It’s Official. We Torture.

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Bush, Guantanamo Bay, History, Torture

They finally admit it…

The top Bush administration official in charge of deciding whether to bring Guantanamo Bay detainees to trial has concluded that the U.S. military tortured a Saudi national who allegedly planned to participate in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, interrogating him with techniques that included sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, nudity and prolonged exposure to cold, leaving him in a “life-threatening condition.”

“We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani,” said Susan J. Crawford, in her first interview since being named convening authority of military commissions by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February 2007. “His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that’s why I did not refer the case” for prosecution.

Crawford, a retired judge who served as general counsel for the Army during the Reagan administration and as Pentagon inspector general when Dick Cheney was secretary of defense, is the first senior Bush administration official responsible for reviewing practices at Guantanamo to publicly state that a detainee was tortured.

I can hear the folks over at RedState now…”But, but, but…what if a nuclear bomb were about to go off and Jack B-, I mean the CIA needed to find out where it was so they could diffuse it?”

Is it just me or is the fact that we actually had to have a debate about whether it’s okay to torture people is evidence of how far off track we’ve gone?

Obviously I’m not suggesting that our actions are anywhere close to being as bad as the terrorists, but one of the ways they’ll “win” is if we adopt their tactics. The Bush administration fell right into this trap and lost a massive amount of credibility as a result…as well they should.

Let’s hope our new POTUS is smarter.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 14th, 2009 and is filed under Bush, Guantanamo Bay, History, Torture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

11 Responses to “It’s Official. We Torture.”

  1. US Official Says G’itmo Vacationer Joined A Fraternity : Stop The ACLU Says:

    [...] of the most amusing Lefties of the day, Donkelephant (funny names, since the majority of sidebar links are to blogs on the left Obviously I’m not [...]

  2. US Official Says G’itmo Vacationer Joined A Fraternity » Pirate’s Cove — Shiny! Says:

    [...] of the most amusing Lefties of the day, Donkelephant (funny names, since the majority of sidebar links are to blogs on the left Obviously I’m not [...]

  3. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    Is it just me or is the fact that we actually had to have a debate about whether it’s okay to torture people is evidence of how far off track we’ve gone?

    Its just you. “Coercive interrogation” or what ever they want to call it, is a relevant issue, particularly when real life scenarios play out everyday against our new type of enemy. Perhaps not a nuclear bomb like on a TV show, but rather, truck bombs destined for explosion at the national gurad barracks in Djibuti Eritrea, or the operational infrastructure of the most dangerous organization in the world. It is for real, at least according to Khalid Sheik Mohammad and Abu Zubaida.

    It seems like in this particular case, they didn’t know what they were doing and they f#@k’d up. Punish the people responsible, just like at Abu Graib, this time its not simply a bunch of low-level hooligans, but CIA officers.

    If they had evidence that he possesed invaluable information required to stop an imminent terrorist attack, maybe they would have just water-boarded him!

  4. Trescml Says:

    Torture is extremely effective. Unfortunately what it is most effective at is putting fear in people. Torture in theory could provide information from someone being detained, but I think this is outweighed by the lack of information from the community at large will give because of the fear of being tortured. If you are worried about being tortured because guilt by association, there is no reason to provide information even if you suspect that someone you know is a terrorist.

  5. J. Harden Says:

    I for one would rather have millions of Americans slaughtered than to loose our moral high-ground. Anyway, everyone knows, that you’ll say just about anything when you are having your finger-nails pulled out — how reliable is that intel!? On the other hand, terrorists love a good foot message and the truth spills forth with expert reflexology.

    Obama needs to replace coerced interrogation with a massive reflexology interrogation program — with scented candles, because it is all about the aura of the interrogation. If you’ve got a negative chi in the interrogation room it can totally block the good intel.

    I would suggest reflexology, zen gardens interrogation rooms and waterfalls (not water-boarding) is always a good way to open up the lines of communication between you and your local jihadist. Let the love flow and take it down a notch. Jihadist also really dig enya and hash.

    I’ve written this little poem for Jihadists under this new Obama policy:

    Dude, take off the bomb vest
    Come in and rest
    Don’t be a pest
    Sit, sit and kick up your feet
    I think your turbin is really quit neat…
    Allah digs us mutts
    Even though our women are sluts
    Please don’t detonate that bomb
    We’ll convert to Islam
    no problem, just relax and go slow
    There ain’t no more Gitmo
    We’re just a big infidel horde
    without a single waterboard
    We give up, we stop, we are done
    Protecting our freedom ain’t very much fun
    We rather be liked by the Frogs & the Krauts
    Not to be viewed as imperial louts
    So take off your vest and let me rub your feet
    Its much nicer than blowing up in the street
    Yes, yes, the Jews are the devil and will go to hell
    Now take a deep breath and slowly exhale
    Feel better…yes…that’s what I thought
    Now where did you plant the bomb that we sought.

  6. Jeremy from NJ Says:

    It’s not only Justin, Jimmy. It’s me too. And they’re not calling it “coercive interrogation”, they’re calling it “Torture”. That’s the point of the post.

