May 6, 2009

Americans think the Bush adminstration used torture.

But wait. They approve.

133 comments:

Kirk Parker said...

I think it's a lot more nuanced than that: most Americans aren't in favor of torture qua torture, but are quite happy to be tough on our enemies (no what what that "being tough" gets called.)

Lem said...

"Roughly one in five Americans believe those techniques were torture...."

How is one in five Americans... never mind.

Why don't we just do everything by what the polls say. Why have a Justice Dept? Why have a Supreme Court? What's a president good for?

Jordan said...

A president is good for something. That something not turning America into a banana republic.

Buford Gooch said...

Actually, America thinks the Bush administration used the proper amount of coercion to extract information from our captured enemies. Most of us don't consider what they did torture. Have you heard of anyone volunteering to have a battery hooked up to his john thomas just to demonstrate how bad torture is? Well, several have volunteered to be waterboarded.

daredevil-66 said...

You can believe our lefty pals will disregard this poll although they cling to that argument when it suits them. Iraq is unpopular, Bush is unpopular, gays in the military is popular. Torture? Who cares this is about basic morality!!!!

Diamondhead said...

I bet about the same percentage find smug moral lectures from the champions of partial-birth abortion to be tedious.

PatCA said...

Whew! Good thing we have Saint Barack in office to save us from ourselves.

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

Now, how exactly does someone who believes in an equality of moralities turn around and proclaim that “torture” is immoral?

That's a good question.

They can explain away the life of the unborn as a valid choice under any and every circumstance (IDX) but a miniscule aspect of self defense that is an interrogation technique is a house of horrors comparable to the Nazis.

Go figure.

Lem said...

That something not turning America into a banana republic.

At least with mob rule you look forward (even if it must be in secret) to it's demise on day, preferably b4 you die.

What do we have to look forward to?

Dale said...

"Jeremy" and a good amount of liberals who post here constantly cite polls to butress the rightness of their beliefs.

I look forward to their explanations of this poll.

I speak - and I am in the mainstream and with the majority of Americans - when I say that i hate the thought of torture in theory.

But I believe that if the scale has a bad guy on one side and my family on the other, you know where most Americans will come down. And if you have to have to have it spelled out for you and parse the nuances of "torture" like it's some parlor game, then do everyone a favor and stop voting. Because you are an idiot and a danger to America.

William said...

Recently Jon Stewart was asked if he considered Hiroshima a war crime. He hesitated a moment and then said yes. He had previously described water boarding as a war crime and did not wish to be caught in the obvious paradox of describing water boarding as a crime but not Hiroshima. The following day, having pondered the matter further, Stewart apologized and retracted his statement about Hiroshima. He left unanswered the question of why waterboarding is a crime and Hiroshima is not.....Many people, and not just Jon Stewart, are confused about this murky ethical issue. Perhaps this can help to clarify the delicate nuances involved here: Many are familiar with the Nixonian doctrine that if the President does it, it's not illegal. There is a Democratic corollary to this doctrine. The corollary states that if a Republican president does it, it is illegal. Thus to determine the legality of any act the President performs, it is only necessary to refer to his political party to determine culpability. I hope this simplifies what has been up to now a thorny issue.

chickenlittle said...

Amen, people.

Dale said...

William, thank you for that succinct answer to the question "What is the difference between the Democrats and Republicans?".

Jon Stewart is not as smart as everyone on the left likes to think he is. I saw that bit when he talked about agreeing that Truman was a war criminal for dropping the bomb on Hiroshima. Fair enough - he can believe that. But when asked what could have been done better, Stewart exposed himself as a rube by saying that Truman should have dropped the first A-Bomb off the shores of Japan and then said " Uh huh! See that! If you don't surrender, then we're going to drop it on PEOPLE!"

Stewart seems to have missed history class the day that it was explained that the first bomb - dropped on people - didn't even cause surrender. It took a second bomb - on people - 3 days later and then another SIX days for surrender.

Because being a liberal means never having to explain yourself.

Eli Blake said...

An appeal to the lowest common denominator.

I suspect that you could probably find a large plurality if not an outright majority of Americans would, if asked directly, also say they supported torturing convicted felons, from the murderers right down to the graffiti vandals. Heck, just a couple of years ago the mayor of Las Vegas was re-elected after proposing cutting off the thumbs of graffiti taggers and broadcasting the dedigitation live on television.

There have also been times when a majority of Americans would have happily approved of torture (heck, forget the torture, they approved of going straight to murder) of blacks, native Americans, Chinese and Mormons.

Fortunately we are not traditionally a country of such mob rule in which we sink to the level of our opponents but rather a nation that upholds standards. A nation that the rest of the world looks up to in admiration, not down upon in contempt.

Or at least we used to be...

Eli Blake said...

Heck, to see how well Americans respond to the 'hang 'em high' mode of political discourse, I remember when I lived in Texas.

A candidate running for railroad commissioner came from way back in the pack and won some years ago after running a bunch of tough on crime commercials that culminated in his going on and on about being in favor of the death penalty (which as a matter of record his opponents also supported but none of them felt it was necessary to advertise the fact while running for railroad commissioner.)

So I was waiting from someone to ask him what exactly his duties as railroad commissioner had to do with the death penalty (maybe he wanted to use tying someone to the tracks and sending the number 10 on down the line as a method of execution?)

The voters just ate it up, and voted for him because he was 'tough.' Competency or qualification optional.

rhhardin said...

The target demographic of the media doesn't approve. That's what supports the business.

Chip Ahoy said...

Fortunately we are not traditionally a country of such mob rule in which we sink to the level of our opponents but rather a nation that upholds standards. A nation that the rest of the world looks up to in admiration, not down upon in contempt.

Or at least we used to be...
This is a favorite myth the Left like to endlessly ruminate. It is simply not so. But do, keep up the moral preening, very little remains if you remove it.

I hold an image in my mind of a one-time friend standing in my doorway dropping off his dog, a brief encounter, but every encounter at the time was an opportunity to persist with his emotional appeal to despise Bush and co. as much as he did. He was like a mean-spirited high school girl that way -- insistent we all share the same hatreds. He clutched his hands over his heart and wrung them achingly as he described graffiti he saw on a wall in Sydney reading "Do the world a favor -- kill Bush." He said as if holding back tears, "I've never seen anti-American graffiti before." Risible that, had it not been so annoying, he seems to forgotten the graffiti I pointed out to him in Vancouver reading, "US out of Nicaragua NOW" while I asked him what he imagined a Canadian punk that defaced walls gave a shit about what the US did in Nicaragua. I wondered at that moment in the doorway if he actually thought I would alter my view of an administration based on what he read some idiot in Australia scrawled on a wall or if the US should base their foreign policy on that. For Christ's sake.

If you were aware of what the British, Germans and French were saying of the US generally during the Reagan administration then you would not evoke this myth. It's ridiculous to concern ourselves with what some citizens of other countries say they think about the US and even more ridiculous for the US to base it national policy on that. Those same citizens are unaware of what the police forces and the militaries of their own countries do to keep them safe and alive and morally preening. Do not concern your adult self with such childish nonsense myths, not at least until those same citizens cease beating down our doors to get into this country and changing their citizenships to escape their enlightened taxations and their own social upheavals, and stop once and for all bragging about their vacations to America.

The US hasn't forfeited any moral authority, in fact we gained it. Consider, what country can be looked up to that refuses to protect itself, or that does so with one hand tied behind its back while schizophrenically the other hand stabs it in the back?

Dale said...

Chip, that is the comment of the year.Thank you.

Eli Blake, you have been schooled by a real world adult, in real time. You have been spanked. Learn from it and grow up. You only have so much time before your mind fully closes and you then will remain intellectually childish for the rest of your life.

Jeremie said...

Dale:

Pictures were the reason they dropped the second one. They didnt have the devastating image they needed from the first bomb.

