April 25, 2009

"I've heard him express regret at the contents of the memo."

"I've heard him express regret that the memo was misused. I've heard him express regret at the lack of context -- of the enormous pressure and the enormous time pressure that he was under. And anyone would have regrets simply because of the notoriety."

Jay S. Bybee regrets.

78 comments:

SMGalbraith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maguro said...

Unfortunate to see expressions of weakness and regret at such a moment...blood is in the water. Reading this, Holder might be tempted to grant Bybee immunity in order to prosecute Yoo, Bradbury and others. Hope that doesn't happen.

SMGalbraith said...

"On the primary memo, that legitimated and defined torture, he just felt it got away from him"
It got away from the entire Administration, I'm afraid.

If one reads the ICRC report, the memos and other accounts, what appears to be originally a limited harsh interrogation practice to prevent imminent or near-imminent attacks grew and became systematized.

Limited success in producing actionable intelligence, attacks elsewhere (Madrid, London), our inability to crack the inner circle of AQ all fed off one another and led to expanded application of the techniques.

They made grievous errors. Like FDR interning thousands of Americans, Lincoln suspending liberties, Wilson arresting dissenters and leaders of other democracies making similar mistakes.

War does that to people.

Lem said...

"I've heard him express regret that the memo was misused. I've heard him express regret at the lack of context -- of the enormous pressure and the enormous time pressure that he was under. And anyone would have regrets simply because of the notoriety".

I much rather he feel regret in the context of a successful prevention of another attack - which is undisputable - and not in the context of, 'I had the power to help prevent another attack and I didn't and another 3,000 people died.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Regret? Someone who rubbed human excrement in the American flag feels regret? I could care less about the feelings of him, Condi Rice, George W Bush or any of those other sick, depraved monsters who masquerade as honorable patriots.

And what a pathetic, intellectual half-apology he gave. More worm than man, all of them.

Lem said...

Let's suppose we had been attacked again - despite the harsh interrogations - would we feel the same abhorrence now?

I remember at the time some overzealous postulations that 3,000 people may have not been enough to awaken us to do what's necessary to defeat this enemy.

I didn't think it was possible, but here we are; back in time to a Sept 10th world.

Lem said...

This is a histerical flagellation.

This is really selfish... it would be fine if it didnt get people killed.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Let's suppose we had been attacked again - despite the harsh interrogations - would we feel the same abhorrence now?You're kind of right Lem. I wouldn't expect people to care as much about the US getting attacked now that they know we're torturers.

The really sick thing is that we used the same prisons Sadam tortured his prisoners in, to torture ours.

Maguro said...

It got away from the entire Administration, I'm afraid.

Well, let's be perfectly honest. If it got away, it got away from the entire US Government, including the Democrats in Congress.

Pelosi and company knew perfectly well what was going on but chose to do nothing.

Given that, a partisan witch-hunt against "the administration" is completely inappropriate.

Palladian said...

Uh oh. He's got the early stages of Andrewsullivanitis. Pretty soon he's going to be sighing over a picture of Barack Obama and running after Sarah Palin with a speculum. Seems like a few people here have caught it as well.

rhhardin said...

I don't get it. What law limits the President in the conduct of a war?

There's Geneva but these guys don't qualify.

If anything the US has been extra nice to them.

SMGalbraith said...

Well, let's be perfectly honest. If it got away, it got away from the entire US Government, including the Democrats in Congress.
Sure. I can include all of us too because I'm quite sure that right after 9/11 I, and a lot of critics, would have said, "Get the bastards."

But we give them the power and authority to make these decisions and hold them accountable too. We may be driven by revenge or fear or emotions; but they're supposed to be acting more responsibly.

They made errors. Terrible ones.

But the over-the-top screaming by some quarters is just absurd. On the list of sins committed by the US, this isn't even in the first ten volumes.

