Monday, January 11, 2010

A Parent's Sacrifice

Many of the people screaming about the (Obama) government's failure to connect the dots regarding the Underpants Bomber love to use, as Exhibit A, the fact that the bomber's father reported his son to U.S. authorities as a radical and potential threat.

"How does that not get a guy on a No-Fly List" they wail, while sitting in their soggy diapers that leak.

What they are missing and no one else seems to be pointing out is what Adam Serwer at TAPPED makes clear:
I doubt many parents would come forward with concerns that their children are being radicalized if they think the United States is going to stick them in a secret prison somewhere and waterboard them. On the contrary, the realistic fear that people apprehended by American authorities might be tortured could help create the kind of toxic relationship with counterterrorism units that we see between urban communities and the police in the U.S., which would contribute to radicalization, rather than mitigate it.

Yeah, that Nigerian father made a selfless and brave decision and turned his son in to the authorities—but how difficult has the Cheney Torture Regime made that decision for parents, families, neighbors or any other informant in a position to share intelliginece? How many people have kept silent because we have now become a known torturer?

Eric at Obsidian Wings expands:
Intelligence and law enforcement are the most effective means of countererrorism, and in connection therewith, cooperation from the underlying population is invaluable.

However, in order to maximize on that cooperation, the United States must maintain the moral high ground, and stick to its principles. It must warrant sympathy, and command respect if it wants to convince citizens to turn-in would be criminals in their midst - an uncomfortable deed under any circumstances. But a United States that tortures, abandons due process, profiles Muslims indiscriminately and pursues a wildly belligerent foreign policy will have the opposite effect.

Another reason why torture fails to gather intelligence or keep anyone safe.

UPDATE: Fareed Zakaria has an excellent post up on reacting to terrorism and also mentions this detrimental effect of torture.

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