In war, does victory go to the squeamish?
Did we win World War II by being squeamish about civilian casualties? Is the Obama administration squeamish about the collateral damage caused by drone strikes?
If not, what is there about torture that causes an outbreak of squeamishness?
I suspect that it’s the humiliation suffered the victims, the lack of respect for their humanity.
Many people, now led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein want to draw the line at torture, at all torture and at anything resembling an indignity.
Since we are fighting people who do not care for their lives, we ought to give more serious consideration to the value of humiliation and shaming.
Whatever you think about torture, treating terrorists with respect is clearly the wrong way to go.
Roger Simon surveys the state of the world, the state of a world fashioned by the foreign policy of a Democratic president, and notes the absurdity of Dianne Feinstein’s belief that she has advanced a cause by denouncing the practices that might have contributed to keeping us safe:
Looking around the world today, Libya (under control somewhat while Khadafy was alive) is an unholy mess; with no real end in site to negotiations, Iran is continuing to develop nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles while expanding its influence into Yemen and maintaining strength in Syria and Lebanon and cementing its alliances with North Korea and Venezuela (among others); putative NATO member Turkey is becoming more Islamist by the day under the rule of Obama’s pal Erdogan; ISIS continues to control large portions Syria and Iraq and may secretly be in cahoots with Turkey; Russia has moved into Ukraine and has everyone from Moldova to Finland nervous; China controls more of the Pacific every day, our Japanese and South Korean friends worried if they can trust us anymore; Europe is a weak sister with an increasing Islamic population they don’t police and that runs rampant in their own ever-growing neighborhoods, the influence of Sharia law expanding over that continent and hardly anyone doing anything about it; and America, under Obama, has turned into the “pitiful, helpless giant” that it was accused of being during Vietnam, but really wasn’t (until now)…. And with all that, my senior senator Dianne Feinstein is worried the CIA has become a little brutal??? What an unbelievable, self-righteous idiot!
Feinstein wants to be remembered as an intrepid seeker of the truth. So fervent was her love of the truth that she did not interview any of the CIA officers who perpetrated the actions she believed to be torture.
She preferred to elicit raw emotion by offering a narrative. It reminds us of Sabrina Rubin Erdely. Feinstein cherry-picked facts to foster her narrative. In her mind, she was standing up for American ideals by denouncing those government officials who had not lived up to them.
Tellingly Feinstein took to the floor of the United States Senate to defend her actions. There she declared that she wanted to ensure that what happened would “Never Again” happen. Thus, she was defending her tantrum with a phrase that has long been associated with the Holocaust.
By the logic of her argument, the CIA officers who tortured prisoners were like Nazi camp guards. By extension, the al Qaeda terrorists were the moral equivalent to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
That is what Feinstein was implying. That analogy, all by itself, makes her a moral degenerate of the first order.
Look at it this way. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed murdered nearly three thousand Americans on 9/11. Then he personally cut off Daniel Pearl’s head with a knife because Daniel Pearl was a Jew.
For my part, I do not care what they did to KSM.
Sen. Feinstein prefers to take a stand for KSM’s humanity.
Let’s be clear: KSM has forfeited his humanity. One’s humanity is not inalienable. It is not yours no matter what you do. KSM has placed himself in the class of beings that we normally call monsters. He does not deserve respect or consideration. Treating him as the monster that he is does not diminish your humanity.
Wringing your hands about what was done to KSM shows your moral cowardice, your will to buckle under to terrorism.
Of course, Feinstein and other members of Congress were fully briefed on what was going on. In many instances they encouraged the CIA to use all means necessary.
Now, Feinstein has followed the president’s lead by reacting to the Republican takeover of the Senate by fouling the water. Just as Obama’s immigration reform has made it nearly impossible for Republicans to cooperate with him on anything, Feinstein has thrown into question her own and her party’s loyalty to the officers of the CIA.
So much so that the Director of the CIA took to the podium yesterday to defend his agency and its people.
When was the last time that the Director of the CIA had a news conference to denounce a senator of his own party?
Feinstein is being hung out to dry. And rightly so.
Yesterday, wanting to maintain the august, moralistic tone of her contribution, Feinstein took to responding to CIA Director Brennan via tweets.
Among them, this:
CIA, FBI, NSA, DIA, DOD, NGA, State Dept, DHS and many other agencies help keep us safe. Torture does not.
Among the logical flaws in her argument, repeated by Sen. John McCain—isn’t it time that he retired??—is the notion that torture never works, that it never produces useful intelligence.
On its face the statement is ridiculous to the point of being stupid. NEVER is a big word. Surely, the truth lies in the fact that sometimes torture works and sometimes it doesn’t.
If it never worked, no one would ever do it. Or, if they did it, the reason would be their own unanalyzed sadistic tendencies.
Note well, if torture never works, the people who were using it were sadist criminals whose only purpose was to gratify their own perverted impulses.
Does Sen. Feinstein believe that?
For some reasons the intelligentsia, that is, people who do not have the responsibility for guaranteeing our safety have concluded that torture is wrong. Its wrongness has become a moral absolute. No one believes in God anymore, but everyone believes that torture is always wrong.
Torture may be wrong, but losing to terrorists is wronger.
Back in the day when liberal thinkers put reason ahead of their resentments, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz offered a compromise.
Admitting that there were some circumstances when we might reasonably want to torture an individual—on the chance that it might provide the information that could save your children or your nation—Dershowitz proposed a system of special torture warrants that would be granted by a court or an appointed agency.
If torture might work on some people some of the time, and if we would use it only under the most extreme circumstances we do need a way to allow it, while also protecting those carrying it out from the tantrums of politicians.
The point is clear. Despite the mindless certainties of Sen. Feinstein and Sen. McCain, if your nation was being held hostage to an attack that would kill massive numbers of its citizens and if you had even the faintest hope that perhaps torture would save the people, you would opt for torture.
People who traffic in moral absolutes are unfit to govern.
Charles Krauthammer explained this morning:
So what was the Bush administration to do? Amid the smoking ruins of Ground Zero, conduct a controlled experiment in gentle interrogation and wait to see if we’d be hit again? A nation attacked is not a laboratory for exquisite moral experiments. It’s a trust to be protected, by whatever means meet and fit the threat.
Accordingly, under the direction of the Bush administration and with the acquiescence of congressional leadership, the CIA conducted an uncontrolled experiment. It did everything it could, sometimes clumsily, sometimes cruelly, indeed, sometimes wrongly.
But successfully. They kept us safe.
You know and I know and we all know that if the Bush administration had not kept us safe Sen. Feinstein would have rushed to the microphones to denounce it for being soft on terrorism.