Thursday, May 14, 2009


I'm sorry, but I'm having a hard time taking this whole torture kerfluffle seriously. Slapping someone's face? Putting them in a small space with an insect? (and interrogators weren't even allowed to make them think it was a stinging insect). The attention grasp? Simulating drowning after telling the terrorist prisoner that they aren't going to actually be drowned? Please. Anyone who's watched 24 knows what torture is.

House Speaker Pelosi admits to having been briefed that waterboarding was a technique that was used, and had been approved by the "Bush (Boo! Hiss! Yowl! Shriek!) Administration" lawyers, but said she didn't know anyone had actually used it! Um... so why did she think they were briefing her, then? Why did she think they wanted her to know they were approved in doing this to gain important intelligence about upcoming plots from high level terrorists? She was the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and she doesn't know what's going on with the interrogations? (I wrote this post last week, and it's come out now from the CIA briefers that they told her specifically her about procedures that had already been used on Abu Zubaydah...And she's still denying it...)

In reading The Hunt for Bin Laden yesterday, I happened to come across a definition of actual torture. (leave aside the beheadings and all that which the Taliban were perpetrating on the Afghani's) After several successful campaigns wherein the Taliban fighters had surrendered in the thousands, they were being held in a place called Qala-i-Jagi or "Fortress of War." Robin Moore, the author, describes it as something that "could have been a huge castle and its defenses transplanted from central Europe...surrounded by mud-brick walls up to ten meters thick, [with] moats, ramparts and walls almost twenty feet high with parapets across the top."

Two undercover CIA operatives were sorting through the various "detainees," many of whom unbeknownst to the operatives had been able to smuggle weapons into their prison situation on account of the fact that the Northern Alliance victors did not like to touch their enemies and thus didn't search them very well. They also expected them to follow the cultural protocol of not fighting back once they'd given up. But the al Quaida terrorists held allegiance to a standard that superseded local cultural norms and there was an uprising. One of the CIA guys, Mike Spann, was captured.

Moore describes his death thus:

Spann's body would bear out the worst of the rumors -- he had been captured alive and tortured by the AQ. Both of his legs had been broken below the knees in a typical al-Qaida torture method. What was not reported was that he had been alive for quite some time after. Two bullets had been placed in the small of his back, on either side of his spine. A final bullet, which killed him, had been inflicted some time later, in the back of his neck, probably as he knelt down with his hands tied behind his back.

That was al-Qaida. Power Line blog posted a link to a Times Online article about a video of an Abu Dhabi Prince (one of 22 royal princes) shown
"mercilessly and repeatedly beating a man with a cattle prod and a nailed board, burning his genitals and driving his Mercedes over him several times."
He did this because he thought the man had cheated him in a grain deal.

People who would do these sorts of things can only be laughing at us for our handwringing over the benign activities we've engaged in to extract valuable information from vicious, violent men. Ann Coulter's two columns, here and here, discuss our "terrible" deeds in amusing detail. As PowerLine blogger John Hinderaker concluded in his post on the Abu Dhabi prince,
"These are the people Barack Obama thinks will be impressed by his repudiation of one of the most effective terrorism-fighting tactics used by the Bush administration. I think, rather, that they'll conclude he's a fool."