April 29, 2009

"The central question for lawyers was a narrow one..."

"... locate, under the statutory definition, the thin line between harsh treatment of a high-ranking Al Qaeda terrorist that is not torture and harsh treatment that is. I believed at the time, and continue to believe today, that the conclusions were legally correct."

Judge Jay S. Bybee defends himself.

235 comments:

1 – 200 of 235   Newer›   Newest»
rhhardin said...

I still don't get how any law even applies to the situation.

mcg said...

It's really rather simple: if a technique succeeds in eliciting information, it must be torture.

Joseph Hovsep said...

You don't get how any laws govern the behavior of U.S. interrogation techniques? Does that mean you think it should be carte blache--kill, maim, rape suspects at will?

rhhardin said...

@JH, no it's that the legislature doesn't run wars, no matter how much it wants to.

Joseph Hovsep said...

The Geneva Convention is U.S. law.

rhhardin said...

@JH These guys do not qualify under the Geneva Convention.

Lem said...

“he has some basic flaws including being very naïve about leaders.”
Another clerk... found Judge Bybee’s remarks troubling because he suggested that his role as a lawyer could be divorced from whatever policy was being pursued. “He definitely offered a view that was sanitized,” she said, “and I thought that was disingenuous in that it removed any responsibility on the part of the lawyer for what was happening”
.

The character assassination continues.

Bob Sacamano said...

If you do not wear a uniform and are captured on the battlefield plotting war against civilians, you are SOL. It is only by the grace of God that these monsters were picked up by a country that cares. They could have been plucked out of their caves by the Russians, Chinese or, heck, even the French (Algeria, anyone?) who wouldn't have thought twice about doing whatever they wanted without any consequences.

Bob Sacamano said...

One more thing that the Left seems to have forgotten. If they are going to start opening the history books to prosecute officials including Judge Bybee, Sept. 2001 will not be an absolute cut-off.

Remember, that the war with al Qaeda began under the watch of the President who explicitly endorsed "extraordinary rendition". The Right in this country will not stand by and watch good men and women thrown into court without seeking equal treatment for those who came before.

Hoosier Daddy said...

The Geneva Convention is U.S. law.

It is? I thought it was an internatonal treaty.

Did Osama sign it on behalf of Al Qaeda?

garage mahal said...

Great. Now our enemies know all about our meaningless frat boy pranks that wasn't even torture like silly 3 Stooges slaps [nyuk nyuk nyuk!] and pouring cups of water over their heads.

goesh said...

When those with the duty, expertise and experience deem with high probability that an enemy agent/combatant in custody holds real time operational information, all I can say is thank God for the Syrians, Egyptians and Jordanians who don't hesitate to apply a garlic crusher to the nuts of said operative. Didn't Spock already address this issue??

Hoosier Daddy said...

Except for the desire to see the US devastated I honestly have difficulty with thier notion of fair play with respect to Islamic terrorism. This is a group who doesn't desire territory or financial leverage or resources but instead if given 10 nuclear warheads would not hesitate for a second to use them on us. Its about killing as many Americans as imagionable. Hell don't take my word for it, just listen to bin laden or his 2nd in command for about 90 seconds. Do you honestly think they give a flying mouse fart if we suddently start reading Achmed his fucking Miranda rights? Considering that had zero compunction in beheading innocent civilians for YouTube subscribers, why do you think they'll suddenly become civilized if we play nice?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Now our enemies know all about our meaningless frat boy pranks that wasn't even torture like silly 3 Stooges slaps [nyuk nyuk nyuk!] and pouring cups of water over their heads./

Don't forget garage, they only became our enemies when Bush came into office. The Islamists loved us when Clinton was running the show.

traditionalguy said...

Mercy and forgiveness are only virtues in a Christian country. The liberal wing says that they highly value mercy and forgiveness, so they must be glad to be living in a Christian country. All Moslems despise the idea of mercy and forgiveness. We will never win them over by showing that we have an internal war about how to restrain war with Moslems to merciful methods. So the real issue here is how to shame the Christians for their arrogance in defending their families from murderers by using Harsh measures. Why that's like making the enemy die for his country...how horrible.

Lem said...

If Obama really believes those interrogations techniques amounted to torture then he is a hypocrite for not condemning our allies that helped us fight Al Qaeda and also waterboarded.

Or would that inconvenience his foreign policy?

Freder Frederson said...

If you do not wear a uniform and are captured on the battlefield plotting war against civilians, you are SOL.Actually, the International Convention Against Torture applies regardless of the status of the detainee. We have gone over this so many times I am beginning to think your, and others who continually make false statements about the applicable laws and treaties (which have the force of law) are deliberately lying to make their support of torture more palatable.

TosaGuy said...

If these acts were indeed so horrible why has a Dem Congress not yet passed and the president not yet signed a bill outlawing the specific procedures outlined in the memos?

Until this happens, all the supposed "outrage" on this issue is pure partisan posturing.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

rhhardin said...
I still don't get how any law even applies to the situation.
and@JH, no it's that the legislature doesn't run wars, no matter how much it wants to.

Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution says:
The Congress shall have Power
...
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
...
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

I believe that Congress oversteps its authority in many cases. This is not one of them.

Meade said...

"Until this happens, all the supposed "outrage" on this issue is pure partisan posturing."

Sort of like my former neighbor who, for four years, had a sign in his front yard that read: "END THE WAR."

Driving through the old neighborhood yesterday, I noticed the sign has been moved to the side yard and up against the house.

goesh said...

- there is nothing fair or pleasant about survival when mass destruction is the venue, contrary to the pretension of Law. The Constitution cannot sustain that which seeks its foundational demise, we the people.

madawaskan said...

Judge Jay S. Bybee defends himself.

Finally, which beggers the question what in the Sam HELL were they doing to him in The Washington Post?

I really think the Republicans need to say they were trying to set up parameters of where not to go in other words that they were writing limits.

I really do think they are trying to impeach this guy and peel him off as a sort of dry run to see where else they can go and at the same time use his "trial" as a chance to gin up the public for more.

Joseph Hovsep said...

It is? I thought it was an internatonal treaty.Yes. Treaties to which the United States is a party are equivalent in status to Federal legislation, forming part of what the Constitution calls "the supreme Law of the Land."

These guys do not qualify under the Geneva Convention.Yes they do. They are also entitled to the protection of the U.S. Constitution. See Boumediene v. Bush.

rhhardin said...

@FF @IB okay, you wouldn't know it from the News.

So that's why Bush put it up to lawyers to see what could be done.

Sometimes agreements tie the hands when you don't want them to but he has to work with them.

The structural way out of it is to simply violate the law and stand for reelection as to whether you did the right thing. Indeed that's sort of built in, before term limits.

garage mahal said...

Don't forget garage, they only became our enemies when Bush came into office. The Islamists loved us when Clinton was running the show.I don't know one person that thinks this.

Robert Cook said...

"The Geneva Convention is U.S. law.

It is? I thought it was an internatonal treaty"
.

Read the Constitution...treaties to which we're signatories become the law of the land.

Article VI, 2: "This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding."

rhhardin said...

They don't qualify under Geneva no matter what the judges said.

Judges are just another branch of government.

rhhardin said...

Treaties being federal law is under some dispute, under the idea that the present congress can't bind a future congress.

Otherwise the voters would lose control of the government.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Actually, the International Convention Against Torture applies regardless of the status of the detainee...

Which leads us back to what is torture, which I know for you means being denied a prayer mat and being forced to eat bacon.

Hoosier Daddy said...

The Islamists loved us when Clinton was running the show.....I don't know one person that thinks this..

No? Well considering how many folks here think that our international stature was so dignified until Bush took over I think you need to revisit that.

Hoosier Daddy said...

They are also entitled to the protection of the U.S. Constitution/

Then why has Obama not released each one of them and brought them to US for trial?

vet66 said...

Any discussion of morality versus values reminds me of a question on the driving test.

You may be right in acting on a green light because it grants you the right-of-way. It still helps to look both ways before entering the intersection because some fool may be oblivious to your moral imperative evidenced by your proceed indication.

You may be right, but you may be dead right. That is the difference between morality and values. Morality values life. Values require that you may have to bend the rules to enjoy morality.

Islam means submission. I don't see where they care about nuance and niceties of parlor discussions. They are prepared to die for Islam. Are the naysayers prepared to die for their secularism? A good analogy would be the current tactic of buying off pirates to avoid bloodshed. It doesn't work and encourages them.

Put out a couple of juicy "Q" ships on-station and fire-for-effect when they fire on the ship or attempt to board. The pirates have no rights because they are, by definition, outlaws.

David said...

rhhardin said...
"Treaties being federal law is under some dispute, under the idea that the present congress can't bind a future congress.

Otherwise the voters would lose control of the government."

Huh? The future Congress can always withdraw consent to the treaty, and can pass laws inconsistent with the treaty if they choose.

Ratified treaties are federal law.

rhhardin said...

The future Congress can always withdraw consent to the treaty, and can pass laws inconsistent with the treaty if they choose.

Is that true?

I've followed discussions where it would plainly have to be false.

Joseph Hovsep said...

They don't qualify under Geneva no matter what the judges said. Judges are just another branch of government.

Um, ok. Well, the other branches of government agree with the Supreme Court, so that's three branches of government. The Bush Administration accepted the ruling, as did the Obama Administration and both branches of Congress. It seems to me that you are arguing the point that I originally suggested you were making--that no law should apply, which is patently absurd.

Joseph Hovsep said...

Then why has Obama not released each one of them and brought them to US for trial?

Good question. He should and I imagine that will happen later this year.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I'm not sure what the point of adhering to the GC means when the other side not only isn't a signatory but blatently goes out of its way to violate every precept of the treaty.

rhhardin said...

that no law should apply, which is patently absurd.

It's not absurd but patently reasonable under a divided powers, and the President getting the commander in chief role. Once war is authorized, he's the guy.

