12 May

Torture doesn’t work…ok, so where’s the disagreement?

                                       

ARLINGTON, VA - DECEMBER 15: (L-R) US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, US President George W. Bush and US Vice President Dick Cheney attend the Armed Forces Farewell Tribute to Rumsfeld at the Pentagon December 15, 2006 in Arlington, Virginia. Praise was heaped on the outgoing secretary by Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld used his farewell speech to call for an increase in military spending. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“The history of the United States military is clear: Torture doesn’t work”- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

“We don’t torture. That’s not what we’re involved in.”- Vice President Dick Cheney

“This country doesn’t torture, we’re not going to torture.”-President Bush

Agents searching Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s compound discovered what one official later called a “mother lode” of valuable intelligence. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was obviously planning more attacks. It didn’t sound like he was willing to give us any information about them. “I’ll talk to you,” he said, “after I get to New York and see my lawyer.”

George Tenet asked if he had permission to use enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. I thought about my meeting with Danny Pearl’s widow, who was pregnant with his son when he was murdered. I thought about the 2,973 people stolen from their families by al Qaeda on 9/11. And I thought about my duty to protect the country from another act of terror.

“Damn right,” I said.

- Decision Points, pg 170, by George W. Bush

When asked about future plots, KSM’s reply was, “Soon you will know.” Like Abu Zubaydah before him, KSM was trained to resist standard interrogation techniques. After being waterboarded by his CIA interrogators, Zubaydah thanked them and told them, “You must do this for all the brothers.”

Around my last year of college, I picked up some work as a loss prevention specialist for a major retail clothing company. Aside from acting as an in-house detective on occasion, I also worked different stores in the district, training the sales staff in areas of loss prevention.

The person I answered to was the regional loss prevention manager who hired me. She was amazing! I had the privilege of sitting in on a couple of her interviews as she interrogated employees suspected of internal theft. After the interviews, she’d walk me through and point out the employee’s body language throughout key moments in the interview; the questions she asked, why she asked them at the moment she chose to ask them; she educated me on where the employee’s missteps were and when it became obvious to her that the employee was fabricating, hiding something, etc. By the end of the interrogation, the terminated employee would walk out of the room in a daze. Throughout the process, my boss basically got the thief to confess through a kind of relationship-building. It was so intense, that even after it was over, the employee left still feeling like my boss was somehow an understanding friend.

She confided in me that there was a time in her youth that she was approached by the Secret Service and the CIA to work for them. She was THAT good, apparently. I remember asking her why she didn’t take the job offer with the Secret Service and she simply told me she didn’t want to have to take a bullet.

What she taught me from the small amount of exposure I had been given, was just how much of an art it was to interrogate people. Watching her at work, then having her interpret for me later on what I failed to see, was like watching/listening and appreciating/analyzing good poetry.

There seems to be a misunderstanding about the nature of the CIA program under the Bush Administration that involved enhanced interrogation. So much so, that even experts in the field of interrogation have been misled into false assumptions about what the CIA interrogation program was all about. One such expert is Matthew Alexander (a pseudonym) whose book, Kill or Capture: How a Special Operations Task Force Took Down a Notorious al Qaeda Terrorist, I recently purchased.

Fortunately, early in 2010, an important book came out to try and set the record straight by defending those CIA interrogators who, up until then, could not openly speak out to defend themselves from all the slander, distortions, and assumptions about their work. The public should not have had knowledge of the details, let alone our enemies. But thanks to the leaks, media hysteria, hype, and distortions, partisan politics over patriotism, and finally the release of the OLC memos by the Obama administration, Marc Thiessen was able to shoot back with his book. As he puts it in his Author’s Note and has stated in interviews, You should not be reading this book. I should not have been able to write it.”

The public discourse over the CIA program has in itself killed it. Its effectiveness was in the “not-knowing”; in the uncertainty. Waterboarding had already been discontinued (I think in 2003) long before President Obama’s first executive order, redundantly “banning” what was already banned. Revelations about its existence and details already effectively killed its value to CIA interrogators. Now, like those in our military who undergo waterboarding in SERE training, al Qaeda operatives can now add it to their list in interrogation resistance training. According to Thiessen, KSM, who is said to have received upward of 183 splashes during his waterboarding sessions, figured out just how long his interrogators could waterboard him for and would count down the seconds on one hand. Matthew Alexander and critics argue that this is proof of how ineffective waterboarding is. I’d say it bolsters the argument that the CIA method of waterboarding hardly constitutes the kind of waterboarding that does cross the line from the simulated feeling of drowning to one of actual drowning and torture.

The effectiveness of the CIA techniques was in the pretense of torture; of making the terrorist believe that things were worse than they actually were. As Marc Thiessen describes it:

The effect of the techniques is psychological, not physical. They trick the terrorists into thinking what they are enduring is worse than it really is.

It’s like the show Magic’s Biggest Secrets Revealed — once you know how the magician saws the woman in half, you’re not fooled. The same goes for enhanced interrogation.

In a strange twist of irony, the media falsehoods about torture at the hands of our CIA, as damaging as it’s been to our reputation in the world, may also have helped to perpetuate the “magic trick”-purpose of EITs:

The story of one senior al-Qaeda terrorist, Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, illustrates the point. When Abd al-Hadi was brought to a CIA black site, agency officials told him, “We’re the CIA.” He replied, “I’ve heard of you guys. I’ll tell you anything you need to know.” And he did. Detainees like Abd al-Hadi cooperated without enhanced techniques because they feared enhanced techniques.

In wake of the “waterboarding” of Osama bin Laden’s carcass at the beginning of this month, new partisan questions have arisen regarding which administration should be credited the most with “having brought him to justice” (and his 72 urchins).

This has reignited the debate between defenders of the Bush-era CIA practice of enhanced interrogation and those attackers who choose to label it “torture” and “ineffective”, plain and simple.

Like Ali Soufan, Matthew Alexander is an expert in his field who has served his country honorably; both have played important roles in the fight against the al Qaeda network and affiliates. Both men have also been lionized by liberals (holding credibility for their expertise in the field of interrogation) on account of their scathing criticism of the CIA enhanced interrogation program; and in calling the Bush administration out with the torture charge. I, the non-expert, however, believe they themselves have been misled, just like these WWII vets and that the proof is in Thiessen’s research. I believe Thiessen’s work trumps their own assumptions regarding the CIA program as it functioned under President Bush.

In Alexander’s book, he stresses the importance of relationship-building as it relates to interrogating suspects and captures. By emphasizing this, critics of enhanced interrogations are setting up a strawman. What they don’t seem to get or acknowledge is that the CIA absolutely believes in and acknowledges the virtues of the relationship-building approach as well.

