Sunday, April 26, 2009

The question is...where is the line?

To waterboard, or not to waterboard…that is literally the question.

There are a couple of links in this blog that are short interview’s with Matthew Alexander, they are really worth a watch.

In the last week President Obama has released documents showing what the Bush administration authorised in ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ on Guantanemo Bay prisoners including prolonged isolation, prolonged sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, extremely painful "stress positions," sensory bombardment (such as prolonged loud noise and/or bright lights), forced nakedness, sexual humiliation, cultural humiliation (such as desecration of holy scriptures), being subjected to extreme cold that induces hypothermia, exploitation of phobias and simulation of the experience of drowning, i.e., waterboarding.

Since then the conservative media in America have come out condemning the release of this information citing how the use of some ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’, including waterboarding, led to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed revealing plans for an attack on Los Angeles.

There is also no real conversation on what could be called a gap in the ‘interrogation’ market for other forms of information gathering. As an example see Matthew Alexander’s interview on FOX here

How ever what they haven’t researched or revealed is if this was a plausible threat, or a false piece of information, and, how many other pieces of intelligence they have lost with prisoners ‘hunkering down’ through these techniques.

So the question is…where is the line? Does anything go in ‘war’, if the greater good is achieved?

Would it be okay to take a terrorists child and put a gun to their head, threaten to pull the trigger if they didn’t tell us (the good guys) where the next attack was, then when the terrorist didn’t comply, pull the trigger and get their next child?

If it meant saving thousands of lives?

Of course the answer is, “No, that’s not okay…that’s over the line”…but where is the line?

For the Bush administration the line was stepping outside the Geneva Convention, and changing legislation twice to get around the US Supreme court telling them this was wrong. For them the line was allowing ‘techniques’ that at the end of World War Two, the US sentenced Japanese soldiers to death, for performing on Allied soldiers.

For President Obama, the line is very different. We don’t fully know yet where he is going with it, but presently it would appear that his line is more in line with the Geneva Convention, and within the laws of the land. It would appear at the moment, Obama is more in line with Matthew Alexander than George W. Bush

Which is better, only time will tell…but the question is, where is the line?

Matthew Alexander on Fox

Matthew Alexander on The Daily Show