to what lengths?
this is sortof off the cuff, but it's something i've been wondering since the whole torture scandal kicked off. (it turns out not to be one of my lengither and probably less well written posts, but i think it is an extremely interesting question anyway...)

the question is, to what lengths are we willing to go to protect ourselves?

i know that the motivation of the soldiers in abu garib is still in question, as well as the nature of the prisoners they did it to, but just for argument's sake; let's say that they were acting under orders to extract information from people who had been busted trying to set traps or ambushes for military convoys, and potentially had information related to others doing the same thing.

i know it's a bit of a leap of faith, and the way they did it seems like a really silly way to go about doing it (unless, of course, what they did is really as bad as the press would have us believe, a penalty "worse than death").

but just assuming that they were doing it for legitimate reasons, is it justified? humiliation, intimidation, sleep deprevation are proven methods of interrogation, especially in a culture as uptight as strict islam.

some of the things reported as "torture", such as threating the prisoners with rifles or guard dogs (threatening, not letting them bite, which is a mistake) are more in the realm of daily operation in such a place. if the prisoners don't fully believe in the power and willingness of the guards to hurt or kill them given the provocation...well, there's at least ten prisoners to every one guard, you do the math.

but on to the more provocative aspects. if it is proven that dehumanizing and humiliating prisoners is the best way to get reliable information out of them, then how far can we take it before we cross the line? physical pain rarely gives useful information, prisoners are more apt to give whatever their captors want to hear rather than useful truth. the threat of pain via intimidation and humiliation is generally more effective, from my amatuer understanding. so the problem becomes, how does one truly break a prisoners will, since that is the ultimate object in any form of interrogation.

if putting a prisoner on a crate and telling him he will be electrocuted if he steps off it, and cannot get off it until he starts answering questions truthfully (with certain questions where the answers are allready known mixed in to judge truthfulness) is proven as a reliable method to get useful information, is that justified? keeping prisoners awake and messing with their time-frame (i.e. serving them meals at odd times, telling them only an hour has passed when five really have and the other way around next time) is universally understood as one of the best methods of breaking a subject, but is it within the moral realm of the american psyche?

i'm not writing this as a means to justify what happened at abu garib, i don't know exactly what happened there and neither does anyone else who wasn't there. from the pictures it seems that these fools were acting either on their own volition, for their own entertainment, or taking "orders" way beyond where they were meant to go. but seperating it from that and strictly as a moral or philosophical question, how far is too far? if winning the war and saving both american military and iraqi civilian lives depends on humiliating, dehumanizing, and generally making terrorist captives suffer then how far can we go before we've crossed the line into mengele-esqe sadism? because that can be a very thin line, i'm tellin ya, but at the same time i for one am willing to do whatever it takes to cause these bastards to fail in their attempt at destroying everyone and everything they don't agree with. if that means doing unspeakable things to the ones we get (and that we *know* are said bastards), then i have to say i'm regrettably for it.

does that make me a bad person? i don't get a kick out of hurting other people, and am repulsed at the idea of doing harm to another person. but if doing so, to such creatures as could unrepentingly cut the head off a living human being or indiscrimatly kill thousands of innocent people, if making them suffer as much as a human being can live through can help us to find and defeat others like them, then i'm going to have to say i agree with it. agree with it, would be willing to do it myself if necessary, and hope that we do if that is what is needed.

i have no mercy for the less-than-human scum that commit such atrocities as 9/11, or the nick berg murder, or hundreds and hundreds of other less publicized events. and i have absolutely no objections to doing whatever it takes to wipe them out, so long as what we are doing is absolutely necessary to make that happen.


howdy, thanks for stopping by. what you're looking at is the intermittent ramblings of an iraqi vet, college student, goth-poseur, comic book reading, cheesy horror loving, punk listening, right-leaning, tech-obsessed, poorly typing, proudly self-proclaimed geek. occasionally, probably due to these odd combinations, i like to think i have some interesting things to say; this is where they wind up.

"I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us...We need the books that affect us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside of us.

ace o spades hq
bargain-basement allahpundit
a small victory
army of mom
babalu blog
beautiful atrocities
being american in t o
belmont club
blame bush!
castle argghhh!
citizen smash
the command post
common sense runs wild
curmudgeonly & skeptical, r
curmudgeonly & skeptical, pg-13
dean's world
drill sergeant rob
exit zero
enjoy every sandwich
feisty repartee
fistful of fortnights
free will
four right wing wacos
ghost of a flea
half the sins of mankind
the hatemonger's quarterly
hog on ice
house of plum
id's cage
ilyka damen
incoherant ramblings
in dc journal
the jawa report
knowledge is power
lileks bleat
the llama butchers
memento moron
the mudville gazette
naked villainy
nerf-coated world
those damned pajama people
professor chaos
professor shade
the protocols of the yuppies of zion
protein wisdom
the queen of all evil
seven inches of sense
shinobi, who is a f'n numbers ninja, yo
tall dark and mathteriouth
the nose on your face
the thearapist
this is class warfare
texas best grok
tim worstall
way off bass

other must reads: