The Corner

‘Torture’ Thought Experiment

If you were to take the “torture” report seriously (I don’t — it’s a political document), you would have to say Barack Obama inhabits a very strange moral universe.

Here is a thought experiment I have been using for many years as we’ve debated this topic. It goes to what Obama says about the intolerably brutal nature of waterboarding, the most coercive of the enhanced techniques that were used.

If you were to take everyone in America who is serving a minor jail sentence of, say, 6 to 18 months, and you were to ask them whether they’d rather serve the rest of their time or be waterboarded in the manner practiced by the CIA post 9/11 (i.e., not in the manner practiced by the Japanese in World War II), how many would choose waterboarding? I am guessing, conservatively, that over 95 percent would choose waterboarding.

Now, if you take the same group of inmates and ask them whether they’d prefer to serve the remainder of their time or be subjected to Obama’s drone program (where we kill rather than capture terrorists, therefore get no intelligence from the people in the best position to provide actionable intelligence, and kill bystanders — including some children — in addition to the target), how many would choose the drone program? I am guessing that it would be . . . zero.

I believe President Obama is too smart not to grasp this obvious point. 

So ignore the blather about how enhanced interrogation is “not who we are.” The so-called Torture Report is a partisan gift to Obama’s Bush-deranged base, which has been clamoring for it since the enhanced-interrogation program was disclosed. Even before this report was released, the Democrats’ shameful partisan attack on the war effort for the purpose of motivating their political base had seriously compromised U.S. intelligence collection — in a war against a secretive transcontinental terror network against which good intelligence is in many ways our only security.

This report is not just wildly inaccurate (as three former CIA directors attest today in a Wall Street Journal op-ed). It further endangers our country, for no good purpose.     

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