Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Thoughts On Torture

We've spoken about torture many times in the past and we disagreed quite a bit. That's fine, of course, because all good faith opinions are welcome here. :D Anyways, the Senate has now issued its report on torture and depending on your views, it will either shock you or it will confirm what others already believed. Here are my thoughts.

(1) The most important fact arising out of the report is that the seven or eight times the CIA claimed that torture got them critical information they used to stop terrorist plots were apparently lies. The Senate now reports that it never got anything useful related to those moments.

This directly demonstrates the problem with the torture debate in the past. I have heard for a long time from experts that torture simply does not work. What happens is that the torture subject will say anything to stop the torture. Thus, they will give false confessions and wrongly confirm anything you tell them, whether it's true or not. Basically, they will tell you what you want to hear. This confirms that.

The pro-torture argument, however, typically went like this: "What if you can save a city by torturing one guy? Wouldn't you torture them?" Well, sure, except that as this report and prior experience have shown, torture doesn't get you the information you need to make this scenario even close to likely.

(2) Even if torture resulted in some benefits, it's clear that it is not worth the harm to our reputation to be seen doing this. Reagan described America as a shining city on a hill and others have called us a beacon of light. We as a people talk about truth, justice and the American way, and we love practical solutions that get results. Torture is inconsistent with all of this.

(3) This report confirms that the CIA is out of control. For example, the CIA hid the torture program from President Bush for four months. That's ridiculous. The CIA is an agency that responds directly to the President under the supervision of the Congress. Yet, here they admit that they kept Bush in the dark about a highly controversial and dangerous program and then they lied to Congress about what they were doing. We can't accept this from any agency, but especially not from an agency with the power of the CIA.

(4) Unfortunately, the PR damage from this gives the left aid and comfort in their fight against America, American freedom and American capitalism. As long as things like torture continue, we open the door for the left to paint us as tainted and bad, and for them to jumble in things like attacks on drones under the cover of a generic misbehavior.



Tennessee Jed said...

I do not pretend to be an expert on the effectiveness of water boarding or other forms of torture. However, it seems logical there is some types of information that could be easily verifiable. As an example, police usually withold certain details of a crime scene to help verify whether a "confessor" is telling the truth. So, you ask the detainee questions that cannot be answered yes or no.

As for this, it seems lit was time to be a political hit rather than out of any concern about our image. Third, for as long as I can remember, it doesn't matter whether we don't torture or not. Rest assured, citizens around the world will be made to believe we do.

Tennessee Jed said...

One other thought, albeit, a semi-whimisical one. If terrorists came across our soft southern border and somehow kidnapped Di Fi, announcing she would be beheaded in a week on Al Jazeera, would she be o.k. with Mitch Rapp capturing one of the terrorists who knew where she was being held, and torturing him to get the location and lead a rescue?

Anthony said...

Didn't know anal feeding was a thing. Its not the first time the government paid out dump truck loads of money without worry about how effectively the money was being spent.

Can't say I'm surprised to see many conservative websites leaping to attack the report, often in ways remarkably similar to the ways liberals tend to dismiss facts which aren't useful (using legalese and witness statements to attack hard evidence). Many conservatives' suspicion of government doesn't extent much past the ATF and IRS.

Anyway, here are snippets from two of the more troubling articles I read.

As early as 2003, the report shows that concerns were raised about the conflicts of interest that could arise when Dunbar and Swigert, who devised and monitored the aggressive techniques, were also tasked with judging their effectiveness. Essentially, the two were being paid to assess their own work, a practice that violated the CIA's stated policy.

Conflicts of interest were "never more graphic," the Senate report notes, than when Dunbar and Swigert performed all three phases of an interrogation. First, they "applied an [enhanced interrogation technique] which only they were approved to employ." Second, they "judged both its effectiveness and detainee resilience." And third, they "implicitly proposed continued use of the technique -- at a daily compensation reported to be $1800/day, or four times that of interrogators who could not use the technique."

The problem was there from the start, in the aftermath of Swigert and Dunbar’s interrogation of Zubaydah. The two contractors performed every technique from the SERE school on Zubaydah, according to the report, and ultimately discovered that the detainee did not have the information they were seeking from him.

In a cable that the Senate report states was written by Swigert and Dunbar, the two call Zubaydah’s interrogation a success and argue that the techniques employed “should be used as a template for future interrogation of high value captives.”

