Terrorists are sissies.


One of Sullivan’s readers makes a good point.

Supporters of the harshest treatment of prisoners in the “Global War on Terror” have consistently made 4 arguments:

  1. The people we have in custody are the hardest of the hard.  Cold-blooded, steely-eyed killers.
  2. The people we have in custody have extensive knowledge of our enemies’ plans.
  3. The interrogation techniques we’ve been using — the ones the law says are torture — are barely more than frat-boy hazing.
  4. The interrogation techniques we’ve been using — the ones the law says are torture but are really just frat-boy pranks — are wildly successful, producing loads of intelligence that have saved thousands (millions?) of American lives.

Logically, then, these 4 arguments are reducible to the following single argument: frat-boy pranks cause hardened killers to cough up mission-critical information about their secret plans.

As Sullivan’s reader points out, this is stupid.

In what world would frat-boy pranks break the most hardened, cold-blooded killers, the most committed enemies of the US?  In what world would hardened, cunning jihadists cough up mission-critical information just because somebody treated them like the new boy at an English boarding school?

The logic just goes round and round.

Q: Do we really have valuable targets in Gitmo, or are they a bunch of nobodies?

A: Worst of the worst.  Hardened killers.

Q: Should we observe the Geneva Conventions in our interrogations of them?

A: Certainly not.  Wouldn’t work on guys as tough as these.

Q: Aren’t these techniques torture?

A: Ha!  Shouldn’t you be off getting gay-married to somebody?

Q: Do these techniques even work, then?

A: Prisoners crack like eggs under them.  Spill their guts.

Q: Then do we have valuable targets in Gitmo, or are they a bunch of nobodies?

A: What are you, deaf?  They’re the worst of the worst.  Hardened killers.




3 Responses to “Terrorists are sissies.”

  1. michaellasley Says:

    The key, of course, is to simply not think about things all at once like you’re doing here. Think of them individually and the logic works out just fine. That’s how God created us to think — one thing at a time.

    I’m sure you saw this today, as it was front page on a couple of news-y places, but as for cracking like eggs when hazed like a frat-boy. The old story about how good waterboarding was at getting info was: “A former C.I.A. officer, John Kiriakou, told ABC News and other news media organizations in 2007 that Abu Zubaydah had undergone waterboarding for only 35 seconds before agreeing to tell everything he knew.” The facts in that case seem to tell a different version — the administered waterboarding 80 some-odd times in one month on the guy.

    I mean…..I guess he could’ve told them everything he knew after 35 seconds and they just went ahead and waterboarded him another 82 times just as part of the initiation rituals at Gitmo.

  2. urbino Says:

    I had to duck-walk about a gozillion times during pledge week when I was in college, so this kind of repetitive, good-natured hazing is not unprecedented among ultra-cool guys (like CIA interrogators and college sophomores).

    More seriously, I’ve seen 3 or 4 theories on why they kept waterboarding the guy even though, a) he’d cracked under normal interrogation and b) the interrogators didn’t think he really knew any more than what he’d already told them.

    The more I read, though, the more it seems like they kept waterboarding him because they wanted to. It gave various people, from the interrogation room* right on up to the vice president’s office, pleasure. They enjoyed it, they had the power to do it, and nobody would ever know.

    * It didn’t give everybody in the interrogation room pleasure, evidently, since one of the people involved talked about the severe psychological impact just the first few sessions had on some of them.

  3. michaellasley Says:

    I see that Cheney said last night that “if we could only show you the classified documents about how much intel we gained from torture…” or whatever he said along those lines. That’s such a maddening argument. First, I mean….Cheney wants to de-classify something? Second, how many times are we supposed to believe his line about “if you only knew!”? I heard something similar about WMDs. I heard something similar about the Iraq/Bin Laden connection. And then when we find out, when we “only knew!”…..

    Why is Cheney still allowed to speak to anyone, ever?

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