Pg. 91 from Ronald Kessler’s The Terrorist Watch:

The CIA interrogated captured terrorists at Guantanamo Bay and at secret locations throughout the world such as Bagram Air Force Base, an American installation in Afghanistan. While the CIA used coercive methods like depriving suspects of sleep and forcing them to kneel for hours, the CIA believed that actual torture involving infliction of pain produced bad information. Simply offering terrorists tea and sympathy was often enough to get al Qaeda members to talk. Often, the Stockholm Syndrome took over. Most al Qaeda members cooperated after a day or two. If not, they might be turned over to intelligence services in Egypt, Morocco, or Jordan where rough techniques could be used.

“You start by getting him talking to you,” David Manners, the former station chief in Jordan, says. “You start with items you already know about. That shows him you know a lot. His defenses diminish. Then you ask about items you don’t know about. Beating a guy up doesn’t work. He will tell you anything to stop the pain. We never used such tactics.”

Marc Thiessen would agree, based upon his research and interviews with those CIA interrogators who themselves were directly involved in the CIA program.

In the opening prologue to Kill or Capture, Alexander talks about how legendary WWII-era interrogators stuck to American values and principles, never resorting to torture. Well, guess what? The very best American interrogators- including Alexander, Soufan, and those directly involved in the CIA enhanced interrogation program- also uphold American values and principles; and also do not believe in the effectiveness of torture.

Incidentally, according to Eisenhower and the German POWs by Stephen Ambrose and Gunter Bishhof, as many as 56,000 German POWs- about 1% of the total numbers captured by war’s end- may have died while in U.S. custody. Contrast this with the .125% in today’s GWoT: Human Rights First reported in a 2006 study that since August of 2002, 100 detainees held by the CIA and the U.S. military had died while in captivity (According to military records, 34 of these are suspected or confirmed homicides). According to Department of Defense figures, by 2006, over 80,000 have been held under U.S. custody in the War on Terror.

So where lies the historical precedence that the Bush Administration behaved worse or that those under its leadership behaved worse than Americans of previous generations and of previous administrations? It doesn’t exist, other than in the fevered imaginings of media hype, sensationalizing and distorting the record.

Only about 100 terrorists were ever held in the CIA program that saw fit to subject only 30 of those 100 to enhanced interrogations (and of these only 3 were waterboarded; how many detainees both military and CIA were ever waterboarded at Guantanamo? Answer: Zero). The techniques used arguably do not rise to the level of definition for torture and were cleared by the legal counsel of the Justice Department and CIA lawyers. The European Court for Human Rights, which has a more restrictive definition of “inhuman and degrading treatment” than Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, also determined in Ireland vs. United Kingdom that the 5 techniques (wall-standing, hooding, noise, sleep deprivation, food and drink deprivation) used by British interrogators did not amount to the level of definition for torture.

When critics say, “people will tell you whatever you want them to say to make the torture stop”, what they are saying is that they completely do not have a grasp of the CIA program or the purpose for coercive techniques. Enhanced interrogations were not used to elicit confessions but to gain cooperation, after which normal relationship-building interrogation is established (de-briefing). Those 30 detainees who became candidates for enhanced interrogations were tough. A number of them most likely received extensive training in interrogation resistance for them to have entered the program.

As Thiessen wrote recently in WaPo:

Interrogators would never have asked about the names of couriers during waterboarding. As I explain in my book, “Courting Disaster,” enhanced techniques were not used to gain intelligence; they were used to elicit cooperation. According to former CIA director Mike Hayden, as enhanced techniques were applied, CIA interrogators would ask detainees questions to which the interrogators already know the answers — allowing them to judge whether the detainees had reached a level of compliance. “They are designed to create a state of cooperation, not to get specific truthful answers to a specific question,” Hayden said.

Once interrogators determined a terrorist had become cooperative, the techniques stopped and traditional, non-coercive methods of questioning were used. Moreover, the use of enhanced techniques wasn’t needed for two-thirds of the detainees in CIA custody . Just the experience of being brought into CIA custody — the “capture shock,” arrival at a sterile location, the isolation, the fact that they did not know where they were and that no one else knew they were there — was enough to persuade most of them to cooperate.

Alexander makes the argument in his article that there are negative consequences to torturing your captured enemies aside from the unreliability of confessed information:

Those consequences include the fact that torture handed al Qaeda its No. 1 recruiting tool, a fact confirmed by the U.S. Department of Defense’s interrogators in Iraq who questioned foreign fighters about why they had come there to fight. (I have first-hand knowledge of this information because I oversaw many of these interrogations and was briefed on the aggregate results.) In addition, future detainees will be unwilling to cooperate from the onset of an interrogation because they view all Americans as torturers. I heard this repeatedly in Iraq, where some detainees accused us of being the same as the guards at Abu Ghraib.

I have no doubt that many foreign fighters and Muslims embraced the jihad just as many Americans began enlisting after 9/11. A desire to protect your tribe is a natural, noble, universal instinct; a desire to defend your own. Abu Ghraib almost single-handedly cost us Iraq and gave al Qaeda new life. But more so than the actual abuses that happened there, more than any actual instances of abuses that happened at Guantanamo, Bagram, or anywhere under CIA and U.S. military supervision, was the media hyperventilation and overexaggeration of any actual let alone alleged abuses that occurred. Media distortions and misguided human rights watch groups, absent of real facts, did just as much to recruit jihadis as anything that actually happened in earnest. Jihadi propaganda could not have crafted a more self-serving narrative than the one world opinion shaped for them.

As Thiessen writes, “It is this myth, not the CIA’s actions, that has harmed America’s reputation across the globe” (Courting Disaster, pg 172)

Americans do not condone torture. Neither President Bush, VP Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, nor Marc Thiessen endorse torture. They are not “torture apologists”, nor am I. (“Torture deniers”, maybe…might be a label I’d be willing to wear ;) )

Yes, abuses happened. But these were the exceptions, outside the norm; never part of military or CIA policy. Those abusers were prosecuted and punished.

Honest debate can be made regarding where the line in the sand should have been drawn. But it is dishonest and wrong to compare “the belly slap”, “walling” and SERE-inspired waterboarding to actual water torture by Japanese soldiers or waterboarding during the Inquisition. It is so much hyperbolic nonsense and slander. And it fuels enemy propaganda for recruitment and support.

As Thiessen writes on pg 193 of Courting Disaster,

It speaks well of our country that many Americans are uncomfortable with enhanced interrogation. We should be uncomfortable with these techniques, just as we should be uncomfortable with the decision to go to war. Americans always go to war reluctantly, recongizing that war is a tragedy, even when it is necessary and just. The same is true for coercive interrogations. It is tragic that coercive interrogations were needed, and it speaks well of our country that we placed so many liimits on them. But the CIA’s actions were not only necessary and effective- they were also moral and just.

