Thursday, March 19, 2015

This is a Torture Problem

Let's look at a real torture problem.

Please remember that the rampant "torture" accusations against America rely on small numbers of cases where we had terrorist prisoners we knew had information that could save American lives from terrorism. The methods were very harsh in some cases but arguably did not rise to the level of "torture."

Also, despite all the hyperventilating about Abu Ghraib (which reflected poorly on us, no doubt), that was a case of humiliation of prisoners more akin to bad fraternity hazing practices than torture.

And even if you think there is no reason to use the methods we used, you don't need to insist they are torture to argue we should not use them.

But let's look at what happens when a country is actually engaged in torture:

Nearly 13,000 Syrians, including 108 children, have been tortured to death in government prisons since the uprising began in March 2011, a monitoring group [the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights] said Friday.

This doesn't count over 20,000 who have "disappeared" in government custody.

The Assad regime that has done this is somebody who many nuanced thinkers here believe should be our partner against ISIL.

This continues to affect our Syria policy, where we seek not to overthrow our proto-partner Assad, but to pressure him into a power-sharing deal.

Obviously, it is time to quote our court jester:

"We have to negotiate in the end," Kerry said. "We've always been willing to negotiate in the context of the Geneva I process," he added, referring to a 2012 conference which called for a negotiated transition to end the conflict.

Cue the evolution in thinking:

How long before Kerry is shaking Assad's hand? Not long, it seems.

We announce we will send $70 million in non-lethal aid to some rebels.

Given our odd thinking about Assad, I assume this aid consists of body bags, do-it-yourself will kits, and prosthetic limbs for the victims of Assad's actual torture campaign.

God, our leaders suck.

France may save us from ourselves, funny enough. And even Assad has disdain for participating in Kerry-sponsored talks.