Saturday, April 25, 2009

Regarding Torture

When I was younger, I saw the world in much more vivid contrasts of black and white; now, I see so much of the world in shades of gray. I almost wish for the innocents of youth and the purity of ideas that saw a lot more black and white. I try to remind my self that because there are a lot of shades of gray that that does not mean that there is not a black and white.

Torture is wrong. I do not condone torture. On the other hand, we must have more tools at our disposal than simply asking politely when trying to get information from the bad guys. Anything between asking politely and absolute brutality with disregard for human life is a shade of gray. We know that intelligence activity involves lying and betrayal and deception and getting our hands dirty. In our everyday life, we do not condone these things.

As I have thought about the issue of the CIA’s roll in the use of what is generally considered torture, I think that the CIA was trying to draw a fine line somewhere along the scale of gray. There were complex rules that stated how many times waterbording could be used in any one 24 hour period and in any one month, and how long each session could last. I understand there were even requirements for the temperature of the water and a requirement that a doctor be present.

Were all of the rules governing waterboarding sufficient to keep the use of this “enhanced interrogation techniques” from crossing the gray scale from light gray to dark gray? I don’t know.

It is worth keeping in mind, that the CIA was not operating in a vacuum. This was not just George W. Bush and Dick Cheney acting independently or the CIA going it alone. There was Congressional oversight. Top legislators knew of interrogations. The CIA briefed Democrats and Republicans on the congressional intelligence committees more than 30 times about the use of enhanced interrogation techniques. Congress could have stopped it. Congress did not object or withold funding.

Among those who were briefed and tacitly approved the techniques were many of the same Democrates, including Nacy Pelosi, who now want to prosecute George W. Bush. We should keep in mind, that these techniques occurred in the aftermath of 9/11 when everyone thought that another attack was eminent. If I would I have been one of the congressmen who sat in on the CIA briefing, would I have objected and publicly condemned it? I don’t think I would have. Maybe later I would regretted that I did not, but at the time, I would have probably acted no differently than the congressmen who sat in on those briefings. If Bush is prosecuted for approving the use of torture, so should Nancy Pelosi and every congressman who acquiesced and did not publicly object and try to stop it at the time. That is all of them.

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  1. thank you for a modicum of common sense

  2. Liberals want to be "safe" but they don't seem prepared to do what is necessary to ensure it.

  3. I think torture has its place in trying to defend our country from any bad guys. I do think there should be a limit where it is stopped. But as civilians do we really have any clue what our military agencies have to deal with daily in order to protect us? It's why we have these agencies. We have to trust them to do what is right.

  4. I'm afraid I must beg to differ - and I do, herein.The Abuse ExcusePARTICULARLY in light of Jenera's comments about having to trust our authorities.

  5. I don't think they will move ahead with prosecution, for the same reasons you state at the end of your post. There will be a call for equal treatment across the board in prosecutions, and I don't believe the democrates to be that near sighted. The far left wing, or a few congressmen looking for camera time might call for action but it will fade away. Hopefully.

  6. Well, the moral cowards certainly have a quorum.

    However, the fact of the matter here is that these are grave violations of domestic and international law from various perspectives and all it takes is one group to bring the ball into a court of competant jurisdiction.

    That, by the way, is any court in any nation anywhere on earth. Torture is a matter of universal jurisdiction under international law. Nations are quite literally compelled - as a matter of binding treaties which carry the force of law by virtue of Constitutional language within the US - to prosecute such crimes when they come to their attention. Deference is given to the primary jurisdiction - but I don't think the world in general is in the mood to permit a great deal of equivocation.

    Nor do I think any great deference is due or earned.

    Indeed, I think the appropriate response to such calls to excuse abuse and torture is a full mag, from the nuts up.

    Repeat as needed.

  7. @Harrison the word 'liberal' is thrown around way too often. Liberal simply means someone who wants to protect civil liberties. There are both liberal republicans and liberal democrats.

    Anyone who is against torture and for habaes corpus is a liberal... and there are many republicans (actually, republicans were the first to believe in civil liberties, and those are the libertarians).

    I am against torture 100%. There isn't any reason for it and frankly, torture only causes more terrorism. The United States should be ABOVE it not below it or with it.

    Many of our very own soldiers were tortured in Vietnam. Even after they gave information they were still tortured. You think the enemies don't know this and prepare for it? Why should anyone give out information when they think they will just get tortured more either way? As well, many times people will give out false information for the torture to stop. That just uses way more resources.

    And if you are torturing simply because it makes you feel more powerful, then you need to see a psychiatrist.

    Oh, and BTW, I'm not a Democrat. :)

  8. I'm also for not having another 9-11 happen. habaes corpus never came into play ever. Talk to Pres. Lincoln because he's the last one to suspend it.

    Those were bad men who got dunked and I'm all for it as it saved lives and I never lost any "freedom."