And it's a bit difficult hearing people who want us to cozy up to Castro or other dictators lecture us about our moral standing. If these terrorists had been captured by just any other country in the world, they would have been treated much more harshly.

Somehow the "transnationalists" who wish to cite world standards when juding our behavior seem to be silent here.

Lem said...

It seems that for the program to have been considered a 'good thing' it must have by necessity failed.

Lem said...

Seatbelts, condoms, airbags all have a failure rate, they all fail at one time or another. Even the spave shuttle.. Everything fails.

Here we did something under pressure to prevent deaths, to save lives and it worked.

Thank God it worked!

I got to go.
I'm not going to wallow is self pity.

David said...

The linked article says: "One of the documents, dated Aug. 1, 2002, offered a helpfully narrow definition of torture to the CIA and soon became known as the "Bybee memo," because it bore his signature."

No. It is known as the Bybee Memo because he endorsed its reasoning and consented to its distribution. The article makes it sound like his signature was almost accidental, like the memo wasn't really his.

It is Bybee's memo. No amount of weasel wording by some reporter giving cover can change that.

Also, we don't really know what Bybee thinks. We have hearsay, or maybe just fabrications.

But if Bybee is putting out his defense indirectly and at the same time refusing direct comment for "ethical" reasons, he is a first rate weasel.

Kind of makes me admire Dick Cheney, actually.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Life is so valuable that anything is preferable to death? Democracy can't survive in such an environment.

Darcy said...

I'd like to hear what, specifically, people who are horrified at this are prepared to do as far as interrogations go? I really want that spelled out. What we will and will not accept as Americans to save American lives in a time of war? What is torture and what is acceptable?

Has Obama said that waterboarding should never be done? I'd like to know exactly what he is prepared to sanction, under any circumstances. Get it out there for all to see, because that's what we're calling for now, in revealing this. He should be held to the same standard, right?

Now, I have not read the memo - I probably won't, because I feel this really is a witch hunt - that it's political. Not by everybody, but by the politicians for sure. And that it is going to cost more lives, just like the Abu Ghraib photos did - remember the beheadings? Yeah. And we're going to release 2,000 more photos.

Did anyone die as a result of our interrogation techniques?

I'm not condoning "torture" at all, or saying that what was done was right. I'm just saying it is so easy to point the finger now and call people monsters. Let's decide what we'll tolerate (be specific too, I hate this weaselly stuff - Pelosi!!) and quit blaming people for trying to save lives in tough, tough times.

And thank you, Lem.

MadisonMan said...

Can I just say that trying to excuse torture because it prevented something doesn't wash -- because there is no way of knowing whether the non-application of torture would have led to the same non-event result.

There is a nonlinearity to the evolution of events that those who say information obtained via torture prevented an attack seem to overlook.

SteveR said...

"Life is so valuable that anything is preferable to death? Democracy can't survive in such an environment."


I saw the Grim Reaper selling bumper stickers like that before the 2004 elections. I think he's tending bar at Applebees these days. Let me know and I'll see if I can get you some.

Darcy said...

Sure. You can say it, MadisonMan. I think it's far easier to say that than to be faced with the life or death decisions yourself. And there is no question in my mind that these people thought they were saving lives. That they didn't make these decisions for a personal thrill or because they were evil people.

PatCA said...

To me, it's phony self-criticism to suck up to the present regime.

Maybe the Chinese still have some white dunce caps left over from the Cultural Revolution. That would really seal the deal!

SMGalbraith said...

No. It is known as the Bybee Memo because he endorsed its reasoning and consented to its distribution.Even though it was probably the collective judgment of the entire OLC.

The problem we're getting into here is personalizing the issue - seeking out individuals we want to string up - instead of fairly trying to determine how, in my opinion, the civilian authorities lost control of the process.

I'd like a fair and full investigation but the problem is the lynch mob behavior by some people (not pointing to you).

And nowhere in the article is there even the slightest suggestion that he's engaged in a sotto voce (if you will) or proxy defense.

MadisonMan said...

