Playing Fair?

In the “War On Terror” , what are the rules on engagement?

When your country’s security is on the line – and the last time we were caught flatfooted, it wound up in the death of hundreds of Americans in a single day. That say was September 11, 2001.

The reason I ask this question is because of the release of new documents detailing CIA tactics against terrorism suspects in custody. Those revelations include threatening to kill one suspect’s children and another suspect forced to watch his mother be sexually assaulted. These incidents all took place prior to 2006.  The Obama administration has now launched a criminal investigation into activities they describe as “unauthorized … ( and ) inhumane”.

These are clearly extreme examples of prison abuse, but this whole issue begs the question about how much is too much in the effort to prevent this country from terrorist activity. Is there a line we should not cross because “we are Americans”? If that’s the case, then we find ourselves in a fistfight with one hand tied behind our back because we have found terrorists have no problem using bombs and doing things that would not be considered exactly “fair”.

Then again, should this nation play by our enemy’s rules and engage in the sort of activity that allegedly the CIA did in getting information from terror suspects. Yes, torture and abuses like “waterboarding” I would assume would be effective, but its clearly not humane. Is beating the bad guy at their own game the way to win the “war on terror” which we are clearly still fighting as a nation.

It’s an interesting dilemma … and there are no easy answers. Sure, we as a people like to think ourselves beyond such abuse and savagery, believing we are a compassionate people. However, this is the same nation that once practice  slavery for African-Americans and prison camps for those of Japanese descent during World War II. The latter was used in the name of national security.

I admit I do not know the answer to how this country should pursue interrogation in the name of national security. I’m no expert in this field. What I do know is that its difficult to wage any kind of war when your opponent doesn’t fight fair. I also know that if another 9-11, heaven forbid, happens again we will collectively ask why our intelligence community didn’t do more to warn us.

Just something to keep in mind as this CIA case unfolds.

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