Sunday, May 24, 2009

Unintended Consequences?

Treatment of enemy combatants (captured terrorists) has been in the headlines a lot lately, most notably with the battle of words between President Obama and former VP Dick Cheney. Of course, this debate has been going on for a long time. The reality is, that the changes being made by the Obama administration will create harsher treatment of captured enemy combatants. How is this possible, you ask? Well, I frequently cite the so-called "law of unintended consequences". It's very similar to the reality that increasing restrictions on CO2 emissions in the U.S. will drive much carbon producing manufacturing out of the country, to lands where pollution is not controlled at all. This makes the problem worse, not better. Increasing taxes to a punitive level DECREASES revenues to the treasury, rather than increases them.

By creating unrealistic restrictions on"Enhanced Interrogation Techniques", as well as the restriction of our ability to safely retain prisoners off of American soil, two things will occur. First of all, our soldiers are fully aware that released enemy combatants are usually found back on the battlegrounds shooting at them again. Knowing they are unlikely to be detained for long, the battlefield "capture" rates will decline, and the "kill" rates will rise.

Secondly, the U.S. will begin to "outsource" detainment and interrogation to other countries. These other countries are unlikely to have the humane and dignified approach we have used in Gitmo and around the world. This is already occurring, as we have seen a sharp rise in reliance on foreign (middle eastern) countries for detainment and interrogation of captured Al Qaeda combatants. Do we really believe this policy will result in better treatment of detainees? No, we have just washed our hands of it, and now the captured will know what REAL torture is like. They will long for the luxurious shores of Gitmo, where they were detained after their first capture.

The reality is that the United States has treated these enemy combatants with humaneness unequalled in the history of warfare. Our top leaders should be trumpeting that across the world, instead of acting like we have done something horrible. Shame on Obama and the Democrats for accepting the these false accusations of torture and not defending our great country. Thank God for Dick Cheney.

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