Tweet The Torture Argument Rears It's Ugly Head Again
WASHINGTON — Pressure mounted on President Obama on Monday for more thorough investigation into harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects under the Bush administration, even as he tried to reassure the Central Intelligence Agency that it would not be blamed for following legal advice. (New York Times)
Not An Advocate Of Torture For Tortures Sake But...
A couple of questions here:
The first is under what circumstances should it be allowable to attempt do everything that we can in order to get actionable information that we believe an enemy combatant has, information which may help to save American lives or the lives of other innocents? What has to be remembered, despite the cry's of the ACLU, is that these prisoners were not boy scouts, but enemy combatants. Actually potential terrorists or purveyors of man made disasters as the Secretary of Homeland Security likes to say.
The second question is what exactly constitutes torture? That is not to say that we should bring ourselves down to the brutal level of some others, but just how far is it allowable to go? Should the limit be to say please can you tell me what I want to know? Can we play good cop bad cop? Is sleep deprivation, loud music or keeping the lights on 24 hours a day pushing it? How about the terrible tickle torture?
"...In a separate Pentagon memo, dated Nov. 27, 2002, the Defense Department's chief lawyer, William J. Haynes II, recommended that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approve the use of 14 interrogation techniques on detainees at Guantanamo Bay, such as yelling at a prisoner during questioning and using "stress positions," like standing, for up to four hours.
Haynes also recommended approval of one technique among harsher methods requested by U.S. military authorities at Guantanamo: use of "mild, non-injurious physical contact such as grabbing, poking in the chest with the finger and light pushing."
Among the techniques that Rumsfeld approved on Dec. 2, 2002, in addition to that one, the yelling and the stress positions:
_ Use of 20-hour interrogations.
_ Removal of all comfort items, including religious items.
_ Removal of clothing.
_ Using detainees' "individual phobias such as fear of dogs to induce stress..." (Peoples Daily Online)
There were also some others that may have pushed the envelope a little bit far:
"...Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked detainees; beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair; threatening male detainees with rape; allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell; sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick, and using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance actually biting a detainee..." (New Yorker)
And of course periodic water boarding.
Let's put all of this into some perspective. For all of the people screaming that this all went beyond the bounds of civil society, consider the crimes that these prisoners may have been plotting or that they may have had knowledge of. This "torture", in this new world of ours, can potentially have saved thousands of lives. Where do you draw the line? Let's take a look at the techniques that our enemy uses. Again, our interrogation is done for actionable information to save lives. Why is theirs done?
WASHINGTON — Al Qaeda terrorists use blow torches, electric drills and meat cleavers to torture and force information out of their victims, according to a "how-to" book discovered in a terrorist safe house in Iraq...
...Some of the drawings show how to drill hands, sever limbs, drag victims behind cars, remove eyes, put a blowtorch or iron to someone’s skin, suspend a person from a ceiling and electrocute them, break limbs and restrict breath and put someone’s head in a vice.
Items found at the safe house include electric drills, hammers, blow torches, meat cleavers, pliers and wire cutters, chains, screw drivers, whips and handcuffs..."(Fox News)
Now in this time of overbearing political correctness, where parents can be turned in by their children for actions that not many years ago were the rule and not the exception, where a teacher can be suspended for using a commonly accepted phrase and where animal rights can sometimes supersede human rights, what place in the queue does the safety of innocent life come in?