Talking Points

Why USA Will Lose War on Terror if Things Don't Change

In every war America has ever fought, brutal methods were employed.

The Japanese would not surrender in World War II, so atomic bombs were dropped on civilians. To break the will of the German people, the city of Dresden was firebombed. General Sherman's march through Georgia during the Civil War was full of atrocities. And the list goes on and on.

In each case, a good argument can be made that the war tactics used were inhumane and against what America stands for, which is freedom and fair play.

In each case, victory was achieved and millions of people were set free as a result. So brutality led to freedom, and safety for tens of millions of human beings.

Now America's fighting a barbaric enemy whose entire strategy is to commit atrocities. That's all the terrorists do: commit crimes. And many misguided Americans believe we cannot even interrogate these people harshly when lives are at stake.

It is absolutely impossible to keep America safe by affording captured terrorists name, rank, and jihad number. For all the false accusations that the USA is a torture nation, there have only been a handful of cases where water boarding and other harsh measures were approved.

Right now in Guantanamo Bay, detainees are allowed eight hours of sleep, three meals a day, two hours of outside exercises daily, and a bevy of entertainment and religious options.

For our trouble, the detainees throw bodily fluids at our guards hundreds of times a year. And there have been 90 stabbings by the captives, including an American doctor who was trying to save a detainee's life.

Military doctors in Gitmo now wear body armor when examining detainees. So once again, it comes down to theory versus reality. The terrorists can do anything. We can't do much.

Senator John McCain and others believe if we go further than intense conversation, our soldiers will be in jeopardy if captured. Well, Senator McCain knows better than anyone else. They already are as the senator was brutally tortured by the North Vietnamese, who had signed the Geneva Convention.

A few months ago, two American soldiers were captured in Iraq. They were sliced to death with machetes, photographed, and their bodies displayed on the Internet.

If military people do capture those suspected of doing that, they now can't use any techniques other than conversation. Let's call it, "we'll ask, don't tell."

As Talking Points stated Thursday night, President Bush is correct in asking for legal authority to use coercive interrogation methods in selective cases. The most noble thing in the world is saving lives. Sometimes harsh measures are needed to do that.

And that's "The Memo."

Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

As we reported earlier this week, a newspaper on the campus of the University of Virginia printed a cartoon that depicted the Virgin Mary as having a social disease. There was no point to the cartoon other than to offend. And the paper had done this before.

Now The Cavalier Daily has apologized, but the president of UVA, John Casteen, has yet to do anything. It is his obligation to enforce standards on campus, and he obviously will not do that. Same thing with University of Oregon president Dave Frohnmayer.

Ridiculous? Off the chart.