Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesday's trackings

Hmmm. So President Obama leaves the door open to those in the Bush administration who wrote memos justifying the use of torture against terrorists and terrorist suspects in our custody.
Well, here's some questions our progressive, absolutist no-torture-ever friends need to answer:
If your no-torture policy means we don't get information we need, and therefore there's a major terrorist attack again in the U.S., are you okay with that? Are you okay with it if your preferred policy leads to the death of Americans? I don't know that I'm okay with it.
Sometimes harsh interrogation methods must be used, especially against the Islamofascists who seek to attack us. We certainly wish we could protect ourselves without using harsh methods. I'm not sure we can. And anyone who portrays this as an easy decision and an easy question is kidding himself.

Here's a good piece on the torture issue today from National Review's Rich Lowry--especially when he says:
"Rightly considered, the memos should be a source of pride. They represent a nation of laws struggling to defend itself against a savage, lawless enemy while adhering to its legal commitments and norms. Most societies throughout human history wouldn’t have bothered.
The memos cite conduct that is indisputably torture from a court case involving Serbs abusing Muslims in Bosnia: “severe beatings to the genitals, head, and other parts of the body with metal pipes and various other items; removal of teeth with pliers; kicking in the face and ribs; breaking of bones and ribs and dislocation of fingers; cutting a figure into the victim’s forehead; hanging the victim and beating him; extreme limitations of food and water; and subjection to games of ‘Russian roulette.’ ” In contrast, we carefully parsed each of our techniques to ensure it wouldn’t cause “severe physical or mental pain or suffering.” This touchingly legalistic exercise at times took on a comic aspect. We could put a caterpillar in a box with a detainee afraid of stinging insects, Abu Zubaydah, so long as we didn’t falsely tell him the caterpillar was a threat to sting. We could put detainees in diapers so long as “the diaper is checked regularly and changed as needed to prevent skin irritation.”
Bingo. Read the whole thing. Some make it sound as if terrorist suspects were subjected to medieval-like infliction of pain. They weren't.

Meanwhile, we've been following here how the Department of Homeland Security is worried about "right-wing extremism." On that, Thomas Sowell today makes a good point:
"According to the same official document, the Department of Homeland Security “has no specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence.” But somehow they just know that you right-wingers are itching to unleash terror somewhere, somehow. So-called honor killings by Muslims in the United States, including the recent beheading of his wife by a leader of one of the American Muslim organizations, does not seem to arouse any concern from the Department of Homeland Security."
There have been far too many honor killings in this country, that have gone unsolved--read for example about this one.

FAVORITE TEAMS UPDATE: my favorite baseball teams were all off yesterday.
Meanwhile the Dallas Mavericks took it on the chin yesterday, losing game 2 of their NBA first round playoff series to San Antonio. One of the Mavs beat writers was horrified at the loss, and complained that the Mavs were too "satisfied" with winning game 1.
Maybe. But the fact remains, the Mavs did win game 1, and remain in good shape--now they come home for two games in Dallas. You knew San Antonio would come out with intensity in game 2. They made adjustments. There's plenty of time for the Mavs to make adjustments, too. I remain optimistic.