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ENHANCED INTERROGATION TECHNIQUES: It’s Time for a Law That Authorizes Their Use


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As we learned following the killing of Osama bin Laden, enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) played an important role in the CIA eventually tracking him to his Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound. It’s time to stop the spurious arguments about EITs and for Congress to enact a law permitting the President of the United States, and only the President, to authorize the use of well defined and limited EITs when he determines they are essential to the national security of the United States.  (More)


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46 Responses

  1. EWRoss says:

    Reposted From LinkedIn Group: The Political Coffeehouse

    Ed, stop drinking the koolaid and start drinking tea. I only hope you dont become a person of interest and have enhanced interrogation techniques used on you.

    There are better ways to reduce the threat that Americans face from other international groups. I would say if we stopped supporting state sponsored abuse of citizens in other countries we would not be the target of attacks that would require advanced interrogation.

    I love this country more than life itself. I want America to stand once more for the things that made us a great nation. How can we say we support the US Constitution which prescribes a rule by citizens of a Republic; when we support propping up governments which oppress the people?

    Posted by Mary Putnam

  2. Willy Brandt says:

    Ed: I would point out that there are already many “tools” available to our military and intelligence communities that can be used to obtain information. I don’t think that the US needs EITs to obtain information. In the current case we will never know if the information leading to Bin Laden would have been obtained from other sources or not.

    I really don’t believe that even the president should be allowed to approve such methods. Our country is different than others around the world and allowing EITs, no matter how limited and controlled, lowers that bar. If such a law is passed our enemies won’t be saying how “considerate” we are of others. They’ll say such a law just proves we are no different than other governments and conviently forgot to mention how restricted it is.

    If good carpenters and plumbers don’t need every tool in the world in their tool boxes to build quality houses, I don’t think our mititary and intel communities need the EIT “tool.”


  3. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Naval Postgraduate School Alumni

    I absolutely disagree. I was waterboarded during SERE training and what we experienced was only a very small sample of the real waterboarding process. I strongly believe waterboarding is a form of torture and after enough torture anyone will say anything they think their interrogators want to hear. Torture is not a process that american military or other U.S. personnel should be inflicting on anyone. Also,there is no real evidence that enhanced interrogation techniques provided any viable information that lead directly to Osama bin Laden.

    Posted by John Flynn

  4. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Naval Postgraduate School Alumni

    I concur with John Flynn. Officially sanctioned torture, even authorized by the President, and only the President, can and will be expanded, and delegated. I believe Ed is presuming good intent, however recent events have clearly demonstrated just how good intent can and will be abused; one example is the Patriot Act. If we allow these practices, then what does that say about us as a people? I am not digressing on morality, far from it, but our methods and doctrine must uphold the higher standard. Just what do I mean by this? One example was the President’s authorization to assassinate an Al Qaeda figure who is / was a US citizen. I have no problem eliminating this individual, glad to do it personally, but the problem arises in how it was authorized. Rather than eliminating a proven enemy combat operative (regardless of citizenship), the authorization claimed and justified was that the President does have the authority to target US citizens – anywhere. Understand the difference? If such a measure is to be implemented, including torture, assassination, etc. then the President alone will authorize, not ever delegate, and be accountable for their actions along with those who provided the information and recommendations. (World Court) I agree this is not a perfect choice, but the checks and balances can be maintained – at least the mechanisms are in place.

    I strongly discourage our country now or ever from implementing any such policy / precedent – officially. Black Ops have their place if utilized properly, not as a political killing machine as clearly demonstrated by recent events. Never as a matter of official policy, and torture never under any circumstances. History has clearly show this ineffective, except as a tool for intimidation and subjugation of the target population, in turn breeding rebellion, which is unacceptable and can not be justified. Opinion – Those preaching the virtues are misinformed, at best, and not confronting reality.

    Posted by Michael DaBose

  5. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Department of Defense


    Posted by Terry Lukan

  6. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Department of Defense

    Unfortunately such a law would never pass

    Posted by Magdalena Ortiz

  7. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: The Political Coffeehouse

    In the ”Good Old Days” it was the absence of those methods that divided the civilized West from the Cruel and uncivilized Rest.
    The trouble started when the moral superiority was abandoned for the notion of a possible short term gain.

    In the ”Good Old Days” it was easy to tell the good from the bad and to make that clear to anybody by what they were doing.

    Much of the trouble started when that good old moral superiority was abandoned and the West and especially the USA appeared as just another big country doing whatever it wants.

