Saturday, April 25, 2009

The High Road

Even as an atheist I believe in the Golden Rule “Do unto others” or in my language practice empathy. This should be national policy.

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D- Mass.) told colleagues during a debate on military commission legislation. “We punished people with 15 years of hard labor when water boarding was used against Americans in WWII.

The case of Abu Zubaydah is used as an example of why enhanced interrogation techniques are necessary. Former CIA director Michael Hayden said on Fox News: "The critical information we got from Abu Zubaydah came after we began the EITs [enhanced interrogation techniques]."

One of Zubaydah's FBI interrogators, Ali Soufan, remembers it differently. Soufan wrote in The New York Timesthat Zubaydah talked without being coerced.

Two high-ranking former FBI sources say that intelligence breakthroughs came before Zubaydah was subjected to harsh techniques, not after. Rohan Gunaratna, has similar recollections. He is an al-Qaida expert who has worked with U.S. government agencies on terrorism issues.

"Gen. Hayden is dead wrong" about harsh techniques getting information from Zubaydah, he says. "I have tremendous respect for Gen. Hayden, but he is wrong in this case."

Another pro torture claim: That harsh interrogation tactics led to the arrest of American Jose Padilla. Gunaratna was the government's expert in the Padilla case. He said they got the key lead on Padilla from Zubaydah without using torture.

The fact that the CIA water boarded Khalid Sheik Mohammed 183 times and he never lead them to Osama bin Laden says it all.

The ticking bomb scenario is pointless when it’s been determined for years that a person being tortured will tell you what you want to hear, not necessarily the facts.

America has to lead by example or stop pretending we’re on any moral high ground.

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