Darcy, I agree with you. My beef is with those higher up the food chain who okayed the torture, not those who actually did it.

My jaw clenches when I read that Cheney wants declassification of documents that show that torture prevented some event, because there's no way of showing that that's what happened. If there had been no torture, would the events still have been prevented? An unanswerable question.

I love reading novels about multiple time threads, by the way. Maybe that's why this bugs me so.

Darcy said...

Thank you, MadisonMan.

I see your point - but let's see what he's talking about first? I'm not convinced we can't connect the dots yet. If we're going to get it all out there, let's be fair about it.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Darcy : I'd like to hear what, specifically, people who are horrified at this are prepared to do as far as interrogations go?Just use the original US Army Field Manual on Interrogation.

What is torture and what is acceptable?Whenever the government doesn't want pictures taken of interrogations I think it's safe to assume it's torture.

Tape all interrogations and save them for review.

SMGalbraith said...

My jaw clenches when I read that Cheney wants declassification of documents that show that torture prevented some event, because there's no way of showing that that's what happened.
Fair point but Cheney is responding to the claim made by critics that these techniques made us less safe and provided no actionable intelligence.

Do those making the claim get to do so without being challenged?

Not exactly much of a enlightening discussion if one side can't be responded to.

Jason (the commenter) said...

SteveR or anyone, please tell me how the idea "I would rather die a free man than live as a slave" is compatible with the idea that anything is acceptable as long as it saves human life?

I'm sure there are lots of people in this world who would do anything to stay alive. They've created some very interesting societies, but America wasn't one of them.

SteveR said...

Jason, I just think its a false choice. It wasn't between democracy and torture in order to save lives. Were it that simple even Nancy Pelosi wouldn't be confused about it.

Quayle said...

I could care less about the feelings of him, Condi Rice, George W Bush or any of those other sick, depraved monsters who masquerade as honorable patriots.One feels that, frankly, he could care less about the feelings of anyone except himself and his own seething hatred of others.)

The left's utter inability to judge and distinguish between good faith and bad faith is astonishing.

Perhaps your saint Obama could do what he seems to like to do to other depravaed monsters: shake their hands, pat them on the back, and smile with them.

daredevil-66 said...

Oh dear, hear we go again. You would have thought we learned our lessons on outing our intelligence agencys like the Church Commission of the 70's and Pete Toricelli's back seat driving of the 90's. And for what? Cheap moral posturing and a debilitated intelligence structure? That already costs us 3,000 people. Do we need to up the ante before we learn the lesson?

Jason (the commenter) said...

SteveR, why is it a false choice? If people would rather die free than live as a slave then they must value something more than life. I hear people making calculations in their heads: it's okay to do something because the end result is saving lives and saving lives is the most important thing.

"saving lives is the most important thing"

But as an American I believe that freedom is more important than being alive! Someone with American values should find the reasoning being used by torturers unacceptable. Add in things like honor and pride, which are things I believe every American should have because we are the greatest nation on earth, and torture should be out of the question.

madawaskan said...

Jason-

You could just as easily ask is killing ever justified to save human life?

Republicans by necessity will lose the argument-because it's a difficult one to make, and one that some don't want to have to own.

The real battle is that Democrats were on board with everything until the media chipped enough support away and it became a game of percentages.

Democrats were able to do the math and pivot themselves to be the political party in position to profit best if -

Bush ultimately failed.

WMD not found?

L.A. gone up in smoke?

What was the bargain?

Darcy said...

SteveR: Yes.

madawaskan said...

I think Lem gets what I am talking about.

Democrats won because of the natural doubts of the unknown.

Time eventually would be on the side of the doubters because eventually the unknowns would be known.

daredevil-66 said...

