On Waterboarding and War


There’s rumors Trump might permit waterboarding.

And of course, there’s the apoplectic response. “Waterboarding is torture!” “We should take the moral high ground!” “The Geneva Convention!” “We’re not monsters!”


First things first: When we are at war, literally anything goes. There is no moral high ground once war is declared. War is a dirty, ugly, filthy business, which I why I propose we prosecute wars with our full ability and end them as soon as possible. We should try to spend as little time as possible at war because war is not moral and nothing anyone does during war can be considered moral.

When the Civil War began, people would have picnics to watch the battles, as if they were some game or some spectacle. I simply cannot understand this. If there was a war, and it approached my home, I would run as far away as possible from it. That is, unless I was called upon to fight in the war, in which case, I would fight as hard and as long as I could to end it as soon as possible.

Granted, we have laws for how we choose to fight wars, but those laws are not written by nature. Those are laws we impose upon ourselves simply because we’d rather not do certain things even if it meant losing the war. But let me tell you this: If it became clear that the path to victory lie across those laws, how many of us would question those soldiers and commanders who decided to ignore the law? I guarantee you that if you actually thought we might lose a war, you aren’t going to ask any questions at all of our soldiers when they fight that war and win. No, they will wear the victor’s crown and rightly be considered heroes, even if they did things that they would wish we never knew about.

Which gets me to waterboarding. The liberals in our country find it distasteful. I find it rather humane compared to other forms of torture, even civilized. In fact, I cannot even call waterboarding torture because it looks nothing like the things we traditionally associate with torture. (Cue the apoplectic response right about now.)

Whether or not waterboarding is effective is completely irrelevant. Whether or not we tie our soldier’s hands during war is entirely appropriate. Should we give them a mountain of cash and say, “Win this war, no matter what!” Or do we tie them up in chains and say, “If you happen to win this war despite these limitations, we’ll think of new ways to make you less powerful later.”

Second: The issue of law. Some people think that the US constitution applies to our enemies. I am here to tell you that it does. The constitution gives the power of war to congress and the president. That is, the constitution tells the enemy who is going to come and kill them. That’s about it. None of the rest of it applies. The US constitution has no force in Afghanistan or Iraq, unless we have an embassy there. The laws apply to soldiers but it doesn’t apply to the people the soldiers kill. They have no first amendment protections, nor do they have a the protection of a trial by jury. They cannot appeal a decision to the Supreme Court. They have no recognition under our law except as an enemy. To try to impose the constitution upon people in foreign countries is exactly the sort of imperialism that liberals complain about. Yes, it may sound nice to have the people in Afghanistan to be subject to the constitution, but that would mean they were subject to the United States, a territory. I am sure the people of Afghanistan would object.

Third, the Geneva Convention does not apply to terrorists and never will. They didn’t sign it, they are not even a state. (If they were, we could end this really quickly.) They get no protection under the convention, and in fact, we shouldn’t be playing games with them. We catch a terrorist, we mutilate the body, desecrate it, and post it on a pike for the whole world to see. That’s if we’re feeling generous. The Romans would do far worse. By fighting us without wearing a uniform or without a state to back them, they are no soldiers and they are not even criminals. They are worse than bandits and pirates and everything else that would make civilized life impossible. To treat them with even an ounce of respect is to disrespect the very foundation of civilizations: law.

Donald Trump is not an idiot. He is likely going to completely unlock the military and our intelligence agencies to do what they do best: Find people and kill them, and blow stuff up. If he’s really smart, he will write a fat check to the generals and say, “I don’t care what you spend that on as long as we win and they lose.” Maybe he will tell the generals, “You have one more week to win the war. Make it count.” This sort of idea to many people sounds barbaric and even hateful. But the truth is, for the safety of the world, it is the wisest course of action. By unleashing our generals and our admirals and our military men to do what they know how to do, to hold them accountable only to their own conscience and the laws that govern them, is the ultimate good. Every time our military has moved in the world, ever war we’ve ever won, has brought freedom and liberty to the world. And once the fighting is over, and the enemy surrenders, we can send in our humanitarians with food and blankets and clothing and we can rebuild, without a cent from the government to help. But not until the enemy is gone.

I beg you, if you love Afghanistan, if you love Iraq, if you love any of these hell-holes inhabited by hellish radical muslims bent on murdering women and children, let our soldiers loose. Let the dogs of war fight the war. Once they are done, and the area is secure, we can move in with true humanitarian help and begin the process of healing. But as long as that wound is open, there’s only going to be more death and destruction.

Mind you, I am not arguing for perpetual war. I am arguing the opposite. I want intense, focused fighting with a clear ending point. I want congress to think really, really hard before declaring war. And in the rare case where we have an ongoing war, I want it to be over with as quickly as possible.


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