    As for the results of those enhanced interrogation techniques: Of course now they will claim that there was some positive outcome.
    How else to justify that.

    But when you go through the history of enhanced interrogation, you will find millions of people who wrongly confessed to riding on brooms through the air and being burnt from life to death on the stack for that; and not only in Europe was there witch hunt.

    Under torture, people can be made to confess about anything.

    They will tell whatever they think the interrogator will want and like to hear but it is actually very rare to get true and useful info out of those tortured people.

    And if, then you won’t be able to differentiate it from the fantasies told to stop the torture.

    Posted by Ingo Potsch

  8. Bob Hoelle says:

    There is a fine line between Enhanced Interrogation Techniques and Torture. As long as that line isn’t crossed, I think the technique is well within bounds. Hell, we use waterboarding and sleep deprivation on our own great Special OP trainees. Compared to what our enemies have done to American POWs in all wars, we are highly civilized. If enhanced interrogation techniques will save American lives, civilian or military, then lets use it. Its like Rumsfeld said on 60 minutes several years ago when certain liberals complained about the enemy pows being chained to the bulkhead of the plane transporting them to Cuba, He said you have to realize that these people would chew a hydraulic hose in half to take a plane down. “Man Up”

  9. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Naval Postgraduate School Alumni

    First of all you can’t define enhanced interrogation techniques as a matter of law, because it would publicly disclose our methods. Secondly enhanced interrogation techniques are not TORTURE. Third, I have to strongly disagree with just about everything my esteemed colleague John Flynn said. I too went through SERE, and agree that water boarding is a truly uncomfortable and intimidating, However we aren’t talking about lawful PWs, but unlawful combatants who are evil socio-pathic killers and should be summarily shot. (there is a moral and ethical distinction) Under such circumstances water boarding is a fairly humane treatment by comparison to the way legitimate American PWs were treated by their peaceful captors in either North Vietnam or Iraq. Almost everything he said is documented to be false:

    1. US military personnel did not employ enhanced interrogation techniques. As far as I know that is the domain of the CIA.

    2. We have extensive public testimony from those involved that enhanced interrogation did in fact provide significant strategic and tactical information that we were able to exploit, information that may not have been obtained through other means.

    3 Apparently such techniques were used with very great caution and very rarely, however the mere acknowledgement that such techniques could be used probably convinced several to cooperate before their situation got that far.

    Referring to the Navy SEALs and CIA operatives who killed OBL as “political killing machine” is grossly irresponsible and simply is not an acceptable way to refer to them on a professional networking site.

    Finally remember that these non-state actors have repeatedly attacked and attempted to attack Americans without cause or provocation other than their own twisted asocial interpretation of Islamic Jihad. We have treated them with far more compassion and humanity than they have given to any of their targeted victims.

    Spare me the sanctimonious self-righteousness angst and assumed moral superiority. We are not obliged to disarm ourselves in a death match, we do not have to permit these vermin to use the instruments of our civil society against us as a means to destroy it and us with it.

    The only politically irresponsible party in this process is our incompetent Attorney General, the former leader of the GITMO bar association, and his witch hunt of the CIA interrogators who produced and exploited the information necessary to break Al Queda.

    Posted by John Tucker

  10. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: The Political Coffeehouse

    Power corrupts absolutely

    Posted by Mary Putnam

  11. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Naval Postgraduate School Alumni

    I agree with Bart that the President’s decision to terminate OBL with “extreme predjudice” was the responsible choice. Bash Bush all you want, but Obama’s use of the continued GITMO detention “enhanced interrogation” techniques remain unchanged, regardless of the rhetoric. Thank the dedicated professionals who did the heavy lifting at CIA to make this all possible. Muslims carried out several unprovoked attacks on AmCits before any of those things. So you really can’t say those are causal factors to the current hostility directed against the US. It would be like blaming a victim for taking reasonable defensive measures after being attacked. Bart’s analysis simply ignores the facts. He also begs the question: What are our values as a nation? and how do they apply in this situation? To be logically consistent you would have to condemn President Lincoln for suspending Habeus Corpus, and waging war against the Confederacy? Muslims aren’t Methodists. Don’t make the error of arrogantly projecting our worldview onto them. Sharia Law and liberty are not compatible, and will never find common ground. A lot of things have hurt the US in world opinion. Not the least is the fact that we are as a people still the most free and most capable nation in the world. When you are the top dog, you naturally have a lot of enemies. That is why you either love the Yankees (Lakers, Packers…etc) or hate them. World opinion is a funny thing. When Reagan called for Gorbachev to “tear down this wall”, it was considered provocative. Now it is considered heroic. Winners don’t give a damn about opinions. Winners write history. If you want moral sanction, first you must win. Nobody would give a damn about the 300 Spartans if the Persians hadn’t been ultimately defeated by the Greek Coalition. Please give credit to President Bush for his steady hand, strong moral backbone and clear head to make the hard decisions to not be intimidated by a handful of Islamic extremists or the cut and run political opportunists who were “for the war, before they were against it.”

