Tags: Emerging Threats | Homeland Security | ISIS/Islamic State | Middle East | enhanced | interrogation | torture

Arguments Against Torture Ignore Reality

Arguments Against Torture Ignore Reality

U.S. military reviewed photo of the Guantanamo detention facility at the U.S. Naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Brennan Linsley/AP)     

Monday, 13 February 2017 02:29 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Surveilling his mark, he waited. After the target exited, the "operative" obtained the device, and escaped unscathed.

Well, at least until the older brother realized that junior had "borrowed" his cell phone.

After the unwise younger sibling denied involvement, his nemesis employed a highly-effective method of persuasion: he twisted his brother’s arm. Predictably, the "thief" caved, admitting his complicity and providing the phone’s location, and for good reason: he knew that if he lied, he would receive double the pain, and eventually be forced to give it up anyway.

Call that whatever you want. Torment, enhanced interrogation, or yes, torture.

In the real world, semantics don’t matter. Results do. And unequivocally, methods which maximize human pain to extract information get results. About the only thing more torturous is listening to boneheaded arguments that "torture doesn’t work." President Trump strongly advocates "enhanced interrogation techniques" as a critical weapon in the fight against terror. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with employing them; in fact, it would be irresponsible if we didn’t.

This should be a no-brainer, but given the level of controversy, here’s a look at why we need such methods:

  • Many are upset that America might be "bringing back" torture (since the Obama administration banned methods such as waterboarding). Wrong tense. Torture is alive and well. It’s called sitting through "Manchester by the Sea." And since out-of-touch Hollywood continues to effuse self-aggrandizing awards on it, you know it’s bad.
  • Similarly, the more that armchair academics and out-to-lunch millennials continue to oppose torture, the more you instinctively know that it’s the right thing to do. To them, it’s chic to be "against torture" because "it doesn’t work," and "we’re lowering ourselves to the terrorists’ standards." That fairy tale fluff, spun so eloquently in high-brow parlance replete with $7 lattes, may sound good to the self-righteous. But in the real world, it’s a different story.
  • The naive may choose to ignore history, but that doesn’t change the fact that terrorists vow more carnage. And since these guys aren’t in the habit of sharing, we need tools to figure things out ahead of time. Extracting information by any means necessary to thwart the next attack is simple common sense.
  • Torture works. Period. Inflicting pain, physical and otherwise, is effective since no man is unbreakable. When thousands, or perhaps millions, of lives hang in the balance, the "rights" of a terrorist should go up in smoke, perhaps literally. And no, Geneva Convention rules don’t apply. We are fighting opponents who will never respect such protocols, and who gleefully target innocent civilians in the most horrific ways. Gloves-off is the only way to deal with such barbarians.
  • Mr. Trump made two mistakes. First, despite stating that torture works, he deferred to his national security advisers. Wrong. They can offer input, but the final call is his  — and he should mandate it. Second, he should have run ads articulating his position during the Super Bowl and its record 172 million captive viewers. When will they learn that political ads are not the exclusive domain of campaign season?
  • There are countless fronts where torture can provide critical intel: location of hostages; how many bombs, and when and where they will detonate; battlefield plans; whereabouts of leaders; communication channels; financial networks. The list is limitless, but the time to acquire that information is very finite.
  • Just as the younger brother understood the consequences of lying, terrorists should be made aware of what will happen if they provide bad information.
  • The critics have no solution. None. If ISIS isn’t talking, and isn’t forced to, then we’re out of luck. End of story. And tragically for some, that means the end of the line.
  • The important questions are, do these techniques work? Should we be using them?
  • Despite claims by some that waterboarding and other techniques are ineffective, numerous intelligence officials attest otherwise. These methods led us to Osama bin Laden. They helped prevent another 9/11.
  • For the record, waterboarding is pouring water over the face of a terrorist, simulating drowning. That’s it. It derives success from psychological stress rather than physical harm, and no one dies. But somehow, critics see that as degrading.
  • If we want to be seriously engaged against those who advocate our destruction, we should reconsider how we handle detainees, since terrorist prisoners are also afforded fantastic medical care, food reflective of their ethnicity, and prayer time.

The bottom line is that if we don’t protect ourselves, there won’t be a society to protect.

We cannot forget that we are at war. It’s us or them.

Reinstating torture should be the least torturous decision of all.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.

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The more armchair academics and others oppose torture, the more you know it’s the right thing to do. In the real world, the naive may choose to ignore history, but extracting information by any means necessary to thwart the next attack is simple common sense.
enhanced, interrogation, torture, trump
Monday, 13 February 2017 02:29 PM
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