Michael's Dispatches

"The United States of America Does Not Torture"


24 February 2009

President Barack Obama has spoken.  His words beamed around the world.  I am in Asia preparing for a long year in Afghanistan and other contended places, but stopped to listen closely to President Obama's words.  Most of the things that President Obama talked about will take years, or many years, to implement.  But one thing can happen NOW.  No more torture.

I believe we can beat the terrorists we face without torture.  In fact, we can fight them better and more effectively from high ground than from low ground.

Thank you President Obama for moving to the high ground.

Michael Yon


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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mrs. Kemp · 12 years ago
    Raping little girls & boys, that's torture! A roasted child, presented on a platter, before his parents, that's torture! Beheading, that's torture! Third trimester abortion, that's torture! B. Hussein Obama gives great speeches, but so did Hitler. Have you noticed how he avoids press conferences? And if he has one, he'll answer only two questions? He's lost without a teleprompter. B Hussein Obama is more concerned about our enemies, while he & the Democrat Party are steadily bankrupting America. This so-called, stimulus package, will be used to pay off their union buddies (auto industry), help illegal aliens, who usually vote Democrat, with their mortgage, nationalize medicine, support Acorn, extend unemployment benefits, while cutting back on our defense budget. How is this going to stimulate the economy? At the rate this administration is going, another terrorist attack on American soil is on the horizon.
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    Monitor59 · 12 years ago
    Having served in the Marine Corps for 22 years, I often thought that there were times when torture, however abhorrent, that torture would be a military necessity. Not the kind of torture they conducted at Abu Ghraib, but interrogation techniques used to gain information through physical and mental anguish. I have read what you have posted here on torture and the articles you have written before and I believe now that you are right. There can be no room for torture in our military and we can only take the high road here. Thank you, Michael, for helping me see that light. I am no Obama fan but I agree with you here, he is right.
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    Marvin Gardens · 12 years ago
    Obama gave a speech last night?
    Waterboarding is a temporary discomfort to one very dangerous individual with a high probability that the results will save many innocent lives. Drinking the Kool-Aid will get us all killed.
    Congratulations on reaching your goal Michael. You are now officially a member of the establishment media.
    As I only get my news from reliable sources, please excuse me while I 'move-on' to your unsubscribe list.
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    Tim Sumner · 12 years ago
    We lost an average of 26 people per minute - my brother-in-law among them - on 9/11, from 1st hijacking through when the North Tower fell. As a date rate, that works out to 1 ,665,600 per year, which far surpasses our actual American dead, civilian and military, due to all the wars and conflicts in our history combined. And they did not need WMD to achieve that rate.

    Torture should not be our stated policy yet it damn well better be the policy we will use if necessary to prevent another 9/11 or worse from happening here again.
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    R.E. Beason · 12 years ago
    Many wise and thoughtful responses are below. However - this country is not really at war when our populace and our leaders think they can prevail against radical evil with being the 'nice guy' in every situation.

    The prevalence of evil and the persuasion of doing evil for achieving the ultimate thrill (death and dying) can not be ended by the 'nice guy' in every situation of war. Aggressive actions will be taken, unpalatible to liberal thought and a nations worldwide perception, 'not if, but when' another 9/11, USS Cole, Oklahoma City Federal Building, Marine Bombing, Nigerian Embassy Bombing, et al. occurs.

    As a prior victim of parental childhood abuse I loath any abuse by any bully. I more loath that my leaders are willing to sacrifice the populace to hold a perception of higher ground with US citizen's bodies and soil destroyed by those who would not otherwise resort to torture as a first methods in their war's arsenal.
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    Barbara · 12 years ago
    The things President Obama named in his speech will take years to implement, you say? Let us pray. The loss of what my family holds dear, however, is happening hourly and at a breakneck pace. We are terrified about the future of our wonderful country, the last best place on earth. In addition, for the president and you to imply that torture is the USA's standard operating practice is distasteful in the extreme. I have been your supporter for a long time, Michael, but your comments of 2/24 break my heart. The "high ground" is not a territory this new administration has visited or even mapped. Alas.
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    Just a Digger · 12 years ago
    Bloody hell Mike, we have the high ground son. The enemy with their embrace of radical Islam gives us a mighty height from which to rain down death upon them.
    Start cosying up to the enemy and the war is lost.
    Hate your enemy...think Nazis....think Japs...think VC....think hate.
    For the Obamessiah to claim any sort of moral high ground is a foul joke.
    Look at his associates and his support for the killing of the survivors of late term abortions.
    That sort of bloke is no moral hero, he's the antithesis.
    Harden up son and give the enemy a good quick kick in the balls when needed and a drink and a smoke when otherwise. That's being tough, not bloody torture.
    And get on with fighting the good fight and winning it.
    Leave the existential sissy crap to Obama and his moral pretenders.
    They wouldn't fight for anything...except power.
    Patton would roll in his grave to hear you spruik this girlie PC nonsense.
    Harden the hell up and steel youself for the grind ahead.
    Good luck mate, stay safe.
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    Treytor · 12 years ago
    I see the arm chair generals are out in force. Please note the following:

