Sunday, June 8, 2008

Dana Rohrabacher's America is not mine

You can almost imagine the delight on Eric "All Real Libertarians are Republican conservatives" Dondero's face as he wrote the recent post about Rohrabacher gets it right! Putting panties on a Terrorist Suspect's head does not constitute "Torture".

In it, Dondero quotes the Newsmax story:

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher on Wednesday dismissed the idea that taunting terrorism suspects with women's panties is a form of torture.

In a debate about detainee treatment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the California Republican cited panties eight times, arguing that making suspected terrorists wear women's underwear on their heads isn't demeaning and degrading enough to be called torture.

"You're suggesting that the behavior of, what, panties on his head ... is unacceptable interrogation technique for a man who was involved in a conspiracy to kill tens of thousands of Americans?" Rohrabacher asked during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.

Rohrabacher was taking issue with FBI complaints about inappropriate and potentially illegal tactics used to get al-Qaida detainees to talk in the years following the Sept. 11 attacks. He said interrogation-by-panties was more akin to a "hazing pranks from some fraternity," not torture.

This is my favorite line: making suspected terrorists wear women's underwear on their heads isn't demeaning and degrading enough to be called torture.

Let me explain something to the intellectually and ethically challenged Dondero and Rohrabacher:

The United States did not find it necessary to torture enemy prisoners in World War Two, the largest and most desperate conflict in world history. We did not torture Hermann Goering or Wilhelm Keitel. The Israelis did not torture Adolf Eichmann. We did not torture people during the Cold War, when our enemies possessed the power to kill more than 100 million Americans in 90 minutes.

Even though the founding premise of Libertarianism is non-aggression, I don't claim my position results from that. It comes from something more basic.

As an American I want to belong to a society that is too stinking proud to torture our prisoners.

No, scratch that. I demand to belong to a society that is too stinking proud to torture our prisoners.

I don't generally adopt the position taken by many Libertarians who purport to have the right to exclude or include anyone else as a Libertarian based on their own beliefs, but in this case I will make an exception: neither Dana Rohrabacher nor Eric Dondero has a legitimate claim on an ideology that foreswears aggression and harm to others.


Pandora said...


David said...

I couldn't disagree with you more strongly. You make a joke of what people who have been tortured have been through.

This was not U.S. policy, but we don't need to exaggerate to say that it shouldn't have happened. It is important that we distinguish between serious actions and trivial ones.

I have no problem with rare but aggressive interrogation by the CIA to save innocent lives when time is of the essence. I find it hard to understand the opposition. Let thousands of innocents die to allow their killer to feel good about himself. That is immoral.

Alan Dershowitz proposed the best balance. His plan should be adopted.

Steve Newton said...

I assure you I do not intend a joke here.

You cite the favorite scenario of "aggressive interrogation": the ticking time bomb.

Two thoughts:

1) Why has this never been necessary in US history as policy prior to 2001? Don't try to give me the answer that the threat has never been greater, because it simply doesn't wash.

2) Show me a single verifiable example of the ticking time bomb scenario at work in which these techniques saved lives. Just one. Torture experts can't find one; all of the CIA released material for enhanced interrogations--all of them--were about background information and not actionable intelligence.

Torture (a) doesn't work reliably and (b) doesn't get used for the scenarios its advocates say it will.

When you've got evidence, bring it.

Until that point, your position places you in league with people like Rorhabacher and Dondero--and at odds with, let's see--every announced Presidential candidate from ANY party.

Craig Porterfield said...

Excellent, Steve. Taking the high road is in our nation's DNA. Even during the revolutionary war, when the British were torturing American prisoners, George Washington refused to torture British prisoners. The only way that Americans will be in as great danger as we were during the revolutionary war is if we continue to help the fascists recruit more terrorists by doing immoral things ourselves.

Eric Dondero said...

Guess listening to Heavy Metal music is considered "torture" by today's modern standards.

Wonder if listening to Swing would have been considered torture, if American Troops had forced captured German soldiers in WWII?