Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dodging The Interrogation Bullet

You snooze, you lose. While we were all stacking up Z's during the Obama/Republican health care sideshow, the leftists in Congress just tried to slip another America Last national security bill through the House of Representatives. Fortunately, at least one Republican was wide awake during the sneak attack.

Democrat Jim McDermott of Washington's Seventh District is regularly referred to by his opponents as "Baghdad Jim." On the day of the Health Care Summit, McDermott attempted to tack on an amendment to another bill which would have defined all those CIA interrogator horrors in order to prohibit them. He poses as a civil libertarian, but it's much more likely that he gets his ideas from Saddam Hussein looking down upon him from paradise.

Here's the basic shopping list of oppressive interrogation techniques which McDermott wanted to protect his terrorist friends from. The amendment would have banned degrading procedures such as threatening a detainee, or forcing a detainee to blaspheme during an interrogation. Peace be upon him. And that's just the beginning.

Thou shalt not:
1. Commit nudity.
2. Use stress positions that would lead the detainee to believe further force is coming.
3. Commit prolonged isolation.
4. Have dogs of any kind in the vicinity of the devout Muslim detainee.
5. Deprive the detainee of food, water, sleep, or Band-Aids.
6. Expose the detainee to "excessive" heat or cold.
7. Place detainees in cramped spaces for an "excessive" period of time.
8. Coerce the detainee to violate his religious beliefs (leaving infidels alive?).
9. Place hoods or sacks over the detainee's head.
10. Exploit the detainee's phobias (like showing them the SI Swimsuit Edition?)
11. Serve ham sandwiches for lunch (OK, I made that one up).

Fortunately, Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Michigan) was wide awake and paying attention when the Terrorist Protection and Pacification Amendment was introduced in the House. Hoekstra asked McDermott "If a woman interrogator interviews a Muslim with her head uncovered, is that blasphemy?" After McDermott was unable to answer the question, Hoekstra went on: "In the intelligence community today, these folks already believe they are under attack by this administration, and this just reinforces it. This is outrageous. There has not been one minute of hearings or debates on this amendment, and you are putting something in that could put officers in jail for life. What are you thinking?" Well, Pete, he was probably thinking of those vicious, inhumane SEALs that they're putting on trial for making a terrorist uncomfortable.

"Intelligence" Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) attempted to pull McDermott's chestnuts out of the fire by proclaiming that "these restrictions are already part of President Obama's revised Executive Order." Well--not exactly. I'm sure The One would have loved to do so, but in anticipation of a public lynching for crippling America's ability to protect itself from terrorist plots, Obama merely ordered the end of water-boarding and ordered "limitations" on life-endangering interrogation techniques and "inhumane treatment." And if the Accommodator-in-Chief already ordered the necessary restrictions, what is the need for Congressional legislation that wouldn't pass constitutional muster anyway (has the Congressman never heard the words "vague and overbroad")? Furthermore, an executive order can be repealed or modified by a future executive order, but Congressional legislation ties the president's hands permanently.

National Review Online and David Horowitz's NewRealBlog have done a great job of bringing this travesty to the attention of the public. As Andrew McCarthy said: "The McDermott amendment was so broad and so vague that it basically outlawed the interrogation of terrorists. American shoplifters can be threatened by prosecutors with their phobias in order to get a plea deal." I would add that it's a pretty good way of getting shoplifters to "roll over" on their fellow shoplifters. Like getting terrorists to roll over on their fellow plotters. Shoplifters merely steal goods. Terrorists murder civilians en masse.

In case you weren't aware of it, Andrew McCarthy is not just a writer for National Review. He was also the successful federal prosecutor who convicted the Blind Sheikh and his companions for the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. He has pointed out more than once that the success of that prosecution does not justify civilian trials for foreign terrorists, nor should it be used as any kind of guideline for terrorist interrogations.

As McCarthy concludes, "After all, what's a few thousand dead Americans compared to the horror of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed suffering from sore sinuses for the afternoon [from waterboarding]?" Indeed. Ultimately, though, the real credit has to go to Rep. Hoekstra. He was there. He was paying attention. He saw the evil about to be perpetrated on the American people. And he acted. His words rallied the Republicans, and shamed the Democrats into backing off. And because it got hooted down, you are very unlikely ever to hear about this in the mainstream media. It might get passing notice on Fox News, or an article in the Washington Times, but that's about it. Without the blogs, most Americans will never know about the stealth bullet that just missed their heads.


