Medals For Endangering Citizens?

 

In an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times, Jameel Jaffer (ACLU deputy legal director) and Larry Siems (Director of the Freedom to Write progam) sing the praises of unsung heroes, but they shy from taking their argument far enough I think. After perfunctory praise of the young soldier who, thankfully, made Army officials aware of the abuses that were going on at Abu Ghraib, they get down to the real agenda regarding what used to be called the War on Terror:

Throughout the military, and throughout the government, brave men and women reported abuse, challenged interrogation directives that permitted abuse, and refused to participate in an interrogation and detention program that they believed to be unwise, unlawful and immoral. The Bush administration’s most senior officials expressly approved the torture of prisoners, but there was dissent in every agency, and at every level.

The use of stress positions, cold temperatures, strobe lights, loud music, and other enhanced interrogation techniques constitute torture in the authors’ opinion. That sort of “abuse” according to Jaffer and Siems, “…violated basic religious precepts of human dignity.”

One wonders how well the religious precepts of human dignity survive being trapped in a steel tube, airborne, and hurtling hundreds of miles an hour into a building? For that matter, how does human dignity or human anything else survive a jump of several hundred feet from a burning building? Paltry details, of course. After all, what are three thousand slaughtered people when compared with the horrors of strobe lights and loud music? A truly enlightened conscience prefers an incinerated city and a mountain of corpses to an uncomfortable terrorist any day. The precepts of human dignity will countenance no less!

Accordingly, those who declined to use approved methods for gleaning intelligence, “…stayed true to our values and stood up against cruelty,” say the authors, and, “are worthy of a wide range of civilian and military commendations, up to and including the Presidential Medal of Freedom.” But Jaffer and Siems should follow this through to its logical conclusion.

We know from the Washington Post, for example, that enhanced interrogation methods prevented what Khalid Sheik Mohammed described as a“second wave,” of attacks. These attacks included an airliner attack on Los Angeles. It was only after the employment of precept-violating techniques that we learned of this attack, thereby saving thousands of lives. And the only reason we had KSM’s precepts around to violate was because we had previously absconded the precepts of one Abu Zubaydah, who helped us find KSM in the first place. According to the CIA, a precept-free KSM yielded a ton of information. They couldn’t shut him up! His statements alone accounted for over 6,000 intelligence reports on Al Qaeda’s activities, including planned attacks in America and over seas.

This business of doing whatever it takes to save innocent Americans is intolerable and we must make amends. It will take more than bowing to despots this time around. If you’re going to award medals to people who couldn’t bring themselves to assist in work that saved lives, shouldn’t you penalize the people, structures, or even cities who would otherwise not be here if we had not resorted to such measures in the first place? The tallest building on the west coast, the Library Tower, stands today precisely because KSM came down with a case of soggy sinuses, blew his nose and then blew the cover off the second wave operation. Should we knock it down? Attacks on the Brooklyn Bridge, London’s Heathrow Airport, among others, were thwarted thanks to information gleaned through harsh interrogation. If we’re not going to destroy them outright, why not let the UN manage them? It would accomplish the same thing. 

And since the Obama Administration has renounced the use of these techniques regardless of their effectiveness, there will be no future need to honor the heroism of individuals who would sacrifice their fellow citizens on the alter of an enlightened conscience, it having become official policy instead. So rather than purchase medals for future use, perhaps we can funnel some more stimulus money to the maker of those little American Recession Re-entrenchment Act signs and ask him to make some signs to place at the smoking holes left from future attacks. They could read, “This Monument to the Religious Precepts of Human Dignity brought to you by the ACLU and the Obama Administration, who remind you to be Earth Friendly and recycle.”  

There are 12 comments.

  1. Inactive

    One must wonder, where the outrage is about the “Kill Squad” in Afghanistan. I guess we don’t want to get any stank on Dear Leader.

    And on that note, what punishment is expected for the Kill Squad? Does anyone know? What infuriates me (of course, in addition to the intentional taking of innocent life) is the harm their actions will do on the reputation of the 99.9% of soldiers who do their duty honorably. The Left and the Jihadists DO NOT need any more ammo. But I guess since Bush is no longer President, *shrugs shoulders* it’s not a big deal.

    Protecting Dear Leader > Journalistic integrity < Trashing Bush.

    • #1
    • April 29, 2011 at 2:23 am
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  2. Inactive

    I am morally confused on the subject of torture.

    I would be happier if the United States did not torture prisoners. (Well, maybe I’d be happier. On the other hand, I might be dead, or looking at a glowing hole where Austin used to be.)

    And on the other other hand… if I had reason to believe a prisoner was withholding information that could endanger one of our children…I wouldn’t even start with the strobe lights and loud music; I’d go straight to the bamboo slivers and pliers.

