A lot has been made over the recent release of the terror interrogation memos by the Obama administration, much of it criticism of the actual release itself – handing terrorists a “what to expect” tourist’s guide to Gitmo that could be used to train new recruits on how to resist (or avoid) such treatments without giving up valuable info. Though certainly not anything that anyone would sign up for under their own free will, the memos reveal measures that fall embarrassingly short of the kind actual abuse most people would associate with Torture. Nudity, Hunger, and Sleep deprivation are all uncomfortable, and even embarrassing, but do they really count as torture? Being chained to a floor or locked in a box with – believe it or not, bugs – might be uncomfortable or unnerving, but that is the point of the interrogations. Even Water-boarding, used by liberals as a symbol of America’s cruelty to terrorist killers, was used only when a doctor was present and only on the most important suspects (including KSM, the mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks). The release of these memos, though not the world’s greatest idea, is only further evidence that many on the left will go to any means necessary to protect those who want to kill Americans from even mild physical or emotional discomfort.
Under the new rules issued by the President, all interrogations now have to be conducted under the army field manual, which prohibits torture, as well as many of the harsher interrogation tactics used in the past. For the army, who deals primarily with enemy foot soldiers who don’t often carry the kind of intelligence we need to eventually win the war on terror, these restrictions may work just fine. But for the CIA and other intelligence agencies, who deal with high-profile leaders of Al-Qaeda, those who may have knowledge of new plots and schemes to kill American citizens, “name, rank, and serial number” doesn’t even come close to being an effective interrogation. In fact, its entirely possible – even likely – that by tying the hands of interrogators, President Obama will have done serious damage to our ability to gather the information needed to keep America safe.