And there are reasons you'd want this.

Hoosier Daddy said...

He should and I imagine that will happen later this year..

I'm curious what it should have to take an entire year.

Bob Sacamano said...

I expect that Obama will just begin releasing them into the US as he will the Uighurs held at Gitmo:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-gitmo-release24-2009apr24,0,7979465.story?track=rss

Since we didn't read them their Miranda rights on the battlefield, there's no reason to continue holding them.

Perhaps we can begin putting them on the public dole as they do in Britain with the radical "asylum seekers".

bearbee said...

Watched PBS Miller Center Public Affair with Benjamin Wittes on Law and the Long War: The Future of Justice in the Age of Terror,
commenting on the need for a new body of law, that conflicts involving an enemy with no country do not fit within current rules of war or federal laws. Congress would need to design the new laws.

video

Joseph Hovsep said...

Hoosier: I'm not sure what the point of adhering to the GC means when the other side not only isn't a signatory but blatently goes out of its way to violate every precept of the treaty.

You can make the same argument about ordinary criminal law and criminals. Why should we provide fair trials and protections against abusive detention practices to people who show no respect for the laws we adhere to?

Most people believe in an objective commitment to granting others a presumption of innocence, treating others as they expect to be treated, etc. There will always be delusional and desperate and psychopathic people among us, but that does not make it ethical or smart to lower ourselves to the lowest common denominator among us.

daredevil-66 said...

Ive noticed when you throw facts infront of the face of those who want to prosecute the Bush years they bluster and fall back on "but..but we're better than this! We don't torture!" Ah yes, by that admission we are also better than banana republics that prosecute those out of power too. I'm not too worried as I see obama and a few democrats with good sense desperately trying to put it behind them. This is all show for the rubes.

Hoosier Daddy said...

the need for a new body of law, that conflicts involving an enemy with no country do not fit within current rules of war or federal laws./

I don't think anyone disagrees that an interrogater can glean useful information using techniques that don't require waterboarding or scaring the poor soul with a catepillar. Generally these types of culprits can be provided incentives in which to cooperate such as a reduced sentence, better living quarters, cable TV, the possibility of a suspended sentence, etc. These are things that matter to most rational and even semi-rational people.

I really would like to know if anyone thinks those types of incentives would make a suicide bomber cooperate?

garage mahal said...

No? Well considering how many folks here think that our international stature was so dignified until Bush took over I think you need to revisit that.?

You have a bad habit of arguing exclusively in strawmen. For example - it's possible to oppose torture without loving Achmed the fictional be-header. It's possible to oppose torture without thinking eating bacon or being denied a prayer mat is torture. In fact, I think it's even probable that most people who oppose torture would be perfectly happy accepting the definition of torture that we relied on for decades before it got all so confusing under Bush/Cheney.

rhhardin said...

You can make the same argument about ordinary criminal law and criminals.

Geneva is based on the enemy being a responsible player, and it's just one of the rules of the game all have agreed to play under. It makes war civilized. Were there honor adhering to thieves and their relation to the society they're in, you could make the same argument.

Coleridge somewhere, in his op-eds around 1800, argued for returning a British sea captain to French captivity because he had escaped from the French by going on the lam when he had been left at liberty in France because he promised not to escape. It may be life or death but gentlemen do not cheat.

Rules that reflect strength of character never meant much to the left, which is more interested in avoiding consequences.

Hoosier Daddy said...

You can make the same argument about ordinary criminal law and criminals. /

Actually you can't make the same argument at all. The GC was created in order to make warfare more 'civilized' because there was the understanding that war was never going to go away. That is why there were specific rules definining who is a legal combatant. During the battle of
the Bulge the Germans sent in commandos dressed as US MPs. Those that were captured were summarily executed as sabotuers because they violated the rules of war. The terrorists don't meet a single GC defintion of what constitutes a POW based upon the treaty language. How the USSC majority figures that do is beyond me.

As with others, you are making comparisons with criminal law and warfare and the two don't meet.

rhhardin said...

con't

With al-Qaeda there are no rules we've agreed to fight under. Hence no Geneva.

Hoosier Daddy said...

You have a bad habit of arguing exclusively in strawmen..

Damn garage, don't let the irony bolt kill you there.

Robert Cook said...

"Ive noticed when you throw facts" (sic) "infront of the face of those who want to prosecute the Bush years they bluster and fall back on 'but..but we're better than this! We don't torture!' Ah yes, by that admission we are also better than banana republics that prosecute those out of power too. I'm not too worried as I see obama and a few democrats with good sense desperately trying to put it behind them. This is all show for the rubes".

No, those who wish to prosecute the war criminals and torturers in the Bush administration, including but not limited to Bush and Cheney, have all the facts on their side. It's those who are apologists for torture and mass murder who attempt to muddy the conversation with blustering fact-free red herrings about "does torture work?" and so forth.

Further, you dutifully repeate the current right wing meme about "banana republics" without understanding what they even are. The calls for prosecution of Bush, Cheney, et al. have to do with their violations of the law and nothing else. If investigations reveal that Democrats in Congress are complicit--as I believe is the case--they require indictment as well.

By the way, Joseph Hovsep: it's nice to see a smart guy here who can express his substantive opinions well and clearly.

Joseph Hovsep said...

I really would like to know if anyone thinks those types of incentives would make a suicide bomber cooperate?

There may be no acceptable incentives to get a suicide bomber to cooperate. But torturing him is not acceptable on legal, ethical, religious, or pragmatic grounds.

Hoosier Daddy said...

In fact, I think it's even probable that most people who oppose torture would be perfectly happy accepting the definition of torture that we relied on for decades before it got all so confusing under Bush/Cheney./

Well the problem there buddy is that it only got confusing when your side decided that treatment our guys get in SERE training suddenly became torture when we did it to the guy who sawed off Daniel Pearl's head.

For Christ sake when journalists who volunteer for waterboarding to see how awful it is also volunteer for the kind of treatment McCain got in Hanoi then come talk to me about it.

Hoosier Daddy said...

There may be no acceptable incentives to get a suicide bomber to cooperate. But torturing him is not acceptable on legal, ethical, religious, or pragmatic grounds./

So then as far as your concerned, the possibility of the loss of hundreds of American lives is an acceptable cost then?

Joseph Hovsep said...

For Christ sake when journalists who volunteer for waterboarding to see how awful it is also volunteer for the kind of treatment McCain got in Hanoi then come talk to me about it.

I don't know any journalists per se who experienced what McCain experienced in Vietnam, but if you think its valuable to rely on the wisdom of someone who has experienced that kind of treatment first-hand to decide what we should consider impermissibly harsh treatment, you could ask, um, McCain himself. What does he think about waterboarding and other techniques promoted by the Bush Administration?

traditionalguy said...

The need for a quick interrogation answer, and not having six months for psychology and manipulation to break a high-up Terrorist Leader, requires the CIA to put fear into the subject by a credible threat of his death or maiming. Now that horse has already left the barn last week when The One ordered the release of the Top Secret Memos revealing to the world that our best torture skills never kill or maim anyone. That action told everyone listening that Obama is either stupid or he is a secret agent of an enemy Power in time of war. But what a smile on that guy!

LarsPorsena said...

"....It makes war civilized...."
You still don't get it. War is, never has been ,nor will be, civilized. You do whatever it takes to win.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I don't know any journalists per se who experienced what McCain experienced in Vietnam, but if you think its valuable to rely on the wisdom of someone who has experienced that kind of treatment first-hand to decide what we should consider impermissibly harsh treatment, you could ask, um, McCain himself./

You misread. I was referring to those journalists like Hitchens who voluntarily get waterboarded. I don't know if anyone who volunteers to be tortured.

Der Hahn said...

Joseph Hovsep said ... You can make the same argument about ordinary criminal law and criminals.You can make the argument but you'll be killing innocent pixels for nothing.

The AQ and other individuals taken on battlefields that we are holding are not *criminals*. We are not accusing them of breaking any US law. In fact, I find it difficult how you can imagine any situation under which we would be justified to put them under the jurisdiction of our criminal justice system.

This is where the effort to tangle the treatment of POWs under the Geneva Convention with how we are treating AQ operatives is really going to create some nasty blowback for the US. Those of you making that arguement are providing justification for captured US soldiers to be tried and punished by the judicial systems (i.e. kangaroo courts) of our enemies.

madawaskan said...

Look under Obama terrorists are going to be treated like fish-

Catch and Release.

It's the New Nicer Greener Administration.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Those of you making that arguement are providing justification for captured US soldiers to be tried and punished by the judicial systems (i.e. kangaroo courts) of our enemies..

Well with respect to the terrorists, those US soldiers who have fallen into thier hands have all been executed. So have most of the civilians they capture. Somehow that fact is lost on a few.

Joseph Hovsep said...

So then as far as your concerned, the possibility of the loss of hundreds of American lives is an acceptable cost then?Torture is not a reliable way of getting useful information out of people. The idea that we can have 100% security is an illusion. There will always be risk and bad things will always happen. Its the cost of living in a free society. So, even though I reject the underlying assumption of your question, yes, the value of defending freedom is worth a few hundred American lives. I think most people would agree with me on that point, including, notably George W. Bush.

madawaskan said...

And you know this is how we defeated The Bear during the Cold War.

They were watching us all the time-cuz they had nothin' better to do and they said-


"Ooooooh! look how monk like, holy and morally superior those Americans are."

This defeated the Russians. Simple.

It had nothin' to do with Ivan likin' the vodka, and their economic policies suckin' tail pipe.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Torture is not a reliable way of getting useful information out of people..

Actually it is. It's not a reliable way to get a confession but information, sure it is.

The idea that we can have 100% security is an illusion. There will always be risk and bad things will always happen. Its the cost of living in a free society..

Never said it was possible so you can take your strawman back.