The cable also indicated who should participate in future interrogations: Psychologists, like Swigert and Dunbar, “familiar with interrogation, exploitation and resistance to interrogation should shape compliance of high value captives prior to debriefing by substantive experts.”

Critch said...

1. The people like Feinstein were all for anything to give us an edge after September 11, 2001. Now they act all sanctimonious.

2. Most of these techniques were pretty darn minimal and were mainly used to make the subject afraid.

3. We have to realize that a battlefield situation is not a police interrogation room in the Bronx, there's a big difference.

4. A US Army officers was reprimanded for holding a gun to an Iraqi colonel's, in the middle of a firefight for a street, and threating him if he didn't tell where all of his gun emplacement's were...really? How stupid.

5. Either fight a war or don't. Our techniques were designed to find out who the bad guys were and take them out without having to kill everyone on the block with a 2000 pound bomb.

6. remember, most of these subjects were picked up on the battlefield. it isn't like they were visiting grandma with a basket of goodies and we just swooped down and picked them up.

BevfromNYC said...

I don't really care. If anyone was naïve enough to think that we didn't do this, then they live in fantasy I would LOVE to share. However the only thing that will shut the likes of the Diane Feinstein and her ilk is for another city to nuked by a dirty bomb. Frankly I am tired of the concerted effort of the Dems to systematically break this country apart. It's stunning. They are better at it that just about any thing that I have read about in history.

And now that they have outed our entire system of covert ops, it kind of makes that Valerie Plame deal look stupid, doesn't it?

How much do we get compensated for the torture that the Left puts us through on a daily basis?

Anonymous said...

There's torture and there's torture. One of the standards I use to determine the level of torture is the damage done to the recipient. Once waterboarding stops and you dry out you're back to normal. Once you've had your hands fed into a plastic shredder...
As far as a detainee telling you anything you want to make the torture stop,that depends on what you ask him. If you keep beating someone and asking "You did it, didn't you?" eventually he'll say yes. If you ask questions that only someone involved would know, you can eventually determine if he knows what he's talking about or not.
Simply saying "St Ron said we're a shining city on a hill, we're above that" seems to me to be a good way to get something blown up.
Finally, I agree with everything Critch said.


Bob said...

The problem Andrew, is who exactly are we worried about thinking less of us? The Left around the world? Do you really think people will stop emigrating to America because we torture those who want to kill us? Are you worried ISIS and their ilk will think less of us because we torture people like them? WHO exactly will think less of us?!

And please define "torture." From what I hear, personnel involved went to the DOJ at the time to determine how far they could go as far as getting information from a detainee. If that is true, then the definition of "torture" at the time was defined by law. So, if the law stated that waterboarding was NOT torture then, but is now, (and we're not waterboarding any more) then how was it legally wrong at the time?

Also, do you define torture as listening to Miley Cyrus? Some would. How about a belly slap? Torture? Battery clamps to gonads? I don't think anyone opposing this report believes in actual physical torture that permanently harms someone. The point is that many don't believe "waterboarding" is real torture, similar to belly slaps, sleep deprivation, loud music, etc. Ripping someone's fingernais out one at a time, hanging up by your shoulder behind your back, listening to Obama's greatest speeches, these are real torture that no normal person would agree to subject someone to. The others, go ahead, even if it's just to piss them off for killing Americans to let them know we don't particularly care for that in this country, and they were caught on a battlefield or known to have taken part in killing Americans.

Or, I guess we could issue them a strongly worded letter of concern. That'll get them talking!

BevfromNYC said...

I guess we could issue them a strongly worded letter of concern.

Bob, I believe Obama tries this often. See, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Syria, ISIS, Al Qaeda etc...and it works out really well for him. Not the rest of the world or the people in it, but his conscience is clear that he has not personally harmed or caused direct harm to anyone...except Osama bin Laden and...well, that was different.

TJ said...

When the waterboarding issue was brought up a few years ago, I got into a bit of a debate with a co-worker. She was talking about how terrible it was to waterboard someone and that the U.S. should never engage in torture.

I don't normally get into debates with people - I'm usually pretty quiet, but something got into me that day. The night before I had just re-watched the video that was done by the 2 French brothers on 9-11. They were following a rookie fireman around New York and were out on the street when the first plane hit.

