November 5, 2007

“Intensive questioning works."

"If I didn't use intensive questioning, there would be a lot of Mafia guys running around New York right now, and crime would be a lot higher in New York than it is."

Rudy Giuliani says.

John McCain says: "When someone says waterboarding is similar to harsh interrogation techniques used against the mafia in New York City, they do not have enough experience to lead our military."

Is "experience" the real issue here? On experience, Giuliani has his standard — and effective — comeback: McCain "has never run a city, never run a state, never run a government. He has never been responsible as a mayor for the safety and security of millions of people, and he has never run a law enforcement agency, which I have done."

The real concern is human rights and constitutional rights. What techniques did Giuliani use against Mafiosi when he was U.S. Attorney? Presumably, he rigorously adhered to constitutional law. If he didn't, I want to hear about it.

But to the extent that Giuliani is asserting that intensive questioning works, he's not saying that all techniques are the same. McCain knows that. You can tell because he uses the weasel word "similar": "When someone says waterboarding is similar to harsh interrogation techniques used against the mafia...."

McCain's quote, read carefully, is pretty much of a non sequitur. Intense interrogation, physical discomfort, things that approach torture, outright torture — these things are all on a continuum and the question where to draw the line is important. That is, these things are different in that some will be on one side of the line and some will be on the other. But they are also similar in that they are on a continuum and that they have to do with the observation that harsh interrogation is effective.

What does this have to do with "experience to lead our military"? All I can see there is McCain obliquely reminding us that he served in the military and he was tortured. That gives weight to his insistence that the United States must never engage in torture, but does it engage with Giuliani's point or talk right past it? It's muddled, but what I divine from it all is that when it comes time to draw the line on the continuum and say at what point the United States will stop, Giuliani will allow more. This isn't a difference in experience. It's a difference in balancing national security and compassion for the individual.

Video of Giuliani:

136 comments:

Tim said...

"It's a difference in balancing national security and compassion for the individual."

Yes. This discussion has been distorted by too many of us who see no need to strike any balance whatsoever for national security. It's as if they live in world in which the only bad guys are employed by U.S. security agencies, the military, or are registered Republicans.

Invisible Man said...

I'm a little confused. I guess Rudy has made a pretty good case for being against torture, unless his idea of "intense questioning" is a lot harsher than it sounds. Unless you are maybe to the left of Kucinich, I doubt you think that potential terrorists should be asked "pretty please with sugar on top". No one is saying to make them feel comfortable, just not to torture them.

Roger said...

It seems to me defining torture is very much like defining pornography. Very difficult to do unless you list the specific practices you wish to proscribe (or permit). And then, I suspect, some enterprising person will always figure out a way to employ some other technique. My same concern applies to "intense questioning."

Fen said...

Unless you are maybe to the left of Kucinich, I doubt you think that potential terrorists should be asked "pretty please with sugar on top".

What interesting is Democrat hypocrisy re torture:

"Clinton, Clinton, Obama and Schumer. They have all, to a greater or lesser degree, embraced the concept of coercive interrogation (some, even torture — which is unquestionably illegal), and they have all underscored the excruciating complexity of this issue."

http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MGU0NjdkYWUxOGQ0NjI1ODA2NjRhYTlmOWUxODMzZTM=

/via Intsapundit

Post: I'm amused by the double standard of the Left - they want to declare waterboarding illegal and deny its use when it might save my platoon from an IED, but when its their city at risk, they imply there will be an exception.

Dear Senator Schumer, If you believe waterboarding should be illegal, have the balls to make it illegal in all circumstances, or not at all. Don't come running to me with the promise of future immunity if I break the law to keep your city from turning into a valley of glass.

Our intel officers and troops deserve better than a wink/nod "promising" they can get away with breaking the law.

Fen said...

It seems to me defining torture is very much like defining pornography

I've changed my mind re waterboarding - it IS torture: the perp's lungs are actually filled with water. Its not just psychological.

However, I still believe such torture should be allowed against illegal enemy combatants. I do not believe we should extend Geneva rights to the very people the Law of War was designed to prevent.

Roger said...

Here's an example where, except for the psychological impact, no one is harmed. During the Viet Nam war, one technique involved putting several blindfolded prisoners on a helicopter, flying themaround for a bit, and dumping one out (at a very low hover so they were not physically injured). Helicopter lands, blindfolds removed and prisoners note the absense of the dumped prisoner. Torture?

peter hoh said...

Roger, that scene is played out in "The Gods Must be Crazy."

Torture? Probably not.

Ann Althouse said...

Psychological torture matters. I think most of us would much happier being waterboarded than made to believe that our child was being tortured and murdered in the next room.

wyatt gwyon said...

Where's the non-sequitur? Rudy is on record that he thinks waterboarding should be legal, and he implies that his experience as a prosecutor of mafia members gives him insight into "tough questioning" that those without such experience don't have. McCain has actual experience with torture and resents that someone who was a prosecutor (and no doubt did NOT as a prosecutor authorize waterboarding) ought to shut up about justifying stuff he doesn't understand the reality of.

And where's the hypocrisy on the Democratic side? If waterboarding is illegal and it is nonetheless used on someone with information regarding a "ticking time bomb," the President (Republican or Democrat) will pardon him. In other words, torture can be illegal and still may be condoned under very narrow circumstances. I may not agree with such exceptions, but recognizing their existence is not inconsistent with thinking torture should be illegal.

Fen said...

And where's the hypocrisy on the Democratic side? If waterboarding is illegal and it is nonetheless used on someone with information regarding a "ticking time bomb," the President (Republican or Democrat) will pardon him. In other words, torture can be illegal and still may be condoned under very narrow circumstances.

[snicker] No hypocrisy there....

Roger said...

Ann: It seems to me that many forms of questioning involve psychological gambits (good cop- bad cop; lying about what co-perpetrators are doing, what the evidence "says," and threatening the use of the death penalty). Again, I do agree there is some sort of line somewhere--I just dont know where it is short of listing every type of permissible or proscribed technique.

peter hoh said...

I don't accept the idea that torture helps our national security, which seems to be implied by your (Althouse's) last line, It's a difference in balancing national security and compassion for the individual.

I have no doubt that intensive questioning works. I have plenty of doubts that torture is an effective means to gather information.

former law student said...

According to wikip, the NYPD used the old broomstick-up-the-rectum technique during the murder interrogation of mafioso Frank Lino -- it's not a technique they created for Abner Louima.

However, I still believe such torture should be allowed against illegal enemy combatants. I do not believe we should extend Geneva rights to the very people the Law of War was designed to prevent.

One more time: Under the Geneva Conventions you're either a soldier or a civilian. There is no such thing as an "illegal enemy combatant." I posted the cite to the UT prof's upcoming lr article.

Trooper York said...

Al Hunt: But what is the difference between intensive questioning and torture? It seems hard to define.
Rudy Giuliani: The difference is very, very easy to define. I was subjected to intensive questioning from my former wife Donna Hanover on the night I met Judy at the Cigar bar. Donna couldn’t understand why I felt happy for a minute and proceed to question me in a very intensive manner so she could end any shred of happiness I might find in life.
Al Hunt: But what is you definition of torture?
Rudy Giuliani: That would be my marriage to Donna Hanover. When you look up torture in the Geneva Convention handbook her picture is there. You can look it up.
(Capital Gang, 2007)

Fen said...

I have plenty of doubts that torture is an effective means to gather information.

Waterboarding is torture, it can be used to fill the perps lungs with water. And under expert supervision, it DOES work.

So now what?

Luckyoldson said...

An epic battle over who REALLY knows how to torture...American politics at its best.

As for torture, why would any American condone its use?

Experts say it doesn't work, and we heard it straight from an expert just last week: "We got more information out of a German general with a game of chess or Ping-Pong than they do today, with their torture," said Henry Kolm, 90, an MIT physicist who had been assigned to play chess in Germany with Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess.

The Geneva Convention considers it to be illegal.

And we all know it's immoral...and certainly wouldn't want it used on Americans.

Just because our enemies use it...doesn't mean American has to stoop to the same level of inhumanity.

And, as for Fen's comment: "Waterboarding is torture, it can be used to fill the perps lungs with water. And under expert supervision, it DOES work."

And you base this on what?

Luckyoldson said...

Too bad this guy isn't around to throw his hat into the Republican Presidential candidate ring:

“It is better that ten innocent men be tortured to death than one traitor go free.”
Joseph Stalin

Luckyoldson said...

Ann Althouse said..."Psychological torture matters. I think most of us would much happier being waterboarded than made to believe that our child was being tortured and murdered in the next room."

That has to be one of the most ridiculous comments I've ever read...especially coming from someone who teaches law.

Pogo said...

