Saturday, May 14, 2011

Enhanced interrogation

Kevin, always with thoughtful comments about my blog postings, asked a question I have never addressed:
What about enhanced interrogation? I find it morally repugnant and not worthy of the US character and tradition.. The other question is whether it is really helpful to the US even if we could get over the moral hump:
I have never been in a position to compare torture vs more psych ops approach but in listening to the debate about it, I think that our intelligence and enforcement agencies have long experience in interrogation techniques not using torture that have worked best in getting a subject to cough up valuable information.Often information given by the subject being tortured is fabricated to stop the torture
It is a very counterproductive way to sell American Democracy as an alternative to dictatorships, whether by  clerics or by strongmen.   We espouse one thing; do another. 
It is easily used as a recruitment tool by our enemies.
In spite of Dick Cheney's pronouncements that KSM helped when he lied he did not know the courier and that flagged that the courier was indeed a person of interest does not answer the question if other techniques would have  gotten the same results.
John McCain has always given the most powerful argument of them all. As a victim of torture himself, it endangers any troops captured in a conflict because it keeps alive the approval of torture and marks the troops as a target for revenge for similar treatment of the captors by us.

Kevin later asked if I believed enhanced interrogation was the same as torture: Answer: a rose is a rose is a rose Whenever you physically cause someone enough pain to force them to cough up an answer to a question ...that is torture. From what I have read of the description of water boarding, controlled drowning, then it fits.   I  have no problem with psychological manipulation, threats, trick questions and other tools of the FBI interrogators or the army manuals. Websters: "intense pain or suffering of body or mind: the infliction of such pain or suffering".  


  1. In your response you have drawn a line directly from Enhanced Interogation to Torture. Do you believe they are the same?

    How about your personal feelings on the killing of Bin Laden?

  2. Hypothetical here... So you are on a trip to the Middle East and your loved one has been kidnapped and the captors are threatening death by beheading to that infadel. Within 3 days of capture this group has done the same thing in the past to more than 3000 innocents before your loved one, all having been brutally beheaded and headless bodies hung in a prominent place in the city. In the kidnapping of your loved one, one of the captor's group was caught. This guy isn't talking. It has been 24 hours... what should the authorities do?

    A.) Use whatever means necessary to find your loved one!

    B.) Put out an Amber Alert

    C.) Pray

    D.) Shoot the guy twice over the left eye and dump his body in the Arabian Sea after a religious ceremony.

    E.) None of the above

    F.) A, B, C, & D in that order.