Posted on May 24, 2009 Updated on May 24, 2009
I downloaded the wrong video to YouTube so the word “Intelligence” is misspelled. Oops. Next time.
This entry was posted in Al-Qaeda, Gitmo and tagged Al-Qaeda, Gitmo.
Well, first of, best wishes this Memorial day. Understanding the notion that it’s a holiday to celebrate our heroes who are no longer with us – it’s still an appropriate day to thank all our service members – especially ones who left a comfortable life to go back into the trenches.
I had a discussion with a friend of mine who’s pretty liberal in regards to social issues, votes Democrat but definitely isn’t a typical Progressive. One of my litmus tests on the issue is to ask about Castro – If you’re an American and you think Castro’s a good guy and that the refugees we have here are all a bunch of ‘neo-con wingnuts’ then you’re a kool-aid drinking progressive IMHO. If you’re a liberal and believe Castro is a tyrant and a monster and the refugees are simply people who sought asylum in another country – then I consider them intellectually honest libs. Anyway, my friend falls in the latter group. I made the point “You know I’m as liberal as they come on social issues _____, but the left is totally wrong on Gitmo. With all the monsterous human rights abuses going on in Cuba, anyone that thinks Gitmo is the place in Cuba where true injustices are being committed is either clueless or evil. My friend concurred that the left has a love affair with Castro b/c he’s a socialist and b/c of his rhetoric, but he said Gitmo, as well as the rest of Cuba, needs to be condemned for human rights abuses. He said there’s not a limit to what can be condemned and it’s not either/or, so what’s happened at Gitmo should be investigated and prosecuted, and the same should happen with the rest of Cuba (particularly Fidel’s extra-judicial executions and his claim there aren’t any political prisioners until recently).
His big point though was this – Waterboarding is by definition Torture. I countered with the fact that we waterboard our own people (one of our old bosses was an Anapolis grad and had told us about SERS [forgive the spelling] way before waterboarding or gitmo were common place in the modern lexicon. he replied that this is proof it’s torture. The whole point of it is to train and prepare our soldiers for it b/c if they are captured, it’s doubtful it’ll be from a country that actually adheres to the Geneva Conventions – hence, it’ll be some sh*thole or some group who doesn’t give a f*ck about them and would be likely to use such a technique.
In short, the argument is that “Of course it’s torture and of course it works. The most likely approach is going to be a version of good-cop bad cop, but if/when that doesn’t work, waterboarding is likely b/c it works” If you ‘know’ in advance that it’s waterboarding and that you won’t really drown, you won’t be as likely to panic which makes it much less effective. So you can be trained to make it less effective, but that training is effectively ‘torture’ and we’re preparing our guys to withstand ‘torture’.
I hadn’t really thought about it from this perspective . Our old boss who I mentioned above said that he was waterboarded several times and that each subsequent time, it was less and less traumatic and the first time was definitely the worst. He was adamant that he didn’t consider it torture (by way of comparison, he said he was hit with a taser on a few occassions and that the use of a taser to extract info would definitely meet the defintion of torture in his book). So I just left it at that – meaning I bought the argument that if we did it to our own people, it wasn’t torture. I had never thought of my friend’s point though – that it’s precisely b/c it’s ‘torture’ that we prep our guys with it.
I know we also have some training excercises with teargas that are intended to teach you to put on your gas mask really quickly – which simulate an attack. Most people don’t consider that to be torture. This would seem to counter the “If we do it to our own guys, it’s torture b/c that’s what we’re preparing them for” argument.
Having never had it done and not really knowing what it’s like first hand – coupled with such varying reports from others – I don’t really take strong stands on it. I’m curious though – you are well versed in it and know a lot about interrogations and the like from firsthand knowledge.. Do you buy the argument at all that it’s essentially prima facie evidence that waterboarding it torture b/c we do it to our own guys? Something about the argument leaves me with a feeling it’s wrong and I’m missing something but I couldn’t really come up with a counterpoint to it.
See my recent post…
You should wear a suit jacket and tie. Plus, use a better backdrop, preferably some bikini models. 🙂
Yeah, I really need to hire a production manager. This movie app on the Mac is pretty impressive, but I just need to learn all the details. I’ll see if I can’t get any nubile communications interns who want instant stardom. 🙂
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