Patriots Will Agree: It's Time for a Little Torture


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Those subversive, anti-American busybodies at the ACLU might not be pleased to read this, but I think it's about time we try a little torture on Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid. If war is the continuation of politics by other means, so is torture the continuation of intelligence-gathering by less subtle means. Let the hysterical, publicity-seeking ninny Alan Dershowitz scream his ugly head off. Let the ACLU take the government to court. Let the world's press thunder away. Torture will do the trick every time, and now's the time to do it.


I don't mean we should break these two worms on the rack. Or slowly burn them on a spit. No, there are subtler ways of making a man spill the beans nowadays, starting with keeping him very cold, sleep-deprived, blindfolded, and giving the odd kick in the groin when no one's looking. Feeding him castor oil instead of three square meals also helps concentrate a man's mind, not to mention the time-honored Israeli method of giving the going-over to a suspect's children. Alas, I doubt that Reid and Moussaoui have children, and if they did, they probably would not give a damn.


Mind you, and before any of you go ballistic on me, torture, psychological or physical, is not as medieval as it sounds. Until recently it was practiced in most Western European and American police stations. It is standard practice all over South America, and our great ally Mexico would rather give up mariachi music than stop flagellating suspects. The Gestapo excelled in it, as did the darling of Central Park West liberals, Uncle Joe Stalin. The civilized French got results in Algeria through torture as recently as the early 60s, and the Greek colonels had the reputation of kicking butt during the early 70s. CIA agent William Buckley was tortured to death by those nice guys in Beirut, the very same guys whose rights the grotesque ACLU is trying to protect as I write.


Yes, I know what you're thinking. Just because monsters like Stalin, Mao and Hitler did it it doesn't mean Uncle Sam should descend to their level. Well, yes and no. Those three baddies used torture for political purposes. We would be using it for the common good. (The IRA has always used torture for political purposes, torturing victims before they execute them for their mutilated bodies to spread fear among the noncompliant.) Let's not be hypocrites a la Frank Rich and his gruesome kind. If we can make those two talk, providing they know enough, we could save thousands of lives.


Take, for example, the case of Djamel Beghal, an Algerian-born Frenchman who was ordered by Osama bin Laden to bomb the American embassy in Paris. Six weeks before Sept. 11 he was arrested for a forged passport in Dubai airport. Although eager to be a suicide bomber against the great Satan, he quickly spilled the beans. Tossed into a dark cell, he was handcuffed, blindfolded and beaten. Out poured a wealth of information, and it proved to be a real intelligence break. The trouble was it was too late to arrest Mohamed Atta, who had slipped into the U.S. by the time Beghal had named him as a terrorist. The Dubai authorities did the world a favor when they roughed up Beghal. Perhaps we should ship any suspects over to Dubai for further questioning.


Given the fact that questioning terrorists since Sept. 11 has yielded almost nothing, it's time we tried a different method. Let's start with truth drugs, and the more the better. If they don't work, let's keep them blindfolded, hungry, cold and without sleep. Interrogate until they scream to Allah and then spill the beans. Other suspects being held in America have been similarly unhelpful?yet they, too, might know the secrets of bin Laden's network. The whole war could be won if the government took the proverbial bull by the horns and did what it's supposed to do: protect its citizens. If it has to use mild torture, so be it. It should use any means possible to break an evil terrorist network that has targeted the innocent and does not play under the Geneva Convention rules.


A senior Pakistani nuclear scientist has confessed to telling bin Laden how to make the atom bomb. He disclosed that bin Laden had obtained the radioactive material needed for a "dirty" nuclear device. For the moment he lacks the equipment to make it explode.


So, just imagine. A nuclear bomb goes off in New York, killing hundreds of thousands. Even those phonies at the Times think it's now time to do something about terror. The fact that lack of evidence prohibited the FBI from searching a laptop computer that contained information about homeland security issues?as was the case with Moussaoui's laptop, where a standard search warrant was ruled out because agents had no evidence a crime had been committed?finally exposes America's weakness and incapability to defend itself.


I've said it before and I'll say it until Dershowitz and Frank Rich turn handsome. We cannot afford to play by the rules put down by Susan Sontag types. Those who lost loved ones on Sept. 11 know what I'm talking about. Let's start with the truth drugs and get the blindfolds ready.


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