I have previously said, here and elsewhere, that we did not need “black hole” prisons, “extraordinary renditions”, military tribunals, and torture, all of which are inherently harmful and abhorrent to true freedom, in order to protect our freedom. The recent report pretty much bears out my contention that civil courts and constitutionally sound procedures for questioning, investigation, and detention produce just as good results if not better than these “black” operations.
In some ways, even worse than the mere fact of torture* being used at all is the brutal stupidity of it. We are told that some subjects were waterboarded in excess of one hundred times. For what? Does anyone seriously think that they are going to gain any more productive results the 100th time, as opposed to the 50th or the 10th? And what about the agents who had to perform and observe these grotesqueries? They can’t ALL have been psychopathic thugs. Some of them have to have been profoundly damaged by these experiences.
And on a less serious, but aesthetic, side, I’m appalled by the lack of imagination of it all. Waterboarding, ‘stress positions’, lack of sleep—crude, crude. I take it that a qualification to be an actual secret agent must be to never have read spy novels. With essential carte blanche to mistreat, what, no LSD, sensory deprivation, hypnotic lighting or subliminal whispers in the cells at night? The highly paid psychological consultants couldn’t come up with their equivalent of “Room 101”? I realize we are getting into Dr. Mengle’s area of practice here, but, if you are determined to do revolting things and justifying it by your love of country, shouldn’t you at least seek to be effective—or creative?**
*Yes, Mr. Cheney, waterboarding IS torture. If Japanese P.O.W. camp guards were war criminals for performing water tortures on Allied personnel, why shouldn’t you and your henchmen be also?
**Yes, I know I have an evil mind. Fortunately for all of us, I also have principles about employing it.
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