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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The CIA and coercion 


Stuart Taylor is rather good on the question of coercive interrogations, and whether it is wise to outlaw them (as the Democrats propose). His essay reveals rather starkly that neither Democrats nor Republicans are covered with glory on this question. Teaser:

Imagine that U.S. forces capture Osama bin Laden or a high-level lieutenant in Pakistan next month and hand him over to the CIA, amid intelligence reports that a massive new Qaeda attack on America may be imminent.

Does Congress really want to make it unlawful for the CIA to threaten to slap Osama bin Laden (if he is captured) in the face?

Should it be illegal for CIA interrogators to try to scare the man into talking by yelling at him? By threatening to slap him? By pretending to be from Egypt's brutal intelligence service? What about turning up the air conditioner to make him uncomfortably cold? Or denying him hot food until he talks, while giving him all the cold food he can eat?

These methods would all apparently be illegal under a rider that the House-Senate conference committee added to the annual intelligence authorization bill. It would bar the CIA from using any interrogation practice not authorized in the Army field manual's rules for military interrogators. This would mean prohibiting almost all forms of coercive interrogation, including many potentially effective techniques that come nowhere near torture and are now clearly legal.

We've come a long way since September 2002, when Nancy Pelosi, then a House Intelligence Committee member and now the speaker, listened without a peep of protest while being briefed about the CIA's use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods on Qaeda leaders.

Now almost all Democrats (and some Republicans) denounce waterboarding as illegal torture. They are probably right -- although you can bet that after the next 9/11 they will backtrack faster than you can say "unprincipled."

The mostly Democratic sponsors of the proposed legislation unpersuasively suggest that it is necessary to prevent torture. They also hide behind the fantasy that coercion never leads to good information. But there is substantial (if anecdotal) evidence that in some cases, at least, coercive interrogation methods far short of torture may well extract information that could save lives.

In a 2004 book titled The Interrogators, for example, co-author Chris Mackey, who conducted Army interrogations in Afghanistan, condemned torture but detailed how "the harsher the methods we used -- though they never contravened the [Geneva] Conventions, let alone crossed over into torture -- the better the information we got and the sooner we got it."

To be sure, the Bush administration has shown that it cannot be trusted to respect the current legal prohibitions on torture and near-torture. And it is past time for Congress to adopt more-specific restrictions. It is also understandable that many in Congress -- now in an uproar over the CIA's destruction of videotapes of earlier torturous interrogations -- are tempted to prevent evasion of the law by simply banning coercion.

But it would be irresponsible in the extreme for Congress to do this. And Bush is right to threaten a veto.

Read the whole thing.

I admit, I have never understood the claim that coercive interrogation does not work. That seems like one of those made up arguments designed to win over mushy-headed people in the center. If coercion does not work, then why does every police force in the world use it in the absence of judicial intervention to prevent it? Why has every dictator since the dawn of history used torture? Cops and dictators tend to be practical people. Surely they are not, in general, willing to sacrifice results for the sadistic pleasure of brutality (even if there are examples of both).

Of course, the fact that coercion at various levels of can improve the results of an interrogation does not prove that we ought to do it. But let us not cloud the issue with arguments that on their face, at least, seem extremely implausible. The stakes are too high on both sides.

CWCID: Glenn Reynolds.

19 Comments:

By Blogger honestpartisan, at Tue Dec 18, 10:56:00 AM:

I have never understood the claim that coercive interrogation does not work.

The argument is that torture (not "coercive interrogation") does not yield accurate information. You really don't understand the idea that someone in pain and distress will say something, anything, just to make it stop? Some of the bad intelligence on the WMD-in-Iraq issue came from tortured people, for example.

If coercion does not work, then why does every police force in the world use it in the absence of judicial intervention to prevent it?

What's the support for that statement?

Why has every dictator since the dawn of history used torture?

This is your model now? You really think Stalin was interested in, say, accurate information about what was going on rather than false confessions of outlandish crimes as a demonstration of power and intimidation?  

By Blogger David M, at Tue Dec 18, 01:14:00 PM:

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 12/18/2007 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.  

By Blogger KnightErrant, at Tue Dec 18, 01:27:00 PM:

I've never like hiding behind euphemisms. Parsing the difference between "coercive interrogation" techniques and torture is an act of sophism. We're not talking face slapping or withholding a dinner cookie. We all know we are talking about the hard stuff. Most of the effective interrogation techniques not involving electricity were invented in the middle ages and they were honest enough to call it torture.

