Guantanamo Tactics: Abusive but not Illegal

Well, it appears that the tactics in use at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility seemed unnecessarily harmful and aggressive to . . . the FBI:

FBI officials who were interrogating terrorism suspects at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2002 and 2003 strenuously objected to aggressive techniques the military was using and believed they could be illegal, according to FBI memos released yesterday.

I don’t see how the administration can keep arguing that everything is totally fine with this. Here’s the FBI telling the military that the techniques being used

could easily result in the elicitation of unreliable and legally inadmissible information.

Got that? Just like with the NSA wiretapping scandal, we have the circumvention of established law leading to legal problems. Confessions under torture are famously unreliable, not to mention that torture is not permitted by US laws. Of course, that all depends on what you call torture:

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld approved an expanded list of interrogation tactics in December 2002 for use on an important suspect. Rumsfeld later rescinded the list. A military investigation into allegations of abuse at Guantanamo Bay found that the cumulative effect of the detainee’s treatment was abusive but not illegal.

Oh, good. As long as the treatment is only abusive, that’s cool. Is this really their argument? I am speechless. This is the United States, not some Soviet Gulag. Let me defer to the wisdom of our first President on this one:

“Treat them with humanity,” Washington instructed his lieutenants, noting that accepting the German mercenaries as prisoners of war wasn’t just the right thing to do, it might even sway them to abandon their British paymasters and join the American side in the War of Independence. “Let them have no reason to complain of our copying the brutal example of the British army.”

Absolutely right. Our strength has always been our respect and compassion for all people. That’s what makes the Guantanamo/Abu Ghraib scandals so disheartening: the techniques are inhumane, cruel, and abusive according to the military itself and on top of that they don’t even work!
Sounds like a bad deal to me. You?