Monday, May 18, 2009

A More Humane Alternative

5 Comments:

Anonymous Chris said...

What an utterly idiotic cartoon. Someone who doesn't know the difference between killing enemy soldiers on the battlefield who represent a legitimate threat to U.S. troops, and torturing defenseless prisoners doesn't deserve to be employed as a political cartoonist.

3:11 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

killing enemy soldiers on the battlefield who represent a legitimate threat to U.S. troopsCaptured terrorists who withhold information are a "legitimate threat" not only to U.S. troops, but to innocent civilians.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Captured terrorists who withhold information are a "legitimate threat" not only to U.S. troops, but to innocent civilians.

Traditional interrogation techniques have been shown to be extremely effective in obtaining actionable intelligence and saving lives. For example, in the case of Abu Zubaydah, we learned about "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla as well as the fact that KSM masterminded the 9/11 attacks (of course, the claim that waterboarding KSM prevented a terrorist attack on L.A. is completely bogus -- the plot was disrupted more than a year before KSM's capture).

As FBI interrogator Ali Sufan wrote: "There was no actionable intelligence gained from using enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Zubaydah that wasn’t, or couldn’t have been, gained from regular tactics. In addition, I saw that using these alternative methods on other terrorists backfired on more than a few occasions — all of which are still classified. The short sightedness behind the use of these techniques ignored the unreliability of the methods, the nature of the threat, the mentality and modus operandi of the terrorists, and due process."

Apart from torture being immoral -- which is reason enough to adopt an anti-torture policy -- it fuels terrorism, placing U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan (not to mention innocent civilians) at even greater risk.

I guess it shouldn't surprise me, though, that people who think infinite torture is morally justified wouldn't have a problem with the finite variety.

2:31 PM  
Blogger TosaGuy said...

Chris, you are being incredibly or deliberatly naive.

As someone who led raids seeking "high value targets" in Iraq, we had two options once we know where such people are. One, we execute a raid and try to capture them so we can gain intelligence and insight on other HVTs or activities or, two, we could blow them to smithereens and be done with them.

It's easier to pick Option Two if little information can be gained by picking Option One.

None of the people I chased after were "soldiers". All of them were terrorists who when not attacking us were brutalizing and murdering the local population.

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

TosaGuy,

What on earth are you talking about? You seem to be responding to a phantom post I never wrote. I never objected to the killing of "terrorists" (or "enemy combatants" or "enemy soldiers" or whatever term you prefer) in the context of a combat operation.

The problem I have with the cartoon is that it disingenuously equates what I describe above with the torture of prisoners. I fully support the use of traditional interrogation techniques, though, to elicit intelligence from detainees.

And thank you for your service.

5:42 PM  

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