Stripping away the rhetorical hide-and-seek, the issue is whether or not the United States should torture some prisoners to extract information.

As to effectiveness. With the sustained application of pain and fear, the guilty will eventually admit to everything. The innocent, too, will confess to anything that will give them relief. How else do you explain the thousands of confessions to witchcraft obtained during the Middle Ages. What is impossible is knowing the difference between the guilty man's truth and the innocent man's desperate lie.

Torture instills fear. Fear encourages passive compliance and that is the result that dictators want. It doesn't matter if Tony turns in his brother-in-law because he is a spy or because it was the only name the innocent Tony could think of in his duress. The result is the same, a community cowered by the power of the state. By the way, don't underestimate the attraction of the "sadistic pleasure of brutality." It was enough to keep a network of Nazi Concentration Camps operating.

After all the analysis, my opinion is still strikingly simple. Torture is blatantly evil. Some may be comforted that it is for some greater good. I cannot. Some may be able to excuse the fact that innocents will inevitably also suffer. I cannot.

Torture is evil. If I have any say in my government, then I say no.  

By Blogger Miss Ladybug, at Tue Dec 18, 01:54:00 PM:

Ignoring all other arguments against "coercive interrogation", I call bu||$hit on the argument that we must not use these methods to protect our own soldiers against similar or worse treatment. Tell me, did the Japanese worry about how we treated their POWs with how they treated ours? What about the Vietcong? And what about the Islamofascists and what they did to Menchaca and Tucker? What we do or do not do does not matter one whit to our enemies in how they would treat captured Americans.  

By Blogger honestpartisan, at Tue Dec 18, 03:57:00 PM:

I think you're likely right to an extent, Miss Ladybug, but to an extent -- one could certainly imagine that there are marginal cases where someone otherwise wouldn't have tortured but was motivated to by relevations of torture at Abu Ghraib & Guatanamo Bay.

Furthermore, to the extent that there are legal remedies against our soldiers being tortured, as well as a persuasive case to make to the world to be on our side in these struggles, torturing on our side loses us that argument.

Lastly, if enemies know they are going to be tortured by the U.S., they're going to fight all the harder against capture, putting our soldiers at risk. The big counterexample to this is World War Two, where German soldiers preferred to be captured by Americans rather than Soviets, knowing the difference in how they were treated, which likely saved lots of American lives.  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Tue Dec 18, 04:54:00 PM:

"torture" should be defined as something we're unwilling to do to our own people during training.

If some technique is good enough for our own, it should by definition be good enough for terrorists.

Now...what do we do to our own people in training?

Gas'em? Check. (BCT)
Waterboard? Check. (SERE)
Sleep deprivation? Check. (BUDS/Seal)
Loud noises? Check. (everything)
Temp extremes? Check. (everything)
etc, etc.

Do we stretch our people on the rack? No.

Do we starve our people? No.

Do we use electric drills on our people? No.

Do we use acid on our people? No.

Do we intentionally break bones and remove digits? No.  

By Blogger Escort81, at Tue Dec 18, 05:17:00 PM:

honestpartisan - most of the bad intel relating to the WMDs in Iraq came from the source codenamed Curveball, who was not tortured, although he went through extensive debriefing in Germany. It's good that you agree somewhat with Miss Ladybug's argument regarding reciprocity. Note that while the Nazis were clearly evil people, and mechanically exterminated eight digits worth of civilians, including seven digits worth of the oldest monotheistic religion in the West, their treatment of allied POWs was (on the whole) better than Japanese treatment of POWs. Furthermore, the German preference to be captured in the West rather than the East had to do with the fact that Germany had invaded the Soviet Union, raped and pillaged, and then been forced to retreat. They knew payback would be a bitch. The Americans had suffered no such attack on their homeland and were much more benign occupiers from 1945 onward.

I think this is a complex discussion that would be helped by precise definitions of what constitutes torture, "near-torture," and how coercive interrogation is different, with all due respect to knighterrant's assumption that we all know "we are talking about the hard stuff." PA's post is an excellent start. To be a bit flippant for a moment, as a Philadelphia pro sports fan, I think I have been tortured for the last quarter century (no championships out of four teams, and none on the horizon, since the Sixers won in '82-'83). I have had girlfriends who would claim torture if the Four Seasons was unavailable and we had to stay at a Marriott.