21 comments:

AndrewPrice said...

You and I disagree on torture, but this list is ridiculous. Torture involves injury. Nothing on this list constitute injury, it constitutes discomfort. And if you can't make these people uncomfortable, then you can't question them unless they are already talking voluntarily. . . which is stupid. You might as well do away with interrogation.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: I agree. And even though I support the use of water-boarding, those who oppose it do so in good faith. Many consider it torture, I don't. But I can see their viewpoint. The rest of the catalog comprises exactly what you described it as--discomfort. Even Obama wants to reserve the right to define interrogation techniques for the executive, so that unique exigencies can be dealt with, quickly, without Congressional approval.

AndrewPrice said...

You know, this is so typical of the problem with liberals:

1. They say, "we shouldn't kill bad guys."

2. We say, "hmm, ok, I maybe you have a point, let me think about it."

3. Suddenly, they say, "ok, now that we agree on that, this also means that we should instead take these bad guys and put them into mansions and treat them like royalty for the rest of their live. . . if you don't, that's the same thing as murder."

And in making that argument, they entirely discredit what might have been a good initial argument.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: And let's not forget those Miranda rights and civilian trials with full discovery rights. Which could all be summed up as "incremental surrender."

LawHawkSF said...

NOTE: I forgot to mention that if you can't read the words on the cartoon, just click on it, and it will enlarge so you can read it.

LH

HamiltonsGhost said...

Lawhawk--It's amazing to me how many times we come close to ultimate disaster, only to have one or two vigilant patriots stop the cowards in their tracks.

LawHawkSF said...

HamiltonsGhost: Every day that the Obama administration stays in power I am more convinced of the words: "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." With these leftist, America-hating radicals writing law, there will be more close calls before it's all over. We can't let down our guard for a second.

Joel Farnham said...

Speaking of the cartoon, I wonder if some person (with tongue permanently in cheek) will talk up how terrible the zubber interrogation is? I mean with the way the internet works, zubber by tomorrow afternoon could be brought up by Obama as something that should be outlawed. ;-)

LawHawkSF said...

Joel: Now wouldn't that be fun? The zubber brigades versus the flubber brigades. OH, the humanity!

LawHawkSF said...

So Khalid Sheikh Mohammed sang like a bird after a little water up his nose. Proves the old adage that there's no harm in asking, very pointedly.

Anonymous said...

This is such a weird site. It mentions "truth & light averting tyranny." but all the comments seem to represent the views and tactics and behaviors of tyrants. ??
Might makes right? The ends justify the means? Ignoring gentlemen's agreements like Geneva Convention and civil rights is wimpy liberalism? Authoritarianism in the name of freedom? Do you not get that intimidation of prisoners & their families is foundational to abuse of all & is probably more powerful way to crush civil liberties than taking our guns? Do you not read the research on what makes EFFECTIVE interrogation? Weird. And Goodbye.

Joel Farnham said...

Anonymous,

Since, you are refraining from putting your name out, I can only guess that you are one of the drive-by bloggers who have not courage of their convictions to have a handle.

Do you not get that we are at war? Do you not get that we are dealing with an enemy who has NO civil liberties? Do you not get that all of our interrogation techniques prior to Obama, don't harm the individual? Do you not get that we have been attacked on our soil three times by the enemy since Obama?

If you can't get those and you can't understand that there is no gentlemen's agreement in war, then you can't understand some basics in human nature. Good luck with your ignorance.

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, A couple points. First, if you had read more than just this article, and I know that you did not, then you would have seen that we have a big difference of opinion around here regarding issues that you would consider torture. I have stated repeatedly that I do not condone it, because it is not something I want my government doing and, as you suggest, it is not effective.

And while you assert this point as well, right before accusing us of not examining the research, I could not help but note that you don't identify any such research either. Hypocrisy, it's what's for dinner.

Secondly, while I do not condone torture of any kind, nor do I condone abuse, the things listed in this article are not abuse. They are at best discomfort and are standard police practice in every single Western democracy. So while you think that you are enlightened, you are simply mistaken.

