Pharsalia

If Kronicaly Bad Speling and excessive use of italiks bothers you, prepare to be bothered.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Andrew Sullivan is out seconding Dick Durbin's torture allegations. -Sigh- Fisking clearly required.



DURBIN SAID NOTHING WRONG: I've now read and re-read Senator Dick Durbin's comments on interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay. They are completely, perfectly respectable

Respectable? Aside from a blazen disregard for Godwin's Law, is obvious hyperbole involving the conduct of our troops ever perfectly respectable?

The rank hysteria being perpetrated by some on the right is what is shameful.

Pot, this is my friend kettle. We're about to see some rank hysteria.

Hugh Hewitt should answer one single question: does he doubt the FBI interrogator who witnessed the appalling treatment of some detainees at Guantanamo?

I will take the liberty of answer for Hugh. No. He does not doubt the FBI agent.

Is Hewitt arguing that the interrogator was lying?

Again, the answer is No.

Does he believe that the kind of tactics used against this prisoner are worthy of the United States?

Ah! Now we're on to something, and I had better step out of Hugh's shoes and speak for myself. Yes. The answer is Yes Andrew. When interrogating terrorists captured on battle fields such as OBL's bodyguards and the 20th hijacker, yes, the methods described by Senator Durbin are entirely worthy of the United States.

If he were told this story and informed that it occurred in, say, Serbia under Milosevic, would he be surprised?

If I were told this story and informed it occured under Milosevic, I would be rather surprised at the lack of, well torture, much less mass murder. Turn and turn about Andrew: if you were told this story and informed it occurred in a Special Forces training excercise, would you be surprised?

Hewitt should then answer the same question about the 5 detainees which the U.S. government itself has acknowledged were tortured to death by U.S. interrogators, and the scores of others who died in detention during or after "interrogation".

There are many things wrong with this sentance. First of all, it is entirely irresponsible to imply the US government ever endorsed, defended, or encouraged murdering detainees. There is zero evidence of said, and in fact there are US soldiers sitting in prison at this moment for abusing and killing prisoners. Secondly the slur about 'scores' of prisoners has been addressed by Hewitt and many others. As anyone not blinded by Torture Tunnel Vision (Sullivan Syndrome?) should know, almost all of those deaths occurred do to either war wounds sustained on the battlefield, or prison breaks. It is simply wrong to toss out accusations like this without context. Finally, and most importantly, Dick Durbin made specific comparisons to a specific document. He was speaking about Guantanamo bay, and the FBI agents report. Tossing Abu Ghraib and every other alleged mistreatment of prisoners against the wall is intellectually dishonest. To my knowledge, no-one has died at Guantanamo, and I am positive the FBI account specifically and intentionally sited by Durbin alleged nothing remotely close to that.

It is this administration that has brought indelible shame on America, and it's people like Dick Durbin who prove that some can actually stand up against this stain on American honor and call it what it is. Good for him. Thank God for him.

Sure. We need more like him. If we're going to lose this war and prove to our enemies just how soft we are. Sorry Andrew, Durbin directly stated that reading an account of Al Qaeda terrorists being handcuffed and shackled (ask the prison guard in New York who lost an eye to a caged terrorist if thats necessary), made to sit in hot rooms, and not being able to eat or drink for less than a day while enduring Christina Aguilerra made him think that Nazis or Stalinists had been at work. That was exactly Durbin's claim. Sullivan isnt just white washing, he's throwing even more crap at the wall hoping to hide Durbin's actual words in a sea of allegations. That is unfair. Look at what the Senator said and what he cited as his evidence. That is how one engages in logical debate. If one is not suffering from Sullivan Syndrome.

2 Comments:

  • At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Mark,

    How does the principle of due process (one of the foundations of our constitutional republic) play into your thinking? Are you confident that all accused are in fact guilty? Are we to trust the government when it tells us this implicitly through its actions? I can imagine a Kafkaesque situation would ensue in the case of someone innocent (of being let's say an Al Qaeda operative, let's say): that is, continuing denials of guilt merely solicit more intense pressure to "come clean" in an ugly downward spiral. It is the same dynamic that often occurs in cases of "real" torture ("real" meaning actions that a sensible person of either left or right persuasion would unambiguously agree constitutes torture).

    I don't know that I have answers to any of these questions, nor am I trying to provoke you. But these are the kinds of things that trouble me at the often murky intersection of principle and reality. I'm interested in your thoughts.

     
  • At 9:02 PM, Blogger Mark Buehner said…

    A fair question, and thanks for being my first official comment. My answer is that this is war, and traditionally in war we are required to trust the judgement of our government, and particularly our military, perhaps more than we are generally comfortable with.
    Was every German, Italian, or Japanese fairly held as a POW during WW2? Almost certainly not, nor was any kind of systematic due process applied as we know it today. We do know that the Guantanamo prisoners are given a hearing at least once a year, and in fact a large number have been released to their homelands. Even the Geneva Conventions require only military tribunals to decide the status of prisoners, and essentially they are getting that.
    It comes down to how dangerous are these detainees (VERY), and how much do we trust our military not to hold people and rough them up just for kicks. The latter is open for argument, of course, but I dont think its a strong political argument to offer the American people. Remember, if our policy is Naziesque, certainly those carrying it out, the soldiers on the ground, are Naziesque as well.

     

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