    1/ The US _has_ waterboarded prisoners.
    2/ Waterboarding is torture (as defined by the Geneva Convention and indeed by Christopher Hitchens)
    / All current and ex military persons posting in this thread agree that torture doesnt wrk
    4/ The only persons advocating torture are the arm chair tough guys.

    As a non American I can tell you that if you did have torture on the books, it would lower my view of your country's superior moral position in the War on Terror. Rememeber- never wrestle a pig, the pig will enjoy it and you will end up filthy.

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    JS · 12 years ago
    What the hell IS torture? I mean, we all KNOW what torture is right? I mean, its Jack Bauer torture. Shooting people in the knees and stabbing out their eyes that's torture right? But is sleep deprivation torture? Is being cold torture? Is being made to stand or sit in an uncomfortable position torture? Is loud music torture? Is having women panties put on your head torture? Is limiting someone's food to make them hungry all the time but not starve torture?

    We ALL need to come to the same conclusion on exactly just WHAT torture is before we can start talking about banning it.

    And Michael, you should no better than this. Obama is merely obfuscating to look good in the eyes of left and "other countries". Without defining torture how in the hell can you pledge to not do it?
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    John Pattillo · 12 years ago
    Respectfully, I disagree with Michael Yon and his defenders on this issue.

    1. Torture is not defined. It would help the discussion if everyone stuck to this, or something like it: inflicting extreme pain (of whatever kind) to secure information in order to defeat the enemy. With this understanding, torture is not Abu Ghraib (that is unauthorized hooliganism with no military purpose); b) torture is not vengeance, retribution, or punishment on or off the battlefield, undertaken by soldiers as a personal decision (that ƒ?? however understandable in certain circumstances ƒ?? is unjustified taking the law into oneƒ??s own hands).
    2. ƒ??Moral high groundƒ? is not defined. Neither Michael Yon nor his defenders give any reason why it is morally superior to our enemies to refrain from the use of force to acquire information. And why is torture (as defined) worse than killing or wounding the enemy in order to defeat him?
    4. ƒ??No useful information is ever gained through torture.ƒ? This is only asserted, not proven, or even substantiated.
    5. ƒ??The use of torture will improve the opinion held about us by the people who might otherwise become our enemies.ƒ? This is a wish not a fact. It is a particularly myopic wish since every country that might become our enemy already uses torture and has no respect for human rights anyway. And, even if it were a fact, would it be a militarily relevant fact? You cannot evaluate this in the present context of the current apologetic, self-flagellating military policies. You must compare it to what a proper military policy would be ƒ?? i.e., resolute, uncompromising, self-righteous, as in WWII.
    The implication is that the terrorists would not themselves use torture if not for our use first, and that our torture is their best ƒ??recruitment toolƒ?; instead, I believe that radical Islam and lifelong brainwashing are their best recruitment tools, which have nothing to do with our torture policies at all.
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    Tarver · 12 years ago
    Michael (or your staff, probably don't read these comments)

    I stongly disagree with you that the One has raised the stature of the US with his "declaration". We did not torture before the O pontificated. Waterboarding is not torture. Drilling into your joints with a cordless drill is torture. Standing listening to Barney music is not torture. Cutting off fingers is torture. Not allowed to sleep for 16 hours is not torture. Removing someone's eye and handing it to them is torture. Don't you see the difference? Which ones do the USA use, and which ones does Al Queda use?

