Author Topic: [1075] RE: Torture Supporter  (Read 1521 times)

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Offline anon1984

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[1075] RE: Torture Supporter
« on: September 03, 2012, 10:38:53 AM »
RE: Torture Supporter

Released on 2012-09-01 01:00 GMT




2005-12-01 17:40:31


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 This guy lives in a dream world. His proposal, though fairly reasonable in
 my opinion, is an utter policy nightmare. The court couldn't possibly
 publicly announce the criteria, thus the entire issue is skirted. The
 reason people are upset about torture is because we've found out that the
 United States engages in behavior that they deem "necessary" and that
 Americans deem "torture". When pressed about this recently CIA Director
 George Tenet said essentially: I can't speak to any particular form of
 torture because doing so would make that ineffective in the field, but
 whatever we do it is not torture. In effect, George Tenet knows torture
 when he sees it, but you don't get to find out why or what or how he
 determines what torture is.

 The beauty of the McCain amendment is that it is categorical. All branches
 of the military are given clear guidelines on how to treat prisoners
 (Field Manual), even the CIA. To the McCain amendment George Tenet
 responded that he was NEUTRAL to it. The restrictions it may or may not
 impose certainly didn't worry him enough to lash out against it. He
 doesn't think that it restricts his ability to combat terrorism.

 I'm certain that the ticking time bomb scenario is irrelevant, but even if
 it isn't the McCain amendment doesn't restrict the person's action in any
 practical sense. If an agent in the field is presented with a scenario
 where they know they must torture someone to save millions of lives, then
 they will do so. We expect them to do so. There aren't any provisions in
 virtually every law on the books; breaking and entering, car theft,
 assault, etc. that specifically exempt the CIA from these laws. Why?
 Because we know and expect the CIA to have to do underhanded things to get
 the job done.

 The McCain amendment speaks clearly to the rest of the world that the
 United States has standards for prisoners that do not involve torture. It
 follows international guidelines prohibiting torture. The psychological
 and social effect that has on our standing with the rest of the world
 makes the United States infinitely safer from future attacks without
 unnecessarily limiting the capacities of our anti-terrorism law

 This guy and the President play a dangerous political game. Every
 politician knows that if they fail to support the torture amendment, their
 reelection campaign gets to compete with a guy who can say, straight up,
 "My opponent authorizes the torture of human beings. Is that what we stand
 for?" As simplistic as that attack is, the 90-9 senate vote in support of
 the McCain amendment should suggest how compelling it is to our
 -----Original Message-----
 From: Bill Ott [mailto:[email protected]]
 Sent: Thursday, December 01, 2005 10:29 AM
 To: Allensworth, Will W.; [email protected]
 Subject: Torture Supporter
Abu Ghraib was a travesty and a tragedy. It tarnished America's reputation
 and credibility. It gave ammunition to America's enemies and critics. It
 set back progress in Iraq.
What took place at Abu Ghraib was illegal - and those responsible have
 been rightly prosecuted and punished.

So what is the point of Sen. John McCain's amendment to ban "cruel,
 inhuman, or degrading" treatment of any prisoner by any agent of the
 United States?
His proposal might be seen as simply sending a message, a way to clean up
 the mess left by Abu Ghraib -- legislation in the service of public
The problem is the amendment fails to distinguish between two very
 distinct situations: (1) ordinary prisoners being detained as punishment
 for crimes or simply to keep them from returning to the battlefield, and
 (2) captured terrorists in possession of information that could save

In regard to the first situation, McCain is correct. Such prisoners should
 never be abused - certainly not for amusement or to indulge sadistic
 impulses (as, nevertheless, happens in prisons around the world).

The second situation is not so simple. The most notorious scenario is, of
 course, the "ticking time bomb." What should be permissible when a threat
 is imminent and making a suspect talk can mean the difference between life
 and death? Such circumstances are not as rare as some contend.

For example, two years ago, there was controversy over the actions taken
 by Army Lt. Col. Allen B. West. He was serving near Tikrit, fighting
 insurgents loyal to deposed dictator Saddam Hussein. While interrogating a
 hostile suspect, he drew his pistol - and fired it, twice.
His intention was not to kill or wound - only to frighten. He succeeded.
 The suspect revealed details of a planned ambush. Lt. Col. West saved the
 lives of men he commanded, men for whom he felt responsible. For that, he
 was accused of "torture," charged with assault and drummed out of the
The McCain amendment would confirm that outcome. It would mandate that
 other officers in similar situations walk away - and if that means
 innocent men, women and children are slaughtered, so be it.
Should that really be our policy? Can a war can be fought and won with
 such limitations? Is that really the moral approach?
Put those questions aside for a moment and consider the more common
 scenario: the "high-value suspect," someone in possession of information
 not about an imminent threat but about how, for example, terrorist leaders
 communicate their orders, how they raise funds and distribute weapons, how
 they recruit, train and deploy suicide bombers and those who plant
 explosives along roads.

Instilling a moment of fear, as Lt. Col. West did, would be unlikely to
 get such suspects to reveal all they know. And more severe forms of
 "torture" - already illegal under U.S. law - would probably not be the
 best way to induce them to cooperate. What can succeed are interrogation
 techniques short of torture: physical "stress" coupled with psychological
 "duress." But such techniques may be seen as "degrading" and so might be
 outlawed by the McCain amendment.
Clearly, lines need to be drawn and someone must have both the expertise
 and authority to draw them. More than a year ago, former federal
 prosecutor and legal expert Andrew C. McCarthy proposed the establishment
 of a "national-security court," a tribunal that would "monitor the
 detention of terrorist captives."

It also could be empowered to decide, in consultation with physicians,
 psychologists and intelligence experts, which techniques are always to be
 prohibited (for example, those likely to cause death or permanent
 disability), and which are permissible -- and effective.

Trained government interrogators should be required to apply to the court
 for authorization to use specific techniques in specific instances. What
 the court would license for use against a "ticking time bomb" would differ
 from what it would allow against a bin Laden lieutenant -- and both would
 differ from what would be permitted to elicit information from a low-value
The key decisions would not fall on the shoulders of an isolated army
 officer in the field - no soldier should be made to go through what Lt.
 Col. West has experienced. But neither would decisions about sacrificing
 innocent lives be made by international bureaucrats or lawyers
 representing self-proclaimed "human rights" organizations.
Wouldn't this be better than a no-holds-barred approach? Wouldn't it be
 better than treating terrorists with kid gloves? Wouldn't it be preferable
 to the McCain amendment?

Clifford D. May is the president of the Foundation for the Defense of
 Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism and a
 partner organization.

Bill Ott
 Index Austin Real Estate, Inc.
 1950 Rutland Dr.
 Austin, TX 78758
 (512) 476-3300 P
 (512) 476-3310 F
[email protected]
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