So, even though I reject the underlying assumption of your question, yes, the value of defending freedom is worth a few hundred American lives..

Why? Its a completely valid question if you're saying there is no justifcation for torturing a terrorist who may have information.

I think most people would agree with me on that point, including, notably George W. Bush./

I think most people would be content that we waterboarded some headhacker to avoid a bomb going off in a public building.

Jeremy said...

NEW YORK — The debate over torture is getting personal for two of cable TV's prime-time hosts.

After Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity made a seemingly impromptu offer last week to undergo waterboarding as a benefit for charity, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann leapt at it. He offered $1,000 to the families of U.S. troops for every second Hannity withstood the technique.

"I don't think he has the courage to even respond to this _ let alone do it," Olbermann said.

I don't think he does either.

Jeremy said...

Hoosier Daddy said..."Actually it is. It's not a reliable way to get a confession but information, sure it is."

And you base this on your extensive experience in the matter?

Other than Dick (and I do mean "Dick") Cheney's standard bullshit, I've yet to read anything from those who really know that supports your claim.

There was an extensive article in the L.A. Times via a CIA operative who handled interrogations in Vietnam and he has an entirely different view that you.

Educate yourself:

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-snepp27-2009apr27,0,5042815.story

Cedarford said...

The problem we know face is Leftists screaming for Rule of Law(yers) are targeting precisely the mechanism they want running the country by targeting those lawyers they politically disagree with - with retaliation, even criminalization.

Like it or not, under Rule of Law(yers) - lawyers must make interpretations. As Bybee said, to establish the lines from broad-based law that are reasonable and prudent. Lawyer for the State establish a law calling for "safe speeds in school zones" based on traffic, visability may call for 20-25 MPH, perhaps 35MPH in clear, open spaces, or 65MPH with a highway adjacent to the school but fenced off. But judge a 5MPH limit is ridiculous, as a 65 MPH limit would be on a road students cross between campuses. Lawyers for plaintiff may say the enactment of a 15MPH limit is onerous and that their client wants it raised to 30MPH because it hurts his business near the school....

In all this, the public does not vote on the "lines" being set to impliment the broader law.

Just as with US prisoners, it is lawyers that set the lines on what applies with UN Conventions on toooorrrrttuuuurrrre...and cruel and humiliating treatment.
Getting to consensus that 110DEG unairconditioned Louisiana prison cells are not tooorrrrttuuuure but the state economizing. Or baloney sandwiches are not inhuman, "severe suffering", or a guard yelling "get a move on, you fat convict"...do not violate the UN Convention on cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

You cannot have this Rule of Law(yers) without lawyers setting lines. And the Left does not want The People to have a say when they are confident that THEIR lawyers and THEIR judges serve to advance progressive social justice agenda.

So if lawyers decide, the hysterical Left best be very careful about threatening lawyers they politically oppose - for simply acting in good faith and trying to set those lines.

What goes around comes around.

Robert Cook said...

"The AQ and other individuals taken on battlefields that we are holding...".

How do you know that those we are holding were taken on battlefields? How do you know where they were taken?

In fact, most of those in our gulag of Cuban and black prisons were handed over to us for bounty money and were not, in fact, captured on any battlefield. Given how often the apologists for our war crimes and regime of torture blather on about the "enemy combatants" not wearing uniforms or insignias or belonging to any recognized military force as a justification for our criminal abuse of them, one would think it obvious that we must ask: how do we know who these guys are or where they came from or what they allegedly have done?

This is why we must allow these men habeas corpus rights--which our courts have ruled repeatedly--in order to determine if they are being held baselessly. Which, given that the majority who have been held at Gitmo have been released over time, is obviously so for most of them.

madawaskan said...

Joseph and Robert-

So if the "detainees" have the right to habeas what other rights follow?

Jeremy said...

"The AQ and other individuals taken on battlefields that we are holding..."

Are you counting the people who were turned over for bounties?

Jeremy said...

madawaskan said..."So if the "detainees" have the right to habeas what other rights follow?"

How about the same rights we would expect via the Geneva Convention...as a start?

Are you in favor of these detainees having no access to legal representation?

Hoosier Daddy said...

yes, the value of defending freedom is worth a few hundred American lives. I think most people would agree with me on that point, including, notably George W. Bush.

Actually on second reading I will very much disagree. I think most people would agree that defending the lives of innocent Americans is worth making the life of one terrorist uncomfortable for a few minutes.

Hoosier Daddy said...

In fact, most of those in our gulag of Cuban and black prisons /

You've pretty much lost what little credibility you had with that comment right there.

Hoosier Daddy said...

And you base this on your extensive experience in the matter?
.

I don't converse with racists and gay bigots. Please scroll past my comments in the future.

Jeremy said...

Hoosier - Take that ear of corn out of your ass and come back. I miss the stimulating conversations we've always had.

And I love the racist baiting...so bizarre...coming from a Republican.

*And especially funny considering what Pat Buchanan said about the party just yesterday:

"There's a real demographic problem with the Republican Party," Buchanan said. "It is a heavily white party, quite frankly. And as a share of the electorate, that is diminishing and Hispanics are growing very rapidly, Asians are growing rapidly, and by two-thirds they tend to vote Democratic."

Joseph Hovsep said...

I think most people would agree that defending the lives of innocent Americans is worth making the life of one terrorist uncomfortable for a few minutes.You may be right that you'll find sympathy when you stylize the facts that way--the detainee is definitely a terrorist, the terrorist definitely has information that can save American lives, and the techniques used are merely "uncomfortable," and the discomfort causes the detainee to reveal this crucial information. That might be the situation found on a made-for-TV drama, but that does not describe the situations where waterboarding and other torture techniques have been used.

Jeremy said...

See if this sounds the same:

I think most people would agree that defending the lives of innocent Iraqi/Pakistanis/Iranians/ is worth making the life of one American uncomfortable for a few minutes.

Still agree?

Sofa King said...

I think most people would agree that defending the lives of innocent Iraqi/Pakistanis/Iranians/ is worth making the life of one American uncomfortable for a few minutes.

We have tens of thousands of Americans enduring terrible discomfort every day to defend Iraqi lives. Seems I can pretty easily identify who opposes that...

Jeremy said...

Sofa King said..."We have tens of thousands of Americans enduring terrible discomfort every day to defend Iraqi lives. Seems I can pretty easily identify who opposes that..."

And you approve of that?

Did you approve of the initial invasion?

But of course, you didn't really answer my question...did you?

Maguro said...

I think most people would agree that defending the lives of innocent Iraqi/Pakistanis/Iranians/ is worth making the life of one American uncomfortable for a few minutes.You must have scored pretty low on your SATs. The analogue of "terrorist" is not "American", except in your own feeble mind.

Hoosier Daddy said...

That might be the situation found on a made-for-TV drama, but that does not describe the situations where waterboarding and other torture techniques have been used..

I was not aware you were privy to those the results of those interrogations. According to sources within the CIA, they did obtain actionable intelligence.

MadisonMan said...

I think Bybee is in a lose-lose situation. There are people who will not believe him, no matter what he says. Others will read his words -- or not necessarily read them, but see that he is issuing a statement -- and think There must be something to defend since he's speaking up. Others will think he doesn't need to defend anything. Others just hate lawyers and are sitting back and eating popcorn or something.

How does talking about it, or answering questions from the press, increase the numbers of those who think he has nothing to apologize for?

AlphaLiberal said...

The USA also signed onto a treaty under Ronald Reagan against torture. Our Constitution says we must obey the treaties we sign.

The very same torture techniques under discussion now were considered by the US torture when other done under other governments, like Imperial Japan or Saddam's Iraq.

Laws have been broken. But our political elites don't have to abide by laws (unless fellatio is involved).

Oh, and a lot of lies have been told to the public over torture. Here proof of one.

Robert Cook said...

"According to sources within the CIA, they did obtain actionable intelligence".

First, consider the (unidentified) source(s); second, "actionable intelligence" does not mean they have something that's true, just something they can use to justify some further criminal action, like say, our invasion of Iraq.

In short, not only are they torturers, but they're lying motherfuckers.

AlphaLiberal said...

Again, people, for the 100th time.

The people in detention and the people our country has tortured are ALLEGED terrorists.

Many have been released because they are innocent. People have been swept up into this net because our government took the word of warlords, bounty hunters and others that they were bad guys.

This seems like such an obvious problem when innocent people are tortured. I don't see how reasonable people can be happy with the state of affairs.

But, no, conservatives are okay with torturing innocent people. (and then they tell us in so many words they are our moral superiors? Waa?)

AlphaLiberal said...

"According to sources within the CIA, they did obtain actionable intelligence".See the link I posted above which shows that these claims have been disproven by the facts in the torture memos.

And, if they got the guy to talk after the first waterboarding, why did they need to waterboard him 83 times??

Mr. Zubaydah started to cooperate after being waterboarded for “probably 30, 35 seconds,” Mr. Kiriakou told the ABC reporter Brian Ross. “From that day on he answered every question.”

His claims — unverified at the time, but repeated by dozens of broadcasts, blogs and newspapers — have been sharply contradicted by a newly declassified Justice Department memo that said waterboarding had been used on Mr. Zubaydah “at least 83 times.”

Sofa King said...

If we're going to have these trials, then let's please have them soon. Justice delayed is justice denied.

madawaskan said...

Alpha -

Do try to keep up.

"Empty wheel's " claim to fame has been diluted.

It was 183 pours over five to six sessions.

LarsPorsena said...

"The people in detention and the people our country has tortured are ALLEGED terrorists. "

I guess all the dead in Hindu Kush, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia that have been whacked by Hellfire missiles from Predator drones are only ALLEGED terrorists by your standards.

AlphaLiberal said...

madawaskan...

You're splitting hairs. You say one waterboarding may involved multiple "pours."

Even granting that point, which I don't, the CIA guy said he talked after the 1st waterboarding and kept talking.