Former President Bush:

Our intelligence officers carried out their orders with skill and courage, and they deserve our gratitude for protecting our nation. Legal officials in my administration did their best to resolve complex issues in a time of extraordinary danger to our country. Their successors are entitled to disagree with their conclusions. But criminalizing differences of legal opinion would set a terrible precedent for our democracy.

From the beginning, I knew the public reaction to my decisions would be colored by whether there was another attack. If none happened, whatever I did would probably look like an overreaction. If we were attacked again, people would demand to know why I hadn’t done more.

That is the nature of the presidency. Perceptions are shaped by the clarity of hindsight. In the moment of decision, you don’t have that advantage. On 9/11 I vowed that I would do what it took to protect America, within the Constitution and laws of our nation. History can debate the decisions I made, the policies I chose, and the tools I left behind. But there can be no debate about one fact: After the nightmare of September 11, America went seven and a half years without another successful terrorist attack on our soil. If I had to summarize my most meaningful accomplishment as president in one sentence, that would be it.
-Decision Points, pg 180-181

Photo by Jim Young, Reuters

Over half of what the CIA learned about al Qaeda can be traced back directly to the CIA enhanced interrogation program. Terror plots were derailed. al Qaeda operatives killed or captured. And it now appears the killing of Osama bin Laden can be traced back to information gleaned from the CIA program.

American lives have been saved thanks to the CIA interrogators, who did not compromise American principles and values in the handling of our enemies- those who wish us grave harm. Many have been treated with compassion and decency; some received tough treatment, for sure. And deservedly so where American lives are at stake.

What on earth do we have to apologize to the world for? Instead, we should be thanked, just as Abu Zubaydah thanked his CIA interrogators. The world is made safer by what we do; it is not made safer by the spin that distorts what we do.

Thank the CIA, the military, and our elected officials who have to make tough decisions everyday to keep America and the rest of the world safe.

This entry was posted in American Exceptionalism, American Intelligence, Anti-Americanism, Book Review, CIA interrogation program, Guantanamo, Personal, War On Terror, Wikileaks. Bookmark the permalink. Thursday, May 12th, 2011 at 10:26 am
| 1,777 views

46 Responses to Torture doesn’t work…ok, so where’s the disagreement?

  1. anticsrocks says: 1

    EXCELLENT article, Word!

    You lay out in a concise, direct manner what many of us knew all along – that the USA does not torture. No matter what the liberal press says, the CIA is to be commended on their actions in this matter.

    One thing you wrote jumped out at me:

    Media distortions and misguided human rights watch groups, absent of real facts, did just as much to recruit jihadis as anything that actually happened in earnest.

    But that doesn’t surprise me when we have media that willingly make public state secrets, ala NYTimes:

    From 2006

    The Times’s latest revelation of a national security secret appeared on last Friday’s front page–where no al Qaeda operative could possibly miss it. Under the deliberately sensational headline, “Bank Data Sifted in Secret by U.S. to Block Terror,” the Times blows the cover on a highly targeted program to locate terrorist financing networks. According to the report, since 9/11, the Bush administration has obtained information about terror suspects’ international financial transactions from a Belgian clearinghouse of international money transfers.

    True journalism died long ago…

    ReplyReply
  2. Nan G says: 2

    I was reading up on ritual bathing in Islam the other day.
    Part of it involved sucking water up through the nostrils then rinsing them clean.
    So, when you quoted , Zubaydah thanking his CIA questioners and telling them, “You must do this for all the brothers,” I wondered if he was used to getting water up his nose more so than a Westerner might be.

    The Obligatory Acts Of Ghusl (Ritual Bathing) are:

    1- Drawing water into the mouth and gargling once,

    2- Sniffing water into the nostrils and cleansing the nostrils well once,

    3- Bathing the entire body once, in such manner that there remains no dry spot.

    How To Make Ghusl In A Perfect Way

    We say the formula of Bismillah and make the intention to perform ghusl “I intend to make ghusl!” We wash our hands well and clean any dirtiness from our body.

    We then make a minor ritual ablution as for ritual prayer. While making the ablution, we take plenty of water into the mouth and gargle, and the nostrils and blow the nose to cleanse the mouth and nostrils well.

    We pour water three times over the head first, then three times over the right shoulder and again three times over the left shoulder, each time rubbing well the entire body. Water in this process must reac each and ever part of the entire body in the order that there doesn’t reaming a single dry spot.

    Those Devotions We Are Not Allowed To Perform Without Having Ritual Bath

    1- We can not perform a ritual prayer,

    2- We can not touch the Noble Qur’an or any verse of the Noble Qur’an

    3- We can not read the Noble Qur’an,

    4- We can not go around (circumambulate) the Holy Kaaba,

    5- We can not enter the mosque (mejid) unless we are forced to do so (in emergency).

    ReplyReply
  3. Wordsmith says: 3

    Greg Sargent and John McCain.

    Maybe I should do another post?

    ReplyReply
  4. johngalt says: 4

    @Wordsmith:

    I have a working title for you.

    Clueless?

    Just a thought, Word.

    ReplyReply
  5. Wordsmith says: 5

    McCain’s opinion carries weight because of his Vietnam experience as a POW, as well as because he is a Republican who is going against the conventional conservative grain on the issue. His opinion should be respected; his personal sacrifice as a U.S. soldier on behalf of his country honored.

    In Thiessen’s book, he cites a few other former POWs- I remember one in particular who apparently experienced even harsher treatment than McCain did- who don’t agree that waterboarding amounts to torture.

    ReplyReply
  6. johngalt says: 6

    @Wordsmith:

    I have great respect for his military service, me being a veteran myself. I have little respect for his political career, which seems more opportunist, with his swaying whichever way the wind seems to be blowing at the time. I respect more, the words from Thiessen on the issue, whom I have heard speak on it many times.

    As for the Clueless title, it refers more to his political life than anything else.

    ReplyReply
  7. Jeff says: 7

    there is a reason despots thruout history have use harsh interrogation up to and including torture to elicit information from their captured domestic enemies … it works … not for getting confessions but for getting verifiable information … (try giving false information to the dictator who still has you tied up in a prison cell … see how quickly you start giving up the truth when they return to notify you that you lied, or you die trying not to talk …)

    ReplyReply
  8. WORDSMITH, I always thought that THE CIA OFFICERS who died in AFGHANISTAN
    bythe suicide bomber a sometimes ago, where killed because of the government restrictions on their work usual action to find the heads of ennemies strategy activated from other surrounded muslims country,that where believed to be peacefull and containing extermists undercover,
    they [CIA] where restricted in their work, and it is more likely that brought their covers to t
    be expose. causing the valuable agents to loose their life.

    ReplyReply
  9. retire05 says: 9

    “Abu Gharib almost singlehandedly cost us Iraq and gave Al Qaeda new life”

    I have to disagree with that statement. It only shows that the author doesn’t seem to know the history of the rise in insurgency in Iraq. Did Abu Gharib make things worse? No, no worse that what had already been planned with the help of Iran. And that statement is like the ones made by people who claim if we (us infidels) would just get out of the Middle East, the terrorists would then return to their goat herds and dreaming of getting a new 12 year old wife.

    Al Qaeda means the base, and it is the base (movement) that simply reinstated a long ago war where the Islamic hordes were defeated. The “new” war was even started on the very day that the “old” war ended. As to McCain’s opinion, well, that is just McCain being McCain. What he endured at the hands of the North Vietnamese far surpassed the type of inhanced interrogation, including waterboarding, that KSM was put through. And if you read McCain’s book, in it he admits that he did give the NV more information that he should have, all under duress of course. IOW, McCain broke. and he knows it.

    The author IS correct in remarking that the type of waterboarding used by our CIA doesn’t come close to resembling the type of water boarding used by the Japanese in WWII. Not even close.

    The funny thing is when you ask someone who is against waterboarding, and thinks it is torture, if they would waterboard someone who had kidnapped their child but refused to tell the police where that child was yet claiming that child was still alive, but not for long, they will hem and haw, but if honest they will say “Yes, ah, but that is different.” No, it’s not except for the fact that we are then talking about hundreds of children, maybe thousands, not just one. Kristin Powers was ask that exact question to which she replied “I don’t have any children, but yes, to save my child I would do anything.”

    ReplyReply
  10. retire05, hi, I see you are making a valuable point, to the argument of who would be willing to
    have a criminal waterbording to make him tell where the child is, they agree but they found
    the unnessesary excuse to add up “that is not the same”
    that means they calibrate crime in a way of yes for that, no for terrorist, that is the tought that is fashionable with the now democrats in power, they kept apologising for AMERICA
    and the bravest on how they treat ennemies,subjecting them to the RULES OF ENGAGEMENTS,
    THAT ARE KILLING OUR OWN BUT SAVING THE ENNEMIES PUTTING THEM IN PRISON THAT ARE RIDICULOUSLY EASY TO GET AWAY. AND RELEASE THEM AFTER A WHILE TO LET THEM GO BACK AND KILL OUR OWNS AGAIN. so to not waterbord those terrorist is another ridiculous way of thinking
    that is against the logic of war.
    bye

    ReplyReply
  11. Wordsmith says: 11

    @retire05: I think you misread my point (my fault for lack of clarity, not yours). Read the sentences that follow after the one you cited:

    Abu Ghraib almost single-handedly cost us Iraq and gave al Qaeda new life. But more so than the actual abuses that happened there, more than any actual instances of abuses that happened at Guantanamo, Bagram, or anywhere under CIA and U.S. military supervision, was the media hyperventilation and overexaggeration of any actual let alone alleged abuses that occurred. Media distortions and misguided human rights watch groups, absent of real facts, did just as much to recruit jihadis as anything that actually happened in earnest. Jihadi propaganda could not have crafted a more self-serving narrative than the one world opinion shaped for them.

    What I meant was, the manner in which Abu Ghraib was reported and seized upon by world media was what fueled recruitment of foreign fighters into Iraq. It became a propaganda bonanza. Matthew Alexander makes a point of it in his book as well, having interrogated many fighters in Iraq and asking them what brought them there.

    ReplyReply
  12. Wordsmith says: 12

    @Wordsmith:

    Matthew Alexander makes a point of it in his book as well, having interrogated many fighters in Iraq and asking them what brought them there.

    Rereading my blog post, this point is actually cited in my post and my Abu Ghraib comment follows. So if you read it in context to what I was responding to from the Alexander quote, it might make more sense to you.

    ReplyReply
  13. Wordsmith, you are absolutly right ,the MEDIA appointed to the DEMOCRATS always over blow those news of abuse of prisonners they don’t need any sound proof to do it, and wont spare our own military
    as accusing them to abuse the ennemies, but they wont show how our own soldiers get blown up by clusters of bombs,
    and what if they survived how do they cope with all the trauma after, they are showing protecting the ennemies, and it play in the hands of the ennemy strategist so well that they stage all kinds of false abuses and video the event to distribute those around the world. why? because the MEDIA believe them
    over their own BRAVES MILITARYS.

    ReplyReply
  14. FAITH7 says: 14

    Great Read! Exposing what our Military uses to keep this country safe is more Liberal Ideology and has been such a travesty. Americans do not need to know the ” tricks of the trade”. Our Government and our Military’s function is to keep America and American’s [S A F E ]. I don’t need to know when, or care ‘how’ the Military/CIA/FBI Operates when it comes to [Enemies] who are hell bent on Killing Americans and destroying this Beautiful Country of Ours… And I THANK Our Service Men and Women for doing such a tough job!

    Although I don’t agree with ‘everything’ in the story, but, I do believe the famous line of Colonel Jessup…
    [ ]
    …”You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. [ I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. ] I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to. Source: Movie “A Few Good men”

    ReplyReply
  15. FAITH7, that is so well said,
    bye

    ReplyReply
  16. retire05 says: 16

    wordsmith, I really don’t care what Alexander said. Perhaps he is willing to buy into the terrorists’ most recent excuse for why they are trying to kill infidels. But before the “Abu Ghraib” excuse there was the “infidels on Islamic soil” excuse and before that there was another excuse, and another, and another. It makes you wonder what excuse the Islamic hordes gave to Charles Martel, doesn’t it?

    There is really only one “excuse” and that is the conquering of the infidel world in the name of Allah. Anything else else is just window dressing. It is the very reason that the date 9-11 was chosen. It is how the terrorists justify the killing of innocent Muslims, along with the infidels.

    Our interrogation techniques should have NEVER been exposed. NEVER. There are too many bleating (yes, I spelled it correctly) who object to any kind of physical force as they think that nothing ever bad will ever happen to them. And any sign of “humanity” is seen by AQ as a weakness not an American value. Too many talking heads trying to make a buck out of telling the enemy how “sensitive” we are to the feelings of our enemy. Under FDR, during WWII, these people would have been jailed, not throwing book signings.

    ReplyReply
  17. Missy says: 17

    Outstanding post and commentary, this is indeed a great place!

    ReplyReply
  18. Missy says: 18

    @ilovebeeswarzone:

    Now why would anyone give you a thumbs down for your comment? Sheesh!

    ReplyReply
  19. MISSYhi, so good to have you around, someone give me a thumb down,
    might be for my errors on writting, any way If I catch the culprit, it will get many thumbs down,
    but I do give some myself,and they probably know It’s me, so I get even, and I know my friends,
    and ennemies,
    I’m glad to see that you have some free times now, for us to probe you’re knowledge so vast it is,
    bye

    ReplyReply
  20. anticsrocks says: 20

    I always give beezy a thumbs up!

