September 4, 2009
Should we celebrate the success of torture?
By Jim Babka

Quote of the Day: "Stare into the abyss and the abyss stares into you." -- Friedrich Nietzsche

Subject: Should we celebrate the success of torture?

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has been celebrating the supposed success of torture as an interrogation method to protect us from terrorism. Cheney claims that . . .

* Waterboarding and sleep deprivation turned Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) into the C.I.A.'s best source on Al-Qaida.
* KSM then provided information that led to the arrest of Iyman Faris, an alleged Al-Qaida sleeper agent sent to the U.S. to plan attacks on New York landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge.

However, the New York Times (and many other sources) report that the men who interrogated KSM tell a different story...

* The C.I.A. officer who interrogated KSM, Deuce Martinez, said he used traditional interrogation methods, and not the infliction of pain and panic.
* And Ali Soufan, a former F.B.I. agent who oversaw the interrogation of another major terrorist, Abu Zubaydah, says that Mr. Zubaydah talked before he was subjected to waterboarding and other abuse, and that "using these alternative methods on other terrorists backfired on more than a few occasions."

Whom should we believe -- Mr. Cheney, or the agents who did the interrogations? The answer seems obvious. However, we believe there's an even greater argument from principle to be made here. Even if torture were the most effective and reliable interrogation method possible, it would still be wrong to use it, both morally and practically.

* We must not become that which we claim to oppose.
* We must set an example for the world of how people should behave.
* And we must count all the costs and risks to which we subject ourselves when we violate our own most sacred values.

The whole world now knows that the supposed "land of the free and home of the brave" . . .

* Kidnaps people and sends them abroad to be tortured
* Holds people in captivity without due process
* Practices acts of torture for which it has prosecuted others
* Does not practice what it preaches

Our hypocrisy has undoubtedly recruited far more terrorist candidates than have ever been caught by using torture. The Cheney-Bush policy was, and is, self-defeating, even if it could really be demonstrated that torture occasionally results in useful information. Sadly . . .

Even though President Obama promised us change, we haven't seen much in the way of meaningful change. The new policy of "Indefinite Detentions" is actually worse than before.

We here at want to see our country once again become "the land of free and the home of the brave." Toward that end we've promoted our "I Am Not Afraid" campaign, through which we, as individuals, win our own personal war on terror instantly, simply by NOT giving the terrorists the fear they seek to provoke in us.

We are not afraid. How about you?

But for this lack of fear to have the most meaning we must also urge our supposed representatives to not be afraid on our behalf, and to reverse all policies that demonstrate fear. If you agree with our stance then we urge you to send an "I Am Not Afraid" message to Congress. Here's what the message says...

"I am not afraid of terrorism, and I want you to stop being afraid on my behalf. Please start scaling back the official government war on terror. Please replace it with a smaller, more focused anti-terrorist police effort in keeping with the rule of law. Please stop overreacting. I understand that it will not be possible to stop all terrorist acts. I accept that. I am not afraid.”

Here are the personal comments I added to this message in the letter I just sent to my representatives: "I was promised change, but there has been no change. Please repeal all the un-constitutional elements of Bush's war on terror, or I will start calling it the Bush-Obama war on terror instead."

You can send your own personalized, I Am Not Afraid letter to Congress using's Educate the Powerful System.

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Jim Babka
President, Inc.


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