Wednesday, June 15, 2005

If You Don't Like Gitmo, What's Your Alternative?

The people deploring US interrogation of prisoners at Gitmo are dishonest hypocrites - they seek to protect the terrorists who commit the depravities while condemning the US for taking mild measures to squeeze the thugs for life-saving intel.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday that the U.S. extracted valuable inside information on al Qaeda from a would-be September 11 hijacker who underwent rough interrogation tactics at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Mr. Rumsfeld said information from Mohammed al-Qahtani, the so-called "20th hijacker," and others led to the capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks; the identities of 20 bodyguards of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden; and the disruption of planned terror attacks around the world.

My approach to interrogation morality is utilitarian - if I were captured by a bunch of Islamic terrorists, would I really mind the Gitmo techniques being used on me? Of course I wouldn't feel good if it caused me to reveal secrets, and I wouldn't like the hazing. But would I mind it as much as, say having all my teeth or fingernails pulled out, or an arm sawed off? I don't think so.

So, if that's the choice, how do you interrogate people who you reasonably believe are planning to slaughter more Americans?

1. Put them through the criminal courts

The ACLU proposes this & has been saying so since 9 days after 9/11, when the WTC was still an open grave.

But then you find out nothing - because you can't coerce people when they're in the criminal justice system. So then we get more open graves. Here are their alternative treatments for terrorists captured in battle:

Charge a terrorist suspect with the crime of “material support” for terrorism or other broadly-defined crime, such as harboring terrorists.

Charge a terrorist suspect with an unrelated criminal offense and use evidence of terrorism at sentencing.

Detain a terrorist suspect as a “material witness” to a criminal proceeding.

This is the policy which has worked so brilliantly in Germany.

A Moroccan who was cleared last week of plotting the 9-11 attacks on the United States refused to testify on Wednesday when called as a witness at the Hamburg trial of fellow-accused Mounir al-Motassadeq.

2. Treat them like POWs

This means asking only name rank and number, which is the privilege granted by the Geneva Convention to combatants who are captured while observing the rules of war.

...drawn from earlier international practice and agreements, and include subordination to a responsible command structure, wearing uniforms, carrying arms openly, and operating in accord with the other laws and customs of war.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is pushing this one. They argue that the US is bound by the 1977 "Protocol I Additional" to the Geneva Conventions:

In particular, for those countries who have ratified Protocol I, the treaty fundamentally alters the status of irregular or guerrilla fighters under the laws of war. It gives them a lawful status and the right to POW treatment. In addition, because a successful guerrilla campaign involves hit-and-run tactics and the ability to "disappear" into the surrounding civilian population, Protocol I created a substantial advantage for irregulars by relaxing the requirements of uniforms and openly carried weapons. The regular armed forces of states, of course, must continue to distinguish themselves from the civilian population by wearing a uniform and carrying their arms openly.

Not surprisingly, Protocol I was immediately embraced by "national liberation movements", many "developing" states (at the height of its export of terrorism, Libya rushed to become the second nation to ratify Protocol I).

Unfortunately for the ICRC, the US never ratified Protocol I, for the reasons explained by President Reagan:

It contains provisions that would undermine humanitarian law and endanger civilians in war. . . . It would give special status to "wars of national liberation", an ill-defined concept expressed in vague, subjective, politicized terminology.

Another provision would grant combatant status to irregular forces even if they do not satisfy the traditional requirements to distinguish themselves from the civilian population and otherwise comply with the laws of war.

This would endanger civilians among whom terrorists and other irregulars attempt to conceal themselves."

Nevertheless, the ICRC pretends that Protocol I is now settled international law & is repeatedly attacking US policy:

Leaked ICRC reports have described conditions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as "tantamount to torture" because indefinite detention is stressful. And just last month the ICRC's Washington office broke its confidentiality agreement with the U.S. government to fan the flames created by Newsweek's false Quran-abuse story.

And yet the ICRC has done nothing for US POWs:

(In Vietnam) the ICRC itself made no discernible effort on behalf of American POWs.

...during the Gulf War, ICRC officials in Baghdad failed to protect coalition POWs held by Saddam, merely assisting in their repatriation once he was defeated--even though there were a dozen ICRC delegates in Baghdad during the war.

The ICRC is also oddly silent:

Today, our enemies in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the War on Terror do not take prisoners. Most of those Americans, whether military or civilian, unfortunate enough to fall into their hands have been butchered, and their murders have been broadcast on television throughout the Middle East and made available around the world on the Internet.

Which leads to these classifications under the ETF Ecosystem.

Donald Rumsfeld is, of course, a Spiny Norman
The ACLU is a Kierkegaard (small-time criminal)
The ICRC is Dinsdale Piranha (big-time but cowardly criminal)

Incidentally, the American Red Cross is part of the ICRC - if you give it money, you're aiding an enemy of America.