    ReplyReply
  21. anticsrocks thank you, I am priviledge to have you as a friend too.

    ReplyReply
  22. Missy says: 22

    @ilovebeeswarzone:

    I have some free time because it has rained all day, we need it, maybe not two more days of it though.

    It’s not your fault for the thumbs down, it’s because someone is mean.

    I agree, antics is a sweetie! Isn’t it nice to be old, we can get fresh and no one cares, I love that about my age and I’m not meaning you are old Beezy, speaking for self.

    ReplyReply
  23. MISSY, you are so young compare to many others who stop to think for themself, and choose the eazy way to listen and believe in some NEWS WHICH ARE GIVING A SUBLIMINAL MESSAGES,
    TO THE MASSES TO BELIEVE THEIR WORDS.
    THOSE ARE OLD TO MY VIEW and lost the capacity of judging underneath the message’s bait
    directed at them for the only prpose TO GET THEIR VOTES.
    bye

    ReplyReply
  24. anticsrocks says: 24

    @Missy: Thanks Missy. You make me smile, but I gotta tell you I am old too. In fact, I am so old my SS# is 11…

    ;-)

    ReplyReply
  25. Aqua says: 25

    @ Word
    Very nice post. I will be ordering Thiessen’s book to my Kindle this evening.

    As for McCain, I believe we’ve had this discussion before. Although I respect his service highly, I don’t necessarily feel his opinions need carry the same weight. A lot of the things done to McCain and others at the HH were not done just to get information, a lot of it was terroristic activity. Our troops at the time knew what would await them if they were captured, and that is what I mean by terroristic.

    Waterboarding is not torture. If you have never seen the show Surviving the Cut, I highly recommend it. Here is a brief part of the Water Confidence Course for Pararescue: http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/surviving-the-cut-water-confidence.html
    If you take a close look, you can see their masks are filled with water and they are hosing down their faces. You will suck water in and you will throw up. And that’s nothing compared to the Combat Diver’s course. Not everyone in SERE School gets waterboarded. They profile you to see what will and won’t work on you. There are much worse things than getting waterboarded and they aren’t all physical.

    ReplyReply
  26. Wordsmith says: 26

    @retire05:

    wordsmith, I really don’t care what Alexander said.

    Do you think I agree with him because I’m quoting him?! The man has served his country and has saved lives through successful interrogations, just as the CIA interrogators saved lives through regular and enhanced interrogations. His word carries weight and credibility whether you choose to agree or disagree with him. I would not dismiss his opinion so flippantly. Read his stuff; understand where he’s coming from. Then take apart his arguments, if you can.

    The problem with a number of critics is that I don’t believe they truly understand the other side of the arguments. They like to call Thiessen a “torture apologist”, along with all the defenders of enhanced interrogations, without ever having actually read Thiessen’s book. So all they can do is criticize from a position of ignorance as far as known and not assumed details of the CIA program they attack.

    @Aqua: Hope you get a lot out of it. I believe Missy had also ordered the book a while back, shortly after it first came out.

    ReplyReply
  27. GaffaUK says: 27

    Can anyone who believes waterboarding isn’t torture please sign up to be waterboarded….and then let us know whether they think it’s just ‘splashes’ or torture.

    http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2010/03/09/waterboarding_for_dummies

    http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Mancow-Takes-on-Waterboarding-and-Loses.html

    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/08/hitchens200808

    ReplyReply
  28. anticsrocks says: 28

    @GaffaUK: Unpleasant, scary, very frightening even – yes. Torture? Nope.

    ReplyReply
  29. GaffaUK says: 29

    @anticrocks/Wordsmith

    So if a US citizen (either soldier or civilian) was detained by a foreign government who accused that individual of terrorism and they decided to waterboard that individual to gain either information or compliance – then that’s ok with you?

    ReplyReply
  30. Nan G says: 30

    @GaffaUK:
    I bet people who really were tortured (like John McCain and also one of my teachers from high school) would have much rather preferred waterboarding over what was actually done to them.
    Then there was Ilan Halimi.
    Have you even read what was done to him by Muslims?
    They burned him, sliced parts off him, beat him, clubbed him, made him drink toxins, left him almost dead on a railroad track after WEEKS of torture in 2006.
    The veteran cop who found him still alive threw up out of revulsion.
    His only crime was being a Jew in France.

    ReplyReply
  31. Nan G, hi, that is terrible, nobody on this side of the world would even think of doing only one
    of those, I have read of some tortures done by those inhuman tactics on some of our people,
    and no matter how we want to understand that behavior is not a human action,
    and not an animal action, It is lower than that, we can mention the word evil,
    and they are the proof of evil existence in this EARTH, to be cast out in the fire pit
    forever.

    ReplyReply
  32. Wordsmith says: 32

    @GaffaUK:

    Oh, *yawn* We’ve been through the waterboarding debate at FA in multiple threads more times than KSM got waterboarded (That would be five times according to what he himself reported to IRC). There are FA ex-military readers who have been waterboarded in SERE and have rejected the notion that it rises to the definition of torture.

    wardogs:

    For the record, I’m against torture also. The difference is, I don’t believe these methods qualify as torture. I’ve been through waterboarding twice. In truth, there were several other training regimens that I considered much worse personally. Having to remove our gas masks in an enclosed structure filled with CS gas and staying for at least three minutes in order to qualify is one that immediately comes to mind. Others are still classified, but none were “torture” as I and thousands of other trainees who went through it define it. I’ve SEEN real torture and this ain’t it.

    Since neither of us have experienced it, why don’t you go waterboard yourself before claiming that it (as carried out by the CIA program- not the Spanish Inquisition, not the Japanese military) amounts to torture?

    Christopher Hitchens might say what he experienced was torture. Why do you reject the claims by others who went through SERE who say it isn’t?

    I put young athletes through some rigorous conditioning exercises on a daily basis. Some detest it. Some are driven to tears. Some puke. It’s tough. It’s uncomfortable. Most think it unpleasant. Muscle tissue is being broken down. Is this torture? Is loud music? Sleep deprivation? Tickling?

    To quote CJ (again):

    the techniques used by the United States military and intelligence agencies are NOT torture. It’s no different than how they’ve redefined the term “sexual assault”. It used to mean an ASSAULT of someone in a sexual manner. It involved rape, penetration, inappropriate touching, non-consensual sex, and child molestation. When this wasn’t occurring at levels high enough to get proper government funding, the term was redefined to include voyeurism and exhibitionism. That wasn’t good enough, so it was further defined to include yelling.

