Of Waterboarding…and Gun Control

If you conservatives out there in AT country are anything like me, you spend a good deal of time scratching your heads in perplexity when leftists speak.  “How can they possibly believe that?”

Give the top of your head a break and don’t let your fingernails draw any blood when you watch Leslie Stahl’s 60 Minutes interview — set to air in full the evening of April 29 — of former CIA Clandestine Services head Jose Rodriguez.  Rodriguez was in charge of, among other things, the interrogation of 911 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) using “enhanced interrogation” techniques, which of course we all know is a euphemism for waterboarding.

In a nation that says it’s OK to deploy armed drones that inevitably kill and maim non-combatant bystanders right along with enemy terrorists, we find Ms. Stahl deeply concerned about Ensure being fed to interrogation subjects:

Stahl: So what happens [when KSM is waterboarded], does he break down? Does he weep? Does he fall apart?
Rodriguez: No, he gets a good night’s sleep. He gets his Ensure, by the way he was very heavy and when he came to us he lost 50 pounds.
Stahl: What, his Ensure? You mean like people in the hospital who will eat that stuff?
Rodriguez: Yes. Dietary manipulation is was part of these dark techniques.
Stahl: So sleep deprivation, dietary manipulation. I mean, this is Orwellian stuff. The United States doesn’t do that.
Rodriguez: Well we do.

All right, get over your smug satisfaction at that final jab from Rodriguez, whose genial aplomb under Ms. Stahl’s inquisitory probing will no doubt generate a cascade of froth in the corners of leftist mouths all across the nation.

For all the thousands of words the issue of enhanced interrogation/waterboarding has generated, an irrefutable justification for these techniques can be found in the simplest of informal syllogisms, perfectly perspicuous to any person of normal intelligence.

  1. A terrorist attack that kills and maims hundreds, even thousands, of innocent people causes hideous, intolerable human suffering.
  2. Waterboarding as an interrogation tool causes negligible suffering: brief  mortal terror of drowning, with no permanent harm, for one guilty terrorist.
  3. Waterboarding is an effective, even irresistible, means for compelling a terrorist to provide information that could lead to thwarting a future terrorist act.  (An intractable subject like KSM is living proof of the technique’s effectiveness.)
  4. Friendly interrogation techniques are ineffective when used against hard-core terrorists.
  5. Therefore: taking the necessary action 2 in order to avoid event 1 is good.
  6. Therefore: waterboarding as an interrogation tool is justified.

Obvious enough, isn’t it?  And yet the left persists in branding waterboarding as horrifyingly evil, as “torture.”

Another even simpler Logic 101 syllogism, this one pertaining to the unrelated topic of gun control, will help make the point I’m leading up to.

  1. Laws banning guns will thwart crime.
  2. Law-abiding citizens will obey gun control laws.
  3. Criminals will scoff at gun control laws; they will continue acquiring guns and will use them to commit crimes against defenseless law-abiding citizens.
  4. Therefore: 1 is false.

Heck, that’s basic enough for a seven-year-old to understand, right?  Nevertheless, the left will seize any opportunity — most recently the Zimmerman-Martin incident — to  beat the drums for laws to outlaw guns, despite the manifest futility of such laws.

In the face of incontrovertible reason, there is only one conceivable explanation for this kind of consistent leftist behavior: ignorance, i.e. don’t know because they don’t want to know.  Think of the cognate ignore, and you will be close to this understanding of ignorance.  It has nothing to do with intelligence.  Would anyone doubt that Ms. Stahl is a highly intelligent person?  But the power of entrenched ignorance is invariably the closest thing to indomitable.  One convinced against one’s will, Holds the old opinion still.

(This post first appeared as a blog post on American Thinker April 30, 2012)

One thought on “Of Waterboarding…and Gun Control

  1. You should take a refresher course in logic and ethics. In order for this to be a logical argument you have to start with “1. The ends justify the means.” This has to be specifically and explicitly stated as what you are advocating is contrary to the American tradition of the rule of law and it is foreign to the common assumptions and starting premises of any moral and law abiding American citizen. Additional statements are also necessary or else one can easily make the following argument:

    1. A state terrorist attack that kills and maims hundreds of thousands, even millions, of innocent people causes hideous, intolerable human suffering.
    2. Non-state terrorism as a war tool causes negligible suffering: only a small handful of lives are sacrificed to cause the mortal terror of death, with no permanent harm, for the guilty sponsors of state terrorism.
    3. Non-state terrorism is an effective, even irresistible, means for compelling a state terrorism sponsor to stop supporting state terrorism, and that could lead to thwarting a future state terrorist act. (An intractable subject like 9/11 is living proof of the technique’s effectiveness.)
    4. Conventional war techniques are ineffective when used against hard-core state terrorists by woefully unprepared state war departments.
    5. Therefore: taking the necessary action 2 in order to avoid event 1 is good.
    6. Therefore: non-state terrorism as a war tool is justified.

    Essentially either argument is reducible to “it is okay to do wrong so long as the end is right” – but anyone who isn’t a fool knows perfectly damn well it’s impossible to get to the right end by the wrong means, and anyone who knows how slippery that slope to hell is knows that’s where your good intentions will lead us all.

    And for the record – strategically and tactically speaking it’s downright stupid to give large amounts of cash to your sworn enemies so they will turn in goat herders to be waterboarded and tortured and held at great expense for one helluva photo op. Yeah, that’s right, it’s downright stupid to 1) enrich your enemy 2) waste your resources 3) alienate your allies 4) corrupt your own forces and 5) celebrate this false charade as a real solution. You shouldn’t be criticizing others as being ignorant when you are defending a fraud.

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