I have mixed feelings.
Certainly one must take care that one does not become a monster while fighting a monster, and remain mindful of the concern that setting aside absolutes regarding unacceptable behaviors during wartime may threaten the moral basis for society you prefer.

But evil cannot often be fought by Marquis of Queensberry Rules, and sometimes very ugly things get done in the name of freedom. And if the other side knows there are lines you will not cross, he will cross them, and use this against you.

Unless one is a complete pacifist, even to the point of rejecting self-defense of any sort, one can always be criticized regarding war behavior. The West has always been this way. but don't forget that other cultures find this all pretty foolish.

Roger said...

I join Pogo's point: While there may not be agreement that the "war on terror," is a war in the same sense thata, say WWII was, American forces did some pretty nasty things during WWII. I simply dont know where that line is but do acknowledge its existence; for those that see a bright and shining line, and know exactly what and where it is, more power to you. And for something like dealing with terrorists, I think the use of rendition, reprisals against family members, and targeted assassinations are legitmate, if distasteful tactics.

Luckyoldson said...

Pogo said..."But evil cannot often be fought by Marquis of Queensberry Rules..."

And exactly WHO decides who or what is "evil?"

Do you really believe Islamic terrorists don't consider US "evil?"

The point of whether to torture or not torture is how you perceive your own country's morality and actions.

In the long run, taking the high ground will always win out...and history has proven this to be the case.

Michael_H said...

I see things simply.

If my beloved wife and daughter were being held by members of a gang who were about to do unspeakably evil things to them, and the police had one of the gang members in custody and thought that waterboarding him would yield the hostages' whereabouts.....damn right I'd favor waterboarding.

Now replace "beloved wife and daughter" with "ten thousand people in Chicago" and I think I'd want the same result.

Wouldn't you?

The Drill SGT said...

I line up with Roger.

1. I honestly don't think waterboarding is torture, having had it done to me by Army sergeants in controlled conditions. Nor do I think that it's fun to be sleep deprived or yelled at, or made to stand in awkward positions, but as a trainee and later a Drill Sergeant and SERE inmate, I got and gave that sort of treatment to hundreds.

2. I respect McCain's position on the topic, but disagree.

3. Oh, and waterboarding works. you bet. that's why we do it, not cause it's fun to inflict suffering.

4. Would I use waterboarding if I needed information from a KSM, you bet. In a heartbeat.

5. and No, the Geneva Conventions don't prescribe any particular technique of questioning.

Roger said...

Evil, in my definition, would include killing the crew of airliners, and flying them into two skyscrapers resulting in nearly 3K deaths; or sawing off the head of Daniel Pearl--But I am sure others have a much more nuanced view.

"The high ground will always win out." hmmmm: I bet the native americans might not agree with that (casinos nothwithstanding).

Pogo said...

Do you really believe Islamic terrorists don't consider US "evil?"

Of course they do. The difference being that they are willing to kill all of us who refuse to submit to Sharia law. In contrast, we want to be left the hell alone.

So yes, they see us as evil, but they're wrong. An inability to admit that they are in fact quite wrong is the kind of moral relativism that can defeat us, by leading to an incapacity to fight because one percieves any point of view no matter how heinous as legitimate.

former law student said...

I simply dont know where that line is but do acknowledge its existence; for those that see a bright and shining line, and know exactly what and where it is, more power to you.

You would think law blog readers would expect there to be rules, and would expect those rules to apply to the current situation.

However, our leaders can still decide consciously to violate those rules, assuming they accept the responsibility for doing so, including any punishment the world community decides is appropriate.

It would be sad to see a US President in the same dock as Pinochet, but I wouldn't rule it out.

Roger said...

former law student: My take is that law, however majestic and impartial we might think it is, is sometimes inadequate for the task at hand. Were it not so, we would not need human beings to interpret the law--it simply cannot stand alone with human intervention. Just my .02

Luckyoldson said...

Pogo said..."...we want to be left the hell alone."

Pogo, when have we ever wanted to be "left alone"...we're EVERYWHERE.
(Central America, South America, Pakistan, Turkey, Iraq, etc.)

As to the argument regarding our family being in the "next room," etc...it's the same argument put forth relating to someone knowing if a bomb is going to go off.

It makes perfect sense, if we know for "sure" that the person being tortured "knows for sure" that something is about to happen.

In the case of waterboarding or any form of physical torture, to get the right answers, the problem lies in not knowing if the person actually knows anything in the first place...and of course, the experts will tell you that people will say anything to stop the torture.

It's either the high ground or we join the very people we say are immoral, hateful terrorists.

I think most Americans are on the side of being righteous.

The Drill SGT said...

In the long run, taking the high ground will always win out...and history has proven this to be the case.

LOL: Tell that to the city fathers of Carthage

Town of 250,000, 3 year siege, 50,00 left alive, 40,000 then died in the street fighting and the Romans sold the remaining 10,000 sold into slavery.

Pax Romana

Pogo said...

It's either the high ground or we join the very people we say are immoral, hateful terrorists.

Sounds good, except in practice. Some would argue the high ground precludes any violence at all. So we're back to the line and where to draw it. High-minded phrases don't sort it out a whit.

Pogo said...

And there is the concept of righteous anger. Jesus so displayed it in the temple.

The Drill SGT said...

Evil, in my definition, would include killing the crew of airliners, and flying them into two skyscrapers resulting in nearly 3K deaths;

and of course they were hoping for 50k casualties in each tower. they weren't lucky.

Roger said...

I am not one that defends torture; however, to make the assertion that the victim will say anything to stop the torture, overlooks the obvious imperative the torturers have to verify the information provided. If torture were happening, I would rather not cough up phoney information only to face even sterner measures when my story fell apart.

The Drill SGT said...

Bottom line LOS is that guys like me (and perhaps Roger) are (were) soldiers, not lawyers. We're pragmatists. My country tells me who the bad guys are. My job is to convince them to stop hurting our folks (the Mission) and to protect my men (the Men) along the way. If that can be done without kiling the bad guys, that's great, if not, that's OK as well. Winning hearts and minds works sometimes and "steel on target" works the rest of the time.

Reading folks their rights was not in my job description. There is that great non-orwell quote that sums it all up:

"We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."

Luckyoldson said...

The Drill SGT said..."Tell that to the city fathers of Carthage..."

Good Lord, could you provide an example a tad more relevant to our current situation? (Hey...how about the Crusades...like that one?)

Pogo said..."Some would argue the high ground precludes any violence at all."

Not many would. Defending your homeland or ferreting out perpetrators of evil acts (remember Osama?) is not quite the same as tortturing people who you "think" may know something.

*And please...throwing Jesus into the mix is ridiculous...unless of course, you have examples of Jesus "torturing" people?

Roger said..."I would rather not cough up phoney information only to face even sterner measures when my story fell apart."

No, but at the time of the torture, I don't think one is considering the repercussions of being a bullshitter.

*We can beat this to death, but the bottom line is whether we want Americans physically torturing other human beings.

Luckyoldson said...

Drill Sgt.,
I certainly understand your point of view, being military, but what do you think of this "military" man's point of view?

“It is better that ten innocent men be tortured to death than one traitor go free.”
Joseph Stalin

And, as for the quote you provide: "We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."

It says nothing about torture...only visiting violence "on those who would do us harm."

There's a vast difference between defending one's homeland or delivering a blow against those who have done us harm...and torturing those you "think" know something.

*Do you believe in the Geneva Convention?

DEC said...

NPR has a brief history of waterboarding:

"From Algeria to Cambodia, waterboarding has been used as an interrogation technique for centuries."

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15886834

The Drill SGT said...

The GC forbids torture for most classes of detainee, but doesn't define torutre and I don't think waterboarding is torture.

simple response.

I have been waterboarded, nobody went to jail and I don't think waterboarding is torture.

McCain does, he's entitled to his opinion, and if we elect him President, he can issue an executive order. In the meantime, the Senate, could if it wanted, pass a law that defines waterboarding as torture and forbids it's use by anyone.

They have failed to do that thus far. why is that?

Roger said...

The Drill Sgt raises an excellent point: Congress can simply outlaw waterboarding--the question is why don't they? Is it (1) by doing so they lose a club with which to beat the administration and some of its appointees? (2) they are afraid they might look soft on national security? (3) they really think it just might be effective? (4) others?

Roger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roost on the Moon said...

They have failed to do that thus far. why is that?

It would be vetoed.

Re: Althouse's post,

The problem I have with conceiving of the whole problem as a continuum, as Althouse suggests, is that if it is a continuum, the more we allow, the safer we are.

That doesn't strike me as obviously true, all questions of morality aside. And that's not just me doubting the tactical efficacy of torture. (Which I do, but will readily admit my ignorance re: military matters.)

