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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Enhanced Interrogation Techniques....And Another Nail In The Coffin.

Link: List Provided By CIA Of Approved Enhanced Interrogation Techniques

I chose to include only one link on today's post, because I'm assuming anyone who has an interest in this subject has the necessary background details to understand my comments.  This is a subject that can cause me to become very animated.  As I grow older, I see myself becoming generally more mellow and relaxed, but this subject can fire me up like no other.  I have a few friends who disagree with my opinion on Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EIT), which normally would have no impact on our conversation what so ever.  But this topic is off limits.  I watched another program this evening that was dedicated to EITs (while American soldiers deal with missing limbs at home and Islamic Terrorists are lighting human candles in the Levant).  The program's left tilt was anticipated, given the owners of the production company.  I wish I could put all of the folks who feel strongly about this issue in the same room at the same time, and ask, "how many detainees can you prove were physically injured, let alone killed, during a session of EITs?"  As the world knows (because certain parts of our society are obsessed with airing our own laundry for the rest of the world to judge), there have been episodes of rogue soldiers abusing prisoners and involving themselves in all sorts of illegal activity.  As far as I know, these soldiers have been disciplined, and their actions never resulted in any lasting physical injuries to the detainees involved.  Be that as it may, there can be no tolerance or excuse for this type of behavior.  EITs should be practiced by properly trained and adequately supervised personnel, with no exceptions.  Anyone caught operating outside of the set procedures should be punished to the fullest extent, because they bring discredit  upon their country.  Regarding my claim that no persons have been physically injured or killed during Enhanced Interrogation, I can only speak for myself.  Anyone who disagrees should address their concerns (along with their evidence) to the nearest military post.  The point is, obviously no one can claim that Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, as practiced by trained U.S. personnel, have resulted in a pattern of physical injuries and also deaths.

Have a look at the link, and think about the actions described.  No one wants to be on the receiving end of such intimidating, frightening behavior.  As far as my knowledge stretches, these are the techniques approved by Congress before the second Iraq War.  At no time did the military or certain federal agencies intend for the techniques to become routine practice, and they never did.  These techniques were designed for use with a detainee who refused to disclose life-sensitive information.  For example, if a detainee had planted four roadside Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) the previous day, and said detainee refused to provide U.S. authorities with the location of the IEDs, then policy allowed for more stressful techniques to be introduced.  The point is, EITs exist to save the lives of young Americans (and locals...IEDs killed just as many Iraqis as they did Americans).  I ask the person who is reading this blog at this very moment, what on that list would you NOT approve to get that IED off of the street?  What if the commanding officer at that particular detention facility did not approve of EITs?  Can you imagine the horror, if it were a van full of children that triggered the explosive, or a teen-age soccer team, or an ambulance?  Contrary to the greatest fallacy that has been born from this debate, these techniques have been directly responsible for saving many soldiers, not to mention non-combatants.  Unfortunately, the U.S. Army does not provide those statistics to the media.  If you want to gauge the effectiveness of these techniques, then speak to the soldiers at the heart of the firestorm, and ask them if they are making a difference.  Would they lie, just to continue having the opportunity to harass people in a certain way?  Sorry, I just don't buy it.  And the techniques detailed in the link have been around for centuries.  The U.S. Army has been effectively utilizing these methods (and much worse) since before the Civil War.  I strongly support humane treatment of detainees, including the ones who are obviously guilty (Saddam Hussein and his henchmen).  I do not support any action that physically injures a detainee, nor do I support water or food depravation.  But I am in complete support of a certain amount of physical and mental intimidation, if the case meets a set criteria and involves the lives of soldiers and/or non-combatants.

