Let's talk about torture.
I started this post last Friday, intended to upload it before the weekend got underway, but I had to stop and rethink my position. It took most of the weekend before I felt comfortable with what I have to say here, and I'm still not sure I could do what I'm about to recommend.
Which is to torture someone.
A big flap was made about torture several times in the recent past, notably the allegations of abuse at Guantanamo and at Abu Ghraib. Recently in the confirmation hearings of Alberto Gonzales, Democrats kept pressing the issue regarding the acceptability of torture.
There are a lot of variables that get brought up in the discussion of torture, but it boils down, IMHO, to two major questions: Do The Ends Justify The Means, & Can We Sink To Their Level? With certain reservations and limitations, I'm forced to say yes to both.
Kim du Toit raises the excellent point
that torture is not a means of separating the sheep from the goats. You would consider the use of torture only in cases where you've got a dead-bang case that your perp is guilty. Not just 'reasonable doubt' guilty, but caught-on-tape, bloody handed, smoking-gun-tucked-in-his-pants guilty.
Let's get something straight right off the bat. Having boxer shorts put on your head, or making you stand on a box wearing a poncho, or even piling you up in a nekkid pyramid is NOT torture! Neither is playing loud music, making you wear pink jammies, or putting you through a body cavity search. Shit, I went through worse than all of that during Hell Week while pledging a fraternity back in the 80's. It's humiliation, to be sure. No doubt it's unpleasant, and it's something you'd rather never have happen to you. If you can claim the above activities are enough to cause 'permanent mental scarring' or constitute emotional abuse, well, you're ranking pretty high on the Puss-O-Meter, there, Nancy-boy. Grow a pair and get over it.
The whiners out there bemoaning Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, claiming "shock & outrage" are doing it for political purposes. Let's be honest about that at least. If we'd found the jailers pulling out fingernails and runing cattle prods up rectums, then I'd say we'd entered "shock & outrage" territory.
So, do the ends justify the means? I can only speak for myself here. Let me give you a scenario where I can visualize torture as a necessary and proper tool for persuasion.
Let's say it's 10 years from now. We're now having scattered Islamic terrorist activity here in the States, due to years of appeasement policies aimed at respecting a religion/culture that's committed to killing or converting any and all kufr
One day, in some big city in Texas (just as an example) a band of terrorists robs a bank for money, kills a few people while escaping, and seizes a few hostages as insurance. Let's say you're a friend of mine, and you or one of your family is one of the abductees.
Later that day, Al Jizz-eera
releases a pre-recorded press statement from the terrorists saying you will be killed by getting stuffed in a wood chipper feet-first in 72 hours unless a shipload of halal
Pop-Tarts is redirected to a small cave outside Tora Bora. Even if Shrillary becomes President (shudder...
), I'm betting the U.S. Government will still hold the hard line on not negotiating with terrorists. Basically, in 72 hours, you're gonna die a horrible death.
The police have captured a suspect after following a blood trail after the bank robbery. They have video of this terrorist carrying you out of the building, and the bullet they pull out of his leg matches a cop's pistol. It's unquestionably one of the kidnappers. He may not know where you are being held right now, but he's got info about hideouts, safe houses, escape routes, names and phone numbers. But he ain't talking. Allah has promised him an eternity in Paradise if he's faithful and kills the infidel. To betray his brothers is to betray his God, and forgo any chance at dancing the horizontal bop with 72 virgins. To put it bluntly, this cat ain't sayin' shit.
For you to have a chance of rescue, someone's gotta get this guy to flip. Roughing him up won't work. He's been given a "Holy Hall Pass" by his mullah, so waving bacon in his face won't do it. Nope, if this guy's gonna give it up, there's gonna need to be a whole different level of persuasion take place.
And suddenly, we're at the dividing line between interrogation and torture. For some, it's razor-thin. I see it as a bit wider margin. There's a time to go the sleep-deprivation/malnutrition/subliminal suggestion route, and there's a time to get out the rubber hoses. We've only got 72 hours to find you. As far as I'm concerned, the time for playing nice is over.
In the case listed above, I have very little doubt that I could go in the room the suspect is held, and perform some inhuman shit to get him to give up your location. I can't say what my limits would be. The thought of inflicting pain on a helpless person makes me a little shaky. Nevertheless, it's him or you.
And I choose you.
Now, I know there's a lot of my left-leaning friends who are now aghast at what I've just said, and wondering what kind of sociopathic monster they've been harboring in their midst all these years. After all, they can't EVER imagine stooping to that level.
Well, normally, neither would I. I'm not talking about strapping some guy's nuts up to a field telephone because he voted for the wrong candidate, or pouring lye in someone's eyes because they wrote a column criticizing the government. This is a specific case where the perp is unquestionably guilty of death penalty offenses, and information is needed, and needed NOW.
Now, if you want this guy to be left alone and unharmed, I want you to look me in the eye and honestly tell me, "Cap, I'd rather be dead right now. I'd rather be a pile of moist red mulch, my wife a widow and my kid an orphan than to have had my freedom achieved through inflicting pain & torture on one of the perpetrators." I can guarantee I won't believe you. That's bullshit. I can't accept that. 'Cause if you say that, you either lying your ass off to protect your political leanings, or you're certifiably insane.
What you're saying when you refuse to consider torture is that the dignity and "rights" of the proven terrorist outweighs those of your loved ones. And that's just unacceptable to me. I mean, there's turning the other cheek, and there's bending over and taking it up the ass.
That being said, if I ever have to take a pair of pruning shears and remove someone's fingertips and feed them to the wolverines in order to ensure the safe return of your kidnapped little girl, it's gonna cause me some major psychological issues. I'll probably puke my guts up before, during and after, and have years of nightmares. I would risk that, because her life is worth more to me than that of the asswipe terrorist strapped to the table. The only thing worse than doing the deed itself would be the unthinkable outcome of not being mentally affected by it at all.
The slippery slope I hit with this line of reasoning is... where does the cut-off come? What if the person kidnapped is someone I don't know? What if it's someone I know, but they're an asshole? Do I still lower myself into the Pit to save that person? I mean, I have an ego, but there's certainly no Messiah Complex happening here. I thought I had all this worked out until I read this post
. There, a commenter threw me for a loop by asking "What if the terrorist is a woman?"
Jeezus... I hadn't even considered that. I mean, I can see gettin' medieval on some scruffy hairbag, but I was brought up in the Texas old school hold-the-door pull-out-the-chair always-say-Ma'am put-women-on-a-pedestal tradition. Could I take a pair of pliers and a blowtorch to a woman?? I'm still working on that one.
I don't know what to say here. I really don't. I don't want to fault you for recognizing within yourself the lack of ability to bring harm to another human being. Is it too much to ask you to not fault me for recognizing that I might have that ability? I dunno where it comes from. A touch of the antisocial gene, paired with a pathological hatred of those who prey on the helpless, maybe.
Still, I've gone 36 years with no assault charges. Nothing more than a few bar-fights in my rowdy youth. If I was an out-of-control homicidal maniac, I think we'd all know it by now. I mean, I joke about babysitting kids by duct-taping them to the walls, but it is just a joke.
Ok, I need to go walk outside in the sun for a while. Hopefully I didn't freak everyone out, at least not to the extent I freaked myself out...