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William Smith, Bemidji, Minnesota

David Jones embarrasses the United States and the Foreign Service from which he retired with his article “Torturing Ourselves Over Torture.” The article is a shockingly bad analysis and prescription. It is one of the most badly thought-out pieces of foreign policy writing I have come across in years.

First and most simply, torture does not work. People will tell you what you want to hear to stop torture. None of it is reliable. Then he quotes Chairman Mao approvingly. Since when are we comparing ourselves to Maoists? If we intend to that, let’s go whole hog and be Maoists. The Chinese seem to be kicking our asses these days so maybe they have it right?

American ideals mean something or they do not. I believe they actually do mean something. Mr. Jones obviously doesn’t. The facts up until today are that we have tortured and killed innocents and haven’t found any guilty. There has not been and is not likely to be any accountability.

Contrary to Mr. Jones, it is not posturing to oppose torture. Does this fool think we oppose torture to score points with “chicks” or something? I believe that American values mean something, and one thing Americans do not do is torture. We are the “good guys.” Or we used to be.

The red herring about the need to obtain imperative information is trotted out all the time by the intellectually lazy, the credulous, and fools. Which one is Mr. Jones? It is nothing like “Gentlemen do not read other gentlemen’s mail,” and if Mr. Jones can’t see that, he is certainly in the fool category if not more. If he disputes this, let him show us the nuclear weapon of significant size, the dirty bomb, or the device for releasing a highly infectious and lethal disease that he predicates his argument on. We can show him the dead innocent taxi driver tortured to death in Bagram.

The author has watched too many movies and episodes of “24.” My suggestion is that we try all the perpetrators of torture in front of juries. Those panels of peers can determine the value of the actions.

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