    So I’m in no position to turn up my nose and take a high moral position against torture. But I’m not happy about it. And I don’t know what’s “right” here.

    • #2
    • April 29, 2011 at 8:02 am
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  3. Member

    We really do have two parallel cultures in America. These people are like aliens to me. Are they stupid? Evil? Nuts? Or does this result from a rip in the space/time continuum?

    • #3
    • April 29, 2011 at 9:03 am
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  4. Inactive

    Since when does the ACLU champion religious precepts?

    • #4
    • April 29, 2011 at 9:13 am
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  5. Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author
    Kenneth: Since when does the ACLU champion religious precepts? · Apr 28 at 9:13pm

    Excellent question. Seems like a marriage of convenience to me.

    • #5
    • April 29, 2011 at 9:16 am
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  6. Member

    What infuriates me is the left’s continuing habit of equating coercive interrogation in a few instances, in order to save lives, with the free enterprise abuse carried out by a small group of idiot low lifes for the fun of it at Abu Ghraib.

    As I recall, the Army had stopped the abuse at Abu Ghraib, charged the abusers, and publicly anounced their actions two or three months before the media furor which commenced only when a mysterious source slipped them sensational photos to put on the front page.

    The photos could only have been taken by the abusers and could only have been released by their defenders to share the blame around and generaly muddy the water.

    • #6
    • April 29, 2011 at 9:58 am
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  7. Inactive

    Hey! I’m all for recycling. Once we get all the worthwhile information we can get from these terrorists, we should recycle them into Gitmo Bay crab food. Last I heard crabs are nondiscriminatory in their choice of munchies.

    • #7
    • April 29, 2011 at 10:11 am
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  8. Member

    There is a 2010 Samuel L. Jackson, Carrie Ann Moss direct to DVD movie titled Unthinkable that graphically assays this topic in an excellent think piece. Not for the weak of stomach, this is not a date movie, but it is deadly serious in its exploration of the disconnect between status quo jurisprudence and the realities of terror in the 21st Century.

    It went direct to DVD because the theatrical distribution rights were and are tied up in a bankruptcy case.

    But don’t take my word for it, here is what John Derbyshire at National Review has to say.

    • #8
    • April 29, 2011 at 11:50 am
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  9. Member
    Ron Muscio: As I recall, the Army had stopped the abuse at Abu Ghraib, charged the abusers, and publicly anounced their actions two or three months before the media furor which commenced only when a mysterious source slipped them sensational photos to put on the front page.

    The real abusers got away with it at Abu Ghraib. The officers and senior NCO’s were not held responsible for the actions of their subordinates and they should have been. Punishment was passed down to the lowest possible level, revealing a total lack of leadership.

    On the other hand, Lt Col Allen West deserved a medal for his intelligently applied use of force and instead received censure and an Article 15.

    • #9
    • April 30, 2011 at 6:19 am
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  10. Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author
    Robert E. Lee
    Ron Muscio: As I recall, the Army had stopped the abuse at Abu Ghraib, charged the abusers, and publicly anounced their actions two or three months before the media furor which commenced only when a mysterious source slipped them sensational photos to put on the front page.
    The real abusers got away with it at Abu Ghraib. The officers and senior NCO’s were not held responsible for the actions of their subordinates and they should have been. Punishment was passed down to the lowest possible level, revealing a total lack of leadership.

    On the other hand, Lt Col Allen West deserved a medal for his intelligently applied use of force and instead received censure and an Article 15. · Apr 29 at 6:19pm

    Bob, I wasn’t aware they gave him an Article 15. Incredible…..

    • #10
    • April 30, 2011 at 8:06 am
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  11. Member

    Dave, it was a political assassination as far as I’m concerned. His actions demonstrably saved the lives of his men, yet caring for one’s troops isn’t often rewarded these days.

    • #11
    • April 30, 2011 at 8:21 am
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  12. Member
    Margaret Ball: I am morally confused on the subject of torture.

    And on the other other hand… if I had reason to believe a prisoner was withholding information that could endanger one of our children…I wouldn’t even start with the strobe lights and loud music; I’d go straight to the bamboo slivers and pliers.

    So I’m in no position to turn up my nose and take a high moral position against torture. But I’m not happy about it. And I don’t know what’s “right” here. · Apr 29 at 8:02am

    You just answered your own question. All innocent American lives should be considered worthy of the same passion you hold to protect “our children”. Do you remember those four civilian security contractors that were killed in Fallujah? And then had their charred bodies hung from the superstructure of a bridge. The CIA, the DIA or the NSA can rain hell on these soulless bastards for all I care and if I had the expertise I would help them do it.

    • #12
    • April 30, 2011 at 9:21 am
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