Thursday, January 3, 2008


The latest shoe to drop in the never ending search for scandal in Washington comes with the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate the CIA for the erasure of some tapes made during the interrogation of a few Islamic terrorists. This, of course, comes following the debate over the technique of “water boarding” and the major scandal surrounding the incidents at Abu Ghraib. The tapes in question supposedly would have revealed the CIA using “rough interrogation techniques” on the suspects.
OK, let’s discuss this subject beginning with Abu Ghraib. The crime in this case centers around “humiliating” the Muslim prisoners. They were stripped to their briefs and led around with dog collars. They were NOT lowered feet first into industrial shredders, raped or subjected to electric shocks to their genitals, something the previous proprietors of the prison did with regularity. The media and the anti-war folks jumped on this incident and with World opinion strongly opposed to the war in Iraq and the US in general, the military hung out the soldiers responsible. Of course, it was stupid, childish and accomplished nothing in the way of gaining valuable intelligence. The biggest mistake, obviously, was in photographing their little pranks. I am quite confident that the terrorists endured the embarrassment of these games quite pleased that the soldiers had not chosen to attach electrodes to Mr. Happy instead.
The value of intelligence gained by torture and rough interrogation techniques such as water boarding has been debated endlessly. Most of the opponents have never been in the military, thirsty, hungry or endured anything more stressful than a “D” in Poli Sci. On the other hand, someone like John McCain who endured real torture, is opposed on moral and practical grounds. The Senator knows from first hand experience the horror of real torture. He also knows that everyone eventually breaks under torture. At some point a person will tell them anything to get the pain to stop. The value of the information gained in this way is therefore highly suspect. I agree. And, I also agree that as a civilized society, we should not engage in the many and varied techniques man has devised over the centuries to inflict pain on his enemies.
The problem lies in how you define torture. Clearly, the rack, the electrode thing and thumb screws fall into the category, but what about sleep deprivation? Or, being forced to listen to Donny Osmond records endlessly. (After an hour or two of listening to rap music I’d tell them everything). And, what about water boarding? The US Congress has refused, despite their loud objections, to vote to ban water boarding. Why? Because in spite of all the political posturing they recognize that actionable intelligence has prevented attacks by Islamic radicals on North American soil. They fear that hamstringing the intelligence fellows may result in the horrible deaths of millions of innocent civilians. So they posture and pontificate for the Left while silently hoping the CIA or CSIS uncovers a plot before some more women and children get blown up.
What many opponents of determined questioning of terrorists fail to accept is that we are in a war. The confessed goal of the Islamo-fascists is to destroy Western Civilization. We need not take their word for it. They have amply demonstrated their intentions with the dramatic events of 9-11 and with the bombings in London, Madrid, Bali and many others. Does any serious minded person doubt that these fanatics would hesitate to detonate an atomic bomb in London or New York if they could manage it? In light of these threats to our way of life does it make sense to spend a lot of time worrying about whether the captured terrorists are comfortable at Gitmo or embarrassed by their questioning? It’s as if we wish to fight this battle by two sets of rules. They cut the head off a non-combatant journalist and send the tape to Al Jazeera, but we can’t make a terrorist stand in the corner. Short of obvious torture I’d let the intelli-gence boys do whatever it takes to get information out of these fanatics. This is war not a tennis match.
I worry about the US 2008 election and the possible victory of another Lily Livered Liberal Democrat. Clinton did nothing in response to terrorist attacks and Jimmy Carter was even worse. If you remember, under Jimmy’s watch the Iranian radicals, led by none other than the current President of Iran, held the US embassy and diplomats for 444 days. They let them go the day Reagan was inaugurated. Seems like there’s a historical lesson in there somewhere.

1 comment:

Heide said...

I maintained a certain degree of decorum while reading your post right up until the "Mr. Happy" reference... and then I spewed coffee on my keyboard and monitor. The pictures are reminescent of the medieval times of which Karen is so fond. Ouch!
I fear the political choices this year will be limited to extremes from both of the main parties with no grasp on reality or common sense. As my dear old Grandma Eva used to say, "To Hell in a handbasket".
I've foresaken watching the news because it makes me say really bad words. Especially stories relating to the Middle East. We were notified that even the old and decrepit guard members will be deployed this year. My husband isn't allowed to divulge where he'll be going, but I know he's packing tan BDUs. Should someone from the media ever shove a microphone in my face regarding the situation I'd be arrested for assault.
Now off to clean the coffee off of my monitor before it dries. Have a great weekend.