The Defense of Terrorism

by ALEXANDER G. MARKOVSKY December 14, 2014

Remember the famous Karl Marx quote, "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce"? In 1920 the leading figure of the Bolshevik revolution, Leon Trotsky, published a book called "The Defense of Terrorism." Just last week the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a report on the torture of terrorist detainees in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attack that, given its content, earned the same title. While Trotsky justified the ugliness of Bolshevism that began with a tragedy and ended as farce, Dianne Feinstein's report is a farce that will end up as tragedy.       

"So we submit this study on behalf of the committee, to the public, in the belief that it will stand the test of time. And with it, the report will carry the message "Never again," Senator Feinstein announced.

 Amalgamating ideology with opportunistic appeal, Feinstein and her Democratic allies delivered a report full of factual and intellectual errors. The superficiality of this report is evident in her statement, which sends two ideological messages-one to the Islamists and the other to Americans, with distinctive political calculations.

The message to the Islamists: To all of those who are torturing, murdering Muslims and infidels, raping schoolgirls and killing parents before the eyes of their children, beheading men, women and children, to all deranged minds who so passionately hate America that they are willing to kill themselves in order to kill us, America promises that we will "never again" mistreat you. We will "try to understand you," "empathize" and "show respect" for you, as prospective candidate for president of the United States Hillary Clinton lectured us recently.    And you do not have to be afraid of us. Your comrades captured on the battlefield fighting the infidels have been placed in a multimillion-dollar resort built specially for them in the Caribbean with amenities that include a modern kitchen designed to provide the halāl (حَلَال "lawful") food cooked to order, a mosque available for prayer five times a day, a well-equipped hospital with experienced doctors who are taking good care of their health, including teeth that have never been touched by a toothbrush, a team of lawyers to protect their rights under the Geneva Conventions that most of you have never heard of, a soccer field and a range of recreational facilities that none of your buddies have ever seen in their homelands.

Yes, some of your comrades were "tortured," but it was not what you think. We call it torture, but the CIA is not an unsophisticated KGB that would stick a steel rod in the captive's rear and heat it until it gets red hot or until he talks, whichever comes first (we all know which comes first), or put a hot iron on his bare stomach, or stick his face on a gas grill or, for some who had committed the most heinous crimes, KGB would offer its special-slowly lowering a captive into a furnace feet first. We do nothing like this. We used waterboarding, but it is not what you think. We used warm water and had a doctor present who could offer a sedative to make it comfortable for your brothers. Sometimes, when detainees refused to tell us what we wanted to hear, they were slammed against the wall, but again not to worry, the walls were specially designed to feel like a Posturepedic mattress. And, after a while, most of your brothers were released and are now doing what they know best: fighting among CIS and Al Qaeda in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen.

Sarcasm aside, the report has divulged to our foes that the US failed to define its national purpose and is woefully incapable of addressing this global conflict in a systematic and consistent manner.

Now let us examine the message to America and the Democrats' reasoning behind it. I find the most damning revelation of the report to be that "It finds that coercive interrogation techniques did not produce the vital, otherwise unavailable intelligence the CIA has claimed." To enhance the credibility of this highly controversial statement, the Democrats secured the support of the self-appointed American expert on torture, Senator John McCain, who stated, "I know from personal experience that the abuse of prisoners will produce more bad than good intelligence." I beg to differ with the senator, whose position is hardly unbiased and probably self-serving. While a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, McCain, under duress, allegedly provided valuable information to the enemy. Although no evidence has ever been presented, his acknowledgement of the effectiveness of torture could be interpreted by his political adversaries as an admission of collaboration with the enemy. Therefore, McCain's political frivolity can be discarded.

Having some exposure to the KGB modus operandi, I know from historical and personal experience that torture works. Only very few extremely courageous individuals can endure torture. Given the number of detainees at Guantanamo Bay (over 100), who for the most part are vicious killers; I would not expect a demonstration of mass heroism from those scumbags. So, if they were actually tortured, they should be singing like canaries. On the other hand, if the interrogators failed to extract valuable information from them, as the report claims, that fact would provide affirmation that the detainees were not tortured. The Democrats cannot have it both ways.

Conventional thinking embraces the belief that democratic civilizations are based on humanitarian principles that separate us from barbarians. To which  Henry Kissinger offered this caveat: "While we should never give up our principles, we must also realize that we cannot maintain our principles unless we survive." Within this context, President Obama's recent statement in reference to "moral authority damage" is grossly misplaced.

In this era of worldwide terrorism that may one day employ nuclear or biological weapons, extremism in the defense of liberty is not at odds with democracy and does not undermine the US's moral authority. On the contrary, embracing collective morality without the means to safeguard it is an apotheosis of besotted idealism. Faced with the overriding impetus on preempting what was universally expected as a series of new deadly attacks, the CIA at the direction of the Republican president was attempting, the best it could under the strict guidelines of the Department of Justice, to safeguard our survival. Ironically, so all of us, including Sen. Feinstein and her Democratic supporters, could uphold our principles. The Democrats, choosing the other side of the ideological barricade, impelled by the deeply rooted conviction that an appeasement is a panacea for peace, see their perpetual salvation in liberal policies that treat the enemies with empathy and the defenders of freedom with vilification. This ideological demarcation was explicitly articulated in Sen. Feinstein's report.

I keep asking myself: Are we living through a period of political masochism, or are current events so preposterous, so improbable, that they cannot be? Or has isolation from international terrorism that America enjoyed prior the 9/11 inhibited our capacity to understand our vulnerabilities and impaired our ability to recognize the danger before us? Sen. Feinstein believes that her report will stand the test of time. The question is whether it would stand the test of John F. Kennedy's appeal to "every he friend or foe, that the United States has both the will and the weapons to join free men in standing up to their responsibilities."

It is our responsibility as a nation, including Dianne Feinstein and her supporters-in the name of the missing Twin Towers and the thousands of victims of that heinous terrorist attack, in the name of the thousands of fallen men and women in the war on terror, in the name of the Israelis, who have suffered Islamic terrorism for decades-to face up to the enemy. The American challenge is to abandon denial, stop appeasement, face the threat, and acquire the will and psychological stamina to use all means at our disposal to grant the ultimate wish to those who proclaim that they love death more than we love life.

Alexander G. Markovsky is a Russian émigré. He holds degrees in economics and political science from the University of Marxism-Leninism and an MS in structural engineering from Moscow University. He resides in Houston, Texas, with his wife and daughter, where he owns a consulting company specializing in the management of large international projects. Mr. Markovsky is a contributor to, and his essays have appeared on, WorldNetDaily, Family Security Matters, Ruthfullyyours and other websites. He can be contacted at

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