Imagine enduring several days of muscle strain, chilled to the bone, starving from lack of food, tired beyond belief and recovering from random acts of humiliation. Would you live under such inhumane treatment? Am I describing the effects of enhanced interrogation? The answer is, NO! I’m talking about SEAL training.
That’s right! Training for the Navy SEALs is so strenuous that they have doctors on hand for hell week to ensure no one’s health is in danger. The training is meant to break down and weed out the average person and push recruits to the limit. The SEALs want only the most dedicated and those willing to push their bodies to the physical limits. Recruits are intentionally stressed with physical activity, sleep deprived, restricted food and diet, forced to physically deal with cold temperatures and humiliated and degraded the whole way through training.
Sounds a lot like another government program, doesn’t it? Yes, the enhanced interrogation methods are quite similar. Surprising that our government uses similar methods to weed out and test Special Forces as they do to interrogate terrorists? After all, these methods have been tried and true in breaking people down. However, the methods of interrogation and Special Forces training are not only similar in practice, but the same legal statute that allows the military to conduct hell week is the same one that shields former President Bush from prosecution.
Thanks to William Jacobson’s, associate professor at Cornell and author of the blog Legal Insurrection, the legal statute is listed below (Seriously Thanks! It would have taken me hours trying to navigate and find the statute in West Law. Jacobson also has a post explaining the statute)
18 U.S.C. sec. 2340 provides the definitions of what constitutes torture (emphasis mine):
As used in this chapter--
(1) “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;
(2) “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from--
(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;
(B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;
(C) the threat of imminent death; or
(D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality; and
(3) “United States” means the several States of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the commonwealths, territories, and possessions of the United States.
Now the lefties reading the statute need to read carefully. Lawyer speak is not like the same language we use everyday. They often leave a few loop holes in order to create some wiggle room. The wiggle room in this case is the word intentional. Intent is very important in this statute. This is the key between training our SEALs and torturing them. Since the administration took drastic action to prevent the infliction of severe physical pain and suffering, there is a strong argument that there was no intent.
“But, Bush was toeing the line.” The lefties will say. You would be right. The Bush administration was certainly pushing the envelope, but was also trying not to cross the legal line that was drawn out by this statute. This may be considered morally bankrupt or indecent, but not illegal in the context of the statute.
You will notice that whether or not the subjects to these methods volunteer is not part of the legal definition. If there is one thing the lefties lack in their political thought, it is consistency. If we are to determine that sleep deprivation, physical and mental fatigue, humiliation and food restrictions are torture, then we must also prosecute SEAL trainers. However, the lefties aren’t going to make the debate on legal arguments, but Hate Bushism arguments. We are a nation of laws and that means that if the laws were not broken, we do not prosecute.
In the interest of informing, the NY Times has done a great job providing easy access to the enhanced interrogation memos. Feel free to check them out!