I am ranting today. I don't do it often, but I am really on a tear this morning so you might want to scroll down to the more pleasant posts or click over to something more soothing like the Harry Potter site. You have been warned. If you are in a ranting mood, click over to Long Way Home for a feminist's rant (this one is good for stay-at-home-dads as well).
Is it torture if you have the go ahead from the United States government? Don't think for a minute I don't get it. I lost people I love to terrorists long before it was "the war on terror". I also know how much you can and cannot learn by torturing someone - no matter what nice name you put on it. I know how terrifying the actions of these people can be, that is after all the idea. If my child were in danger do you think for a moment I would not want to do whatever was necessary? Would that make it right? Our 21st century world of mechanical, scientific, and medical advances is becoming more violent every day. Is more violence in the form of torture the answer to that? If they cut the heads off captives how can we of the west condemn that action if we have their people in a small room somewhere bleeding from a thousand cuts? Is it better because we don't televise our actions? Is it better intel if it is not true but said to stop pain? Does the US actually believe there is one chap calling the shots and all the terrorists report to him? That there is a nice clean chain of command you can break up if you just know who to shoot? Have they not been watching the Israelis? There is no one better at breaking a prisoner, there is no one with more reason to get the intel on terrorists groups. Has it been working? Or is it more likely the releasing of prisoners to back the moderate Abbas (out of the 10,000 they are holding) is a better plan?
In order to contain suicide bombing they are not torturing people, it doesn't work. Today suicide bombers are middle-aged and young, married and unmarried, and some of them have children. Some of them, too, are women, and word has it that even children are being trained for martyrdom.
Suicide bombing initially seemed the desperate act of lone individuals, but it is not undertaken alone. Invariably, a terrorist organization such as Hamas (the Islamic Resistance Movement), the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), or the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade has recruited the bomber, conducted reconnaissance, prepared the explosive device, and identified a target—explaining that if it turns out to be guarded or protected, any crowded place nearby will do. "We hardly ever find that the suicide bomber came by himself," (a police officer quote to Bruce Hoffman). "There is always a handler." In fact, in some cases a handler has used a cell phone or other device to trigger the blast from a distance. "There was one event where a suicide bomber had been told all he had to do was to carry the bomb and plant explosives in a certain place. But the bomb was remote-control detonated." Do we think torture is going to make people with a commitment like this tell us what we want to know? Suicide bombers and other terrorists' acts are committed by people who know the secret: people of the West "love life more than any other people, and they prefer not to die". In contrast suicide terrorists are often said to have gone to their deaths smiling. Data from "The Logic of Suicide Terrorism" by Bruce Hoffman.
According to the Rand Corporation's chronology of worldwide terrorism, which begins in 1968 (the year acknowledged as marking the advent of modern international terrorism, whereby terrorists attack other countries or foreign targets in their own country), nearly two thirds of the 144 suicide bombings recorded have occurred in the past two years. No society, least of all the United States, can regard itself as immune from this threat. Israeli Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized this point when he addressed the U.S. Congress nine days after 9/11. So did Dan Schueftan, the Israeli strategist. He said, "It is an interesting comment that the terrorists make: we will finish defeating the Jews because they love life so much. Their goal is to bring misery and grief to people who have an arrogance of power. Who has this? The United States and Israel. Europe will suffer too. I don't think that it will happen in the U.S. on the magnitude we have seen it here, but I have no doubt that it will occur. We had the same discussion back in 1968, when El Al aircraft were hijacked and people said this is your problem, not ours."
Israel has developed a plan that has decreased the number of terrorists incidents of suicide bombings, and it does not involve torture. Not from any moral stance, but because it doesn't work.
Torture is not new. If it worked would we not have a more peaceful world at present? Think people!
I cannot tell you how I am further not reassured by actions of the U.S. in sending officials recenty to visit Africa and France to drum up support for a new US military command in the region. The new command, known as US Africa Command (AFRICOM), is supposed to lend "greater focus to US policy in the region". Yes, I've always supposed one needs a military unit in order to "lend ..focus to policy..".
And so we can be terrified even of subcontinents, the Indian Army indicted its first battery of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile on 21 June 2007. Oh goody. And the German Luftwaffe (I'm sorry but that title sends shivers down my spine) has passed the half-way mark of the deliveries of the Taurus KEPD 350 stand-off missiles. Mr. Churchill?
South Korea's Ministry of National Defence has proposed a 9.9 % increase to the Fiscal Year 2008 budget. That's equal to KRW26.9 trillion (29.3 billion usd). No worries about the hungry there - forget cake, feed them lead.
Russia's national defence expenditure is set to break the RUR 1 trillion (39.3 billion usd) mark for the first time in 2009. Not to be outdone as this would only put them close to the spending on defence of Western European countries such as France and Germany. Don't you feel all warm and fuzzy over that?
And in the UK an amendment to the UK Competition Act has been passed in the parliament allowing the US secretary of state for defence to exclude certain contracts from parts of the act, paving the way for Complex Weapons partnering agreements. As far as I know only the people who actually wrote this amendment know what it means other than giving the US a say in who the UK shoots at or takes and makes weapons for..
Is it just me or is this nuts!? No I don't have the answer, but I have been around a while and I just can't see that the answer to the current situation is more violence and torture. It's like the death penalty in that if you get the wrong chap - once you're done it's too late to take it back.
I'm done. I'm going to go read a novel now and bury my head in the sand (no pun intended). Lighter subjects on Monday I promise.