« More Bewilderment | Main | Paul Krugman Is Bewildered Too! »

June 07, 2007

Comments

LWM: You're banned. You may appeal by emailing the kitty (address on this page.)

You're banned.

It's turning into a typical day at Bizarro World here. ;-)

Hilzoy hasn't started adding 'Boom!' or making up pseudo samurai narratives yet, Ugh.

This strikes me as a sort of "ticking time-bomb" hypothetical that never actually comes up in the real world, so it doesn't really advance the discussion.

I don't know. I think insurgents are engaging regularly in activities that result in the deaths of children in Iraq. If you catch someone you have good reason to believe has inside information on the plans of such people, it's not a hypothetical.

Again, I don't personally advocate telling someone you're going to torture his kids. I just think a reasonable person can make the argument for it when the stakes are high enough and you have no intention of actually torturing anyone's kids.

I guess I can also accept the idea that treatening to do an immoral thing is itself immoral. I just don't know that it's AS immoral as actually doing that thing. Stealing a piece of gum is immoral, but I wouldn't fault someone for doing it if it were somehow going to save a life. (Now there's a hypothetical for ya.)

So the question is, how immoral is making the threat, and are your reasons for making that threat sufficient to justify it? Now I would guess people have made any number of immoral threats that lacked sufficient justification in support of the GWOT and its supposed Iraq component, including the threat of offspring torture, but that doesn't mean that there aren't some situations in which one could argue that such threats are justified. (I mean without being morally bankrupt.)

we will ban people, for instance, over saying that people should be assassinated or hung or whatever

Well that's a relief. I mean, I wouldn't mind seeing some of our "leaders" hanged for their crimes (although I generally oppose capital punishment -- so call me a hypocrite), but I can absolutely state that I don't care how well hung they are or not. And here I was worrying about being banned.... (Its at the end of a sentence so hopefully my ellipsis will pass Gary's scrutiny.)

I can't believe this idiocy. We are not harming these children, rather we are purging their young minds of the poisonous venom their misguided parents reared them on. We are saving their souls and at long last providing them a chance to be worthy human beings. We are no longer under the thumb of the morally depraved Clinton administration. We will not allow any more Elian Gonzalez's.

"We are no longer under the thumb of the morally depraved Clinton administration."

I hate to flout the comment policy that prohibits the advocacy of violence, but I really must insist that somebody kill me.

What is in the water around here lately?

Whiskey?

I'd like to amend my earlier answer to "LSD"

What is in the water around here lately?

We're getting a lot of new commenters, possibly because the main posts are being linked to from many places.

New voices are a good thing, but not an unalloyed blessing :)

Strangely, there seems to be a connection between the Red Sox and the extraordinary renditions.

The newcomers will be assimilated. They will be absorbed into the Body.

The peace of the Body shall not be disrupted.

It seems that there are some posters who want to engage in hypothetical "24" scenarios. Here's the reality: We are occupiers. We have now broken numerous international treaties. We have become, as Mr. Rushdie had feared, "a nation of torturers."

We're now getting bringing our soldiers down to the lowest common denominator of terrorists who would kill innocents for 'the greater good' (you can substitute "for the glory of Allah").

I really grieve for my country and can only hope that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Yoo, and Gonzales are tried and punished as war criminals.

Well, sorry for all the hub bub.

With regard to using threats against kids re: interrogation, I was thinking more along the lines of criminal prosecution rather than POW's. I see an implicit threat of maltreatment when kids will be taken to foster care in the US justice system, and therefore thinking that similar threats in this context might work. With Katherine's link, I would agree this is not appropriate even if it does work.

The recruiting post is about recruiting SUV driving road ragers to drive convoys in Iraq (because we have a lot of suburbans and excursions). After the first couple I went on, it seemed to me to be something that would be a fantasy of drivers who scream at traffic. I got a few laughs from the target audience who understood the context, but since I use that site for storage (since nobody actually reads it), there is no explanation of the context. For the record, I would deplore shooting hippies, or anyone else in traffic who was not threatening you.

