Thursday, July 14, 2005

No Torture

The Washington Times reports:
A military investigation of interrogations at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, found no torture occurred, but one high-value al Qaeda operative was subjected to "abusive and degrading treatment" when he was forced to wear a brassiere, do dog tricks and stay awake for 20 hours a day.

"We looked at this very, very carefully -- no torture occurred," Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall M. Schmidt testified yesterday before the Senate Armed Services Committee. "Detention and interrogation operations across the board ... looking through all the evidence that we could, were safe, secure and humane."
It is worth noting that this in an internal investigation -- the military investigating itself -- not an independent report. However, coupled with the testimony of two Democratic senators that I noted two weeks ago, this pretty much destroys the credibility of those accusing the Bush administration of authorizing torture.

Note also the statistics:
Gen. Schmidt said the e-mails, and surveys of all 493 FBI agents who worked at the camp, boiled down to nine purported cases of abuse out of 24,000 interrogations. Two were unsubstantiated; five were substantiated, but authorized by the Army Field Manual or by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld; and two were substantiated as unauthorized tactics that resulted in abuse.

Mr. Rumsfeld later rescinded his authorization for stress-inducing tactics after Pentagon lawyers objected.

Of those two substantiated incidents, in one case, a detainee was chained to the floor briefly for the protection of guards; in the other, an interrogator placed duct tape on the mouth of an inmate who refused to stop chanting.
So, of twenty-four thousand interrogations, seven were substantiated as abusive. That is less than 0.03% of the cases.

Note also that the authorization was rescinded after people voiced objections. This is how democracy works. Even when bad things happen, (and this doesn't seem very bad in comparison to the tactics our enemies use -- and that we are preventing them from using by the intelligence gained by our tactics), people have the power to stop it by voicing their opinion.

Scroll down to read about the interrogation of Kahtani, the wannabe 20th hijacker on 9/11:
The authorized tactics included forcing him to wear women's clothes, calling him a homosexual, insulting his mother and sister as "whores," interrogating him for 20 hours a day, and having women touch him suggestively. No other prisoner was treated this way, the witnesses said.


In the end, Gen. Craddock said, Kahtani started talking and the military reaped "solid intelligence gains." The military learned how al Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden, planned the September 11 attacks, recruited terrorists, financed operations and entered the United States, he said.
I have three points to make about this:

1. The goal of Kahtani and his comrades was to cause thousands of people to be burned alive or to jump to their deaths. In return, he is being kept up late. It is doubtful that his conscience would have caused him to lose much sleep.

2. The Taliban regime that sponsored him was famous for having women beaten in the street for taking off their head coverings during the heat of summer. In exchange he is being forced to wear women's clothing.

3. His compatriots in the 9/11 attack were motivated by the promise of 72 virgins each. I hope they are being touched as "suggestively" by the devils they actually got in whatever hell they wound up in.