Okay, now I'm officially pissed off at both the right and the left:
Mark Thiessen wrote
in the Washington Post:
Critics claim that enhanced techniques do not produce good intelligence because people will say anything to get the techniques to stop. But the memos note that, "as Abu Zubaydah himself explained with respect to enhanced techniques, 'brothers who are captured and interrogated are permitted by Allah to provide information when they believe they have reached the limit of their ability to withhold it in the face of psychological and physical hardship." In other words, the terrorists are called by their faith to resist as far as they can -- and once they have done so, they are free to tell everything they know. This is because of their belief that "Islam will ultimately dominate the world and that this victory is inevitable." The job of the interrogator is to safely help the terrorist do his duty to Allah, so he then feels liberated to speak freely.
Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly responds
Got that? When U.S. officials torture detainees, some of us may be inclined to think this is illegal and morally degrading. What we didn't realize is that the torturers are giving the detainees a hand.
As this argument goes, we're not torturing suspects, we're "helping" them.
Cliff May writes
in the National Review (The Corner):
Remember that Abu Zubaydah said: “Brothers who are captured and interrogated are permitted by Allah to provide information when they believe they have reached the limit of their ability to withhold it in the face of psychological and physical hardships.”
Any interrogator worth his salt would understand this means it is his job to bring his subject to the point at which cooperation is no longer betrayal but permitted according to his religious beliefs. Can that be achieved short of torture? Sure. Can it be achieved without coercive interrogation techniques? No, not with subjects who have the beliefs described above.
A. Serwer of TAPPED responds
... May is arguing that torture is necessary due to the religious beliefs of the subject being interrogated.
... Abu Zubayda gave up all his useful information before being tortured, so it's useless to quote his assertion that radicals will only talk if brought to a state of spiritual epiphany through torture.
Why is everybody (right and left
) taking the statement by one person, Zubaydah, as normative? Is it what Islam teaches? Is it what those being interrogated think? None of this has been established. Why are people on so many left blogs casually accepting Zubaydah's doctrine, especially since it's only been found in an OLC memo?
* Serwer argues on the grounds of efficacy as it pertains to only one person, but leaves the theological doctrine unchallenged.
I think liberals bloggers immediately dismiss the worth of that argument, so nobody's going to do a long, detailed takedown of it.
Because they know in their hearts that future torture of AQ agents will be required, and are constructing a rationalization.
Now if the torturers were really smart, they'd get Zubaydah to say "Terrorism is against Islam". And all the al Quaida operatives would lay down their box-cutters and we'd be all safe. And Zubaydah could also then say, "Go get an education" and his followers would say "Sure, lets do that if our leader says so. We know he isn't saying that under torture because the US doesn't torture. George W told us so in the same sentence as when he told us WMDs had been found in Iraq." If only the liberals were as gullible as Zubaydah's followers, we'd all be safe.