One can easily imagine that the more torture we allow, the more worldwide antipathy we incur. It's impossible to quantify or test, but it seems likely to me that the frequency of terrorist attacks is strongly correlated to how evil the rest of the world considers us to be. It could be that becoming known torturers, while perhaps foiling an attack or two, would so damage our standing in the world that we would be attacked much more.

The continuum idea takes for granted that torture would help us in the war in terror. I think that's far from clear.

Roger said...

Roost: it seems to me (as cynical as this may sound) but the fact that the President would veto it, provides the democrats with even more leverage to take the "high ground," not less. And it would put pressure on those honorable members to override or come out on the side of torture going into the 2008 elections. Unless, of course, the democrats see such an exercise as making them look soft. Otherwise it looks like a big win to me.

Luckyoldson said...

The Drill SGT said..."I don't think waterboarding is torture."

Well, that settles that.

As long as YOU don't think it is...it must not be.

*By the way...when YOU were waterboarded...was it by an enemy combatant or was it a training exercise...because...that would make a world of difference to someone...who actually thinks they're going to die.

Luckyoldson said...

roger,
I think the Democrats are basically running out the clock on Bush. Damn near anything they want to do right now can be held up by the 60 vote level in Congress, vetoed or merely ignored by Bush as the implementation process begins.

* As an example: People have been asking for Cheney's energy meeting records for 7 years and we still have absolutely no idea who he met with and what they discussed.

What we do know is this: Gasoline is about $2.50-3.00 a gallon and oil is at about $90+.

Roger said...

LOS: I agree that both parties are running the clock out and their fundamental strategy is to duke things out in the coming election year. I simply don't understand why the Democrats don't want to make waterboarding a rhetorical issue to take into 2008 if it is such a moral imperative.

peter hoh said...

LOS, and we've been waiting for those Health Care meeting notes since what, 1994?

peter hoh said...

So how did the British finally succeed in ending the IRA's reign of terror? Was it through torture?

Roost on the Moon said...

Roger,

You could be right. I can imagine our Democratic representatives bungling the public debate and looking "soft". They can probably imagine that, too.

That aside, it does seem the stronger strategy to just get the existing law enforced strictly. If waterboarding is explicitly defined and banned, then some new interrogation technique could just be invented to bypass the law. I think your 'cynical' interpretation is probably correct, but at the same time, it's not just waterboarding that's being objected to, it's torture in general. Our policy is already NO TORTURE. Why start a fight they might lose?

Roost on the Moon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sloanasaurus said...

The Left (and Lucky) are totally irresponsible regarding this torture question. They say things like, "...we are no better than Al Qaeda, if we waterboard Kalid Sheik Mohammad." That is such a crock of sh*#.

Al Qaeda beheads their prisoners on TV for not converting to Islam. They do it for pure propaganda purposes. We waterboard KSM to try and stop an imminent terrorist attack. We do it for pure self defense purposes. The differences are huge. Why the left doesn't understand this is pathetic....

Torture is immoral if it is used for no other purpose other than to obtain a confession. Torture is not immoral if it is used to prevent another deadly attack.

We should be waterboarding high value targets in order to gain information to stop such attacks, just like we did on KSM.

The ironic thing about all of this is that if the democrats were in power, they would be waterboarding KSM and the rest also. Because if, for example, a President Lucky decided not to waterboard a terrorist, and then a big attack occurred killing thousands of Americans, and we found out after the fact that the terrorist knew all about the big attack, President Lucky would be in big trouble for his stupid immoral decision of valuing the the lives of thousands of Americans less than the fallout from waterboarding a lone terrorist.

Luckyoldson said...

peter hoh said..."LOS, and we've been waiting for those Health Care meeting notes since what, 1994?"

Really?

You've been on pins and needles...wondering and wondering what those notes had to say...about health care?
*You're full of shit and you know it.

Luckyoldson said...

Here are a couple of truly astonishing comments from Sloan:

"The Left (and Lucky) are totally irresponsible regarding this torture question."

That's right...the entire "left"...and me, specifically...are "irresponsible regarding this torture question."

Other opinions, discussions,
debates...mean nada...just the left...and me.

And please keep another of his inane and totally illogical points in mind:

"Torture is immoral if it is used for no other purpose other than to obtain a confession. Torture is not immoral if it is used to prevent another deadly attack."

Well, wouldn't that also apply to the terrorists? As long as they're torturing Americans or others..."to prevent another attack"...it shouldn't be considered..."immoral"...right?

Thanks for the clarification.

Luckyoldson said...

Bush Administration Blocked Waterboarding Critic

Former DOJ Official Tested the Method Himself, in Effort to Form Torture Policy

By JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG and ARIANE de VOGUE
Nov. 2, 2007

A senior Justice Department official, charged with reworking the administration's legal position on torture in 2004 became so concerned about the controversial interrogation technique of waterboarding that he decided to experience it firsthand, sources told ABC News.

Daniel Levin, then acting assistant attorney general, went to a military base near Washington and underwent the procedure to inform his analysis of different interrogation techniques.

After the experience, Levin told White House officials that even though he knew he wouldn't die, he found the experience terrifying and thought that it clearly simulated drowning.

Levin, who refused to comment for this story, concluded waterboarding could be illegal torture unless performed in a highly limited way and with close supervision. And, sources told ABC News, he believed the Bush Administration had failed to offer clear guidelines for its use.

The Drill SGT said...

*By the way...when YOU were waterboarded...was it by an enemy combatant or was it a training exercise...because...that would make a world of difference to someone...who actually thinks they're going to die.

LOS,

I really don't think you have a clue about what waterboarding means or feels like. As I saw it applied, it was saran wrap over the face, with water (lots of water) poured rapidly over the face. NO ingestion of fluid. NO rational decision process on the part of the subject. NO suffocation response, it was much faster than that. Complete INVOLUNTARY GAG reaction and primal drowning reflex triggering convulsion.

No pain, no damage, no conscious control or decision, just instant reaction.

it would not matter if I was a captive or a trainee, the reaction is exactly the same. because it is involuntary and primal.

Eli Blake said...

Yesterday Rudy came out with a comment on a radio ad in New Hampshire that says that the five year survival rate for prostate cancer in Britain is 44%.

His exact quote was,

""My chance of surviving cancer - and thank God I was cured of it - in the United States: 82%. My chances of surviving prostate cancer in England: only 44% under socialised medicine."

Except that the number itself was taken from a seven year old conservative policy journal. The article was written by Giuliani's healthcare policy adviser, who admitted that his comparison was a "crude" interpretation of a study by a respected health policy group. The group, in turn, said the article's author had grossly misused its numbers.

The actual five year survival rate for prostate cancer in Britain is 74%, not 44%.

So here is the kicker: Giuliani's campaign was asked whether they would continue to use the ad and their response (given by a spokeswoman) was, "Yes, we will."

(!)

So they know they are telling a flat out lie on the radio, but they are continuing to tell it.

That tells you screeds about Rudy.

Luckyoldson said...

The Drill SGT said..."LOS, I really don't think you have a clue about what waterboarding means or feels like. As I saw it applied, it was saran wrap over the face, with water (lots of water) poured rapidly over the face."

I actually watched a clip of someone being waterboarded that readily available on the internet and there was no saran wrap. It was a rag or towel placed over the face, with water being poured through it and into the nose until the person gagged, passed out or the rag was removed.

Again...was your waterboarding done as a training exercise or were you being held captive and under the impression you could die.

Huge difference.

Ann Althouse said...

Luckyoldson said..."Ann Althouse said..."Psychological torture matters. I think most of us would much happier being waterboarded than made to believe that our child was being tortured and murdered in the next room." That has to be one of the most ridiculous comments I've ever read...especially coming from someone who teaches law."

Huh? I don't understand why you think that... even assuming you don't have children, why can't you see my point that psychological torture is torture? What the hell are you talking about?

Luckyoldson said...

Drill Sgt. says: ..."it would not matter if I was a captive or a trainee, the reaction is exactly the same. because it is involuntary and primal."

That's ridiculous.

A training session is just that...and you know full well that you're not going to die.

Having someone you think may kill you handling the situation is entirely different and I have no idea why you're avoiding the obvious.

Other than being a wing nut.

The Drill SGT said...

Eli,

I'm not a Rudi supporter, but as I understand the issue, the stats (and I do understand stats) they are comparing 2 different measures.

Rudi was comparing: given a detected early prostate cancer, what was the comparative survival rates in both countries. 82% US, 44% UK

your basis I suspect was the overall morality rate of all patients whether or not the cancer was detected early. so the numbers are a lot closer because you add undiagnosed cancers to both eh UK and the US numbers, so the mortality gap obviously closes then

not sure Rudi is lying about anything, just using a set of meaningful stats that talk to treatment regimes in both countries.

