Monday, February 22, 2010

Just not "24" enough

News today that terror suspect Najibullah Zazi has entered a guilty plea in New York City:
Terrorism suspect Najibullah Zazi (nah-jee-BOO'-lah ZAH'-zee) has pleaded guilty in New York City to conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction.

The 25-year-old former Denver airport shuttle driver also pleaded guilty Monday to counts of conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and providing material support for a terrorist organization.

He faces a life prison sentence without parole in the plea deal.

But surely, if he'd been whisked away to a secret detention cell and waterboarded a couple dozen times, things would somehow be better. Right?

Because we can't have terrorists arrested, read their rights, and charged with crimes in the ordinary fashion--that's just not "24" enough.


  1. USCCB are in bed with radical homosexual and pro-abortion groups!!

    .. it's all making sense now, no wonder 54% of Catholics voted for Obama..

    time to find another church folks..

  2. Do you know what was done to him? Did they hurt his feelings or offend his dignity? If they arrested his dad and brother and threatend to arrest his mother in the old country where God knows what might happen to the fam, is that torture? Of course we do not know what information they got from him or how soon we got it to allow action along the lines of the 24 scenario. Just like much on this site, it seems to have a lot of posts that have many open questions. If it proves he was waterboarded later or that his family was put to stress or tortured, what does this do to your post here as if it is proof of anything???

  3. @ Greta:

    "If it proves he was waterboarded later or that his family was put to stress or tortured, what does this do to your post here as if it is proof of anything."

    Well, one thing such information coming to light would certainly NOT do is provide a justification for torture.

    This post will remain as testimony to the fact that we're not here concerned to dispute the remote end of finding out useful information from terrorists to provide for the common defense and our communal welfare. We are, however, concerned with demonstrating that the ends do not justify the means. Thus, this post will stand as affirming that it is a good thing that information is gotten, and give the lie to the tiresome arguments against us that we simply want the terrorists to win or (in a conclusion based on some real logical acrobatics) that we want unborn children to die.

    The post also demonstrates that we, as citizens, should be concerned to find out how the information was gotten. That, if it turns out he was tortured, it illustrates a problem. To wit, that it is not a good thing or a good society when people can be whisked away into dark places and have terrible things done to them and have it all hidden from the light of day. Our Lord was very eloquent about what's done in the dark being brought to the light. For me, I'll less eloquently say that if something needs darkness to be done, then it's probably something that stinks.

  4. Greta, if we did find out any such things, we would also know that those things were done against the law, as it is illegal to torture someone in American prisons, etc. Nobody has (as yet) pushed to give American police what Marc Thiessen called robust interrogation tactics; perhaps Thiessen himself will be the first to call for our nation's police to be given those options as interrogation policy. If waterboarding isn't torture, why shouldn't the police be entitled to waterboard every criminal suspect, after all?

    Jasper, I hate to see anyone lose his faith over what a bishop or even a group of them might do. The pages of history are littered with the names of less-than-stellar bishops; it doesn't make the Catholic faith one jot less true.

  5. Jasper needs to listen to end of the youtube video.

    Outside the Church there is no salvation.

  6. "Because we can't have terrorists arrested, read their rights, and charged with crimes in the ordinary fashion--that's just not "24" enough."

    What does this mean? That if you don't support trying terrorists in civilian criminal courts ... what? That's just not "Catholic" enough?

    This is part of the trepidation I felt regarding the whole "Coalition for Clarity" thing. It's a misnomer. For example, you're not clarifying ANYTHING if you want to extend the Catholic obligation to always oppose torture to now mean that a faithful Catholic is obliged to believe that the Constitutional rights and privileges of the U.S. criminal justice system MUST be afforded to foreign terrorists (I think it's more debatable where the terrorist is a U.S. citizen).

    I unequivocally oppose torture, including the euphemistic so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" like waterboarding. But I also unequivocally oppose the wrongheaded decision by A.G. Holder to try KSM et al in the criminal justice system. Does that suddenly turn me - a torture opponent - into a torture apologist? If that's not what you're implying, then one must ask why the subject was even brought up on a blog that's supposed to be about opposition to torture.

    And, for the record, I've never even seen "24".

  7. Jay, one reason the subject was brought up was because Marc Thiessen wrote, in regard to the "underwear bomber," that arresting him wasn't good enough--that because it took five weeks for him to cooperate, we lost valuable intel time, and that "enhanced interrogation" used immediately would have been the only way to be sure arrested terror suspects give us everything we want, as fast as we want.

    I think a Catholic could legitimately maintain that someone suspected of war crimes ought to be tried in military as opposed to civilian courts. But I think there's a danger in supporting open-ended and secret detention of even military criminals.

    But the point of the post was simply that torture apologists, Marc Thiessen chief among them, insist that the terrorists we merely arrest will never, ever cooperate, or if they do, it won't be good enough--we *must* retain torture as an option, and thus we *must* have the ability to whisk terrorists away into secret detention facilities far from the eyes of civil or even ordinary military law (and certainly far from the eyes of human rights watchdog agencies), or we won't be adequately protecting national security.

    I think that sort of thing ought to be clarified--because there are an awful lot of Catholics who believe *that*, who are not in the "opposed to torture but wishing to engage in a civil discussion as to whether military or civilian courts are the proper venue for trials and sentencing of terror suspects" group.