Balinese Massage and George Winston

In today’s Washington Post, so bored was I with Dan Kirk-Davidoff letter to the editor that I slipped into pleasant lassitude reading it.

I cannot fully express the revulsion I felt when I saw the Jan. 10 front-page headline “Obama Under Pressure on Interrogation Policy; Some See Harsh Methods as Essential.”

What on earth is torture if not the infliction of pain to extract information or confessions? When you use gentler language that does not call torture by its name, you participate in the crime. A headline reading “Some See Torture as Essential” would have been far clearer, and far more truthful.

I practically fell into my MacBook Pro just formatting that passage. Yawn. Dan has obviously bought the left’s torture narrative hook, line, and sinker.

Ummm, Dan, we do have some guidance for torture from our courts, and it is along the lines of “intense, lasting, and heinous agony”. As I just mentioned in my last post, the US opted not to accept the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Other Punishment (UNCAT) provisions against CID. So, inflicting pain to extract information from terrorists such as Al-Qaeda , which are not covered by the Geneva Conventions, is NOT TORTURE. Perhaps if Dan feels so bad about the treatment of terrorists, he can offer to give them a Balinese massage or perhaps a sponge bath; maybe put on a little George Winston and light some candles.

In 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld authorized three categories of interrogation techniques. Refer to this list of techniques available to GTMO interrogators per Secretary of Defense orders. Based on my research, there were more proposed techniques in Category 3 – perhaps including waterboarding – but only the one was approved by Rumsfeld. So, it looks like it is difficult to make a torture case against the Dept. of Defense. Where transgressions have occurred, for example at Abu Ghraib, soldiers have been subjected to courts-martial and have been convicted. Admittedly, two Abu Ghraib detainees died while in custody of the transgressors, but no convictions for these deaths were issued.

The waterboarding that we know of was used by the CIA on three high-value targets such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaida. No complaints from here. As I have asked before, do Dan and the rest of the left believe that these recent few instances of waterboarding are the first actions ever taken by the CIA that make us uncomfortable, or wince? Ever?

Certainly, if Congress would like to outlaw waterboarding on any suspect, including those not covered by the Geneva Conventions, they may. The election is over. Obama is about to take office. Put away the rhetoric and the theatrical revulsion. It is time for Congress to act, if they are so inclined. But it seems clear that as the Democrats sober up to the reality that they have real responsibilities now, and not just to terrorists or European bed wetters, but to US citizens, at least some are beginning to realize that harsh methods may actually be essential. How adult of them.

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