So why the other "pours?" Basic sadism? No? Then what he said is false.

AlphaLiberal said...

Lars:

I guess all the dead in Hindu Kush, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia that have been whacked by Hellfire missiles from Predator drones are only ALLEGED terrorists by your standards.Partially true. We know from news reports that many civilians have also been killed.

Cedarford said...

ALPHA - The problem with the Convention was it was very bad law. It uses sweeping generalities that were never narrowed down into specifics.

It would be like a UN Convention against "speeding" because it causes death of innocent civilians.. OK, what is speeding? Who gets to say what is and what is not "speeding"? The driver? His lawyer? The town with ordinances?

Reagan and the people who signed it did so in a different world when they only envisioned the Convention as binding what was generally accepted conduct by states, and had a certain idea of what torture was...as well as provisions later about cruel, degrading, and inhuman behavior by states. Back in 1975 when it was drafted, terrorists were nationalists and did not seek mass deaths across international borders.
It had clear ideas of what was unacceptable humiliation, inhuman degredation...

(Making naked female prisoners crawl on their hands and knees across a mile of dirt and rock as jeering guards laughed was the general idea of what was humiliating, degrading when the Convention was signed ---not Muslim enemy combatant prisoners at GITMO denied their favorite type of prayer mat in their cells.)

Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession.It never envisioned advocates for terrorists or imprisoned criminals getting to define, what to them was Severe Physical or mental suffering. Not what was degrading or humiliating.

But the Left DOES want to leave it up to the foes of civilization to call the shots, because it aids the oppressed and weakens the evil states of the West.

1. Baloney sandwiches are mental torture.
2. Calling a prisoner fat is a degrading and humiliating act.
3. Prisoners in cold cells in Iraq or non-air conditioned suites in Louisiana are "physically tortured".

madawaskan said...

Oh and let's remember who we are talking about here-

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was a member of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization, although he lived in Kuwait rather than Afghanistan, heading al-Qaeda's propaganda operations from sometime around 1999. According to the 9/11 Commission Report he was "the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks". Please do remember at the time that the 9/11 Commission was-bi-partisan.So your concern for his "innocence" is unfounded by both Democrats and Republicans of that commission.

JAL said...

I'm with Cheney here. Bunch of comments by AL & Co. about the results of the interrogations.....

Open up the redacted stuff which details the results.

Hey! Maybe there were none!

But based on Cheney's demand that they be released, I would not bet that way.

Obama is playing a very dangerous game here. His street experience with Alinsky's accolytes is not going to be enough.

Maybe the islamofascists really are nice guys who respect American's freedom and just need some conflict resolutions groups.

Heck. Declassifiy every damn document in the Federal government. We can go from there. That should be fun.

Move the Gitmo crowd here RIGHT NOW, put them in witness protection programs with their own interpreters, send them to school.

Set the caterpillars free too while you're at it.

And prosecute every judge, every lawyer and ... what ... every pro-defense American who designed or manufactured ammunition, weapons, technology, waterboards etc which were used in the "unjust" war and "unjust" interrogations?

AlphaLiberal said...

A Gitmo guard spills the beans.

Also, I hope people saw where the Pentagon group running SERE came out and said the techniques were torture.

The military agency that helped to devise harsh interrogation techniques for use against terrorism suspects referred to the application of extreme duress as "torture" in a July 2002 document sent to the Pentagon's chief lawyer and warned that it would produce "unreliable information."

"The unintended consequence of a U.S. policy that provides for the torture of prisoners is that it could be used by our adversaries as justification for the torture of captured U.S. personnel," says the document, an unsigned two-page attachment to a memo by the military's Joint Personnel Recovery Agency. Parts of the attachment, obtained in full by The Washington Post, were quoted in a Senate report on harsh interrogation released this week.
From the Washington Post

Joe said...

What's missing in this redundant discussion is where the legal line is between torture and non-torture. The international treaties don't define it. US Law doesn't define it. The Bush administration attempted to define it. You may disagree where the drew that line, but they should be applauded for trying to do so.

* * *

One rather bizarre thing forgotten is that most of the international treaties in question don't actually cover this situation at all. If you actually bother to read the Geneva Convention, it's plain as day that the detainees in Guatanamo Bay are explicitly not covered by it.

JAL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeremy said...

Joe said..."What's missing in this redundant discussion is where the legal line is between torture and non-torture."

Yeah, that's it; we just don't know what torture really is.

Right.

former law student said...

Hoosier Daddy said...
Torture is not a reliable way of getting useful information out of people..

Actually it is. It's not a reliable way to get a confession but information, sure it is.

But what if you want accurate information? Let's hear from a torture victim:

When I was first interrogated and really had to give some information... I named the starting lineup, defensive line, of the Pittsburgh Steelers as my squadron-mates!" -- Sen. John McCain

That sounded accurate, although I'm always a bit suspicious of people who grade their own papers, like the CIA:

According to sources within the CIA, they did obtain actionable intelligence.

Sure, just like Bybee let himself off the hook:

I believed at the time, and continue to believe today, that the conclusions were legally correct."

In both cases, I believe a third-party investigation is warranted.

rocketeer67 said...

You know what? I'd voluntarily subject myself to face slapping, abdomen slapping, being pushed against a "wall", caterpiller-boxing and waterboarding (though admittedly I wouldn't submit to actual, you know, TORTURE) only to see AL, M/J/LO, JH, FF et al make one consistent, logical argument without moving goalposts.

AlphaLiberal said...

madaskawan...

No torture. On anyone. Yeah, they're bad guys. Mass murderers.

We shouldn't torture anyone. We shouldn't be sadists.

No excuses.

---------
And, JAL, Cheney suddenly claiming he wants all the torture memos declassified, hmmm. Haven't you guys been saying that helps the enemy? Except when Cheney does it?

AlphaLiberal said...

Rocketeer, funny how you said that without making a logical argument. Ironic, that.

sonicfrog said...

Well the problem there buddy is that it only got confusing when your side decided that treatment our guys get in SERE training suddenly became torture when we did it to the guy who sawed off Daniel Pearl's head.SERE was designed to help our soldiers to resist techniques known as.... ***drum roll please*** torture. Soldiers allowed themselves to be tortured, using the very same techniques we're talking about, in order to better be able to withstand it. And the soldiers had the luxury of being able to stop when the discomfort became too unbearable. Detainees, well, don't think they had a safteyword (banana).

The problem with the Convention was it was very bad law. It uses sweeping generalities that were never narrowed down into specifics.Funny, that's the same logic the gun control nuts used when trying to eviscerate the second amendment. It may be bad law, but that doesn't give you a pass to ignore it. You have to change it or live with it, or face the consequences if you break it, even if, no, especially if you think you were in the right to break the law.

Jeremy said...

JAL said..."I'm with Cheney here. Bunch of comments by AL & Co. about the results of the interrogations.....Open up the redacted stuff which details the results."

I'd be fine with that.

Open EVERYTHING up and let's take a good look.

Of course, the CIA tapes have already been erased so that might be a problem.

*And getting away from torture, we might also like to know who the hell Cheney had in his secret energy meeting back in 2001...not that the cost of energy is important to Americans.

Joe said...

No, Jeremy, we don't. Is sitting in a 5x5 cell torture? A 10x10? Is being "forced" to stay awake with loud music playing for 24 hours torture? 35 hours?

I've heard so many definitions of waterboarding, I don't believe you can categorically say "waterboarding is torture."

AlphaLiberal said...

Joe:

If you actually bother to read the Geneva Convention, it's plain as day that the detainees in Guatanamo Bay are explicitly not covered by it.Why don't you post what you're talking about?

And, citizens plucked off the streets by bounty hunters. do they have protections not to be tortured by a superpower?

Jeremy said...

madawaskan said..."Oh and let's remember who we are talking about here-"

And if you asked those on the other side, they'd say the same thing about Americans who drop bombs on cities and kill innocent civilians.

You act as if we're the only people on the planet.

Lem said...

"What's missing in this redundant discussion is where the legal line is between torture and non-torture".

If we are prepared to tie the hands of future administrations in the face of enemies we now could never contemplate – sure.

Let’s do that. Just so we can say we are going to haven or some similar self serving BS - sure.

Joe said...

Here's a challenge to Jeremy, Alpha Liberal and several others: Write a legal definition of torture.

Until then, your definition appears to be "anything I disagree with [unless authorized by a president I support.]"

madawaskan said...

Alpha

This got lost in the new blogger bug but my main point is this.

Your supposed concern for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed innocence is that the 9/11 Commission agreed both Democrats and Republicans as it was a bi-partisan commission that he was "the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks".

Jeremy said...

Joe said..."No, Jeremy, we don't. Is sitting in a 5x5 cell torture? A 10x10? Is being "forced" to stay awake with loud music playing for 24 hours torture? 35 hours?"

You only mention the aspects of the interrogation as you see it.

Various "deprivation" techniques have been around for quite some time and what YOU see as a simple case of "inconvenience" another might see it differently.

Let me ask you this: If your son or daughter or you...was made to stand up for 7-10 days, never sitting down...or chained to a post, naked, in the middle of a room for days on end...or deprived of food for a week or more...or put into a box filled with insects or snakes...or had water poured down over you until you or they thought your life was coming to an end...

...would YOU consider any of that to be "torture?"

madawaskan said...

Alpha-

So you are sure that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -Daniel Pearl Beheader-

Gave up all useful information the first time and you base that knowledge on what?

On what memo cherry-pick of Obama are you basing that belief?

former law student said...

If you actually bother to read the Geneva Convention, it's plain as day that the detainees in Guatanamo Bay are explicitly not covered by it.

Why don't you post what you're talking about?

I'll say it again: American torture apologists are justifying and excusing everything done to our POWs in Vietnam.

