Saturday, January 08, 2005

Goody Two Shoes?

In today's OpinionJournal - Extra City Journal Contributing Editor Heather Mac Donald lays out the ridiculous extent to which our interrogation techniques of suspected terrorists has descended. From the way the press has reacted over the past several days to the infamous "Torture Memo" (falsely ascribed to Alberto Gonzales), you'd think the United States routinely employed the rack or Chinese Water Torture or boiling terrorists in oil to obtain critical information. Apparently nothing could be further from the truth. As it turns out, the U.S. military has become so afraid of being labelled as torturers, that it has gone to extremes to avoid that label. For instance,
"longstanding Army psychological techniques, such as attacking a detainee's pride or the classic good cop/bad cop routine, also required a specific finding of military necessity and notice to Donald Rumsfeld."
"[a]n interrogator who so much as requests permission to question a detainee into the night could be putting his career in jeopardy."
Something is clearly wrong here. No one is advocating that the United States engage in torture. The use of stress techniqes short of torture, however, have been shown to be effectual. Let's use these techniques now, while we still have the chance. The same useless Democratic Senators who sanctimoniously prattled on during the Gonzales confirmation hearings this week will also be the first ones to accuse the Bush Administration of not doing enough if another terrorist act occurs on U.S. Shores -- an act which might be prevented if we simply use effective but non-torturous interrogation methods. The alternative is one we don't want to consider, and which could ultimately cost us the War on Terror.

UPDATE: Powerline is also raising aspects of this issue.

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