The case that I just described fits the EIT techniques approved by Congress prior to the second Iraq War.  I am more than a bit aggravated that we are still discussing this issue, when I have yet to see any evidence of habitual abuse or detainee injuries.  But this issue isn't about yelling at a detainee, a light slap, or a night full of listening to Tammy Faye Bakker's Greatest Hits on a loop.  Actually, you can throw out the list detailed in the link, except for the last one.  This is THE burr that gets under everyone's saddle......Waterboarding.  Why has it become such a magnet for controversy?  It really wasn't used that much, and it's not something we invented.  This nasty procedure of making the brain believe that the lungs are filling up with water, therefore the individual is drowning, has been around probably since the Crusades (uh the Crusaders will get blamed for inventing it!).  For some reason, Liberals (no, I don't think it's a bad word) have a visceral reaction to Waterboarding.  I am convinced that when EITs are mentioned, persons of the left political persuasion automatically think of Waterboarding.  Well, no one has ever tried to argue that Waterboarding is fun.  But it has resulted in persuading some bad guys to share certain pieces of valuable intelligence.  Most important, though, is the fact that Waterboarding has never physically injured anyone, nor has it resulted in anyone drowning on dry land (or anywhere).  A number of proponents of EITs and Waterboarding in particular, are quick to argue that the detainees are not altar boys, and surely they deserve at least a bit of discomfort for their lives of murder and mayhem.  I disagree.  I do not support vigilante justice.  Extreme physical discomfort as punishment for committing acts of terrorism, in my mind, is torture.  I do not agree with the use of EITs unless two things have been determined: first, all other means of persuasion have been exhausted; and second, lives hang in the balance.

The reality that we have elements inside our own nation who truly believe that extreme measures in pursuit of security are not justified, reminds me of the current state of affairs in the United States.  For them, it was fun to play Patriot in the days and months following September 11, 2001, but the pretense could only last so long.  There are well-meaning, educated, hard-working U.S. citizens who do not believe in the Constitution and do not believe that our history is something to encourage pride.  We enslaved Africans, stole land from the Indians, put Japanese-Americans in camps, enforced Jim Crow laws, committed isolated and rare crimes against Vietnamese civilians, and falsely claimed that the U.S.S. Maine was blown up by Spain, just so we could steal Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.  I'm sure I've left out a bunch of shit; please forgive my trouble with recollection.  I think some people are born with a genetic need to find fault with the United States, our culture, our legacy, and the ideas for which we exist.  Of course, the re-visitation of history does not include the positive impact the United States has had in the world as we know it.  Americans (from a colorful and all-inclusive ethnic background) have invented just about everything important in the twentieth century, and our young men and women have never failed to answer the call to die to protect freedom from tyranny.  The United States is the most innovative, democratic, successful political experiment of our species, and all in less than two-hundred-fifty years.  We have seldom existed in a world free of enemies, usually persons jealous of our freedoms and opportunity.  One reason we have been able to defeat our enemy is because we have always been quick to self-examine and admit our mistakes, and to try and do better.  But within our midst exists a group of Americans, who criticize not to correct, but to feed their own sense of moral elitism.  They believe that the bad elements in our country are to be found in the ignorant, religious, Constitution and Bible-thumping white community that lives mostly in the south and midwest.  They are usually affluent, atheist, and full of snide, nasty humor about the morons who permeate the Red States.  Sadly, I worry that they have become so insidious that they are winning the day.  We dig until our fingers bleed, looking for evidence that a handful of soldiers mistreated prisoners, while the enemy swallows up more territory and becomes emboldened with its displays of inhuman carnage.  Why, when ISLAMIC terrorism threatens to engulf the world, are we still talking about EITs?  Our armies have been brought home (for the most part), the defense budget sliced up (the money to pay for ten million new Democratic voters has to come from somewhere, now that the grandkid's credit card has started getting declined), Gay Marriage is the most important issue of our age, evidence of our Christian heritage has been removed from every public display, and we are still talking about Extreme Interrogation Techniques.  Even after a landslide election for the opposition, the left continues to dominate and win every argument, and demagogue every issue; the lost EIT debate is just another nail.......

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