Third, you mention "their families", which is in no way addressed in Lawhawk's article. You are thus putting words into his mouth, which you words you then criticize.

This tells me that you came here with an agenda rather than an open mind. As does your "good bye" comment. Had you come here with an open mind, I could have respected your views. But as it is, I cannot. Truth requires an open discussion of views, not an attack of other views and then a marching off.

Come back when you want an honest discussion.

Tennessee Jed said...

I would like to use some of those techniques on Baghdad Jim. Alternatively, I'd let Mitch Rapp interrogate him.

LawHawkSF said...

Anonymous: By the time I saw your comment, others had already replied, and I don't have much to add to what they've said.

The "Geneva Conventions" are no more a "gentleman's agreement" than is any other international treaty. But as long as you brought it up, the Geneva Conventions have absolutely nothing to do with the matter we are discussing. If you had actually read the Conventions, you would know that combatants who commit any act while not in uniform or not openly representing a recognizable "state" are not covered by the Conventions.

This site welcomes opposition opinion, but as the saying goes, "you're entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts." If you want to debate the issue, come out from behind your anonymity, state your cause, and back it with something other than insults.

Where did I ever say "might makes right?" Where did I ever say "the ends justify the means?" The people on this blog even disagree strongly on what comprises "enhanced interrogation," but we all agree that we don't condone torture.

And who the hell said anything about the detainees' families? Only you. You are also one of those ignoramuses who doesn't know the difference between civil liberties and civil rights. The former are creatures of statute, the latter are creatures of the Constitution. The former are malleable in times of war, the latter are not. And even at that, the Constitution and American civil liberties are not applicable to foreign terrorists.

I have probably forgotten more about the effectiveness of interrogation techniques than you will ever know. You ask "do you not read the research . . . .? I ask you "do you read at all?"

If you wish to debate this like an adult, come back, give us your arguments, and make sense instead of throwing out sophomoric insults. Otherwise, your "good bye" will be taken as a promise that you won't waste any more of our time.

LawHawkSF said...

Tennessee: With or without the bunny?

HamiltonsGhost said...

Anonymous--Come out of mom's basement and take a look at the real world. It's a very dangerous place, and when we can't interrogate terrorists without the Waldorf-Astoria accommodations, we can't get vital information, and it gets even more dangerous. You probably get more of that sleep-deprivation and loud noise discomfort in the basement on purpose than the terrorists get at Club Caribbean on purpose. Turn the computer off, forget the Huffington Post and the DailyKos, go outside in the sunlight, and start thinking clearly.

CalFederalist said...

Anonymous. Since this blogsite constantly emphasizes the constitution and the limits on government intrusion on the fundamental rights of its citizens, you've picked the wrong place to attack the writers for tyrannical points of view. Foreign terrorists are not lucky enough to be American citizens, so they don't have the same rights, and they shouldn't. We simply offer them the same rights they have in their own homelands.

patti said...

is it weird that i read #4 as "have HOT dogs of any kind" and then before i caught my mistake i was lamenting the non-use of chili-cheese dogs?!

and i say water-board their asses. it's the least we can do when they try to KILL us.

LawHawkSF said...

Patti: LOL. I think they should feed them chili cheese dogs--lots of them. Kosher or halal dogs will work just fine. Then keep them in a confined room, with no air-conditioning, and no bathroom facilities, for a long time. They'll be screaming "I confess, and here are all the names and places you need to know. Now let me outta here." And it wouldn't even cause them to "blaspheme": "If one is forced because there is no other choice, neither craving nor transgressing, there is no sin in him. Indeed, Allah is forgiving, merciful."

LawHawkSF said...

HamiltonsGhost: That's the impression that I got, and your solution sounds pretty good, too. It might also be a college student at one of the radical schools who love free speech as long as they're the only ones speaking.

CalFed: Thanks for pointing that out. The only thing I might disagree on is that we provide them considerably more rights than they could possibly dream of in their homelands if they don't tow the line. Before Abu Ghraib got the attention of the MSM for putting women's panties on terrorists' heads, it was Saddam Hussein's murder and torture chamber. The "chipper" story has been seriously questioned, but the tales of torture and murder have remained unscathed. I don't think the CIA handbook or our military manuals contemplated that type of treatment, even the day after 9-11.

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