Later in the video, they were in the lobby of the North Tower and you could hear in the background the sound of the bodies as they hit outside. It was sickening. I read somewhere that they believe it took approximately 10 seconds for them to fall.

Because that video was so fresh in my mind, I told her that waterboarding was not torture. To me, those poor people falling from those buildings was torture. Needless to say, she didn't have a response to that.

BevfromNYC said...

TJ - I remember that documentary well. It was heroic that those two French guys stuck with the firefighters and kept shooting film. But I would add to your argument that when we are trying to stop beheadings, rape, suicide bombers - pouring water on someone's face, keeping them up for days, or making them crawl like dogs is small potatoes and I have no problem with using any means necessary.

And yes, it does take an eternity to fall 100 floors to your death...for which these same people that we are supposed to have tortured laughed and cheered. Nope, I couldn't care less if they had were nearly drowned.

AndrewPrice said...

Howdy everyone! Sorry for the delay. I've been at the wound clinic all morning. Good stuff. Interesting how many problems Obamacare has caused them.

AndrewPrice said...

Interesting thought all around. Let me second the idea that I'm not sure any of this should be called "torture." The problem with the left, as always, is that they basically lump everything together when they make these kinds of arguments. "Torture" is a word that should only be used when some intent exists to inflict actual harm. Scaring someone is not torture and needs to remain in the toolbox because that's how interrogation works - fear and promise of reward applied in the way that best matches the psychological makeup of the interrogee.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, On the timing, from what I've read, Obama actually tried to stop the release of the report. So I doubt this is an attempt to distract or score points... except maybe by unhappy liberal Senators.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, The three problems I've had with much of the conservative response in the past was:

(1) It was all emotion and no logic, and the "argument" seemed to be a gleeful desire to torture for the sake of revenge without regard to whether or not it really worked and without consideration of the damage it did to us. Remember that if people in other places like Iraq hate us for this, our soldiers pay the price for that.

(2) Advocating an unchecked power torture people harms our ability to argue against big government and abuse of power.

(3) There seemed to be a sense that we should do things just to piss people off. That's stupid. Our actions should be based on our principles, not done on an ad hoc basis just to piss off people.

Anonymous said...

I personally define torture as physical duress designed to weaken a person's will.I'm only speaking for myself,of course, but I think it's all torture, from bellyslaps on up. That said, there are degrees of it, and it's not all the same. I agree with Bob. I don't think that anybody who opposes this report wants to see people permanently damaged. I really don't care, however,if some barbarian goes a few days without sleep or has a near drowning experience. You make some very good points Andrew,and as always your positions are very well thought out. I think #1 is flawed, however. To a certain percentage of the world we are the Great Satan. Our soldiers in those arenas are going to be treated barbarically no matter what we do.
Torture shouldn't be our first response to every prisoner we take. But when we have someone who we have reason to believe knows something we need to know, we've got to do what we've got to do.

AndrewPrice said...

I'm back...

AndrewPrice said...

GypsyTyger, Whether it's a yes/no question doesn't really matter. Ask for details and they will invent them. And if you lead them at all, they will give you exactly what you want to hear.

In terms of the people in the world who think we're Satan, there's no point in trying to placate them. But then, they aren't the target audience. The target audience for our image is (1) American consumers who want this country to stand for certain things, and (2) foreigners who have open minds and who can either look to us as a model to use to change their own countries or who can do things like influence whether or not their governments will support us. Again, we are making a mistake if we look at the fringe and then choose to treat everyone else in the world like that fringe. We need to win the vast majority who are winnable and want us to be the world's hero.

AndrewPrice said...

Critch, That is the problem with the left. When they latch onto a valid point, they start attaching every pet gripe of theirs onto that point. Soon "torture" gets defined by them as anything from actual torture to not giving detainees 4 star service. Reprimanding that officer is ridiculous.

On your fifth point, that is actually the problem: torture is not effective, so reliance on it is like knowingly giving the military bad intelligence.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, It does expose the Plame thing as ridiculous, doesn't it?

In terms of Dirty Diane and the rest, they are hypocrites. Indeed, that is par for the course. It's like the domestic abuse stuff with the NFL. When it first comes out, they scream about instant executions and lifetime bans without evidence or appeal. But as time passes, they flip completely around and condemn all those rotten people who are denying players their rights.

