Tuesday, June 14, 2011

CIA Agent: Waterboarding Saved Lives

Does waterboarding work? Without a doubt, yes. Abu Zubayda broke after 35 seconds of being waterboarded and, according to the man who did it, the information he gave let us stop “…a number of attacks, maybe dozens of attacks”.
Is waterboarding torture? Well, this CIA agent believes it is, as do a number of other very well-intentioned and reasonable people. The word “torture” carries a certain number of very weighty connotations that I’m not sure apply to waterboarding. Should it be a regular part of our interrogations? Of course not, and I’m very glad that it isn’t. Let us remember here that for all the sturm und drang over waterboarding, it has been used on only three prisoners/terrorists since 9/11, it hasn’t been used since 2003, and a bipartisan group of our duly-elected officials had oversight over the program and registered no meaningful objections to it when it was in use. What we do know now, and many of us strongly suspected for some time, is that waterboarding was at the extreme point of a very carefully-followed and strictly-approved continuum of interrogation techniques. It was not used recklessly, as you might have gathered from the shrill MSM coverage and the frantic accusations from the left. But it has to be on the table. It has to be part of the continuum. Because of all the extreme things we could do, this one is by far the least damaging and it works.
Let’s also remember something very, very important. As distasteful as waterboarding is, it is a successful and necessary evil in a very, very brutal war. We should not forget that the people on whom this technique was used held information that could have killed dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of us. We should also not forget that we are not waterboarding choirboys here. I’ll bring Jules Crittenden in on this point:
But we’re talking about thwarting terrorists who purposefully murder civilians by the thousands, not soldiers engaged in anything remotely resembling military operations. We’re talking about people who put power drills into the kneecaps of people they capture, apply blowtorches to their bodies and cut their heads off for the cameras. It’s an ugly war. If stopping them calls for harsh measures that the genteel, protected classes might find distasteful, so be it. The people who keep all of us safe have to do a lot of things not even close to waterboarding that the genteel classes would find distasteful.
I do not intend on making this a “well, those guys are worse” sort of argument. But we can not let the brutality of our enemy get very far from our memories. The effective, precise, expert and rare use of waterboarding on a savage enemy has saved lives. That, for me, is the end of the argument.

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