Does anyone remember the "principled" opposition Bush inc. got right after 9-11? Hillary getting up in front of the senate asking "When did the know?" "Why didn't they connect the dots?" Why Bush had an intelligence briefing that said Al Qaeda may or may not doing something bad. "How could they screw up so badly????" they bleated. And now after preventing a reoccurance we want to navel gaze and finger point about how it was done. Woe betide the obama administration if so much as a toilet blows up on his watch. I'll be driving around with an "IMPEACH NOW!" bumper sticker.

madawaskan said...

Jason-

I actually think it would be amoral to let thousands of others die-without giving them any choice in the matter just because I personally wanted to keep my own hands clean-but then that is the choice I would make for myself.

Jason (the commenter) said...

madawaskan-

Thanks, I can respect that much more than what most of the officials have been saying.

Cedarford said...

SMGalbraith - They made grievous errors. Like FDR interning thousands of Americans, Lincoln suspending liberties, Wilson arresting dissenters and leaders of other democracies making similar mistakes.
War does that to people.
Lincoln did what was necessary. Name a liberty he was not justified in suspending to save the Union of American states...

Wilson might have gone too far by todays standards in hammering radicals and anarchists - but:
1. They were directly trying to disrupt the war effort and undermine support for troops engaged in war.
2. In the preceeding years, they had killed one US President and several other officials. Tried to kill another US president and several industrial leaders.
3. Most lacked US citizenship, and under the legal rules of the time could be deported without trial as the undesirable aliens the public concluded they were.

(Of course many of the anarchists, assassins, and labor radicals were Jews. Hence the latter construction of the media narrative that they were all innocent, persecuted immigrants..)

************
FDR and internment is textbook for seeing who condemns it who lack any clue of US practices in past wars or practices of other nations in WWII.
We always interned. We also relocated enemy aliens out of jobs and critical strategic areas in other wars, starting with the War of 1812.
In WWII, we interned 10,000 German citizens. Canada interned all their Jap and German aliens and their dependents - even if full Canadian citizens. Britain interned all Germans, relocated Italians, French and Greeks away from coasts and docks when those nations came under sway. French citizens of suspected loyalty to Vichy were interned.
The Axis powers followed the same practices, with the Japs being barbaric with the US, Australian, Dutch, and British citizens they caught and interned during their China, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong conquests.

Darcy said...

Yeah, me too madawaskan (and Jason), and I respect your position too, Jason. I just don't think it is as simple as what we'd like to believe it is.

I pray that the politics of the way this is being revealed now doesn't cost more lives. We'll be lucky if it doesn't.

madawaskan said...

Jason and Darcy-

Hey-that happens to kind of come from my Dad suffering from the choices he had to make in WW II, Korea and Vietnam.

It something he talks about rarely in fact he says the more someone talks about it-the less they really did...

Anyways he has had to live with a lot of difficult things.

Jason you happen to influence me I was floored by your argument for gay marriage-it is one of the most persuasive things I have ever read.

madawaskan said...

Darcy-

Ugh ya luck it really sometimes boils down to a game of chances.

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

Lincoln did what was necessary
Military trials in areas under civilian control? E.g., Ex parte Merryman.

Not necessary.

Maguro said...

Just use the original US Army Field Manual on Interrogation.

The US Army Field Manual is fine for the Army, but has never applied to the CIA, a covert organization that routinely operates in a legal gray area.

Sorry to say, but success against terror networks requires intelligence that the captured terrorists aren't always willing to give voluntarily.

The Clinton administration understood this. That's why they used to kidnap terrorists and take them to places like Egypt and Jordan to be interrogated. Remember the words of Nobel Laureate Al Gore:

"That's a no-brainer. Of course it's a violation of international law, that's why it's a covert action. The guy is a terrorist. Go grab his ass."

At least the Bush administration did their own dirty work instead of farming it out to third countries as in the example above.

daredevil-66 said...

Maguro, why bother reminding the jason types what went on before Jan. 21, 2000? History began and stopped during the bush administration. That is the only focus we should have now through out eternity. If we should happen to get hit again, well its still his fault.

