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Rhetorical Rhetoric

January 2, 2010
by

Pledge-Drive Sullivan goes on another tirade, specifically mentioning Krauthammer’s position that “we lose all access to any information which would save American lives” by treating the Eunuch-bomber as an alleged criminal:

All access to any information? He means that traditional and legal interrogation is useless? That only torture provides information?

Of course, Sulky intends for these to be rhetorical questions.  The only problem is that they’re not rhetorical.  Those who are pro-American-civil-rights-for-enemy-combatants don’t seem to realize that detainees (a term they think the Bush administration made up in order to torture people) are what we would call Prisoners of War if Geneva applied to them.  Is it illegal, during a war, to interrogate POWs without the presence of a lawyer from our side?  If we don’t waterboard these POWs, is it still torture, just because there was no lawyer there when we asked them?  The choice between civilian trial and the “Stuck in the Middle With You” scene from Reservoir Dogs simply consists of straw—we can interrogate detainees as enemy combatants (as we would with Prisoners of War) without actually torturing them.

What Sulky means by “traditional and legal interrogation” becomes non-existent when detainees are assigned lawyers—you know, that whole “right to remain silent” thing?  By treating the Knickerbomber as a civilian prisoner, we give him the right to sit there and say, “I want to speak with my attorney!”, which completely defeats the purpose of interrogating him at all.  It’s not about him—we need to intelligence from him, not a freaking confession, which we can attempt to obtain through any form of interrogation, so long as the detainee is not provided the rights of American citizens.  It doesn’t have to be torture.  Torture, that is, as defined by Sulky—I’m personally inclined to side with Jim Manzi on whether or not we should waterboard people, although I’m open to others’ opinions on the issue.

I’m not sure why I responded to the clearly deranged.  It’s obvious that the man can’t take a joke.

UPDATE: Instapundit responds to Sullivan’s bashing him.

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