Alarming News

May 5, 2011

Me, me, me

I’m in AMNY today. I think my point about whether “enhanced interrogation techniques” are necessary got a little muddled:

After 9/11, the Bush administration was criticized for using “enhanced interrogation” techniques, which is arguably torture, but now many say those methods made Sunday’s mission possible.

“In part, definitely,” said conservative blogger and political consultant Karol Markowicz. “I’m hesitant to say whether [those techniques] were legitimate or illegitimate with regard to bin Laden, because we don’t know if any of it led to his death. But I think they’re necessary in the type of war we’re in.”

What I meant is that it doesn’t matter if these techniques led directly to bin Laden or just gave us a little information that led to other information that led to him. It’s a new type of war we’re in, not the kind where troops meet on a battlefield and fight it out, and information is key. I’m ok with whatever way we choose to get it. I think I come off as sounding unsure about using the techniques and that’s really not the case. I’m sure. Let’s use them.

AMNY also asked me if I felt Bush deserved more credit for the bin Laden capture. They didn’t print my answer:

All the focus on credit is weird. It’s not like Bush is going to get re-elected now.

They did print this:

Markowicz, however, added that part of Bush’s legacy will be the spreading of Democracy across the Middle East. The recent uprisings, she said, are direct results of Bush’s policies in Iraq and a “faith in the Middle East that many other people didn’t have, and maybe still don’t.”

Posted by Karol at 10:37 AM |

I think torture is wrong. Rumsfeld has muddied the waters on the success of waterboarding (try it! It is torture!), by saying that KSM gave up the name a long time after his waterboarding during a ‘normal’ interrogation session. Rummy then changed tack on what he had said.
You are right that info is key, but it always has been.

Posted by: Capt. Oilybird at May 6, 2011 at 6:25 am

So, Oily, why “torture is wrong”? Because you such a great humanist that you value the life and wellbeing of terrorists who want to kill (and torture – oh the irony) you own people, family and friends? Or because – as your directives said so very recently – it is not pragmatic and the information received by applying torture is not reliable?
If 1st, than you’re a disgusting immoral degenerate not worthy of a word “man” who is not capable to defend your family; only very stupid (and suicidal) woman would agree to make children with you.

If 2nd – than recent event, which you praise so much, had just proved you wrong. Laden was apprehended based on information received by torture. Torture works. “Info is key”, sure – so when torture applied to people with info it gives us info.

Posted by: Tatyana at May 6, 2011 at 9:05 am

It is both, and then a few more I don’t want you insulting me about.
As I said, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) gave up the courier name during a non-waterboarding session, according to GOPer Rumsfeld (so you will believe it ha!), but Rummy then muddied the waters during another interview a day or so later because the GOP talking points wanted to use OBL’s death to justify their tearing up and pissing on the Geneva Convention (what did we do to the Japanese who did this in WW2?).
We are supposedly spreading democracy to the mid east (except Bahrain it seems), but allowing and sponsoring torture is not how to do it.
I suggest that no man would be good enough for you; if you were given a beautiful ring, you would complain about the color of the box.

Posted by: Capt. Oilybird at May 6, 2011 at 4:47 pm

A man is someone who protect lives and wellbeing of his family, and if necessary, by physically harming their enemies who wish them harm.

That’s relatively wide-spread definition, Oily, and quite a big “umbrella”. Not my fault that you positioned himself outside.

Posted by: Tatyana at May 6, 2011 at 6:45 pm

If torture was so effective, why did the trail go cold and the search close down in 2005?

Posted by: Capt. Oilybird at May 9, 2011 at 6:11 pm

It isn’t like a gumball machine, you put money in and something comes out. Water-boarding led to information which led to more information which led to more, etc. Obama might not say it but Panetta does.

Posted by: Karol at May 10, 2011 at 10:19 am

“Hindsight is 20/20″
Can we really argue or debate on “what ifs”?

By any international law -the third Geneva convention in particular- and the US constitution, torture is out of the question. Now, if you have info you gathered through torture can you act upon it? If it were a court of law, these data would be inadmissible, as clearly unlawful. And this is where it gets tricky, as the law seems to get stretched in these cases. I say act on it, but change your ways of obtaining info to adhere with national and international laws, not to mention ethical standards. If “they” are animals and “we” are better than that, then we have to prove it.

You can turn the argument around as well. Can anyone guarantee that the torture was necessary to obtain the information? In other words, would other -legal- interrogation techniques fail to extract the same or similar information? Again, we enter circular arguments that no one is able to answer intelligibly. We are back to square one; hindsight etc…

But Panetta himself has written about it quite nicely in my opinion:

Posted by: Nikos at May 10, 2011 at 12:53 pm

“Once my condition had stabilized, my interrogators resumed their work. Demands for military information were accompanied by threats to terminate my medical treatment if I did not cooperate. Eventually, I gave them my ship’s name and squadron number, and confirmed that my target had been the power plant. Pressed for more useful information, I gave the names of the Green Bay Packers offensive line, and said they were members of my squadron. When asked to identify future targets, I simply recited the names of a number of North Vietnamese cities that had already been bombed.

I was occasionally beaten when I declined to give any more information. The beatings were of short duration, because I let out a hair-raising scream whenever they occurred.”
John McCain.

Posted by: Capt. Oilybird at May 18, 2011 at 11:10 am
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