    You are a hypocrite, because you deny the USA the same methods that you yourself I guarantee would use if your wife and kids were abducted and the person you captured had the only information about their whereabouts.

    Posts like this, and space given to Galloway, are the proverbial staw that broke the camel's back. You won't care, or even know, but I will not donate to your cause this year, as I have done last year, and you are off my browser for good.
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    Jim K · 12 years ago
    When the US military trains soldiers to resist interrogation, it uses a technique from the Middle Ages, known as "waterboarding". This should but wont put to rest the debate over how the Us should handle AQ detainees who are not entitled to any protection under the Geneva convention. Michael's own excellent work shows these so called jihaadists to be drug addicted sexual and moral deviants that are affront to God and the Koran. These animals do not represent any country or people or religion. As a civilized country and the standard bearer for the rest of the world we have a duty to take the moral high ground and throughout both wars our brave Soldiers and Marines have continued to do so. They few Instances where people were out of line were exposed and prosecuted. Waterboarding is not torture. Used properly It causes the detainee no lasting harm and can result In a great deal of information that we never had received from a high value detainee. Khalid Sheik Mohammed gave up vital Information that saved thousands of American and British lives. Obama's shameless grandstanding was a national disgrace and only emboldens our enemies. When the first nuke or dirty bomb detonates in Baltimore, DC or Los Angeles the finger pointing will start and the questions will fly as to how could this have happened. Right now the border with Mexico is run by Drug cartels. We are searching old women at airports and letting Narco-Terrorists control our borders. We are up against an enemy that does not have moral limits, Term limits or nonsensical political ambitions. Iran Is close to having a bomb that may be crude by our standards but devastating if used on American soil. Pakistan is collapsing, North Korea would gladly sell one of their nukes for the right price. The former Soviet Union has lost control of many of It's weapons. It is only a matter of time before they acquire a nuclear device and use it. They have already acquired biological weapons In the form of the virus that killed 10s of millions in Europe called the Black death. This was discovered recently In Algeria only when their own ignorance exposed and killed dozens of AQ members. Most of you never read about this because the media is In Kool Aid mode and not going to print the truth about the dangers we face. If the US Government was taken out with one bomb The country would not survive. New Orleans fell completely apart In less than one day without Government control. I am glad the new president has focused on Afghanistan and Pakistan because as long as these maggots are allowed to breath the more Inevitable this scenario will become. We have to get it right every time, They only have to do It once. they have already showed the discipline and planning that spanned multiple Administrations. American media and politicians do not have the patience or the courage to commit to doing what It takes to defeat such an enemy. The TV show Jericho showed how quickly things would fall apart without government for even a brief time. It was only a fictional scenario but do not think that our enemies have not learned from that scenario. Our enemy has It's stated goal to be the complete destruction and the worldwide spread of radical Islam. They have already succeeded In taking controls of the hearts and minds of millions In Europe who see America as the bad guy. There is only one freely elected Muslim goverment in the Middle East and that Is in Iraq. Despite all odds we are close to succeeding and having a permanent friendly democratic government In the Middle East. This is not lost on our enemies or so called allies like Saudi Aarabia. This is not a right vs left arguement , This is a war for our very survival and It is fine time we started treating it like one.
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    flyonthewall · 12 years ago
    FOOLS: I only hope your post is read widely. You articulate a message I've been unable to deliver to the uniformed. As I copy / paste, I worry about not footnoting. If you want attribution, please post a link.

