T Nation

Delta Force Founding Member on Torture


Q: What do you make of the torture debate? Cheney .....

A: (Interrupting) That's Cheney's pursuit. The only reason anyone tortures is because they like to do it. It's about vengeance, it's about revenge, or it's about cover-up. You don't gain intelligence that way. Everyone in the world knows that. It's worse than small-minded, and look what it does.

I've argued this on Bill O'Reilly and other Fox News shows. I ask, who would you want to pay to be a torturer? Do you want someone that the American public pays to torture? He's an employee of yours. It's worse than ridiculous. It's criminal; it's utterly criminal. This administration has been masters of diverting attention away from real issues and debating the silly. Debating what constitutes torture: Mistreatment of helpless people in your power is torture, period.

And (I'm saying this as) a man who has been involved in the most pointed of our activities. I know it, and all of my mates know it. You don't do it. It's an act of cowardice. I hear apologists for torture say, "Well, they do it to us." Which is a ludicrous argument. ... The Saddam Husseins of the world are not our teachers. Christ almighty, we wrote a Constitution saying what's legal and what we believed in. Now we're going to throw it away.


"Mistreatment of helpless people in your power is torture, period." A little more straightforward than the Cheney-Yoo definition isn't it?


(Screaming at the top of my lungs with veins bulging)



(Running from the room screaming...)


Are you being sarcastic?

Because it does. Cheney's argued for it. Alberto Gonzalez has argued for it.

This administration of chicken hawks thinks torture is peachy keen.


To be fair, this whole piece is a load of crap.

1) He's a retired Seargent Major, sure his credentials speak louder than mine, but there are lots of other people of much higher rank who are much more involved in this who have differing opinions. Why was his selected? Oh;

2) It's a fluff piece to promote the show based on his memoir. We didn't hear about this guy 1, 2, or 3 yrs. ago. Only after the premier, huh? A fluff piece criticizing an Administration to capitalize on your memoir and the show based on it. This guy has definitely paid some dues, but he's costing himself credibility points here IMO.

3) This goes back to No. 1, he's a former Sgt. Mjr. speaking on a human rights topic. Heeding his advice to any extreme degree is the tail wagging the dog. The statement "Christ almighty, we wrote a Constitution saying what's legal and what we believed in. Now we're going to throw it away." put the issue in bassrelief this to me, and really displays a misunderstanding.

Everyone in the world knows that? That's why the Geneva Convention was written with that specific intent of torture in mind?:

No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind. Part III Section I Article 17

Actually, no. What about drawing pictures of the holy figures of helpless people in your power, is that torture? Flushing the Qu'ran down the toilet is torture? If we forced them to shower daily, would that be torture?

I'm not saying that Cheney's right and this guy's wrong, as a matter of fact, Mr. Haney hit the issue bang on the head by saying that "The Saddam Husseins of the world are not our teachers." However, the threat of torture does work, torture itself may or may not. Either way, if it saves lives, it's hard to question.


It is? It seems to me like you get alot more truth out of retired soldiers, enlisted men, and junior officers (see Ian Fishback) than generals who have more of a vested interest. Witness Franks' refusal to stand up to Rumsfeld on the need for more troops in Iraq, or Sanchez's telling Bremer he could secure Baghdad with 35,000 more men, but not making that plea to the Pentagon.

And what we're doing isn't torture by that definition?

Ends justify the means huh?


Regardless of whether someone is for or against it, he/she better state being against it... especially if working for the government.

It's sad that people at the top arent smart enough to understand this: The more you're for the use of torture, the more you should shout out against it!




We get it, Zeb: you're for torturing helpless people because you're a scared little pissant.


First of all your Internet tough guy act is wearing a bit thin. I mean...you're calling people names on your computer. Yea, I know it makes you feel tough but give it a rest.

Secondly, why can't you understand that I am truly aghast by the use of torture on any human being, for any reason!

D o Y o u U n d e r s t a n d N o w?


I would think that with all the drugs available now, torture would be pointless and inhumane.

I must admit though, if all I have is a weapon and some guy knows where a nuke is, say in Hoboken, and my time is very limited, I would resort to torture. Inhumane acts versus a bomb that kills thousands? No choice, for me.


How many nations were involved in the Geneva convention? How many were involved the Hague conventions? The Biological Weapons Convention? We don't have (just) combatants making these decisions for a reason.

It seems that way because the media keeps a close eye on Generals and higher-ranking COs, every decision is under scrutiny, but the Pvt., Specialist, and Brigadier General who are responsible are often overlooked until the acts have already been commited.

1) I didn't say we weren't torturing.

2) My point was about Haney not being fit to argue this point. It's not just about the US Constitution. If it were, allies torturing on foreign soil is out of our jurisdiction but would achieve the same ends. It's not just about the Geneva Convention. If it were non-soldier combatants are (arguably) out of jurisdiction, in which case, this MO may be acceptable. Admittedly, this is a grey area that needs to be shored up. (Personally, I wonder if a private citizen/agent shoots a terrorist with a hollow-point round, is he/she a war criminal?)

You're not reading what I wrote. I'm not saying Cheney et al. are correct. Unless I'm mistaken, not a single life has been saved as the result of any intelligence gathered in this matter. If there are no ends, they can't justify the means on both sides of the argument.

BTW- Have you seen the show? A special military unit that answers only to themselves, God, and the President? It glorifies the individual and/or squad leader taking matters into their own hands, throwing the rule book out the window, and getting things done. Precisely the attitude and policy he speaks out against in the interview.


right, so coercing people with pharmaceuticals is OK then?

Also, a bit of sensory deprevation and most will crack like an egg.


Exactly. You cannot take anything anyone says about this subject at face value.

Too many people believe everything they hear and read.


The drugs don't always work. Neither does torture. but it workd sometimes.

Would you resort to torture if it was a bomb in Baghdad?

What if the guy knew where bin Laden ar Zarquiwi was?


Both Clenis and Bush have shown their incompetence with apprehending these clowns.


I get it. I get it.

Let's torture everyone, just in case somebody might have a lead which will point us in the direction of Bin Laden, because he's making us look like idiots since we can't catch him.

Thanks for clearing that up for me.


The ticking time bomb scenario is always used by proponents of torture, but it's virtually never applicable. And the decision of conscience by a man on the ground like that is a far cry from institutionalizing torture.


The ticking timebomb has not applied in the US yet but in Baghdad where bombs are going off (and prevented from going off) every day it does.

I think the longer a prisoner is held the less the need for tough interogation.


Just because bombs are going off doesn't mean this scenario applies. In a decentralized insurgency where most of the bombs are suicide bombs and many terrorist cells or insurgent groups have only a few members, it still remains pretty unlikely I tend to think.


Great interview (link in the original post).