15 March 2007

KSM Confesses

I'm hoping that somebody can explain to me why exactly there is so much fuss over Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in the news today. Apparently he's come clean that he was the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, "from A to Z," no less. Yeah, anybody that's been paying attention for the last couple years already knows that. Or is this one of those cases where everybody "knew," but this just seals it for sure?

I remember reading about KSM months ago and was fully aware that he was the man responsible for organizing and plotting the operation that ultimately became known as "the planes operation" amongst his al-Qaeda operative colleagues. It was even initially much grander in scale, as they were plotting to hi-jack at least 10 planes and fly them into buildings in places all across the United States. Information on this can be read in the 9/11 Comission Report and a number of other sources that I provide in the unlikely event anybody would like to read about such a thing.

Now for the dark side of all of this: I read that this information was procured from KSM after he was "waterboarded" by interrogators. If you want to know what waterboarding is, the details of it are not pleasant. It involves creating the sense that the person being waterboarded is drowning, I believe by blindfolding him, setting him at a certain angle, and pouring large amounts of water over his face. It is, in short, a form of torture, and not something that I believe the United States should be practicing as part of its "coercive interrogation" programs to wring information from terrorists. I recall reading that the interrogators were impressed by KSM's ability to withstand the waterboarding for 3-4 minutes before finally confessing. Somewhere out there are lengthy papers by Charles Krauthammer and Michael Ignatieff that discuss whether democracies should use various forms of torture, and either or both of them make reference to waterboarding, that are both fascinating (and often shocking) reads. I will reiterate, because it is important to say these things often and boldly: I do not, under any circumstances, support the use of torture as a means in the War on Terror & Tyranny.

What did qualify as news to me involving KSM was that apparently he also confessed to being the person who killed Daniel Pearl, the American journalist beheaded in 2002. This was, I believe (correct me if I'm wrong), the first beheading by Islamist terrorists during the War on Terror & Tyranny of a non-combatant, setting a grim tone for future gruesome and repugnant acts that also claimed the life of Nick Berg and others. It typifies their approach of deliberately killing innocent people in order to inspire fear among civilian populations, and is one of the defining differences between us and them.

Again, if somebody wants to clarify the confession of responsibility for 9/11, that would be appreciated. I will conclude by stating that I hope this man and all of his accomplices ultimately receive justice--which will not come in the form of their heaven.


Carrie said...

So if this... Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the one responsible for 9/11, what exactly happens with Bin Laden in the whole situation?

And form of torture to get him to confess?
That would be horrible. But maybe under some certain circumstances, it could be allowed. Not saying that I'm agreeing with torturing someone to get them to confess... But they could deserve it if they've done something really terrible...

RGM said...

KSM was the one who had the idea. OBL is the one who helped him bring it to fruition. KSM was al Qaeda's #3 guy and brought the plan to the boss for final approval, financing, etc. bin Laden is still the world's most wanted man.

The "ticking time bomb" hypothesis is one in which some well-reasoned people have argued that some forms of torture/coercive interrogation could be justified. That refers to a situation in which a terrorist attack is deemed imminent and the authorities have arrested or detained a key figure in the operation, eg. a nuclear "dirty bomb" is planted somewhere in New York City and the NYPD arrests the guy who planted it there and desperately needs to get the information out of him in order to prevent a catastrophic explosion. Tough call eh?

Also, in democratic societies, nobody "deserves" to be tortured, regardless of how despicable or repugnant any of their past actions have been. We have more humane and suitable forms of punishment for those who transgress our laws. Saddam Hussein's vulgar regime routinely tortured people for the most insignificant of crimes. I should think that we in Canada like to think of our government as better than that of Saddam, and thus we should never adopt or even consider utilizing some of his methods.

Sheena said...

At last! Jimmy Hoffa gets his overdue final internment.