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Torture Advocate Wants Terrorists Brought Back Alive for More Torture

02.11.10

The CIA just reported that they have successfully killed the leader of the Pakistani Taliban in a drone attack in the area volatile region of Waziristan.  It’s another in a long line of most-wanted terrorists being killed in drone attacks that President Obama has escalated to continue the war on terrorism, which has gained approval from even the most vocal of his political opponents.

But not all.  Apparently the killing of top terrorist operatives is actually a bad thing, according to torture advocator Marc Theissen:

Today, the Obama administration is no longer attempting to capture men like these alive; it is simply killing them. This may be satisfying, but it comes at a price. With every drone strike that vaporizes a senior al Qaeda leader, actionable intelligence is vaporized along with him. Dead terrorists can’t tell you their plans to strike America.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Dead terrorists can’t tell you their plans to strike America, this is true.  But they also can’t carry out those plans either.  And if the goal in the end is to make America safer, then it is working.  But, of course, Theissen doesn’t want these terrorists killed in sterile drone attacks.  In his sadistic world, he wants these terrorists brought in alive so that they can be sent down to Gitmo and tortured within inches of their lives, or worse.  In his world, that is the only way to make America safe.  Any other way is soft on terror.

The recent strike on Qasim al-Raymi, a senior military leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, is a case in point. After having been caught blind by this terrorist network’s near success in blowing up an airplane over Detroit, why not try to capture and interrogate its senior leaders alive instead of killing them? Wouldn’t it make sense to get these men to reveal whom they have trained, where they have been deployed, and what their plans are for the next attack? But the Obama administration is not even trying to do this.

Not even trying?  That’s unfair.  How about the FBI has Abdulmutallab in custody and even has the assistance and cooperation of his own family to gain intelligence about his terrorist network?  Granted, we only have Abdulmuttab in custody because of his failed terrorist attack, but regardless, we have a live terrorist here for interrogation.  And the information authorities have obtained hasn’t been completely tainted and tarnished by war crimes that would render them inadmissible and most likely completely unhelpful.

The problem is that Theissen doesn’t see any difference between torturing terror suspects in a covert base in Cuba and the collateral damage of bombing a country during war:

Obama’s drone campaign is costing the United States vital intelligence, and it has also exposed him to the charge of hypocrisy. The president has claimed the moral high ground in eliminating the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program, saying that he rejects the [sic] “the false choice between our security and our ideals.” Yet when Obama orders a Predator or Reaper strike, he is often signing the death warrant for the women and children who will be killed alongside the target — individuals whose only sin is that they are married to, or the children of, a terrorist. Is this not a choice between security and ideals? And why is it a morally superior choice? Is it really more in keeping with American ideals to kill a terrorist and the innocent people around him, when the United States might instead spare the innocent, capture the same terrorist alive, and get intelligence from him that could potentially save many other innocent lives as well?

(My emphasis.)

He compares the age-old debate of innocent casualties accidentally caught in the middle of a war to the institutionalized torture program that breaks all moral and ethical codes across the board.  He assumes that if we were to bring in these terrorists alive that not only would innocents not be killed, but even more would be saved.  I’d like to know where the figures are on how many innocents have been saved from the torture program down at Gitmo.  From things I’ve read, it’s put countless more innocent lives in danger by spreading anti-American sensibilities across the Islamic world.

Of course collateral damage must be minimized and the drone program has many concerned that too many innocents are be killed along with the terrorists.  It’s valid to question just how precise these drone attacks really are and if there is room for improvement.   But Theissen isn’t doing that.  It’s one thing to drop a bomb on a spot that you know for sure houses terrorists but may also have innocents in there as well.  It’s quite another to use barbaric techniques out of the Khmer Rouge torture handbook to simulate drowning 183 times on the same individual:

When Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was located in 2003, the United States did not send a Predator to kill him. It captured him alive and got him to give up the details of the plots he had set in motion. That decision saved thousands of lives.

Did it really save thousands of lives?  Whose lives?  And where are the statistics to prove that?  Theissen has nothing.  He also doesn’t bother to get into just how difficult the terrain is there on the ground in the region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.  What about all of the American deaths that would certainly increase if we were to send more troops on the ground in efforts to maybe capture some terrorists alive?  Haven’t we lost enough soldiers in the past nine years of this conflict that sending unmanned drones to strike known terrorist hideouts is worth the risk of collateral damage?  And haven’t we already sunk to unspeakably new lows with Theissen’s so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” that, sadly, innocent deaths in an act of war is actually an improvement on the morality scale?

I’d say so.

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One comment

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