an idea about what really constitutes security in this country, and it’s not the only view. There are other views that we would be much better off with a national security idea or community that would pursue something that would make us morally take the high ground as Petraeus said.
DIRECTOR McCONNELL: Sir, are you going to get to a question?
QUESTION: The question is, do you feel that’s a possibility?
DIRECTOR McCONNELL: I feel that’s a fact. I agree with everything you just said.
QUESTION: How then do you justify what you just justified when what’s his name was up here?
DIRECTOR McCONNELL: I guess you didn’t listen. You’ll have to go watch the tape.
QUESTION: You’re so arrogant, that people cannot — You’re very arrogant.
DIRECTOR McCONNELL: Well, I have a different opinion.
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