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Enhanced Interrogation or torture?

CHENEY 2000Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive…

Now, for those of you who turn on the news occasionally, and especially those with a political inclination, we have a heated controversy between the left and the right about these “enhanced interrogation techniques” used on accused terrorists during the last administration. For the sake of brevity, I’ll stay with waterboarding for this opinion.

What we know: Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times. Kalid Shaik Muhammed was waterboarded 183 times. They gave up valuable information, and they’re terrorists anyway. So far, sounds pretty good. Hey, the whole country was scared shitless and we did what we had to do, right? Not so fast…

Our former VP Dick Cheney (the one who spent most of his 8 years in office in a “secret, undisclosed location”) is now on various talk shows (FOX news, Face the Nation, State of the Union, and even a small time talk show in North Dakota or Montana) at least once every few weeks, and twice so far this week alone. He’s admitted that he authorized these “techniques” but disputes that they’re torture. His lawyers wrote legal memos saying so. Others who side with him go so far as to say that even if they’re torture, they were effective in extracting vital information from our enemies and thus justified — despite the fact that they are prohibited by the Geneva conventions, and that “it worked” is expressly forbidden as a defense to committing these crimes.

Yesterday began the first of many congressional investigations to come. Who’s testifying? One of the first was an FBI agent directly involved in the interrogation of both Abu Zubaydah and KSM. According to him and his records, virtually ALL of the information was gained in the first few hours by the FBI using traditional techniques. Enter the CIA (under orders of Cheney). They began to waterboard them, and they immediately shut down and would give no further information. In case you aren’t up to speed, the FBI withdrew from the interrogations about 4-6 months after the CIA came in with the head telling all agents to steer clear of this, it’s not going to turn out well. More to come later….

So, how does everyone feel about what was done in the name of our country? Is waterboarding torture? Jesse Ventura, a former governor, former wrestler, and former Navy SEAL who was voluntarily waterboarded in the SERE (survive, evade, resist, escape) program says it absolutely is. He describes it as the complete sensation of drowning, even though he knew it was unlikely to cause his death in those controlled circumstances. If it was done to a member of your family, would you call it torture?

If it is torture (which it has been determined to be by the Red Cross, official authority as per the Geneva conventions), was it ok for us to do it to these horrible people who attacked us? If so, why? Because it kept us safe? No, that’s being debunked as I type. Then maybe it’s ok because we hate them so much? If that’s justification, then why did we prosecute our own soldiers when they waterboarded prisoners of war in Viet Nam? Why did we put to death those who did it to our soldiers in Japan? Why were our soldiers in Iraq prosecuted (one still in jail today) for doing this at Abu Ghraib? The government said they were “a few bad apples” to justify punishing them, while we now know the orders came from Rumsfeld who got them from Cheney.

So, what are everyone’s thoughts on this period in our country’s history? Did we do what we needed to and had to do? Did we overstep our bounds, sacrifice our morals for our safety? Are we, as Al Quada claims, a nation of hypocrites?

We would love to hear what you think about this subject.  Please click on “COMMENTS” below and tell  us your thoughts?

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May 14, 2009 - Posted by | Political | , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. You had me right up until the end. Are we, as Al Quada claim, a nation of hypocrites? I don’t really care what those murdering bastards think that we are! I say, if they area terrorist, turn them over to the families of the people who have died and let them decide what should be done to them!

    Comment by Big Daddy | May 14, 2009 | Reply

  2. I understand your anger, Big Daddy, it makes me furious as well. Hell, I’m hoping the new stem cell research works well enough to clone Bin Laden just so that we can beat him to death at all future Super Bowl game half-times! (but I’m claiming temporary insanity…) And it’s not that I care if they think we’re hypocrits, but I do care that we are. “Do as I say, not as I do” just never cuts it for me. If we are going to be a nation of values, we must practice what we preach. Otherwise, let’s all take off the gloves and beat hell out of each other in the streets, lie, murder, cheat, steal… Oh wait, we already do that… Guess if WE don’t have any morals, why should the Nation?? Al Quada may have a point…

    Comment by trickeybusiness | May 14, 2009 | Reply

  3. Maris, I agree with you 100%…great post. It’s really interesting now that one of Colin Powells aids has spoken up and said that the only information that the Bush Administration was looking for was a tie between Iraq and the Taliban and the WMD’s.

    Comment by Cinoda Reed | May 15, 2009 | Reply

  4. You’re right, Cin. Watching the Rachel Maddow show last night (never miss it!!), it seems there’s going to be a lot more people coming forward. One UN interrogator who was in Iraq just after we began bombing them has now come forward saying they had one of Sadam’s top officials in custody as a POW when a memo came from Washington (specifically not the CIA) suggesting they may get more info from him about the tie between Iraq and Al Quada via use of waterboarding. He said he found it confusing at the time (and refused to do it) since Sadam had fled the country, his officials were singing like birds, even wanting to cooperate with the US so as to be our allies against Iran whom they perceived to be their enemy, and the interrogator’s mission there was supposed to be to discover the names of Sadam’s other officials (information he was already getting) and discover where the weapons of mass destruction were (which ended up not existing). He’s since retired and written a book about it. Now another top player in all this (I forget his name, my player card is running over!!) has come forward to not only verify his story, but to say he’s not only aware of the memo (and has two other inside people who can prove it) but also that it came directly from the office of the former VP Cheney. The paper trail is still classified, but they’re working to get the documents released.

    So if all this is shown to be true (and it makes sense to me that it is), all the claims that we waterboarded detainees to keep the country safe and another attack was imminent don’t apply here. Cheney (or someone in his office) pushed waterboarding in an attempt to establish a connection between Iraq and 9/11 and justify a war we had already begun.

    As a footnote here, try this on for size. The Iraq official who was cooperating with the UN interrogator was later waterboarded anyway and subsequently died… of “natural causes” according to records.

    Just how absolutely corrupt WAS our government?? Worse yet, how corrupt is it STILL?? If we never hold some kind of truth commission and rather just sweep all this under the rug, what happens when some future president/vice president comes to power and decides he wants to change the law to allow him to do… whatever? Persecute Christians? Throw out the law and ignore the Constitution, then get some lawyers to justify it in memos later… should be just fine… We’re over-due for another Anti-Christ anyway, so we’ll pave the road for him, establish precedent…

    OK, I’m going to put my tin-foil hat back on. All this stuff is scaring me…

    Comment by Maris | May 15, 2009 | Reply


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