“I cannot tell you how disgusted my former colleagues and I felt to hear ourselves labeled ‘torturers’ by the president of the United States,” when all we really did was to strap people to a board and pour water into their noses and mouths to they felt the sensation of drowning, for several hours a day every day for months, and stuff.
That is the sentiment of Jose Rodriguez’s new book, Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives.
Rodriguez, former leader of a CIA torture, er, persuasion, team, is so proud of his ability to save American Lives by leading the way in making our country and its representatives truly monstrous in the eyes of the rest of the world, that he destroyed video evidence of the waterboarding acts (remember that?) back when it was first discovered that the CIA was … persuading people … in this manner.
Regarding the destruction of the evidence of his team’s actions, he wrote, “I wasn’t going to sit around another three years waiting for people to get up the courage [to torture, er, persuade people] … “[I was] just getting rid of some ugly visuals.”
Nice of him to appoint himself to be the person who decided whether or not the system of oversight of Federal investigatory agencies by the People has had enough time or not. I wonder if this book contains the information necessary to indict?
The book is being published by the same house that published Dick Cheney’s memoir, Threshold, which is a conservative subunit of Simon and Schuster. They’ve also published work by Glenn Beck, Karl Rove, Jerome R. Corsi, Mark R. Levin, David Kupelian, Lynne Cheney, Arthur B. Laffer, Mary Cheney, Jerry Doyle, Reid Buckley, Brian Jennings, George Melloan, Burton W. Folsom, and Stephen Moore, according to their web site.
A fuller version of the Rodriguez story will be found in The Washington Post
I’m pretty sure torture has a low level of effectiveness, but even if it was sometimes, er, persuasive, it is immoral to use it. However, we as a nation are never going to fully agree on this, and even from a moral perspective, the “bomb in the middle of New York” scenario is still intellectually convincing, even if the liklihood of it happening is close to zero. This is the scenario in which there is something like a nuclear bomb set to go off in some place like New York City, and the timing of the expected explosion is too soon to evacuate, but we have in custody a man who knows the codes one can enter into the bomb’s keyboard (located right next to the obligatory blinking light that is found on all covert bombs) to deactivate it. Bomb experts have determined that there is no way to deactivate the bomb without the codes. You’ve all seen this before on TV or in the movies. So, the only way for tens of millions of people to not be turned instantly int skeletons when the bomb goes off is to make the man tell us the deactivation code.
OK, fine, so never mind that this scenario is almost impossible. Let’s give the pro-torture side no credit for the credibility of their imagination, but, thinking for them (their limitations are obvious) we can imagine a different scenario not taken from 24 staring Kiefer Sutherland. Imagine what you will, just make sure that at the end of your imagined scenario, there is a guy who has information that will save hundreds of thousands of lives, but he won’t give up the information by any means that are legal and available, but maybe, just maybe, if tortured he would. At that point, there is no reason to pick and choose among torture techniques, to draw a line between one kind of horrific action and another, to say “waterboarding” is OK, but attaching electrodes to his testicles is not. Just assume that since nothing else has worked that anything else tried is worth it, because we morally are willing to toss this one guy’s life aside to find out this critical information.
Feel free to critique this argument so far as it stands, but now we’ll move on to the next stage, the rule I propose in case the “24-Keifer” approach is actually implemented.
In my proposed scenario, there should be a team of torturers available just in case there really is a nuclear bomb in the middle of Manhattan, and some guy has the deactivation code but isn’t talking, or whatever, and these torturers, using the best available (or so they think) methods, can have at that guy because all else fails. But in each the case where are called in to “get the codes” (or whatever) the incident has to be filmed, and the full details and all the “ugly visuals” released to the public, documenting the reason the Torture Team was brought in, outlining the rationale for their approach, documenting their every move, and in the end, showing the target revealing the “life saving” information such as Nuclear Bomb Deactivation Codes. Or not.
Also, this needs to be done under executive order, and the rule is that if a president orders this, and it does not work, then he or she must resign along with the entire chain of command from the White House to the Torture Team, which would probably include the Chief of the Joint Chiefs, a general, and a unit commander or agency section chief, as well as the head of the CIA or other agency that runs the Torture Team.
Then, after each event, we get to vote on whether or not the Torture Team gets to continue to exist. At the very least, this would make for some amazing theater.
How does that sound?