Here is the authors rebuttal of your charges:

article

Luckyoldson said...

Ann,
Yes, I do understand psychological torture, and of course I can see how your loved ones could serve as a strong incentive to give up information, but using your example is about as simplistic as one can get.

First of all psychological torture can take many hours, days or even weeks and months to achieve results. Physical torture can achieve results in a matter of minutes...that's why people use it.

And, why you would assume everyone would react as you obviously think they would, choosing the waterboarding opposed to what they think will happen to a loved one?

Some people are flat out cowards and might not behave as you think they would...so does that make the waterboarding any less of a torture technique?

I don't think it does.

Luckyoldson said...

Drill Sgt.,

The American Cancer Society say it's misleading to compare the countries at all.

American men are far more likely to undergo screening tests that detect the disease in its earliest stages.

That means U.S. survival rates include many men whose lives probably weren't in danger — and whose cancers may never have been noticed in the United Kingdom.

Methadras said...

I guess the question that needs to be asked is whether or not all perceived notions of torture or near-torture are the same. Under what context was McCain tortured under? We already know that it was used to break him physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually all for the reasons to denounce US involvement in Vietnam, give up vital strategic or tactical information and to possibly renounce his Americanism and in so doing would be allowed to return home. He refused and therefore endured further torture.

So what is the context by which Islamic terrorists are put under the specter of torture or are tortured outright? That is the question that must be asked.

Luckyoldson said...

Methadras,
Good points, but I think physical torture is torture...period.

To what degree you continue is the question, and to what end?

How long do you torture someone who, in reality, really knows nothing about what you're inquiring?

Sloan's point that as long as it's to avoid a future "attack" it's not "immoral" is nonsensical, because that could very well be the exact same reason the terrorists are torturing our soldiers or civilians...and I can't believe we would consider it to me "moral."

Would YOU?

Ann Althouse said...

Luckyoldson said.."Yes, I do understand psychological torture, and of course I can see how your loved ones could serve as a strong incentive to give up information, but using your example is about as simplistic as one can get."

Why? You have no argument.

"First of all psychological torture can take many hours, days or even weeks and months to achieve results. Physical torture can achieve results in a matter of minutes...that's why people use it."

I did not address this subject. I was only responding to someone who seemed to think only physically painful things could be torture.

"And, why you would assume everyone would react as you obviously think they would, choosing the waterboarding opposed to what they think will happen to a loved one?"

I never said "everyone." And I said " made to believe that our child was being tortured and murdered in the next room." That's not what someone merely imagines will happen in the future. I've assumed a technique that convinces you this is going on right now. I continue to assert that most people would rather be waterboarded than believe their child was being murdered. I can't even understand why you don't agree with me, let alone why it's "ridiculous."

"Some people are flat out cowards and might not behave as you think they would...so does that make the waterboarding any less of a torture technique?"

I didn't say ONE WORD about whether or not waterboarding is a torture technique! You call me stupid, yet you seem to have lost all ability to read. I was making an argument about relative pain.

"I don't think it does."

How about addressing what I actually wrote instead of fantasizing about what you're afraid I said.

The Drill SGT said...

LOS said...American men are far more likely to undergo screening tests that detect the disease in its earliest stages.

That means U.S. survival rates include many men whose lives probably weren't in danger — and whose cancers may never have been noticed in the United Kingdom.


Thanks LOS you made exactly the point Rudi was making in his ad. American health care is superior to UK public health care, demonstrated by the fact that more US men get tested in the private system, and many more are not at risk for cancer.

Luckyoldson said...

Ann,
I didn't say you're "stupid," I said your argument was simplistic.

Nor am I "fantasizing" about what you said: "I think most of us would much happier being waterboarded than made to believe that our child was being tortured and murdered in the next room."

I agree with your premise that if one was absolutely sure something of that degree was happening to a loved one, they would probably choose waterboarding for themselves, but I personally believe, if given the choice, "being made to believe" something is happening would be trumped by actual physical torture taking place.

Maybe a waterboarding party is in order.

Luckyoldson said...

Drill Sgt.,
I wasn't making Rudy's point.

He also left out the fact that about 45 million people in the U.S. have no health insurance and don't have any volunteer testing at all.

AlphaLiberal said...

It's funny how the same words can get different responses.

Giuliani says he was responsible or the safety of million of New Yorkers as mayor and I think a) that's the police chief's job, b) policing is very different from military work at any rate, c) all in all, no comparison.

So, Althouse posits, McCain who served in the military, who fought in war, who was an actual POW does not have relevant military experience to run the military.

Giuliani, who never served in the military nor had anything to do with foreign policy, he's the one with the experience.

That's some bad logic. Ann swallows it hook, line and sinker.

Ann Althouse said...

Lucky: Try to say what I actually wrote that you disagree with. I think you will find absolutely NOTHING. So admit it and apologize.

Ann Althouse said...

Alpha: "So, Althouse posits, McCain who served in the military, who fought in war, who was an actual POW does not have relevant military experience to run the military."

Quote the statement from me that you think means that and explain why you think it does. If you can't, apologize. And start reading more carefully! You and Lucky are really doing poorly today.

AlphaLiberal said...

To understand what McCain is saying, it's instructive to see what he said, rather than guess what he means:

"When someone says waterboarding is similar to harsh interrogation techniques used against the mafia in New York City, they do not have enough experience to lead our military."

He's certainly saying that partial drowning (a.k.a. "waterboarding") is not similar to interrogation techniques used by prosecutors in NYC.

Building off of that, McCain would be implying that not to know the difference is to be un-knowledgeable about a field in which Rudy claims expertise.

Short version: Rudy is really full of crap.

Or, it could be that Rudy really did use torture techniques while a prosecutor. In which case, a prosecutor should be informed and an investigation should commence, because Rudy would not be following the law (as when he tried to cling to his office after the term expired - bad sign).

And we really need to get back to a President who follows the law.

Lawgiver said...

Lucy dressed up in an old flight suit smeared with red paint. She hoped it looked like blood. She was wearing an old cowboy hat pushed just far enough back on her head so you could see the MISSION ACCOMPLISHED she had printed with lipstick above her eyebrows. It was a good thing she had such an unusually large head. Layers of dark eye liner, mascara, and rogue completed her Halloween attire.

The doorbell rang and Lucy flung it open screaming, “The trick is on you losers who voted for Bush, the treat is SHE will soon be anointed as President!” Twelve year old Robbie Morton, her next door neighbor, stared in shocked awe. “Wow, Mrs. Hedler, Halloween was last week,” he breathed. With her eyes bulging, she scattered a handful of Jolly Ranchers in his direction as she slammed the door. “Mom wants to know if she can borrow a cup of sugar,” she heard Robbie’s muffled voice through the closed door. She hated them, she hated each and every one of them. Bush had stolen Halloween from her.

(From Chapter Eleven of “Hate Me, Hate You, A Tale of Despair and Loathing in The 21stCentury.)

Ann Althouse said...

Alpha: Was that supposed to be your answer to me? It fails miserably. You say I wrote something disqualifying McCain's experience. Quote me! Explain your interpretation. You can't. So apologize. Don't keep blathering. Do the assignment. If you don't, everyone should take it as a concession that you can and regard you as pusillanimous for not admitting it.

AlphaLiberal said...

John McCain needs someone to speak up on his behalf, even a critic.

It's completely nuts that there'd be any debate whatsoever as to who between Rudy Giuliani and John McCain have more experience as preparation to run the military as Commander in Chief*.

John McCain
- Former Navy Captain.
- Served in combat.
- Was tortured and imprisoned for five years.
- Received a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit, the Purple Heart, and a Distinguished Flying Cross**.
- His father and grandfather were admirals.
- He was naval liaison to the Senate for five years.

Rudy Giuliani
- Was Mayor when NYC was center of attacks. Thousands died.
- Was Mayor in years after 1993 attack, and made several, ahem, "controversial" decisions that left NYC ill-prepared for 9/11. Despite recommendations.
- Ignored warning about al Qaeda.
- Quit the Iraq Study Group because he had to make money, or fundraise or something else more important.

- Had a police chief in his city. And police are kind of like the military except for the many more reasons why they're different.
- Never served in the armed forces (rumors of crossdressing-related deferment unconfirmed).

How Ann can put McCain on the defensive here or give Giuliani credibility in the debate is just plain .. weird.

* - Authoritarians please note: CINC does not command civilians. Modern Pakistan may be more to your liking.
** - The "McCain's service was worthless/betrayal" campaign ran back in 2002.

Revenant said...

One more time: Under the Geneva Conventions you're either a soldier or a civilian. There is no such thing as an "illegal enemy combatant."