Darcy said...

daredevil-66: Do you know Jason?

paul a'barge said...

Byee == pussy.

daredevil-66 said...

darcy, nope, fortunately. But he is the stand in for the typical, preening, liberal types I have to consort with on a daily basis out in the bay area. Their Hamlet like dithering will just get boat loads of americans killed. No thanks. Been there, done that.

Darcy said...

I think you'd be surprised, daredevil-66. He is not.

MadisonMan said...

But he is the stand in for the typical, preening, liberal types I have to consort with on a daily basis out in the bay areaI agree that you don't know Jason. At all.

EDH said...

Isn't the grand assumption here that, without the specific guidance of these memos, even harsher and less controlled interrogations would never have taken place in the void while our "leaders" hid behind the Army Field Manual, as Obama does today.

Chip Ahoy said...

This WP article, this whole discussion is unusable poop. No law here, just emotion. I'm looking for but not finding an understanding of actual federal law. I'm trying to be convinced international law has meaning but I see nothing that's cogent. I am blocking all further opinion on this subject, just as all of your opinion is rigidly fixed.

When I speak on this subject you bring I see your head shake no at my best expression of my views uniquely tailored for you, so the same blocking mechanism is visibly at work in you. That negation angers me and it makes me want to crack open your head and shim enhanced views, qualitatively better views than the ones you express, pound them in with a 15-LB mallet, but I find your sculls impervious to new thought. You return with regurgitated party spoon-feedings (look, there's the carrots, there's the pot roast) using the same language, identical vocabulary, as if replaying something recorded in an earlier period by somebody else, and boring the living piss out me with that wearisome repetition, when otherwise you are creative and amusing.

My impulse is to hook up a fire hose and entirely drench you under high pressure to clear out the refuse, the clutter and cob webs that tangle those diaphanous delicate fibers upon which opinion sails and overwrought twee and precious thought dangles -- to rid the rows of library shelves stacked with rhetorical tchotchkes, piled dusty gewgaws and clustered nick knacks that clutter your logic and fog your fully sensed opinion -- as Helen Keller groped for meaning attached to words attached to real objects and flailed to grasp for the words attached to actual events and blindly deafly connect all that together before a saintly patient Ann Sullivan. But that hosing would amount to a complete mental makeover and change you into another person entirely and I don't want that.

Still I'm tired of having this discussion and I'm sickened by reading it ad nauseam, so in defense I am shutting it down. Yet, you are indefatigable and you post under one name in legion, so carry on. The discussion is yours. Like you, my mind is fixed. Our opinions differ, mine reasoned from cold observation, yours hotly felt though and fully explained, over and over and over. Now take off your clothes and get into the hot tub. Try being interesting for a change.

Palladian said...

"I think you'd be surprised, daredevil-66. He is not."

No, he isn't. Unfortunately, on this issue anyway, he seems to have contracted an acute case of andrewsullivanitis.

Jason (the commenter) said...

For those new to the blog: Ann Althouse is a right-wing conservative and I'm a lefty liberal.

Also, Palladian is trying to elude to the fact that I'm gay. He considers homosexuality a disease. Hater!

Revenant said...

I've heard him express regret that the memo was misused.

"Misused"? The guy wrote a legal memo saying that use of waterboarding would be legally acceptable. That memo was then used to justify use of waterboarding. How, exactly, is that "misuse"? If using a memo that says "X is legal" to justify why X is legal is "misuse", what the hell is "normal use"?

What the guy REALLY means is that he regrets the negative publicity. He's just trying to evade personal responsibility.

dbp said...

Jason (the commenter) said...

Life is so valuable that anything is preferable to death? Democracy can't survive in such an environment.
11:27 AM

Almost the perfect encapsulation of having no sense of perspective:

--The United States has a very long history of peaceful changes of power from one party to the next. If we allow one administration to criminalize policy differences with the last, this is the real threat to democracy.

