Open Letter To America's Enemies

Someone had to write it. From over at Digby’s place, a reader offers the following helpful primer:

In the international struggle for autonomy, freedom and dominance, there will be warfare. The United States of America is of course a prominent force for change around the globe and from time to time you may have the unlikely fortune of holding an American Soldier in your captivity. Should this unwelcomed day arrive, the Executive Branch of the US government, in conjunction with the CIA and Attorney General, has compiled a list of persuasive activities that you will be allowed to employ that will not be, at some future date, considered torture and subject to prosecution. We refer to this as your Persuasion Permission Slip or PPS. Please reference this list as needed for appropriate treatment of our soldiers should they be under your care.


  • Physical Discomfort that doesn’t leave a scar. This includes the use of forced positions, extreme temperatures, and constant exposure to noxious stimuli. For example, tying a soldier ‘s head to his ankles and leaving him in the desert in the middle of a camel stampede is acceptable provided no organs are damaged. Note that punctures, bruising and blows may be used but must not permanently damage any organ.
  • Humiliation that doesn’t leave a scar. This includes the use of nudity, or sexual contact of any kind that is for the purpose of sadism. Please note, if it is for the purpose of sexual gratification without the essential sadistic component, you run the risk of prosecution for War Crimes. Inserting a light stick into a child’s anus, for example, is not considered torture if it was done solely to frighten or humiliate the child or his parent. Allowances will be made for incidental gratification but if its sole purpose was the pleasuring of the guard on duty, that is another story.
  • Infliction of Fear that doesn’t leave a scar. Simulated drowning, electrocution, or mock execution are of course acceptable to America, as long as there isn’t a permanent injury or accidental death. Use of power tools such as hand drills to create an impression of immediate threat is permissible and encouraged provided no actual holes are made. (See Bybee v Black & Decker 2004 for details). This would include chainsaws and other time-saving woodshop devices. Remember that irrespective of how much terror or discomfort the soldier or his family members might feel, torture has not occurred until there is permanent damage to an organ. We recommend having a medical team on standby to provide ameliatorive care so that PPS may occur on an ongoing basis.

I hope this letter makes it clear that the United States is prepared to be tolerant in its treatment of our soldiers — up to a point. Any action that leaves a scar is going to be treated as an act of war. (Of course mental scars don’t count, especially if you are able to obtain a memo from a respected legal scholar saying this was not the intent). Sadly there are some bitter leftists in this country that would seek to deprive our soldiers of their right to PPS by persisting in advocating outdated definitions of torture. Those in power understand war changes trivial things like moral values and national character. I am sure this letter and the strict adherence to PPS will guide your treatment of our soldiers for years to come.