There is a lot of double-talk and irrelevancy being bandied about on the topic of “Enhanced Interrogation.”
Let’s cut through all that. Attend:
ITEM 1: The Report Is Dishonest About The Effectiveness of “Enhanced Interrogation”:
The report went out of its way to minimize, dismiss, and simply fail to mention instances wherein “enhanced interrogation” produced actionable intelligence which foiled plots, saved innocent lives, and led to more-precisely targeted attacks against Mohammed-Style-Muslims (you know: the Muslims who’re orthodox enough in their habits to imitate the warlike habits of the inventor of their ideology).
There are times when “enhanced interrogation” does not “work.” There are also times when it does. For those who have examined the details, this much is obvious.
ITEM 2: Hypocrisy and Guilt of the Report-Producers:
Also, the Senate Democrats who authored this report are trying to save their reputations. They are hoping that none of their base voters will notice or call attention to the embarrassing and well-recorded truth; namely, that these same Senate Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (and Senator Feinstein chief among them) were not only briefed on the “enhanced interrogation,” and not only approved it, and not only said “no” to Bush Administration queries as to whether additional Congressional approval should be sought…but actually sometimes asked whether the CIA couldn’t be doing more.
Yes, that’s right, folks: Senator Feinstein and Co. were not only aware it was going on from the very start, but approved it, denied a need for wider Congressional approval, and suggested from time-to-time that they’d be “down” with moving more aggressively along the same lines.
ITEM 3: To Distinguish Between Terrorists and Lawful Soldiery, Some Enhanced Interrogation Ought To Be Preserved As A Matter Of Justice:
By the way, not all of the “enhanced interrogation” falls under the heading of “torture” even by the widest definitions.
And, also by the way, it is important to remember that wars are not fought in a civilized fashion when the combatants have no reason to believe that the treatment of their own soldiery, when captured, will depend upon the lawfulness of how they fought.
No, what encourages countries and combatant organizations to fight according to the “Laws” of War—wearing an identifiable uniform, bearing arms openly, targeting other combatants instead of civilians, reporting to a well-organized chain of command which is headed by the legitimate civilian government of a nation-state, that kind of thing—is the knowledge that Normal Soldiers will be treated according to the normal practices and protections for Prisoners of War, but that terrorists won’t. Treat the terrorists just as well as you treat Hogan’s Heroes, and eventually one or more nation-states will notice that there’s not much reason to abstain from terrorism, in a pinch.
What makes the less-stringent forms of “enhanced interrogation” qualify as “enhanced” is the fact that they are not permitted to be used on normal Prisoners of War, who are generally supposed to have a pretty cushy if confined experience of imprisonment.
It would therefore certainly be a mistake to abandon these less-stringent forms of “enhanced interrogation” when dealing with captured terrorists. Do that, and you are declaring that terrorists who wear no uniform, who don’t bear arms openly, who secretly bomb hospitals and churches and day-cares and schools, are worthy of the treatment we’d grant a captured Russian soldier.
All these three points are true.
The Most Important Point Is STILL: Thou Shalt Not Torture!
...and, in defining “torture,” we ought to err on the side of caution—not caution about our physical safety, but the safety of our souls. Torturing is mortal sin. We Must Not Do That.
It doesn’t matter that torture “works.” (It sometimes does. Sorry. If you’re hearing otherwise, you’re hearing an invented religious dogma, not a straightforward and reliable report about reality.)
But our job is not to save the United States of America, or even a single one of her citizens, at the cost of our souls. No, we are to be “the [country’s] good servant, but God’s first.” It doesn’t matter that torture sometimes works; you STILL can’t use it.
Therefore, the more stringent “enhanced interrogations” ought to be abandoned. A sufficiently large percentage of reasonable persons with well-formed moral intuitions are of the opinion that they qualify as “torture” that we ought to presume that they are, indeed, “torture” and thus morally illict.
Indeed, I wish that Senator Feinstein, along with Former CIA Chief Hayden, could be indicted for their role in approving that subset of the “enhanced interrogations” which, under our now-more-clarified definitions, qualify as torture.
But please note: I don’t believe that such a prosecution would succeed for either Senator Feinstein or former director Hayden.
The reason is quite simple: It is legally correct to say that waterboarding did not qualify as “torture” under the laws of the United States at the time they approved it. There’s some question whether it does even now. And you can’t (successfully) convict someone for doing something which wasn’t yet a crime at the time: No ex post facto laws, remember?
They will have to answer to God, in His judgment, and He is not mocked: The Judge of all the Earth will, in the end, “do right,” whether or not an earthly court is ever permitted to hear the case.
That is all.