Friday, November 11, 2005

Functionally Wrong

Ok, now that title up there really isn’t fair. Not in the least. My “evil blog nemesis”, The Functional Ambivalent, takes the time to author a very reasoned response to my support for the extreme questioning of detained terrorists, and I go and call him “Functionally Wrong”. What kind of guy am I?

Well, for one, the kind that knows Tom, over at The Functional Ambivalent, can take a joke, and also the kind of guy who is feeling guilty about all the links Tom, at The Functional Ambivalent, has given me lately and is just trying to even the score.

Ok, so let’s get to the meat of the matter, shall we? My post below, “The Torture Hysterics” was my response to the unhinged members of our citizenry who are all up in arms about some extreme measures that we are taking in a few cases to extract some information from terrorists. Allow me to reiterate; I support doing everything short of torture to get as much information out of these fiends as possible. They want to kill us, and I want to stop them. Tom, and the intrepid Duff, do too but are a bit more restrictive when it comes to where we draw that line. Make that a lot more. Their thoughts are in the comments section, and are for the most part well considered.

They’re also wrong.

I don’t want to scribble another long post (I get the impression you folks sometimes don’t finish the longer articles), so let’s first make clear what I didn’t say:

  • I didn’t say torture was ok
  • I didn’t say extreme measures were ok for all detainees
  • I didn’t support Abu Gharib, which while not torture was a prosecutable breakdown of military discipline

What I did say is that measures which caused extreme discomfort, pshychological stress, and emotional tension in the pursuit of information is not only acceptable but morally justified. We are fighting, yes fighting Duff, depraved killers who want nothing more than to slaughter and enslave those who are not like them. There is nothing honorable or moral about their cause or their actions. This has nothing to do with their religion or their ethnicity as there are millions from each of those groups who manage to go through their daily lives without slitting anyone’s throat, or blowing anyone up.

When the radical Islamists decided to attack our country and kill our civilians, they not only sentenced thousands of wives to life without their mates, thousands of children to life without their parents, and millions of Americans to the reality that evil walks the earth, they picked a fight with us. Fighting is not pretty, it is not fun, and it is not something that should be done with half measures or hesitancy. The execution of power should not be indiscriminant nor should it be sadistic.

It would be nice if the enemy wore uniforms and fought behind defined lines of battle in clearly delineated territory as most conventionally wars are, for the most part, fought. It would also be nice, if those in their groups who were not fellow travelers would help turn them over to us. It would be really great if the enemy would stick to killing only legitimate soldiers and attacking only military targets, but they don’t.

So this war is different. To win, we must be ruthless and we must work harder than any other conflict in this country’s history to gain intelligence, just to figure out where the enemy is. For all of these reasons, it is not only justifiable, but morally imperative that we press the fight to the limits of acceptable practices, and include such extreme procedures such as water boarding and other similar measures. Our obligation to protect those innocent people around the world who are the illegitimate targets of the terrorists demands this from us. My only regret is that we haven’t gotten more information to stop bombing such as those that occurred in Jordan this week. The conventional wisdom is that the rough stuff doesn’t work, but I have my doubts about this. If our interrogators believe they need this tool to be effective, I’m happy to give it to them. Does it bother you that bombings that didn’t occur may have been stopped because we got rough with a detainee? I’ve got to tell you, I have no problems here.

I read with interest Tom’s comments on evil, and no doubt he’s read Hannah Arendt’s banality of evil stuff. I couldn’t agree more, but we cannot look at the totality of what we are doing in this war and conclude that we are evil. I realize Tom that you didn’t do that, but I’ve heard more of this “we’re going to lose our soul” bit lately – mostly from Sullivan – and it just doesn’t stand up. We have given the people of two countries a shot at a better life when it is now clear that our supposed allies spent the last decade taking bribes to ensure that the poor of Iraq remained poor and under mortal threat from Saddam. Talk about the banality of evil!

As with all other wars that we’ve been in, I’m sure we’ve crossed the line in places. Abu Gharib was clearly one of those places, and we’ve paid a price for it, although I think that price has been greatly exaggerated. In those other wars where we stuck to our principals, no doubt treated some of the enemy pretty harshly when information was required, and ultimately won, we came out victorious and have been viewed by history not only as liberators, but as the most benevolent victors this planet has ever seen. Claims of the impact of Abu Gharib aside, I have no doubt that the same will be true in Iraq.

The fact is, we’ve been accused of Koran desecration, which didn’t happen, massacre, which didn’t happen, torture and indiscriminate killing of civilians during air raids, which didn’t happen. So this “torture” bit is the only tool the anti-war left has been able to get traction with. I admire those who are taking a stand on principal here, and despise those for whom this is just an anti-Bush club.

Sorry we’re gonna disagree on this one guys, but I hope my reasoning is at least clear to you.

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