Saturday, May 15, 2004

Under a barrage of international and domestic criticism, the top U.S. commander in Iraq has barred virtually all coercive interrogation practices, such as forcing prisoners to crouch for long periods or depriving them of sleep, the Pentagon announced on Friday.
The timid critics have seen too many episodes of "The Prisoner". We don't want any information. Those so-called "abuses" are intentional, not to soften up captives for questioning, but to soften up resistance by the masses of the public. "Grab them by the balls, and their hearts and minds will follow."
But the official said that Sanchez would deny requests to use harsher methods. "Simply, we will not even entertain a request, so don't even send it up for a review," a senior Central Command official said at the Pentagon on Friday.
This sounds like a hopeful sign of realism to me, if you read between the lines. Can you spell "Don't ask, don't tell?"
Even Rumsfeld's deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, acknowledged at a Senate hearing on Thursday that hooding prisoners or forcing them to crouch naked for 45 minutes -- tactics available to interrogators with Sanchez's approval under the old policy -- were inhumane.
But notice he didn't say "inhumane" was a bad thing. Remember, you can't spell "dehumanizing" without all the letters from "inhumane".
The Central Command official also said that until last fall, commanders did not have an interrogation policy specific to Iraq, relying instead on basic principles in an Army field manual.
"Yes, sir, we were using this manual we found right here, issued by some General named "Erwin" somebody...."
The official said, for instance, there were harsher approaches, now barred by Sanchez, that in his view did not violate the [Geneva] conventions.
That's because those utterly unimaginative Swiss just didn't think of some very original techniques we have in mind.
On Capitol Hill, Senate Democrats who had accused the Pentagon this week of employing practices that violated the conventions applauded the policy changes. "Pressure works," said Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee.
The usual liberal hypocrisy. Of course "pressure works". That's why we were using it there. Why is pressure okay for Democrats in D.C., but not for our army in Iraq?

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