Really keeping the spirit of this blog, here's an outrageously bad idea that no one else is offering but needs some serious thought.
Recently a US soldier published her memoirs about her Iraqi service. At one point, after being appalled by the interrogation techniques of the US Army, she told a superior that even if the man was previously innocent, he would leave custody a terrorist. Her superior said, "Yes, I know".
We know. Yet we keep on doing it. Remember the definition of insanity?
Tactics that convert the innocent to terrorism are unlikely to change the minds of existing terrorists. Yet, isn't that the aim of our "war" on terrorism? This isn't a war against terrorist tactics: as others have pointed out, that would be like a war against aerial bombing. The war is against an extremist mindset: we need to reduce the number of people thinking this way.
Yes, one way to do this is to eliminate such people. Unfortunately for us, this tactic seems only to increase the number of people who can be incited to violence against a perceived threat from western cultural, economic, and military pressures.
So, if we don't torture possible terrorists, and hold them indefinitely, what should we do instead? How could we instead convert them to our side?
Give them a home in our country.
Show them kindness. Give them a nice ankle bracelet and send them to live with volunteers who intend to show them the good side of our country. Take them to the mall in the SUV. Take them to a local mosque. Welcome them to a local church event. Include them in the family picnic (after some Islamic sensitivity training.) Goodness knows the American culture has its own struggles with spirituality and care for others. Perhaps this would help both sides.
Ask them questions later.
A) You're rewarding terrorists. This is not about rewarding individual criminal acts: it's about destroying networks founded on political ideologies. It's also different from trying to attack a criminal organization based solely upon the profit motive. If we could just pay off the terrorists, we probably would. We're probably trying that already in secret. But it doesn't work much better than torturing innocent people. If rewarding them with kindness would dissolve the networks, then great.
B) They won't be persuaded and they won't ever answer our questions. OK, and we're no better off because it's not like torturing is working either. But by showing them this kind of treatment, their cause is weakened instead of strengthened, and that's the long-term goal.
C) We just have to torture people in order to get important information. So, how's that working for you? Remember the definition of insanity.
D) You can't let dangerous criminals out in public. It's the network that's dangerous. These aren't common criminals bent on robbing and killing individuals: they're ants and queen bees in a network. If the monitoring is competent, and they really are terrorists, they might even be bait for a rescue attempt. And we don't release known terrorists: we charge and try them.
E) Lots of foreigners would claim to be terrorists to get in the program. So, here's the clever part. If we haven't already arrested you and you apply for the program, then you have to prove that you are a terrorist to apply for the house arrest program. How do you do this? The candidate for the free range program has to inform on at least two other people. The rate of breakdown of any terrorist network would then be exponential. Eventually there would be only phony terrorists applying. End of war.
Yes, it's a bribe to possible terrorists to inform on their brothers. They wouldn't do it if they're really committed terrorists. But this isn't a program for the known terrorists.
If there is no one in detention we could put in such a program, then we should be able to try them on charges. So what are we doing torturing people that might have be innocent? If there is someone in detention that might be innocent, rather than convert them to terrorism, send them to a good Christian home.Weird Views ©2006 Charles Petrie