Saturday, December 15, 2007

Waterboard, where is you hidin'?

The CIA destroyed videotapes of high-ranking al-Qaida operative Zayn Abidin Muhammed Hussein Abu Zubaydah being interrogated. Waterboarded. Well, first, with a name like Zayn Abidin Muhammed Hussein Abu Zubaydah he deserves what he gets. I kid. It's a funny topic. Funny in the sense of obvious, and strange that there should be a controversy. It seems that government torture is okay if it's about persecuting tax-payers and business men with confiscatory regulations and unjust legal proceedings, but not okay if it involves anything physical. I refer you to the works of Kafka, with which I am intimately acquainted, both as works of fiction and contrariwise.

What is justice? It is an appropriate response. Is it inappropriate to respond to terrorists with physical and emotional pressure? Extreme pressure? Not in my book. Not in theirs either, approving as they do of a culture that flogs women for being raped. We stop short of their limits, such as they are, but, well ... I don't know what that means. In itself that can't make us better.

The Justice Department and House and Senate intelligence committees were launching investigations at the time of the destruction. The official CIA line, from Director Hayden, is that the tapes were destroyed not to suppress evidence but to protect the identities of the interrogators. We'll take it as a given that their faces would have ended up on YouTube. You know it's true. But the topsy-turvies who aligned themselves with the enemy don't mind American deaths as much as they mind enemy discomfort. Unfair? We'll have to disagree. I'll clarify by saying that "mind" in this instance refers to results rather than emotions.

Andrew Sullivan elects to suppose that "we have a war criminal in the Oval Office". The Philadelphia Inquirer massages its spongy tumescence over the matter by asserting that this proves Bush knows that "enhanced interrogation" is "torture." The "court" of public opinion and "international law" -- whatever that is -- would never "sanction" such tactics. Pelosi and her Harry vestals have grown slightly moist over the issue, but the sad fact for them is that they were already thoroughly briefed on these methods and heartily approved of them. "The reaction in the room was not just approval," said former CIA director Porter Goss, "but encouragement." Greenwald at Salon says the Dhems felt "virtually helpless to respond." What are they there for, then? What a bunch of whore criminals. The winds have changed, don't you know, and that means their opinion has to change. Of course it does. And they are shocked, shocked to discover that there is waterboarding in Dick's Cafe Americaine. Cheney must be behind it. Of course. Of course.

Some sources say Zubaydah gave up valuable intel about al Qaida plots and agents, while other sources say he was mostly a babbling lunatic. Can't both be true?

I've already shared my take on torture. It was too long, but I am beyond such judgments. When you're infused as I am with moral certitude, the world is such an easy place to live in.


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