Thursday, December 15, 2005

The U.S. Military: sneaky or just plain dumb?

The question raised by the military's new set of classified interrogation techniques is, did the army know what they were doing and think they could get away with it or were they just being dumb. At a time when congress has passed John McCain's anti-torture legislation that the white house seems unable to stop, the army created a ten-page classified addendum to the Army Field Manual that is used to determine what is cruel and inhumane treatment. This looks like an attempt to make an end run about the proposed law. It's hard to say if that's true, because it's hard to believe the military would be dumb enough to think that wouldn't piss off congress. On the other hand, since they weren't aware that adding a secret addendum right now was going to create some controversy it seems that whoever was in charge of this project wasn't thinking straight, so perhaps they really were hoping to screw with the intent of McCain's law. It's one of those things we'll probably never know for sure, but in the white hot glare of publicity I think the field Manual isn't going to be claiming that cattle prods aren't really inhumane.

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