Alex Massie

Even the Pakistanis are “Soft” on Torture...

Text settings
Comments

Meanwhile, today's missive from the Party of Torture is written by Dana Perino and Bill Burck, Press Secretary and Special Counsel to George W Bush respectively. 

The Obama administration is working with Pakistani intelligence to interrogate Mullah Baradar, reportedly the Taliban’s number-two man. We’ve been a little underwhelmed by the Left’s reaction to this news.

[...] The Left’s silence on Mullah Baradar is convenient. Gone are the hysterical cries of torture. Missing in action are the opponents of rendition. One searches in vain for impassioned denunciations of Obama’s outsourcing of interrogations to countries with long histories of torture. What happened to the sputtering self-righteousness of yesteryear, when Bush and Cheney were routinely compared to Hitler and Pol Pot? To the Left, it would appear, it’s totally cool as long we’re not the ones doing it.

Well, one need not be on the left to dislike the policy of rendition. Then again one need not be too clever to notice that since Baradar was cpatured by Pakistan in Pakistan he's not been rendered anywhere, whether extraordinarily or not, and that it's hardly a surprise that Pakistan be taking the lead on his interrogation. Nonetheless, rendition was a disgraceful policy when it was carried out by the Clinton administration, a disgraceful policy during the Bush years too and remains a disgraceful policy now that the President is Barack Obama. In each and every case the people doing the rendition are complicit in the subsequent torture of the suspects. Indeed, that's the way the programme is supposed to work.

Not that this troubles Perino and Burck. The problem is that the Pakistanis aren't torturing Baradar enough, even though that's the kind of work (the Americans) expected from them:

Further, the interrogation of Baradar may not be working. According to the LA Times, which based its account on sources in the Obama administration, the “joint” interrogation of Baradar by Pakistan intelligence and the CIA has not provided information that could lead to the capture of other Taliban leaders or “inform the planning of U.S. military operations.” Maybe this is because, as some have suggested, instead of breaking out the medieval torture devices, the Pakistanis are treating Baradar with kid gloves.

At least there's no attempt to pretend that torture ain't torture here. That's something, perhaps. Instead there's an open call for Baradar to be tortured - by the Americans if the Pakistanis prove too squeamish for the job, but it doesn't matter who does the torturing so long as the torturing gets done. That this is a repellent, corrupting view matters little because, of course, that's the point of it.