It saves us from chaos within our own country. It will save us from jihadists who seek to kill Americans and destroy us. So say the Democrats. Lanny Davis said today that “The rule of law is the basis of our security.” Former President Bill Clinton couldn’t have said it better himself. Anyone who has had to deal with the police when seeing a crime committed will see how laughable that statement is. Police usually show up after the crime has already long since occurred. Nothing against them. Just clearing up a misconception.
The law in its best form provides social stability. Nothing more. It’s a compact among us all about restraints we agree to place on ourselves so that we do not unduly distress or hurt each other, and provides compensation, criminal or civil, for harm that one party has done to another. This is designed to promote social harmony. I can agree that this promotes general security, because we won’t be threatening and killing each other to save our own skins, but in terms of addressing threats who have no regard for social harmony to begin with, it has nothing to do with security. The law in most cases can only address them after they have hurt someone. It’s only in the lucky cases where law enforcement manages to catch a criminal before they cause harm.
But the Democrats will say we will be ever vigilante against terrorist threats, but our vigilance will be restrained by our sense of civility. “We will not compromise our sacred values.” They believe in a social scientific sort of way that by showing the world that we live by our “values” (as they define them) at home and abroad the jihadists will not be able to recruit as well as they did under Bush, because we will be less hated, and we will gain the support of countries around the world in gathering intelligence on Al Qaeda’s plans. That may work in Europe (though I’m not counting on it), but I doubt it will work in the Middle East. What, you think the jihadists don’t have a better hold on the imaginations of like-minded Muslims than we do? The truth doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what we do to make ourselves look good. It’s a political campaign. You think Democrats care how much Republicans try to make themselves look good? They’re going to try to find a way to make Republicans look bad no matter how much they try to look agreeable to Democrats, and vice versa. Get a clue! It’s all about PR, though in the Middle East we’re dealing with a very different cultural context.
What galls me is that if one were to really look at what Obama is responding to, both complaints about Guantanamo and “torture” were, like the myth of CO2 causing global warming and the “hundreds of thousands of civilians killed in Iraq”, an anti-American PR campaign mounted by certain NGOs and European governments. They never had a basis in reality, but it doesn’t matter. The point was to make us a whipping boy for their own domestic politics, and in some ways to try to influence us to conform to their values. They have succeeded, perhaps beyond their wildest dreams.
The so-called “torture” techniques are the same ones we use to train our own soldiers to resist harsh interrogation! If you believe we have tortured our detainees then you must believe we torture our own soldiers. I have heard from a few soldiers who have subjected themselves to this training–one of them was former Col. Oliver North–and they say flat out it’s not torture. What a joke! I’ve seen one of Fox News’s own correspondents be waterboarded by our military to demonstrate what it really is. He clearly looked uncomfortable, but not in danger of being killed, or in fear of his own life. Now ask yourself, would a sane person volunteer to subject themselves to torture? What if he had been offered, “How about we demonstrate on you how you pull out someone’s fingernails?” You think the reporter would’ve volunteered? Not on your life! Think about this. It’s infuriating that people are getting away with calling our enhanced interrogations “torture” like they’ve succeeded in making people think that our cars, trucks, factories, and the very things we use for energy (not to mention our own breath) cause global warming! These are our new urban legends, and what’s shameful is that our own government is promoting them. Be under no illusions. We live in an age of irrationality.
Today I heard Craig Silverman on the Caplis & Silverman show on 630 AM talk about the “torture” issue. He asked callers “Should the Denver Police Department waterboard criminal suspects?” trying to equate our wartime detainees to “criminals”. I also heard Sen. John McCain say that Abu Ghraib was a situation where we tortured people. Abu Ghraib was not torture, at least as far as I could tell from the pictures. True, the “techniques” used were inappropriate, intimidating, and humiliating, but that’s not what torture is. It was criminal behavior, because the “interrogators” (some weren’t even trained as such) were violating U.S. policy. Torture is doing things to a detainee that cause excruciating pain and bodily injuries. That was never sanctioned by our enhanced interrogation policy and I hate seeing people with a straight face and conviction promulgate this lie. They either don’t know what they’re talking about, but are convinced they do, or they are carrying out a diplomatic feint to appease certain allies. In either case I consider it short-sighted and it risks our national security.
Both Silverman (today) and McCain (in the past) have brought up the history of waterboarding. Silverman said it goes back to the Spanish Inquisition. Both Silverman and McCain have brought up how it was used by the Japanese in WW II, and that we accused the Japanese of torture because of this practice. There’s a problem with this argument. The Japanese form of waterboarding was not the same as ours. They’d pump water into the victim’s stomach until it was full, and then press down on it, causing the water to go up the esophagus (throat) and down the trachea (windpipe), and was potentially deadly.
From what I could see of the Fox News demonstration, water is poured into the victim’s mouth until he reacts, raising his torso and arms, and shaking his head. At this point the water flow into his mouth is stopped, and he is allowed to clear the water from his mouth and throat. It’s a repetitious process designed to induce stress, but not to cause bodily harm. As was stated in the official documents which revealed our full catalog of formerly sanctioned techniques a medical doctor was always just a few yards away in case something did go wrong and the detainee’s life was in danger.
Liberals always pipe up that we violated the Geneva Convention. No we didn’t. The Convention is a pact between governments about rules of war. The reason we made the agreement was to make war a little more civilized. The people we captured did not fit the qualifications for Geneva Convention protection. This whole…(sigh) Overseas Contingency Operation (barf!) is uncharted territory. Even so, we have shown restraint.
People, we need to get real. War is a rough business. It disgusts me that there are still a lot of people who haven’t figured this out yet. We have shown restraint in this war. Our enemies have not. The idea that we’ve violated international law is a lie as far as I can see. I’m open to reasonable argument, but I have little patience for political games being played with our national security.