Readng the Geneva Conventions, it was plain as day that US forces in Vietnam were not covered by it, because we were a third party trying to intervene in a civil war, without declaring war on (North) Vietnam. Further, the Viet Cong, as a non-state party like al-Qaeda, could not have signed the Geneva Conventions, and thus were not bound by them, by the logic of the terrorist apologists here.

Joe said...

Alpha Liberal, the Geneva Conventions are an international agreement that chiefly concern how signatories deal with enemy combatants. As part of those conventions, combatants and non-combatants are defined. The conventions explicitly exclude terrorists and other individuals who fight without a uniform and/or for a recognized authority.

* * *

And, citizens plucked off the streets by bounty hunters. do they have protections not to be tortured by a superpower?As far as I know, no. (The problem being that you're arguing emotion and politics, the question here is: what's the law?

(As evidenced by the international response to the US treatment of these prisoners, politically torture is a terrible idea. On the other hand, the definition of torture keeps getting expanded by opportunists rendering the word ultimately meaningless. In all seriousness, some of the definitions I've heard used apply to a typical parents treatment of their children.)

madawaskan said...

sonicfrog-

Actually the detainees are told that they will not die.

Jeremy said...

Joe: To you request for a "definion" of torture, let's start with this:

Detainee Was Tortured, a Bush Official Confirms

By WILLIAM GLABERSON
Published: January 14, 2009

The senior Pentagon official in the Bush administration’s system for prosecuting detainees said in a published interview that she had concluded that interrogators had tortured a Guantánamo detainee who has sometimes been described as “the 20th hijacker” in the 2001 terrorist attacks.

OR

Torture, according to the United Nations Convention Against Torture, is: "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him, or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.

It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in, or incidental to, lawful sanctions."
(Wikipedia)

OR

The 1984 United Nations Convention Against Torture (Article 1) provides a definition of torture that is considered customary.

International humanitarian law (IHL) differs somewhat from this definition in not requiring the involvement of a person acting in an official capacity as a condition for an act intended to inflict severe pain or suffering to be defined as torture.

The ICRC uses the broad term "ill-treatment" to cover both torture and other methods of abuse prohibited by international law, including inhuman, cruel, humiliating, and degrading treatment, outrages upon personal dignity and physical or moral coercion.

The legal difference between torture and other forms of ill treatment lies in the level of severity of pain or suffering imposed. In addition, torture requires the existence of a specific purpose behind the act – to obtain information, for example.

The various terms used to refer to different forms of ill treatment or infliction of pain can be explained as follows:

* Torture: existence of a specific purpose plus intentional infliction of severe suffering or pain;

* Cruel or inhuman treatment: no specific purpose, significant level of suffering or pain inflicted;

* Outrages upon personal dignity: no specific purpose, significant level of humiliation or degradation.


Methods of ill treatment may be both physical and/or psychological in nature and both methods may have physical and psychological effects.

Maguro said...

ALPHA - The problem with the Convention was it was very bad law. It uses sweeping generalities that were never narrowed down into specifics.

I wouldn't say the Geneva Convention, properly applied, is bad law. The problem lies with applying it in one direction only - that is, extending its protections to those who disregard the GC's rules on lawful warfare.

If you want to be treated according to GC, you play by its rules, plain and simple.

The intention of GC was not to salve the consciences of guilty white liberals. The intent was to provide an incentive for civilized behavior - defined as wearing a uniform, not blending into the civilian population, etc.

Once you grant GC protections to those who violate its terms, you destroy that reward for civilized behavior. If you're going to get treated according to GC whether you observe its terms or not, why would anyone consider playing by its rules?

madawaskan said...

All three of them.

Including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Daniel Pearl Beheader and mastermind of 9/11 according to the Democrat and Republican 9/11 Commission.

I'm pretty sure that the federal judge Bybee could make the case that he was trying to set limits.

Jeremy said...

madawaskan said..."Actually the detainees are told that they will not die."

First of all, how would you possibly know what they were told?

Second, you don't really believe that, do you??

Joe said...

Jeremy, answer the fucking question. DEFINE TORTURE. No matter what anyone says here, you fall back to the strawman arguments, but never have the actual balls to define in specific terms what you mean by the word "torture."

And what is this bullshit argument of "if your child"? Everyone uses that silly argument for everything. What if my child was forced to stay in their room for a weekend without books or electronic devices of any kind? Damn, already happened.

Joe said...

any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him, or a third person, information or a confessionBullshit, feel good definition. You could apply this to just about any interrogation, including a parent questioning and punishing a child.

Try again.

Cedarford said...

FLS, quoting the Noble John McCain -

When I was first interrogated and really had to give some information... I named the starting lineup, defensive line, of the Pittsburgh Steelers as my squadron-mates!" -- Sen. John McCainWhen he started, McCain's favorite story had it the Green Bay Packers. Basically though, he asks us to believe on his word alone that he was, despite finishing at the near bottom of hs class and having a DC rep as a bit of a dimbulb - routinely able to outsmart his many interrogators, the Soviet and Chinese there "consulting". And lie at will.

Just his word. Though the Soviets later said in return for their billions in weapons aid, they got a "treasure trove" of vetted, validated intel from the interrogations of American pilots.

When the Word of the Noble POW is not all we have - we know that John McCain was confronted by Keating 5 Federal interrogators who concluded in a few hours he was holding back and being disingenous.
So they went back with certain emotional and mental pressure tools applied to McCain about his initial lies.
He quickly folded like wet cardboard to the Fed interrogators to save his ass. Giving up all the names and details he knew about the Keating scandals. Then he went on a bizarre, volunteer "POW-style" apology tour about the Keating scandal to "get my honor back". Much as he was trotted out a decade earlier by NVA and made to apologize for being an "Air Pirate" who betrayed his honor.

FLS is justly suspicious of people who grade their own paper. But all McCain is doing is grading his own paper on his conduct in Vietnam, as he tried to do with the Keating 5. If you believe him or not, McCain grades himself in both cases as eventually heroic and honorable. In the Vietnam case, his claim is he never lost his honor because he was just simply too clever and heroic to ever be caught lying and forced to tell the truth.

Hence McCain as one of the main purveyors of the "interrogations" by cops, Fed investigators, enemy "Never Work!". (Only when the criminal or military prisoner makes friends with people who have gained their trust will they ever deliver accurate, truthful info or intel. By McCain's stories)

madawaskan said...

Well you have to admire the readiness with which Liberals and the usual suspects are so determined that-

Anyone who was for Bush or worked for Bush is GUILTY of TORTURE.

But of course this is only outweighed by their certitude that the "victims" are innocent.

And you are sure of all these "facts" against your fellow Americans because somehow they deserve less than our enemies.

So trial for them by public opinion and cherry picked Obama memos-

Drip, drip drip.

Which fits the usual rubric that to Liberals-

Republicans are the true evil scourge of the world terrorists are only their pawns in their match against the true enemy that stands in the way of Liberals-

madawaskan said...

Well forget the point that McCain is against doing these "Show Trials".

Jeremy said...

Joe - I provided the definition of torture from two separate reliable and objective sources and you're saying it's a "straw man" argument?

All you're doing now is trying to bail out.

You also never answered my question relating to you or your family members undergoing specific acts.

Jeremy said...

madawaskan said..."Well you have to admire the readiness with which Liberals and the usual suspects are so determined that-Anyone who was for Bush or worked for Bush is GUILTY of TORTURE."

I haven't read anything like that.

You're full of shit.

Cedarford said...

Maguro said...
Cedarford -"ALPHA - The problem with the Convention was it was very bad law. It uses sweeping generalities that were never narrowed down into specifics."

I wouldn't say the Geneva Convention, properly applied, is bad law.
Wrong Convention you are thinking of, Maguro.

Alpha was talking about the Convention on Torture, which applies outside Geneva. And I was responding to THAT Convention...

madawaskan said...

One other observation-

It seems just a tad opportunistic for Obama to synchronize the release of the memos with the surrender of the ACLU lawsuit.

rocketeer67 said...

I wasn't making an argument, AL. Not everything is supposed to be an argument. But let me clarify for you, as folks seem so often to have to do for obvious reasons: it was an assertion or what I'd be willing to do to see you write anything, anything with any coherence or consistency.

former law student said...

But of course this is only outweighed by their certitude that the "victims" are innocent.

And you are sure of all these "facts" against your fellow Americans because somehow they deserve less than our enemies.

In a war without battlefields, how can you tell the combatants from the civilians?

Bush administration: "They're not wearing uniforms! They're not carrying weapons openly"

Shit, you've just described the CCW-holders -- roughly half the population of Texas and Florida.

Jeremy said...

madawaskan said..."One other observation-It seems just a tad opportunistic for Obama to synchronize the release of the memos with the surrender of the ACLU lawsuit."

It's also interesting that he said during his campaign that he would open the door to a more honest and illuminating debate regarding torture, never ruling out a full disclosure of all facts.

What happened to your agreement with Cheney that everything should be out in the open?

The last thing Cheney or the Bush administration needs right now is more light on the matter.

Cedarford said...

FLS - In a war without battlefields, how can you tell the combatants from the civilians?It gets more difficult, but officials cannot abdicate their charge under the Preamble to provide for the comon defense, ensure domestic tranquility, and ensure the blessings of liberty.

Things that get highly compromised when skyscrapers are falling, the country is in chaos, and all America rights for thousands were reduced to a choice of burning or jumping to death.

The pet answer of the Left - multimillion dollar trials in civilian courts to assess the "guilt of unlawful enemy combatants" one by one - isn't a very good one.

mcg said...

Shit, you've just described the CCW-holders -- roughly half the population of Texas and Florida.So simply possessing a weapon is an act of aggression against the United States?

Jeremy said...

Cedarford said..."The pet answer of the Left - multimillion dollar trials in civilian courts to assess the "guilt of unlawful enemy combatants" one by one - isn't a very good one."

