There's a reason why I've long maintained that intelligence-gathering techniques used by American forces, such as loud music, barking dogs and waterboarding aren't torture.
I've explained that reason before and I'll explain it again: while these things are unpleasant, they do not inflict serious pain upon the subject. They are uncomfortable and unpleasant, to be sure, but many of our own military members are subjected to these techniques during their training, and they do not constitute torture.
Our enemy, however, is under no illusions about what real torture is, or how to apply it.
Now today comes an article by Entifadh Qanbar in the New York Sun about the real torture perpetrated by Islamic terrorists in Iraq. Qanbar is the spokesman of the Iraqi National Congress and the deputy military attachÃ© for Iraq in Washington, D.C.
He describes some of the Al Qaeda torture houses discovered by U.S. military forces:
To obtain an accurate picture of the level of atrocities committed by this band of thugs, it is first necessary to review what the American military rightly calls the "atrocity sites." I saw pictures of the bodies of victims found in these houses showing burned feet, open wounds, cut limbs, dislocated shoulders and joints which were the grisly results of hanging and beating and other horrific methods of torture.
Qanbar continues his description of what was found:
Baquoba, June 2007: Discovery of the first torture house. Victims had drill holes in their bodies and deep gouges caused by blow torches; an Al Qaeda flag was in the torture house; many of the torture wounds were in the bottom of the feet of the victims. Torture equipment included: Drills, blow torches, chains hanging from the walls and ceiling, blood trails, saws, drills, knives, weapons, masks, and handcuffs.
These victims probably wished they had only been waterboarded.
Here is another:
Muqdadiyah, December 2007: Beds wired for electrical shock with electricity still on. Masks, whips, bloody knives, and chains hanging from ceiling on the site. Twenty-six bodies found buried on site: most had hands tied and were shot in the head.
In addition to having seen some of these houses of butchery, Qanbar has experienced brutality from Saddam Hussein's regime up close and personal.
I had my first taste of Saddam's brutality when I was imprisoned by Saddam's Military Security in 1987 along with my brother. In spite of my relatively short stay in a horrifying cell, I witnessed torture and humiliation first hand in what seemed to be an underworld in which pain and degradation have no end.
For Iraqis, these torture chambers and "atrocity sites" are a confirmation of the links between the terror of the Baath regime and that of Al Qaeda.
Qanbar finds reason for hope even in a country where such houses of horror are being uncovered. He says that while some Iraqis welcomed terrorist elements, thinking that life would be more to their liking if elements of democracy were purged, they eventually came to realize they had traded one set of horrors for another.
Qanbar says many who have come to this realization call it the "awakening" and says that even this term is hopeful, because it acknowledges that they were wrong for believing their future lay with terrorist elements.
When American forces use waterboarding (three times since the war began), they do so to get the information to save innocent lives facing imminent danger. When terrorists do their bloody work, they do so to inflict pain and terror on innocent people. The moral equivalency card does not play, no matter how much the anti-American Left desperately wants it to.
I hope that there will be an "awakening" in America. An awakening to the reality that the 2003 invasion replaced a brutal, bloody regime, that we removed an element that undermined U.S. credibility by ignoring U.S.-backed UN resolutions and firing on our aircraft almost daily, and that we removed a backer of terrorism in Israel and likely in other parts of the world.
I hope there will be an awakening in America, that while our country isn't perfect, neither is it on a par with the kind of brutality we see in other parts of the world. That the blame-America-first crowd places themselves in sympathy and support of the kind of butchers described above.
Then maybe we can face this evil as a united front, finally intimidating and crushing this terror from existence.