Wednesday, February 6, 2008

On Torture: Pro-choice

After all the bloviating about America "torturing" suspected terror suspects, it turns out three, count 'em three, top al Qaida operatives were waterboarded to elicit information about pending terrorist attacks.

And it worked.

Similarly rough interrogation techniques have not be ruled out in the future. Good.

Terror suspects shouldn't be able to count American skittishness when being questioned.

It should go without saying that such tactics should be used very sparingly.

Kind of like abortion, the torture of known al Qaida terrorists should be safe, legal and rare.

16 Comments:

Blogger David Diano said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 9, 2008 at 7:11 PM 
Blogger Spencerblog said...

"Let's not forget about the suspects killed during interrogations."

David,

How about we "don't forgot" about the 3,000 innocent American civilians killed on September 11, 2001.

If Congress wants to outlaw a rough interrogation technique like waterboarding all it needs to do is pass a specific LAW. Why doesn't it?

Calling Bush and company "unindicted war criminals" is about as accurate as someone calling you an "unindicted terrorist sympathizer."

Like many on the left, you're living in a world of bad faith and irrational anger.

There is a time and a place for everything; even torture, when it effectively prevents the murder of hundreds or thousands of innocent people.

In the past I have asked you if you would not be willing resort to inflicting pain on someone who you strongly believed had kidnapped YOUR child to rescue that child. You have never answered that question.

I would suggest that upwards of 90 percent of the American public would (rightly) answer YES to that question despite the fact that it would be clearly illegal to do such a thing.

Are you in the 10 percent (or so) who would not? If so. My congratulations on your principles and my sympathies to your family.

February 10, 2008 at 9:45 AM 
Anonymous Mike said...

David,
Yet again you make no sense. Saying that us using waterboarding today will cause American troops in the future to be tortured is a lame excuse. Do I or anyone else need to go through the multiple tortures of US soldiers prior to Bush coming to office? It's like you completely forgot the past.

Oh and for all of the "threats" of waterboarding on lives: how do we have any Marines or Seals? As each of these brave men and women are put through waterboarding as part of their training.

February 10, 2008 at 2:50 PM 
Blogger David Diano said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 11, 2008 at 11:03 AM 
Blogger Spencerblog said...

No good, Dave. But nice try.

Waterboarding, in particular, has been proven to work. It did in the case of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. Even one CIA interrogator who later came out against waterboarding said it worked and allowed government agents to prevent at least one terrorist attack.

If waterboarding doesn't work, there is absolutely no argument for it.

We're not talking about forcing confessions here. We're talking about saving lives. This is not a law enforcement tool. It is only justifiable as an emergency, national security, attempted life-saving action.

Experienced interrogators are able to glean truthful information from terrorist suspects. If you don't believe it you simply need to reat more.

As in this Chicago Tribune story from 2005 by John Crewdson.

"Moral and legal aspects aside, conventional wisdom is that torture simply isn’t practical: that someone who is being tortured will say anything to make the torture stop, and that information gleaned through torture is therefore not reliable. Some former military and intelligence officers say, however, that physically aggressive interrogation techniques that some human-rights groups consider torture can be effective in the short term..."

"Consider Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the 39-year-old former Al Qaeda operative who was the Sept. 11 mastermind and bearer of many Al Qaeda secrets. If anyone had a motive for remaining silent, it was the man known to terrorism investigators as “KSM.” But not long after his capture in Pakistan, in March 2003, KSM began to talk. He ultimately had so much to say that more than 100 footnoted references to the CIA’s interrogations of KSM are contained in the final report of the commission that investigated Sept. 11. Not that everything KSM said was believable. But much of his information checked out in separate questioning of other captured Al Qaeda figures."

The question is would you be willing to risk making a suspected terrorist feel fearful and uncomfortable to save a loved one (or any innocent third party) from possible death?

Your answer is no.

That is a respectable minority opinion. I'm just glad it's a minority opinion.

