Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Waterboarding as torture? Not so much

Let's be clear, The Monk is pro-waterboarding if the technique gets a jihadi to spill his guts and reveal operational details that will (or at least may) save lives. Obviously, per Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, it does. Obviously, per the KSM interrogation, it works quickly, effectively and can save lives. Indeed, according to the New Yorker (in a piece highly critical of CIA's tactics), KSM cracked in seconds.

There's no question it's nasty. The interrogators have nightmares about the methods. But if American lives depend upon it, coercive interrogation must be used. "Coercive interrogation" is not a euphemism for torture -- waterboarding inflicts tremendous fear and anxiety, but the captive is monitored to ensure no or minimal bodily injury occurs. Defining torture to include coercive interrogation forces the United States to combat enemies trained to defy our general interrogation methods with the equivalent of bringing a knife to a gunfight.

And no, it should not be standard practice. Coercive interrogation is for those who know something (and experienced interrogators can determine who is hiding information), are resisting interrogation, and who won't otherwise break.

Complaints that the captives are kept from establishing a schedule, deprived of light and exercise, kept in isolation, etc., are foolish. The US treats Aldrich Ames in a similar manner, and he's a United States citizen who is entitled to full protection of the Constitution. As The Monk has noted, the Al-Qaedans are entitled to no Geneva Convention protections -- they can be killed as spies under international law without so much as a by-your-leave. So yes, The Monk is pro-waterboarding, and not bashful about it either.

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