The New York Times reported over the weekend that the Islamic State waterboarded its American and British hostages before it killed them. The U.S. also waterboarded several terrorist suspects. Ergo, we are as savage as the Islamic State.
The site Left Wing Nation, for example, intoned, “[W]e have reaped what we have sown… The first Fox News talking head to call this ‘torture’ should be taken out into the street and kneecapped.” (Author Justin Rosario apparently doesn’t find it ironic to accuse conservatives of supporting torture while advocating the kneecapping of broadcasters.) He continues, “I look forward to the torture apologists twisting themselves into pretzels to condemn what they’ve been championing for the last decade.”
In fact, the U.S. might be even worse than the Islamic State. According to liberal logic, Westerners who joined anti-American terrorist groups were disillusioned with the U.S. and Europe because of rampant Islamophobia, and felt that no other group besides IS could be their ideological home. If only the West didn’t hate peaceful Muslims, then these marginalized persons wouldn’t have become radicalized enough to join a group too extreme even for al-Qaeda.
Also, IS waterboarded prisoners because they were imitating us.
Rosario admits that James Foley, Stephen Sotloff, Alan Henning, and other murdered hostages probably would have been killed no matter what the U.S. did to its prisoners, but adds, “I’m also quite certain the horrors they had to endure leading up to their deaths can be laid solely at the feet of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their ‘legalized’ torture regime… They must be so proud of what they’ve unleashed on the world.”
I know that I’m proud of what they’ve “unleashed on the world,” so I happily accept Rosario’s challenge to condemn IS’s actions while championing them on the U.S.’s part:
First, Islamic State captors not only waterboarded their prisoners—not to gain information, by the way, but simply to inflict suffering— they starved them, chained them to radiators, hung them upside down by their feet, squashed dozens of them into tiny cells, beat them while they were naked, and carried out mock executions on them.
Also, um… carried out actual executions on them, in the form of beheadings that they recorded on film, which they then distributed around the world.
I seem to have missed the stage of the Iraq War in which the Bush administration interrupted Gitmo prisoners’ World Cup tryouts to haul them in front of cameras and behead them.
IS is more savage than the monsters of the French Revolution, who at least used a guillotine with a sharp blade to decapitate their victims in one stroke. IS sawed off the heads of their victims with glorified steak knives.
The most egregious crime of which the left has accused U.S. intelligence services is: waterboarding three high-level terrorist suspects under strict medical supervision to ensure no permanent damage. That’s it. While beheadees were forced to wear neon orange jumpsuits, waterboardees under U.S. custody were probably given neon orange life preservers to make them feel like they weren’t drowning.
Unlike IS, the U.S didn’t demand millions of dollars in ransom for its prisoners. That’s because we didn’t capture suspects to raise money to fund our Defense Department, but rather to gain intelligence that would prevent the slaughter of more of our civilians.
And citing what a few miscreants in Abu Ghraib did—which doesn’t approach the brutality of what IS did—doesn’t make the case that we’re as bad as the enemy. The Abu Ghraib pranksters disobeyed protocol and were punished for their actions. IS militants followed standard IS operating procedure.
IS underlings would have gotten in trouble if they hadn’t tortured and beheaded their prisoners.
In addition, IS grabbed noncombatants, including journalists, doctors, and medical aid workers. The U.S. nabbed only suspects with terrorist connections.
IS captured, tortured, and killed their hostages in an attempt to keep the rest of the world from challenging them on the battlefield and halting their territorial gains in Iraq. IS targeted intrepid journalists to intimidate reporters from relating to the world what was happening in Iraq. The U.S., in contrast, apprehended terrorists to glean information that would prevent al-Qaeda and IS attacks against the West.
Most importantly, IS is a terrorist organization whose charter is to establish a worldwide caliphate. The U.S. is a Western democratic republic whose mission is to stop organizations like IS from enslaving hundreds of millions of innocents in Iraq, Syria, and the rest of the Middle East, and to prevent IS from reversing the gains the U.S. made during the Iraq War.
Only if you believe that the U.S.’s moral standing is no greater than that of the Islamic State could you argue that what America has done in the war on terror is as bad as what IS has done.
From liberals I would expect no less.
- Iraqi tribes in Abu Ghraib buck IS takeover (dailymail.co.uk)
- ISISgate: John McCain Meeting ILLEGALLY in 2013 w/ Chiefs of the FSA (i.e. ISIS) (asheepnomore.net)
- Thanks, Dick (philly.com)
- The Absurd Times WAR, WAR, AND BULLSHIT (czardonic.wordpress.com)
- In Neo-Con Dreams Begin Middle East Nightmares (thelittleredblog.typepad.com)