It's the same thing here. They demand nuclear war the moment something bad happens and later condemn anything that exceeds harsh language once they are safe.

AndrewPrice said...

GypsyTyger, Let me add... The problem with relying on torture is that it doesn't get you the information you need. And any resources put into it are resources that end up not going into human and satellite/electronic intelligence. That's what we need to be focusing on.

AndrewPrice said...

Bob, The people we are worried about are the people who would be our friends and allies around the world who now shy away from us because they see us as just as corrupt as everyone else. Don't underestimate the importance of being seen as "the good guy." The reason Radio Free USA was so powerful was because people trusted us to tell the truth, no matter what it was. If we were caught shading the truth, then we would have lost a whole generation of Eastern Europeans who saw us as a truly different than the corrupt Europeans. For decades we were also seen as liberators and fair arbiters until our policy mistakes caught up to us.

In any event, that's who we aim to influence, not the left around the world. It's the same thing domestically. We need to win the public at large, not convince the left of anything. The left is unwinnable and must be treated as such, but if we win the support of the public, then the left doesn't really matter. But the public is much more rational and non-ideological than conservatives want to believe. So you need to approach them differently. You need to focus on more practical considerations.

In terms of how to define torture, that is the question we should be debating. And when the left says, "Everything is torture," then they have given us a HUGE advantage in the debate if we are willing to take it to set the terms of the debate. But we can't do that when we imply that we like torture. That makes us just as irrational as the left and the public tunes us out.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Obama's foreign policy can be summed up this way:

1. Send post card with smiley face... wait for other side to completely adopt our position because they want to love Obama.

2. Walk away in frustration when Step 1 doesn't work.

3. Bomb them if they keep being jerks. Walk away.

AndrewPrice said...

TJ, I've never been convinced that waterboarding is torture. Sure, it scares them, but how does it hurt them or scar them?

And you are right, the real torture is what these bastards do to their victims. Not only the people dying in the towers, but think about those people they are beheading now or the schoolgirls they are carving up. That is true torture, and that is the comparison we should be making with the public all along...

"We don't sanction torture, nor should we, but THIS is not torture. There are no physical injuries. There is no scarring. There doesn't even cause pain. Real torture is what these people are doing to their victims. Think about the people whose body parts they are cutting off. Think about the beheadings. Think about the injuries and murders they are intentionally committing. Anyone who says that techniques that don't result in injury or any potential for death is torture is being disingenuous."

Kit said...

First, re Torture,

It can work, but it requires a level of sadism and discipline that only the KGB perfected. There was a case involving a CIA station chief in Lebanon in the 1980s named William Buckley (no relation to the National Review founder) who was captured by Hezbollah. Eventually, with the help of Iran and the KGB, they tortured him into giving up his network of agents in Lebanon.

Hebollah also sent several videos to the CIA, one is described as follows: "Buckley was close to a gibbering wretch. His words were often incoherent; he slobbered and drooled and, most unnerving of all, he would suddenly scream in terror, his eyes rolling helplessly and his body shaking. The CIA consensus was that he would be blindfolded and chained at the ankles and wrists and kept in a cell little bigger than a coffin."

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

This is a one-sided and ideological report and is far from complete.
Particularly since most of those involved were never even interviewed for their input.
Not to mention that our interrogation policy was approved by President Bush and got bi-partisan support from Congress.

Feinstein and her cohorts wanna scapegoat the CIA rather than themselves.
I'm not saying the CIA is perfect, and there should be oversight, but what Feinstein and her pals have done is beyond the pale.

I think every politician should have their words and actions recorded by video and audio just as they think the police should.
Afterall, there is far more corrupt, fraudulant, out of control politicians, per capita than there are cops.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

And I concur, waterboarding and loud music isn't torture. God, leave it to lefties to focus on the ludicrous.

Anthony said...

For my money, waterboarding is torture. It has long been considered torture (most of its existence, its been referred to as water torture) in America (where it was employed against slaves) and abroad.

Deciding to use torture after 9/11 is one thing, pretending simulating drowning and cramming stuff up the butts of people isn't torture is another.

The defense being offered of anal feeding (Hey, its what doctors do to some sick people when they deem it medically necessary) is fascinating because it can take us very far down a dark road (doctors routinely cut people open and amputate limbs).