    The same thing has happened with torture. Real torture, you see, doesn’t exist at the hands of this country. You will never find a prisoner having their fingernails pulled out, being forced to kneel on bamboo reeds, having extremities cut off, being skinned alive, or placed in an iron maiden. Since this real torture doesn’t exist, the left has had to redefine it. So, they decided that torture included such actions as waterboarding. When there weren’t enough incidents of that happening, liberals decided that we needed to redefine torture to include sleep deprivation, loud music, and standing for long periods of time. Now, we can’t even place harmless caterpillars in their cages or flush their holy books down toilets!

    How would you define torture?

    @GaffaUK:

    @anticrocks/Wordsmith

    So if a US citizen (either soldier or civilian) was detained by a foreign government who accused that individual of terrorism and they decided to waterboard that individual to gain either information or compliance – then that’s ok with you?

    Is that foreign government a signatory to Geneva? If so, the uniformed soldier has POW status, no? Did they first try standard interrogation practices? Determine that this is in fact a captured terrorist, hardened and trained to resist traditional interrogation methods? Did they seek legal, medical, moral counsel to make sure they didn’t cross a line?

    Is it waterboarding you have a problem with (done on only 3 terrorists and not in effect since 2003)? Or any coercive, enhanced interrogation practices (used on only 30 out of 100 detained in the CIA program- the other 2/3rds received standard interrogation techniques to obtain compliance for debriefing)?

    To be sure, waterboarding can be torture, depending on how it is carried out. “You can do waterboarding lots of different ways, “says former Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, “you can get to the point that the person is actually drowning,” That would be torture- but that is not how the technique is carried out by the CIA.
    -Pg 131, Courting Disaster

    The Bush Administration placed strict limitations and constraints on what was and was not allowable, based upon the legal opinions of the Justice Department’s OLC.

    ReplyReply
  33. Wordsmith says: 33

    Mike McConnell was not around when the enhanced interrogations were first authorized and is no Bush loyalist. He was sworn in as Director of National Intelligence in 2007. McConnell refused to restart the suspended CIA program until after he reviewed it and came to understand it. Waterboarding had already been taken out, but at the end of McConnell’s review, he concluded that “I played grade school and high school football, and playing high school football subjects you to more danger than these techniques.”

    McCain was tortured. But was he ever waterboarded? No. Nevetheless, I respect his opinion, just as I respect the opinions of some of those who do say waterboarding crosses a line and are authoritative on the matter. However, there are those on both sides of the debate.

    Colonel Bud Day was severely tortured at the hands of the North Vietnamese. He’s also a Medal of Honor recipient. What does he say about waterboarding? “I am a supporter of waterboarding. It is not torture. Torture is really hurting someone. Waterboarding is just scaring someone, with no long term injurious effects. It is a scare tactic that works.”

    Christopher Hitchens panicked, and got scared within seconds. He can call it torture. But does that make it so?

    Leo Thorsness was also awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam. He experienced real torture as detailed in Thiessen’s book. He knows the difference between real torture and coercion.

    ReplyReply
  34. Gaffa UK, you should concentrate on those storys instead of trying to pin theUSA

    ReplyReply
  35. Pingback: McCain’s WaPo Op-Ed on the Tortured Debate Over EIT | Flopping Aces

  36. Wordsmith says: 35

    In case you thought people were exaggerating about U.S. abuses:

    The questioning lasted eight hours until midnight on my first day of detention. Mostly I was blindfolded, but the blindfold was removed for a few minutes.

    That allowed me — despite orders to keep my head down so that my interrogators should remain out of view — to see a hooded man screaming in pain in front of me.

    When they told him to take down his pants, I could see his swollen genitals, tied tight with a plastic cable.

    “I have nothing to tell, but I am neither a traitor and activist. I am just a trader,” said the man, who said he was from Idlib province in the north west of Syria.

    To my horror, a masked man took a pair of wires from a household power socket and gave him electric shocks to the head.

    At other moments, my questioners could be charming, but would quickly switch to ruthless mode in what looked like an orchestrated performance to wear me down.

    “We will make you forget who you are,” one of them threatened as I was beaten for the sixth time on my face.

    Oh, wait….that’s not our CIA he’s talking about…

    ReplyReply
  37. GaffaUK says: 36

    @Wordsmith

    Is that foreign government a signatory to Geneva? If so, the uniformed soldier has POW status, no? Did they first try standard interrogation practices? Determine that this is in fact a captured terrorist, hardened and trained to resist traditional interrogation methods? Did they seek legal, medical, moral counsel to make sure they didn’t cross a line?

    Is it waterboarding you have a problem with (done on only 3 terrorists and not in effect since 2003)? Or any coercive, enhanced interrogation practices (used on only 30 out of 100 detained in the CIA program- the other 2/3rds received standard interrogation techniques to obtain compliance for debriefing)?

    Do any of these questions of yours make a difference to whether you believe a foreign government should waterboard someone who hasn’t been convicted of any crime?

    Let’s see…
    If a US citizen was waterboarded in a country that hadn’t signed the Geneva Convention would that be ok?
    If a US soldier was caught on foreign soil out of uniform and was waterboarded would that be ok?
    If a country, say Iran, captured a US citizen accused them of being a terrorist – tried standard interrogation practices, claimed that they were hardened and trained to resist traditional interrogation methods and then claimed that they sought legal, medical, moral counsel to make sure they didn’t cross a line and then waterboarded the US citizen – would that be ok? Is torturing someone a few times ok? Is torturing because you are after compliance rather than answers ok? And you want compliance because you want answers – so really the same thing.

    If I was accused of a crime in a foreign country then I would want a lawyer and be tried by trial and not to be tortured or waterboarded. If you wish US citizens traveling abroad to have those basic rights then those rights should also work in reverse. Otherwise if the end justifies the means then all sorts of behavior becomes justifiable. If a ‘suspected’ terrorist refused to give up info and the only way to save potentially thousands of lives was to torture or even kill one of his kids – would you allow it?

    ReplyReply
  38. Wordsmith says: 37

    As Chris wrote:

    Unlawfull combatants are defined by both the Geneva Conventions and expanded upon in the US law of Land Warfare (FM 27-10).

    From http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/FULL/375?OpenDocument

    Legal combatants defined:

    Art 4. A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:
    (1) Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict, as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.

    (2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:[
    (a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
    (b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
    (c) that of carrying arms openly;
    (d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

    (3) Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.

    (4) Persons who accompany the armed forces without actually being members thereof, such as civilian members of military aircraft crews, war correspondents, supply contractors, members of labour units or of services responsible for the welfare of the armed forces, provided that they have received authorization, from the armed forces which they accompany, who shall provide them for that purpose with an identity card similar to the annexed model.

    (5) Members of crews, including masters, pilots and apprentices, of the merchant marine and the crews of civil aircraft of the Parties to the conflict, who do not benefit by more favourable treatment under any other provisions of international law.

    (6) Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.

    Since many of the terrorists we captured are paid by AQ, Iran, or others to fight, they can be defined as mercenaries. This is why the US and other Western nations have proposed making mercenary style units part of regular forces (with all the rules and regulations).

    Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977.

    Article 47 -- Mercenaries
    1. A mercenary shall not have the right to be a combatant or a prisoner of war.

    2. A mercenary is any person who:

    (a) is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict;

    (b) does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities;

    (c) is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party;

    (d) is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict;

    (e) is not a member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict; and

    (f) has not been sent by a State which is not a Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces.

    Now from the FM 27-10 US Law of Land Warfare (which I as a Soldier follow):

    Chapter 3, Section 2

    73. Persons Committing Hostile
    Acts Not Entitled To Be Treated
    as Prisoners of War
    If a person is determined by a competent tribunal, acting in conformity with Article 5, GPW (par. 71), not to fall within any of the categories listed in Article 4, GPW (par. 61), he is not entitled to be treated as a prisoner of war. He is, however, a “protected person” within the meaning of Article 4, GC (par. 247). (See paras. 247 and 248, concerning the status of such
    “protected persons” who have engaged in conduct hostile to the opposing belligerent.)

    74. Necessity of Uniform
    Members of the armed forces of a party to the conflict and members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces lose their right to be treated as prisoners of war whenever they deliberately conceal their status in order to pass behind the military lines of the enemy for the purpose of gathering military information or for the purpose of waging war by destruction of life or property. Putting on civilian clothes or the uniform of the enemy are examples of concealment of the status of a member of the armed forces.

    75. Spies
    a Treaty Provision.
    A person can only be considered a spy when, acting clandestinely or on false pretences, he obtains or endeavors to obtain information in the zone of operations of a belligerent, with the intention of communicating it to the hostile party.
    Thus, soldiers not wearing a disguise who have penetrated into the zone of operations of the hostile army, for the purpose of obtaining information, are not considered spies. Similarly, the following are not considered spies: Soldiers and civilians, carrying out their mission openly, intrusted with the delivery of despatches intended either for their own army or for the enemy’s army. To this class belong likewise persons sent in balloons for the purpose of carrying dispatches and, generally, of maintaining
    communications between the different parts of an army or a territory. (HR, art. 29.)

    b. American Statutory Definition. The first paragraph of the foregoing Hague Regulation has been in effect somewhat modified, as far as American practice is concerned, by the subsequently enacted Article 106 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (64 Stat. 138; 50 U.S.C. 700), as follows:
    Art. 106. Spies.—Any person who in time of war is found lurking as a spy or acting as a spy in or about any place, vessel, or aircraft, within the control or jurisdiction of any of the armed forces of the United States, or in or about any shipyard, any manufacturing or industrial plant, or any other place or institution engaged in work in aid of the prosecution of the war by the United States, or elsewhere, shall be tried by a general court- martial or by a military commission and on conviction shall be punished by death.

    c. Article 106 Governs. Insofar as Article 29, HR, and Article 106, Uniform Code of Military Justice, are not in conflict with each other, they will be construed and applied together. Otherwise Article 106 governs American practice.

    79. Aiding the Enemy
    a. American Statutory Definition.
    Any person who—
    (1) aids or attempts to aid, the enemy with arms, ammunition, supplies, money, or other thing; or
    (2) without proper authority, knowingly harbors or protects or gives intelligence to, or communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly; shall suffer death or such other punishment as a court-martial or military commission may direct. (UCMJ, Art 104; 64 Stat. 138; 50 U.S.C. 698.)

    b. Interpretation. In time of war, the rule of the above article is general in its application to all persons whether or not otherwise subject to military law and without regard to citizenship or military or civil status, who give aid to an enemy government or persons adhering to it. It may be that this statute, should it be subjected to judicial interpretation, would be held to authorize the trial of civilians by military tribunals only when the offense had been committed in territory under martial law or military government, or within the zone of military operations, or within areas invaded by the United States, or within or in the vicinity of a military installation, or in a place otherwise subject to military jurisdiction. Cases occurring in the United States outside military jurisdiction are triable by the civil courts under the espionage laws mentioned above (par. 76) and laws relating to treason (18 U.S.C. (chap. 115)).

    And now to the crux of the issue.

    80. Individuals Not of Armed Forces Who Engage in Hostilities
    Persons, such as guerrillas and partisans, who take up arms and commit hostile acts without having complied with the conditions pre-scribed by the laws of war for recognition as belligerents (see GPW, art. 4; par. 61 herein), are, when captured by the injured party, not entitled to be treated as prisoners of war and may be tried and sentenced to execution or imprisonment.

    81. Individuals Not of Armed Forces Who Commit Hostile Acts
    Persons who, without having complied with the conditions pre-scribed by the laws of war for recognition as belligerents (see GPW, art. 4; par. 61 herein), commit hostile acts about or behind the lines of the enemy are not to be treated as prisoners of war and may be tried and sentenced to execution or imprisonment. Such acts include, but are not limited to, sabotage, destruction of communications facilities, intentional misleading of troops by guides, liberation of prisoners of war, and other acts not falling within Articles 104 and 106 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and Article 29 of the Hague Regulations.

    82. Penalties for the Foregoing
    Persons in the foregoing categories who have attempted, committed, or conspired to commit hostile or belligerent acts are subject to the extreme penalty of death because of the danger inherent in their conduct. Lesser penalties may, however, be imposed.

    Terrorists who do not wear uniforms or identify with a nation state do not deserve the same protection status as POWs. As enemy combatants, nevertheless, they are still treated humanely much in the same manner as EPWs (enemy prisoner of war). But to grant them the same rights as POWs is to disrespect Geneva and endanger civilians:

    because the Administration had long argued against classifying enemy combatants captured on the Afghanistan battlefield- al Qaeda and Taliban fighters- as having "prisoner of war" status, protected by the 1949 codification of the laws of war (until July 7, 2006, after a Supreme Court ruling), that Bush & Co somehow do not respect the Geneva Convention. The reality, however, is just the opposite. It's for the same reason that President Reagan decided not to ratify Protocol I, declaring that it, "would undermine humanitarian law and endanger civilians in war."

    Douglas Feith, called the Geneva Conventions "a high-water mark of civilization". He absolutely supports it, even as he denies its provisions to be extended to non-uniformed combatants who endanger civilians by blending in, and being indistinguishable from civilians, putting innocent lives at risk. To grant them the same legal rights as prisoners of war, grants terrorism legitimacy.

    From Douglas Feith's War and Decision, pg 163,

    It would be "highly dangerous if countries make application of Convention hinge on subjective or moral judgments as to the quality or decency of the enemy's government"- and it would be dangerous, therefore, to claim that the Convention does not apply because the Taliban are "the illegitimate government of a 'failed state.' " Countries typically view their enemies as gangs of criminals. If officials had to certify an enemy as a "legitimate government" to apply the Convention, few countries would ever do so.