I think one of the strongest arguments against torture is not that it does not provide good information, but that there is a significant effect on the party imposing the torture in its aftermath, and perhaps a broader societal effect, that there is a coarsening or a lowering of what should be a high standard of human rights. That has to be counterbalanced against the fundamental human right to exist and live, so that if the information obtained does in fact save lives, there is at least a normative justification, even though many may disagree with that type of justification. Even stalwart defenders of civil rights such as Alan Dershowitz have stated that in the ticking time bomb scenario, torture is justifiable. The three times waterboarding has been used on detainees (according to press reports) would indicate to me that it was not a technique that was widely employed by the U.S. military or intelligence community. I am not sure where knighterrant's absolutism, if I understand it correctly, leaves us -- we capture high value targets on the basis of some actionable intelligence, perhaps obtained electronically (which opens up another can of worms), and then do what with them? Just keep them off the playing field until they promise they won't plan attacks against the U.S. anymore? Hook them up with a really good defense attorney who will then move to have all charges dropped on a "fruit of the poisonous tree" argument (see electronic intel above)? What are the meets and bounds of acceptable treatment for a KSM-type individual?

Taylor's essay is good reading because it describes what would be prohibited (hopefully accurately) -- it appears even Andy Sipowicz on the TV program NYPD Blue would be a war criminal.

Here's an odd hypothetical: if we had a device that was a kind of a plastic cap that could be comfortably placed over a detainee's head, maybe even without touching the head (think original Star Trek, "Spock's Brain" episode), and extract in digital form every piece of factual (as opposed to fabricated) information contained in the detainee's memory, with no negative side effects or pain resulting, would that constitute torture? Or would it simply constitute an invasion of the detainee's "right to privacy" and his Fifth Amendment rights (assume also in this scenario that the detainee is not a U.S. citizen), that those currently opposed to coercive interrogation in all forms would also oppose?  

By Blogger Escort81, at Tue Dec 18, 06:22:00 PM:

Any discussion of coercive interrogation in the popular culture would be incomplete without referencing the classic sequence in the movie "Dirty Harry." Vintage Clint Eastwood audio clip is available here, albeit well outside the context of the current discussion regarding detainees who are Islamist extremists.  

By Blogger bill, at Tue Dec 18, 07:24:00 PM:

This observation isn't original with me, but when I saw it in a comment somewhere, I couldn't agree more: We're at war.

It used to be when we were at war, we incinerated the cities of our enemies and burned to death hundreds of thousands, guilty and innocent alike, because we had to win the war.

This time around ... God forbid anyone should be, you know, hurt or anything.  

By Blogger jj mollo, at Tue Dec 18, 11:56:00 PM:

The reason we use torture, the reason police extract confessions, sometimes false confessions, using coercive force is that it is in our nature to do so. The famous Zimbardo experiments should by now be universally known and understood. It actually takes a great deal of discipline and self-discipline to abide by the enlightened rules that Civilization has slowly cobbled together. Whenever we're not careful, we revert.

I'd be willing to go along with the McCain rules of torture. Whatever John McCain would agree to is cool with me.  

By Blogger jj mollo, at Wed Dec 19, 12:07:00 AM:

Incinerating cities did not really work particularly well in WWII. The story I've read is that armament production increased dramatically in German cities after they were bombed.

Petraeus' effectiveness is, IMO, due to his ability to separate the enemy from the "sea" that he swims in. We treat civilians with respect. We try to win over the fence-sitters. War takes patience as much as resolve.  

By Blogger whiskey_199, at Wed Dec 19, 03:10:00 AM:

HonestPartisan is factually wrong. He is entitled to his own opinion but not facts. The intel for Saddam Hussein's WMD program came from: sons in law Kamel Hussein (and the other one, name I forget) who defected in the mid 90's and dropped the dime on things Saddam was not supposed to have but did: missiles, nuclear centrifuges, precursor chemicals. This is in addition to what we uncovered during the inspections in the period 1991-94. Saddam stopped cooperating (after luring his sons-in-law back to Iraq with false promises of pardon and executing them) and kicked inspectors out. Clinton waged Desert Fox air war 98-99 to get them back in with limited success -- Saddam let them in, in limited numbers, then kicked them out again in 2002. All inspections were hamstrung by Iraqi obstructionism.