    When the President of the United States openly admits to, and defends, torturing suspects we have a bit of problem. Anyone who doesn’t recognize this needs to pull their head out of whatever hole it’s stuck in and read the Constitution of United States of America. Read the Declaration of Independence – you know, get a feel for what those folks were going for.

    Also, try reading “1984″ – it will help you focus when you say things like “The United States must torture people to preserve it’s ideals”.

  7. Rich Says:

    ****From the article:****
    “We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani,” said Susan J. Crawford, in her first interview since being named convening authority of military commissions by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February 2007. “His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that’s why I did not refer the case” for prosecution.

    ****Then she says:*****
    Crawford, 61, said the combination of the interrogation techniques, their duration and the impact on Qahtani’s health led to her conclusion. “The techniques they used were all authorized, but the manner in which they applied them was overly aggressive and too persistent. . . . You think of torture, you think of some horrendous physical act done to an individual. This was not any one particular act; this was just a combination of things that had a medical impact on him, that hurt his health….. It was that medical impact that pushed me over the edge” to call it torture, she said.

    *****Sounds horrible. At this point, I’d tend to agree with Justin – we should not be doing this. What did the interrogators subject this man to that would have such a negative impact on his health?? Here are the only examples I could find in the article:****

    “For 160 days his only contact was with the interrogators,” said Crawford, who personally reviewed Qahtani’s interrogation records and other military documents. “Forty-eight of 54 consecutive days of 18-to-20-hour interrogations. Standing naked in front of a female agent. Subject to strip searches. And insults to his mother and sister.”

    At one point he was threatened with a military working dog named Zeus, according to a military report. Qahtani “was forced to wear a woman’s bra and had a thong placed on his head during the course of his interrogation” and “was told that his mother and sister were whores.” With a leash tied to his chains, he was led around the room “and forced to perform a series of dog tricks,” the report shows.

    *****Are you freaking serious?? Wearing a thong on your head lead to hospitalization? Being told your mama is a slut?? Good thing this pansy never had to experience a PE locker room in an American high school!! Here is more:********

    “There’s no doubt in my mind he would’ve been on one of those planes had he gained access to the country in August 2001,” Crawford said of Qahtani, who remains detained at Guantanamo. “He’s a muscle hijacker. . . . He’s a very dangerous man. What do you do with him now if you don’t charge him and try him? I would be hesitant to say, ‘Let him go.’ ”

    ****So, what do we do with him?? We can’t prosecute him because of the manner in which he was interrogated. But, we can’t hold him forever because the trial lawyers would get their panties in a bunch. What to do???

    Somehow, I suspect his training in the terrorist camp exposed him to treatment that was far more harsh than what he experienced in Gitmo.

    You feeling sorry for this guy is a direct threat to my family, sir – and yours.

  8. Rich Says:

    Trescml Says:

    January 14th, 2009 at 1:44 pm
    If you are worried about being tortured because guilt by association, there is no reason to provide information even if you suspect that someone you know is a terrorist.

    *****************
    Tre, I respectfully disagree. Want to know why many Iraqis are reluctant to report the terrorist that lives beside them in Kirkuk or Baghdad?? Not because he’s afraid of what the US will do to him, but what he’s afraid of what the *terrorists* will do to him and his family. You know, kill them, brand them, break bones, rape his wife or daughters in front of him, cut their heads off, etc…

    I think you are quite naive, sir.

  9. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    Are you freaking serious?? Wearing a thong on your head lead to hospitalization? Being told your mama is a slut?? Good thing this pansy never had to experience a PE locker room in an American high school!

    Don’t forget the psycological torture of having hundreds of pictures of the victims of 9/11 posted on the walls of his prison cell. Somebody call the Hague. Bush and Cheney need to be hanged for that one.

  10. John Says:

    All those defending torture,

    The problem with your approach is that it allows the opposition, terrorists, to take the same approach and worse without having to be accountable. Granted, they most likely would regardless. But by stooping to their level, and in terms of military, ignoring the geneva conventions, it limits the world to hold accountable people who break these laws. The Geneva Convention is an international treaty that we signed, that we agreed to abide by. And while you poo poo these actions as childish or harmless. I ask that you speak to people that have been deprived sleep for long periods of time and kept in extreme hot or cold, and come back to this conversation. And yes, you can find these people in our own military. Then ask yourself, would it be acceptable for US forces or CIA to be treated in the same way. And finally go to one of our soldiers and tell them that you feel that this type of activity means that should they get captured, it is fully acceptable if this happens to them. It makes Us, seem no better than our enemies in terms of how we treat enemies. I personally, think Americans, and what we stand for, is Above that.

  11. J. Harden Says:

    Sleep deprivation, hot air, cold air, “stress” positions…I really don’t think we’re “Above” those interrogation techniques, which I would describe as “coercive”.

    Now, I agree entirely, that we should be very cautious and reserve the use of the “PEAR OF ANGUISH” for only the most dire of circumstances.

    http://www.medievality.com/pear-of-anguish.html

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