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Jay Currie

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1/12/2005

On Interogation

Obedience to Geneva rules rests on another bedrock moral principle: reciprocity. Nations will treat an enemy’s soldiers humanely because they want and expect their adversaries to do the same. Terrorists flout every civilized norm animating the conventions. Their whole purpose is to kill noncombatants, to blend into civilian populations, and to conceal their weapons. They pay no heed whatever to the golden rule; anyone who falls into their hands will most certainly not enjoy commissary privileges and wages, per the Geneva mandates. He—or she—may even lose his head.
city journal
Heather Mac Donald's City Journal article on interrogation of terrorists is being cited all over the blogosphere. Like many others, she is trying to walk the line between the need for information and the need to avoid barbarity.

I have to admit that what MacDonald refers to as the "torture narrative" which has been banged about by the left and more than a few wobbly righies - yes, Andrew - has never worried me terribly much. The hooded man and the dogs of Abu Ghraib are nothing compared to what suspected terrorists are going to face after the election on the 30th. Gitmo is hardly nasty at all.

The point in fighting Islamofascist terror is to win. Now, one way to win is to simply bomb any mildly suspect concentrations of Islamic looking folks. Without intelligence, actual real live information, that is exactly what is going to happen. Now, we know that the worse the information the more likely it is that entirely innocent people - women, children, men, grandfathers - are going to be killed. Which is not the outcome anyone wants; but it beats the hell out of losing.

So when I look at the so called "torture narrative" I am looking at a balance. Innocent lives lost to car bombs and motar attacks versus waterboarding a jihadi or Baathist...I don't think this is a hard call.

I also don't think that in Iraq, at least, it is going to be an American call past January 30th. Because once an Iraqi government is elected it will deal with terrorists in its own country in its own way. Which, if history is any guide, will be a bit less nuanced than the current American techniques.