    off topic: Reading the NYT report on BHO's plan for troop withdrawal left me dizzy from the media spin. How does this plan differ from the SOFA that was reached during Bush's term? It certainly DOES differ from BHO's campaign promises. His apologists will argue, "He didn't have all the facts" and commend him for "having the wisdom to modify". Heck, the facts were available to anyone who can read. Thank God it differs from Pelosi's inane concept of minimalism, which would leave our remaining troops left hung out to dry. And as for being hung out to dry, if there's a strategy behind our dumping troops into Afghanistan with no viable supply routes and no parity in NATO investment, I can't find it in ANY media. If anyone can, please post.
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    Jim K · 12 years ago
    Thank You, Feel free to send that to anyone who will or will not listen. I did not post that to be an alarmist or cause people to live In fear but we have to stop living in the land of make believe. Bill Clinton offered the Palestinians the best deal they would ever get. They answered with suicide bombs and elected Hamas. Clinton also gave North Korea everything that they wanted, Fuel, Food & money, And they still managed to build nuclear weapons! I am not blaming Clinton but pointing out that our enemies will gladly negotiate with us and still plan our destruction. In 4 years I think people will Long for "W".
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    BlueJammu · 12 years ago
    WOW talk about a 60 Michael. I wonder if after you received your final payment if you will change your mind back. I say this because I cannot understand what in the world happened here. I remember reading a number of different posts about detainees but cannot remember one were you mentioned torture. I also remember several different posts where you state you wanted to tell the truth about the war(s). So I have a few questions. If the US Military was torturing people and you knew about it, why were you not reporting it? I thought you espoused a certain moral responsibility to ensure what was happening during the war was being documented. So either you are a liar or hypocrite, maybe both.

    I hope that you have voiced this openly to the troops with whom you are embedded. I wonder how they would feel if they knew your position. I am not talked to about asking one person; stand up in front of the entire group, tell them that regardless if their friends are being held captive, and possibly being beheaded on video that you feel water boarding is not an option to bring them back alive. Please also state that you feel making Taliban and Al Qaeda captives wear panties on their head is out as well. I believe we call that torture now as well.

    You know I am especially concerned that you, as a military veteran, would make these asinine comments. Let me be very clear; if it was my son who was captured and we could get information from a prisoner, then you better use every damn tactic in the book and then some to get him home to me. Have I said how dumfounded I am about your comments?

    I cannot agree more with the ƒ??HAPƒ??sƒ? post more. He states ƒ??Abortion of 40 million humans is tortureƒ??the president should never openly limit his options to our enemiesƒ?.

    And to those who think that torture only produces suspect information what should we then do? I mean actively giving money to informants who are not the best of characters are out. So the next best thing is to sit them in a lazy boy and say; ƒ??pretty please, I really need to know this information.ƒ? Iƒ??m sure that will work. Time to order some lazy boyƒ??s and slippers. You types are ridiculous.

    Michael I can remember on a few different occasions where you stated the enemy knows we canƒ??t take seeing the bloodshed or last in a prolonged war. It is apparent you have lost your metal too. War sucks, death sucks, innocent people and children dying sucks even more. If only we could go back to the days when being in war didnƒ??t suckƒ??oh right, it has always sucked.

    What the hell happened to you???
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    Alaska Paul · 12 years ago
    Torture is an emotionally charged word that means different things to different people. If torture meant the physical abuse from burning someone, or pulling out their nails, or other physical harm, then I am against it. If torture means some waterboarding, or listening to heavy metal music, or depriving someone of sleep, then I am not against it.

    Our enemies at al Q use our aversion of torture as a tool against us. They say they were tortured in detention just like a criminal claims police brutality when they attack an officer and are beaten to be subdued. It plays to the press. It is a tool of war in their kit that they can use. Our humanity is our weakness in our eyes.

    President Obama may or may not feel sincere about this. He may be using it as a political way of getting world opiniionƒ?› brownie points.

    The danger that our country faces by theses terrorists is not conveyed properly to our public. Our governmental leaders cannot communicate worth beans, and our so-called free press falls flat on its face.

    Our enemies, however, have found a simple word that can make us go crazy with guilt, even though we are not torturers. We are chumps.

    Watch the hands and not the mouths. Applies to defense against potential thug attackers and applies to our current crop of politicians.
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    Kevin Delaney · 12 years ago
    How nice, you show your true colors. Next time you're in the desert do me a favor...GO POUND SAND!
    Consider me to be a former supporter.
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    Aaron · 12 years ago
    As someone who has followed your dispatches for some time, bought your book, and has introduced many friends to your work, I was disappointed to read this dispatch, but wanted to give you time to further explain yourself. Your follow-up email (pasted below) does not address the concerns that I share with numerous other people commenting on this topic. Can you please state how you define torture? If you define it as inflicting massive amounts of pain, e.g. yanking people's fingernails out, are you then implying that US interrogators have been conducting this sort of business? Those are serious charges and should come with a hefty dose of evidence. Or are you saying we shouldn't make AQ Terrorists listen to heavy metal music if they don't want to? Somewhere in between?