You're still peddling that nonsense?

The people we're fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq fall into none of the combatant categories defined in the Conventions. Which, according to you, must mean they're civilians.

Which means we're not allowed to kill them at all, ever, even in combat. Sure, they might be shooting at us, but don't shoot back, guys! They're "civilians"!

AlphaLiberal said...

Ann, I'm not a big fan or parsing as a rule but as you wish. You said:

"Is "experience" the real issue here? On experience, Giuliani has his standards — and effective — comeback: "

When someone says an argument is effective, the default conclusion is that they think it's convincing.

You said:
"What does this have to do with "experience to lead our military"? All I can see there is McCain obliquely reminding us that he served in the military and he was tortured."

That's funny because I see McCain reminding us he understands some basic concepts Rudy doesn't get. But you took the queue to trivialize (and understate) McCain's military experience.

And, Rudy was answering a question about waterboarding, not torture. So, he's apparently admitting to doing something similar. Attorney General Cuomo?

AlphaLiberal said...

When I said "waterboarding, not torture" I should not have created the impression they are distinct.

Waterboarding, a.k.a. "partial drowning" is a subset of torture.

We won WWII without torture, could beat Tojo and Hitler and Mussolini without becoming beasts. But fear drives us to become more like them.

AlphaLiberal said...

And Ann, to answer your question at the time you typed it:
"No." But now I have a couple posts up.

The question:
"Was that supposed to be your answer to me? It fails miserably."

Not everyone is humping the refresh button. Order the decaf next time.

Revenant said...

The actual five year survival rate for prostate cancer in Britain is 74%, not 44%.

According to the American Cancer Society, 74% is the current figure for the UK. The United States' survival rate? 99%. In the early to mid 90s, the survival rates were 60% for the UK and 95% for the United States.

So you're correct that Rudy's figures seem to be wrong, but calling them a "lie" dramatically overstates your case -- he is claiming a 38% gap in survival rates, whereas the real gap was "only" 35%. I agree that he should use the more up-to-date and accurate statistics -- but under ANY set of statistics the USA's system is doing a better job on prostate cancer than the British system is.

Hey, how about a compromise -- he can just stick to saying he'd have been eight times more likely to die if he'd been stuck with the UK health system. That's fair. :)

Eli Blake said...

Drill Sgt.

Perhaps, in that the author (who happens to work for Rudy himself as I alluded to) is comparing non-early detected cancer. But when you compare apples to apples, (specifically those detected early) then it is 74%. It is also worth noting that the author himself admitted his numbers were unreliable earlier (source).

Besides, it is worth noting while we are at it that Rudy's cancer treatment was provided through a nonprofit health maintenance organisation for government employees-- in other words, he himself got socialized medicine (as do members of Congress and the President.) You'd think that if they really thought that America's for-profit healthcare system was all that great, they'd do away with their own socialized medicine system and sign up with a for-profit insurance provider like the rest of us have to.

Sloanasaurus said...

We won WWII without torture, could beat Tojo and Hitler and Mussolini without becoming beasts. But fear drives us to become more like them.

You're right. Instead we fire bombed entire cities for the purposes of....killing lots of civilians. But hey, as long as we didn't waterboard someone. Your moral scales seem a little unbalanced....

Besides do you really think we didn't do something equivilent to waterboarding anyone during WWII or was it that you hadn't come along yet and made waterboarding equal to the stretching rack.

Sloanasaurus said...

Isn't it interesting that the most peaceful and moral civilizations are the ones who didn't have any historians (nor any written language). Some native American tribes are good examples.

Hmm... I wonder?

The Drill SGT said...

Eli,

2 points:

1. here is another analysis of Rudi's argument.

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=YzIzNGM5ZGU0M2QwZDlhNWQ1NzYzYTQ1MmU4MDBlNzA=&w=MQ==

2. on your point that Rudi used some sort of government healthcare, thus was comparable to the UK PHS, I don't think thatt holds up.

first, government employees have choices in which firm they sign uo for. So do private companies. Those HMO's (or other types of health care organizations) compete in the market.

second, most of those private HMOs are titularly non-profit, Blue Cross being one example, Kaiser another.

the issue is not the for profit one you cite, but rather US health care features robust competition among providers offering alternatives and features. the UK system is a single provider controlling costs by rationing care. what part of "About 40 percent of UK cancer patients never get to see an oncologist" isn't clear?

The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pogo said...

UK cancer survival rates are among the worst in Europe
August 21, 2007
Cancer patients in almost all European countries survive longer after diagnosis than those in the UK. Only Eastern Europe does worse.

In The Lancet Oncology, the group publishes two analyses, one covering patients whose disease was diagnosed between 1995 and 1999, and the second covering those between 2000 and 2002. In general, five-year survival (generally a proxy for “cure”) is highest in Nordic Countries and Central Europe, intermediate in southern Europe, lower in the UK and Ireland, and lowest of all in Eastern Europe.

Europe’s survival rates are lower than in the US, where 66.3 per cent of men and 62.9 per cent of women survive for five years, compared with 47.3 per cent of European men and 55.8 per cent of women. These figures may represent earlier diagnosis.

The Drill SGT said...

Pogo posted: Europe’s survival rates are lower than in the US, where 66.3 per cent of men and 62.9 per cent of women survive for five years, compared with 47.3 per cent of European men and 55.8 per cent of women. These figures may represent earlier diagnosis.

So the theory of single payer PHS systems is that all of these resources saved by cutting down on paperwork, lawyers, defensive medicine, etc, can be applied to "preventative care" and screening. doesn't seem to work out that way in the UK does it?

Ralph said...

Did Clinton's previous unfamiliarity (as opposed to his "loathing") with the military hurt his ability to wield it for 8 years, or was it his natural indecisiveness? What about McKinley, Wilson, Madison, and all the Presidents whose military experience was short and at a low level?

The extent of McCain's executive experience was two years as a squadron leader in the mid-70's.
More than I've got (20 years as a Navy junior), but it doesn't make him a strategic genius.

Luckyoldson said...

if you think waterboarding is hurting America...read this:

Tons of debt.

In the fourth quarter of 2001, total household debt outstanding totaled $7.680 trillion dollars.

In the second quarter of 2007, total household debt outstanding increased to $13.331 trillion -- a 73.56 percent increase.

Let's place those figures in perspective.

In the fourth quarter of 2001, total household debt was 75.10 percent of GDP.

In the second quarter of 2007 it was 96.82 percent

In the fourth quarter of 2001, total household debt was 102 percent of disposable income at the national level.

In the second quarter of 2007 it was 129.62 percent of personal income at the national level.

Luckyoldson said...

Ralph,
Nobody would even be talking about military service if we weren't buried in Iraq.

Remember back in 2000...and any mention of Bush's vast military experience or leadership skills?

Fear is all the Republicans have...and they're sticking to it.

Lawgiver said...

Lucy’s ass hurt again and this time it wasn’t her hemorrhoids. Last night Lucy had slipped on a used condom coming back from a Code Pink demonstration at her neighborhood middle school. She had busted her ass big time. Why Code Pink was there Lucy hadn’t a clue. It didn’t really matter because it was just another excuse for her to froth and foam in a public forum. What did matter was her cracked tailbone. “I’m gonna sue those bastards,” she moaned. “The Department of Education needs to teach those kids the proper disposal of condoms.” Lucy knew that when Hillary was President SHE would take care of it. Lucy also knew that until SHE was sworn in as president the battle at Althouse would continue. BLOW ME Lucy typed and the clicked on the publish button.

From Chapter Twelve of “Hate Me, Hate You, A Tale of Despair and Loathing in The 21stCentury.)

Sloanasaurus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sloanasaurus said...

Let's place those figures in perspective.

We are still waiting for you to put these figures in perspective.

Tell us, what should the right percentage be?

Do you think debt is bad? Is it scary to you?

Who here who owns a home has debt payments equal to 14% or less. No one.

Cedarford said...

note on one of Roger's earlier posts:
One of the stories of Vietnam atrocities told and retold was that of prisoners pushed out of helicopters in order to scare others into talking. It is, of course, possible that some American interrogators engaged in this criminal practice, though not a single instance has been confirmed. We do know of one case where such an occurrence was staged through the use of a dead body. An investigation by the CID [Criminal Investigation Division] identified the soldier who had taken the photograph; it also identified a second soldier who acquired the picture, made up the story of the interrogation and mailed it and the photograph to his girlfriend. . . . The commander of the helicopter in question was reprimanded; the two crew members who had pushed the body out of the aircraft had since been discharged and therefore were beyond the Army's disciplinary jurisdiction. (pp. 321-322)
Let me repeat: "not a single instance has been confirmed".