    Posted by John Tucker

  12. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Naval Postgraduate School Alumni

    The interesting thing is that if enhanced interrogation is taken as a discrete event ‘done by Bush’ there isn’t a right answer. Should a President ‘interrogate with all the means at our disposal’ if he knows that the information will save the nation? Of course. Alternatively should he ‘torture’ someone to death when there’s a possibility the information is not there to save the nation? Of course not.

    How about, do you drop a nuclear weapon on a city if you’re CERTAIN its use will save the lives of hundreds of thousands in the final accounting? Of course. Do you employ the weapon if it MIGHT not? Hmmm.

    The problem here is that whatever you would do today with the advantage of hindsight is irrelevant and a potentially dishonest use of the historical record, such as it is. Should Curtis Lemay have been tried as a war criminal on the same deck used to sign the Japanese surrender? How about Bomber Harris at Nuremburg for Dresden?

    The true nature and resiliency of a society ought not be judged on the basis of single or even short series of discrete events. A better understanding is obtained by taking a long view.

    Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, but his fellow citizens reversed him and reasserted fundamental justice after the crisis passed. That seems like a more robust pattern of behavior to me by a society than one that follows, say, the pattern of the French or Russian revolutions, where the correction followed, to be sure, but was incredibly destructive.

    Perhaps the same pattern ought to be applied to enhanced interrogation. It produced results, but it was not the American way and was abandoned as soon as possible. To my mind, that’s how adults behave.

    In any case, I dispute the notion that anyone can establish a credible causal relationship at this point one way or the other. Everything I’ve read has been based on emotion, political wish-fulfillment, and a significant dearth of facts.

    Posted by Larry A. Grant

  13. Scott says:

    You need to realise that what you are proposing is torture, and there is no way you can pretend it isn’t.

    Secondly, you started the argument with a number of unprovable statements which you present as fact.

    Are you proposing this ‘law’ apply within the US only, or does the US now claim the right to legislate outside national jurisdictions?

    Will this torture be performed by US personell, or will the US continue to outsource it to others who may not be as ‘enlightened’ in these ‘enhanced’ toture techniques.

    Will this enhanced torture law apply equally to US citizens?

    If the answer is No to any of the above, then you are sacrificing any moral high ground and acting in a manner no different to those that you are fighting against.

    How would you feel if US citizens were subject to enhanced interogation techniques sactioned by foreign nations?

  14. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: U.S. Veteran

    I am sorry, but I do not agree with you in any way. Torture in any form is against international law. We have already alienated many peoples and cultures around the world with our “go it alone” cavalier attitude towards international law (which we will instrumental in helping to form them).

    It is a debatable point as to whether EITs let to the killing of OBL. All the got at Gitmo was the name of a courier and not even a location or country where he might be found. I find that to be something less than a compelling argument for the use of EITs.

    Torture is not the answer. I would go along with using the truth serum, but I would not go beyond that.

    Posted by Howard Blum

  15. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Naval Postgraduate School Alumni

    According to the accounts that I have read, KSM was waterboarded over 180 times and never gave up the name of the courier that led us to OBL. Later when the courier name was suggested to him, KSM denied knowing him at first and then said he was a person of no importance which was the clue that the courier might be of importance. I’d say EIT in the form of waterboarding was not efficient as claimed and played very little role in ferreting out OBL.

    Posted by Joe Lott

    • EWRoss says:

      According to senior Bush administration CIA people who had access to all the information, KSM’s and al-Libbi’s attempts to protect the courier (al-Kuwaiti) were not minor developments but major leads. Then again, all the information obtained from KSM and the two other 9/11 conspirators that foiled numerous terrorist plots after 9/11 were dismissed out of hand. No one should accept enhanced interrogation techniques as a routine practice of the U.S. government. They should only be used when the President of the United States believes a grave and imminent threat exists and they have in custody an enemy combatant/terrorist who could provide information that could save thousands of lives. The day America is attacked and thousands die and we later learn that attack could have been prevented had the President used EITs and he didn’t Americans will be outraged. Ten years with no successful terrorist attack worse than the Ft. Hood shootings has given us a false sense of security. It’s not a matter of if, but when.

