Torture memos: NOT a dark and painful chapter in our history

Twenty-four hours have passed since the so-called torture memos have been released and as I expected, it’s not a story that has gone viral. Plenty of coverage, but not oh-my-God kind of coverage.

We begin with video from Special Report on Fox News with comments from Bill Kristol. Bret Bair has a good one – the only thing we found new was the caterpillar in the box… nice.

Next we have Blackfive – my favorite military blog – with some good media snippets plus this comment.

Faux Outrage. That IS the basic emote out of the WH these days. Why is it fake outrage? Because if it were real outrage, the WH would have changed something, ANYTHING, about how we conduct the war, intel operations, interrogations, a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g. And the left is going berserk over the President’s pledge to not seek charges against the CIA agents involved.

Caterpillars of black swallowtail butterflies can destroy crops in home gardens quickly. Watch out! If you click on this image, be forewarned.

Caterpillars of black swallowtail butterflies can destroy crops in home gardens quickly. Watch out! If you click on this image, be forewarned.

Dale Carpenter over at Volokh Conspiracy has some interesting thoughts.

Torture, as prohibited by U.S. law, is treatment that inflicts “severe physical or mental pain or suffering.” But how do we know when a particular interrogation technique imposes “severe physical” or “severe mental” pain or suffering?

To answer that question, the 2002 Bybee memo released Thursday relies heavily on the lessons learned from a U.S. interrogation training program for military personnel called Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE). In SERE training, U.S. military personnel have been subjected to the very techniques proposed for suspected Al Qaeda agents — including the most extreme of the techniques, like extended sleep deprivation and waterboarding. The discussion is at pp. 4-6 in the Bybee memo. Basically, the memo says that the CIA has concluded based on consulting with SERE experts that these methods have caused no “severe physical or mental” harm to U.S. military personnel subjected to them.

Carpenter went on to mention the experience may well be different between SERE trainees and real detainees.

LGF noted the NY Times completely hyperventilated over the issue – not unexpected – and described them as frat house antics. Where have I heard that before? The Times piece used the word harsh in the headline.

Powerline and Gateway Pundit also chime in.

So – what has this accomplished – if anything?

3 replies
  1. Lazybum
    Lazybum says:

    Frankly, I am sure that the jail-keepers across China, Cuba and every other bass-ackwards third-world dictatorship countries are rolling on the floor laughing at our "torture" techniques. THOSE guys know how to torture!

    Still, the Hate America First'ers will insist we hang Bush for these egregious acts against humanity and insects, all the time while wearing their chic Che t-shirts. Unbelievable.

  2. Erik Blazynski
    Erik Blazynski says:

    Obama said that it is time for reflection not retribution regarding the torture. Bill Kristol has taken the comments out of context to try to make a point about Obama. He sounds like an idiot in my opinion. Obama does enough stuff to attack him on, making stuff up simply make Kristol irrelevant in my eyes.

  3. Mojo Joe
    Mojo Joe says:

    Only 183 waterboardings?  Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the 9/11 mastermind, should have been waterboarded at least once for every death at the World Trade Center.

    We hear much from the left about "principles" in this discussion of torture, but this is denial at best and suicide at worst. Under the right circumstance, e.g., an immediate threat of mass casualties, these principles should, an will, take a back seat to more primary human demands–our survival and the survival of our children. When we allow the ACLU to establish an overly fastidious baseline for acceptable conduct, we risk the very thing we are trying to prevent. The chances that our enemies will release a catastrophic horror on us increase along with the chances that, when that happens, we will be forced to cast superficial principles aside and react with the type of furythat all humans are capable of.

    The challenge for people who strive to be principled is how to confront unspeakable evil in a way that is effective and appropriately measured without losing our humanity in the process. The left has provided no insight into that challenge.

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