The CID got involved because a reporter wrote it up as "soldiers inc. Sargeant X scared the NVA officers into revealing their unit's location by taking one officer away and throwing a corpse dressed as that officer from a high flying helicopter as the terrified NVA officer watched." The newspaper editor decided to keep the soldiers name and publish the story altered to say they pushed a living NVA prisoner to his death. The Sargeant X got wind of the story and went looking for the reporter, who he blamed, to kill or maim. The reporter, fearing for his life, contacted Army CID.

I always thought it funny when the Lefties went hysterical about any depiction of the enemy as brutal, nasty - as racist. When I was a kid, people were protesting the "Lies! Lies!" of "The Deerhunter" about VC playing russian roulette...and it's the same today with the Left and the Jewish-owned "progressive" Media.

Any atrocity about Americans is accepted uncritically right down to the last Qu'ran flush - but to hear what sick monstrosities AQ is doing, you have to get word outside the NYTimes and rest of the MSM.


**************

Methedras - Under what context was McCain tortured under? We already know that it was used to break him physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually all for the reasons to denounce US involvement in Vietnam, give up vital strategic or tactical information and to possibly renounce his Americanism and in so doing would be allowed to return home. He refused and therefore endured further torture.

That is the problem with McCain. Now he says torture doesn't work - but in speeches and books he did in the 70's and 80s admits to signing statements denouncing the US, giving up classified info - because torture did work and he did break, repeatedly. On McCain and every other POW - some completely, some partially.

He rests his honor not on never spilling the beans or cooperating - but on resisting again each time after he broke in interrogation and revealed more secrets. That and refusing an "early out" given his wounds - staying he would come home when the other POWs did.

In short, pretty honorable. But either he is lying now about torture working, or lying about it working when he discussed the matter after he was let out of the Hanoi Hilton.

*********************

Alpha Liberal - It's completely nuts that there'd be any debate whatsoever as to who between Rudy Giuliani and John McCain have more experience as preparation to run the military as Commander in Chief*.

John McCain
- Former Navy Captain.
- Served in combat.
- Was tortured and imprisoned for five years.
- Received a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit, the Purple Heart, and a Distinguished Flying Cross**.
- His father and grandfather were admirals.
- He was naval liaison to the Senate for five years.


So, for a fool who does not know you better and doesn't realize your argument is completely disingenous - that would mean you would vote for McCain over all the other never in the military cadidates like Romney, Hillary, Obama, Huckabee, Edwards..little Dennis?

Or discount the fact that a lower level officer or enlisted person may not have the executive experience to be Commander in Chief?

McCain was passed over for Admiral. From his POW trauma or whatever, he was determined not to be the best to lead at the top.
But he was a squadron leader, so he is not completely absent from leadership positions...just lower ones than President. And Duncan Hunter has a better track record as a military leader...

And Hillary, Obama, Edwards, Thompson, Biden, Dodd, Kuchinich, Paul join McCain in lack of proven good executive leadership. (Unless you believe that Hillary's "do not open!" archives from the WH, have all sorts of evidence that Hillary was a major decision-maker in domestic and overseas matters.) For that, you have Richardson, Giuliani, Romney showing superior results - and Huckabee mixed ones...

Hoosier Daddy said...

In the long run, taking the high ground will always win out...and history has proven this to be the case.

Really? So did you think we took the high ground when we fire-bombed Dresden and Tokyo? Did we take the high ground with Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

I would argue we did what was necessary to end the war and destroy 2 monstrous regimes but I certainly would not say the aforementioned acts was taking the high ground.

LOS, take some of your advice and do a little reading of history and you will see that we didn't always fight by the Marquis iof Queensbury rules. Fact of the matter is, we would have lost to the Nazis and Japanese if we fought by the type of RoE that is insisted our troops fight by today.

Freder Frederson said...

I didn't say ONE WORD about whether or not waterboarding is a torture technique! You call me stupid, yet you seem to have lost all ability to read. I was making an argument about relative pain.

Of course you didn't.

So Ann, simple question. Do you think waterboarding is torture?

It's a difference in balancing national security and compassion for the individual.

You teach contsitutional law and you think this is the issue? OMG! WTF is going on at the law schools in this country? You don't actually tell your students this do you? What kind of moron are you?

It has absolutely nothing to do with compassion for the individual (unless you are referring to the effect torture has on interrogators). It has to do with the rule of law, justice, respect for human rights and basic human decency, the constitution, morality, our status in the world and our reputation as a civilized nation.

Freder Frederson said...

The GC forbids torture for most classes of detainee, but doesn't define torutre and I don't think waterboarding is torture.

Which version of the GC are you looking at? Because as far as I can tell, the GC (and other treaties and laws that bind the U.S.) forbids torture without exception, not just for "most classes of detainees".

Furthermore, as you well know, no matter how much you may wish it otherwise (and try and pretend it isn't so), the UCMJ and military regulations prohibit the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees, no matter what their status. That you continue to imply that U.S. military policy is different, or the GC somehow allows the abuse of anyone, is not only dishonest but denigrates the uniform you used to wear and those who currently wear it.

Freder Frederson said...

Sargeant X scared the NVA officers into revealing their unit's location by taking one officer away and throwing a corpse dressed as that officer from a high flying helicopter as the terrified NVA officer watched."

You do realize Cedarford, that desecrating an enemy corpse is, in and of itself, a violation of Geneva? So even if your little vignette was reported accurately it would still have recorded a serious breach of the UCMJ.

Fen said...

You do realize Cedarford, that desecrating an enemy corpse is, in and of itself, a violation of Geneva? So even if your little vignette was reported accurately it would still have recorded a serious breach of the UCMJ.

Note that Freder would be cool with "desecrating" an enemy corpse if it saved him and his family.

Geez. Violation of Geneva? This is why we don't want lawyers determining our ROE. The soldier adapted to the situation and took action that resulted in many deaths of the enemy and fewer deaths of his platoon mates.

We really need a good culling.

Freder Frederson said...

Note that Freder would be cool with "desecrating" an enemy corpse if it saved him and his family.

Fen, you consistently misrepresent what I wrote in response to your ridiculous hypothetical a few months back.

So I am going to flip flop because you obviously cannot understand a nuanced position.

Now my position is this:

Torture is never justified. I don't care if my family and myself are about to die slow, horrible deaths along with the entire populations of San Francisco, Massachussetts, Hawaii and Vermont. I would rather see the person responsible spend the rest of his life watching cable TV and getting fat off Hallal meals prepared by the White House Chef than see a hair on his head touched by an interrogator.

Does that satisfy you now?

Freder Frederson said...

Geez. Violation of Geneva? This is why we don't want lawyers determining our ROE.

Fen, I am just stating a fact. You may not like it, but a fact it remains. Remember how appalled we were by the desecration of American corpses in Somalia and Fallujah?

You and Cedarford may be an uncivilized and sadistic louts who admire the methods of the SS, Gestapo, the North Vietnamese and Stalin, but please don't drag the rest of the country or the military down with you by justifying, applauding and advocating barbaric behavior by our armed forces.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Torture is never justified. I don't care if my family and myself are about to die slow, horrible deaths along with the entire populations of San Francisco, Massachussetts, Hawaii and Vermont. I would rather see the person responsible spend the rest of his life watching cable TV and getting fat off Hallal meals prepared by the White House Chef than see a hair on his head touched by an interrogator.

Then that makes you a pretty piss poor father and husband and IMHO, a human being as well.

Fen said...

Fen, I am just stating a fact. You may not like it, but a fact it remains. Remember how appalled we were by the desecration of American corpses in Somalia and Fallujah?

And how effective was Geneva at preventing that?

Of note [since I served in Somolia] the only reason those corpses were desecrated was because the UN forces took 8 hours to form a TRAP mission. My LAV platoon was not in country at the time, but our reaction time was 5 minutes to saddle up and get moving. So much for your faith in multilateral institutions and the "treaties" they create.

Geneva is broken. We have NO expectation of reciprocity from terrorist orgs [power drills into the hand, butane torches applied to the face, along with the standard beheading], and yet you would apply Geneva to the very people Geneva was intended to prevent.

How about we close with the enemy in rank and file like the Brits did during the revolution? Would that satisfy your "morality"?

And my accusation on hyporcrisy stands: you claim to oppose waterboarding on moral grounds, yet you have no problem granting immunity to people like me breaking any anti-waterboarding law provided its done to save YOUR family, YOUR city.

At the very least, have the balls and intellectual honesty to admit that if "torture" is immoral, it should be deemed immoral in ALL circumstances - whether it's waterboarding being used to prevent my platoon being blown up by an IED or your city being vaporized by a nuke. If you insist on taking the high ground, then waterboarding should be disallowed in ALL circumstances, or not at all.

Ann Althouse said...