    You should carefully explain this, I think a lot of your supporters hang in the balance. I'm one of them.

    "Those who propose that the United States should use wholesale torture are clueless about the realities we face, and in fact their words make them out to be no better than our enemies. Many people seem to believe that by using torture we prove we are tough. Some would disagree. Our enemies use torture yet we stack their bodies high."
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    Al Reasin · 12 years ago
    I have followed you and supported you from your initial reporting. Unfortunately, you have set yourself up for the attacks in the comments; how quickly some turn on someone they supposedly liked and respected. The "no more torture" statement is the culprit. I know you have condemned some of the outlandish actions taken that were less than torture and I do not remember you reporting situations where Americans were practicing torture. You may be referring to rendition, which kept our hands clean, but most likely involved our allies torturing captives with our knowledge. I would suggest, as have others, that you clear the air on this issue.

    I agree with the many commenters that water boarding and other actions outlawed in the Army Field Manual are not torture, especially since they are apparently used during training by some US military organizations. I agree that they should not be allowed by field forces. I can understand but not necessarily condone "illegal" threats and physical abuse in the heat of battle when Americans lives are immediately at stake, but planned actions such as water boarding should be performed by the CIA with written approval from the executive branch; not to become a routine practice. From what I know from talking to fellow veterans who were in combat, we are fighting this war more humanely in this regard than we did during Vietnam or the war in the Pacific.

    Take care and stay safe
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    Ken Sweeney · 12 years ago
    Commanding the high moral ground is a must to win a war against an ideology. Torture of prisoner swells the ranks of Al Queda. Killing thugs and criminal, wins hearts and minds. When we send one innocent man to Abu grab torture and humiliate him then send him home a couple months later, and we create 10 more Al Queda recruits. How can we win war on radical terror if we are seen as the terrorist.
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    Linda Bergin · 12 years ago
    Mr.Yon, I commented on your last torture article. I couldn't imagine anyone in our American military saying we should torture or promote torture but I ask you....when in war what would be called torture...exactly? IS torture American policy? Are we to accomplish the mission with information extracted from those we captured? Is it wise for an anti military President to call for No More Torture as if that is our policy and to telegraph Americans will be soft on their prisoners?
    Is it not true that the Red Cross and other non political and political groups toured Gitmo and found conditions beyond humanitarian? Should a few rouge military members actions be promoted as if that is the norm? And were not those actions promoted as the norm by this current President and his political party?
    I believe every military member and military supporter would agree we should remain on the high moral ground...haven't we? or are you too on the band wagon that the actions of a few are the policy?
    I haven't heard any Islamic extremists apologize for 9/11 or for murdering journalists or for torturing our military members. I haven't seen Islamic Extremists humanitarian efforts towards their own countrymen or towards Americans as We, Americans have put towards those people.
    I'll continue to read your work. I know it is first hand but I am starting to think we have crossed over to reading your opinion unlike your past work. I get it ...you struggled through, worked from donations and really sacrificed to get the information out there but now you too have a chance to play with the big boys and make that money, be on the shows ,be invited to those glamorous 'insider' parties. We are all opportunisits/capitalists and who wouldn't want to be invited into the White House to meet any American President even if it is Jimmy Carter redux.
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    Robert Turner · 12 years ago
    I realize that you have gotten some serious flak for saying things as they are, but I appreciate the efforts to provide a clear view of the conflict. Keep up the good work
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    Lester Dent · 12 years ago
    Michael -

    You say in your new post at Hot Air that Bush or Rumsfeld did not say the US does not torture captives. It took me about 5 seconds to find one instance where he did, and I recall others during the "torture debate" by the Cheney and Rumsfeld.

    Your post assumes that a) this declaration by President Obama is something unprecedented and b) that it will change minds and make our own soldiers safer. The first is demonstrably untrue (see below); the second I believe you should understand.

    How our soldiers were treated as captives had *nothing* to do with how we conducted ourselves. You know, from being there, that we took many casualties because we refused to call in an air strike and let Allah sort them out.

    Our soldiers were mutilated not because we torture but because that is what they do to enemies. If we refuse to do that, all it tells them is that they are safer. It will not stay the hand of an al-Zarqawi, it will simply reassure him that we are weak.

    I know you write you think "torture" is next at Hot Air, but your thesis seems to be that anything coercive is off the table. I think you also think that no valid intel comes from torture. This is simply not true. As you should know, intel is not just about learning new things but verifying other intel and expanding it, in Rumsfeld's parlance learning what you know you don't know. You also learn the unknown unknowns - intel you aren't even aware is out there. The idea that torture (or, in what I believe the US administers, enhanced coercion that is not torture) never gives good intel because they will tell you anything to stop the pain is simplistic and is not modern interrogation. Only when one is attempting to extract a confession that cannot be verified do you run the risk of getting false intel. Interrogators don't go in blind - they may know 40%, but they always know something. The information is tested and verified against other informers and intel.

    I believe you were wrong here, and are perhaps too close to the action to see. It would be amazing if, given your awareness of how vulnerable you are embedded or unilateral, you did not think that your treatment might be mitigated by words by the President. It didn't work when the Bush administration said it - and the world does not seem to be on the Obama bandwagon. As one top Iranian cleric said, the only difference now is that "Satan has a black face".

    While I was rather dumbfounded by your seemingly naive view that, now that Obama says it, the abuse of our people will end, I still respect you enormously. Like Michelle Malkin, your autographed picture of Major Bieger holding Farah is one of my most treasured items. I have and will continue to support your reporting. I just think you are very wrong here.


    Lester Dent

    Bush says U.S. ƒ??does not torture peopleƒ??

    AP updated Oct. 5, 2007
    President Bush defended his administrationƒ??s detention and interrogation policies for terrorism suspects on Friday, saying they are both successful and lawful.

    ƒ??When we find somebody who may have information regarding a potential attack on America, you bet weƒ??re going to detain them, and you bet weƒ??re going to question them... The American people expect us to find out information, actionable intelligence so we can help protect them. Thatƒ??s our job.ƒ? ...

    ƒ??This government does not torture people,ƒ? the president said.
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    Sean D · 12 years ago
    There are plenty of hypotheticals wherein I would totally support any number of extreme treatments, including virulent forms of torture.

    If I was in command of some 19 year old kids who were picked up by AQ somehow, and I had a prisoner whom I had reason to believe had an idea where they were, and knowing full well that those kids were going to be tortured and killed brutally, the results later to be posted on the internet for that kids mom, grandmother and sisters to see, you can be sure as shit I'd blow that little bastards knee-caps off to get the information I needed.

    I'd pull out his fingernails, I'd do whatever it took if those kids were my responsibility.

    I'd would much rather have to spend my life in an Afghan prison than know I didn't do what it took to protect my men from such a fate.

    I'm glad you have such moral clarity, Yon, that you'd send troops in to fight savages like al Qaeda, but tie our forces' hands when it really mattered.
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    Gary E. Rivest, Sr. · 12 years ago
    Would partial birth abortion be torture? We treat people who do harm to the innocent special protections, but through innocent lives in the trash heap of human selfishness. Our moral fabric has been poked, pulled and ripped apart and we're worried about the moral high ground for God's sake!
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    Chris Grier · 12 years ago

    I really enjoy your reporting and your insight. I respectfully differ with you only in the sense that you salute President Obama for taking the "moral high ground." You are mistaken, Mr. Obama is merely pandering to his base. If he really wanted to eliminate torture he would eliminate rendition, but he has not done so and has quietly made clear that he will not do so. He wants credit for eliminating torture while reserving for himself the latitude to do what is necessary when he needs to (which, ironically, is the right call). I know you are an idealist (as I am), but the reality is that when you are fighting sadists and murderers like Al Qaeda, if you want to WIN, sometimes you will have to do things that are perhaps not morally unimpeachable, but that are nevertheless necessary, and, in fact, vital.
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    Bdoon · 12 years ago
    I think "Straw" hit it on the nose...what if it was your son, daughter or wife about to have their head sawed off for the amusement of Arab television fans all over the world? On the other hand the constant use of torture as pointed out by a victim, John McCAin, is not an effective way to garner information. Yet if the perp is not expecting torture and you pull out the butane lighter the psychological shock alone might make the difference. Even worse if the perp knows you have his family...that can be worse than any physical pain. I think "We do not torture" is a great policy. Something like "No taxation without representation" or "One man, one vote". However like those "We Do not Torture" has to be taken in context No rule or regulation ever covered every contingency...why the words "exception" and "waiver" came into existence.
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    Jed_Dog · 12 years ago
    I guess it's ok that we drop a bomb and accept the collateral damage. We will accept the bloody broken little arms and legs. But we have a problem with playing Barney music to get info out of a terrorist? Come on, wheres the higher ground? If we can discomfort a bad guy so we don't have to drop that bomb, I truly believe that is the higher ground here. I think you are compartmentalizing this issue. In the broad scheme, it is our moral obligation to get this info out of these guys. I think the Afgan family would be very thankful to us if we did. Just think of it as a part of COIN.
    Thanks for what you are doing. I have learned much from you and similar blogs. I try to spread the word to however will listen to me.
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    Buzz Adams · 12 years ago
    I think it's a jingle, a campaign slogan. The is a desire to distance themselves from Bush. Because to many on the left, Bush was the great satin. Now with the economy there is a desire to paint him as asleep at the wheel.
    For me the issues about torture are: What is torture and what is not torture? What happens when you need immediate information to stop something and you have one of the planners in custody? Are there effective means to get information out of someone in a reasonable timeframe without harming them?

    I say if it's immediate, do what ever you have to including killing the person. It is a war after all. If it's not immediate but you want to know what this person knows use tactics that do no harm to the person. Of course then someone has to decide what is considered immediate. To me a plot( intending to kill) that is planned and about to be executed is immediate. Everything else is not.
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    Tall Tom · 10 years ago
    What if your "belief" that your prisoner had the knowledge of the location of your young men was "wrong"? You are human?

    So you torture the prisoner and he gives you bad intel to stop the interrogation, the torture which you inflicted upon him. You check out the intel and, of course, your men aren't found because the prisoner DID NOT KNOW. When and where do you draw the line? So do you continue the torture? Do you end up killing him, an innocent victim? I know that you believe that he is guilty...as guilty as sin. Where do you draw the line? Are you the Almighty? I guess so since might makes right.

    So I'd like to understand the moral clarity of the TORTURE of INFANTS to extract intel from their SUSPECTED terrorist parents? That's right...SUSPECTED. That is what brought me to this blog.

    Do we murder an innocent baby for that intel? Where do you draw the line? Just where do YOU draw the line?

    This is one of the reasons that I want to die.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tall Tom · 10 years ago
    First case...What if the "child molester or child killer" was SUSPECTED yet truthfully NOT GUILTY of ANY crime? So who decides to proclaim him "guilty" and apply the use of torture? Of what use is his "confession"? And since his fabricated "confession" did not pan out...Do you apply even more torture?
    You are very, very sick pal, mentally ill.
    And as for G.W. Bush keeping us "safe"? The United States is still wide open for terrorist attacks.
    When I board a commercial aircraft the stewardesses will hand me an aluminum can UPON MY REQUEST when torn in half, is just as dangerous and deadly as ANY BOX CUTTER.
    So all of that airport pre-boarding screening, all that equipment costing hundreds of millions of dollars, is ABSOLUTELY WORTHLESS. (OMG...I just inadvertently aided and abetted a terrorist plot by pointing out U.S. Gov't STUPIDITY.)
    The truth is that terrorists aren't here. Believe me...If I can think of this...so CAN they...PUN INTENDED.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tall Tom · 10 years ago
    The REASON why I'm reading this is that the U.S. Gov't has sanctioned TORTURE of INFANTS.

    Somehow a decision was made to TORTURE. So NOW where is the line drawn?
    So what IS and ISN'T "acceptable"?
    When is "TORTURE LITE" used? (e.g. waterboarding, sleep deprivation, etc.)
    When is "EXTREME TORTURE" used? (e.g. Digit removal, eye damage, the TORTURE of INFANTS, etc.)?
    Is TORTURE used for SUSPECTED or just KNOWN terrorists?

    How do you tell the public that the U.S. Gov't uses tactics formerly used by BRUTAL DICTATORS or DESPOTIC REGIMES? (e.g. Nazi Germany, Stalinist Soviets)

    We've crossed a VERY BAD LINE. It's a slippery slope on the other side...going to Hell!!!


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