Kind of like those pet answers of the Right - 6 year investigations into 30 year old land deals and impeachments for lying about blowjobs?

And Clinton left with a 65% approval rating.

Bob said...

FLS - one scratches one's head after reading your comment about how our treatment of AQ detainees supposedly justifies the treatment of US POWs during the Viet Nam war.

The US military meet the conditions for GC coverage: recognized uniforms, rank, etc. We were a recognized ally operating within SVN with approval by both SVN and UN. Sort of like WWII when we fought in France.

While the Viet Cong were an insurgency, the NVA was not. John McCain was kept in a NV prison and tortured by NV military guards. We await your demands for criminal proceedings against the NV officials for warcrimes...

Bob said...

One of the principle reasons for the granting of protection of GC to those who met explicit criteria (uniforms, ranks, etc) was to preclude the uniformed combatants from a fear of attack by those dressed the same as the civilian population. It was intended to remove the excuse by a uniformed combatant that he was attacked by the civilian population. And it was designed to ensure a compliant population. Basically, both sides were suppose to fight it out. The GC doesn't provide protection to those who engage in hostilities out of uniform (be it spying or insurgency).

Since the GC has not provided US military with protections since 1945 maybe we need to ask why we should not renounce it.

bagoh20 said...

If a man had a bomb strapped to my child and was about to detonate it, could I shoot him dead to save her and not be punished? Could I cut off his arm with a machete to stop him? Could I water board him to save her? What if the bomb would kill an entire grade school full of children?

Rules or laws can be dangerous to follow or not. Assuming lawyers can clear this up is like bringing a knife to an orgy. It dangerous and just can't help much.

Both sides see this so clearly. It is deeply disappointing.

Jeremy said...

Speaking of torture:

"A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that former President Bush's popularity has dropped since he left office.

When he left office in January, 31 percent of American's viewed him positively. That number has now dropped to 26 percent."

Jeremy said...

bagoh20 said..."If a man had a bomb strapped to my child and was about to detonate it, could I shoot him dead to save her and not be punished?"

What does that have to do with torture?

Harsh Pencil said...

Jeremy writes "Let me ask you this: If your son or daughter or you...was made to stand up for 7-10 days, never sitting down...or chained to a post, naked, in the middle of a room for days on end...or deprived of food for a week or more...or put into a box filled with insects or snakes...or had water poured down over you until you or they thought your life was coming to an end...

...would YOU consider any of that to be "torture?"

No. I would not consider any of that torture. I would consider it all illegal, since non of my children ever did anything to warrant such treatment, but I would not consider it torture. Pulling someone's fingernails out is torture. Causing unbearable pain is torture. There are lots of very bad things you can do to someone that don't count as torture. Killing someone is not torture. Locking someone up for life in prison is not torture. I don't want either of these things done to any of my children, but that doesn't mean they are torture.

Jeremy said...

Bob said..."Since the GC has not provided US military with protections since 1945 maybe we need to ask why we should not renounce it."

Based on what?

garage mahal said...

Reading a Fox & Friends twitter feed is 100% definitely torture. My fault yes, I clicked on the link. But excruciating.

Lawgiver said...

Michael said,

The last thing Cheney or the Bush administration needs right now is more light on the matter.

God, you're an idiot.

Read a newspaper, listen to what Cheney actually says. And, oh yeah, there is no longer a Bush administration moron.

While you're at it, tell us why Obama doesn't immediately release those poor torture victims at Gitmo? It's been 100 days, how much time do you need to see that they are all victims of the Bushitler regime?

You are such an ignorant tool.

Jeremy said...

Harsh Pencil said..."No. I would not consider any of that torture. I would consider it all illegal, since non of my children ever did anything to warrant such treatment, but I would not consider it torture."

Oh, great argument..."I would consider it all illegal, since non of my children ever did anything to warrant such treatment..."

What the fuck does that have to do with the actual actions applied?

You're asying I could take one of your kids, your wife or even you yourself and make you stand up for 7-10 days, never sitting down...chain you to a post, naked, in the middle of a room for days on end...or deprive you of food for a week or more...or put you into a box filled with insects or snakes...or pour water poured down over you until you or they thought your life was coming to an end...

...but you wouldn't consider it any as an act of of torture?

You're full of shit and you know it.

hdhouse said...

absolutely an amazing range of logic and lack thereof.

Jeremy said...

"Read a newspaper, listen to what Cheney actually says."

He says he asked the CIA to open the memos and they say he didn't.

What a shock.

A senior U.S. intelligence offical e-mailed: "The Agency has received no such request from the former Vice President."

hdhouse said...

="What's missing in this redundant discussion is where the legal line is between torture and non-torture".


Well duhhh. and there is a legal line and it is well defined. waterboarding is torture. other stuff isn't. that is.

this fine legal line was, unfortunately, missed by the good justice.

bagoh20 said...

I've seen the basic question asked many times but haven't seen it answered simply and thoughtfully by opponents of torture: If the ticking time bomb scenario was your call, would you torture to save the innocents or let them die? Would you water board or let them die? What if the chance of saving them is only 50%? or 20%? Just asking - no need to flame.

Jeremy said...

It's amazing so many here just can't get over the fact that Obama won the election, that constant whining and bitching from the right is driving more and more people away from the Republican Party, that the American public approves of the job Obama is doing with the economy and foreign relations, that instead of an actual leader providing guidance they have a fucking radio host at the head of the party, and they just can't bring themselves to at least give the new President a chance to either succeed or fail.

You're making fools of yourselves the Democrats love every minute of it.

Jeremy said...

bagoh20 - If the "ticking time bomb" argument is the best you've got, you're in trouble. (Thanks in great part Jack Bauer?)

Torture is torture...and you know it.

bagoh20 said...

It's not an argument - it's a question. Still waiting...

Bob said...

Jeremy, since 1941 US military personnel have been afforded GC protections by two enemy forces (Germany and Italy). Since August 1945 its been zero. Now some conflicts have sseen both sides abide by GC, such as Falklands War. But for US the GC has provided zero protection. Now I'm fine with us agreeing to abide by GC where other side is also abiding by the GC.

Richard Fagin said...

JH says, "You can make the same argument about ordinary criminal law and criminals. Why should we provide fair trials and protections against abusive detention practices to people who show no respect for the laws we adhere to?"

No, you can't make the same argument about ordinary criminals. Criminals have some warped needs that may be satisfied by committing their criminal acts. Whatever their sociopathy, however, ordinary criminals don't seem to want to overthrow an entire society. Criminals are only out to rob, rape, plunder and murder. The jihadists, on the other hand are out to destroy our entire society, kill all the non-believers and will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. Fair trials and reasonable detention rules do not apply to people who want to destroy an entire society.

Sometimes you just gotta get off the goddam high horse and get in the mud with the barbarians if you're going to survive.

You prissies make such great moral argument while the barbarians will disembowel you with a rusty razor blade given half a chance.

Only a preening moralistic idiot wouldn't push as far as he could go in dealing with these monsters.

German soldiers in WW II caught wearing U.S. uniforms were summarily stood up against a wall a shot. For good reason. The jihadists deserve no better. Of course, back then, when there was moral clarity in dealing with enemies, the JHs of this world were told to aim and fire at the enemy, and if they didn't they'd get locked in the brig or worse.

Jeremy said...

bagoh20 - Yes it is an argument.

The same one put forth by anyone who favors torture.

It's the only argument they have.

Jeremy said...

Bob - "Since August 1945 its been zero."

How do you know this?

You were present during all interrogations throughout the world?

You're merely throwing out the torture via the North Vietnamese and terrorists in the Mideast to shore up an argument for no rules...since they did it...we should do it.

Do you also think we should show videos of our soldiers cutting people's heads off?

They do it...

Jeremy said...

Richard - "Sometimes you just gotta get off the goddam high horse and get in the mud with the barbarians if you're going to survive."

And there you have it.

They do it...so we should do it.

Bring American down to whatever level we have to, don't worry about our history, our reputation throughout the world.

Why would you or any American believe that?

Bob said...

The real nightmare scenario isn't the ticking time bomb. Its that we wake up tomorrow morning and five elementary schools have been taken over by 5 teams of 4 terrorists. Would you, as President, okay waterboarding the sixth terrorist team that got captured? Or will you allow a couple of elementary students be murdered live on TV? The critical questions you need answered right NOW is do any of the teams have explosives? How many teams are there?

If your answer is No, I won't okay waterboarding, then what do you say to the parents at the memorial services?

traditionalguy said...

To listen to the Get Bush the Impaler talking points focusing on violations of law convinces me that these righteous talkers would also have prosecuted American sailors for unauthorized use of government ammunition and for firing back before congressional approval on December 7, 1941. No Declaration of War had happened and the peacetime laws were violated with every shot taken at the Japanese naval visitors that morning. A crime is a crime? No, self defense is an expected and heroic activity when under attack.

Jeremy said...

Bob said..."The real nightmare scenario isn't the ticking time bomb. Its that we wake up tomorrow morning and five elementary schools have been taken over by 5 teams of 4 terrorists."

Or some crazy militant asshole blowing up a building in Oklahoma City.

Here's what Timmy said in his prison diary:

"The administration has said that Iraq has no right to stockpile chemical or biological weapons (“weapons of mass destruction”) – mainly because they have used them in the past.

Well, if that’s the standard by which these matters are decided, then the U.S. is the nation that set the precedent. The U.S. has stockpiled these same weapons (and more) for over 40 years. The U.S. claims that this was done for deterrent purposes during the “Cold War” with the Soviet Union. Why, then is it invalid for Iraq to claim the same reason (deterrence) — with respect to Iraq’s (real) war with, and the continued threat of, its neighbor Iran?

If Saddam is such a demon, and people are calling for war crimes charges and trials against him and his nation, why do we not hear the same cry for blood directed at those responsible for even greater amounts of “mass destruction” — like those responsible and involved in dropping bombs on the cities mentioned above?

