Well, We’ ll See

Some of the things on which President Bush stood firm made even folks as far to the right as me wary, particularly when it came to “enhanced interrogation” methods. Not believing the insanely bloodthirsty image that his detractors painted of him (and for which they ought to be even more extremely embarrassed after the smooth transition), however, I accepted that there must surely be reasons that he was so determined to maintain certain programs.
It may yet prove to be the case that Obama’s quick changes to such things as terrorist detainment will prove to be political shuffles that change the particulars, but not the practice, but if they prove substantive, well, I guess we’ll find out over the next decade or so whether the Bush Administration tolerated all that political heat for no reason.
(One oughtn’t discount the possibility, of course, that Bush’s good reasons have faded sufficiently, mostly via success, to allow scaling back, and the further possibility that he held on to his policies for longer than he had to.)

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15 years ago

I really don’t see a problem with interrogation methods as long as they produce results. Let me be clear that I would not have the constitution to properly use some interrogation techniques but it doesn’t mean that they should be considered torture either.
We’ve all seen the movie A Few Good Men and recall the scene where Jack Nicholson bursts out in court with “You can’t handle the truth!” and continues with how America sleeps better at night because of what we don’t know.
I know I don’t feel qualified (nor should anyone else) to determine what works and what doesn’t when it comes to keeping our nation safe.
Just because the descriptions of some techniques may make us squirm and shiver, it doesn’t mean they are wrong to use.

15 years ago

How many people watch 24 and see Jack Bauer choking Tony to near blackout, another agent cutting off an oxygen tube and poking her finger in a healing gunshot wound, and many other incidences of “torture” and don’t jump up out of their couch and yell “That’s wrong!” How many people instead of condemning the action, start to wonder things like “could I torture someone like that if my life depended on it?” or “I wonder how long I could hold back information while being tortured like that?” There’s very little thought of “that’s just wrong”. It seems that when the liberals decry it, it’s in the abstract, we don’t get all the details. But if someone came out and said person X was waterboarded and shot through the feet, but we got the name of person Y who was going to blow up an airliner from their backyard with an RPG, people might feel a little better about it.
It’s interesting when I ask people what’s their choice between torturing someone for the info or letting hundreds of innocents die, they refuse to answer the question and claim those aren’t the only options, but usually can’t name another one. Or they go to the “torture doesn’t work and is unreliable anyway”, if it doesn’t work, then why do they still do it?

15 years ago

Patrick, your thoughts about given someone a choice between interrogating a spy or letting 100 people die reminds me of a very worn proposal argued by debate clubs in the 60’s.
I recall public interrogations on TV asking pacifists and conscientious objectors to answer this simple question. If you and your wife were walking down the street and a thug started to assault your wife, would you protect her and strike back?
“And now, a public service bulletin from your friendly married poster. For those who aren’t married, there is ONLY one correct answer. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.”
I recall many and I mean many who claim they would not strike out at the attacker because they weren’t capable of hurting another human being.
I daresay the men who answered the question incorrectly probably led a miserable life afterwards.

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