A few months ago, I was blogging about watching one of my old favorites movies, Dr. Stranglove with my son.
Reading the New York Times yesterday, I was reminded of a scene in the movie. The premise of the movie is that an American General has gone off his rocker due to an, um, "equipment malfunction" and has ordered a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. Peter Sellers, in one of his three brilliant roles, plays Group Captain Lionel Mandrake, a visiting British officer. Captain Mandrake quickly figures out what is going on and tries to coax the attack recall code out of General Jack D. Ripper, portrayed by Sterling Hayden.
As American forces, who have been ordered to capture Ripper and retrieve the code, close in, Ripper asks Mandrake if he had been tortured after he'd been captured by the Japanese during his World War II service. Mandrake replies that yes, he had. Ripper asks if they got any information out of him, and Mandrake replies that he didn't think they weren't really looking for information-- it was just their idea of a good time.
Guess what? Amnesty International and any other human rights experts could have told BushCo and seven of the eight assholes running for the Republican nomination that torture-- oh, excuse me, "enhanced methods" (even torture has a poltically correct name) do not work. And now, as BushCo gets ready to revise interrogation rules, experts advising the administration are warning that the interrogation methods are "outmoded, amateurish and unreliable".
The article states that the current methods are "a hodgepodge that date from the 1950's, or are modeled on old Soviet practices."
Sure glad we won the Cold War-- so that we can actually become the enemy we feared and loathed.
The article compares the amateurish, ineffectual "enhanced methods" to the sophisticated-- and very successful-- non-violent interrogation methods of modern day veteran homicide detectives and to those who interrogated German and Japanese POW's during World War II.
The article pointed out that the World War II interrogators had graduate degrees in law and philosphy, spoke the language of the interogees flawlessly, and prepared for four to six hours for each hour of interrogation.
A few weeks ago, we were treated to the sorry spectacle of all but one of the morons running for the Republican nomination openly advocating torture-- most notably, former prosecutor Rudolph Guliani. It was grotesque.
Clearly, the advocacy of torture plays to the home crowd. We're angry at the bastards who perpetrated 9/11, yes. We want to strike back, yes. Yet, one of the stated purposes of terror is to get a government to walk away from the rule of law, and start its own campaign of terror-- and torture-- thus undermining its legitimacy and moral high ground. They have succeeded in this.
Not surprisingly, the military has been one of the biggest critics of what has gone on, and has cracked down the hardest on its members it has found guilty of it. They understand that whatever methods you use justifies the enemy using those methods on US forces. And they know that the methods just don't work.
The use of torture has no basis in reality, and no place in the modern world. It's a fantasy that only works on 24 and in B-movies, with evil Gestapo torturers and maniacal Russian secret agents. I doubt that BushCo will listen to that though. But hopefully those who follow will.
It was bad enough to have a B-Movie actor as President. With BushCo we've actually become a B-Movie.