"since nobody actually reads it"

This turns out to not entirely be true.

Yup, lesson learned.

Coming late to this thread: one short comment and one long, wandering one:

1) The bannings above were entirely appropriate. Nothing "jrudkis" has said or done, to my knowledge, is worthy of the kind of opprobrium he received here. I trust that those banned, doubtless contemplating in silence their righteous indignation, will recall that humility is also a virtue.

2) On threatening torture (as opposed to actually doing it, which is totally reprehensible) - I am among the majority here who feels queasy about this. But I can't go along with the line of reasoning that says, "If it's wrong to do something, it's wrong to threaten it." To me this smacks too much of "lusting in one's heart" as compared with actual adultery/fornication, etc. (Cf. Jimmy Carter, for citation thereof, though the principle is millennia older.) Perhaps at some elevated moral plane there is an equivalency, but in reality . . . come on, guys!

Yonks ago, when I was one of the rawest of recruits in the US Army, I observed from the inside the efforts of the drill sergeants to whip us into some semblance of order, so that they could process us through training. Much of this they achieved - you've all seen the movies, no doubt - by yelling orders at us, waking us early and running us until we were too tired to think, &c.

(I found myself particularly amused by their efforts to employ gendered language to this effect: "Sound off like you've got a pair!" "What are you, a pussy?" Since, unlike most of my younger companions, I had not just had sex with women, but actually impregnated one, I didn't really see how running an obstacle course was necessary to establish my masculinity - though I was wise enough not to say this aloud.)

(But I digress.)

Something that helped keep us in line during the first few weeks was the implicit, and occasionally explicit, threat of the various elaborate ways drill sergeants could cause those who bucked their authority to suffer. Nothing like torture, but all kinds of "punishment drills" (e.g., being forced to dig a 6X6X6 [foot] hole with your entrenching tool, and then, when it was finished, fill it up again) that were plausible enough to quell the incipient rebelliousness in most of us and reduce us to quiet muttering in the ranks, which was generally tolerated.

It was only in retrospect that I (we?) began to realize that I/we had never actually seen such punishments inflicted, or knew anyone who had actually suffered them . . . but by then we were sufficiently socialized into the system that the threat was no longer necessary. (Or those that were not so socialized were out of the Army, I suppose, having been subjected to Due Process in that regard.)

A couple of months later I had occasion to read the Uniform Code of Military Justice and I realized that most of the punishments with which we had been threatened were not in fact allowable, and that we, even as trainees, had far greater legal rights than we had thought. They (the sergeants) could NOT in fact do X, Y, and Z summarily to us. But - I realized in a flash of insight - there was no prohibition against them lying about it, and they had used this loophole effectively to obtain from us the degree of the acquiescence necessary for the accomplishment of their task.

It worked - and no one, so far as I could tell, was harmed in the process. (I will not for the moment open the question of whether or not military training is inherently a Bad Thing or not. I'm assuming that if you're going to have any kind of military, trained is better than untrained.)

Such would obviously not always be the cases, and I certainly do NOT want to be understood as arguing that this justifies the threatened torture of detainees' children. But I do think - as a side issue, yet an interesting philosophical one - that we should not be overquick to condemn all lies as the equivalent of the (physical) practices they represent.

YMMV.

nabalzbbfr is one of Glenn Greenwald's resident trolls (probably came here through Glenn's link to this post) and notorious for advocating "extreme measures" (iirc including preemptive genocide).

Dr. Ngo:
But - I realized in a flash of insight - there was no prohibition against them lying about it, and they had used this loophole effectively to obtain from us the degree of the acquiescence necessary for the accomplishment of their task.

I think that sort of leeway is best offered to those who have proven themselves capable of sufficient judgment, and who are under proper oversight.

