December 27, 2007
What about waterboarding? Arguing about whether or not that interrogation method constitutes torture is like arguing about whether or not a flat rock is a table. The problem is that there are good arguments as to why this technique should not be lumped in with the methods described in al Qaeda's interrogation manual and some good arguments (I guess) as to why it should be. But just as a flat rock does not magically become a table if we force others to suppress their opposition to using the word in that fashion, waterboarding does not magically become torture if we shame everyone into remaining silent about their objections to using the word "torture" for that method of interrogation.
In cases like this, and there are many, there is no right answer. Even so, as a legal matter, the line needs to be drawn. Drawing the legal line is the job of our elected representatives. That's why I consider George Bush to be a serious participant in this debate and consider Democrats to be nonserious hysterics. From the beginning, George Bush has been clear that he supports the use of harsh interrogation techniques like this, that he understands how others could disagree, and that he wants congress to clearly draw the line so that CIA interrogators would know what techniques they could use without placing themselves in legal jeopardy. Until now, however, Democrats were much more interested in pointing the accusing finger at Bush and portraying him as supporting "torture." They wanted to apply the word "torture" to waterboarding so they could then accuse Bush of being "no better than the terrorists." That political game works (i.e., in a time of war, the Democrats have succeeded in their deliberate effort to tarnish their own president in the eyes of the nation and the world), but it is not a serious approach to the problem. This is why I must now applaud the Democrats for finally taking steps to draw the legal line. I disagree with them, but, as I said, drawing the line is one of the reasons why we have elected representatives:
House Passes Bill to Ban CIA's Use of Harsh Interrogation Tactics
The House approved legislation yesterday that would bar the CIA from using waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics, drawing an immediate veto threat from the White House and setting up another political showdown over what constitutes torture.
The measure, approved by a largely party-line vote of 222 to 199, would require U.S. intelligence agencies to follow Army rules adopted last year that explicitly forbid waterboarding. It also would require interrogators to adhere to a strict interpretation of the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war. The rules, required by Congress for all Defense Department personnel, also ban sexual humiliation, "mock" executions and the use of attack dogs, and prohibit the withholding of food and medical care.
This is what the Democrats should be doing. They should also do one more thing that they will never, ever do: define the harshest interrogation techniques that the CIA is permitted to use because they fall short of torture. If they would do that, the Democrats would be completely serious in addressing important issues of national security. But they never will take that step because, the moment they do, they will be accused of condoning torture by the far left elements of their own party. And accusing others -- Republicans in particular -- of condoning torture is an essential part of the liberal experience (which, as a said before, requires a villain).
Bang, zoom. Into the blogroll with ye.
Update: I'm a moron and I'm sure to catch crap from Harvey, but somehow I've managed to NOT add Iowahawk to my blogroll before today. I visit there so often that typing "I" in my browser's address bar automatically fills in the rest. Imagine my surprise when I went over to my blogroll and didn't see a link. Ugh. Anyway, consider that oversight corrected. Not because I'm trying to garner a cabinet position, either. So far as you know, anyway.
Posted by: vw bug at December 28, 2007 01:01 PM (FPOeI)
Posted by: physics geek at December 31, 2007 09:48 AM (MT22W)
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