I’m Not Sorry, Either

 

Khalid_Shaikh_Mohammed_after_captureJust up on the website of the Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens’s latest column.  An excerpt:

I am not sorry Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the operational mastermind of 9/11, was waterboarded 183 times. KSM also murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl in 2002. He boasted about it: “I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew,” he said after his capture.

I am sorry KSM remains alive nearly 12 years after his capture. He has been let off far too lightly. As for his waterboarding, it never would have happened if he had been truthful with his captors. It stopped as soon as he became cooperative. As far as I’m concerned, he waterboarded himself.

I’m not sorry, either.

Are you?

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  1. Giantkiller Member
    Giantkiller
    @Giantkiller

    I am so NOT SORRY that words fail me.

    • #1
  2. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Nope. I think we should have waterboarded every one we captured

    • #2
  3. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    No.

    What seems to be largely absent from all the pearl-clutching, twisted panty, sturm und drang of the media is:

    • Any discussion of what they think should have been done.
    • Any recollection of how today’s denunciators were screaming for action in the wake of 9/11 and demanding to know why something wasn’t done, and demanding that harsh measures be taken.

    The damage the Left has done to this country since Obama became president is incalculable. We’re going to be feeling its effects long after the current brood of vipers has passed from the scene.

    • #3
  4. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Am I sorry that a brutal and evil murderer was subjected to this kind of treatment? Not particularly; it’s difficult to imagine a person less deserving of anyone’s sympathy.

    I am, though, sorry that we’re the ones who did it, and at a loss to answer how our republic survived more than 200 years of warfare without having to resort to such a thing before.

    • #4
  5. FightinInPhilly Coolidge
    FightinInPhilly
    @FightinInPhilly

    No.

    Peter, you made a good effort in the last podcast to draw attention to the fact that the word “torture” is pretty broad. By the Left’s definition, sleep deprivation is the same as pulling out fingernails with pliers or burning with a hot poker. I think its an important distinction.

    Here’s my handy rule of thumb: if an American soldier, sailor, airman or marine can complete the sentence “I was ________ed in training*,” it is NOT torture.

    Helpful true examples “I was waterboarded in training.” NOT torture. “I was sleep deprived in training.” NOT torture. Noticeably absent from this list are statements involving burns, broken bones, removal of fingernails.

    Last thought- I believe it was a guest on James Delingpole’s most recent podcast that made the point worth repeating. “Torture isn’t morally problematic because it doesn’t work. Its morally problematic because it does.”

    * not saying this is part of standard training. But indivuals going through escape and evade training (as well as other special forces trainings) do experience these practices.

    • #5
  6. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    When prisoners of war were taken on a battlefield (even as that battlefield encompassed civilian areas) under the tenets of “traditional” war, we largely bent over backwards to ensure that our conduct seldom ventured into the realm of actual torture. When Jihadis deliberately target civilians…whether innocents on Flight 93, employees of Cantor Fitzgerald, Australians enjoying a chocolate treat…all bets are off. I will leave to the Almighty to sort out the right and wrong of waterboarding, which to my knowledge has never actually killed anyone. Ask anyone who has fought in southeast Asia in the last 100 years about torture. (And no, Lesley Stahl, warm Ensure might not taste good, but it’s not torture.)

    • #6
  7. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    In answer to Tom, the reason why torture is more needed now is because one-man lethality is at an all – time high. One bomb, one airplane, etc…. Foreknowledge of the next 911 could save thousands of lives.

    • #7
  8. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    Please, everyone, read the original piece. It is good to the last drop.

    • #8
  9. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    FightinInPhilly: Here’s my handy rule of thumb: if an American soldier, sailor, airman or marine can complete the sentence “I was ________ed in training*,” it is NOT torture. Helpful true examples “I was waterboarded in training.” NOT torture. “I was sleep deprived in training.” NOT torture. Noticeably absent from this list are statements involving burns, broken bones, removal of fingernails.

    Stipulating that there are some methods which qualify almost regardless of the amount, I think there are also clearly methods that can amount to torture in certain amounts (Jonah said much the same recently, making the analogy to poison).

    Comparing being water boarded a handful of times — if that — by one’s comrades with being water boarded 183 times by one’s enemies strikes me as being the same sort of error as saying “I just don’t get the big deal about being beaten; I had a buddy throw me a punch, once, and it wasn’t so bad.”

    • #9
  10. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    iWc: In answer to Tom, the reason why torture is more needed now is because one-man lethality is at an all – time high. One bomb, one airplane, etc…. Foreknowledge of the next 911 could save thousands of lives.

    Meh.

    1. I highly, highly doubt that there have never been other high-level captures with that kind of information.
    2. There was no ticking time-bomb associated with KMS’ capture. At the most, you can say that we had good reason to think he would know of any potential time bombs that might have been ticking (or would be set to begin ticking soon) and that he might have otherwise important intelligence on him, such as knowledge of bin Laden’s location. As it so happens he did, and that intelligence was still useful eight years later.
    • #10
  11. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    Torture can work. It can save lives.
    I was once asked many years ago whether I would be willing to pull the switch to kill someone on death row… And if not, then I should be against the death penalty.
    I would have no problem pulling the switch. Similarly, I don’t think torturing a Bad Guy in an attempt to save lives would cause me to lose any sleep. Even torture that leads to death.

