Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Military ordered to become terrorists?

An article in this morning's New York Times reveals that when the US military received orders from the civilian leadership in the Bush Administration in 2002 that everything had changed after 9/11 and that they should now use interrogation techniques which had previously been illegal on the prisoners they had captured in Afghanistan, and later Iraq, they knowingly adopted techniques used by the Chinese Communists against US soldiers captured during the Korean War.

The military trainers who came to Guantánamo Bay in December 2002 based an entire interrogation class on a chart showing the effects of "coercive management techniques" for possible use on prisoners, including "sleep deprivation," "prolonged constraint," and "exposure."

What the trainers did not say, and may not have known, was that their chart had been copied verbatim from a 1957 Air Force study of Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean War to obtain confessions, many of them false, from American prisoners.

Holy Manchurian Candidate, Batman! The military leaders who sent those trainers to Guantánamo Bay knew that those were not techniques to obtain "actionable intelligence." The idea that the torture was justified because it would reveal information about future acts of terrorism, allowing those acts to be prevented and thus saving lives, has been proven by this article to have been a post hoc rationalization.

We don't know even the approximate wording of the order that came down from the Bush Administration to the military that rescinded the ban on torturing prisoners but we now know that when the military implemented that order they started using techniques that they knew produced false confessions. What does that tell you about what the thrust of that order was?

If the primary directive the military was following was to obtain information about future plans would they have adopted those techniques? We are left with two choices. Either that the order was to obtain accurate information "by any means necessary" and the military was incompetent, implementing that order using methods totally unsuited to that purpose. Or the military competently followed an order which placed little or no importance on obtaining accurate information. Perhaps the order said simply: "to combat terrorism we are going to become terrorists."

1 comment:

Daniel said...

Well stated.

This is just one more example that reinforces my contention that all evil in this world is shielded and empowered by lies and secrecy. As I mentally examine each example I can think of where secrets and "white lies" or "necessary" lies are seemingly justified. the justification and reasoning falls apart and I am left with the belief that truth and a "light of day" open policy is always the best.

Evil always appears and is shielded behind "well intentioned" secrets. The balance of good v. evil is so hideously tilted toward evil, I can never see a policy of secrecy ever, ever justified.