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Terror in America

The current administrati on position is that waterboardin g is not torture. Waterboardin g is merely a method for extracting information from a terrorist. Am I the only person confused here?

Waterboardin g is a method of making a suspect believe that he is about to die by drowning. The panic induced will apparently make a suspect give up everything he knows because he is afraid to die. Let me get this straight, a terrorist is a person who is prepared to strap a bomb on and blow himself up in a crowded market place or mall. Or a terrorist is a person who is willing to take control of a plane and fly it into building to kill thousands of people. So, somehow the fear of drowning will somehow make him give up all his secrets. What the Hell are they smoking over at the CIA? Or, maybe they are delving into the truth drugs that they are administerin g to their suspects.

But, let us suppose that there are some terrorist wimps that are afraid of drowning. Is waterboardin g torture? The Bush administrati on has claimed that since there wasn’t any organ failure or permanent damage waterboardin g certainly could not qualify as torture. Obviously John McCain, a GOP presidential candidate who claims to have been tortured in Vietnam wasn’t really tortured at all. Obviously whatever the Vietcong had done to John, it wasn’t torture because his organs didn’t fail and he didn’t die.

Actually with this crazy idea that organ failure is the qualificatio n for something to be torture, there have been very few actual cases of torture through out the history of mankind. Maybe drawing and quartering someone might qualify. But, its kind of tough to get information from them afterward. In fact, name a type of torture where we have organ failure that will result in getting information from a terrorist. Maybe we should be doing Chinese water torture, which isn’t really torture at all regardless of the misnomer. We should be sticking needles under the suspects fingernails, before we cut them off. If we stop the bleeding there surely won’t be any organ failure. The administrati on would surely allow this type of persuasive technique. Maybe the Americans could invent a new type of pain inducement that could acquire the new name of Amurrican Pain Torture, without actually being torture at all if we can keep those vital organs functioning.

The problem however is that if the terrorists actually live and the War on Terror is actually won by America as we all truly pray for every day, then what will happen next? Will the information about the American pain techniques escape into the world either by those causing the pain or by those freed because the pain proved their innocence. Even with all of the secrecy of these clandestine operations I am sure that the agencies would like the rumors of “Amurrican Pain Torture” would be allowed to escape in the hope that this would frighten the wimpy terrorists into leaving their terrorist ways. After all, this is why we still have the death penalty in this country. The authorities believe the myth that potential murders weigh the potential consequences of a murder before they commit the crime. Surely they would also believe that these rumors would also scare off the terrorists that would like to strap on a suicide bomb as well.

Does anyone follow these arguments? It seems like no one has actually followed any of these arguments to the obvious conclusions. Obviously torture is not going to persuade someone who is convinced that their mission is to die for a noble cause. In fact, American culture praises our soldiers that have done the same - died in battle, died defending a hill, a fort, or a square foot of sovereign territory. American culture also praises those who have withstood enemy torture by repeatedly giving only name rank and serial number. Surely the terrorists who strap on suicide vests have a similar if not stronger social and cultural pressure. And, surely the pride of American moral culture that we don’t torture people is a strong statement that America is different. We believe in freedom and liberty. Obviously the strength of this argument has fallen to the side under the fear of terrorism. After all, the terrorists can not destroy our society. They don’t have enough force to actually make us change our culture or ideas. The only power they have is terror, hence the name. They believe that fear will make people act in ways to their liking. And, what do the terrorists want? They want to create a society where the government has a great deal of control over its society. They want a society where the government can know everything that is happening and be assured that people are following all of the rules. They want a society where they can find the opposition and take care of them at a moments notice. They want a society in which torture is a valid method of information retrieval. And, with the actions of the Bush administrati on in the wake of the 9/11/2001 attacks the terrorists have been able to use terror to make us take the first steps in that direction.
Who says that terrorism doesn’t work in America?

———————————— —————–

Don’t forget what Stephen Colbert said, “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

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15 Responses to “Terror in America”

  1. Doc…excellen t article. you don’t leave the cretin much room for comment with your comprehensiv e articles. having almost drowned once i can tell you it’s a scary experience.

  2. Actuallly Doc… For the record… This is the press briefing:

    http://www.w hitehouse.go v/news/relea ses/2007/12/ 20071211-7.h tml

    Sounds to me like Ms. Perino didn’t exactly take a white house position, just a reporter trying to trip her into saying it. The fact is, we don’t know what happened, Congress does. Why don’t you ask your local Congressmen on how they interpret water boarding before assuming it was the White House’s position? You said it is currently position… there is the white house briefing, where exactly is the official position? Find it for us… Remember, Rube thinks I am a stupid Republican. Help him out.

    Rube, sorry you almost drowned. I bet that sucked…

  3. Actually steve, The White House doesn’t know what side is up. This is a recent breifing. The White House (i.e. George W Bush) is on the record saying that we don’t torture. And, we do waterboard. So, if you put the two together, which I understand is a difficult problem for the Bush devotes that follow, but don’t actually think for themselves we come to the conclusion that the White House doesn’t believe that waterboardin g is torture.

  4. Who said I am a Bush devotee? Are you putting words in my mouth?

    I am devoted to watching you guys write this crap day after day if I am devoted to anything…

  5. Dr. Forbush you seem to be asserting that water boarding does not work. You say:

    “So, somehow the fear of drowning will somehow make him give up all his secrets. What the Hell are they smoking over at the CIA? Or, maybe they are delving into the truth drugs that they are administerin g to their suspects.”

