CIA Torture

It doesn’t work and destroys the soul.  At least that is my take on it all.  Look, I know that I have a fairly decent military following and if one of my followers happens to be the guy that dumped the water in the mouth of the terrorist that then gave us actionable intelligence then you got me.  I wasn’t there.  You were and if you know for a fact it indeed worked in a particular incident, then you can ignore all that I say. Or perhaps, just perhaps you might want to read on to see if I am right about the soul. The Senate released a report on the enhanced interrogation tactics utilized after 9-11 and it comes down pretty hard on such programs. Initial reaction fell somewhat along partisan lines as it was Democrat Dianne Feinstein leading the charge more or less against the beloved to many George W. But let’s let the partisan dust settle and consider what might be true. Walk down this path with me and see where it leads each of us.

No Sympathy

First of all, let me be clear what my stance against torture is not.  It is not sympathy for the worst of our enemies. Keep in mind, my last article title ended with the phrase Kill Them All.  When the enemies of life and liberty approach America our response should be decisive and violent. And let’s face it, America is pretty good at that. Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a fitting bookend to it’s Pearl Harbor counterpart. Toppling two regimes and spending a decade killing the enemy on their home turf was a strong response to the few thousand killed on 9-11.  America’s overarching policy seems to be that if you kill us, we will kill you back and then some.  And I like it.

To this day, I honestly don’t like watching specials on 9-11 that relive the events and I have never seen the movies made about it.  It just gets me in an angry place of which I really can’t do anything about these days. Moreover, it’s not a confession to the world.  Personally, I don’t think that we owe the world any explanations.  American’s have constantly bleed on foreign soil for the sake of others and until the world pays us back for all the American blood and treasure spent on their behalf,I don’t feel inclined to offer the world an apology for anything America might get wrong in pursuit of world freedom.  We are not perfect, but if you would rather have Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, or the Islamic State as your world power, then your welcome to give that a spin.  Just let me know how it turns out for you.

Outcomes

Most people when it comes to the subject of torture have no personal experience.  Sure we might know a guy who knows a guy who worked for the CIA or Special Forces.  However,I know a guy who knows a guy as well and what I hear is that it doesn’t work. Moreover, if you read the research and evidence on the matter, it supports the premise that torture doesn’t work. The evidence it would suggest is that torture is more likely to elicit false confessions and bad intelligence just to get the torture to stop.  Think about it.  If you were getting tortured and you honestly knew nothing, at what point would you make something up just to make it stop?

So I think we have to judge the evidence for it’s own merit.  I’m not an expert on torture. Never done it or had it done to me. But there are experts around.  I think we have to give John McCain a little more credit than he is currently getting on the matter. He was captured and tortured.  I think that gives him more experience than 99.9% of Americans.  He says we shouldn’t do it.  So why don’t we listen more? As Veterans we often state that it is hard for the world to understand us because they have not walked in our shoes.  So I know that the Tea Party has drawn a target on John McCain for political reasons, but why would they instantly dismiss his view on torture?  He seems particularly informed on the matter.

The Soul

So if a great deal of the evidence suggest that torture doesn’t work and most Americans have no informed personal experience, then why do so many support the torture of potential terrorist.  I offer this answer.  Many support the torture of terrorist because screw the terrorist, that’s why. Look, I get it.  Terrorist have not been civil to us and I see little reason to be civil back. When I read the stories about them beheading children in Syria and Iraq or hear of them selling girls into sexual slavery, I have little sympathy for them.  Screw them.  They deserve the worst we can do to them and I mean that from deep within my flesh.  However, it’s then I realize that this is what this is, a fleshly response to evil.

Break the internet

You see, our Democracy is a more fragile thing than you think.  Our institutions are the envy of the world and have remained so due to our reverence for the system that enables individual liberty.  However, A Patriot Act here, an NSA wiretap there, and the torture of human flesh later, then things start to erode. I have a guiding policy for government that I often use and it’s this.  If we find ourselves doing something similar to North Korea then we are screwing something up.  I posted this drawing from a North Korean escapee in my article, The Pictures that Should have Broke the Internet. Those are stress positions.  Sleep deprevation. It kind of looks like torture to me. What about you?

Summary

So in summary, I just want to reiterate that I have no sympathy for our enemies.  Moreover, I don’t think we owe the world an explanation when things go a little awry in keeping them all safe. I just think we protect the institutions and soul of our nation while doing what the evidence says works to keep us safe.  I’m not saying we can’t be rough with them.  I like the premise of enhanced interrogation.  Do some grown up rough stuff on them, make them hold a sick hairless cat, or just have one of those creepy Elf on the Shelf stare at them all day. But don’t go North Korea on them.  Because we are not North Korea, we are America. Related, I am actually in support of closing Guantanamo Bay.  I say we let them all out, give them an AK-47 when they step off the plane and then let the last thing they hear be the brrrrrrtt of an A-10 Warthog.

CIA Torture

War is messy. War is violent.  If you can prove to me that chopping off the hand of a detainee would prevent a Nuclear attack on America, then I’ll sharpen the knife.  However, the evidence doesn’t suggest it works like an episode of 24.  Let’s follow the evidence regardless of where it leads. If it helps everyone, I don’t like Dianne Fienstein either.  Not even close. Like not at all if for no other reason than her horrible trigger discipline.  I do however support our elected institutions providing oversight to people who could do bad things to us all if we let them.  I think America is more resilient and innovative than we give it credit for.  We can take the hard path and still come out ahead.  After all, we still have General Mattis on our side.

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6 Replies to “Here’s the Thing About CIA Torture”

  1. Another great post, Jeff. I have no sympathy for terrorists, bullies, or the il informed; but I do hold our nation in high regard. The recent report released on enhanced interrogations is a blemish on our history, hopefully our country’s leaders do not repeat the same mistakes in the future. John McCain lobbied against this from the start, I wish more would have listened to him.

  2. Once again you have provided in writing, what was in my head. I like that you take a non-partisan approach and always bring the focus back to our beloved Republic. You seem to be able to coalesce what almost all of us, or at least the thinking people, into a concise and thoughtful paragraph.
    Keep up the great work and remember the first two are on me.

  3. I totally agree with the other commenters. Great post again.

    “The noblest kind of retribution is not to become like your enemy.” – Marcus Aurelius

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