Today’s Desperate Lie from a Torture Defender

Today’s Desperate Lie from a Torture Defender December 17, 2014

Just as though I have not recommended How to Break a Terrorist (by an actual interrogator) a thousand times to laptop bombardiers and Torture Lovers, a combox torture zealot with no actual knowledge of interrogation or of elementary human decency, much less Catholic teaching or American civil law, writes:

Hey moralizers! How would you extract information from criminals/terrorists who, gosh golly, just don’t want to tell you anything?
It’s so easy to do as Shea does and tell us where we go wrong, but offer no viable alternative in a challenging situation. Sooooooo easy

Two replies:

One: Gentle Combox War Crimes Champion: If books are too hard for an attention span conditioned by Call of Duty and 24, then just click on this article written in short English words. It too is written by a soldier, so perhaps you will show some respect and tone down your fake courage and video game/TV fantasy “realism” in deference to his real courage and real world experience.

Two: Notice, Gentle Audience, that our Torture Lover is making the inevitable next step in the logic of the Torture Defender. He doesn’t just want to torture “terrorists” (by which he means “some foreign brown-skinned guy I’m pretty sure might be a terrorist so I will torture him to find out if I’m right”). He wants to torture “criminals” too. That means, in the not very long run, any citizen Caesar decides might be a threat to his security (i.e., you and me).

One cherishes the flickering hope that even a Torture Defender is not dumb enough to hand *that* power over to Caesar to keep the citizenry in line in his cowardly hope that Caesar will save his skin from the bogeyman. But Torture Defenders have not so far shown themselves to have an over-capacity for common sense and elementary foresight.

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  • Andy

    Well, not until Caesar is a Republican. Then it should be safe…

  • Eve Fisher

    Amazing how suddenly John McCain is no longer conservative enough…

    • Jonk

      When was he ever conservative enough?

      • Eve Fisher

        Whenever he calls for bombing Iran.

  • Scott Bute

    Precious response!

  • hogtowner

    Keep up the good work, Mark! You cannot denounce this barbarity too often.

    The truth is, torture has nothing to do with getting information. It has everything to do with punishment.

    The actual goal of torture is to procure the damnation of both the victim and the perpetrator.

    • IRVCath

      This wasn’t punishment. What the Saudis do to thieves is, however gruesome, punishment. They go and have a trial, and then they cut your hand off.

      This is just sadism wearing a Star-Spangled Banner.

    • Joseph

      I think torture is also about extracting false confessions. Amazing how torture goes hand-in-hand with the refusal to put the torture victims on trial in a court of law.
      Yes, they admitted to every single crime and terrorist plot under the sun, but how about a good old fashioned trial, with a defense attorney on their side, with witnesses, evidence, and so on.
      The more we delay trying the supposed “terrorists” in court, the less I believe anything the government (Caesar) told us about them. Thirteen years without a trial! How much more? Will we ever try the Guantanamo prisoners in a court of law?
      Even the Bolsheviks did better than this, with their kangaroo courts. They at least tried to pretend that justice was served, and those accused of crimes could defend themselves in court.
      But we just torture them until they admit guilt, and then we keep them in prison forever without formally charging and trying them in court. These are brown people with funny names, not Americans. But our turn will come, too.

      • Mariana Baca

        The torture of the Bolsheviks was to get the prisoner to believe 2+2=5, that the lies told by the government were true, reeducation, in other words. It is to dehumanize the prisoner. They did not pretend it would give them actionable intelligence: they had spy networks, informants, and a local culture of watching your neighbor to do that.

  • Jonk

    How does one extract information from someone? He asks questions. If the subject is a captive and is being evasive, he asks them repeatedly, in different ways, over days and weeks. Making the subject fatigued and/or disoriented helps, too.

    • Obpoet

      But that would be torture.

      • Jonk

        Only if someone like Gilbert Gotfried or Fran Drescher is asking the questions.

  • ArnoldPalmer9999999999999

    Mark, you’re starting to “taste bitter” again…

    • chezami

      Torture is supposed to be a *happy* occasion! Let not bicker and argue about who froze who to death!