  16. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Groups

    It’s Time for a Law that Authorizes Their Use
    Add EIT’s to the list of tie-wraps binding the hands of our WARRIORS. Land mines are no longer allowed, even Claymores. Rifle ammunition must be “green” now. White phospherous is banned. Some envision a day when combat knives will be outlawed and hand-to-hand combat ROE’s will only allow contact with an open hand. My father spoke of joining a pre-WWII Army and doing D&C with broomsticks when they had no rifles. It took Pearl Harbor to eliminate America’s lethargy. History repeats itself. I pray our next wake up call is not a more massive disaster.

    Posted by Robert Coleman

  17. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Naval Postgraduate School Alumni

    Ed, that is a very responsible analysis of the publicly reported facts. I think it is a given that EITs should be, to borrow and expression, “safe, legal and rare.” Indeed those people who are responsible for extracting and exploiting the information should be protected from political witch hunts after the fact.

    Posted by John Tucker

  18. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Naval Postgraduate School Alumni

    I worry about euphemisms. Enhanced interrogation methods? Wink…nod. Are they an effective intelligence gathering mechanism, or an excuse for barbarity? I think the imagery from Abu Ghraib is pertinent. Our nation is part of a larger global community, and increasingly our fate is shared with that of other societies and cultures. If we don’t respect international law (and the human dignity it is meant to protect), and if we don’t set an example for others in the rule of law, then we lose authority in enforcing those laws when they are to our benefit.

    Posted by Leo Ostwald

  19. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Naval Postgraduate School Alumni

    Which part of the global community are you concerned about. People like Dominique Strauss-Kahn? Or maybe the one that straps explosives to the emotionally unstable and has them pass out candy to school kids just before they blow them up. Its a pretty nasty world out there if you haven’t noticed, particularly in the Islamic world. We’ve been stroking these burning dogs for a long time. When earthquakes rock Pakistan and tsunamis swamp Indonesia, nobody does more than the US, so spare us the moral hand wringing. We should be very selective about which members of the global society we yoke ourselves to. If you lack grit to deal with the bullies you could end up like the people of Srebrenica. Responsible adults making very difficult decisions under very severe circumstances in the aftermath of the single most deadly and destructive terrorist attack on American soil, did the best they could to prevent another attack. To characterize their efforts as anything less than heroic, or to lump them into the criminal mischief of Abu Graib is unfair and irresponsible. If it makes your stomach quesy, just be thankful that better men where willing to do whatever it took to ensure some crazy jihadi didn’t show up to ruin your day.

    Posted by John Tucker

  20. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Naval Postgraduate School Alumni


    I don’t particularly care whether EIT was effective or not. It is against my principles. Our ideals as a nation are better than operating as our primitive emotions would dictate. Sure, it feels good to hurt a terrorist. That doesn’t make it “right”, or even a good idea. We simply must be better people than they are; better as individuals and better as a society. We we aren’t that, we aren’t anything special at all.

    I can’t trust the President of the United States to approve EIT any more than I can trust him to make law in any other sense. The Constitution gave that power to the Congress and to a limited degree to the courts. Those checks and balances were put in place to ensure we could think about it first.

    I agree with John Tucker that it is a dangerous world. I just think that civilization is a better cure for it than forgetting our ideals the moment they may be temporarily inconvenient.

