Wednesday, November 9, 2005

The Torture Hysterics

It was with great shock last week that I heard news reports suggesting that the CIA was maintaining secret prisons around the world. These “black” prisons, to use a sufficiently loaded word favored by the press, are in locations where we are able to take prisoners in the GWOT for some extreme interrogation.

I, of course, couldn’t be more pleased.

I’m glad to see that we are still aggressively pursuing the homicidal criminals of Al Qaida despite the crazed rants of hysterics such as Andy Sullivan who view this as just more evidence that George Bush is turning America into a torture haven. I read Sully’s blog occasionally and find myself astounded at just how detached from reality he has become since Dick Cheney and W decided to oppose gay marriage.

Ok that probably isn’t fair, so I’m sorry.

These torture hysterics’position on torture (his tortured position on torture?) is that torture is bad which doesn’t exactly qualify them for intellectual status anywhere outside of the echo chamber of DNC and UN cocktail parties. In the isolation of an amoral world it is difficult to disagree with these folks, yet we all know the world is not as black and white as we’d perhaps like.

The enemy that we face today is unlike any that we have ever seen and the simple truth is that nobody is torturing any legitimate soldiers of any legitimate opposition army. In fact, nobody is torturing anyone from any illegitimate army either. I do acknowledge that some prisoners have died while in custody, the number is somewhere around 100, and I whole heartedly agree that each death should be fully investigated and any murderous activity prosecuted. Yet let’s not fool ourselves here. The people we are fighting are criminals who violate international law every waking moment of their day, and dream of killing innocent civilians while they sleep. To subject them to the full extent of discomfort during interrogation right up to the edge of torture is just fine by me.

It all comes down to how you define the word “torture”. Anti-Bush hysterics want to maintain a broad definition of torture that includes not only the widely agreed upon sadistic practices that are viewed as wrong, but also those practices that make the detainee uncomfortable and frightened. Koran abuse? Not a fantasy of the anti-war left, its torture. Leash girl Lindy? Not a punishable breakdown of military discipline, its torture. Water boarding, temperature stressing, fake menstrual blood? Not rough measures of discomfort to elicit information that we need to keep the country terrorism free since 9/1, its torture.

Sorry, but I’m not buying it. As Americans we have every obligation to treat opposition soldiers with the respect and dignity that an honorable fighting man should be accorded. I think we can all agree that terrorists are not honorable fighting men, but rather homicidal maniacs who target civilians and gleefully kill those who are simple civilians trying to live life, or aid workers toiling to make the lives of others better.

Sadly there are those who just can’t see the moral distinction. Lets take a look at a line from Sully’s blog the other day. Admittedly it is only one line, but I think it is representative of the rather unhinged nature of his recent writing. Acknowledging the historically low number of American casualties in this war (a good thing one would think), Sully suggests that it is actually the result of something sinister for which Rumsfeld, and presumably Bush should be held accountable for:

“And part of it is a consequence of the Rumsfeld decision to let Iraqi civilians be murdered in the thousands, rather than provide basic order and stability in an occupied country. But it's important to keep some context in mind.”

Oh yes, Andy and his kind are always careful to keep context in mind, aren’t they?

A serious view of the casualties would make it quite clear that part of the reason they’re so low is because we face a cowardly enemy who would rather kill innocents than take on a professional fighting force. In case it’s not clear allow me to spell it out. These people are criminals. Criminals such as these will sink to whatever depth is necessary to achieve their evil goals, including the murder of civilians. Yet to maintain their anti-Bush psychosis the terror hysterics suggest that it is our Defense Secretary who “decided to let Iraqi citizens be murdered”.

This distinction is important, because were the hysterics to admit that we face a criminal enemy, they would then also have to admit that such an enemy is not subject to the same Geneva Conventions that protect legitimate members of honorable fighting forces. Hysteria and its partner, hatred, have led these types to the position that criminals must not be made to be uncomfortable, and because we maintain a policy of aggressive interrogation, the US military and Administration are the real bad guys in this war.

I often look back on the days that followed 9/11 and wonder what these folks would look like from the perspective of those awful days. The NYT reports this morning that one of the terrorist prisoners, Kalied Shiek Mohammed, was a recipient of a cell in one of those “black prisons” where he was water boarded as part of the interrogation process. I’ll remind you that this fiend was a key (possibly the key) architect behind the 9/11 attack which killed over 2,000 American civilians.

Now ask yourself what is the real outrage; the fact that he was made to believe that he was drowning so that we could get some information, or the fact that we didn’t finish the job.

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