Your Drill Sergeants knew that, in the end, they were subject to military discipline if they overstepped their authority. They were also, I am sure, smart soldiers with much experience -- or else they wouldn't have the job.

A nation -- such as ours -- which has taken to torturing, even to enshrining such in law (while piously claiming to do the opposite) should not be granted the leeway to lie about it. Because why bother lieing when the actual act is no longer prohibited?

As it applies to children -- we have openly admitted to the kidnapping and hostage taking of children. We have, in fact, bragged about it to the press. We have disappeared people, tortured people, and such was not punished -- in fact, a large and politically powerful segment of the US has begun to applaud it. "Double Gitmo" indeed.

Someone mentioned "lusting in one's heart" not being equivilant to indulging in adultery. It certainly is not. However, in a man or woman who has committed adultery in the past, is currently committing adultery, and has in fact spent quite a bit of time openly rationalizing how his or her adultery isn't really "cheating" (and if it is, it's not the same sort of cheating as the adulterers he claims to despise indulge in) -- if he lusts in his heart, all that stops him from indulging is lack of oppurtunity, not conscience. And oppurtunity will arise, for he will be looking for it.

We have become a nation of torturers and apologists for torture. Such things require bright lines, drawn well away from the grey areas -- for we have shown that we are unable to handle grey.

I find the question of lies a very difficult one. It's fine to tell people they shouldn't lie, and it's a good thing to choose not to lie, but there's a giant gray area.

I've been told that there was a very commonly used field interrogation technique by the US army in WWII (and korea). You start out with half a dozen or more recently-captured POWs. You start out asking one of them for information. He refuses. Some soldiers take him somewhere out of sight and then there is a shot. You ask the same question of the second one. He refuses. He's taken out of sight and there's a shot. Somewhere in the first 6 or so guys one of them will talk. (He'll come up with an answer he hopes will get you not to shoot him. Whether his answer is useful to you is a different question.)

The commonly-used russian approach was a little different. They ask the first POW. He refuses. They shoot him while the others watch. They ask the second POW and shoot him. Somewhere in the first 6 or so somebody talks.

Our guys weren't exactly lying. But their approach worked as well as the truthful russian approach.

The approach the actual field interrogators used was to bring in the POWs one at a time to somewhere private and warm and give them a cigarette and get them a little comfortable and ask them questions. If they didn't talk they got to go back out in the cold. One of the first 3 or so would talk.

My experience has been that if you want to scare people, it works better to mention things that encourage them to think up possibilities, than to actually make explicit threats. If you make a specific threat then they get ready for that particular situation. They think about how likely it is, they think about how bad it is, they think about what they can do about it. But if the threat is entirely implicit then they don't know what to prepare for, and the uncertainty is worse.

I'm not convinced you get better information from people you've scared. But if you do want to scare high-value iraqi detainees, something like the following might be good. You bring in one person and have him sit down in a comfy chair, you offer him a cigarette, maybe coffee, maybe hot chocolate.

"Hello, we need to tell you what to expect here. You understand that you depend on us for everything, yes? We supply you with your food, water, clothing, breathable air, everything? Good. Do you have any complaint with how you have been treated so far? If any of your guards mistreat you, you must carefully remember their ID numbers and report it to me. They won't improve their service to you unless they learn about their mistakes and get punished for them.

"Of course we need you to cooperate. No violence. Of course you can't win a fight with your guards. And if you fight another detainee we will have to punish you both severely. Don't get into fights no matter what other detainees do to you. That's important. You can ask to be separated. While you are in our care--

At about this point there is a loud sustained scream from next door. You wince and wait for it to end.

"Sorry about that. We're next door to the dental clinic. Our dentists do excellent work, and depending on what you do you could get your teeth fixed. He does very good root canals."

To somebody who's hyperalert, "You depend on us for everything" sounds like all threats rolled into one. But it's the literal truth. And "If you complain we will punish your guards and then give you back to them" doesn't sound very good either. And the prospect of unneeded root canals without anesthesia hasn't been mentioned but....

People get more scared when they have dangerous choices than when they have to be passive. So --

"I see we brought in your five-year-old son. We really are not set up to care for children properly here. Would you prefer he go home to his mother? How can we contact her to return him?"

Are you going to send his son home or are you going to pick up his wife to rape and torture? He has to decide what to do. You haven't made any threats at all, it's all in his own head.

"I really can't say how long you'll stay here. Tell us what we want to know and we could release you in a couple of months, provided you convince us you won't start fighting us again. Would your former friends assume you cooperated if you got out so soon and you stopped working with them? Would they kill you? Perhaps we could send you to the USA with your family.

"Ah, how will your family survive while you are here? We could send them money. Money and food. Would you like that? No? If you cooperate well enough we will give them money or not, whichever you prefer. If you don't, we may decide at random whether to reward them. Will they starve? Will they be killed by your former friends? Completely random, a coin flip. Inshallah."

This is too specific, but it still keeps some of the air of uncertainty. When you just don't know what to expect it's scarier than when you have a specific threat to deal with. When you don't lie about what you'll do but leave it up to their imaginations it's worse than a specific claim.

Almost-subliminal hints that get them ready to imagine threats are more effective than actual threats.

So lying about it is bad because it makes you a liar, and you're more effective when you keep your integrity. But obeying rules against lying doesn't reduce the mental torture.

Similarly with police. "You're looking at life. Confess and I'll get it down to 2 years" is too specific. Better:

"You understand, you're depending on us for everything. And you'll still depend on us for everything while you do your time." Long pause. "You're in a heap of trouble, son." Long pause. "I like you. Tell me the truth and I'll do everything I can for you. And if you do go to prison I'll tell them to go easy on you there too."

The less specific information they have, the more likely they are to grab for nonspecific help. Tell the friendly policeman that you won't talk to him without a lawyer and his face will go cold and he won't help you one little bit. A hope gone.

It seems that there are some posters who want to engage in hypothetical "24" scenarios.

I have to assume, given your earlier comment, Steve, that this refers to me. Maybe this wasn't clear enough:

I think insurgents are engaging regularly in activities that result in the deaths of children in Iraq. If you catch someone you have good reason to believe has inside information on the plans of such people, it's not a hypothetical.

I don't see how this is a "24" scenario, maybe because I've never watched the show. There must be a lot of ticking time bombs on that show. Without getting into the nitty-gritty of any given interrogation technique, do you doubt that insurgents in Iraq engage in activities that regularly result in the deaths of children or not? Do you think US forces regularly detain people whom they have good reason to believe have knowledge of their operations? I'm not talking about "Kalid has five kids in a house right now and is about to kill them. Let's threaten to torture Mohammed's kids so we can find out where they are and stop him." Think more along the lines of "If we put seatbelts in cars, fewer people will die in car accidents." Whether or not you know who will be saved or when or where, you know someone will. It's got nothing to do with "24." So, where's the beef?

By that reasoning (the Ed Meese rationale), you expand the universe of potential incidents that can cause children harm, sanctioning virtually anything. This then becomes, "I know he wasn't planning anything yet, but he was going to plan something, so he must be stopped." How do you stop our forces sliding down that slippery slope?

As for regularly detaining people who have no knowledge, I think the example of Dilawar will suffice. A better link would be to the NYTimes article, and if you would like more details, you can google that.

Thinking on it more, I probably need to add some insight into the context in which I'm making this argument. I don't want to start the controversy all over again, but the only reason I commented on this thread at all was in response to this:

I only noticed this part of jrudkis's comments when Nell picked it up - I think my eye must have slid over it out of sheer repulsion. I wonder if jrudkis is one of those childless adults who genuinely dislikes children? I play with this because I'd rather think he really feels indifference or dislike towards all children - and parents who care for children - than that he thinks this is something appropriate to do to any parent.

