Sunday, February 20, 2005

What is Bush's Position? Not This One I'll bet.

I am not anti-war but I am anti-this. Here I am thinking that everything that could be said had been said about prisoner abuse and then I see this A.P. story.

"The death of the prisoner, Manadel al-Jamadi, became known last year when the Abu Ghraib prison scandal broke. The U.S. military said back then that the death had been ruled a homicide. But the exact circumstances under which the man died were not disclosed at the time." (emphasis mine)

It is good to break news like this over time so the outrage is less. Everyone has had a chance to get angry about prisoner abuse so if anyone gets mad over this, the apologists for this type of thing can claim that "the left-wingers" are rehashing an old story. You have to admire the talent displayed in humanity's inhumanity at times. Practice makes perfect I guess.

Now there are plenty of researchers that can tell you why torture is not a reliable tool for extracting information. Not only will innocent people provide false information to stop the treatment but actual bad guys will provide information that is contaminated with lies and imagined "facts" induced by the trauma. But then, effectiveness is not really the point of torture. The point is revenge and while many people sympathize with the sentiment, is paying people to 'get off' emotionally when they are supposed to be getting information that could save lives something we should approve of? If Manadel al-Jamadi was a terrorist as seems to be the case then interrogators killed him without extracting valuable information. We will never know if some information he possessed could have located other terrorists and saved lives. Anyone who dies because of this killing are on the heads of his interrogators who put their own anger above the job they were supposed to do. Fortunately for these incompetents, the dead can't speak about what might have been.

"The prisoner died in a position known as "Palestinian hanging," the documents reviewed by The AP show. It is unclear whether that position was approved by the Bush administration for use in CIA interrogations." the article states.

Bush must know that the position was used and that it is unclear where he stands on it. Here is an idea: Bush can make a clear and public statement that such tactics are not approved of by his administration (even if they were in the past). He could then spend some of the money that would have been used in future congressional torture inquiries and in cover-ups etc. and buy a mobile MRI device to bring to detention camps. It is well known that recognition of images of people places and scenes can be reliably detected in a way that polygraphs can not. Why not use 21st century technology to find out what these people really know instead of torturing them to death while extracting suspect and unreliable information.

Or he could keep on with is policy of letting the interrogators do as they please and hoping they don't get caught. Terrorists will keep slipping through their fingers but a few interrogators will get their jollies and every little country that manages to capture an American airman or ground soldier can follow Bush's example without any fear of condemnation of the international community. Smart work W. Maybe they will send you an ear for your scrap-book.


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