Red Hot Chili Peppers played during their waking hours till they talk, with minimal sleep (but medically sound), sure. No access to recreational activities, sure.
No religious materials till they cooperate, sure. Loud yelling, “Don’t sit there and lie to me scumbag!” Sure. Isolation until cooperation, sure. The same bland meal everyday (though nutritionally sound), sure.
Monotonous and irritating basically. These kind of things I can agree with, for these kinds of people.
We are often detaining martyrs and true-believers. People fighting not for an earthly cause, but one of paradise. Traditional tactics may work fine in many cases, sure. But, some of the deep down true believers…I have a hard time believing they’ll sell out, under the watch of Allah, while receiving the same legal protections as a conventional prisoner. “Look, I’ll tell the judge you cooperated with the investigation.”
Generally, police do interrogations to solve a crime. And I’m sure many of these detainee interrogations were the same. An attempt to elicit confessions, basically.
But, there are interrogations aimed at saving hundreds, even thousands, of civilian lives before the crime is committed. I’m asking how far would YOU folks go to prevent that “ticking time bomb” scenario. Water-boarding vs. hundreds/thousands of civilians deliberately killed. What’s your call? Hell, what’s the most moral decision? Saving those lives, or the extreme discomfort and fear from water-boarding?
Or, and I hate to even talk like this, but I think it has to be put forth…Do we recall the Al Qaeda affiliates who captured US troops? Their torture tactics involve hot irons, amputations, breaking limbs over door frames, genital mutilation, electric shock while dangling from chains, etc.
Finally sawing off one’s head and holding up for the camera so they can post pics on the internet.
Two of YOUR soldiers have been abducted by one of these affiliates. Some members of this group were captured shortly after. Routine interrogations have only gained confessions to their membership, but nothing to give away their brother’s safe-houses. Chances are you’ll find your troops in one of those houses.
Time is ticking away, are your soldiers missing limbs yet? Do they still have their heads attached to their bodies? Would you allow the detention conditions I mentioned at very beginning of this post? If they still don’t talk, do you consider some of the more extreme methods?
Such as water-boarding, some degree of sleep deprivation, or the cold water treatment? Or, do you tell those troops’ comrades, “Well, they wouldn’t tell us anything, we have to respect that. Pray for your comrades.” What really is the moral decision in this case? Water-boarding vs. your troops facing standard Al Qaeda treatment and execution?
This isn’t an easy topic, and I won’t pretend it is. I wish our enemies were regular Joe Schmoe soldiers, fighting roughly within the accepted conduct of war. Uniform, military markings, accountable government, attempting to avoid civilian casualties…hell, someone you’d have a beer with if it wasn’t for the damned war.
But, that isn’t our enemy. Our enemies are often fortified by a Jihad/martyr complex. They subscribe to a brutal death-cult ideology. They remove limbs and heads, plot the deaths of thousands of civilians, while we debate how to extract info to foil those type of things. I can imagine a number of these guys, with visions of Paradise in their heads, easily holding out under routing police interrogation techniques. Your regular wannabe thug does it often enough.
I know I’d authorize the ‘monotony and irritating’ methods in my first paragraph. But, I can’t imagine ever issuing orders to carry out Al Qaeda techniques. Heck, I’m not sure I could order a man beaten with a fist, even under dire circumstances. But, water-boarding, sleep deprivation, cold water? In the kind of scenarios above, I’m glad it will never be my call.
I hope I didn’t offend by mentioning US troops in the second scenario. I know it reflects some grim and present realities. But, it’s something that I wrestled with in my mind after hearing of the US troop abductions. It makes me sick to even speculate, but in this kind of discussion, you have to look honestly at what you’re facing.
Again, I’m not going to treat this issue as an easy topic for me. It’s not. With this topic you’re weighing lives and mutilation against the desire to be humane to prisoners. I just don’t know…