Our ONLY Human intel source for WMD claims in 2003 was a single Iraqi defector "Curveball" whom the Germans had, and would not let the CIA question directly. The man was a fraud and in fact a Taxi driver claiming stuff for money and asylum. No connection to Saddam's WMD program staff. Who did exist and were under orders from Saddam to restart the program after sanctions were dropped.

At no time and place were torture ever used to determine by the West if Saddam had WMD. We'd found enough in the 1990's to know without any doubt that he had indeed made a lot of them. What was in question was if he indeed did have more, and on this question the Duelfer Report is clear: Saddam bluffed that he DID have them, to deter any US or Iranian attack.

Again, "torture" was never involved in WMD claims. That is a lie. Which Partisan surely knows. Analysts believed "Curveball" because there was no reason (particularly with Saddam bluffing and lengthy past history of WMDs) to believe otherwise. Saddam's refusal to let inspectors in (except for a false, along the lines of his pardon promise to his sons-in-law) to verify hardened that view.

Torture however was used to great effect by the Gestapo against the Resistance and prisoners, and also by the Red Army against the Germans. Info obtained by it was considered golden. Both Stalin and Hitler had, naturally, experienced torturers who knew how to extract true information. This is quite different from torture to create political statements which stupid people often confuse.

As for waterboarding, our own troops undergo it. I've sat in freezing, loud servers rooms for 24 hours, and undergone double shifts with no periods of sleep. Many of our special forces undergo some pretty horrific physical deprivations.

What Knight and the others are saying is that they baldly put American lives LESS than their own moral discomfort. That is a luxury good of a disconnected, pampered elite that fundamentally believes no threat can ever touch them.

I can guarantee you either would take pliers, blowtorch, and a hammer to anyone who had information that could save the lives of their own family.

In essence their lives and families are more important than yours. Elitism at it's finest.

Can and should some limits be drawn? Certainly. But let's not pretend it won't cost American lives and that failure in turn will cause many to be made an example of one way or another.

I personally think slapping Osama upside the head, waterboarding him, drugging him, and shooting a companion dead in front of him (and all the others) in a summary military execution of non-Geneva Convention compliant adversary is quite reasonable. Most Americans would likely go further and break out the blowtorches.

Failure to do the reasonable, rational thing will only result in the angry populace, disgusted with elitism, to pursue a war of the people. Which can get remarkably brutal fast. See Tokyo, Firebombing of, May 1945.

McCain is a political coward of the first order. In some ways he reminds me of Randy "Duke" Cunningham the corrupt and jailed San Diego Congressman who made air ace in one day over Vietnam and sold his votes for bribes years later.

McCain wants credit for any interrogator who breaks the rules, gets information, and then will throw the interrogator under the bus and prosecute him. While cowardly refusing to say that his rules will result in the loss of American lives.

McCain lacks the guts and courage to say: "I don't give a rat's ass about American lives, only the approval of the press and elites and the opinion pages of the NYT and put the "Miranda Warnings" of Osama bin Laden higher than American lives." Or the courage and guts to say: "Screw the elites and NYT. I want American lives protected first and if that means drugging Osama or giving him a swirly so be it."

McCain was brave years ago but he's a coward of the first order now.  

By Blogger whiskey_199, at Wed Dec 19, 03:18:00 AM:

jj mollo is no student of history.

Incinerating cities did quite well in what it was intended to: destroy the will and ability to fight among the civilian population. It was also a by-product of the limited technology of the time. Destroying transport and oil facilities brought both the German and Japanese war machines to a near-halt. That we had to kill lots of enemy civilians was no matter of concern to the allies who were focused on:

WINNING THE WAR.

JJ Mollo wants some fantasy of war without killing, violence, and ugliness as far as the eye can imagine. Sherman had some thoughts on the stupidity of that desire, present even then among stupid elites removed from reality. He felt it should be made as ugly for the enemy as possible, so that they would be sick of it as quickly as possible, and surrender to stop the killing.

This from a man at Shiloh, who saw the horrors first hand at conversational distances.

Sherman had a way of dealing with mining roads, spies, and guerillas. He shot prisoners until it stopped. But then he felt "compassionate war" was the elite's stupidity of prolonging it to keep the killing going.

Seasoned intel professionals say waterboarding, other interrogative techniques that do not break bones or cause permanent physical or psychological injury can get information (and has) that has saved American Lives.

JJ Mollo wants his fantasy of "niceness" over saving American lives. It's fundamentally unserious because it will vanish like the morning fog after the first mass casualty attack and Mollo will be the first to criticize for not doing more.  

By Blogger honestpartisan, at Wed Dec 19, 09:41:00 AM:

W_199 is correct about one thing, at least: I misspoke (miswrote?) when I said that torture led to bad intelligence in Iraq's WMD. Rather, torture led to bad intelligence on Iraq's ties with Al Qaeda, the other major rationale for the war. My apologies.

Torture however was used to great effect by the Gestapo against the Resistance and prisoners, and also by the Red Army against the Germans. Info obtained by it was considered golden. Both Stalin and Hitler had, naturally, experienced torturers who knew how to extract true information. This is quite different from torture to create political statements which stupid people often confuse.

The Gestapo used torture to "great effect"; right, how'd they do in that war again? Since W_199 seems to believe that Hitler and Stalin constituted models to be emulated, I wonder if he thinks it was wrong for legions of conservatives to have condemned Dick Durbin for likening some of the torture tactics used by U.S. soldiers to those used by Hitler's and Stalin's regimes.

What Knight and the others are saying is that they baldly put American lives LESS than their own moral discomfort. That is a luxury good of a disconnected, pampered elite that fundamentally believes no threat can ever touch them.

Do you include John McCain in this accusation?

I can guarantee you either would take pliers, blowtorch, and a hammer to anyone who had information that could save the lives of their own family.

In essence their lives and families are more important than yours. Elitism at it's finest.


First of all, these are contentless ad hominem attacks. Would W_199 change his views on torture if he encountered a torture opponent who wouldn't use pliers on someone? If so, then there are plenty I could introduce him to. If not, then it's an irrelevant point.

Second, assuming arguendo that a torture opponent would torture someone if their family was at stake, so what? Just because someone would have that emotional response doesn't tell us anything about whether torture is good policy or not.  

By Anonymous Dawnfire82, at Thu Dec 20, 05:20:00 PM:

Scenario A: Authorities have a crime to solve. They look around and find someone who fits the description of the suspect and who does not have a clear alibi. They torture him into confession. Lo and behold, they've caught their 'criminal.'

This is what most people seem to think of when considering the idea of coercion in interrogation. This is stupid and wrong, not to mention counter-productive as far as acquiring reliable intelligence goes.

Scenario B: The authorities know that they have the right man, and they know that he has additional information on other planned crimes (terrorist acts, in our case). They've heard him talk about it via electronic eavesdropping. But he refuses to talk, smug in the fact that he's been trained to resist interrogation. (a key element of AQ's 'professional' training) He might even gloat about all the American pigs that are going to die. He's often secure in his belief that he won't be mistreated by the weakling Americans. (ironically, this makes actual coercion, should it occur, more effective because an element of his belief system has been shattered)

Extracting information from *this* guy is of the utmost priority, and I honestly don't see why it's morally hazy. He's 100% guilty, and we're 100% sure that he has information that will spare other people's lives. This is the category that Khalid Sheik Muhammad fell into.

I'm sorry that your sense of morality is offended by the idea of bitch slapping a terrorist to get them to talk, but how many innocent lives is your clean conscience worth? 10? 100? More? What about military? What about civilians? Foreign nationals? Is it ok to be harsh with a terrorist to save American civilians, but not American servicemembers? What if you desist from coercion, and a foreign power learns that your suspect had info that could have prevented an attack in their country (Britain, for example, or Iraq, or Pakistan, or Israel, or Indonesia) and you just didn't have the backbone to get it? Is their blood on your hands, then? How will your sensitive conscience handle that?

It's all very nice to sit on the side-lines and wring your hands about what is right and wrong and pass judgement on our intelligence professionals from the air-conditioned safety of your living room, where everything is clear and obvious. But it's an entirely different ball game to be there, with the lives and safety of civilians entrusted to you.

If the idea of physically coercing terrorist scum makes you queasy, don't think about. But the fact that other people have had the will to do so in your place has kept more Americans, maybe even you personally (depending on where you live/work), alive. That's a fact.  

By Blogger honestpartisan, at Fri Dec 21, 10:31:00 AM:

Df82, it's always easy to construct a hypothetical in which torture would be justified on some sort of utilitarian basis because it would save lives, etc. (the ticking bomb scenario, for example). As the cliche goes, hard cases make bad law. A highly contrived hypothetical scenario like that one is a bad template to use for ordinary situations because, in this area in particular, it's highly prone to abuse, use against people who are not "100% guilty", ineffective at getting actionable information.