--Yes, certainly; democracy is threatened by 3 terrorists having water poured on their faces. Bless their poor hearts! Nobody seems to notice that they could have avoided the whole thing by: 1. Not plotted to kill innocent people. 2. Having been caught, just answer the questions.

SMGalbraith said...

. Bless their poor hearts! Nobody seems to notice that they could have avoided the whole thing by
If American soldiers - say My Lai redux - were captured and the enemy (any one) used these tactics to prevent future atrocities, no one - NO ONE - would complain.

All of the attention - here and worldwide - would be on the American soldiers and who knew about their activities.

Nobody would be screaming about the illegality of their treatment.

Nobody.

Yes, hold ourselves to a higher standard. But let's get some damned perspective here.

daredevil-66 said...

I apologize if my comments were intemperate towards jason. But forgive me, his position seems very close to the freedom fetishists I deal with on a daily basis.

Palladian said...

"Also, Palladian is trying to elude to the fact that I'm gay. He considers homosexuality a disease. Hater!"

No, I'm not. I was alluding to your strangely emotional responses to this subject as being very similar to how Andrew Sullivan went completely, irrevocably off the rails about CIA "torture" and it wasn't long after that he was a Trig Palin "truther" and Obama groupie.

Cedarford said...

Jason - But as an American I believe that freedom is more important than being alive! Someone with American values should find the reasoning being used by torturers unacceptable. Add in things like honor and pride, which are things I believe every American should have because we are the greatest nation on earth, and torture should be out of the question..

I find that mindset absolutely jaw-dropping.

All our laws germinate from consent of the governed (We the People) that wanted 5 basic Goals in the Preamble to the Constititution covered. American citizens, not "We the People and the Enemy."
I prefer America lives to terrorist freedoms.

Escpecially when enemy action, unchecked, destroys what 3 of the 5 Goals the American People want all their laws, their Constitution, and their treaties to confirm or facilitate. When skyscrapers go down and cities are threatened with WMD in the future - we cannot have domestic tranquility, all Blessings of Liberty are lost when enemy takes American lives. And we fail to provide for the common defense if we do not do all we have to against the enemy. Starting with killing and maiming them and any civilian family or friends too close to them.

And frankly, it is hard to see how we promote the general Welfare of the citizenry by letting lawyers and courts do a "balancing act" between their welfare and the enemy's. Or how we "establish justice" when it is going on 8 years and terrorist rights advocates have stalled meting out any "judicial justice" to the terrorists and other Jihadis short of us killing them in conflict w/o trial overseas.

Unlawful combtants may be killed or maimed, their houses, cars, and families blown up - but they never, ever must suffer and "inconveniencing" in captivity, even with thousands of lives on the line? What have they done to deserve that? Their careful and kindly care of their own captives and villagers under their sway?
==================

SMGalbraith said...

How a pro-choice, pro-gay marriage Obama voting person could be called a rightwing conservative is a mystery to me.

Conservative? Okay.

Right wing?

Nope, no.

Jason (the commenter) said...

dbp,

The only serious threat to democracy is from within. Terrorists could crash a plane into us every day and it wouldn't hurt democracy one bit. The idea of America is in our hearts and minds where bullets cannot reach.

Conservatives were instrumental in defeating communism. We didn't beat them in a war; we were ready for one but it never came. It was ideas that did the trick. We lived our lives and they saw how good it was to be free. Their promises weren't as good as our reality.

But now all I hear from conservatives is that we need to be more like our enemies, we need to torture people like they do in other countries. The kind of thing we used to complain about communists doing to their prisoners.

"But it was legal!" Was Sadam writing laws saying what he was doing was illegal? Maybe he was, but it doesn't matter. The idea of a law bound society is helpful for democracy, but not required.

SMGalbraith said...

The only serious threat to democracy is from within.
FDR would disagree.

Question: If a group of American soldiers/agents - in diguise or civilian clothes - were killing thousands of Swedes and were planning to kill more, and the Swedes caught three and waterboarded them, would you be upset at the Swedes?

