left:Ali al-Kurdi, Right: Mohammed el-Qahtani in Yemen jail
Susan J. Crawford, the convening authority for military commissions, Bob Woodward gleefully reports, has announced that she is unwilling to try Mohammed el-Qahtani (the intended 20th 9/11 hijacker who missed his flight) because interrogation techniques applied to him, including “sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, nudity and prolonged exposure to cold” impaired the poor chap’s health and thus amounted to torture.
Crawford . . . .said the combination of the interrogation techniques, their duration and the impact on Qahtani’s health led to her conclusion. “The techniques they used were all authorized, but the manner in which they applied them was overly aggressive and too persistent. . . . You think of torture, you think of some horrendous physical act done to an individual. This was not any one particular act; this was just a combination of things that had a medical impact on him, that hurt his health. It was abusive and uncalled for. And coercive. Clearly coercive. It was that medical impact that pushed me over the edge” to call it torture, she said.
MacRanger is unsympathetic.
He says, if discomfort, embarrassment, and water poured on your face are torture, he was tortured himself.
Sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, nudity and prolonged exposure to cold I experienced in basic training. Waterboarding I experienced later during escape and invading training.
Here we have a Bush Administration official, with a long record of working for Dick Cheney, by the way, inhibited from prosecuting a principal participant in the worst attack on the United States in history costing the lives of 3000 innocent civilians
because she is willing to regard discomforts used in interrogation essentially identical to stresses endured by US military personnel in training as “torture.” Once Crawford is gone and some Obama appointee is in her place, we’ll have hairy Pathan mass murderers released because some corporal crushed their spirits with a cutting remark.
All this demonstrates that the Bush Administration approach of military commissions operating at Defense Department level in the full view of the domestic media and the humanitarian bien pensant left was always insane. The correct procedure was always minimum formality and drumhead courts martial for illegal combatants and captured terrorists under the immediate local US military authority followed by speedy dispatch to the Muslim Paradise at rope’s end.