Saturday, November 03, 2007


Torture. Let's get one thing straight from the beginning. I'm against it. You know all those movies where someone is trying to get something out of someone else and they are tied to a chair and they keep getting slapped around? I can't handle that. I'm a non-violent person. I could never spank my kids. I've never hit another person my whole life. I don't watch R rated movies for many reasons, but one is because of violence. Even on TV, I have to close my eyes at any type of violence.

With that being said, the CIA, FBI, and the military intelligence community isn't me. I believe that many interrogation techniques have been used for years and years and there has never been a peep about it from the left until a Republican came into office. Does America being in a war make a difference? Sure. One might argue that we need more serious techniques at war time . But if this is true then why does this ABC report show that "For all the debate over waterboarding, it has been used on only three al Qaeda figures, according to current and former U.S. intelligence officials.As ABC News first reported in September, waterboarding has not been used since 2003 and has been specifically prohibited since Gen. Michael Hayden took over as CIA director." (via Ace)

Three times. That's it. And now it is prohibited and hasn't been used since 2003. But people like Kennedy have to make a big show about it at the Mukasey hearings for political reasons. (Mukasey is the nominee for Attorney General) Because Mukasey dodged questions on waterboarding the Democrats now feel they can point to their vote of "no" as being a vote against "torture" The reality here is that our interrogators are going to get the necessary information from our enemies with techniques used forever and all this is just showboating. Excuse me if I don't take the Democrats indignation too seriously.

In doing some research on the language of torture that the United States has always used, I found an interesting tidbit. In 1994 Washington ratified the UN Convention Against Torture. But when President Clinton sent this UN Convention to Congress for ratification he included language drafted 6 yrs earlier by the Reagan administration. This language basically allowed sensory deprivation and self inflicted pain. This language is what led to the abuse we saw at Abu Ghraib. You don't hear the Democrats mentioning that bit of info do you? And where were their protests at the time? Oh, I know where they were. They were in the closet of political hypocrisy.

Now, if our interrogators sit an enemy combat in a chair and slap them, I won't like it. Should I protest that? Should I make a morally superior claim to be against slapping???

The movie "Rendition" is about an innocent man captured by our U.S. authorities and taken to a detention facility and tortured as a terrorist suspect.

I found a very fair review of "Rendition" here. The critic (by no means a conservative) makes some interesting points that give a sense for those who are for types of torture and why making a movie that only presents one side doesn't work:

But in a larger sense, Hood's approach glosses over a perhaps unlikely but fascinatingly ambiguous possibility — namely, that torture could actually generate real information that helps eliminate potential attacks.


Does the health and safety (not to mention civil liberties) of a single individual mean as much as those of hundreds or thousands of others, much less preserving the integrity of a political ideology? These are questions to which I don't know the answer, and hopefully will never face myself. But Rendition is exactly the kind of film that pundits target when they want to accuse Hollywood of a liberal bias.

Mind you, I hold no judgment for this approach, not the least of which because I am personally receptive to the sorts of ideas and themes the director is exploring. But in trying not to vilify any of the characters, and further, by categorically invalidating the possibility that torture can actually get results even within the confines of a dramatic film — Hood robs his story of some of its relevance.

Is waterboarding (for example) acceptable if it garners information that saves thousands of lives. This is the example we hear all the time for those for it. But the reality of these things are much more complicated and we all know that.

The bottom line is I don't want my government torturing anyone. But I also don't want my government giving money to fund abortions through family planning programs across the world like they did under Clinton. I don't want my government taking a large percentage of my income in taxes and wasting it on programs and projects that not only don't work, but take away the dignity of the person. I don't want my government doing a hundred other things I could list, but the government doesn't run by my standards. If it did, then pornography would be prohibited and abortion would illegal.

So we have to live with a government that doesn't always do what we wish. We have trust them in some cases to do things we wouldn't do. If there is one part of the government that I have respect for, it is the military. I guess you could say they have proven themselves.

So as much as I hate the thought of torture, I'll let those who deal with the evil that hates us, decide what is right and what is wrong. And I will live with it, just as I do a hundred other things I can't stand about our country.

What seems to be overlooked with Abu Ghraib and with the man that "Rendition" was about, is that we discovered the abuses. We discovered them and have now done what we need to do to make sure it doesn't happen again. The beauty of freedom is the ability to uncover that which is wrong and rectify it. Those guilty at Abu Ghraib have been punished. I think our operatives might think twice about grabbing anyone unless they are sure they are a terrorist now.

As I said before, our country not perfect, but it is wonderful most of the time. It is free. And freedom is what makes us wonderful despite our many flaws.