TO TORTURE OR NOT TO TORTURE
The confirmation process for Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey seems to have hit an interesting speed bump. Once again the country is being confronted by not only whether or not the United States should allow captured terrorists to be "tortured," but also we are being challenged to define "torture" in a very public spectacle.
The question centered around an aggressive interrogation technique called "waterboarding," which many, including Presidential candidate, and former prisoner of war, John McCain, do consider torture. On the second day of his confirmation hearings last week, Mukasey refused to say that waterboarding is torture. Waterboarding is a technique that involves pouring water over a prisoner's face to create the sensation of drowning. ``It is not constitutional for the United States to engage in torture in any form, be it waterboarding or anything else,'' Mukasey stated at one point. However Mukasey also said he did not know if waterboarding is torture because he is not familiar with how it is done. This frustrated many senators who equate his response with legalistic hedging.
So what is it going to be? Do we, as a country, believe that terrorists, who operate outside of the conventions of warfare accepted by civilized societies, deserve to be treated with the respect and general well being reserved for soldiers fighting under the flag and command of a recognized government? This is an important distinction that goes to the very heart of our war against terrorism.
There are those, Senator McCain among them, who consider the technique of waterboarding to be torture and therefore are against the United States employing such measures when interrogating a captured terrorist. (notice that I do NOT refer to them as "enemy combatants" but call them what they are!) Senator McCain's position is well received. Certainly there are not many people who can claim to know more about this subject. His history as a "guest" of the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam war entitles him to much respect on this issue. As it pertains to the United States engaging in wars with other nations I would even wholeheartedly agree with his position. The information we might gain would be corrupted by bad information and false confessions. Trained soldiers know how to handle tough interrogations, even those that might be considered torturous. Therefore the information would be of dubious value and not worth the harm that would be incurred to the reputation of the United States. But terrorists, by definition, don't play by the rules...do they?
Many people on the political left in this country take matters even farther. It is their contention that these "enemy combatants" are entitled to the same "due process" as an American citizen in the U.S. judicial system. They believe that these terrorists should be tried in the criminal justice system. This in spite of the fact doing so would inevitably involve compromising U.S. national security interests by forcing the United States to reveal the means used to capture them. Trying to deal with terrorism as a law enforcement issue is the tried and failed policy of the Clinton Administration that culminated in the September 11, 2001 attacks. Placing international terrorists on an equal status before the law with citizens of the United States is absurd. Pure and simple.
I was watching C-Span the other night and one of these "wackadoos" was bemoaning the fact that the Bush administration had only brought one of the detainees of the Guantanamo Bay facility to trial....ever. (and yes he was convicted) This may be true, but I found it interesting that this person chose to omit another important fact that is crucial to understanding how serious a danger these "detainees" pose. At least 30 former Guantanamo Bay detainees have been killed or recaptured after taking up arms against U.S. forces FOLLOWING their release. Ouch! That is a stinging truth isn't it?
These terrorists, for their part, claimed to be farmers, drivers, cooks etc. to explain why they were caught in the wrong places and at the wrong times in Afghanistan and Iraq. These former detainees successfully lied to U.S. officials to acquire release from the Guantanamo Bay facility only to return to fight against us.
In July, one such detainee, Abdullah Mehsud, reportedly blew himself up rather than surrender to Pakistani forces. In December 2001, Mehsud was captured in Afghanistan and held at Guantanamo Bay until his release in March 2004. He later became the Taliban chief for South Waziristan.
Let's cut through the malarky. These terrorists do not fight for a government. They do not serve under a flag nor do they wear a uniform. They consider themselves soldiers of Allah, and as such, they answer only to him. This provides them with several advantages. They get to operate in that area between international laws regarding warfare. They are therefore not restrained by anything and consider themselves free to violate all of the rules of warfare...and they do. They have certainly shown no queasiness when it comes to their willingness to use and misuse "noncombatant" civilians to advance their Islamic Supremacist agenda.
This has had its most gruesome display in the beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, which they had the audacity to record and distribute for broadcast to the delight of the Islamic world. Meanwhile the U.S. media refused to show it. Ask yourself why? As far as I am concerned you must have seen this video to even voice an opinion on this issue. The media doesn't want the American people to see the enemy for who he really is. They have too much sympathy for the terrorists because they have a common enemy...the Bush Administration. Treason has never been so obvious.
States such as Iran and Syria train and equip these killers and send them into Iraq to do the work they haven't got the courage to do for themselves. In this manner they think they are outsmarting the United States by playing in between the rules. And they are outsmarting some of you. Iranian trained terrorists using Iranian made munitions are killing U.S. soldiers. Iran is entitled to a U.S. counterattack. Or does my history fail me. It seems that I recall the U.S. Civil War started when confederate forces fired on a U.S. installation (Fort Sumter). The United States was mad and suddenly very hot for war. Strange when you consider no one was killed in the attack. Yet the new religion of tolerance now demands that we tolerate Iranian and Syrian interference that results in the deaths of our people. The terrorists provide a political shield to prevent the supporting states from receiving what they have coming to them. This is the perfect system for engaging a superpower such as the United States. They are using our democracy against us.
Another question that seems to be both answered and ignored is whether or not "aggressive interrogations" actually produce results. Former CIA Director George Tenet said the "aggressive interrogations" of top al-Qaeda leaders brought the U.S. more valuable information about planned terror plots than all of the government's other intelligence gathering efforts. "I know that this program has saved lives. I know we've disrupted plots," Tenet said in a "60 Minutes" interview. Tenet went on to say "I know this program alone is worth more than the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency put together have been able to tell us."
Why do you think these "aggressive interrogations" are so successful? Because these terrorists are often misrepresented in the media. We constantly hear them referred to as being "trained." Its true that they are given as much training as can be done in their chosen predicament, but no one should ever equate a trained terrorist with a trained soldier. The media uses the word "trained" to try to persuade you into viewing the terrorist as some form of a soldier. He is not. That is precisely why "aggressive interrogations" work so well. They were trained to kill others or themselves. They have no knowledge how to handle a real military interrogation and as a result they co-operate...fast. That is why the former CIA Director is so adamant about its usefulness as a technique. It doesn't take torture to get these cowards to capitulate. THEY ARE NOT SOLDIERS!!!
Well, maybe they are....phoney soldiers.
Am I the only one who wonders what happens to U.S. soldiers who are captured by the terrorists? How are THEY being treated. Unfortunately we know the answer to that as we always get our captured soldiers returned to us...in pieces. It seems the terrorists don't find our soldiers to be of any use to them. That's called discipline, and our people pay dearly for their adherence to it. That's the difference between a "trained" soldier and a terrorist.
So do I believe the United States is torturing these people? No I don't. They don't need to do it. The media have an alliance to anyone that will help them get a Democrat into the White House and this is just an issue created to try to damage the credibility of our President and the military during a time of war. Our soldiers have every reason to question whose side the media is on in this war. Though I'm afraid the answer is obvious.
However if torture was required to extract information from these terrorists I would hope we wouldn't hesitate to do it. In this issue, I am vehemently pro choice. Terrorists choose to operate in the area outside of the law. Let's give them exactly what they have asked for!
Sunday, October 28, 2007
To Torture Or Not To Torture
TO TORTURE OR NOT TO TORTURE