"So Ann, simple question. Do you think waterboarding is torture?"

I don't know. 1. I've never studied the subject in depth, so I don't know the category "torture" as a legal concept, and I don't know how these techniques should be classified. 2. There seem to be several levels of waterboarding, and that is relevant. 3. I think the key question is what should the United States do. I don't assume the answer is we should only refrain from things categorized as torture. That is, I don't assume the line between torture and not quite yet torture should be determinative.

Freder Frederson said...

And my accusation on hyporcrisy stands: you claim to oppose waterboarding on moral grounds, yet you have no problem granting immunity to people like me breaking any anti-waterboarding law provided its done to save YOUR family, YOUR city.

Like I said you are too dense to understand or are deliberately mischaracterizing what I wrote (I imagine it is the latter) so I am not going to go over with it with you anymore.

Fen said...

I've never studied the subject in depth, so I don't know the category "torture" as a legal concept,

Water is allowed to enter into the lungs - its not just a "fake-out" that your drowning, you really are. Its a controlled drowning.

That being said, I still maintain that we should be allowed to use such torture against illegal enemy combatants like Al Queda.

Fen said...

Freder: Like I said you are too dense to understand or are deliberately mischaracterizing what I wrote (I imagine it is the latter) so I am not going to go over with it with you anymore.

Liar. Not 6 months ago, you advocated an exception to anti-torture laws if "x" number of lives would be saved. Do you really need me to search for it, post it, and embarass you yet again?

Freder Frederson said...

That is, I don't assume the line between torture and not quite yet torture should be determinative.

Do you agree that torture, even if you don't agree that waterboarding is not always torture (although the U.S. has condemned as torture for a hundred years or so), is illegal under U.S. law under all circumstances?

And are you saying that even treatment that doesn't quite raise to the level of torture--I won't even make you commit to cruel, inhuman and degrading--is still illegal under U.S. law? That the President saying "we don't torture", even if true, simply isn't good enough?

Of course the right answer to this question is an unqualified "yes". That is if you know the first thing about the constitution and the law and are not a sick twisted individual like Cedarford, John Yoo or Fen who advocate the tactics of the Nazis and Soviets.

reader_iam said...

Torture is never justified. I don't care if my family and myself are about to die slow, horrible deaths along with the entire populations of San Francisco, Massachussetts, Hawaii and Vermont. I would rather see the person responsible spend the rest of his life watching cable TV and getting fat off Hallal meals prepared by the White House Chef than see a hair on his head touched by an interrogator.

That's not high ground, that's just high.

Fen said...

so I am not going to go over with it with you anymore.

Better yet, simply state that you don't ascribe to ANY exceptions re waterboarding - you would not approve of a grant of immunity to anyone who participated in such to save your city from being incinerated...

A simple Yes or No will do. There's no room for disqualifiers...

reader_iam said...

And I'm against torture.

reader_iam said...

On the one hand, you have people advocating things that just blow my mind. On the other, you've got some goofus who it appears would view hair-touching as abuse, even as his own family and millions of others die slow horrible deaths, also a mind-blower.

We are doomed.

Freder Frederson said...

On the other, you've got some goofus who it appears would view hair-touching as abuse, even as his own family and millions of others die slow horrible deaths, also a mind-blower.

Are you famaliar with the word "sarcasm". You might want to look it up in the dictionary. Fen (and others) so very much likes mischaracterizing my position to make me look hypocritical and extreme I thought I would make his job easier.

reader_iam said...

Freder: LOL!

It seems to me that YOU'RE the one who needs to look up the word sarcasm.

Priceless, just priceless.

reader_iam said...

It's a close tie this morning, as to which Althouse commenter has made me laugh hardest this morning: Titus and his inquiry about bush color on another thread, and Freder's just previous response to my comments.

Gonna be a great day for humor at the Althouse blog, I can tell.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Are you famaliar with the word "sarcasm". You might want to look it up in the dictionary.

Well which is it Freder? Are you opposed to torture of any kind with no exceptions or what? Seems you have expressed two views on the subject but claim sarcasm when called out.

Methadras said...

Methadras,
Good points, but I think physical torture is torture...period.

To what degree you continue is the question, and to what end?


Of course physical torture is torture. I'm not disagreeing about that, but what I would disagree about is it's use and how and under what circumstance. We know the kinds of torture that our enemies display, but there are different kinds of torture and the issue has always been on what is acceptable and what isn't. To throw a total blanket over the use of torture and under what circumstances and how it is carried out removes our ability to glean information.

How long do you torture someone who, in reality, really knows nothing about what you're inquiring?

That would and could be determined very quickly. Torture isn't and shouldn't be carried out without vetting any of the information that is given for it's clarity, specificity, and it's truthfulness. Only amateurs move on information that is gleaned from anyone who is tortured. Professionals run that information against known information to assess it's quality and within the context that this information fits. Times, dates, names, operations, actions, weapons caches, locations, connections, etc. etc. all of these things are sifted and sorted through. This is why you will know very quickly if the person you are putting under this kind of torture is legitimate or not with the information they are giving you.

Sloan's point that as long as it's to avoid a future "attack" it's not "immoral" is nonsensical, because that could very well be the exact same reason the terrorists are torturing our soldiers or civilians...

We've seen the torture techniques of our enemy and it isn't something we engage in. If you want to equate being put through a plastic shredder or having your daughter(s)/wife raped in front of you to having pink womans underwear put on your head or being stacked up in a naked male pyramid, then I can't help you there. That's a matter of my perspective vs. yours. I just know at that level, what the enemy does in comparison to what we do or have done simply pales.

and I can't believe we would consider it to me "moral."

Would YOU?


I don't equate torture to morals, never have, never did. I personally have no problem with torture if it's used in a way that produces what is necessary with the least amount of it's use. I don't consider things like water boarding to be torture, prolonged standing, loud music, dogs barking in your vicinity or face, sleep deprivation, hot/cold manipulation, etc. to be torture. Torture has it's place whether we like it or not. If used effectively and efficiently, it can serve a purpose.

Maybe I'm a cold hearted bastard. I don't think so, but I've seen what real torture is with my time in Africa and let me tell you, what we do in comparison to what some of those sub-human animals do to their own is universes apart. The same goes for the arab muslims terrorists who engage in sadistic torture for their own personal pleasure. Look at the AQ manual on torture and compare it to ours. I'm sure you will see quite a difference.

Freder Frederson said...

Are you opposed to torture of any kind with no exceptions

I am opposed to torture of any kind without any exceptions. I regret being drawn into an equivocation a few months back when Fen posited a one in a billion hypothetical to which I gave a nuanced response.

Ever since he has misrepresented that response to imply that I would sanction torture to save family members but not allow the military to use it to save soldiers from IEDs. I, of course, said nothing of the sort.

Consequently, I will have to keep with the KISS principle since you all love attributing beliefs to me that I do not hold and saying I oppose torture with no exceptions is closest to my actual stance.

Methadras said...

Sloanasaurus said...

Isn't it interesting that the most peaceful and moral civilizations are the ones who didn't have any historians (nor any written language). Some native American tribes are good examples.

Hmm... I wonder?


Um, they really weren't as peaceful as you think they were. They engaged in more tribal warfare against each other than we did with them. Also, they engaged in slavery long before America ever did, not to mention their death practices where much more brutal. The notion that the early native American Indians were somehow noble savages is nonsense and I would stop using it as an example to make your point.

Their lack of a written language stymied their progress. That's why after nearly 10000 years or more, they were still stuck living as mere subsistence hunter/gatherers with some minor agricultural skills to augment their lifestyles. Yes, they may have been nature/sun worshipers, but culturally, they were still stone age up until the white man showed up.

Freder Frederson said...

We've seen the torture techniques of our enemy and it isn't something we engage in.

And you know this how? We know for a fact that detainees in American custody have been tortured to death. If detainees die during interrogation--even if the death was accidental--would you agree we have tortured them too much? The use of hypothermia especially can easily get out of hand and lead to death.

Methadras said...

Luckyoldson said...

if you think waterboarding is hurting America...read this:

Tons of debt.

In the fourth quarter of 2001, total household debt outstanding totaled $7.680 trillion dollars.

In the second quarter of 2007, total household debt outstanding increased to $13.331 trillion -- a 73.56 percent increase.

Let's place those figures in perspective.

In the fourth quarter of 2001, total household debt was 75.10 percent of GDP.

In the second quarter of 2007 it was 96.82 percent

In the fourth quarter of 2001, total household debt was 102 percent of disposable income at the national level.

In the second quarter of 2007 it was 129.62 percent of personal income at the national level.


Then why are you even worried about torture or it's place in American foreign policy? You sound more alarmist about peoples inability to save money and spend less than what they make because they aren't trained or prepared to do so and therefore find themselves in this mess due to their own personal spending choices.