    • #11
  12. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    For the record, I don’t understand why we haven’t executed him. If there’s any need of volunteers, I’ve a few days off around Christmas.

    • #12
  13. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    I just do not understand all the squeamishness. Why is torture worse than mistaken bombings of civilians, or collateral damage in a drone strike? Why is torture somehow worse than outright killing?

    • #13
  14. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    iWc: Torture can work…

    Yes, obviously.

    iWc: I don’t think torturing a Bad Guy in an attempt to save lives would cause me to lose any sleep. Even torture that leads to death.

    In a ticking time-bomb scenario, I’d do the same, and would advocate others do as well. Outside of that circumstance, I would not.

    • #14
  15. FightinInPhilly Coolidge
    FightinInPhilly
    @FightinInPhilly

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    FightinInPhilly: Here’s my handy rule of thumb: if an American soldier, sailor, airman or marine can complete the sentence “I was ________ed in training*,” it is NOT torture. Helpful true examples “I was waterboarded in training.” NOT torture. “I was sleep deprived in training.” NOT torture. Noticeably absent from this list are statements involving burns, broken bones, removal of fingernails.

    Stipulating that there are some methods which qualify almost regardless of the amount, I think there are also clearly methods that can amount to torture in certain amounts (Jonah said much the same recently, making the analogy to poison).

    Comparing being water boarded a handful of times — if that – by one’s comrades with being water boarded 183 times by one’s enemies strikes me as being the same sort of error as saying “I just don’t get the big deal about being beaten; I had a buddy throw me a punch, once, and it wasn’t so bad.”

    OK, but I don’t think the point I’m making is “it wasn’t so bad”. I’m just saying its not torture in the sense of doing long term damage. If we’re going to have a policy on “torture”, we should agree on the definition. You point a gun at someone and make them run for 4-5 hours it’s “torture”. If they show up at 7am on a Sunday in November, its the marathon.

    • #15
  16. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    iWc: I just do not understand all the squeamishness. Why is torture worse than mistaken bombings of civilians, or collateral damage in a drone strike? Why is torture somehow worse than outright killing?

    Because of one’s intent and control over the situation. Collateral damage of civilians is unavoidable for several reasons, not the least of which being that any time we’re dropping bombs on people, we’re clearly not in control of the situation. There’s also the sad fact that it’s nearly impossible to win a war by solely targeting the combatants. It’s horrible but it’s unavoidable and impersonal.

    When you’ve the time and safety to cart someone half a world away, hire consultants, and water board them 183 times, you’re dealing with a wholly different situation. It’s avoidable and personal.

    • #16
  17. Karen Inactive
    Karen
    @Karen

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:Am I sorry that a brutal and evil murderer was subjected to this kind of treatment? Not particularly; it’s difficult to imagine a person less deserving of anyone’s sympathy.

    I am, though, sorry that we’re the ones who did it, and at a loss to answer how our republic survived more than 200 years of warfare without having to resort to such a thing before.

    Wait, so you believe that the first time the CIA conducted what is referred to as enhanced interrogation was during W’s term?

    • #17
  18. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Tom Meyer, Ed.: and at a loss to answer how our republic survived more than 200 years of warfare without having to resort to such a thing before.

    What makes you think we’ve never done it before?  Do you really think some covert ops CIA spook never engaged in this kind of activity over in South East Asia?

    • #18
  19. user_75648 Thatcher
    user_75648
    @JohnHendrix

    1) Illegal combatants forfeit their privileges under the Geneva Convention.

    2) as a Jacksonian, I do not desire a dirty war, but I have no problem fighting a dirty war if enemy chooses to engage in a dirty war.

    3) We signed a treaty agreeing to withhold torture. John Yoo issued an opinion specifying the demarcation beyond which torture lies.  We should honor our treaties, consistent with our understandings of what these treaties commit us to.

    Regarding KSM: there is nothing to be sorry about because we did nothing wrong.

    • #19
  20. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Karen: Wait, so you believe that the first time the CIA conducted what is referred to as enhanced interrogation was during W’s term?

    I don’t have documentation in from of me, but the CIA’s been pretty clear that they didn’t have the infrastructure or expertise to conduct such interrogations prior to the GWOT. That’s why they had to hire the outside consultants who recommended water boarding and — so far as I understand — why Professor Yoo was asked to prepare the memos.

    • #20
  21. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Spin: What makes you think we’ve never done it before?  Do you really think some covert ops CIA spook never engaged in this kind of activity over in South East Asia?

    As a matter of policy, it’s my understanding that we did not.

    • #21
  22. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    I’m not sorry that KSM was waterboarded.

    I am sorry that he came into this country and we educated him.

    I’m sorry that my gas money ultimately funds terrorists.

    I’m sorry that anyone gives a rats booty what happens in the middle east.

