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May 03, 2007

Dean Barnett Rips Anti-Coercion Hysterics

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THE TORTURE DEBATE brings out a similar absolutism from torture opponents. They tend to casually assume that people who support “coercive interrogation techniques” do so because they’re congenital sadists who have just been waiting for this moment in history so they could begin water-boarding Muslims with impunity.

That’s not the case. The people who support coercive interrogation techniques, and I am one of them, do so sadly. Unfortunately, given the nature of the war we’re in, certain moral compromises are a necessity. Using coercive interrogation techniques is one of them.

What’s most infuriating about the anti-torture people is their tacit assumption that you can fight a war without making moral compromises. War is all about moral compromise. It’s not in the normal order of things to kill others. The very aim of war is to do just that. In World War II, we did terrible things like the fire-bombing of Dresden, the massive bombing of Tokyo, and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While all these actions were terrible, they were also necessary. And justifiable.

Yesterday on Fox News Sunday, McCain stated that we can reclaim the moral high ground in this war if we close the Gitmo detention center and cease our use of coercive interrogation techniques. This comment makes the ludicrous assumption that we’ve lost the moral high ground because of these things.

The logic here would be akin to saying America lost the moral high ground after bombing the civilian center of Tokyo in World War II. While that bombing cost America any claim to moral perfection, no one was making any such claims in the first place. America still held the moral high ground because it wasn’t us that wanted to establish a global totalitarian dictatorship and exterminate inferior races. Similarly, just because our current struggle causes us to engage in ugly tactics doesn’t mean that we don’t have the moral high ground. It’s not us calling for the annihilation of those who practice a different religion than we do.

And then there’s the persistent intellectual incoherence of the anti-torture voices. They can’t decide whether they’re against torture because it doesn’t work or whether they oppose it solely on moral grounds. This confusion belies their own sense of their argument’s weaknesses. If you add up the consensus of informed opinions, torture sometimes gets you some really useful and actionable information, and sometimes gets you utter rubbish. Torture opponents know this, which is why they cherry-pick experts who argue that torture never works. Because if a consensus formed that torture produced any good information, and the media acknowledged that consensus, torture opponents know their position would become politically untenable.

It's a simple fact -- stated by CIA officers who conduct coercive interrogations, and recently confirmed by George Tenet -- that "torture" -- or, more correctly, rough, stressful treatment of monsters -- has produced more verifiable (from other sources) actionalbe intelligence than all other intelligence sources combined -- comint, sigint, humint. All of it, added together, has produced less good information than waterboarding psychopaths like Khalid Sheikh Mohammad.

The left -- the bleeding hearts, the softbrains -- continue dealing with this issue in a childish way, putting their fingers in their ears and chanting "Nyah, nyah, nyah, I can't hear you" when these relevant facts are suggested to them. Because they are too childish or too dishonest to address the question with integrity -- how many, as Dean asks, and I have asked before, innocent civilians are you willing to lose in order to spare Khalid Sheik Mohammad and fellow death-cultists some real, but temporary, pain?

How many human lives is one of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad's tears worth? Ten? Twenty? Fifty? One hundred? One thousand?

Because they want to argue from the position of higher morality, they cannot admit reality -- because then they would have to argue it is more moral that an innocent civilian, possibly even a child, die horribly due to a terrorist attack than that a terrorist suffer the indignity of an attention-grabbing belly slap.

And that, of course, is a rather difficult row to hoe.

So Sullivan and his fellow preening sissies simply invent their own little fantasy world in which their own little fantasy "facts" control the debate.

The rest of us live in the real world, and decline the invitation to live in Narnia. Thanks, but no thanks.


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posted by Ace at 05:01 PM

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