Freder Frederson said...

not to mention their death practices where much more brutal.

Really, do you know what the penalty for treason was in England in the 16th century or what "drawing and quartering" is? Compared to that having your still beating heart ripped out of your chest and then being beheaded was downright humane.

That's why after nearly 10000 years or more, they were still stuck living as mere subsistence hunter/gatherers with some minor agricultural skills to augment their lifestyles.

Most native Americans were not hunter-gatherers at the time of first European contact but lived in complex agricultural societies who managed their lands extremely efficiently to maximize food production, both wild game and plants and domesticated plants. Nowhere else in the world was such a complex act of plant domestication achieved as was achieved with the domestication of corn. We still don't know how it was done or even with 100% certainty the wild source. Furthermore, they were overall healthier than the generally malnourished and plague infested Europeans who had exhausted their native soils through bad land management--which they proceeded to repeat on this continent. Heck, Europe wouldn't even manage to recover its pre-black death population until well into the eighteenth century.

Freder Frederson said...

Well which is it Freder?

I have stated repeatedly what our standard for interrogation and treatment should be. No one has ever indicated what is wrong with my position. You just call me names and imply (well Cedarford calls me it straight out) that I am a terrorist loving pansy, a traitor and unAmerican, even though I consider my position completely reasonable. I would still like someone to explain to me why my position is unreasonable.

I think that the Army Field Manual on Interrogation should be adopted as the standard for all federal agencies. What is wrong with that?

AlphaLiberal said...

Cedarford,

I described myself as a McCain critic before defending him, in the same post. So your attack is nonsense.

You show in your post that you only value authoritarian traits - has someone been a boss before?

You don't value knowledge. So McCain's knowledge of the miltary and related matters carries no weight.

The only thing you and other righties care about is how wide someone's authoritarian streak runs. Knowledge does not matter.

Typical.

Hoosier Daddy said...

You just call me names and imply (well Cedarford calls me it straight out) that I am a terrorist loving pansy, a traitor and unAmerican, even though I consider my position completely reasonable.

Well when you state, sarcastically notwithstanding that you'd have no problem allowing your family to suffer horrid deaths along with millions of lives lost rather than waterboard a terrorist, I do have to question your priorities as a father, husband or sensible human.

I think that the Army Field Manual on Interrogation should be adopted as the standard for all federal agencies. What is wrong with that?

Good question. I think you recall mentioning your wife is a serving member of the armed forces, why not ask her? Or if you have what did she say? If torture, however loosely defined does not work,it does beg the question why we would practice it? If a terrorist will give up more from a kind word versus a kind word and a smack upside the head then why aren't we doing it?

How many terrorists have we waterboarded by the way? Is it everyone we catch?

Revenant said...

We know for a fact that detainees in American custody have been tortured to death. If detainees die during interrogation--even if the death was accidental--would you agree we have tortured them too much?

We know for a fact that some detainees have died in American custody. You have inferred that they were "tortured to death", but it is not known for a fact that they were.

But yes, if the person you are questioning dies then you don't get to ask him any more questions -- so if, in fact, a person dies as a result of being tortured then yes, you have "tortured him too much".

Fen said...

Freder: I am opposed to torture of any kind without any exceptions. I regret being drawn into an equivocation a few months back when Fen posited a one in a billion hypothetical to which I gave a nuanced response.

Ah, the John Kerry "nuance"...

Freder: Ever since he has misrepresented that response to imply that I would sanction torture to save family members but not allow the military to use it to save soldiers from IEDs. I, of course, said nothing of the sort.

I never misrepresented you. You claimed to be against waterboarding, but advocated an after-the-fact immunity for any who used it to save your city. But if you've revised your position since then, fair enough. I will remember that you are now against waterboarding without qualifier.

Rev: How many terrorists have we waterboarded by the way?

Three to date.

Fen said...

/edit - sorry, that last quote was from Hoosier, not Rev.

Revenant said...

You show in your post that you only value authoritarian traits - has someone been a boss before?

Having actual job experience as an executive is an "authoritarian trait"? That's a crazy thing to say.

Until someone is placed in a position of executive power, Alpha, you don't know how they'll handle the job. It doesn't take a fan of authoritarianism to think that, before a person assumes the most powerful and important executive job in the entire world, it might be nice if he or she had demonstrated some actual executive ability! To put this is terms that will hammer home the point for you: there is zero evidence that McCain will be any more competent as an executive than Bush has been. We can be pretty damned certain that Giuliani or Romney would be better. It all comes down to the question of whether or not you want to gamble on an untried candidate for the top government job.

You don't value knowledge. So McCain's knowledge of the miltary and related matters carries no weight.

That complaint makes little sense coming from a man who loudly opposes McCain's position on the Iraq war. Obviously his knowledge of the military carries some weight, but it is also obvious that it doesn't automatically make him right on all military matters!

McCain has personal experience fighting in a pointless quagmire of a war -- and you ignore his opinion when he says that the Iraq war is neither pointless nor a quagmire. McCain has personal experience with torture -- and some people here ignore his opinion when he says that waterboarding is torture. So let's have none of this complaining about how people are ignoring McCain's "knowledge", because EVERYBODY here is ignoring his "knowledge" of at least one subject.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Heck, Europe wouldn't even manage to recover its pre-black death population until well into the eighteenth century.

Well considering the Black Death took out about a 1/3 of the population, I suppose some demographics type would cut them a bit of slack.

Although you might want to qualify some of the superior Indiana agricultural achievements because it certainly wasn't practiced universally among tribes.

AlphaLiberal said...

Someone here told us all that Americans used torture in World War II when we deafeted the much better armed, financed and staffed Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo threats.

But, that's a false excuse invented by conservatives who embrace torture.

Here are some WWII veterans who angrily reject the idea that America should sink to the depth of base torturers.

Watching the Frontline special on rendition and expansive use of torture by Cheney-Bush. They're just destroying our nation's good name.

AlphaLiberal said...

Be sure not to miss this statement from a former Rudy staffer:

"If Rudy is suggesting in any way that they used torture or aggressive interrogation in New York City then he is absolutely unfit to be president," Hauer said, "because torture in a local jurisdiction is, first of all, illegal. Secondly, it is inhumane. It is not something that is done at the local level."

Or any level.

AlphaLiberal said...

"It doesn't take a fan of authoritarianism to think that, before a person assumes the most powerful and important executive job in the entire world, it might be nice if he or she had demonstrated some actual executive ability!"

Bush had executive experience. Remember? He was Governor, a corporate executive, had his own ball team.

Can we stop using that stupid ass litmus test now?

Revenant said...

Someone here told us all that Americans used torture in World War II

Really? Who told us that?

Revenant said...

Bush had executive experience. Remember? He was Governor, a corporate executive, had his own ball team.

And as you've pointed out many times in the past, he generally did a bad job in those executive jobs -- before going on to do a bad job as President. Why, its almost like past job performance predicted future job performance or something.

Can we stop using that stupid ass litmus test now?

No, Alpha, we won't stop using common sense. You should try it yourself sometime.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Someone here told us all that Americans used torture in World War II when we deafeted the much better armed, financed and staffed Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo threats.

Um...better armed? Better financed? Do you make this stuff up as you go? US GDP at the start of the war was nearly twice that of Germany, Italy and Japan. All three Axis powers were still using WW1 rifles (K98 etc) as their main rifle. The US was the first to introduce a semi auto rife (M1 Garand) as early as 1942. German armor was not so much superior as their tactics were.

Actually we defeated them by killing massive numbers of their soldiers and with the exception of Italy who cried uncle first, pretty much destroyed their entire infrastructure including more than a few cities to the tune of almost a million dead civilians for Germany and Japan. A tactic that your side would never allow to occur today but yet, ended those threats.

Oh and spies and saboteurs, those who did not meet the requirements of a legal combatant as defined by the GC were routinely executed.

Luckyoldson said...

A Marine Corps lawyer told a House subcommittee Thursday the Pentagon blocked him from testifying that harsh interrogation methods tripped up his prosecution of a suspected terrorist.

The accusation came as the debate over detainee treatment continued to affect Michael Mukasey’s nomination as attorney general, with lawmakers struggling to come to a decision on when a confirmation vote would be scheduled. ————

Meanwhile, a former interrogation instructor for the Navy said the words that congressional Democrats wanted to hear from Mukasey: waterboarding is torture and should be banned.

“Waterboarding is torture, period,” Malcolm Wrightson Nance, a former Navy instructor of prisoner of war and terrorist hostage survival programs, told a House constitutional subcommittee. “I believe that we must reject the use of the waterboard for prisoners and captives and cleanse this stain from our national honor.”