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December 19, 2008

Duncan Hunter: Waterboarding Saved Lives

Video below the fold.


The left continues insisting that coercive methods never work. I will once again link this article from The Atlantic, back in 2002, noting that of course such methods work.

I'dd been told before our meeting, by the mutual friend -- a former Sri Lankan intelligence officer who had also long fought the LTTE -- who introduced us (and was present at our meeting), that Thomas had another name, one better known to his friends and enemies alike: Terminator. My friend explained how Thomas had acquired his sobriquet; it actually owed less to Arnold Schwarzenegger than to the merciless way in which he discharged his duties as an intelligence officer. This became clear to me during our conversation.

"By going through the process of laws," Thomas patiently explained, as a parent or a teacher might speak to a bright yet uncomprehending child, "you cannot fight terrorism."

Terrorism, he believed, could be fought only by thoroughly "terrorizing" the terrorists -- that is, inflicting on them the same pain that they inflict on the innocent.

Thomas had little confidence that I understood what he was saying. I was an academic, he said, with no actual experience of the life-and-death choices and the immense responsibility borne by those charged with protecting society from attack.

Accordingly, he would give me an example of the split-second decisions he was called on to make. At the time, Colombo was on "code red" emergency status, because of intelligence that the LTTE was planning to embark on a campaign of bombing public gathering places and other civilian targets. Thomas's unit had apprehended three terrorists who, it suspected, had recently planted somewhere in the city a bomb that was then ticking away, the minutes counting down to catastrophe.

The three men were brought before Thomas. He asked them where the bomb was. The terrorist 00 highly dedicated and steeled to resist interrogation -- remained silent. Thomas asked the question again, advising them that if they did not tell him what he wanted to know, he would kill them. They were unmoved.

So Thomas took his pistol from his gun belt, pointed it at the forehead of one of them, and shot him dead. The other two, he said, talked immediately; the bomb, which had been placed in a crowded railway station and set to explode during the evening rush hour, was found and defused, and countless lives were saved.

On other occasions, Thomas said, similarly recalcitrant terrorists were brought before him. It was not surprising, he said, that they initially refused to talk; they were schooled to withstand harsh questioning and coercive pressure. No matter: a few drops of gasoline flicked into a plastic bag that is then placed over a terrorist's head and cinched tight around his neck with a web belt very quickly prompts a full explanation of the details of any planned attack.

Those arguing against the much-less extreme and completely temporary torment of waterboarding can argue it's immoral, but when they claim it's not effective, they're lying, avoiding a difficult question by assuming it away.

And the difficult question remains: Is it more moral to spare a terrorist temporary discomfort and fear, or to let a dozen innocent people die through in action?


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posted by Ace at 04:44 PM

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