I also think its troubling that many conservatives seem to prefer zero oversight. Conservatives seem to be engaging in fun fantasy exercises learned by watching action movies (if there was a ticking time bomb, wouldn't it be immoral not to torture the guy you knew he knew where the bomb was?) rather than debating the reality of the program (where a guy got grabbed up and intensively interrogated on the say so of an informant who later admitted he made everything up and another guy was interrogated for weeks without any questions being asked). The first sounds like a case of insufficient safeguards, the second sounds like torture as therapy or perhaps recreation.

Its worth keeping in mind that the US isn't deeply opposed to torture, though in recent history we have tended to outsource it (handing guys over to less scrupulous allies and then thanking them for the resulting intel).

Domestically, I don't think this scandal will last any longer than the Ebola scandal did or have any more consequence. Abroad, it probably won't change the minds of the public (no photos and less overt sadism than Abu Gharib) though it might give governments who worry about torture a few headaches (Abu Gharib was deviants being creative, not official policy).

For the record, I'm not in favor of criminal prosecution or anything, but I do think we should tighten controls and be more judicious about when (and to a lesser extent how) we employ it in the future.

Koshcat said...

The real question is does torture work? It doesn't really matter what you consider torture to be or if water boarding is really that bad. If it doesn't work then it is an unethical waste of time.

I suspect it can work under the right circumstance with the right person but to do it right probably takes a long time. If the enemy is any good they can make small changes so that any data obtained is worthless. I suspect this is why most of the time it doesn't work. You smash someone's toes and find out their contact is Ahmed at 325 Elm st. only to find out Ahmed has moved to Maple Ave where 30 other Ahmed's live.

AndrewPrice said...

The CIA director gave an historic and very self-serving press conference. It was interesting. First, he basically claimed the CIA was warning everyone about 9/11 before 9/11, which we know is false. Then he took a ton of credit for all the good things done since... most of which I would suspect were really the result of the military's actions.

Anyways, he took an interesting position that what they (1) never did this before and didn't know how at first, (2) they only did this under orders, (3) when they acted, it was legal and was vetted by DOJ before they did it, (4) it was effective though "it's impossible to show causation" as to how it was helpful, (5) they stopped seven years ago and (6) stopping hasn't hurt their efforts.

So he's kind of all over the place.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, That should always be the first question on anything: does it work. if it doesn't, then you don't do it no matter if it's ethical or not. If it does work, then you weigh the costs and benefits.

The overwhelming evidence says this just doesn't work, so we shouldn't do it. Add in the negative effects and it becomes clear we should not do this.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, There are other possibilities besides torture being what worked to get the information, but even if it did, that's a truly rare and super extreme case we can't duplicate.

What they really need to do with these guys is learn to use their own psychology against them... feed them pork, only give Koran's to guys who help, promise them the vices they love- porn, booze,etc. for cooperation.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, Interestingly, Team Obama is furious about the release. This seems to have been a Diane Feinstein train.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, I also think its troubling that many conservatives seem to prefer zero oversight.

This has bothered me a lot. If you take modern talk radio conservatism at face value the last few years, then they favor legalized police brutality against criminal suspects (unless the victim is an old white guy who illegally uses government land to run a ranch) and an unfettered, unsupervised power for the military and CIA to torture, even though the military does not want this and the CIA proved it didn't work.

That's hardly the conservatism I knew growing up.

Conservatives seem to be engaging in fun fantasy exercises learned by watching action movies (if there was a ticking time bomb, wouldn't it be immoral not to torture the guy you knew he knew where the bomb was?) rather than debating the reality of the program.

This was what I kept seeing in the debate when it first happened. The pro-torture people would spin these impossible scenarios where obviously there was only one valid answer, but the premise they used was total fantasy. Then they would usually mention 24 as if that were someone a source to rely upon. That was impossible to argue with because it was a delusional argument.

Bob said...

Andrew.....You state "This has bothered me a lot. If you take modern talk radio conservatism at face value the last few years, then they favor legalized police brutality against criminal suspects (unless the victim is an old white guy who illegally uses government land to run a ranch) and an unfettered, unsupervised power for the military and CIA to torture, even though the military does not want this and the CIA proved it didn't work."

