How do you deal with someone like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, someone who was the principal planner of the 9/11 attacks which killed more than 3,000 innocent civilians, someone who personally took a knife and sawed off the head of kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl? How do you interrogate a brutal mass murderer who has flagrantly violated the laws, customs, and usages of war?
Clearly the moral insights and perspectives of a female liberal journalist and graduate of the Ethical Culture Fieldston School must provide the best possible guidance in these philosophically vexing situations. Or, at least, that’s what the New Yorker evidently thinks.
And Jane Mayer duly delivers a breathless critique of all things Bush Administration, punctuated with ringing and high-sounding slogans. Several ironically supplied by Daniel Pearl’s widow:
Itâ€™s not enough for officials to call me and say they believe it (that KSM murdered Daniel Pearl)… You need evidence.â€
â€œAn intelligence agency is not supposed to be above the law.â€
And, if the opinions of a nice middle-aged Jewish lady practitioner of Nichiren Buddhism on war-time evidentiary standards are not enough to indict the Bush Administration, Mayer brings in another key moral authority, Representative Alcee Hastings, the former federal judge who, having been impeached and removed from office for corruption and perjury, simply went off and ran for Congress from a safe democrat seat minority district.
Representative Alcee Hastings, a Democratic member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, said, â€œWe talk to the authorities about these detainees, but, of course, theyâ€™re not going to come out and tell us that they beat the living daylights out of someone.â€ He recalled learning in 2003 that Mohammed had been captured. â€œIt was good news,â€ he said. â€œSo I tried to find out: Where is this guy? And how is he being treated?â€ For more than three years, Hastings said, â€œI could never pinpoint anything.â€ Finally, he received some classified briefings on the Mohammed interrogation. Hastings said that he â€œcanâ€™t go into detailsâ€ about what he found out, but, speaking of Mohammedâ€™s treatment, he said that even if it wasnâ€™t torture, as the Administration claims, â€œit ainâ€™t right, either.”
Personally, I think beating the living daylights out of KSM would be only a good start.