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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Moral Preening about CIA "Torture"

The media insists on inaccurately calling the CIA harsh interrogation program torture.  Fine.  But that loaded word obfuscates the story.  Most of the reporting on this program has been shoddy enough to make Rolling Stone blush.  CIA sought authorization for harsh interrogation because it wanted to comply with the law against torture.  It was trying NOT TO torture anyone! The Justice Department ruled that some forms of harsh interrogation were not torture.  If you believe all forms of harsh interrogation are torture, that's your right.  But I wouldn't want you defending our country. 

All easy to criticize this now, ten years after the fact with the threat receded.

Personally I think the harsh interrogation program probably achieved what it could achieve.  It was shut down when it wasn't going to produce any more results.  We didn't slide down a slippery slope. The extreme stuff--waterboarding--was reserved for three hard cases, one of whom was Khalid Sheik Muhammad,  the 9/11 mastermind.  Some Hollywood actors and journalists have voluntarily submitted to waterboarding.  Our special forces operatives undergo it as part of their training.

But they don't submit themselves to electric shocks with car batteries.  That's torture.

If you want to read about a real torture policy, check out "The Battle of the Casbah."  No one wanted to go down that road. 

The fact is, we were at war.  Sometimes harsh measures are required.  The effects of a Hellfire missile fired from a drone at a terrorist target aren't too pretty, either.  Neither, I bet, are the post mortem photos of Osama Bin Laden.  I've posted a few good articles rebutting the general press view below:

Here's a good rebuttal by Jonathan Tobin moral clarity in wartime

Former attorney general cites the laws, here: mukasey-the-cia-interrogations-followed-the-law-

For CIA's intell successes related to the interrogation program, see here: senate-interrogation-report-distorts-the-cias-success-foiling-terrorist-plots/2014/12/09/de5b72ca-7e1f-11e4-9f38-95a187e4c1f7_story.html
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