No wonder the US lost the war in Iraq, with people like jrudkis serving in the US army.

So my friend, jrudkis, is in Iraq risking his life in an attempt to restore order to that country. (For the record, I was against this war from the very, very beginning. All the reasons purported for going into it smelled like a pack of lies, from the aluminum tubes to Saddam's dealings with Al Qaeda and everything in between. Anyway....) I am sure that every day he is doing what he thinks is the right thing in a bad situation. Then, someone sitting safely at home, engaging in recreational discourse as we all are, decides that she is in a position to attack my friend on a personal level. Keep in mind that I'm not at all upset about the position she has taken on the issue. I'm upset about the personal attack, which is why I bring up the context in which she made the attack. Riteous indignation is not logical discourse, so calling my inclusion of her situation into my current explanation an ad hominem isn't valid. (At least I don't think so.) As an aside, another commenter, Nell, got pretty pissed about the same issue, and wisely responded with "I'm done here." And she stuck to it. That's how you should handle yourself in such situations. The whole point of my typing this is that I wan't to be sure that I don't come off as a staunch advocate of threatening parents with the torture of their children as an interrogation technique. I'm just making the argument that one can take the position that such a technique may be justified if the stakes are high enough without deserving the kind of personal attack that Jrudkis received.

lj, I'm talking about people who regularly do things like detonating car bombs in market places or at mosques or commit suicide bombings at weddings. So it's not a "someday, somewhere, maybe" thing. It's a "in the next couple of days, in Baghdad, almost certainly" thing. Maybe my seatbelt thing was too wide open. Besides, you can read may last comment to see where I'm coming from.

hairshirt,
I hope I haven't come off making you (or jrudkis) sound like a torture advocate and I apologize again for posting the link to the picture without more clearly describing what I was trying to get across.

My point to your previous comment is that it doesn't seem like we are able to properly identify the correct folks, based on the reports we have, and it seems very easy to assume that they have valuable information when they are simply saying anything to get the torturer to stop. If someone had my children and it were clear that my answers were going to affect their treatment, I have a hard time imagining that I would boldly assert my innocence. Perhaps I am being narrow minded, but I imagine that most parents would feel the same. You might counter saying that KSM might not feel the same way, but it seems that taking his children and threatening to torture them (or actually torturing them) would simply confirm his view of the other side. So we have a case where torture only works on those who might be most likely to sympathize with our points. That problem of negative selection makes it important to take a stronger line against threatening torture in the abstract and tie any cases to specific real life incidents, I think.

A further point is that the kinds of incidents that you describe are easily plannable, and can be altered relatively quickly. So trying to use torture to stop incidents that are not extensively planned out doesn't seem to be an intelligent use of power.

Again, I apologize for any part I had in making the conversation take the turn it did, but from a purely logical standpoint, I don't understand your argument and I might have a lot easier time if it were an actual 24 style scenario, with a dirty bomb in downtown LA or something. But trying to stop the current levels of violence in Bagdhad by resorting to more 'enhanced interrogation' just seems to be way off to me.

"executing [children] for having been victimised [sic]."
Not to minimize the horror of children whose lives are so tragically ended in this way, women in fundamentalist Muslim countries have suffered such phobic punishment for centuries.
In America animal cruelty seems to bring on more outrage than child abuse. There are special "cops" who investigate animal cruelty reports. No such corps exists for reported child abuse cases. Overworked caseworkers barely have time to investigate all of the allegations by phone.
In Austin, TX there is much to-do right now over building a new animal shelter while countless public school students remain homeless at the end of the school day.

"Posted by: joel hanes | June 08, 2007 at 12:32 AM

"If American soldiers raid a house and capture the adults as enemy, and there are young children there, should we just leave them, or take them into some sort of protective custody? Should we get them adopted by someone?

"I don't know what the answer is, . . . .

The answer should be obvious: "We" don't adopt torture as a fake means of "self-defense" while simultaneously insisting "we" must overthrow Saddam Hussein because he's a torturer.

"We" don't illegally invade and oocupy a non-threatening and defenseless country.

But -- first: "We" don't passively accept the theft of elections by a gang which, as that firest fact makes obvious, has no regard for the rule of law except that of contempt.

do you doubt that insurgents in Iraq engage in activities that regularly result in the deaths of children or not?

Yes, I doubt that.

There are different hypotheses about who's doing it. The one that always gets assumed in US media is that it's insurgents, or possibly al qaeda terrorists who might be considered distinct from the insurgents.

Lots of iraqis believe that it's being done by US agents, hoping to cause so much chaos in iraq that they accept we have to stay to restore order.

Lots of iraqis believe that it's done by zionists who want to persuade iraqis to destroy iraq.

I figure if it's a real-live suicide bomber then it's likely al qaeda or possibly home-grown sunni insurgents. People wouldn't do suicide attacks to further US or israeli or russian or iranian interests in iraq. Not without a whole lot of persuasion. If it's a parked car bomb etc then it's anybody's guess who did it. Unless you catch them then you just don't know. If some group claims responsibility then it's more likely them than not. If two groups claim responsibility then again it's hard to say.

I find that I have a lot of doubt. Mostly there's no evidence beyond what the media simply assume.

"Posted by: liberal japonicus | June 09, 2007 at 10:06 AM

""executing [children] for having been victimised [sic].""

". . . . In America animal cruelty seems to bring on more outrage than child abuse. There are special "cops" who investigate animal cruelty reports. No such corps exists for reported child abuse cases."

This isn't true. There are cops (at least in Massachusetts) specially assigned to domestic violence issues, which includes investigating such allegations and protecting children.

"Overworked caseworkers barely have time to investigate all of the allegations by phone."

Apples and oranges. While police may work with case workers, it is after intervention, and they have different roles.

Er, that wasn't me, that was a Francis Morey. The poster's name is below the post, not above.

I pretty much stayed out of this yesterday, because I really didn’t know how to react. If I accept it at face value as being true, my most likely reaction would be to be physically ill. Just contemplating that it might be true is nauseating. I’m with Hilzoy in that as little as a few years ago I would have rejected this out of hand. But now I can’t do that, which is probably almost as bad.

I’m slowly reaching the point of sharing the view that every nook and cranny in Washington needs to be scoured to purge any remnant of this administration, and that the Republican Party as a whole needs to be banished to the woods for about a decade. I was going to stay registered R through the primaries on the off chance someone interesting entered the race, but no more. Every day it is something else and it’s at a point that I am now ashamed to have to admit I am (“officially” at least) a Republican.

OCSteve, people have said this to you a dozen times that I've seen.

I'm sorry.

dunno if anyone else had major headaches getting the Hirsh speech, but here is some info/links that may be useful:

http://expertsrus.org/view/Qgvru2wAXr,_Seymour_Hersh's_ACLU_Keynote_Speech

DFS: No, I’m sorry.

Morat20: I think that sort of leeway is best offered to those who have proven themselves capable of sufficient judgment, and who are under proper oversight.

Your Drill Sergeants knew that, in the end, they were subject to military discipline if they overstepped their authority. They were also, I am sure, smart soldiers with much experience -- or else they wouldn't have the job.

Exactly. I intended to imply just this, and if I didn't, I'm grateful to you for making this explicit. Lying is NOT the best tactic - for a whole variety of moral, psychological, and sociological reasons - most of the time. I was just responding to an apparent under-theme by some commenters (I honestly don't remember who) that lying was just as bad as doing whatever. My comments should not - as I believe I said - be applied to the question of whether we should tell detainees their children are being tortured.

hairshirthedonist: "If you catch someone you have good reason to believe has inside information on the plans of such people, it's not a hypothetical.

You seem to be having some difficulty with the concept of a "hypothetical." For any such scenario, IF the premise in question is actually fulfilled, it's no longer hypothetical. It's actual. That's why we have a different word for it.


This comment is not to be construed as a "Clinton did it too, so it's OK".

Purging DC of GOP rule may not get us rid of the problem discussed here. Extraordinary rendition was practiced before Shrub/Chain-Eye and seems to have become "popular" under Bill. So, even a Dem admin should be kept under tight surveillance concerning the treatment of people in the hands of US autorities.

I was going to stay registered R through the primaries on the off chance someone interesting entered the race, but no more.

OCSteve: I've been in the position where my favorite party went bad, and it sucks. I lack the words to express things eloquently. But if every supporter was a crook things would be easy. People like you, whose integraty I value enormously, show that folk can see things differently, but that the other side is worth thinking about and listening too.

Unfortunately the Republican party at the moment is represented by folks from a specific denomination (Neo-Cons I'd label them). That is so dominant that issues like health insurance and how to 'furnish' the community you live in are of less importance. I am looking forward to the time when we can discuss all those things again and disagree civilly. At the moment I'd mostly like you to know that I respect your opinion, even if I disagree with you, because I trust your integrity in reaching conclusions.

Thanks Dutch. Trust me – you do not lack eloquence. In fact, you make more sense to me than many native speakers of English ;)

It actually felt pretty good. I found the form, printed it out, filled it out, and had it in the mailbox in an hour.

It felt like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. As close as I can come within posting rules: to heck with them, and their horse. ;)

"It actually felt pretty good. I found the form, printed it out, filled it out, and had it in the mailbox in an hour."

Registering as a Democrat?

Ah, I see via the Master World Government computer that you're scheduled for your first lesson in the Communist Manifesto on Thursday, at 11 a.m. Eggseelent. [rubs hands and cackles]

<palpatine> All is proceeding as I have foreseen. </palpatine>

Registering as a Democrat?

No, Gary. One step at a time. Now we just have to convince him he'll want some say in who wins the Democratic primary (although for president it will probably all be decided before Maryland gets its say -- along with DC and Virginia).

One step at a time.

Right –“Unaffiliated” for now.

This is beyond depressing. Our tax dollars (if "we" are all Americans) are being used to torture children. Somehow changing party affiliation, donating to the ACLU, or voting for "the other guy", whoever he or she turns out to be, seem inadequate as responses.

If American soldiers raid a house and capture the adults as enemy, and there are young children there, should we just leave them, or take them into some sort of protective custody? Should we get them adopted by someone?

I'm sure this wasn't meant the way it sounds to me, but somehow my first thought was about some of the stuff that happened in Central and South America in the 1970s and 1980s where "enemies of the state" were "disappeared" and their children taken off to be adopted by "good" families (ie wealthy, rule abiding families, who often just happened to be associated with the government who took their parents away to be tortured and killed.) So who are we going to get to adopt the kids of "enemy combatants"? Some nice, Christian, American families who will teach them to think the right way, perhaps?

(In a less paranoid, rantish mode, what's wrong with calling relatives to take the kids? Or even neighbors? Or starting some sort of social services agency to deal with this problem and sort out where the kids can safely stay? What would one do in a similar situation if, for example, both parents were arrested for running a crack house? Surely not haul the kids off to be "levers" on their parents or summarily put them up for adoption...ok, a slightly less rantish mode.)

jrudkis, having taken some time out to cool down and argue the issue out at Taking It Outside, I apologize to you for picking on you personally when I vilified US military tactics. It's unfair to pick on any individual soldier in the debacle that is Iraq, and I shouldn't have done that.

Jes,

Thanks. No problem. We have all been there on one topic or another.

Thanks, Jes.

We detain children of undocumented immigrants as well. We separate nursing babies - American citizens - from their undocumented mothers. We're way past a discussion of whether we've lost our decency.

We all need to unite to create a society where parents can afford to decide what is best for their families and their children, where parents even have the economic option of caring for their children at home.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad