Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Waterboarding Part III

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I almost resisted using this photo for fear of George W. Bush reading this and deciding it might not be a bad idea to begin torturing insurgent babies. Then it dawned on me, Bush hasn't read anything since the good old days when he used to sit on Karl Rove's lap, move his lips, and read ad-libs while Rove drank a glass of water. But enough about the man who puts the word idiot in idiot savant later. Almost all of the many respondents to offer their opinions on waterboarding were totally opposed to this practice and torture in general. For whatever it's worth, I was pleased to know that the majority of Americans don't support the barbaric and cowardly process of obtaining information from our enemies by harking back to the good old days of torture chambers popularized in the middle ages. Torturing a bound victim and inflicting great pain, fear and abject cruelty is nothing more than a gutless act committed by a pathetic cabal of cowards.

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A sampling of the comments I received regarding waterboarding include the following:

"I think the country we live in stands for more than mean spirited things, such as this barbaric form of torture."
"Any form of torture, as waterboarding certainly is, is wrong. Period."
"Let's waterboard people who don't think waterboarding is torture. After all, they should be cool with it..."
"I think torture is just a way to get some poor soul to admit to anything you ask them to. It's only used by idiots."
"We cannot expect to promote democracy and justice in the world if we undermine it ourselves."
"Waterboarding is a miserable thing to do to someone."

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I thought a lot about the interrogation of enemies designed to elicit useful information to uncover future plots, locate specific individuals or to prevent ongoing operations. I came to the conclusion there's no one stop singular method that will work for everybody. I think you learn very quickly that your enemies are the same types of people as your friends. In order to acquire useful intelligence you have to be able to quickly surmise exactly who your captive is. How bright is he? How easily can be intimidated psychologically or physically? Would he be willing to talk if you offered him a "cookie" as an inducement to spill his guts? Do you believe he's the type of person even capable of telling the truth or would he lie like the fisherman detailing the length of the 25 foot shark he just caught armed only with a butter knife? I realize this is a dilemma, but CIA and intelligence agents get paid significantly above minimum wages to figure this out. Strapping a guy to a board and pouring water in his face and mouth until he feels he will drown may get him to talk, but will a word he says be truthful?


Another thing I wonder about is the 29 percent of Americans when recently polled who said waterboarding is NOT a form of torture and when asked whether they think the U.S. government should be allowed to use the procedure to try to get information from suspected terrorists, 40 percent said yes. In other words, 3 out of every 10 Americans feel waterboarding is not even torture and 4 out of 10 are just fine with their government torturing human beings. The one question the pollsters never seem to ask is how would the American people who support torturing our enemies react to our enemies torturing our troops. I mean a war can't be fought if only one side is participating, it takes at least two. I think there's also an expression regarding geese and ganders thats applicable as well.

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So what do you say Joe and Mary America? Since 40 percent of you say it's ok for the U.S. to torture enemy combatants, I have to assume you find it acceptable for those same opposition members to capture American soldiers and citizens in and around the battlefield and whip out the board, the rope, the washcloth and the tub of mountain fresh, crystal clear Iraqi or Afghani spring water to torture our guys and women as well? Why stop at waterboarding, these Middle Eastern sons of Allah have been in the ruthless torture business for approximately 14 centuries. Our government could learn much more from them than they could ever learn from us. You want to turn your HDTV on and watch Shiite or Sunni extremists brutally torturing our troops? I have to assume you think it's just fine because fair minded people such as you realize full well that torture is not a one way street. That kind of traffic flows both ways. So if you are one of those 40 percentile supporting the U.S. in the torture of the extremists, I have to assume you equally support reciprocal behavior perpetrated on American combatants as well. Funny how the Marines and Army never show the exciting acts of torture in the carefully orchestrated television commercials or slick recruiting brochures.

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One year from today a new president will have already been elected. Based on the current slate of candidates being offered by both parties, the next president may not be ideal, but can't help being a noticeable upgrade from what we have today. George W. Bush has disgraced himself and more importantly his country. Petty politics has become the order of the day in recent years. I urge you to be smarter than Bush and reject the handful of manipulators and profiteers who subliminally infiltrate your brains. To quote President John F. Kennedy, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what can you do for your country." In other words, stop the petty partisan politics that is decaying our country and ask which candidate is truly best for our country. Every so often, it feels better aspiring to be a hopeful optimist, than it does being a cynical pessimist. What do you have to lose, other than your country........

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