    Posted by David Wood

  21. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Groups

    David, the problem resides in the fact that those who are committed to violence against free people will not be persuaded by your personal ideals. Our enemy has his own ideals that compel him to deliver “death to the infidel.” You can’t domesticate every feral dog, some will need to be put down. All this angst and soul searching over waterboarding a couple of real SOBs is amazing. By his own hand KSM beheaded Daniel Pearl…he has absolutely nothing but disdain for your principles. I have several colleagues who have done temporary assignments at GITMO, and the lengths we go to treat detainees with dignity and humanity are extreme. The handling of the scoundrels is done in the most professional and careful way humanly possible. Nevertheless that has not kept the detainees from engaging some of the most disgusting behaviors possible. My concern is that the critics of EIT and GITMO are so the willing to smear and discredit the hard work an effort of those men and women whose duty it was to take on those responsibilities in a time of war. With few exceptions those difficult and onerous tasks were carried out with meticulous attention to detail and respect for human life, even when the subjects demonstrated little regard for the same. There is a concerted effort to undermine the resolve of those few who are willing to do the hard work necessary, by engaging in irresponsible criticism and unfair character assassination that attempts to create a moral equivalency between terrorism and the ethical application of violence that is the duty of the professional soldier, and in the case of EITs, the CIA. NOBODY has forgotten their ideals to do these things. All the guidelines were established by careful consultation of legal advisors and professional interrogators. It was done under the strictist supervision with medical personnel standing by. Don’t forget that our enemies in this case are UNLAWFUL combatants operating outside international law, as they have no legitimate sanction for their actions.

    Posted by John Tucker

  22. EWRoss says:

    LinkedIn Group: Naval Postgraduate School Alumni

    May I suggest that David DOES seem to believe the Constitution is a suicide pact.

    Such positions remind me of the high moral positions taken by Woodrow Wilson or by Michael Dukakis. Wilson proclaimed himself ‘too proud to fight’ then he decided he could compromise his high principles in 1917 and ask for war even though he was mostly focused on his utopian goals and less on just war.

    In the second 1988 presidential debate, Dukakis answered Bernard Shaw’s question–“Governor, if Kitty Dukakis [his wife] were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?”–by taking the moral high road and ended up looking like a man publicly disloyal to his wife.

    The American people believe in high moral principles and their Constitution and try to live by both so far as is humanly possible. The also believe in reasonable self-defense for themselves. They will not blindly lay down the second in service of the first. The world is not black and white. Deal with it.

    Posted by Larry A. Grant

  23. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Naval Postgraduate School Alumni

    Getting back to the topic of the thread I think it is important to address the challenge that having Congress codify the definitions of what is an approved EIT will adversely impact the operational necessity to keep our methods secret. Remember that it is a very select group of UNLAWFUL enemy combatants to which these methods are used. Not regular PWs

    Posted by John Tucker

  24. […] ENHANCED INTERROGATION TECHNIQUES: It’s Time for a Law That Authorizes Their Use (ewrossblog.com) […]

  25. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Department of Defense

    Our country seems to have forgotten the concepts of jus ad bellum (the right to wage war) and jus in bello (waging an ethical war). We have a president who is now engaged in an unconstitutional war in Libya (more than 60 days of action without seeking authorization from congress). It is easy to argue that invading Iraq was an unjust war (what did they do to us? what did we prevent? whom did we aid?). Just because torture occasionally yields a piece of useful information among the junk it produces does not justify its use. The USA (used to be) better than that.

    Further, any proposal that gives any single government official the power to do something (“and only the President can authorize”) is dangerous. Our constitution is founded on the principle of divided and checked power. If a law is written to permit thuggery as a tool of foreign policy, it needs to be a decision made by more than one thug.

    Posted by Philip Candreva

  26. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Naval Postgraduate School Alumni


    Posted by John Tucker

  27. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Naval Postgraduate School Alumni

    It is utterly ridiculous to equate my lack of support for EIT with a failure to support killing terrorists. Kill them when and where you find them. Just don’t torture them.

    I’m sorry to see that the unthinking responses common in the media on this topic have invaded this group.

    Posted by David Wood

  28. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Department of Defense

    It is time for our government to respond and take action. While we maintain ourselfs as a right and fair country, there are people that play outside the rules and have little or no respect for humanity. We as a nation have to deal with these issues in the same manner. While it is easy to condemn the use of EIT, one has to realize that life is not always fair. There are groups that do not abide by the Geneva convention, do not care about our fair wars. They have one objective, to conduct acts of terrorism on our country. While many object, you meet these types of people with a force that is as unconventional as they are. Do not personalized your enemy, do not feel pity or remorse for him. For should the tables be turned, they would have neither for you. EIT is may not be the best way, but it assures out enemies that we are not weak, we will not tire and we will use the same force and engage him in the same manner as he engages us. All my training has taught me that you must use everything and anything to defeat our enemies..do not hesitate, do not blink. You defeat this enemy by using his tactics and adapting faster, exceeding his violence and not flinching when then he does. If only 10 % of what information is obtained is reliable, it is still valuable after being validated or confirmed by others being subjected to EITs. I fully agree with Mr. Robert Coleman and if we continue down this road, we will loose the ability to conduct effective combat. Our military and governement needs to have tools conduct war in an effective manner. War will never be a neat, clean and tidy affair.

    Posted by Robert Flores

  29. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Naval Postgraduate School Alumni

    There is a huge difference between jus ad bellum (the right to wage war) and jus in bellos (waging an ethical war). Are we right to go after terrorists who struck us first? Absolutely. Are we right to use any means toward that goal? No. Especially if we are the nation that is presumptively motivated by ideals like human rights and democracy.

    That said, our national ideals and our national interests do not always line up neatly. Sometimes it is in our national interests to act outside of our ideals. When we do so, there are risks involved that need to be weighed. Several comments have discussed the security risks associated with not getting the information (which presumes EIT is the only means to get the information). Other risks include: the support of the public for the institution of the military and its current mission, risks to our national reputation and moral authority around the globe, risks that those actions may actually backfire by further emboldening the enemy, and risks that those tactics will be used against our soldiers.

    Seeing as how neither the current nor past administration appeared to think through these issues very well, there is no way I would trust the current or any future president to make such decisions unilaterally. Our constitutional system is based in checks and balances — no one, not even the CINC — should have unchecked authority. Speaking of which, when is congress going to step up and either stop or authorize the unconstitutional war in Libya?

    Posted by Philip Candreva

  30. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Naval Postgraduate School Alumni

    I think it is important to emphasize that some commentators assume that all future terrorist attacks will originate from Muslim extremist movements. Home grown, American Terrorists are just as dangerous, if not more so because they are planning for action in the security of the US. Did McVey look like a terrorist? We have quickly forgotten the terror of Oklahoma, a fuel-laded plane flying into the Austin IRS building (which had potential of killing hundreds), the UNABOMBER and others. It is not unfeasible that another Oklahoma bombing could occur. If the FBI receives intelligence that a “spectacular” attack is imminent upon a women’s health center, FBI building, recruiting station or political party, would Americans be comfortable that EITs were used on American citizens to gain better intelligence?

    Posted by Bart Howard

  31. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Naval Postgraduate School Alumni

    One of the mistakes in the 90s was the decision to treat the lawless islamo-fascist terrorists, as a law enforcement problem rather than a national security problem. The terrorists were able to exploit the legal system of our civil society as a means to the end of destroying it. (Thank you, Mistress of Disaster, Jamie Gorelick)

    The lesson of 9/11, was that indictments, subpeonas and arrest warrants were insufficient to the task of preventing mass murder of American citizens. OBL and those like him need to be captured/killed before they can cause mass casualties.

    It is important to remember that EITs are extreme measures, and any law that authorizes their use should impose severe limitations on how, when, and who they can be used against and for what reasons they can be used. (ie: the IRS should not be able to use them against political opponents of the President). They should probably require a specific form of personal Presidential authorization and requirements to report their use to Congress as described in Ed’s column.

    It is important to note that EITs are not torture. EITs are an attempt to apply the our ideals to the thorny problem of preventing mass destruction to American citizens. The President has a mandate under the constitution as commander in chief of the armed forces to protect and defend the nation. EITs are to be used exclusively as an emergency measure to preserve an American ideal, such that the fundamental function of government is to preserve our civil society.

    Posted by John Tucker

  32. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Naval Postgraduate School Alumni

    Spencer can you explain how the moral authority of the United States is bolstered or legitimized by the same continental european allies that only a generation ago were willingly collaborating in systematic genocide, and had to be rescued at great expense, by the people of the United States from the nightmare of national socialism and Soviet domination? OR how that relates in any way to the topic of this thread.

    I see several appeals to morality and national ideals, with absolutely no effort to define either.

    An appeal to an authority that is not commonly accepted, is itself a logical fallacy.

    Ed Ross started this thread with a thoughtful and careful examination of a very difficult problem. That is, how do we ensure that the President has sufficient tools in his arsenal to preempt imminent mass destruction, without compromising the relationship between government and the civil society?

    I think his suggestion has a great deal of merit, nevertheless there is the operational security issue that codifying the limits of discretion would disclose to the enemy information that they could exploit against us.