The truth is, the U.S. has set the standard when it comes to the stockpiling and use of weapons of mass destruction."

Home grown.

garage mahal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Mike said...

@Jeremy, when you reference the ICRC, are you talking about the Red Cross? I went to their web site and here's their definition of torture:

"Torture: existence of a specific purpose plus intentional infliction of severe suffering or pain."

That word "severe" is kind of subjective, isn't it? Does waterboarding qualify under this definition? You'd say yes and I'd say no and a jury of Daily Kos commenters would agree with you and a jury of Blackfive commenters would agree with me. A jury of Althouse commenters would be hung (and, indeed, I suspect some people reading these threads are already reaching for rope).

Under the ICRC, the treatments okayed by Judge Bybee fall at most under "ill treatment" and, if you stretch it some, "outrages upon personal dignity" (here I'm talking about a devout Muslim male being forced to strip naked in front of a female, as happened at Abu Ghraib but apparently not at Guantanamo).

The immediate difficulty with the "outrages upon personal dignity" definition is that it is clearly too broad and too subjective to be workable in the real world. Few male American prisoners would object to being stripped naked in front of a female guard, but a member of the Aryan Nation could perfectly well object to being forced to share a cell with a Black man as it would be an "outrage upon his personal dignity" that inflicts "grave psychological damage." Why should we protect a probable terrorist (or a certain terrorist, in the case of KSM) and not a member of the Aryan Nation?

Bob said...

Jeremy

"How do you know this?

You were present during all interrogations throughout the world?

You're merely throwing out the torture via the North Vietnamese and terrorists in the Mideast to shore up an argument for no rules...since they did it...we should do it."

Well do you wish to make the fanciful assertion that US military personnel were afforded GC protections during the Korean, Viet Nam, or Iraq Wars when they were captured?

My point is if the GC is providing no protections to US military personnel then why abide by it? What's the point? That doesn't mean I wish to see US troops beheading insurgents. I don't. But I think it is absolutely okay for us to hang combatants who attacked US troops out of uniform. After a military court martial. Just as I think hanging after a court martial is wonderful for any insurgent found not providing GC protections to our uniformed personnel. Followed by their body being buried facing away from Mecca and wrapped in pigskin. If they provide us protections then so do we, if not then they suffer more.

Jeremy said...

traditionalguy said..."To listen to the Get Bush the Impaler talking points focusing on violations of law..."

You just don't get this "rule of law" thing do you?

You think this entire investigation is all about George W. Bush, and you're dead wrong.

A great deal of it involves the low level military people who are in prison right now because they followed the orders of the people who haven't so much as been charged...who issued the orders based on ridiculous legal arguments put forth by hand-picked attorneys and judges.

Does that matter to you?

hdhouse said...

ahhh the question on the table is whether or not the good justice did the best with the law in front of him.

did he? did he get the difference? what sources did he use? cheney sources? mtv sources? what?

me thinks he screwed up.

Jeremy said...

Bob - The point is this: If you believe we should do as our enemies do, we're not on the same page.

I realize people all over the world do things I don't agree with or condone, but why do YOU feel we should do the same? And of course the Geneva Convention is not followed by everybody, but what does that have to do with US?

If a common criminal tortures an American citizen, should the police do the same?

America prides itself on being better...you should too.

Big Mike said...

If anyone besides Jeremy and me is interested, the ICRC defintion of torture, ill treatment, and outrages is here.

traditionalguy said...

Jeremy... You don't get the kill or just let your friends die thing ,do you? It's called savage cruelty (a/k/a War). And please do everyone a favor and stay at home safe, and leave the War strategy and to men.

Jeremy said...

Big Mike said..."That word "severe" is kind of subjective, isn't it? Does waterboarding qualify under this definition?"

I've yet to read a single person who has been waterboarded not say that it is indeed torture. (And keep in mind, the people I'm referring to were being waterboarded by people they knew were not really going to kill them.)

Have you read accounts of people saying it wasn't?

If so, run the link or quotes by me.

Here's a link to a video you might find interesting:

http://patdollard.com/2009/04/playboy-reporter-lets-himself-be-waterboarded/

*And if it's not that big a deal, when is Sean Hannity going to go through with his bullshit promise to allow himself to be waterboarded?

Bob said...

Jeremy, as McVeigh was a US citizen the rules for interrogating him were defined.

So answer me, how many 10 year-olds will you allow to be shot on live TV? Ten, a hundred, a thousand? Maybe you get no intel or maybe a critical nugget. You don't know before you try. Will you be willing to go before the public and say I'm taking the high road? And how do you think the public is going to respond when you say that you won't even try?

Michael McNeil said...

Not only did Christopher Hitchens have himself waterboarded, he had it done to himself twice, as after his initial exposure to the technique he wondered whether, since he now knew what it was like, he'd subsequently be able to control the instantaneous panic attack reaction he experienced the first time. The answer was no, and he emerged from the second baptismal saying yup, it's torture all right. But it was precisely Hitchens' experience that convinced me that waterboarding isn't torture, as it's inconceivable that anyone even halfway sane would immediately re-volunteer to go under real mutilating and/or horribly painful torture, once they'd already gotten a good whiff of it.

Bob said...

Jeremy, the low level military personnel who are confined for abusing prisoners were from a MP unit that was not, in any way, interrogating prisoners. Their mission was to safeguard and secure detainees. Others have been convicted for alledgedly killing a captured Iraqi once that Iraqi had been secured. Your talking apples and oranges.

elHombre said...

If your answer is No, I won't okay waterboarding, then what do you say to the parents at the memorial services?That's easy enough. If you're President BHO, you lie, just like when your minions "edited" Dennis Blair's letter to excise mention of "high value information" resulting from waterboarding ksm.

Big Mike said...

@hdhouse, I think where to draw the line between torture and not torture is not nearly so easy as it seems to way too many in retrospect. I might have drawn it to leave out waterboarding, but a simple slap on the face? Heck if that's torture then I've got a long-ago girlfriend I need to sue.

Jeremy said...

Bob - You keep throwing out some kind of ticking bomb situation, and that is not what the investigation has anything to do with. Are you saying the torture at Abu_Ghraib was related to some kind of immediate situation?

And I have no idea where the kids geting killed comes from.

Are you saying the terrorists we've been torturing knew something about attacks on schools?

You're losing it...

Jeremy said...

Bob - Beginning in 2004, accounts of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse, including torture, sodomy and homicide of prisoners held in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq (also known as Baghdad Correctional Facility) came to public attention.

These acts were committed by personnel of the 372nd Military Police Company of the United States Army together with additional US governmental agencies.

Palladian said...

Oh good, another re-run of the Gene Olson Show!

Big Mike said...

@Jeremy, you ask a good question. As I mentioned just above, I think I, personally, would have put waterboarding on the "torture" side of the very subjective line.

But I had the same reaction as Michael McNeil to Christopher Hitchens' report. If you voluntarily agree to go through it a second time, then it doesn't rank up there with electrodes being applied to one's testicles, does it?

Jeremy said...

Michael McNeil - Hitchens knew the people doing the waterboarding would not only stop, but that they would also not kill him. And that's why he did it again...because he thought maybe if he knew for sure...but it didn't work out that way.

There's absolutely no comparison between someone "testing" the theory and not knowing if it will ever stop.

And unless you're daft, you know it, too.

Try this one out:

http://patdollard.com/2009/04/playboy-reporter-lets-himself-be-waterboarded/

Bob said...

Jeremy, you seem happy to hug the highground and ignore the mistreatment of captured US military personnel. I'm willing to get a bit grubby to send a message to the enemy that we'll treat your troops like you treat ours. Because that might reduce the suffering of OUR troops! I don't want to see us do beheadings, castrations, or REAL torture like the other side does. But I ain't crying over us making them stay where its cold, or no sleep, or putting a bug in their cell.

This is an academic exercise for you.

Jeremy said...

Big Mike - See my response to Michael McNeil and watch the video I directed you to.

The guy literally trained to get through 15 seconds and could only go for 5.

It's torture...admit it.

Jeremy said...

traditionalguy said..."Jeremy... You don't get the kill or just let your friends die thing ,do you? It's called savage cruelty (a/k/a War). And please do everyone a favor and stay at home safe, and leave the War strategy and to men."

I have no idea what you're trying to say.

What does this have to do with Americans torturing?

Minzo said...

While I accept there's a genuine debate to be had in this issue, I really dont understand the whole Hitchens-volunteered-for-it-therefore-its-not-torture argument. Thats a ludicrous defence. He did it under strictly controlled conditions and lasted only a couple of seconds each time. You might want to read what he said about that experience and Hitchens is not a namby-pamby liberal. There are reasons you could argue that waterboarding isnt torture, but the Hitchens example is stupid.

Jeremy said...

Jeremy said Bring American down to whatever level we have to, don't worry about our history, our reputation throughout the world.
I suspect that our reputation is that America looks out for itself first, its friends second and frak the rest. We are not a nation of people that go-along. We don't play nice with others. We have a tendancy towards violent outbursts. We are mavericky. We're founded by rebels and terrorists. We march whole people groups off to Oklahoma. We vaporize our enemies with bombs. We don't back off of nukes headed to Cuba. We feign negotiation with pirates and then shoot them in the head. That is our history. It's not always prety and it's often immoral, but you're barking up the wrong tree to appeal to history and our reputation.

The Other Jeremy

Bob said...

Jeremy - Abu Gharaid was about prisoner abuse, not interrogating for intel. As you say, it was a MP unit. Also since I was in Baghdad in 2004 I'm aware of the specifics.

My scenario is the Breslin incident conducted by AQ in a half dozen locations. One has only to see Columbine impact to get why this is a scenario that would appeal to AQ. So would you authorize waterboarding of a sixth team to gain intel?

Minzo said...

