The Case for Torturing Lt. Chase Nielsen
Posted by Casey Khan at April 26, 2009 08:15 PM
Gene Healy brings up the ironically interesting torture case of the American Air Corps Lieutenant Chase Nielsen who testified against his Japanese captors on the horrors of waterboarding. Many of these captors were later hanged, and as such, Healy rightly quips “maybe we owe an apology to the Japanese soldiers we prosecuted.”
Given the current state of American moral bearings, an apology to these Japanese torturers is the least we could do. After all, these soldiers of the Rising Sun were really just trying to defend their homeland, and gather intelligence from bomber crewmen like Lt. Nielsen. Lt. Nielsen was a navigator on a B-25, and as such would have had provided significant intelligence information to the Japanese.
Of course, while Japan had no idea that they were a few years away from being nuked by the Americans, their torture of the young navigator could have yielded all sorts of information that might have prevented the obliteration bombing and murder of Japan’s two great Christian cities. Lt. Nielsen was later a part of “the first group to be organized, equipped and trained for atomic warfare” after World War II, therefore, he might have been privy as a young lieutenant to information on the Manhattan Project. Therefore, the soldier who tortured Nielsen was just a Japanese version of Jack Bauer, a patriotic samurai doing the best he could to save Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
So, if you’re for interrogation torture, is it a universal ethic of torture? If so, then the Japanese were completely justified, since they were hit with more than one smoking gun mushroom cloud. Or is the torture ethic based solely on some tribal ideal where America can be made the exception? If the torture ethic is this second version, then history has a quaint way of making us look like hypocrites. If it is the first, I say we dig up the relics of the dead Japanese waterboarders, and make an offering to the torture gods, begging forgiveness, and praying for everlasting homeland protection. Nothing shores up a universal ethic quite like sanctification. Ridiculous? What the hell do you think torture is?
So let me get this straight - you’re saying we should torture the good Mr. Healy? - I knew you’d come over to the good side!
I cannot believe you ran off to start another thread about this topic . . . now I have to repost all of my great commentary over here now . . . let the hilarity ensue.
OK - let’s make the first point first - seems logical (wait, maybe I need some strawman arguments, a few articles from some “expert” writers . . nah)
First point - Water torture and the current technique of water boarding or about the same as the difference between being shot with .50 caliber rifle or a paintball marker. Yeah, you “might” be able to shoot out someone’s eye with a paintball marker . . .but you can also shoot them thousands of times with little effect (I can personally vouch for this- having been a favorite target of my friends). However, there is never merely a bruising effect from a .50 cal slug.
Water torture involved the REAL threat of drowning - something the victim of this torture is very very very aware of as his head is being ducked repeatedly into a barrel water - it is the real threat of death and the inability to prevent it that makes this a true torture. Water boarding with a cloth over the face and 20 seconds of restricted breathing while medical personnel are on hand to minister to any slight water inhalation is a far far cry from the original practice. If you can’t get that through your head - you need to find a new topic!!
OK - with that first point so masterfully laid out -let move to the asinine article you used to “prove” your warped perspective.
This is called an appeal to authority (think we’ve covered this ground before) - we can spend all day quoting other people who agree with us - that proves nothing!
Secondly - since the techniques and intentions differ so greatly - this is not comparing apples to apples - but cold-blooded killing to inconvenient annoyances! The Japanese (in addition to actually drowning pow’s) broke bones, cut of hands, burned people alive, refused medical care, refused food and water and killed thousands of POW’s - when you were taken in for interrogation by the Japanese - you KNEW it was VERY LIKELY that you would going to be KILLED - they had thousands of others they could get the info from - you were nothing!
Contrast that with KSM- he knows he is a high value prisoner, he knows we don’t kill prisoners, he knows we have to keep him in good health, he knows we will not be breaking bones, stabbing him, electrocuting him, burning him, poisoning him, etc. WHY do you think it took over a hundred times for water boarding to elicit any information from him? Because it did not make him fear that we would actually kill him!
So - if the comparison does not hold up - then the conclusions are just as whack - this was really the best argument you had?
We do not owe apologies to the sadistic killers of the Rising Sun. These were very evil men who committed unspeakable horrors on fellow humans- what we do to our prisoners in comparison is the equivalent of a slap and tickle session with your favorite S&M gal.
Reminds me of this one time in Venezuala . . .never mind - with your mentality on this issue, you might try to have her arrested for that . . . .