Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, September 22, 2006

Getting Interrogation Deal So Wrong

"Until Bush took office, the U.S. had no problem defining what was cruel and inhuman."

So starts a column by Rosa Brooks in today's LATimes. Brooks has it wrong: Bush was not concerned one whit about the Geneva Convention when he took office. He didn't start considering its provisions until about 18 months later, when we first captured some of the masterminds of the most devastating attack ever on American shores.

For some, like our president, 9/11 changed things. He realized not just that we were fighting a war, but more importantly, that we were fighting an enemy unlike any the nation had previously battled: An enemy with no home turf and no infrastructure to destroy (which is how we defeated Japan and Germany), and nothing holding back their hatred of us.

For others, like Brooks and the legions like her in the media and academia, 9/11 changed nothing. These 9/10-ers want all the old rules to apply; but they never articulate that they want the terrorists to play by the old rules too.

To justify her outrage at face-slapping, chilling and putting terrorist masterminds in uncomfortable positions, Brooks gives it all she's got:
If in doubt, take any of the "alternative" methods that Bush wants to use on U.S. detainees and imagine someone using those methods on your son or daughter. If the bad guys captured your son and tossed him, naked, into a cell kept at a temperature just slightly higher than an average refrigerator, then repeatedly doused him with ice water to induce hypothermia, would that be OK? What if they shackled him to a wall for days so he couldn't sit or lie down without hanging his whole body weight on his arms? What if they threatened to rape and kill his wife, or pretended they were burying him alive? What if they did all these things by turns? Would you have any problem deciding that these methods are cruel?
Well, duh. But my daughters didn't plan 9/11, and they're not busy planning the next outrage. Don't give me phoney heartstring pulls, give me a bracing dose of the reality we're dealing with. If Brooks truly believed what she was saying, she would have started the paragraph, "If in doubt, take any of the 'alternative, methods' and imagine someone using those methods on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed," but she's far too chicken to do that.

She further justifies her position with this:
True, one man's degradation may be another man's idea of a rousing good time. But unless the administration is claiming that U.S. detainees are grateful for the opportunity to wear dog collars and be dragged around on leashes, "degrading treatment" isn't a terribly vague concept in practice.
The abuses at Abu Ghraib were violations of the law, and those who participated in them are in jail, so these references actually support our intelligence community -- but Brooks, who calls our intelligence operatives "psychopaths," is too angry to see it. So, too, is the LA Times, which illustrated the column with an Abu Ghraib photo.

It boils down to this: Brooks and her hate-blinded ilk have been saying since the war started that torture does not work. Now we know that in case after case, our methods have worked and valuable information has been gained. Therefore, indisputedly, our methods cannot be torture, and Brooks has nothing, absolutely nothing, to worry about or write about.

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