    But in fact the CIA dude who has been all over T.V. and was there for the interrogatio n (though not the waterboardin g itself) says this:

    “The former agent, who said he participated in the Abu Zubayda interrogatio n but not his waterboardin g, said the CIA decided to waterboard the al Qaeda operative only after he was “wholly uncooperativ e” for weeks and refused to answer questions.

    All that changed — and Zubayda reportedly had a divine revelation — after 30 to 35 seconds of waterboardin g, Kiriakou said he learned from the CIA agents who performed the technique.

    The terror suspect, who is being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, reportedly gave up information that indirectly led to the the 2003 raid in Pakistan yielding the arrest of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, an alleged planner of the September 11, 2001, attacks, Kiriakou said.”

    So 30 to 35 seconds got information that weeks of questioning could not. This comes from a CIA officer that does not think we should be waterboardin g he later says this:

    “hough the information wrenched from Abu Zubayda “stopped terrorist attacks and saved lives,” Kiriakou said he opposes waterboardin g.

    “Now after all these years, time has passed, and we’re more on our feet in this fight against al Qaeda, and I think it’s unnecessary, ” he said”

    The information saved lives but now that we are on our feet with AQ (read winning) we no longer need it.

    Like it or not, think it neccessary or not. The fact is that waterboardin g DID work in this case and DID save lives. Would you be willing to sacrifice some of your family members to ensure that the USA take the “high road” and not engage in this practice at any time for any reason?

    It would be interesting to have a poll of the people saved due to the information Abu Zubayda on their feelings about waterboardin g.

    The story at CNN:

    http://www.c nn.com/2007/ POLITICS/12/ 11/agent.tap es/#cnnSTCTe xt

  6. Amazing how our enemies slaughter women,childr en,cut off heads,lash people and who knows what else and we are debating waterboardin g. I bet our enemies find this quite amusing.

  7. […] 1) Waterboardin g isn’t torture, because: […]

  8. manapp99,

    Ya, I’ve heard this yahoo go on about how great waterboardin g is. Perhaps he’s right, but since the CIA destroyed the evidence we will never know for sure.

    But, I ask you this. If he is right and the terrorist that couldn’t be broken in any other way suddenly gave up his secrets in 35 seconds then do we have any secrets that are safe. Surely waterboardin g isn’t so difficult that the terrorists couldn’t use it against us. All they would need to do would be to kidnap one of our nuclear weapons experts and waterboard him until he has designed a simple weapon. Perhaps under the threat of waterboardin g they could get the nuclear codes to some of our ready made weapons. Perhaps under the threat of waterboardin g we would have CIA agents undermining every aspect of our government…

    I find it hard to believe that any technique is as effective as this CIA agent asserts. It would be easier to believe that this CIA agents is upset that the CIA was put in a bad light and he is lying to justify the evils that the agency has done. He says that he believes that waterboardin g is torture and it shouldn’t be used, while he continues to justify what the CIA did. You can’t have it both ways in a moral world…

  9. Lisa,

    You don’t seem to be upset about all of the people the US has killed. Or, the women and children that Blackwater killed. Waterboardin g is just another morally wrong thing that the USA seems to justify because they say it works.

  10. I didn’t say I wasn’t upset about the people the US killed Doc,but what I don’t get is why are you only upset at the US and not the ones who deliberately kill innocent people for the mere savagery of it?

  11. Lisa,

    Death is bad. However, at one time the US had a higher moral standard that it tried to live up to. One of those things was that we take prisoners and we don’t line them up and kill them on the battle field, which of course would make more sense from a logistics and efficiency point of view. We also had a policy of not torturing our prisoners. The thinking is that if we show our humanity then it might rub off on our enemy. (This is a Christian idea.) Since 9/11/2001 a bunch of guys in the government got frightened and decided that they didn’t have to live up to these Christian standards. After all, the enemy isn’t Christian. So, the US government policy became more vile and disgusting under the guise of saving lives of Americans. The point is that the government decided that they will redefine the word torture in order to allow this disgusting behavior and still claim that they are on the high moral ground. (Talk about disgusting behavior!) And, these people are running on the Christian Republican Party ticket, even though they are not Christian in the real sense of the word. And we are back to the Orwellian deffinitions of words again.

  12. Well Did ever think that the way the enemy America Haters are may be rubbing off of Americans?

  13. I mean rubbing off “on” Americans.

  14. Lisa,

    Even with your correction I don’t understand what you are trying to say. Could you please re-state your comment?

  15. I think that waterboardin g, being a form of mock execution that must be both physically and psychologica lly terrifying, is definitely torture. I also think that torture can be justified in certain instances. The former CIA interrogator mentioned above, I have no reason to believe is lying. I’m with him: it’s torture, it can and does make people who are dedicated to remaining silent, talk. As long as the technique is used to elicit self-verifyi ng information  (”Where is the bomb?” for instance, or “Where’s Khalid Sheik Mohammad?”), as opposed to information that can neither be confirmed or denied (”Are you a terrorist?” for example, or “Are you a witch?” for that matter) that can save many hundreds or thousands of American lives, no jury that I sat upon would convict anyone who used it.

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