Archive for the 'Waterboarding' Category

Why Waterboarding doesn’t Work

October 21, 2007

If you waterboard suspects, you will waterboard witnesses.  If you waterboard witnesses, you wont’ get witnesses.  So waterboarding doesn’t work.  That’s why every society has figured that out.

Waterboarding is a myopic strategy.  Waterboarding surrenders the future for the present.  Waterboarding says this case is so important I will sacrifice my good name for the sake of it.  But in fact, it has turned out our good name was more valuable than waterboarding.

Furthermore, as some have pointed out, Bush may have wanted to avoid trials of Taliban that would bring to light that Pakistan supports them.   A trial would show Pakistan supported them before and after 9-11.   A trial with talking head lawyers every night on TV might drum home to the American public that Pakistan was on their side before and after 9-11.  So maybe we should have make Pakistan give up its nukes instead of invading Iraq that had no nukes.

Pakistan had 38 billion dollars in foreign debt on 9-11.  Its gross exports were less than its debt.  Its central banker wrote a book saying their position was unsustainable.  Their finance minister, Shaukat Aziz, refinanced their debt after 9-11 with Bush.  He was voted finance minister of the year world wide and was later made prime minister.
Before 9-11, the IMF and World Bank wouldn’t help them because of sanctions for their nuclear program.  So without 9-11, they would have had to default or give up their nukes.  How lucky for them.

One uses methods for interrogation that maximize the total quantity of useful information.  Much of this comes from voluntary informants.  They may have their own ax to grind.  But the total quantity of information is maximized by being a good partner to informants, not by waterboarding people who look like them.

It is interesting to see that Bush supporters like Sean Hannity will support waterboarding  but won’t oppose legal immigration.  The same applies to many in Congress.  They won’t oppose Muslim immigration in particular.  We don’t need to waterboard them there if they can’t come here.  We are waterboarding for the sake of making immigration safe.  But it doesn’t work. 

 The refusal of attorney general-nominee Michael Mukasey to directly disavow waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques frustrated Senate Democrats Thursday.

Under tough questioning on torture policy on the second day of his confirmation hearings, the retired federal judge repeated his view that torture is unconstitutional, but he would not categorically declare any specific techniques to be prohibited.

“I don’t think I can discuss techniques,” Mukasey told the committee, as skeptical Democrats pressed on.

When asked by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, if waterboarding was constitutional, Mukasey responded “I don’t know what’s involved in the techniques. If waterboarding is torture, torture is not constitutional.”

Whitehouse continued, “‘If it’s torture.’ That’s a massive hedge, I mean it either is or it isn’t. Do you have an opinion whether waterboarding — which is the practice of putting someone in a reclining position, strapping them down, putting cloth over their faces and pouring water over the cloth to simulate the feeling of drowning — is that constitutional?”

“If that amounts to torture, it is not constitutional,” Mukasey said.

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