Friday, November 09, 2007

Say Anything 

Courtesy of our indefatigable colleague J. Schwarz at A Tiny Revolution, a post in which IOZ, of Who Is IOZ?, assumes the persona of the formerly distinguished lawyer and constitutional scholar Alan Dershowitz:

Hi, I'm Alan Dershowitz. Did you know I was the youngest professor ever at Harvard. Well, I was. Until they hired that little Brooklyn math bitch, who, let's face it, is basically just a Doogie Howser type or a little man Tate, and probably still a virgin. Anyway, full professer: Dershowitz: 28 years of age. Suck on that, Finklestein, you putz.

Some people have accused me of supporting torture, when I have plainly stated on numerous occasions that I am totally opposed to it in all cases, unless of course it's done in the manners which I prescribe and openly acknowledged afterward. For instance, I would be OK with the CIA sticking sterilized needles under some Arab's fingernails, as long as the President came out the next day and made a speech explaining that he'd just stuck sterilized needles under some Arab's fingernails. And just to prove how long and hard I've thought about this, here is a ticking time bomb scenario that will scare the kuck out of you:

Recently, Israeli security officials confronted a ticking-bomb situation. Several days before Yom Kippur, they received credible information that a suicide bomber was planning to blow himself up in a crowded synagogue on the holiest day of the Jewish year. After a gun battle in which an Israeli soldier was killed, the commander of the terrorist cell in Nablus was captured. Interrogation led to the location of the suicide bomb in a Tel Aviv apartment. Israel denies that it uses torture and I am aware of no evidence that it did so to extract life-saving information in this case.
As you can see, torture was completely unnecessary in this case, which obviously goes to show just how necessary it would have been if it would have been necessary. That's the sort of thinking that gets you tenure at Harvard when you're only 28. Hard thinking. Fuck you, Chomsky, you faggot.

Anyway my point is this. Giuliani.
IOZ's good-natured pastiche of Dershowitz may strike some readers as unflattering, but it is, we submit, less unflattering than the testimony before Congress earlier today of professional military interrogators Malcolm Nance and Steve Kleinman, who characterized the Dershowitz position as that of an unwittingly pernicious ignoramus:
It's not just what a subject says in an interrogation that an interrogator needs to watch for clues, Kleinman said. The way in which he expresses himself is significant: does the subject fidget? Does he shift in his seat? Does he gesture, or suddenly stop gesturing? All of these non-verbal clues -- "clusters, groupings of behaviors," Kleinman called them -- provide interrogators with valuable information to observe what a detainee is like when he's lying, when he's being uncooperative, and when he's being truthful, or a combination of the three.

But if a detainee has his hands tied, or if a detainee shivers because a room is chilled, then "I don't know whether he's shivering because the room is cold or because my questions are penetrating," Kleinman said. That degree of abuse "takes away a lot of my tools." It's one of the clearest explanations in the public record about what torture costs professional interrogators in terms of actionable intelligence, as the debate is so often set up as what a lack of torture ends up costing national security.
It is never our wish to belabor the obvious, but on the off chance you'd forgotten: torture tends to extract crappy intelligence, which often leads to A) unneccessary wars, and B) unprosecutable cases against genuine malefactors, whose confessions under duress represent tainted (and therefore inadmissible) evidence.

Even that notorious sap Andrew Sullivan gets it.

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