The Intellectual's Curse
A street fight demands new rules
By Dr. Jack Wheeler

If you’ve ever had the ugly misfortune of being in a real street fight with someone determined to do you in, you know that fighting fair will get you killed.  If America should lose the War on Moslem Terrorism, it will be due to the increasingly hysterical demands of liberals and libertarians that we must fight fair with the terrorists.  Somehow, protecting the “rights” of terrorists is more important than protecting our lives.  It’s the Intellectual’s Curse.  What causes people to be intellectuals is a disposition to think that abstractions and concepts are more real than actual reality – so they get more afraid of the hypothetical consequences of the abstractions in their brains than by concrete threats in the real world.

What else could possibly account for their freaking out over GW’s holding military tribunals for foreign terrorists?  Or John Ashcroft’s holding illegal aliens who may clearly have material knowledge of September 11?  Folks who are not US citizens and have participated in the slaughter of thousands of Americans have no rights, no moral or Constitutional protections of any kind. You do not read them their Mirandas.  You do not let legal perverts like Johnnie Cochran and Alan Dershowitz try to set Osama Bin Laden and his cohorts free like O.J. Simpson.  You determine their guilt under established judicial guidelines of a military at war, and if found guilty, you line them up against a wall and shoot them dead.

We are in a street fight, and our survival depends on GW’s ability to brush aside liberal and libertarian complaints that we’re not fighting nice and fair.  The obvious example is Israel.  If Israel fought fair with those who wish to destroy her, she would no longer exist.  Israel survives because she has the nerve to assassinate her enemies, and efficiently extract information from them when caught.

When a Palestinian terrorist is captured, how many Israeli lives can be saved depends on how quickly and efficiently Mossad agents can get him to talk.  They strip him naked and sit him in a chair with his legs forced apart.  They bring in a large Doberman pincher whose muzzle is placed inches from his genitals.  They explain:  “This is Herman.  Herman is a very unusual dog.  Somehow, we don’t know how, maybe by smell, Herman can tell when someone is lying.  When someone lies, it gets Herman very mad.  And when Herman gets mad, he bites – really hard.  So we suggest you tell us the truth.”  While this often works, it is very far from foolproof. 

The ability to quickly extract truthful information – and know it’s true – from a captured Al Qaeda terrorist has the potential to save countless American lives.  Here is an interrogation method currently being considered:

[Note:  You don’t want to use a so-called “truth serum” like thiopental sodium.  It acts by confusing your memory so much you forget who is your friend and who is your enemy.  So you think the interrogator is your friend and you talk – except you can’t think or remember clearly.  No, the terrorist needs to be thinking and remembering with crystal clarity.]

The best lie detector – although it’s not used as such – is a medical brain scanning device called a functional MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging).  Light years in effectiveness beyond a polygraph, a fMRI scan can distinguish – instantly, in real time -- when someone is lying as opposed to telling the truth, as different regions in the brain light up. 

A fMRI is set up in the interrogation center at the Termez airbase in Uzbekistan.  When OBL (Osama Bin laden) or any of his cohorts are captured, bring him to the center and do three things:  place him under the fMRI brain scanner, put him on a mechanical respirator, and give him an injection of a paralytic drug called succinyl choline chloride (SCC).

SCC, used as a vetinarian anesthetic, causes muscle paralysis by blocking neuromuscular junction.  It causes immobilization without affecting the central nervous system, such that OBL cannot move yet he is fully conscious and there is no analgesia (pain relief).  Injection by an M.D. anesthesiologist of SCC into the nerve tracts leading to the diaphragm will paralyze the muscles needed for breathing.  OBL can think, remember, and talk, but he cannot breathe.  The mechanical respirator breathes for him.  Without the respirator, he would quickly suffocate and die.

The respirator is a CPAP, a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure unit used for treating sleep apnea, with a nasal mask.  The unit itself is placed in an adjacent room with a long hose, as no metal can be around the huge magnets of the fMRI.  The unit will force air via the nasal passageway into the lungs.  His mouth is free and clear to talk.

Now the interrogation begins.  OBL is asked a series of questions to which the answers are known (e.g., Are you a Moslem?  Would you like a drink of pig grease?)  If he lies, the respirator is turned off.  Few experiences are more terrifying than that of suffocation.  After a sufficiently terrifying period of suffocation, the respirator is turned back on, the question is asked again, and the process repeated until he tells the truth.  Once you have the regions in OBL’s brain clearly distinguished that light up when he is lying or telling the truth, the serious questioning starts.  It will not take long, an hour or two at the most, before OBL or his agent is singing like a full chorus of canaries.

That is how you fight a street fight with terrorists.  It is far worse than useless to argue that not fighting fair with them could hypothetically lead to tribunals and torture someday for US citizens. It has clearly not done so for Israeli citizens. Such argument is murderously dangerous by inhibiting our capacity to protect ourselves from those who are attempting – for real, not hypothetically – to destroy us.  We – you and I and all American citizens – have rights which we must zealously protect.  The OBLs of the world have none, and we should act toward them accordingly.

It is worth understanding that so acting is a necessary condition for the economy recovering from the current recession.  Until and unless winning the War on Moslem Terrorism is clearly in sight, the recession will continue.  The only way to win this war is to terrorize the terrorists into giving up their evil Jihad.  We can only do that by not falling victim to the Intellectual’s Curse.

Back to column Home