Tough questions

It’s no surprise that Bush’s strenuous defense of “tough” interrogation methods for terror detainees found a fan in the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. On Friday, the page accused the anti-Bush crowd of endangering civil liberties by objecting to the administration’s sanctioning of “aggressive questioning” to obtain information. You may be asking yourself: Huh? Well, ...

607176_zubaydah5.jpg
607176_zubaydah5.jpg

It's no surprise that Bush's strenuous defense of "tough" interrogation methods for terror detainees found a fan in the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. On Friday, the page accused the anti-Bush crowd of endangering civil liberties by objecting to the administration's sanctioning of "aggressive questioning" to obtain information. You may be asking yourself: Huh? Well, the argument was limited to the endangerment of Americans’ civil liberties as opposed to human beings’ civil liberties. But the last time I checked, freedom from cruel and inhumane treatment was for all, not just Americans. And the comparison of the legally-questionable domestic surveillance program and - incredibly - "the unhappy experience of airport security" to waterboarding is fairly ridiculous.

It’s no surprise that Bush’s strenuous defense of “tough” interrogation methods for terror detainees found a fan in the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. On Friday, the page accused the anti-Bush crowd of endangering civil liberties by objecting to the administration’s sanctioning of “aggressive questioning” to obtain information. You may be asking yourself: Huh? Well, the argument was limited to the endangerment of Americans’ civil liberties as opposed to human beings’ civil liberties. But the last time I checked, freedom from cruel and inhumane treatment was for all, not just Americans. And the comparison of the legally-questionable domestic surveillance program and – incredibly – “the unhappy experience of airport security” to waterboarding is fairly ridiculous.

According to the WSJ, Bush’s explanation of how the CIA’s interrogation techniques led us from Abu Zubaydah to the discovery of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s alias, “Muktar,” and to his accomplice, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, showed “quite clearly [that] the interrogations are a major reason there have been no further terrorist attacks on American soil in the past five years.” The problems with this statement are two-fold: First – to beat a dead horse – we all know that all of this talk about how well we’ve protected ourselves from terrorist attacks is only good until the next attack. Second, as Mark Mazzetti of the New York Times wrote on Friday, the 9/11 commission report and Zacarias Moussaoui’s December 2001 federal grand jury indictment show that the government was aware of this information before Abu Zubaydah’s 2002 capture. Both problems call for more caution before the U.S. adopts aggressive interrogation as the standard.

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