Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Torture Debate

The current debate over the torture of detainees is whether the previous administration should be subject to a criminal investigation, or is this just a politically motivated "witch hunt" over "policy differences." Most of our political elites, joined by the subjective stenographic and completely compliant press corps, followed the lead of President Obama who called for reflection and not retribution. We should look forward.

First of all, America has over 2 million criminals in prison right now, more than any other country on the planet. "Reflection" and "witch hunt" may be a defense, but it smacks of elitism in the face of the unforgiving nature our criminal justice system offers regular people.

Second of all, it is not within the authority of President Obama to prevent or cause prosecutions of individual cases. He may set priorities, like fraud, pornography, etc. For the executive branch to direct prosecutions for the Attorney General would be "politicizing" of the Justice Department, something the previous administration was roundly criticized for.

As more and more information comes out, the more disturbing the pattern becomes. The "enhanced interrogation techniques" were derived from communist China capturing and torturing Americans during the Korean conflict to elicit false confessions. Military psychologists, Mitchel and Jessen, used these torture tactics to aide our military in SERE training (Survive, Evade, Resist, Escape) .

The White House contacted Mitchell after 9/11 and shortly thereafter Mitchell and Jessen quit the military, set up there own little shop of horrors and became contractors for the CIA.

Apparently the torture program began prior to the Justice Departments Office of Legal Council provided legal cover. Prior to that happening the Bush administration needed a work-around of the Geneva Conventions. This was done by dubbing the detainees "enemy combatants", stateless terrorists who were not signatories to the Geneva Conventions, therefore could not benefit from its protections. The Supreme Court later disagreed with this notion.

Reports coming out now claim the "interrogators" were not seeking information about imminent attacks or locations of bin Laden; they were under great pressure from the White House to establish a link between 9/11 and Iraq, of course which none exists.

Abu Zubayda was waterboarded 83 times in August of 2002. An eyebrow is raised when one remembers that on July 23, 2002, British foreign policy aide, Matthew Rycroft penned the infamous Downing Street Memo which stated:
"There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and [weapons of mass destruction]. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. ... There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action." emphasis added.

Khalid Sheik Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in March of 2003. The invasion of Iraq began on March 19, 2003. Gone were the OLC limits on waterboarding of twenty seconds and 2 pints of water. It was replaced by a gallon and a half of water and what must've been an unending duration.

So, we used torture designed by communists to illicit false confessions to "fix the intelligence" around an invasion of Iraq. It was so effective we had to waterboard 2 detainees 266 times.

This doesn't even address the bashing of heads into walls, keeping someone awake for a week, slapping them around. Clearly and beyond reasonable argument we have engaged in torture, which is a war crime. What is most puzzling to me is the insistance of a two-tiered criminal justice system, where regular people enjoy the full benefit from it, but our political elites are protected from it due to weird and Orwellian defenses like "policy differences" and "witch hunts."

Someone should tell Dick Cheney he has the right to remain silent...preferably someone with a badge and handcuffs.


Red S Tater said...

Kitty.. why do you continually distort the facts?

KSM was waterboarded more like 5 times, and it worked. His information prevented the attack on LA and he had not given it up when asked nicely. Zubayda himself said he was waterboarded no more than 10 times.

Here are the facts if you care-

"A U.S. official with knowledge of the interrogation program told CNN News that the much-cited figure represents the number of times water was poured onto Mohammed's face -- not the number of times the CIA applied the simulated-drowning technique on the terror suspect. According to a 2007 Red Cross report, he was subjected a total of "five sessions of ill-treatment."

"The water was poured 183 times -- there were 183 pours," the official explained, adding that "each pour was a matter of seconds."

The Times and dozens of other outlets wrote that the CIA also waterboarded senior Al Qaeda member Abu Zubaydah 83 times, but Zubayda himself, a close associate of Usama bin Laden, told the Red Cross he was waterboarded no more than 10 times."

We waterboard our own men according to Robert Gates and we still do it... according to the Obama administration waterboarding is not torture.

Oilfieldguy said...

Uh, Red, KSM was captured in March of 2003 and the plot on LA was broke up in early 2002. It is silly to claim his torture prevented an attack that had been prevented well over a year before he was even captured.