16 December, 2007

In the news...

There have been a couple of big stories in the news this past week, the CIA interrogation tapes being destroyed and the Mitchell report.

The first story, the NY Times reported that 2 tapes featuring several hours of interrogation of two high ranking Al Qaeda lieutenants that allegedly featured severe tactics including waterboarding.

Regardless on your thoughts on torture, this story only serves one purpose. First of all, these tapes were destroyed 2 years ago. This is just another chance for those who hate America to attack the current administration.

I'm not one to give the CIA carte blanche when it comes to questioning detainees. If we pull out all the stops, we are no better than the heathens that they are protecting us from, but they should be given some latitude to do their job. Remember, these are the guys who aren't afraid to die. otherwise, they are not going to be willing to pilot a plane into a building, or put on a dynamite vest on and walk into a crowded market. Don't these guys get a free pass to heaven when they die for Allah? One of these guys gave up information that saved countless American lives after less than 35 seconds.

The CIA claims the reason for the tapes being destroyed is that the agents doing the interrogating can be identified. My reaction to that is if you don't want the agents to be identifiable on your interrogation tapes, don't make the tapes.

To those who say the CIA should be able to keep the tapes secure, keep in mind that the CIA isn't the only intelligence agency that is tasked with using covert means to secure information. And if the NY Times can break the story that the tapes were destroyed, imagine what a trained field agent can do if they wanted to.


The other story that is dominating the news is that of the Mitchell Report. It's the 400+ page report authored by former Maine Senator George Mitchell at the request of commissioner Bud Selig. In the report, more than 80 current and former Major League Baseball players are named in connection with steroid or human growth hormone (HGH). Some of the names are surprising (Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens) others are not (Barry Bonds). The report names players from all 30 teams, but it is curious that 25% of the list authored by a member of the Red Sox board of directors is made up of current and former Yankees.

This report was nearly 2 years in the making. It was met with a myriad of reactions. Will it make a difference? That is to be seen. Do the fans really care? As a whole, not really. Individually, perhaps.. Will it effect entrance into the Hall of Fame? I think it may. I don't see it keeping anyone out of the Hall, but it may delay their entrance. Someone like Bonds who was well on his way to be a near unanimous first ballot inductee will likely not be voted in for a year or two.

The question that keeps getting asked is: what should the League do with the players? First off, many of those on the list are no longer players, so there isn't anything that MLB can do. For those who are still active, the recommendation from Mitchell is to do nothing to them. I have to say I agree. Too much of the information is circumstantial, and there is the whole spectrum of involvement. Some were offered HGH and declined (David Justice, in an interview on ESPN Radio with Colin Cowherd on Friday) others had a more in depth involvement. Keep in mind, steroids and HGH were not against the rules of baseball until just recently.

When you start talking about wiping records, you have to consider all of the implications. If you take away Barry Bond's home runs, do you take away wins from the Giants? What about the runs scored by the players already on base when he hit it? The pitchers' ERA? All of the sudden it isn't such an easy solution.

The bigger implication in the report is the hundreds of thousands of non-professional athletes, many high school and college athletes who are on the juice. That is the problem that really needs to get addressed. That is the real problem here.

** My disclaimer.. this is the second time I wrote this today, right before I published it, my web browser crashed, and I lost it, so I had to start it over..

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