Conclusive Proof that Waterboarding Played Vital Role in Killing of Usama aka Osama bin Laden Osama's Last Words: I'd Rather be waterboarded than shot in the face.
The killing of Usama bin Laden a.k.a. Osama bin Laden has re-ignited controversy over the lawful scope of interrogation techniques for unlawful enemy combatants. Advocates of such techniques seek their reauthorizaiton; opponents (such as President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder) still seek to threaten prosecution of CIA officers who applied them pursuant to then-lawful authority to do so. On this issue, Deborah Burlingame is right; Obama is shamefully wrong.
What is the indisputable "conclusive proof" that absent waterboarding,
the United States would have been unable to accomplish that mission? It's
long been known that among the training requirements for all U.S. Special Forces
(such as SEALS) and all military combat pilots is the requirement that
candidates for such military assignments endure waterboarding. Absent the
intensely demanding nature of training which candidates for such assignments
must successfully complete, we would not have any Special Forces or SEALS teams
even remotely capable of performing such incredibly dangerous missions.
Critics of waterboarding tend to equate it with gouging-out eyes, pulling-out
fingernails, cutting-off tongues, burning the skin with cigarettes, and other
actions that cause physical harm. The purpose of waterboarding is to
instill fear and to reduce the psychological will to resist interrogation.
There are other ways to induce fear and/or reduce the will to resist: e.g.,
telling a prisoner that his failure to provide reliable information will result
in his being turned-over to the "tender mercies" of interrogation
agents of other governments less restrained by civility, an interrogator telling
a prisoner that his being able to persuade the prisoner to reveal information
would result in his being replaced with a completely ruthless interrogator, etc..
Virtually no one seriously argues that the mere making of such
"threats" constitutes "torture."
Supporters of President Obama's order permitting the SEALS to kill bin laden
implicitly recognize the principle of justified homicide in the context of
confronting an enemy combatant leader of an organization at war with the United
States. The legal concept of justified homicide rests on the moral
relationship between means and ends. We're all familiar with the hackneyed
phrase used to condemn opponents characterized as believing "the end
justifies the means," but few such hackneyed phrases are used more
illogically to promote opposition to an opponent's actions. The real
issue in such contexts is whether a particular end justifies particular
means. In the context of law enforcement, for example, a police
officer reasonably believing a suspect known to be ruthlessly violent to be
armed with a hidden weapon (e.g., an explosive device) or to be within reach of
a lethal weapon has a legally justifiable basis for killing the suspect.
It's a form of justified homicide. Yet such critics seem intellectually
incapable of applying that same standard to interrogation of enemy combatants
because they (such critics) refuse to recognize that particular circumstances
may justify particular interrogation techniques (e.g., waterboarding) not deemd
to be warranted under different circumstances. Thus, the question is,
"Why can't such critics recognize the concept of 'justified' waterboarding"
-- especially in the interrogation of enemy combatants whose very form of
warfare violates every aspect of the international conventions on the scope of
interrogation of lawful-combatant military personnel of nation-states by other
nation-states. This is the question implicitly posed (and answered)
by t-shirts (front-only
& back) depicting "Osama's Last Words" before being
(justifiably) shot by the SEALS.
There are other aspects of the SEALS mission yielding the death of Usama bin
Laden that provide important moral insights into a contrast between the Western
Civilization standards exemplified by such mission and the barbaric standards
routinely exhibited by organizations such as al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc.
The SEALS intentionally sought to avoid inflicting injury on children (and
women) in the compound. Contrast that with the recent incident in Israel
in which terrorists entered a private Israeli residence at night and slaughtered
every member of the Israeli family-- including the slitting of the throat of a
sleeping infant, which
incident Gazan supporters of Hamas celebrated in the streets upon learning the
news of such slaughter.
Jim is a proud descendant of 18th Century criminal exiles from England who swam to the Outer Banks when the British ship taking them to a Georgia penal colony sank in a storm near Cape Hatteras. Having the prescience to prevent their descendants from becoming "TarHeels," they immediately migrated to Virginia, where, within just a few generations they worked their way up into poverty. Jim's grandfather was the first in the family tree to see the distant horizons, but his career was cut short by severe injuries he sustained when a cousin cut down the tree.
After a brief stint in the Amry (ours) following graduation from law school, he began his legal career in the state bureaucracy but was never able to break into the federal bureaucracy. Several years later, he entered the private practice of law and co-founded a small law publishing company. Later, finding the publishing of small laws unstimulating and finding his private practice too private to be lucrative, he began writing political satire/commentary. His greatest vice is taking himself too seriously.
Although he regularly teaches Continuing Legal Education courses to lawyers, he's too-often available through he Rubber Chicken Speakers Bureau to speak on politics, satire, etc., at luncheons, dinners, root canals, funerals, etc. His speaking fees are so outrageously high they border on criminal price-gouging, but as a free-market advocate, he defends his fees on the higher moral ground of charging whatever the traffic will bear. For more information (surely more than one would want or need), go to www.PoliSat.Com.