Monday, February 04, 2013


A post from Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit is the lead item at Fox Nation right now:
Defense Secretary Panetta Admits Information from Waterboarding Led US to Bin Laden

...Yes, waterboarding worked.
Today on Meet the Press Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta admitted that information gleaned from waterboarded detainees was used to track down al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and kill him.
"The real story was that in order to put the puzzle of intelligence together that led us to Bin Laden, there were a lot of pieces out there that were a part of that puzzle. Yes, some of it came from some of the tactics that were used at that time, interrogation tactics that were used. But the fact is we put together most of that intelligence without having to resort to that."
(Emphasis in the Hoft post.)

As noted over at Little Green Footballs, Hoft doesn't quote Panetta's next sentence -- "I think we could have gotten bin Laden without that."

You know what? I don't care if torture obtains useful information. It's wrong, period.

Nazi scientists actually derived useful data about the human body through brutal techniques. An example:
Unburdened by even the slightest sense of humanity, the Nazi hypothermia experimenters ... let their victims' interior body temperatures drop to 79.7°F before attempting to revive them. Most died an excruciatingly painful death as a result. However, some did revive, and the Nazis found that rapid rewarming in hot water proved the most effective way to revive them.
Researchers who've sought to use Nazi hypothermia data know it was obtained in an unimaginably immoral way. But those who've wanted to use the data have argued that the abhorrent way the information was obtained shouldn't preclude its use:
Doctor John Hayward is a Biology Professor at the Victoria University in Vancouver, Canada. Much of his hypothermia research involves the testing of cold water survival suits that are worn while on fishing boats in Canada's frigid ocean waters. Hayward used Rascher's recorded cooling curve of the human body to infer how long the suits would protect people at near fatal temperatures. This information can be used by search-and-rescue teams to determine the likelihood that a capsized boater is still alive.

According to Kristine Moe's survey in the Hasting Center Report, Hayward justified using the Nazi hypothermia data in the following way:
"I don't want to have to use the Nazi data, but there is no other and will be no other in an ethical world. I've rationalized it a bit. But not to use it would be equally bad. I'm trying to make something constructive out of it. I use it with my guard up, but it's useful."
Torture is wrong because it's wrong. The right is going to wave soundbites like this in our faces forever, but we're looking at the wrong question. Asking "Did waterboarding work?" is like asking "Did plunging emaciated Dachau prisoners in ice water work?" Morally, it doesn't matter.


Victor said...

When I was a kid growing up, and then as a young adult, if you had told me that we Americans would start to torture people, admit it, and then not only continue doing it, but defend it, I'd have called in the men with the butterfly nets.

Now, I'm under no delusion that we didn't torture any people during WWII, or Korea, or Vietnam, or have someone do it in our stead, but if we did it,or ok'd it, we were covert about it, and, people were punished if they were caught torturing others.

Now, thanks to the evil George W. Bush, and his even more evil puppet-master, Dick Cheney, we have opened up that Pandora's Box, and utter morons like this Hoft @$$clown, feel free to defend the totally and completely indefensible.

Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Condi, Yoo, Gonzalez, and, yes, Colin Powell, need to be tried as War Criminals, and locked up for the rest of their lives.

Not just for the needless wars and occupations, or the torture that they approved of, but for bringing immense and everlastingshame to this once, though far from perfect, great nation.

Torture is morally wrong, and completely and totally indefensible.



Palli said...


Unknown said...

Earlier reports from within the intelligence community said torture was not used to learn of Bin Laden’s whereabouts.

At this point, however, the discussion is so muddied and shrill, and frankly off topic, that I’ve just tuned out—ALL of the narrators are unreliable.

Panetta is under pressure to support the status quo, and Obama has shown he cannot grasp the hugely negative long-term impact of torture and flying killer robots. Like Kissinger, Obama and his advisors are lazy and gutless, choosing short-term butchery to appease the home-town lunatics but for which we are and will suffer long into the future.

Speaking more practically, as Secretary of Defense, Panetta knows only what his people tell him, and if they want him to think they got reliable information through torture, that's what they'll tell him.

Ten Bears said...

Pretty much all modern science is rooted in Nazi science.

Porlock Junior said...

@Ten Bears

Wow, I do believe you've lost the Internet for today. As in, opposite of winning the Internet, you know.

Of course I assume you're thinking of how the Nazis really invented the Bomb. Right? In fact, a couple of weeks after Hiroshima one of the physicists interned at Farm Hill -- where they had ae first flatly disbelieved that it was a nuclear bomb -- came up with the comforting obesrvation that the people who did succeed in makiing one, although in other countries, were all German.

This has caused some comment among people who have heard of Meitner, Oppenheimer, and the other Jews who made the bomb. Not to mention the Poles and Hungarians and all. But I guess when it came to claiming credit, Jews suddenly were Germans after all.

Actually, we're both kidding, right? Postwar science, like solid-state physics, was given us by space aliens.

Ten Bears said...

Did you drink your Kool-Aid? Nazi science. Works well.

History is rewitten by those who cam get away with it.

The MS is for Mad Scientist. A mere Master doesn't pay.

No fear...

Examinator said...

@ PJ
I think you need to read a bit more.
FYI Both the US and the Nazi were working on a bomb why do you think they wanted heavy water. Their kool aid wasn't that light that it needed weighing down. Why do you think America and Russia had a race to see who could get the most of the nazi scientists.
Rockets was only one reason.

Examinator said...

Examinator's Law of self preservation when dealing with authority (Your bosses) tell them as much as they need to know and *no more * (because all the truth may not be in your best interests).

I'm not that convinced that Panetta or those feeding him the information, is actually telling "all of the context".

Evidence suggests that torturing merely gets what the torturers want to hear especially when it comes to obsessives and those trained to give appropriate leaks. How many confessions of witchcraft etc did the Inquisitors get.
Given the military's desperation to show they and their power isn't misplaced I suspect "Powell's smoking gun effect" is in exaggeration mode here. When did you ever see a military/ spook organization give ground (on principle) to the citizen government?

Chances are it was a leak/asset in the Pakistan security that tipped them off. They wouldn't want that made public for many reasons...tipping of the Pakistani ISO, besides it would raise the question about the worthwhile empire of black sites, and the power this gives to the 'top brass' to build their empires further, wouldn't it.
Likewise the not being sure by the enemy is important. Not as important in discouraging would be terrorists per se. However, it does slow down the terrorist hierarchy in how quickly they operate and increase *their * paranoia.
I'm not a conspiracy theory freak...I just don't trust those with power/importance to admit much of it was more good luck than good management.
Lastly there are Generals etc who want promotions, perhaps in politics or in private industry.
That only works if you are a big shot in charge of an enormous organization, not a little fish in a big pond not even head of a small but effective one.
The truth is big orgaizations become a law unto themselves as are the players.
A recent study found that executive types (private industry military government etc) have statistical higher levels of sociopathic personality tendencies. In ordinary speak its called the traits that make up a ruthless operator. McChristal, etc.
There is more to it but another time.