Extreme Interrogation Was Legal, But Was It Moral?

In spite of the Democrat report on extreme interrogation, an NBC poll shows that only 28% of the people think the interrogators “went too far.”

War is gruesome business in all of its forms. Questions of law and morals abound, and in this case the Holder Justice department concluded that no laws were broken.

“If you knew that there was a nuclear time bomb hidden somewhere in New York City — set to go off today — and you had a captured terrorist who knew where and when, would you not do anything to make him tell you where and when? Would you pause to look up the definition of “torture”? Would you even care what the definition of “torture” was, when the alternative was seeing millions of innocent people murdered?”

Thomas Sowell in the National Review

The question of morals remains, and I can tell you having been in battle that morals are left to each man, or in the case of naval warfare, each ship — although that also is the moral decision of one man, the Commanding Officer.

Let me posit a moral question that was debated in every wardroom of a Fast Attack Submarine on which I served: you are the CO of an Attack Submarine, on patrol in an assigned patrol area. You get a message, A high-priority heavy will transit the NE corner of your area at 02000 on the 28th of the month. SINK IT WITHOUT FAIL!” (These last words mean that the target is so special that even if it means the loss of your submarine and all of the crew, this target MUST be sunk!

You maneuver into position, and make all torpedo tubes ready, listening to a large ship approaching. You flood all tubes forward, and open all bow doors of all six tubes. You use SONAR to establish a target course and speed but as you are ready to commence shooting you raise your periscope for a final range and angle on the bow — and promptly lower the scope.

The ship has a huge Red Cross on its side!

What do you do? Quickly! You have perhaps 15 seconds to decide.

There is no right answer. Every CO might have a different answer, and there is no right one. I have been in heated conversations with Officers on both sides…with Commanding Officers on both sides.

(My answer, and I was Qualified for Command of Submarines, was “Tube 1, Set, Shoot, Fire 1, Make Ready Tube 2, Set, Shoot, Tube 2…)

I know that the Japanese used Red Cross ships in WWII to transport troops, transfer Americans to prison camps, and to transport ammunition.

If my Commanders think that ship has such high priority that it is worth the lives of my crew, I’ll take that shot!