Democrats in the Senate have effectively hobbled our ability to defend America and the Free World against the terrorist enemy . . . S.L.
Obama: Techniques "did significant damage to America's standing in the world."
Obama is absolutely 180-degrees out of sync: the release of this report has done significant damage to America's standing in the world, and to our ability to defend ourselves against the terrorist threat.
Bottom Line Up Front:
Modern war is extremely political in nature, and prisoner of war camps are a political extension of the battlefield. It is the duty of the prisoner to resist his captors to the greatest extent possible, in order to deny the captors usable intelligence information, and to tie up enemy resources such as personnel used at guards, etcetera. The enemies of the Free World traditionally use prisoners to develop propaganda; the most classic examples of this were the US prisoner of war experiences in Korea and Vietnam. In this current war, our personnel held prisoner by the terrorist enemy (i.e. hostages) are used to give propaganda statements immediately prior to their beheadings.
With the release of this disgraceful document, the Democrats in the U.S. Senate have handed a strategic victory to the terrorist enemy. They have not only cataloged a menu of interrogation techniques - thus allowing the enemy to train and prepare their personnel against our intelligence collection efforts - they also have provided detained terrorists rights and privileges never before allowed prisoners of any previous conflict. They have in effect assisted the enemy in resisting our ability to obtain usable intelligence and have allowed them to tie up our personnel and funds in managing them.
The Democrats in the Senate have done a tremendous disservice to the honorable people of our security and intelligence agencies. This is nothing more than "America is Evil" repackaged. Combined with the release of the US Army's classified Field Manual involving interrogation techniques, the Report has effectively hobbled our efforts to combat terrorism. Senator Diane Feinstein is specifically duplicious because as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, she knew all along about what was going on; she was fully briefed.
In the course of my training and experience as a professional soldier, I have been subjected to everything in this report referred to as "torture" - short of "rectal feeding" and diapers. The techniques described in the report might fit the broadest interpretation of the definition of torture in the UN Declaration on Human Rights, but the way it was explained to me, these techniques are "symbolic torture" because we can't torture our own people, not even in training. Torture involves extreme pain, traumatic amputations, mutilation and permanent disfigurement.
Regarding the rectal thing; this is a legitimate method of rehydration, particularly if an IV cannot be started. In the British military, soldiers are taught this technique so that non-medical personnel can treat injured and wounded soldiers without advanced medical training.
Of course like any civilized person I am against torture, and I am against the humiliating and degrading treatment of prisoners. The most effective method of making any person talk is the "good cop" approach and it is incredibly effective. Torture is actually counterproductive because it does not work; the recipient will tell you anything you want to hear to make it stop. Exploiting an individual's cultural / religious vulnerabilities is not torture, nor are sleep deprivation, playing loud music and diet manipulation - these are enhanced interrogation techniques and they are called that because they work.
To me, waterboarding is borderline in that it does cause a form of extreme pain - hence it meets the definition of torture - but it leaves no physical disfiguration. Waterboarding is an unpleasant experience that works incredibly well as an enhanced interrogation technique. This is besides the point, of course, because this specific method of questioning has been placed strictly off limits. Personally, I think this fact in and of itself should have remained classified, so that interrogators could at least use the suggestion of waterboarding as a method of coercion. Likewise the possibility of rendition.
This entire report should have remained classified. America has been weakened and our enemies have been made stronger; this is never a good thing and mark my words we will pay a dear price.