Morning rejoinder on enhanced interrogation to an email list:
The contemporary intelligentsia, existing in a historical void and devoted to extravagant and conspicuous moral posturing, obviously will not countenance any (publicly-debated) form of coercive interrogation. The real answer is not to involve countless numbers of spoiled, pampered haute bourgeois Americans in these kinds of life and death decisions.
It is not America’s old lady cat lovers, her pansy leftwing bloggers, her Ethical Culture Society members, or her nice idealistic young coeds who have the knowledge, perspective, experience, and fortitude required to decide what is necessary to protect the lives of American civilians from terrorist plots and American soldiers in the field from primitive bloodthirsty fanatics. These kinds of decisions should be made in secret by the necessary rough men willing and able to do what needs to be done to allow the ethically concerned at home to sleep safe in their beds.
The great torture debate is just an anti-Bush Administration propaganda campaign which has successfully set off a grand series of echoes in the empty heads of our chattering classes. There has always been coercive interrogation. There will always be coercive interrogation when lives and the outcome of wars is at stake.
Sympathy for the likes of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who sawed off Daniel Pearl’s head with a dull knife and who played a principal planning role in the 9/11 attacks which very cruelly killed more than 3000 innocent American civilians, is absurd. He is a foreign enemy, an unlawful combatant, a systematic violator of every form of law and all the rules and customs of war, and a mass murderer. There is something seriously wrong with the moral outlook of people who have a problem with slapping him in the face, pouring water on his head, or frightening him into divulging information on his schemes and accomplices necessary to prevent further mass attacks.
Happily, now that the Obama Administration has eliminated any form of “enhanced” interrogation, we can console ourselves that the result will be no terrorist prisoners being taken, since they will have no value as information sources. And the philosopher can reflect that, if the result of our new, more edifying intelligence policies proves to be renewed successful attacks on US urban centers, well, those are the locations filled with sanctimonious democrat voters, aren’t they?