Nick Ragone is an author, attorney and public relations executive in New York City. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Rutgers University, and is a graduate of the Eagleton Institute of Political Science at Rutgers University (undergraduate) and the Georgetown University Law Center.

He is the author of three books: Essential American Government, Everything American Government, and President's Most Wanted. Nick is a regular contributor to the Fox News Channel and Fox Business, the PIX11 Morning Show, and has a weekly appearance on the popular Raph Bailey Radio Show.  He co-anchored PIX11's five-hour live inauguration coverage with Jim Watkins and Kaity Tong.

Nick is a contributor to Donklephant.com, one of the most influential political blogs on the web, and  has written for US News & World Report, The Star-Ledger, Real Simple Magazine and RealSimple.com.  Nick has been quoted in over two dozen stories on politics, the presidency, and public relations.  In December of 2007, Nick was named one of PR Week's 40 under 40 to watch, and in May of 2008 was featured in "Profiles of Success", a book about public relations. Nick lives in Jersey City, NJ, with his wife and two children, and spends what little free time he has obsessing on the Mets.

Nick can also be found on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=740817853




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Thoughts on torture

I've shied away from commenting about the release of the Bush torture memos, or the policy of torture in general, mostly because it doesn't really interest me, and I didn't feel like I could add much to the  conversation.

But ... that won't stop me from offering one simple thought.  Torture is an extremely complicated issue on many fronts.  Legally, it falls into a gray area of sorts -- experts and scholars have debated ad nasueam the definition of torture, and there doesn't seem to be an answer.  Ethically, it would seem to contradict our American values, while morally, it would seem to be an affront to most American's belief systems.  And then there's the whole question of whether it actually works: are captives more likely to tell the truth -- or just say anything -- when they're on their ninth day without sleep.

There's just so many layers to this onion that it doesn't resonate with me as an issue, except on one front: the split among Democrats as to whether the Obama administration should actually pursue war crimes against CIA officials who partook in any torture (however it's defined). I'm amazed that respectable Democrats in Congress want to spend time, energy and resources determining if some terrorists at Guantanimo may have been roughed up once upon a time.  Those same terrorists, by the way, feel no compunction about beheading civilians and posting it online.  Lets just keep this in context.

Is that really the best way to continue to keep America safe from another terrorist attakcs -- by pursuing far-fetched war crimes? Are we really protecting the homeland by bringing the CIA to trial?

I just don't get it.  There are so many obviously better ways to use our resources in the war on terror, it almost defies logic that Senators like Patrick Leahy would actually want to go down this path.  But he clearly does.

Bottom line: We still have enemies who spend every waking moment plotting to kill us dead.  We need to be vigilant in our understanding, surveillance, and anticipation of this threat -- always.  To me,  creating a war crimes tribunal does not seem the best way to do that.  Ok, so maybe we tortured some terrorists, and maybe it violated the spirit of international law (and maybe it didn't).  And now Obama has decided to discontinue the policy: fine.  I'm not convinced torture actually accomplishes its stated goal, and I'm happy to see us do away with it, to be honest.  But the idea of tying up the nation's resources and attention on some freakish war crimes tribunal seems ludicrously stupid and dangerous.  It's time to put that talk to rest.

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Reader Comments (2)

I agree with you, Nick! Instead of pandering to an international audience of hypocritical, finger-in-the-air do nothings on this so-called "issue", I'd like to see those people the American voting public (in its infinite "wisdom") sent back to office focus on the major challenges this country faces now and will face in the future. This "torture" nonsense is BS and a distracting red herring that gives sanctimonious, demogogic pols something to flap their lips and waive their arms about so they can look engaged and busy instead of getting down to the very difficult business of creating a workable regulatory system for banking and finance, and "fixing" education, healthcare, Social Security, campaign finance reform, national defense, balanced budget, global warming, energy dependence, and every other true crisis that demands action by the significance of its threat to each of us and our way of life. Shame on these politicians, and shame on us for sending this crop back to office.

April 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPRA

From what I have read and heard, torturing the mastermind and his cronies accomplished a lot and if it is going to protect my my baby girl from the evil doers then by all means lets torture.

April 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrc

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