Why non-torture is more honorable than assassination

Monday, February 11, 2013
Kevin McCullough - Guest Columnist

Kevin McCulloughAstoundingly, amidst the recent clamor over Barack Obama's drone program we have seen the media turn into hypocrites. Shock of shocks ... how can it be?

But when the President who an overwhelming majority of media members voted for was running for President, they parroted his message of compassion, and American humility, and the need for us to talk to our enemies instead of torturing them.

Being in the solid minority of media members who held that we either kill the guys who are trying to kill us, or at the very least, extract information about when they are next going to try to kill us, I couldn't have disagreed more strongly.

Then President Obama threw some curveballs at the media that supported him. He kept all of President Bush's senior defense advisors. Kept his Secretary of Defense. And even increased the use of drones and kills by drones in the war on terror.

The media that supported him -- predictably -- didn't say much about it, because they were never principally all that upset about the stuff they were criticizing President Obama's predecessor about. They were merely pandering to public opinion because they hated President Bush (mostly for stuff unrelated to the war, like abortion and sex) and they knew that piling on in the area of defense, torture, and such would increase the overall fury and drive Obama to victory. (Notice how it didn't even matter that John McCain held many of the same beliefs, and they pummeled him just the same.)

In recent days, however, President Obama's drone program has come under observation. He has killed American citizens without the benefit of a trial or a verdict. He has ordered the deaths of Americans -- in fact -- without so much as charges or indictments.

And I'm okay with that.

In broad general principles, Americans have always viewed those who betrayed the nation -- and by betrayal it is easy to agree that collaborating with those who have taken an oath to eliminate us all fits the definition -- deserve to lose their rights as citizens, and be counted among the enemy dead.

There were Americans among the dead in Japan and Germany following World War II and there was no need to shed tears because they had shifted loyalties to align themselves with those who sought our end. 

In the war on terror, these "Americans" have surrendered their identities, loyalties, and abilities for the purposes of strengthening the efforts of those who would nuke us all if they but had the capacity to. In a technically legal sense -- as in only on paper -- they may be Americans. But they have taken different names, different looks, different views, different languages, and different locales as "home." So how are they yet "Americans?" Further, the taking up of arms (which should be meant to include laptops with strategic plans, attendance in training camps, and the assistance in jihad against U.S. targets, persons, and interests) is the most overt act of treason, betrayal, and threat that can be communicated. Some have gone so far as to create dogma and propaganda for the enemy, asserting overt threats against their nation of origin. For these reasons and more, if they die as a result of a drone strike, Americans should not be confused about the issue of conscience. They are responsible for their choices, and we are responsible for ours. The neutralization of their threat makes Americans safer.

The media makes many of these arguments in their defense of the President. They are rational arguments, and I agree with them.

But many of these same priorities and neutralizations can be achieved by capturing the same operatives. However in capturing them, there is one added bonus: information.

If capturing these individuals and interrogating would yield us greater knowledge of coming plans and attacks, doesn't it make sense that harvesting that information and then letting them sit and think about their sins would be equally beneficial? What if after sitting and thinking about things over long periods of time we could even recruit 1 to 3% of them to become covert operatives for us? What if we could get them to re-infiltrate old networks, former circles that we can't penetrate, and continue the stream of information for us long term? Doesn't this ultimately make much more sense?

The media will scream, "What you're advocating is torture." But it doesn't have to be .... 

Torture consists of methods used where bones are broken, permanent damage is done to the subject's body, and long-term effects emerge as part of that person's physical reality. One only need to look at the difficulty Senator McCain has pulling his arms back and you understand that true torture took something from his life that he cannot reclaim.

But water-boarding does none of that .... Sure it scares the jihad out of them. It makes them believe they are about to see Jesus. But it is not torture. Because it is not torture, we have used it in the training of our own forward serving military men and women in SERE school.

And for the jokers who would still try to argue "morality," does one honestly believe that water-boarding -- but allowing the person to continue living -- is less moral than turning them into vapor?

The agenda-driven media has had its naked partisan fervor exposed. 

Common sense would tell us they are wrong. Based mostly on moral confusion ....

Because while killing evildoers is more honorable than letting them kill again, getting them to give us greater amounts of information so that we can stop their attempts before they start is even more honorable.

It's just so sad that the majority of talking heads can't understand the difference between the two.

Kevin McCullough (kmcradio@gmail.com) is the nationally syndicated host of "The Kevin McCullough Show" weekdays and "Baldwin/McCullough Radio" Saturdays (9-11 p.m. EST) on more than 600 radio stations. His newest best-selling hardcover from Thomas Nelson Publishers -- "No He Can't: How Barack Obama is Dismantling Hope and Change" -- is in stores now.

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