In the Real World

Yesterday’s news included the rescue of three hostages in Iraq by a team led by Britain’s SAS. Michelle Malkin noted the rather creepy ingratitude of the three “peace activists” and their colleagues here and here. This morning, the Scotsman has more on the operation that freed the three hostages:

As efforts were made to open negotiations, the SAS and MI6 tried to get a lead on the kidnappers by studying hostage videos released to Arab TV stations, while eavesdropping teams from the Intelligence Corps attempted to intercept mobile phone calls.

Acting on this, the SAS was able to launch a snatch raid on Wednesday night to seize two of the kidnappers or their associates. It seems that the prisoners were “persuaded” to give up information on the whereabouts of the hostages. This might have been done with the offer of a financial inducement or the use of some of the more extreme interrogation techniques criticised by human rights groups.

A strike-force was then organised by the SAS. It also involved elite Canadian anti-terrorist units. The actual assault operation turned out to be an anti-climax, with the hostages apparently being left unguarded in the house.

Note that when the two kidnappers were captured on Wednesday, the soldiers had only minimal time to extract information from them before their confederates would find out they had been captured and, in all probability, move the hostages.

Under these circumstances, what interrogation techniques would you approve? I do not advocate torture, but I think it’s fine to exert physical pressure on terrorists under circumstances like these. And techniques like waterboarding, which frighten but do no physical harm, are not torture.

And does anyone seriously want to stop eavesdropping on the terrorists, with or without a warrant, even if–especially if!–some of their calls go into the United States?


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