    I’m sorry for this:  “You can stuff your sorries in a sack, mister!”

    • #22
  23. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    The distinction is between torture and intense interrogation. Both may refer to the same treatment and behavior, but torture is how we describe such treatment when we think its unacceptable. It’s never a question of “who’s in favor of torture?” because that equates to “who thinks the unacceptable is acceptable?” That question answers itself. The real way to phrase the question is when does intense interrogation become unacceptable?

    How much pain can you inflict to achieve some purpose before you cross the line into treating someone inhumanely?

    Much of the commentary centers on the irony that killing someone is much worse than causing temporary pain. Yet we’re all upset about causing pain, but pay little heed to killing people outright. If KSM was about to push a button that would kill 50 Americans, no one would think twice about putting a bullet through his brain immediately. But cause him discomfort, to save 50 people with the information? Oh the horror.

    Note: the same cognitive dissonance applies to abortion. There would be howls of outrage if someone injected electrodes into a fetus and flipped a switch to make it jump with electricity. But killing it by vacuuming its brains out? That’s just an inconvenient “procedure” that we don’t want to talk about.

    • #23
  24. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Tom Meyer, Ed.: As a matter of policy, it’s my understanding that we did not.

    Policy is, as policy does.

    Honestly, saying you aren’t sorry it happened (meaning that you at least tacitly approve of whatever “it” is), but saying you wish it would have been someone else who did it, isn’t that a bit…I don’t know what the word for that is.

    We should do our own dirty work.  And we should make sure we know why we are doing it.

    • #24
  25. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Spin: Honestly, saying you aren’t sorry it happened (meaning that you at least tacitly approve of whatever “it” is), but saying you wish it would have been someone else who did it, isn’t that a bit…I don’t know what the word for that is.

    See, this is my problem with the way Stephens and Peter phrased the question. Let me put it this way: if KMS had fallen into a lion pit and been eaten alive, I would not have been sorry, in the sense that I would feel neither regret nor sympathy; that would not mean that I would have condoned someone shoving him into the lion pit.

    • #25
  26. Karen Inactive
    Karen
    @Karen

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Karen: Wait, so you believe that the first time the CIA conducted what is referred to as enhanced interrogation was during W’s term?

    I don’t have documentation in from of me, but the CIA’s been pretty clear that they didn’t have the infrastructure or expertise to conduct such interrogations prior to the GWOT. That’s why they had to hire the outside consultants who recommended water boarding and — so far as I understand — why Professor Yoo was asked to prepare the memos.

    Which is why we used to farm it out to other countries to conduct things like extraordinary renditions, but the CIA was involved in those as well.

    • #26
  27. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    KC Mulville: Much of the commentary centers on the irony that killing someone is much worse than causing temporary pain. Yet we’re all upset about causing pain, but pay little heed to killing people outright. If KSM was about to push a button that would kill 50 Americans, no one would think twice about putting a bullet through his brain immediately. But cause him discomfort, to save 50 people with the information?

    Again, under circumstances such as those, I would condone doing almost anything, up to and including torture and death.

    But those were not the circumstances we faced when we captured KSM.

    • #27
  28. gts109 Inactive
    gts109
    @gts109

    Tom, spare us the routine about the survival of the Republic. We marched to the Sea. We nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We firebombed Dresden. We napalmed the villages of Vietnam. We blew up a wedding in Yemen.

    But the country can’t survive pouring water on a guy’s face? Really? This is a serious position?

    • #28
  29. Karen Inactive
    Karen
    @Karen

    James Mitchell was on Megyn Kelly last night. Everyone should check that interview out. Mitchell said that actually waterboarding wasn’t as effective on KSM as other EIT’s, but didn’t specify which one. KSM could apparently open up the back of this nose, and the water could run out of his mouth. Mitchell also explained the waterboarding process, that each session lasted about 20 minutes, but waterboarding itself was only authorized from 20-40 seconds each time. He said that they limited a 40 second waterboarding to once a session. The rest were less than 20 seconds, with the detainee allowed to take at least a full breath between each pour. I’d love to know what broke him. My guess is sleep deprivation.

    • #29
  30. Dave Carter Podcaster
    Dave Carter
    @DaveCarter

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Spin: Honestly, saying you aren’t sorry it happened (meaning that you at least tacitly approve of whatever “it” is), but saying you wish it would have been someone else who did it, isn’t that a bit…I don’t know what the word for that is.

    See, this is my problem with the way Stephens and Peter phrased the question. Let me put it this way: if KMS had fallen into a lion pit and been eaten alive, I would not have been sorry, in the sense that I would feel neither regret nor sympathy; that would not mean that I would have condoned someone shoving him into the lion pit.

    This is the guy who sawed off Daniel Pearl’s head, correct?  He confessed to masterminding the 9/11 attacks which slaughtered 3,000 innocents on American soil, right?  My only concern would be that he might cause indigestion to the lions.  Outside of that, I’ll throw him into the pit myself.  Or place him there gently if that will assuage concerns.

    • #30

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