Saturday, November 17, 2007

Alan Dershowitz, knucklehead and effectively pro-torture

Now, I understand that an ethical well-natured blogger is all about reasoned argument and completely against name-calling. However, readers of this blog know we are actually able to do both here to varying degrees. More of the name-calling then the reasoned argument, but whatever! Dershowitz is having a bit of a dust up with Larisa Alexandrovna over at the Huffington Post. I really can't follow what Dershowitz is going on about... However, Larisa points out a statement he made about torture while at the same time condemning the use of it, even though he thinks the democrats should be pro-torture, but also be against it... or something. (Like I said, I really can't follow it.) Anyway here is the quote:

There are some who claim that torture is a nonissue because it never works - it only produces false information. This is simply not true, as evidenced by the many decent members of the French Resistance who, under Nazi torture, disclosed the locations of their closest friends and relatives. -- Alan Dershowitz

He made the claim in the Wall Street Journal where he implores the democrats to be TOUGH© on Defense. Seems an odd venue to preach to democrats on, but since it was a silly-assed argument anyway, who cares. Not my point.

I wanted to address the thinking on torture here. Yes, the Nazi's were able to get names of people by pulling fingernails out with pliers and burning people and even waterboarding them. Most of the names they got were no good and the Nazi's tortured and killed a number of innocent people. However, there is a larger point here and this is where lunkheads like Dershowitz (oops, sorry) should stop trying to advise people on defense, counter-terrorism, and intelligence gathering. They just sound stupid, morally lost, and piss off the professionals.

When the S.S. started to torture people, 3 things happened. First, the resistance toughened up. They grew closer, and more people joined. Regular people were willing to turn a blind eye to operations they happened upon and provide more assistance. Secondly they started forming cell structures. So that if one member was caught they would not risk exposing many people and operations. Lastly, and from a intelligence aspect this was the biggy, the overall intelligence gathering information pipelines slowed to a crawl. Information was very hard to come by for the Nazi's. The resistance was able to continue to operate in France and played a major role in the D-Day landings. Torture didn't work. It had the opposite effect of stunting intelligence gathering overall. It also had an effect on U.S. troops after D-Day, who feared being captured and fought harder rather than surrender when cut off or surrounded.

All in all it was bad technique and provided little immediate value and had a long term negative effect on intelligence gathering operations.

So, Dershowitz, shut your pie hole unless you know what you are talking about. Dumbass.