    "I contended that a "pro-Convention" position, on the other hand, would reinforce U.S. moral arguments in the war on terrorism:

    • The essence of the Convention is the distinction between soldiers and civilians (i.e., between combatants and noncombatants).
    • Terrorists are reprehensible precisely because they negate that distinction, by purposefully targeting civilians.
    • The Convention aims to protect civilians by requiring soldiers to wear uniforms and otherwise distinguish themselves from civilians.
    • The Convention creates an incentive system for good behavior. The key incentive is that soldiers who play by the rules get POW status if they are captured.

    From Douglas Feith's War and Decision, pg 38:

    The Convention gave maximum protection to noncombatants- innocent bystanders- and gave the next level of protection to fighters who obey the laws of war. The least protection was given to fighters who did not obey the rules. In this regard, as in many others, the Geneva Conventions were humane and sensible: The Conventions' drafters in the late 1940s had their priorities right. The Convention created an incentive system to encourage respect for the laws of war and especially to safeguard innocent bystanders. Civilians are endangered when fighters wear civilian clothes, for example, because that makes the fighters indistinguishable from bystanders. So the Conventions provided that captured fighters were entitled to the privileged status of "prisoners of war" only if they met certain conditions, including wearing uniforms and carrying their arms openly. The national liberation groups, whose fighters did not obey those laws, protested that the Geneva Conventions should be amended to entitle their fighters to POW status even if they concealed their status as fighters.

    Philippe Sands, author of Torture Team: Rumsfeld’s Memo and the Betrayal of American Values, dismisses the relevancy of whether or not terrorists be granted POW status rights:

    In his introductory statement at the hearing on July 15, Mr. Feith devoted a great deal of attention to the issue of P.O.W. status under Geneva. This is not a relevant issue: The rules reflected in Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions prohibit inhumane treatment and establish a distinct, minimum standard of protection for all detainees, not just those with P.O.W. status. Specifically, these rules prohibit a number of acts for detainees “at any time and in any place whatsoever,” including “violence to life and person,” “cruel treatment and torture,” and “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.” These protections are not dependent upon the detainee having P.O.W. status and, as the official commentary to Geneva makes clear, the scope of Common Article 3 “must be as wide as possible.” Judgments of the International Court of Justice and international criminal tribunals have long held that the rules reflected in Common Article 3 “constitute a minimum yardstick” for all armed conflicts.

    Furthermore, Sands argues that Feith does not believe Common Article 3 should apply to Guantanamo detainees.

    I have not been able to identify any document that reflects Mr. Feith’s “receptivity” to Common Article 3.

    Well....obviously, Sands didn't choose fit to shell out pound notes to purchase Feith's War and Decision. Pg 163:

    I recommend that our government stress "[h]umane treatment for all detainees,” and that al Qaida as well as Taliban personnel should receive the treatment they are entitled to under the Convention- or that they would be entitled to, if the Convention governed our conflict with them.

    As none of the detainees qualified legally for prisoner-of-war status, I believed that humane treatment was the proper standard for all of them- whether or not they had been captured in a war governed by the Convention. Even if the President were unwilling to conclude that the Convention governed our fight against the Taliban, I recommended that he make the following declaration: Although U.S. officials have not yet resolved the question of whether we are legally required to do so, the United States would give all detainees the status that they would be entitled to under the Convention- in other words, humane treatment.

    @GaffaUK:

    If a ‘suspected’ terrorist refused to give up info and the only way to save potentially thousands of lives was to torture or even kill one of his kids – would you allow it?

    Perhaps it depends upon the stakes.

    ReplyReply
  39. Gaffa UK, HEY , DON’T YOU THINK IT would save the troups to be caught by ennemies who would not waterboard them but slowly torture them till death, so I REPEAT to save our troops
    you kill them before because this is a WAR, and to give them a chance they won’t give you,
    is to side up with them and care for the well being of the ENNEMIES AS OPPOSE TO OUR TROOPS IS TREASON.
    look at it any way you want, WHOEVER SIDE WITH THE ENNEMIES IS A TRAITOR

    ReplyReply
  40. Wordsmith, the GENEVA CONVECTION IS OUT DATED AND SHOULD BE OR ABOLISH OR CHANGE ACCORDING TO THE WAR being fought today by our side which allow the ennemies a long range of capacity to kill or injured our TROOPS THEREFOR HAVING THE WORSENING EFFECT ON THE DEBELITATING MORAL OF A SOLDIER UNABLE TO DESTROY HIS ENNEMIE ATTACKER.
    THIS IS A CRIME TO WAGE SUCH A WAR, A CRIME DONE TOWARD OUR TROOPS,
    BYE THOSE RULES OF ENGAGEMENTS THAT INCAPACITATE OUR BRAVEST TROOPS,
    this will at the end show the tragic result to have the ENNEMIES WHICH HAVE BEEN PROTECTED COMING AT YOUR DOOR IN A FREE COUNTRY WITH HATE AND DEATH WISH ON THE CITIZEN OF THIS AMERICA, WHILE THE SOLDIERS WHO HAVE DIED CANNOT HELP ANYMORE THE CITIZENS ALONG WITH THOSE WHICH HAVE BEEN INJURED,
    SO TO SUPPORT THOSE RULES IS TO BE PAYING THE PRICE LATER BECAUSE THIS ENNEMIE IS NOT FOLLOWING THOSE RULES WHICH WHERE APPLYED FOR COUNTRY EVOLVE WITH TIMES WHO CAN FOLLOW THE RULES THAT ARE OF NO VALUE WITH THE TODAY ENNEMIES
    THEY ONLY CAUSE THE LIVES OF MORE MILITARY HERE.

    ReplyReply
  41. GaffaUK says: 40

    @Wordsmith

    So any guerillas (without uniform) that the US have supported in the past or currently if caught deserve to be executed. Or indeed any American fighting along side them who are out of uniform? And do you believe that any people that the UK put in prison in the 70s and early 80s accusing them of being IRA terrorists – but without trial and being held indefinitely was ok? So all a nation needs to do is capture an American citizen either in their own country or abroad, accuse them of being an illegal combatant (whether they genuinely believe this or not) and then let the waterboarding begin? And you would have no problem with that???

    ReplyReply
  42. Missy says: 42

    @Wordsmith:

    I did order it and read it and this weekend I started re-reading it because you have brought up things in the book that I had forgotten. Since I don’t intend to pass this book along I’m bending pages and underlining.

    ReplyReply
  43. Pingback: Will the new CIA-Director-to-be revive an EIT program? | Flopping Aces

  44. Pingback: CIA EIT Program Exonerated…..AGAIN! | Flopping Aces

  45. Pingback: “Zero Dark Thirty” plays it down the middle | Flopping Aces

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>