You are falling into the old liberal canard of "everyone knows this is true!" From my reading and listening to both conservative ("right-wing") bloggers and radio, I have NEVER heard the more renowned claim that they favor legalized brutality or unfettered, unsupervised power for the military and CIA to torture. What they claim, is to follow the laws on the books as written. My understanding was that the CIA went to DOJ to see what was legal before they tried EIT. Now, I'm not naive enough to believe that any "state" group and individuals go outside the law sometimes, but what is claimed here is that those crazy, lunatic right-wingers push to allow torture and/or extra-judicial actions as a regular practice, just because they are foaming at the mouth evil lunatics. Don't allow the left to sway your views because they fit into the narrative that Cheney is a war criminal, Bush was an uninformed dunce and right-wingers want to torture brown people just for fun.

As far as "torture" not working, McCain should now have "absolute moral authority" on anything related to torture, right? He claims torture doesn't work. Some fomaing at the mouth right-winger should ask him if torture EVER worked in Vietnam when he was a POW. "Sir, did torture EVER elicit any actionable information for the VC from any POW that you know of?" McCain, by all accounts, was a hero for not divulging any actionable information, according to his and other POW's recollections. But did ANY POW EVER "break" and give up some valuable info? I would have to think, yeah, one or more probably did. So for McCain to claim that torture doesn't work, as evidenced by his history and absolute moral authority, we have never heard from him if any of his fellow POW's at the time ever broke. He didn't, but I can't help thinking maybe some did....therefore, torture DID work in those cases.

Now, I am 100% in favor of not using any EIT's on Islamic terrorists, AS LONG as we employ the methods you describe above.....feed them pork, deny them Korans, etc. I'm reminded of the story of COL (at the time) "Black Jack" Pershing in the Filipino uprising against the Moros. If the detainees in our case are devout Muslims, then this tactic might work and would be a "more humane" way of getting actionable information. I've always thought psychological torture is a better approach then physical. Find their weakness(es) and exploit them. Some men (McCain) can fight the pain and torture and not break. The weaker ones (most I would assume) would sing if threatened with their loved ones taken hostage and tortured and/or killed.

So, let's not ascribe the vilest, most despicable attributes to "right-wing talk show hosts" and fall into the left's trap. They want what we all want....follow the dang laws on the books, but do what it takes to do your job in protecting the US from another 9-11. If EIT was legal at the time (and it was from everything I've heard) then we are okay if it was used to help protect us. Don't believe that talk show hosts are bloodthirsty animals in love with torture and violence. That's beneath you and everyone on the left who take the easy way out.

AndrewPrice said...

Bob, I'm not falling for anything liberal. Honestly, I had these same arguments here, via email and big time at Big Hollywood back when this issue arose. There were tons and tons of conservatives that I like and respect (but disagree with) who openly stated that they thought we should be engaging in whatever level of brutality we needed to get information "to stop them from blowing up a city." There was no equivocation and no limits. They openly used the word "torture" and dismissed any limits on it as "weak-kneed liberalism."

In terms of torture not working, this has been a discussion long before the current debate. And the overwhelming consensus (even of conservatives before this issue around after 9/11) was that torture is an unreliable method of interrogation: that is, it gets you what you want to hear rather than anything useful. And that there are much better methods that can be used.

In fact, even the CIA director in his speech, who absolutely defended what they did, could only say at best that they felt the information they got had been useful even though it was impossible to show how the information was useful or to demonstrate any piece of information that was useful. When that's the best that the defender of the program can say, then something is wrong. Even worse, he further watered this down by dancing around when the information had been obtained. Basically, he implied that the "valuable" information (which he can't show how it is valuable) came long after the people had been EIT'd, not during the EIT process.

In terms of talk radio, I listened to guys like Beck, Hannity, Rush, etc, and they were openly saying things like "If we can save one American life by torturing these terrorists, then we should be doing it." In fact, they treated it as a macho thing by trying to outbid each other and attacking anyone who wouldn't go as far as they would as weak or cowardly or effeminate.

In terms of the left, I don't give them any credit either. Their definition of torture is bullsh*t and is designed to weaken America against its enemies. As I see it, torture is the infliction of injury, nothing less. Making people uncomfortable, unhappy, or using their beliefs against them is all part of interrogation and is not torture. The left would have it that anything short of 5-star hotel treatment is torture, and that's ridiculous.

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