No, you wouldn't. You'd understand their response and would be furious at the Americans for their actions.

This doesn't excuse the Administration's actions. But it provides the context.

And you guys on the left want to strip away all context and view this antiseptically.

That's grossly unfair.

Jason (the commenter) said...

SMGalbraith,

I'm going to excuse the Swedes? No, in fact I'm not going to blame the Americans as much as I normally would. Whatever problems I had with the Swedes, I always thought they were good people just trying to live their lives. Now I know otherwise. America taught me something about Sweden that I wont ever forget.

SMGalbraith said...

I'm going to excuse the Swedes? No, in fact I'm not going to blame the Americans as much as I normally would
Sorry, I simply don't believe you. I just don't. If a group of Americans authorized by our government were terrorizing a civilian population and a foreign government used harsh techniques on them to prevent further attacks, you'd understand why they did it.

BTW, it's the Swedish government not the Swedes.

And you're "not going to blame the Americans as much as I normally would" is quite a admission.

SMGalbraith said...

Sorry, I simply don't believe you. I just don't
Let me clarify. I'm not saying you're lying. I'm sure you think you'd be angry at the Swedes and forgiving at the Americans.

But in context of all of your other comments, I don't think you would.

Jason (the commenter) said...

SMGalbraith,

I'm sure you think you'd be angry at the Swedes and forgiving at the Americans.

I know I'd be angry at the Swedes, because your analogy is based on something that's already happened. And I never said I would forgive the Americans, just not blame them as much as I normally would expect to.

The point of the American attack wasn't to destroy Sweden by military force. They wanted to get in my head and make me not feel the same way about Sweden as I did before. Because Sweden reacted the way it did the Americans succeeded. Even if every American on the face of the Earth is killed, they still win.

I don't understand your disbelief about my feelings. You don't feel outraged about someone who tortured people who might be murderers. Yet you expect me to feel outraged by someone who killed people they know are torturers.

But in context of all of your other comments, I don't think you would.

Maybe I'm passionate because I'm forced to take positions I'm not comfortable with.

SMGalbraith said...

I don't understand your disbelief about my feelings. You don't feel outraged about someone who tortured people who might be murderers
They captured the murderers. People who were going to commit more murders.

Not possible murderers.

My outrage is directed mostly - not exclusively - at the perpetrators who caused this entire matter to take place. You seem to have little outrage at them, at those who created this dilemma.

You're viewing this - both the real situation and my imaginary one - as some sort of game, or ethics class stripped or sanitized of the real world consequences.

Do you think Khali Shaik Muhammad and Zubaydah are possible terrorists?

As I stated elsewhere, the Administration made a grievous error by not limiting or controlling these extreme - and necessary (I believe) - measures.

Nonfeasance or even misfeasance is different than malfesance.

Jason (the commenter) said...

They captured the murderers. People who were going to commit more murders.

People who murder torturers. I admit the original murderers are bad people. I don't like them. Why wont you say the torturers are bad people? You'll barely even use the word "torture". The thing that keeps you from saying the word is your conscious.

You seem to have little outrage at them, at those who created this dilemma.

It wasn't a dilemma, it was a trap. I wasn't outraged because I held my temper so as to not spring the trap. Other people didn't care. They vented their emotions, let them get out of control, and then refused to take blame for the consequences.

It's painful to see yourself as unclean, but not accepting that pain is the first step to becoming a monster.

as some sort of game, or ethics class stripped or sanitized of the real world consequences

You're the one who wont accept the consequences. The only thing I'm stripping off are the labels "them" and "us". I am acting like a citizen of a democracy, you are acting like a member of a mob.

You don't seem to care if torture is moral at all. You just want to make sure it's done legally and write the laws to match whatever anyone wants to do. Wonderful moral situation that will cause. You can buy indulgences by giving money to lobbyists!

daredevil-66 said...

