A Few Words in Defense of Torture

Sometimes I get the idea that America's mainstream media is nothing more than an offshoot of Al Jazeera, a well-oiled propaganda machine for all things Islamic.

For instance, we've been hearing for the longest time that torture is the worst possible way by which to extract information from the enemy. Who says so? When something that is so nonsensical is passed off as common knowledge, I, for one, get very suspicious.

I'm willing to believe that every so often there are those who are willing to absorb any amount of punishment and take their secrets to the grave with them. But, aside from those occasional saints and masochists, I'll wager that most people - and that definitely includes Osama bin Laden if we were ever to get our hands on him - would cough up everything they knew.

I think a problem we have when discussing, say, waterboarding is one of semantics. The question isn't whether waterboarding constitutes torture. (If it's not, then it's just a big waste of time and a small waste of water). Rather, the question is: What purpose does it serve? When Muslims cut off the head of an American such as Daniel Pearl, they do it in order to prove how barbaric they are, and to put the fear of Allah in our hearts. However, when a terrorist is waterboarded so that we can avoid experiencing another 9/11 or prevent some American soldiers from being ambushed, I'm all for it. I do wonder, though, why we don't just cut to the chase and threaten to feed them pork intravenously or bury their miserable remains in pigskins.

When you get right down to it, torture takes many forms. For one man, it's being dunked repeatedly in water, while for another it's being forced to sit through a Sean Penn speech or a Dixie Chicks concert.

Lately, I've been wondering if the folks who spread the rumor about the failure of torture to garner results are the same ones now insisting that Iran is not trying to develop a nuclear weapon.

My understanding is that our so-called intelligence community came to this absurd conclusion based on having overheard a single telephone call, probably one between Ahmadinejad and the guy who supplies his windbreakers. I suspect that at least a few of these clowns on the CIA payroll were members of the O.J. jury.

The logical question is why would Iran, a nation under the thumb of fanatical ayatollahs, fronted by a dwarf who spends half his time denying the Holocaust and the other half promising to initiate one of his own, not spend a sizable portion of its oil revenue in developing a nuclear bomb?

Television writer Burt Prelutsky is the author of Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From San Francisco (101 Reasons Why I'm Happy I Left the Left).