    Posted by John Tucker

  33. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Department of Defense

    In my opinion, the topic of waterboarding is getting monotonous. First of all, its not torture. So no one should be using the word torture synomously with waterboarding. The military could never, EVER, use common torture techniques in training soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors. However, waterboarding can be and I personally know some who have undergone such training. Waterboarding is the equivalent to police officers undergoing pepper spray training or tazer training, or military drownproof training. Come on people…as Mr Flores stated about our military needs to be lethal. I simply appalled with the idean that the general population even knows about waterboarding or have even been exposed to so much our military’s training, capability, or even secrets for that matter. Mr. Bond, I suggest that the “exact practices” should be on a need to know basis and if you aren’t involve in its use….you don’t have a need to know. As far as their rate effectiveness…its a judgment call. Techniques are as good as the person conducting it and the resilience of the person receiving it….it’s not an exact science. As far as protecting and defending the Constitution of the US…that, my friend, is why we should vote for leaders who UNDERSTAND the Constitution, first and foremost, and when they ask our men and women to go to battle, WE can trust they are making that decision in the best interest of our country. I now relinquish my soapbox!

    Posted by Wayne Butler

  34. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Department of Defense

    Enhanced interrogation techniques are just a euphemism for various degrees of torture. Torture has been demonstrated to yeild very unreliable intelligence. There may be nuggets of use but surrounded by much more noise (responses to make the pain stop but not founded in truth), but the work to verify those responses from true valuable intelligence is hardly worth the effort. There are much better ways to get to the truth than using torture. Torture is the method of cowards and idiots. Torture is immoral and waterboarding is torture as the person being waterboarded has no expectation of survival. Our founding fathers said democracy is difficult. Difficult means always taking the high ground. Using torture does not meet the high moral threshold our founding fathers had in mind.

    Posted by Sean McKenna

  35. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Department of Defense

    There are Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs

    I am the Sheepdog

    We know that the sheep live in denial; that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids’ schools. But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid’s school. Our children are dozens of times more likely to be killed, and thousands of times more likely to be seriously injured, by school violence than by school fires, but the sheep’s only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their children is just too hard, so they choose the path of denial.
    The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.
    Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn’t tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, “Baa.”
    Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog. – Lt. Col. Grossman
    Here’s to us and those like us. We grow fewer every day.

    “For those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know”?

    Everyone is right to a degree in these posts, EIT’s need a degree of control, a degree of tranparency and yet, a degree of latitude not afforded to just any military operator. This thing called war,its a dirty business, and no matter how you polish it, its still dirty.
    However they grow upset at how it is accomplished. If you had found out that another terrorist action was going to take place by information you obtained by EIT’s would you be angery…If your family was saved ? Just think about the outrage of the release in WIKILEAKS of military secrets and incidents..and these were just the tip of the iceberg..can you imagine if we opened all of Pandora’s boxes.

    This fits very well

    You can’t handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives…You don’t want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.
    We use words like honor, code, loyalty…we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use ’em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I’d rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you’re entitled to!

    Protecting the US and is citizens from the wolves is a full time job, sheep are squimish about the sight of blood, wolves wear it as a badge of honor…As do sheepdogs…
    I am a Sheepdog…who are you???

    Serving in Iraq Force Protection

    Posted by Robert Flores

  36. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Naval Postgraduate School Alumni

    Benjamin Franklin said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither.” The fallacy in this conversation is that we can buy a little temporary safety with EIT. We don’t, as far as I know, have any reason to believe that is the case.

    Posted by David Wood

  37. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Department of Defense

    Robert, you nailed it brother!! Though much of your input is words from others, they’re valid and fitting. Adding a little flavor to it, here is a recent definition of political correctness that too many are buying into: “Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.”

    Thank you for your service!

    Posted by Wayne Butler

  38. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Department of Defense

    I totally agree. As a mother of 3 children (2 sons 1 daughter) all 3 of which are USMC.My sons have both done tours in Iraq/Bagdad/Haditha and my daughters husband who is Army has done 2 tours over there missing the birth of his babies ! I know all to well the evil that is in this world and sometimes you just can’t play nice !!!

    Posted by TERESA STOKES

  39. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Naval Postgraduate School Alumni


    I don’t understand how the extremely limited and proscribed use of EITs against unlawful terrorists bent on mass destruction, involves the loss of liberty.

    Particularly when the terrorists specific intent is to exploit our respect for human decency against us in order to facilitate their objective of terror and destruction.

    Anyone who is involved in an attempt to commit mass murder of any group of people, not just American citizens, has abandoned any sense of human decency and should be treated accordingly.