February 11, 2008 at 4:26 PM 
Blogger David Diano said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 11, 2008 at 10:48 PM 
Blogger Spencerblog said...

It appears we are beating a dead horse here. Actually, two dead horses. Diano his, me mine.

But real quick, even John McCain recognizes that torture works. It worked when used against him.

In Vietnam it was used by his captors to break his spirit and it was then used as a political weapon against our soldiers to demoralize the enemy (us).

So it is quite understandable, he and other soldiers who experienced it would be vehemently against any stated public policy that even appear to endorse such tactics.

And yet, even McCain recognizes there could come a time in his presidency that he would order a suspect tortured to get information under the "ticking bomb" scenario.

Diano's claim that torture "might" lead to "false leads" so should never be used under any circumstances is simply wrongheaded.

We give cops guns and they are sometimes used to shoot innocent people. So do we stop giving them guns or do we encourage proper training and recognize that law enforcement officers will make mistakes.

There is and can be no justification for the use of torture to coerce a confession or to humiliate or punish an enemy as was done at Abu Ghraib.

But for the last time, to say that rough or painful interrogation techniques can never be justified is morally obtuse.

Normally, it is the left that prides itself on discovering moral contexts that justify objectionable behavior, from drug use to abortion. Very few human actions are ALWAYS wrong.

While it makes sense to have laws against torture for a variety of reasons, it also makes sense to recognize there will be times, extraordinary circumstances, when such laws should be ignored or broken.

As I said before most people almost intuitively understand this. It is David who is being ideological here.

February 12, 2008 at 8:48 AM 
Blogger Spencerblog said...

One more thing, in the interest of accuracy, when I wrote that torture should be like abortion: safe, legal and rare, I was being glib.

It should be legal only when approved by the President of the United States.

However, in the extraordinary event, that your child is ever kidnapped and you are in a position to extract information from one of the kidnappers, you should break the law as you see fit.

February 12, 2008 at 8:54 AM 
Blogger David Diano said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 12, 2008 at 10:16 AM 
Blogger Spencerblog said...

"Unindicted terrorist sympathizer" David Diablo is wrong again.

U.S. Presidents have constitutional authority to order the use of "all necessary force" to protect the American people against foreign enemies like Osama bin Laden and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed -- up to and including, assassination.

Even Bill Clinton claims to ordered bin Laden's assassination.

But neither Clinton nor Bush can order the uncomfortable interrogation tactic of water-boarding?

If the water-boarding of KSM was a "high crime or misdemeanor," this Democratic Congress is constitutionally obligated to impeach this Republican president.

Yet, not even the Diablo-supported Democrat, Joe Sestak maintains such an action is warranted.

That must mean Sestak has joined the Neo-con fascist conspiracy against the American people and our constitution.

Oh, woe is us. Woe is Diablo.

February 12, 2008 at 5:02 PM 
Blogger David Diano said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 13, 2008 at 10:50 AM 
Blogger David Diano said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 13, 2008 at 11:37 AM 
Blogger Spencerblog said...

Diablo -

It's not "pencer," it's SPENCER.
It's not "assignation" it's ASSASSINATION.
Learn how to read. :-)

Or better yet, refrain from being so snotty when someone else makes an error. We all make mistakes.

Sorry to hear about your split with Joe. I'm sure he misses your support. At least you still have your principles and that's the important thing.

February 13, 2008 at 5:55 PM 
Blogger David Diano said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 15, 2008 at 2:11 AM 
Blogger Spencerblog said...

I accept your very interesting and comprehensive explanation for the errors in that previous post.

It's not that you haven't learned to read. It's just that you're clumsy and sloppy. I understand. I'm clumsy and sloppy too sometimes.

Yes, it turns "assignation" IS a word. How about that?!

On Joe, It looks like you'll have to sit out the next election.

On principle.

Damn! :-)

February 15, 2008 at 8:28 AM 
Blogger David Diano said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 15, 2008 at 9:51 AM 

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