Friday, January 16, 2009

Attorney General Confirmation Hearings: What Is Torture?

First, forgetting about the business, I wish the best to Steve Jobs of Apple whose medical problems are more serious than originally reported.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

This is a common phrase parents use when explaining why something they are doing is OK, when they tell their kids not to do it.

In the case of Attorney General designate Eric Holder, I am hoping the opposite is true when it comes to his stated opinion on water boarding, and by extension, I would assume any other technique that would have the potential to get us the information we need to save innocent lives. His stated testimony is that water boarding is torture.

As I wrote in my blog on December 4, 2008, what torture is varies depending on the culture that is doing the torturing. Whereas some in the U.S. shudder at dogs barking at prisoners (intimidation), or them having to walk around in some stage of undress (humiliation), other cultures consider torture the cutting off of hands, beatings until death is the result and any other methods that you can think of.

These brutal techniques are not only sanctioned, but are business as usual. Not in all cultures, but in some that happen to be our enemies.

I know the common argument: to participate in similar activity brings us down to their level and makes us no better than they are.

This is my argument: When innocent lives are at stake, and one of our captures has information that can help us prevent tragedy, then methods that would typically not be acceptable become acceptable. Water boarding is a technique that has worked in the past, and will work in the future. It is not maiming, it is not murder, it is a technique that will potentially get us the actionable information that we need.

Testimony versus Fact

I am not naive, and I know the statements made during testimony are not necessarily what goes on in practice, and I am hoping that if and when Eric Holder is confirmed as our Attorney General, that is the case. We unfortunately need to have a siege mentality.

This confirmation is no layup by the way, as there are questions regarding the Marc Rich pardon among other things in Holders' background.


  1. Al Qaeda gets the plague-40 dead

    We always knew Al Qaeda was a plague. Now they appear to have the plague and it may not be an accident.

  2. There was never any question that Al Qaeda would try and obtain, and then use, any weapons of mass destruction that they could to try and take us out.

    Thanks for the post.