Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Torture Question

I watched Frontline's documentary, "The Torture Question" last night. Overall I thought it was pretty good. I didn't really think it was too fair in actually presenting the arguments on both sides of the question they were supposedly examining and it solidified Lindsey Graham's position in my mind as the most self-serving, media approval seeking GOP senator, but overall pretty good. (A close three way finish with him McCain and Hagel)

What I found most interesting about the show was not the content on torture but on the lead up to their case ABOUT torture. They did a really good job of showing how the military, intel and FBI tried to figure out what to do with the prisoners that we captured. I sort of got the sense the producers were trying to paint it as a negative that we had inexperienced interrogators and the fact that we had to put together an ad hoc facility at Gitmo (Camp X-Ray). But I tried to just take it at face value. We didn't HAVE a facility for those purposes in place. We didn't HAVE experienced interrogators for hundreds of Islamonut prisoners. Where the hell would they have gotten that experience? I didn't really see it as a negative, more as a statement of fact on how the security agencies had to put this together from scratch and it was pretty interesting.

As Froggy notes today, you don't have to try to hard to figure out where the lefties at PBS come down on the torture question. For instance, they continually refer to illegal combatants erroneously as POWs. Froggy also does a really good job of tearing apart the specific allegations of some Army E-4 specialist who made some rather pointed charges about which he had no first hand knowledge.
“Or some people, the Navy SEALs, for instance, were using just ice water to lower the body temperature of the prisoner. They would take his rectal temperature to make sure he didn't die; they would keep him hovering on hypothermia. That was a pretty common technique.”
My question upon hearing this was, “What SEAL Platoon were you operating with in Iraq?” That’s a pretty specific charge to make on national television, effectively tarnishing the entire SEAL community with deliberate and premeditated inducement of hypothermia on detainees. Did the SEALs conduct hypothermia training seminars at Abu Ghraib? How in the hell does some peon Army E-4 find out about what would clearly be the secret operational techniques of SOF operators from an entirely different service?
Go read the rest of Froggy's critique on this. Seriously, there isn't a better writer out there for this sort of stuff that I'm aware of. If there is one, please let me know who he is.