And another thing- while we haggle over the moral and pragmatic angles of torture, I think not enough people are dwelling on whether it actually works. If the person captured is a die-hard jihadist, then he will be pretty determined to give false information or quite simply suffer througout the whole thing in the name of his twisted version of Islam. On the other hand if the person being tortured is innocent (something few people are discussing here) he'll say whatever he thinks his torturer wants him to say-anything to make the torture stop.
Someone earlier also mentioned that torturing captured terrorists will send a clear message to the enemy- a sort of deterrent that if you fuck with America, America will fuck with you. Do you really think a hardened fundamentalist in Afghanistan will reconsider his actions becase his compatriots are being waterboarded in Guantanamo? He is so single-mindedly dedicated to his cause that no amount of torturing his pals is going to put him off at all- there's no deterrent factor I think. What it might do however is boost recruitement to their cause and thats obviously a very dangerous thing.

bagoh20 said...

My question to opponents of torture remains unanswered again. It is the central question and the root of the problem, yet no one will admit that they would either approve torture or let the innocents die. I guess there is always the third option: Pretend that's not the question. The result is still innocents die, but hey, the murderer is unharmed and not even wet. Well done brave and admirable decider.

Big Mike said...

@Jeremy, there's no point in bringing up Abu Ghraib. That MP unit was out of line and the military court martialed them. They thought they were doing what they were asked to do. They paid a price for it.

Can I safely assume that when the day comes that you're out of line you'll accept your punishment like a man?

Al Qaeda and the Taliban are nasty adversaries. I don't think we have to sink to their level to deal with them, they are "unlawful combantants" and do not qualify to be treated as prisoners of war.

former law student said...

The US military meet the conditions for GC coverage: recognized uniforms, rank, etc.

Necessary but not sufficient. Subsequently not necessary in civil wars according to Protocol 1 (1977)

We were a recognized ally operating within SVN with approval by both SVN and UN.

South Vietnam was not recognized by the United Nations. No UN force was sent to Viet Nam.* US intervention in Viet Nam was not formally approved by the UN. The Geneva Conventions were signed in 1957 by the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam, i.e. Ho Chi Minh's government.

*Along with US forces, Aussies, Kiwis, Thais, (South) Koreans, Taiwanese, and Spaniards fought on the southerners' side.

Minzo said...

Big Mike- But wasnt there a view that Abu Ghraib was not 'a few bad apples' but the result of the environment from the top creating those conditions? i.e the MP's thought what they were doing was not really out of line because such treatment was either approved of or ignored higher up the chain of command.I think Seymour Hersh for example argues so in 'Chain of command' and he makes an interesting case for it. Cant remember the details now though...

Michael McNeil said...

the Hitchens example is stupid.No it isn't. Imagine somebody who volunteered to see what the medieval rack was like. Do you and Jeremy seriously believe that anybody (anyone who's not an utterly insane masochist) would volunteer a second time (or even a first) for that — or for, say, having bamboo slivers shoved under the fingernails — just because they knew it would eventually end and they probably wouldn't die? It's absurd.

Cedarford said...

Jeremy said...
Torture is torture...and you know it.
.


Twiddling twats are twiddling repetitious twats, and we know it.

======================
Bob said...
Jeremy, since 1941 US military personnel have been afforded GC protections by two enemy forces (Germany and Italy). Since August 1945 its been zero.
Not quite. We didn't get into "prisoner" situations in some of our interventions - Haiti, Santo Domingo, Panama, Grenada, Serbia - but it was probable that the armed forces of those nations would have adhered to Geneva.

And China, the NORKs, and Vietnamese partially complied. Not at all perfect, but we killed Chicom and NORK prisoners in retaliation for them killing ours until they got the message and started better compliance with laws of War.

Iraq and Saddam were actually pretty good during the Iraq War. Maybe they killed a few they could have captured, and they weren't so merciful to a group of Kuwaiti civilians or Iranian prisoners in the past - but with the Better Bush's Coalition - they were fairly compliant. I was in that one, and we did hose down a lot of people escaping from destroyed armor - and buried alive several hundred hapless Iraqi draftees deserted by their Sunni officers - in the trenches with bulldozers at the beginning of the ground phase rather than pause and accept their surrender.

Same with the 2003 "combat phase" where soldiers captured were treated better than the Japs and others did, but not as well as the WWII Italians and Germans.

But the radical Islamists are as bad as the NORKs were until we killed enough Chicommie and NORK prisoners to force them to behave better.
Big Mike's point is a good one. If lawyers say they can completely tie our hands by use of the most generous (to the enemy) interpretations of Geneva and the UN Convention on Torture - why not see if interest grows to withdraw? Unless they are rewritten by the International Community to define where unlawful enemy combatant terrorists fot in, and what exactly does "toooorrrttuuuuure!!" and humiliation and degredation mean??

former law student said...

they are "unlawful combantants" and do not qualify to be treated as prisoners of war.

Apparently, nobody here has heard of "begging the question."

Per the Geneva Conventions, until it can be determined otherwise, everyone is either a civilian or a prisoner of war, and must be treated appropriately.

Minzo said...

What you are doing is picking the worst examples of torture. The rack? Come on. Im saying that argument is stupid not just because those were controlled conditions but because you are basically saying once someone volunteers for a method that might be torture, then it ceases to be torture. One obvious point-aside from the obvious logical flaw there- is: Hitchens obviously didnt know what it would feel like. Having gone through it, Im pretty sure he wont do it again and he did describe it as excruciating.
At the very least you should admit waterboarding is a grey area. Its simulated drowning for Christ's sake.A journalist's rather reckless experiment is hardly a solid argument in this regard.

former law student said...

John McCain was kept in a NV prison and tortured by NV military guards.

By North Viet Nam's lawyers' interpretation of the GCs, McCain was an unprivileged enemy combatant to whom the GCs did not apply.

elHombre said...

Jeremy, et al, wrote: "And I have no idea where the 'kids geting killed' comes from. Are you saying the terrorists we've been torturing knew something about attacks on schools?"

Flash! Liberal trolls have unimpeachable information that terrorists: a)Have no plans to kill children, b) have developed smart weapons that do not kill or endanger children, during attacks on civilian population centers.

Please note that they did not acquire this information by waterboarding.

Bruce Hayden said...

Everyone is jumping all over the place. So, to hopefully bring things a bit back to reality...

- When the mistreatment was being done to the detainees/ terrorists/ illegal combatants, there was every reason for Bybee to believe that they were not covered by the Geneva Convention or the U.S. Constitution. They were illegal combatants violating the articles of war, and were thus not protected by that treaty.

- Which leaves the International Convention Against Torture. Some have argued that Bybee, Yoo, et al. changed an "or" to an in their interpretation of it, and thus significantly narrowed it. But what has to also be kept in mind here is that we are arguing based on what we think are the facts known now, and not what was known back at the time of the memos. In particular, it has never been clear that they knew at that time that the technique used against the recipients of the water torture differed in any way from that used during SERE training.

- I am still waiting for real evidence that "torture" as defined by that treaty was done at Abu Ghraib by Americans. Not unsubstantiated allegations by those released, but internal investigations showing such. What we do know for sure is that some prisoners were mistreated to an extent that is probably accepted in some of our jail systems here today, by a small group of under-trained kids in uniform. And remember that a bunch of those kids went to Levenworth for this. Oh, and investigations were well underway before the mistreatment there was disclosed in the press. And, yes, the (former) BG who took the fall (reduced in rank and forcibly retired) is now claiming orders from above her, but is unable to show such.

- Finally, keep in mind that this was all done while 9/11 was fresh on our minds, and responsible people were worrying about it happening again. This colored both the mistreatment, and the memos written by the attorneys. We are all retrying all this 6 years later, knowing a lot of stuff that we didn't then, including the Supreme Court cases that clarified the status of those illegal combatants. (Remember, killing illegal combatants when caught was routine up through at least WWII, and maybe even Vietnam, and some torture of them was also accepted - anyone want to compare what was done in Vietnam to what was done this time?).

JAL said...

By North Viet Nam's lawyers' interpretation of the GCs, McCain was an unprivileged enemy combatant to whom the GCs did not apply.
Usual BS.

McCain had a uniform, a rank, a serial number, an identifiable chain of command, a legal political country he served.

Bruce Hayden said...

Per the Geneva Conventions, until it can be determined otherwise, everyone is either a civilian or a prisoner of war, and must be treated appropriately.Luckily for our discussion here, it was determined otherwise for these people before their mistreatment.

In many cases, it is fairly easy. If someone points a gun at someone in one of our uniforms, and is not himself in uniform, then he is an illegal combatant, until proved otherwise. Ditto with being involved with IEDs, explosive filled vehicles, etc. Probably also ditto for most non-Afghanis caught in Afghanistan, and non-Iraqis caught in Iraq.

Besides, I don't remember any real evidence that those few individuals who were waterboarded weren't illegal combatants. KSM sure was. Ditto for OBL's driver.

JAL said...

Geeze.

Just back to take a look after being gone a while.

Did Jeremychael get a calling from above to minister his wisdom to this blog and this blog alone?

Doesn't that boy have a life?

elHombre said...

Jeremy, et al, wrote: "The guy literally trained to get through 15 seconds and could only go for 5.

It's torture...admit it."

But how can this be? Liberal trolls have been telling us all day that "torture doesn't work."

Therefore ....

Theo Boehm said...

JAL: That "boy" is 62 or 63 years old, and other people, by his own admission, use his account, thus the changes in tone/style you see from the authentic 'Jeremy' account.

Of course, there is at least one other 'Jeremy' commenting on this blog, so the waters are muddied by that, too.

Actually, the 'water' isnt getting 'muddied,' so much as the ooze is getting slimed.

A long-time mostly former commenter suggested on Twitter the other day that the presence of 'Jeremy' isn't so much a bug as a feature.

My question is who is Itchy, and who is Scratchy?

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