In Defense of Waterboarding

Here is some excellent cost-benefit analysis of waterboarding by Mark Bowden, the author of Blackhawk Down.

No one should be prosecuted for waterboarding Abu Zubaydah.

Several investigations are under way to find out who ordered the destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes, apparently an effort to cover up evidence of torture. Leaving aside for a moment the wisdom of destroying the tapes, I'd like to take a look at what was allegedly done to Zubaydah, and why.

When captured in Pakistan in 2002, Zubaydah was one of the world's most notorious terrorists. The 31-year-old Saudi had compiled in his young life 37 different aliases and was under a sentence of death in Jordan for a failed plot to blow up two hotels jammed with American and Israeli tourists. The evidence was not hearsay: Zubaydah was overheard on the phone planning the attacks, which were then thwarted. He was a key planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, was thought to be field commander of the attack that killed 17 U.S. sailors on the USS Cole, and was involved in planning a score of other terror attacks, successful and unsuccessful. He was considered to be a primary recruiter and manager of al-Qaeda training camps.

He was, in short, a highly successful, fully engaged, career mass murderer. Think back to those pictures of workers crouched in windows high up in the burning World Trade Center towers, choosing whether to jump to their death or be burned alive. This was in part Abu Zubaydah's handiwork. . . .

Bowden's piece was greatly criticized and he wrote this response:

Many readers found this outrageous. I received the usual cascade of comment from the Sandbox School of Argument, the name-callers and those whose idea of persuasion is to state their own opinion loudly - lots of capital letters, bold type and underlinings. Several responders belong to the Ostrich School; they won't be reading this because they have forsworn reading anything I ever again write, presumably on the assumption that if you ignore opinions you don't like, they go away. . . .

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home