Friday, May 01, 2009

Powerful Like a Cabbage Hammer

In an impressive display of toughness, Charles Krauthammer promotes a policy of inflicting agony, fear and panic on suspects who can't defend themselves.
Torture is an impermissible evil. Except under two circumstances. The first is the ticking time bomb. [...] The second exception to the no-torture rule is the extraction of information from a high-value enemy in possession of high-value information likely to save lives.
Well, as long as you've got such well-defined criteria. What could possibly go wrong?
Zubaydah has become accustomed to a certain level of treatment and displays no signs of willingness to disclose further information. Moreover, your intelligence indicates that there is currently a level of ‘chatter’ equal to that which preceded the September 11 attacks.
Chatter sure sounds like a ticking time bomb to me! It sounded like one to Jay Bybee from Bush's Office of Legal Counsel, so he wrote that memo to justify torturing Zubaydah. The joke was really on Zubaydah, though -- apparently he'd already volunteered useful information under conventional interrogation! It is to laugh!
We discovered, for example, that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Abu Zubaydah also told us about Jose Padilla, the so-called dirty bomber. This experience fit what I had found throughout my counterterrorism career: traditional interrogation techniques are successful in identifying operatives, uncovering plots and saving lives.
Well, there has to be a good reason Krauthammer is doing his part for barbarism. I mean, since everyone everywhere understands that only The Bad Guys use torture ...
It's no exaggeration to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse.
That's from pseudonymous Matthew Alexander's editorial in Krauthammer's own paper. But seriously, all he did was lead an interrogations team assigned to a Special Operations task force in Iraq in 2006.

Sarcasm aside, it's hard for me to tarnish despicable people by associating them with Krauthammer. Absent any evidence that torture is a net positive, and with plenty of evidence that it's the last fucking thing on Earth that a good country should do, Krauthammer scrambles for a way to punish his enemies. The man has something wrong with his brain. I suspect right-wing authoritarianism:
1. Authoritarian submission — a high degree of submissiveness to the authorities who are perceived to be established and legitimate in the society in which one lives.
2. Authoritarian aggression — a general aggressiveness directed against deviants, outgroups, and other people that are perceived to be targets according to established authorities.
3. Conventionalism — a high degree of adherence to the traditions and social norms that are perceived to be endorsed by society and its established authorities.

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