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1 gehazi  Mon, May 9, 2011 3:46:09pm

The GOP provided me so many reasons in the past few years to completely disavow them, but it was this one item that sealed the deal.

For all else Bush did, I can disagree but forgive. For stamping: "We torture" across the American landscape, I never will.

The entire issue has destroyed every chance I would consider voting for any GOP candidate until the party en masse turns against the atrocities committed in the name of national security.

2 Killgore Trout  Mon, May 9, 2011 4:27:26pm

Not really. I'll skip the debate of the value or morality of waterboarding but I really don't buy the claim that it creates terrorists. The Abu Grahib pics were use as Islamist propaganda too and the effects of that were probably fairly minimal. They are much more outraged by our support for Israel and the Danish cartoons. Even if we were to drop Israel and stop drawing cartoons it would make absolutely no difference.

3 celticdragon  Mon, May 9, 2011 4:42:25pm

re: #2 Killgore Trout

Not really. I'll skip the debate of the value or morality of waterboarding but I really don't buy the claim that it creates terrorists. The Abu Grahib pics were use as Islamist propaganda too and the effects of that were probably fairly minimal. They are much more outraged by our support for Israel and the Danish cartoons. Even if we were to drop Israel and stop drawing cartoons it would make absolutely no difference.

Why would you disregard the field experience of the interrogators who actually talked to the foreign fighters that we captured?

I have read several accounts of interrogators who testify that foreign fighters began to pour into Iraq after Abu Ghaib and that they were motivated by the pictures of Arab men being humiliated by Americans...female soldiers in particular. The stories of similar treatment at GITMO has been used successfully for recruitment as well.

This is a huge cultural taboo in the Middle East. Humiliation of men is something that not only gets the person in question and his immediate family motivated for blood revenge, but many of the neighbors as well.

But you find this to be inconvenient because, well, I don't know.

Why?

4 Killgore Trout  Mon, May 9, 2011 4:53:47pm

re: #3 celticdragon

But you find this to be inconvenient because, well, I don't know.

Why?


I don't find it inconvenient. I find it unconvincing and untrue for reasons already stated.

5 celticdragon  Mon, May 9, 2011 4:57:36pm

Some more context on how torture serves to recruit Jihadis:

The Bush administration's torture program was a beacon for Islamic extremists seeking to recruit fellow fighters in the war against America and its allies, a leaked diplomatic cable has shown.

A State Department document released by whistleblower website WikiLeaks, detailing discussions between Saudi Arabia and US Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, noted that the Saudis arrested some 250 men on their way to join extremists in Afghanistan.

The cable specifically noted the men were inspired to take up arms by stories and photos of the ghastly torture carried out at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, where prisoners and in some cases their family members -- including children -- were raped, tortured and killed by Americans.

It reads:

Holbrooke explained that President Obama had decided to oppose release of 2000 photographs of U.S. interrogations of terrorist suspects on grounds of national security, and asked what the Saudi public reaction would be to publication of these photos. MbN responded "You bet!" it would be bad for security, and noted that following publication of the first Abu Ghraib photos, Saudi authorities had arrested 250 individuals trying to leave Saudi Arabia to join extremist groups in Afghanistan. Release of more pictures would give AQ "the favor of their life," said the Prince. Saudi Arabia had fought very hard to defeat AQ on the Internet, but he couldn,t [sic] see how to fight 2000 new photos.

Testimony from a Special Agent for the FBI:

Testifying at today’s Senate Judiciary hearing on coercive interrogation techniques, former FBI special agent Jack Cloonan deplored coercive interrogations for being “not effective” and said the perception that the U.S. tortures detainees has “helped to recruit a new generation of jihadist martyrs”:

Based on my experience in talking to Al Qaida members, I am persuaded that revenge in the form of a catastrophic attack on the homeland is coming; that a new generation of jihadist martyrs, motivated in part by the images from Abu Ghraib, is, as we speak, planning to kill Americans; and that nothing gleaned from the use of coercive interrogation techniques will be of any significant use in forestalling this calamitous eventuality. [...]

6 Killgore Trout  Mon, May 9, 2011 4:57:43pm

...also I think it's a really bad idea to base our decisions on what terrorists might think of us.

7 Killgore Trout  Mon, May 9, 2011 4:58:48pm

re: #5 celticdragon

Yes, I already acknowledged Abu Ghraib in my previous comment. I'm well aware.

8 celticdragon  Mon, May 9, 2011 5:04:32pm

re: #6 Killgore Trout

...also I think it's a really bad idea to base our decisions on what terrorists might think of us.

Chest beating bumper sticker sloganeering.

So you are cool with doing things that, aside for being ineffective and morally repugnant, also serve to further embitter the locals and guarantee that bothers, uncles, and other males will go to the enemy side?

That is exactly how not to win a guerrilla war. It was documented by Galula back in the 1960's in Algeria...


We want the enemy to stop fighting and and the local population to cooperate...not recruit for them and give them even more propaganda to continue.

9 Killgore Trout  Mon, May 9, 2011 5:07:03pm

re: #8 celticdragon

Ah, I see this is not going to be a productive discussion so I'll go ahead and leave it alone.

10 celticdragon  Mon, May 9, 2011 5:45:02pm

As you wish.

I know you to be one of the smarter and more interesting commenters here, so I find it utterly inexplicable that you choose to ignore reams of testimony from people who have been in the field with the enemy, anthropologists, psychologists and historians who all agree that pictures and stories of torture are an effective recruiting tool for an insurgency.

It worked pretty damned well for the Greeks when they fought to succeed from the Ottoman Empire. Stories of Ottoman atrocities against Greek Christians were carried daily in British and French newspapers. This was almost certainly the first time that public opinion was led by the media to push major powers to war, since both France and Britain both decided to intervene in the war on the side of the Greek partisans despite neither having any critical interest in the fight in 1827.

This was all due to stories in newspapers about Muslims torturing and starving Christians while carrying their wives off to be sold as harem slaves.

Two major European powers went to war over it.

This is not controversial. It is historical fact.

11 goddamnedfrank  Mon, May 9, 2011 7:27:01pm

re: #4 Killgore Trout

I don't find it inconvenient. I find it unconvincing and untrue for reasons already stated.

For the record you didn't state any reasons, you made completely unsupported assertions.

12 Romantic Heretic  Tue, May 10, 2011 6:31:58am

re: #6 Killgore Trout

...also I think it's a really bad idea to base our decisions on what terrorists might think of us.

This isn't about what they think of us. This is about reducing their motivation to be terrorists. If they don't feel we're their enemy they won't fight us by every means necessary.

And what torture does to us. "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul."

We're supposed to be the good guys.


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