Tuesday, December 11, 2007

We're Better Than This

Though he believes that waterboarding probably "saved lives", a CIA agent who participated in the procedure believes the technique constitutes torture, and, most importantly, "Americans are better than that."

That's the crucial mark, isn't it? I mean, it's not just Americans who are "better than that" -- waterboarding was beyond the pale for Jim Crow Mississippi for use on Black criminal defendants.

There are lots of things we could do to terrorists and their associates which could conceivably save American lives. We could shock their testicles with a taser, or we could anally rape them with a spiked bat. Shelby Steele advocated prosecuting the Iraq War without worrying about whether given tactics would be seen as "racist" or "imperialist", a policy that, as Spencer Ackerman put it, would define victory in Iraq as "anywhere south of Kurdistan ought to be a smoldering wasteland."

I am skeptical that waterboarding works on a large scale, though there may be specific cases where it gets us useful information (though even in this most recent case, accounts vary about whether we got useful intel). But at some level, this debate is a distraction, because we're Americans, and we're better than this. It's the perils of being the good guys -- sometimes, you got to be good.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

if you saw the testimony of the gentleman, nance, from the survival training course of cspan, he was very clear in stating that any information that would be gathered from waterboarding would have to be seriously vetted and investigated before it was deemed credible. as he stated, waterboarding is just the beginning of a process of developing leads for investigation and produces notoriously unreliable results that are then subjected to hours of follow up investigations. so the ticking time bomb scenario does not apply to realy life, as though it ever did.

really it seems so stupid to me. half-drown someone so they can give you what you know to be dubious information that then requires hundreds of person hours and millions of dollars to investigate and you come up with zilch anyway. we got info on ksm from abu zabaydah and the waterboard? man i hope they've got more real evidence on ksm than this guy's "testimony", but somehow i doubt it.