    Our liberty is not compromised by making that distinction, rather it is the failure to make that distinction that threatens it.

    Posted by John Tucker

  40. EWRoss says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Department of Defense

    Okay, mathematics is usually rational barring the imaginary number/irrational realms. What could possibly be rational about the subconcious? First, go ahead and completely understand your dreams and why you have them, then, begin predicting them. This is basically what your mathematics would be doing.

    Posted by Francis Xavier Cunnane III

  41. From LinkedIn says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Groups Group: Department of Defense

    A convoy stopped abruptly near Tal Afar in Iraq. They stop in the road and stay in line these days, unlike the old way of pulling off the road in a “herring bone” fashion. It helps avoid explosives placed on the sides of the roads by enemies intending to kill us. Two Marines in the lead vehicle got out to investigate what they had seen, the reason they had stopped. They were lost to the view of the other members of the convoy as they rounded the corner of a building. Moments later they re-emerged, staggering… vomiting… holding their helmets and weapons loosely as they made their way back to their vehicle. It turned out that they had discovered the bodies of four small children, gutted, filled with explosives, and wired to be used as IED’s. Terrorists had intended to use these bodies to kill Americans, knowing that the kind hearted Americans would always stop to help a child who looked to be in distress. They had not quite finished their preparations, however. When the 2ACR had pulled out recently, the terrorists had moved back in. The parents of these children had cooperated with the government rather than the terrorists and were to be punished.

    Children gutted, filled with explosives, to be used as IED’s. Perhaps a wet cloth over the mouth and nose of a prisoner might have revealed the location and the identity of the murderers who did this, before they actually sliced open these poor children. The interrogated prisoner would not have been permanently harmed, just scared for awhile. I find it amazing that so many here have such compassion for the murderers… and care so little for the little children who were gutted, filled with explosives, and set to be used as IED’s to kill our WARRIORS. I guess its ok for you as long as they are SOMEBODY ELSE’s children. Shame on you.

    Posted by Robert Coleman

  42. From LinkedIn says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Groups Group: Department of Defense

    Taking water in the lungs is incredibly painful. Anybody who thinks waterboarding is not torture has not nealry drowned. The question here is morality. Do we take the high ground or are we as bad as the people we revile? If we revert to tactics that brings us down to the level of terrorists, or Nazis, or …., then we are no better than they.

    Posted by Sean McKenna

  43. From LinkedIn says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Department of Defense

    If you’ve never been waterboarded or experienced a near-drowning incident then please don’t try to claim it’s not torture.

    It’s a good thing I’m not president because I would prosecute every person that was involved in that torture. I would prosecute the people that did it. I would prosecute the people that ordered it. Because torture is against the law. … it is drowning. It gives you the complete sensation that you are drowning. It is no good, because you — I’ll put it to you this way, you give me a water board, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I’ll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders [emphasis added]. … If it’s done wrong, you certainly could drown. You could swallow your tongue. could do a whole bunch of stuff to you. If it’s done wrong or — it’s torture, Larry. It’s torture.


    Posted by Pär Larsson

  44. From LinkedIn says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Department of Defense

    I would like to recommend an article from The Washington Post on Sunday, May 20, 2011, Section B3, “Torture is wrong—but it might work” by M. Gregg Bloche, a medical ethicist, who explains the behavioral science behind “enhanced interrogation.” He reports on how the architects of enhanced interrogation are doctors who built on a still-classified, research-based model that suggests HOW abuse can, indeed, work.

    The model holds that harsh methods cannot, by themselves, force terrorists to tell the truth. Brute force, it suggests, stiffens resistance. Rather, the role of abuse is to induce HOPELESSNESS AND DESPAIR. Once a sense of hopelessness is instilled, the model holds, interrogators can shape behavior through small rewards: bathroom breaks, reprieves from foul-tasting food and even the occasional kind word can coax broken men to comply with their abusers’ expectations.

    This is a very interesting read.

    Posted by Joan King

  45. From LinkedIn says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Department of Defense

    Great points, Don, especially the one about radical extremists sowing the seeds of their own destruction and ultimately failing. M. Gregg Bloche, author of the article I mentioned above, agrees with you. At the end of his essay he writes,

    “To me, the choice is almost always obvious: contempt for the law of nations would put us on a path toward a more brutish world. Some are fond of saying, on behalf of martial sacrifice, that freedom isn’t free. Neither is basic decency.”

    Posted by Joan King

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