Skip to comments.CIA: We stand behind our actions — and the results
Posted on 04/22/2009 5:59:47 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
With Barack Obama releasing the OLC memos and branding them as all but criminal and leaving the door open to prosecutions connected to the interrogation of Al-Qaeda terrorists, one might expect the CIA to retreat from its earlier defense of its actions. So far, though, the agency remains tenacious in insisting that waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi Binalshibh, and Abu Zubaydah saved American lives. CNS News reports that the CIA stands by its 2005 memo describing how those interrogations stopped another 9/11-scale attack:
The Central Intelligence Agency told CNSNews.com today that it stands by the assertion made in a May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that the use of enhanced techniques of interrogation on al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) including the use of waterboarding caused KSM to reveal information that allowed the U.S. government to thwart a planned attack on Los Angeles.
Before he was waterboarded, when KSM was asked about planned attacks on the United States, he ominously told his CIA interrogators, Soon, you will know.
According to the previously classified May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that was released by President Barack Obama last week, the thwarted attack which KSM called the Second Wave planned to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into a building in Los Angeles.
KSM initially resisted all other interrogation procedures, right up to the waterboard. He insisted that Americans did not have the necessary resolve to get information out of him, and that we would only know about the next plot when it killed hundreds, if not thousands again. Only after the waterboard did KSM cough up the information on the second wave attacks, and the CIA and other national-security agencies stopped it.
Does this answer whether waterboarding is torture? Not really. Does it negate the canard that torture never works? Yes. Torture works in getting people to talk, and sometimes they tell the truth. The CIA got what it wanted the information it needed to save lives but it doesnt prove or disprove whether a mock-execution procedure like waterboarding is torture or not.
It does, however, pose a difficult question for Americans, especially since the CIA even under Leon Panetta seems determined to get an answer to it. What price do we want to pay for a pristine conscience in combating terrorism? Do you mind if it costs thousands of American lives in plots we cant discover because a terrorist suspect captured in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, or somewhere else has lawyered up? Are there times when we can appropriately use a non-lethal technique without letting the target know that its non-lethal, in order to save American lives?
Both sides need to quit pretending on this issue. Mock executions fit the definition of torture, and they also saved a lot of American lives. If we can admit to reality, then we can have an honest debate about how far we should go to protect ourselves, and what price might be too high for our public image internationally.
“Waterboarding is torture.”
No it isn’t; not by any standard. It is even applied to our own CIA and military special forces personnel as part of their training.
It is affective because the person it is being applied against believes they are being tortured (fear of drowning), while the fear they think is taking place (drowning) is, in fact NOT taking place.
It is a mind game executed by physical means. It has no lasting physical side affects and the only mental side affect is the knowledge that one does not want to have
that experience again.
Can you add anything regarding the discussion with the guest prior to the segment with A**HAT...?
Unpleasant, yes. Torture, no.
No physical injury results -- neither temporary nor permanent.
You guys are so busy undefining torture that you miss the larger point, so I’ll state it again.
“We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”
It was torture. It was used on KSM. It saved American lives.
Good. So what.
MOST OF the folks upset about this “torturing” (not by my definition), truly believe that America deserved 9/11 and any other death and destruction the shiiteheads can bring to us.
I’ll bet it was and I’ll try and catch it.
Sorry, I can’t, I only caught the rest after Ellis was on. From the middle of Dick Morris forward. There was a great one earlier with Shep, who I despise, but it was Cliff May, eloquent in support of the methods used and the results gained, and Judith Miller, a screaching harridan who was shocked that Americans would do these heinous things, regardless of the cost in human life.
I sometimes wonder what rock some of these people crawl out from under.
Since Condoleeza is the one who gave the CIA the go ahead, I think prosecutions are going to be out of the question. Obama can’t prosecute Condoleeza or he loses both blacks and women.
Instead, let's be accurate about what torture really is. For one, the U.S. military would not visit torture upon its own. Extreme training, yes. But not torture.
Ergo, waterboarding is not torture.
Torture also connotes some kind of physical injury, temporary or permanent. Ergo, waterboarding is not torture.
Let's not rely on the left to define our words for us.
I had this on while I was doing other things, so I didn’t really catch it all, although I did see O’Reilly pointing his finger and reading the guy the riot act.
Was it also during O’Reilly that Dana Rohrabacher gave Hillary Clinton an inspiring smack down on Cheney and the memos? *That* was classic!
“Torture” is what has happened to our POWs in every conflict since we signed the Geneva Convention in 1947.
Fat lot of good that did us.
Yes. You must be right. The Khmer Rouge agree.
“They want to get Gonzales so they can compel testimony against Bush and Cheney”
Just like Scooter Libby was set to rot in jail because someone thought they’d take a shot at Cheney.
This inside politics stuff is rough trade.
Is the CIA any value anylonger? What have they gotten right in 20 years?
“It’s not that we’re ‘undefining’ torture — the left has already done that.”
I wouldn’t say the left has undefined torture. They’ve defined torture up, to steal someone else’s phrase. Waterboarding was perfectly okay until it was not. Thence it became torture.
I’m all for outlawing proper torture, outside of truly emergent situations. But who’s to say what torture is? Seriously. It’s not so objective as the ACLU would have you believe. What is evil about waterboarding? Not that it causes a great amount of pain, nor that it leaves the body disfigured, nor that it is something we won’t do to ourselves.
What’s left? That it scares people and makes them physically uncomfortable? I’d say the whole ordeal of being imprisoned and going through intensive interrogation is pretty uncomfortable and scary as it is. But not enough to break anybody. Staying up for hours at a time, not allowing for enough rest, giving them bad food to eat, etc., are dehumanizing. But not enough to break anybody.
So I ask, what’s the standard? Must we hurt people only so far as they break, and no further? That’s what I go for. Treating them like everyday prisoners? That’s what’ll happen if we pursue the current trend.
There is this illusion that people operate under, that there’s this line out there. That everyone can see the line. On one side stand civilized people; on the other stand barbarians. When people like Stalin and Hitler go to the other side, they become different from us. And we can rest easy in the knowledge that we’re not evil, and they are. Because they use force, and we don’t.
All the while, our government, no different from their’s, uses force all the time. Often it breaks out in grand-scale violence, as when we kill hundreds or thousands at a time indiscriminantly. Still, we think of ourselves as fundamentally different from the barbarians.
But we’re not. It’s a matter of degree. Government is nothing more than organized force, and every people who abide having a government must abide the legitimization of naked force. Whether or not the force is legitimate (i.e. legal) depends on the circumstances. Depends on whether there’s justification, whether the situation’s urgent, and whether we employ more violence then we need.
One thing is certain. When we waterboard people, we don’t become morally equivalent to Russian gulag artists, anymore than we do when we lock people away for their whole lives. There’s still an ocean between us.
We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.
I acknowledge that you believe justification existed for the methods that were used. I give you a lot of credit for yielding the rhetorical point on torture while still arguing for the right to the continue to employ the techniques.
But nobody is "undefining" anything.
TORTURE is a combination of extreme malice and extreme permanent physical or pyschological harm. From what we know, nobody TORTURED anybody.
Fear is not torture. Are horror movies torture movies?
Deception is not torture. Is a poker game an act of terror?
Even murder might not be an act of physical torture.
I wouldn't want to be waterboarded. But I would choose a CIA waterboarding over being beheaded. Or having a tire placed around my neck and set on fire. Or being stoned to death by an angry mob.
I too will reserve the right to use REAL TORTURE if necessary to save humanity. But I will not plead guilty based on what I know of our recent conduct.
No. I found it on Reddit. Be my guest!