"I am acting like a citizen of a democracy, you are acting like a member of a mob."

Do you have forest of aromatherapy candles going off when you write stuff like this? I thank the stars absolutists like you are in charge of nothing more important than your own keyboard and elevated sense of superiority.

Palladian said...

Wow, Jason has progressed to late-stage andrewsullivanitis quite rapidly.

"Do you have forest of aromatherapy candles going off when you write stuff like this? I thank the stars absolutists like you are in charge of nothing more important than your own keyboard and elevated sense of superiority."

Unfortunately they're in charge of the government these days.

Revenant said...

People who murder torturers.

Oh, terrorists only target people who torture terrorists?

Interesting theory.

I admit the original murderers are bad people.

That's mighty big of you, Jason. Thanks for that.

dbp said...

"The only serious threat to democracy is from within."

So I guess the democracies of France, Poland and Belgium were destroyed from within, rather than by Panzer divisions as I had once thought...

section9 said...

Jesus, Jason.

Democracy is not a suicide pact. Not even Obama is clueless enough to go to the voters and say, "I let Al Qaeda kill six hundred thousand of you because I was too proud to waterboard!"

Liberals believe more nonsense about their own leaders that I am surprised that they are able to elect people. I have come to the conclusion that there is a suspension of disbelief in Democratic politics, in which the liberal voter allows himself to be lied to by their leadership so they can vote for the Home Team in good conscience.

Suppose the President gets a heads-up that the CIA has their hands on Muhammad the Beheader, and sleeper agent. This sleeper knows where the 30 kiloton Soviet Army-surplus tactical nuclear warhead is that is going to blow up Cinncinnatti.

In 24 hours, 72 hours, or 120 hours? Only the Beheader knows for Sure (like Madge, the nail lady from the Prell commercials...).

Does President Obama have the sumbitch waterboarded to get the information? You damn right he does.

Lots of registered voters in Cinncinnatti.

Some day liberals will get this. Unfortunately, it may not be before a lot of Americans are killed that did not have to die.

This whole controversy is Kabuki theater in which Obama and his people tried to embarrass Bush, Cheney, Rice, and others in the Bush Administration. Obama has done this in order to give his OneNess an absolutely free hand in foreign and defense policy by deligitimizing Republican opposition. What he did not expect were two things:

1. For the Republicans to cohere over this and become mad as proverbial hornets.

2. For most Americans to be against Show Trials and other agencies of revanchiste score settling that the Jacobin Wing of the Democratic Party has in mind for the Bush Administration.

When both David Broder and David Ignatius are telling him to back off of this, you know that the whole plan has sort of blown up in his face.

MayBee said...

You could just as easily ask is killing ever justified to save human life?We do justify it sometimes.

I don't understand how an individual or a country who: believes that war can be justified (even though there are collateral deaths)
and
that has a policy of shooting down a rogue passenger aircraft if it appears it is headed for a population center..

..can possibly think water boarding a terrorist is not justified if it will save innocent lives.

We quite often accept/demand that the innocent will die or be maimed in the pursuit of the guilty.
Why can't we accept the guilty might be made extremely uncomfortable in the pursuit of saving the innocent?

Jason (the commenter) said...

So I guess the democracies of France, Poland and Belgium were destroyed from within, rather than by Panzer divisions as I had once thought...

The troops came from where? Germany. Which leads me to my examples inter alia India, Germany, Spain, China, Russia, France, Poland, Rome, and Athens.

Jason (the commenter) said...

section9,

Where do you get the idea that this is just water boarding, or just one victim, or just one perpetrator, or just nuclear weapons?

It's all kinds of tortures, thousands of victims, hundreds of perpetrators, and all matters of crimes (some civil).

Life is not an episode of 24.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Palladian, you clearly have a thing for Andrew Sullivan, you've mentioned him four freaking times in just this thread. It's not going to happen, the man has a boyfriend. I'd date you if I lived in the city, but you probably don't have enough food.