Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Doin' It Real Big (This One's For My Gator Boys)

The NBA Draft is tomorrow, and in honor of the occasion, I'd like to pay tribute former Chicago Bulls 1st Round draftee, Joakim Noah.

Ok, ok. Maybe we can chalk that ridiculousness up to the exuberance of having just won the National Championship. Surely he settled down afterward and, on the day when he was to become a paid professional, did his best to show his new employers that he was a responsible, mature young man ready to dedicate himself to the team.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

It's Stuff Like This...

... that keeps me going as a sports fan. Holy cow. This is why Ken Griffey Jr gets an entire wall to himself in my room. I don't even care how that sounds.

He didn't start the game last night, but he was called on to pinch-hit in the 8th inning with one on and the Mariners down by 2.

The TV Broadcast

Video from fan behind home plate


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Torture or Cookies?

I read an article in TIME Magazine that I found very interesting. The piece dealt with the sensitive and relevant issue of torture. Much has been made about the United States' position on the interrogation of suspects at Guantanamo Bay-- whether the methods are within Geneva Convention regulations, or, perhaps more pertinent, whether those regulations apply to prisoners captured in the "War on Terror."

The Bush Administration has received loads of praise and criticism for its harsh interpretation of what is and isn't torture. At the crux of the issue is the practice of waterboarding -- a panic-inducing drowning-simulation that the Bush Administration has OK'd.

When I think of military interrogation, images of torture immediately come to mind. It's probably a result of watching too many movies, but whatever the cause, the association is strong. This article, however, explores non-coercive interrogation tactics and attempts to get a read on their efficiency.

I remember reading an interview a couple years back with an old man who was a US military interrogator during World War II. He said that physical abuse and threats were rarely effective on their prisoners, but that they received lots of valuable information from some high-ranking captives simply by playing chess and ping-pong with them.

The idea that non-coercive (and often congenial) methods of interrogation are just as, if not more effective in attaining information as torture is a counter-intuitive one. Maybe that's because plates of sugar-free cookies (see TIME article) don't make for as exciting episodes of "24."

This does not mean that this is a closed issue. Strong arguments can be made in favor of extreme interrogation methods, among them the "ticking time-bomb" scenario, in which information needs to be procured to prevent immediate catastrophe. It is then, that many believe information should be gathered by any means necessary.

I understand both sides of the issue. On one hand, it is important to abide by international law when handling prisoners. On the other hand, national security is of the utmost military importance.

I guess my opinion is based on principle rather than circumstance. I believe that holding terrorism suspects indefinitely, without trial, is unconstitutional, regardless of whether or not we're at war. I also believe that if the United States signed the Geneva Conventions, then we ought to observe our agreement at all times (this goes for 'outsourcing' prisoners to countries where torture is legal).

This has always been a difficult opinion for me to hold, as it's difficult to make a case that the ends don't justify the means when thousands of lives could be on the line. It seems, however, that based on the experiences of some of our country's most successful interrogators, it may not be an either/or proposition.