What Is Acceptable

Over at Right-Thinking, I’ve gotten this in response to opposing torture:

So, there is NO WAY to get information from a prisoner. Drugs? Thats torture, because it’s against his/her will. Asking nicely? No, that’s torture, because you think of the prisoner as an idiot and it insults him/her. And as we all know insulting a prisoner (a naked women in the room with a muslim) is torture. Just having a muslim prisoner being questioned by an inferior infidel is humiliating to said muslim, and humiliation is torture. Offering a cup of coffee and not tea to a muslim prisoner is torture. An interrogator eating a ham sandwich in front of a muslim prisoner is torture. All these don’t even have to do with muslims, and can be turned around by anyone looking to be a victim.

I’m sick of this ad hominem bullshit. If I say that water-boarding and sleep deprivation are torture, I therefore think that anything is torture. I’m a namby-pamby flower-sniffing, tree-hugging liberal who just thinks we should give all terror suspects blow jobs.

Why is it so hard for people to wrap your their minds around the idea that there are acceptable and unacceptable means of interrogation? Anything that threatens or inflicts physical pain or fear of death is, by the definition listed in our treaties and our laws, torture. Anything that doesn’t is acceptable. We don’t go have to go all culture-sensitivity patrol but can still be effective.

Read this excerpt from the Army Field Manual on effective interrogation techniques. Thinks like simple questioning, “good cop bad cop”, incentives, rapid-fire questions, yellling, appeal to family, appeal to ego. None of these are considered torture. Just because you don’t waterboard someone doesn’t mean you become a wuss.

Now these techniques – which involve nothing more than a patient interrogator, sound wimpy don’t they? “Oh Mike”, you say, “You pussy! That won’t work. That’s just namby-pamby liberal bullshit. We need to beat ‘em up!”

But you know what? We found them effective for two hundred years. The Soviet Union used these techniques when they wanted information, not breaking. The Israelis use them all the time. And cops use them in our own country so effectively that the vast majority of crimes are solved by uncoerced confession.

There is a difference between interrogation and torture. And I’m sick and tired of the Orwellian Newspeak that blurs the line between the two.