And what is it about this issue that constantly brings out the ad hominem attacks? If someone wasn't making this argument from air-conditioned comfort of whatever (and plenty are), would that change your mind about torture? If it wouldn't, then it's an irrelevant point.  

By Anonymous Dawnfire82, at Fri Dec 21, 12:06:00 PM:

I find your response amazing and a little disheartening. You didn't actually pay attention to what I said at all. You missed the point entirely, and immediately reverted to 'Armchair Quarterback' mode.

(It occurred to me before finishing this post that I just kind of assume that people posting here know a little about me (since I've been coming here for a couple of years now, and I've shared quite a bit about myself) when that isn't necessarily true, and maybe you'd take me more seriously on topics like this if you did. I'm an active duty US Army Soldier in military intelligence. I have degrees in International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies. I speak Arabic. I specialize in Human Intelligence, but also have some experience in Signals, and I make it my business to study Islamic theology and terrorist groups.)

That wasn't a hypothetical. It wasn't some theory waiting to be tested, or a set of proposed rules for an advocated policy. It's what happens. And I've never, ever heard anyone who has been to the field say that they thought that physically coercing a terrorist to save other people from death was wrong. Seeing torture chambers and mass graves courtesy of the Islamic State of Iraq first hand tends to change peoples' minds to that effect. Seeing the kind of horrors that they visit upon people, and then they expect to use and abuse our system as a shield against 'mistreatment' while they sit on time sensitive information about operations underway to kill more of our brothers and sisters? And they do.

So, Honest Partisan. How many innocent lives IS your clean conscience worth? Because if the number is greater than zero, you don't belong in my line of work.  

By Blogger honestpartisan, at Fri Dec 21, 01:34:00 PM:

And I've never, ever heard anyone who has been to the field say that they thought that physically coercing a terrorist to save other people from death was wrong.

Good framing job, there! Some thoughts on this statement:

1) I notice that you use the words "physically coercing" rather than "torturing." Does that mean that you think that torturing a terrorist to save other people from death is wrong? If so, then does this really just come down to a disagreement about what tactics constitute "torture" as opposed to "physical coercion"? If not, then regardless of what anyone you talk to says, the Uniform Code of Military Justice isn't on your side.

2) I also notice that you use the term "terrorist" as the subject of physical coercion, which begs the question. How do you know who's a terrorist and who's not? One of the big problems with Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib was that a lot of the people who were held and tortured weren't actually terrorists.

How many innocent lives IS your clean conscience worth?

I reject the premise of your question, which seems to be that torture can ultimately save lives. My argument, which I've been making all along, is that it doesn't. I'm not sure where you get any hint that my clean conscience had anything to do with it, except for maybe my references to Hitler and Stalin in prior comments. The point in referring to them is that Hitler and Stalin didn't want to use torture to save lives, but to perpetuate totalitarian control.

At the risk of being repetitive, torturing makes potential POW's on the other side fight harder against capture, hands Al Qaeda and its ilk a propaganda point it can exploit to recruit people to its side, deprives the U.S. of a persuasive point to make to the rest of the world, is very limited in the validity of information it yields, and, on the margins (maybe not much, but marginally) makes it more likely that U.S. soldiers will be tortured. Taken together, torture makes us less safe, not more. The cleanliness of my conscience has nothing to do with it.

And if it really, truly, came down to a case where someone had to be tortured to save lives, then I want the standard to be that the torturer would have a "necessity defense" against prosecution for violating laws against torture. Anything short of that has proven in the past to be too much subject to deadly slippery slopes.  

By Blogger bill, at Fri Dec 21, 06:04:00 PM:

I've never understood why you can't trust the information you get from torturing someone.

Abdul gets caught with a couple of IED triggers. You want to know who his supplier is. Rough him up and ask him.

If he gives you an address, go over to the address and check it out. If he was lying, rough him up some more.

It's not like you're going to let him go.

Anyway, all this stuff should get taken care of quietly. It's an absurd discussion to have publicly, the discussion can only give comfort to our enemies as they see us arguing trying to decide what we can and can't do.

Dawnfire82 thanks for your service and I'll take your word over the other guy.  

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