Liberals are doing what they do best in regards to the enhanced interrogation performed on terror suspects during the Bush Administration. They are lying. The mere fact that the memos recently de-classified by the Obama Administration are almost universally called the “Torture Memos” should tell you everything that you need to know about the liberals. Instead of debating whether in fact the CIA under the Bush Administration did indeed “torture” suspects, the liberals jump to the conclusion that they did and move on from there. And then they repeat the lie repeatedly ad infinitum until the masses–who are uninformed or inattentive–come to accept it as the truth. “Torture Memos” is the current version of “Bush lied, troops died.” Both are bold-faced lies or at least unproven assertions that are just repeatedly passed off as truth by the liars on the left.
“Torture” is indeed illegal in the United States. But what exactly is “torture” is open to debate. Liberals do not bother determining whether a particular act–such as “water-boarding” as practiced by our agents– is indeed “torture.” They merely claim that it is and then move on from there. But our Government has been “waterboarding” selected members of our armed forces for years. Are we “torturing” our own troops? Or could it be that waterboarding isn’t really torture? I realize that reasonable persons–and I exclude most liberals from that definition–can disagree on what is and is not “torture.” But I do not defer to liberals’ idea of what is and is not “torture.” They are no more enlightened nor reasonable nor an authority than I am or than you are to determine what is torture.
I say let’s have the debate about what is and is not torture, and then pass laws specifically outlawing certain techniques if we have a consensus. But let’s not outlaw actions taken in the past, which were made in good faith by good people who were trying to protect our nation from terror. Sure, liberals disagree that the Bush Administration acted in good faith. I get that. They also think waterboarding is “torture.” I disagree. But just because they say it is does not make it so.
And certainly whatever we do we should not broadcast to terrorists exactly what we will and will not do to them. Personally, I want the bastards to be uncertain whether we will or will not waterboard them, or even rip their finger nails off, if they don’t cooperate. (Perhaps a little derangement in our President would scare the terrorists, especially if they were not certain what the President would do to them, would be a good thing.) If I were a terrorist, and I knew that the USA could not kill me, inflict permanent psychological or cause severe physical pain to me, I would be less inclined to tell a thing. But that is my personal opinion, and the definition of torture is not just up to me in a republican form of democracy. Neither is it up to any other individual, such as John McCain, nor to groups of mindless liberals.
But I also do not believe waterboarding meets the current legal definition of “Torture.” Here is the U.S. Code which defines “torture.” Waterboarding does not “inflict severe physical pain.” I think everybody would concede that point. The question is whether it inflicts “severe mental pain.” The U.S. Code (linked to above) defines “severe mental pain” thusly:
(2) “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from—
(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering; [waterboarding does not cause pain]
(B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality; [waterboarding does not fit this definition]
(C) the threat of imminent death; or [Waterboarders do not threaten to kill their victims, and in fact the victims know they are not drowning, it only makes them think they are drowning. After several times one would think they catch on when they have not died that it is not fatal, only scary. ]
(D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality; [not even close].”
Arguably, 2(c) is the closest definition in which opponents of waterboarding can claim that it fits within the current legal definition of waterboarding. And it is the only one in my opinion upon which reasonable persons could disagree. But I think it is ludicrus to believe that waterboarding “means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from” “the threat of imminent death” that the victim suffers from being waterboarded. They know that their captors want them alive, to gain information. Presumably after a time or two they know that they did not die from previous waterboardings, and thus likely won’t this time or the next, either.
And “the threat of imminent death” must have an objective meaning. It can’t mean if the victim subjectively “feels ” threatened. Otherwise, if I feel that eating pork will kill me, then for me eating pork is torture under this definition and giving it to others is not. I believe it means the captors cannot verbally threaten to kill the captive, or do things that cause them to think they will be imminently killed or die. I admit, I have never been waterboarded. Perhaps I would feel differently if I had been. But to me the best argument that waterboarding is not torture is that we practice it on our own people. To me, that settles it. If it was so bad we would not do it to our troops. Since we do, it is not “torture.”
If a majority disagree with me, fine, but then change the definition of “torture” to specifically exclude waterboarding. Do not just claim that it is “torture” and try to retroactively prosecute those with whom you have an honest disagreement over the definition of torture. Here is what I consider to be an excellant article which points out that the “torture memos” actually prove that the Bush Administration did not torture captives. The article points out that the Bush Administration actually went to great lengths to avoid crossing the line into torture. For instance: “Abu Zubaydah (a top bin Laden lieutenant) had a fear of insects. He was, therefore, to be put in a “cramped confinement box” and told a stinging insect would be put in the box with him. In fact, the CIA proposed to use a harmless caterpillar. Confinement was limited to two hours.” Now, as much as I hate creepy crawly bugs, perhaps this did cross the line into torture. 😉
I realize that the die-hard liberals will not have made it through this article, nor will the bother to read the definition of torture as it is currently defined, and they certainly won’t read the article to which I linked. But hopefully this article will generate discussion and provoke thought about what is and is not “torture” amongst reasonable persons. Those who mindlessly repeat the mantra that the Bush Administration “tortured” captives are doing immeasurably more harm to the USA than any waterboarding ever did. Our enemies and allies alike will use it against us, when it is not even objectively true. I do not buy the argument that enhanced interrogation makes us no different than our enemies. They behead captives, and rape them and cause them true physical harm. And anybody who can not see the difference has their own mental problems.