Michael Hasenstab said...

Waterboarding is considered by many on the left to be torture only because it occurred during the hated Bush administration.

Had it occurred during the Obama administration it would be lauded as an "effective, non-lethal, humane information gathering technique".

Michael Hasenstab said...

A bit off topic, perhaps.

Has anyone ever witnessed (or seen photos of) Code Pink or similar organization protesting in front of any embassy of a middle-eastern nation?

Carrying signs and banners that read: Stop Beheading Now!

No? Huh. Maybe they don't consider beheading torture. But waterboarding, now that's just horrible.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

Well.

The debate over "torture" is one of definitions.

The general public is willing to concede that debate to the people squawking the most, but then makes its judgment on the morality over tough tactics by looking at said tactics, rather than the broad label of "torture". (At least, that's how the fifth who call the tactics torture but then approves of them must think.)

rhhardin said...

The second bomb was the bluff that ended the war.

Bombing a marginal target in bad weather suggested we had a lot more of the things, so they could keep coming.

But it was our only remaining bomb.

The US and Japan remember it all a little differently; the Japanese as something like terrible weather, and the US as you started it and we ended it.

We still have great technology to this day, not counting the coming Obama era trying to level the playing field between the 4th Century jihadists and the US.

Pogo said...

The left doesn't give a rat's ass about torture or gay marriage or universal health care.

What they want is power and the destruction of property rights. What they seek are the spoils of victory, transferring ownership from one group to a more favored group.

The issues on which they ran are small beer compared to control of the entire US economy. "Torture" is just a side issue, entertainment for the boneheads on the left, a piece of gristle to the dogs by the table, a sop to the true believers who'll believe anything.

ddh said...

Stories like this one only make "progressives" feel good about their bias in favor of experts deciding policy. Egad, can't have the rubes decide, they favor torture! A judge or the chair of the English Department would never make that mistake.

Bissage said...

Like most sensible and independent-minded Americans, I will continue to favor torturing terrorists until instructed to believe otherwise by a massive rock concert featuring 50 Cent, U2, Coldplay and Sting.

If it is live-broadcast across the globe from The Hague, so much the better.

The Drill SGT said...

LOL
Buford Gooch said... Have you heard of anyone volunteering to have a battery hooked up to his john thomas just to demonstrate how bad torture is? Well, several have volunteered to be waterboarded.Trust me, generations of military officers (and men) have volunteered for SERE training, and have undergone stress positions, temperature therapy, and waterboarding, etc, but none of them would have signed up for the jumper cables and battery stuff.

There are limits on proving you can take it :)

The Drill SGT said...

rhhardin said...
The second bomb was the bluff that ended the war.

Bombing a marginal target in bad weather suggested we had a lot more of the things, so they could keep coming.

But it was our only remaining bomb.
.

I think it was our only remaining bomb in theater. I think there were materials or assembled bombs amounting to 2 more "Fat boys". Fat Boys were the type we tested in the South West once, and used in the Hiroshima drop. "Little Man" was a different untested type we dropped on Nagisaki.

The Drill SGT said...

Apparently at the same time the Holder DoJ is investigating "torture memos" of Btbee and Yoo (and leaking the results of their investigations),

The Holder DoJ is citing the same basic arguments that Bybee and Yoo used to defend the US intent to deport that 80 y/o Polish death camp guard, namely:

The "Convention Against Torture" traety and the US implementaions of same are "specific intent" laws. Meaning that severe pain and suffering that happens to occur isn't torture unless you intended to inflict levels that amount to severe pain and suffering. The 10th Circuit bought that argument previously in a Haitan Deportation medical care case by a 10-3 margin.

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NjRhNWQ2YTRlYWI2NzU0Yjc0NmFlN2FjMmI2YzYyODU=&w=MA==

Sound like the GOP President's Rule is in play :)

Meade said...

Count me in that 20% of Americans who "believe those techniques were torture but nonetheless approve of the decision to use those procedures against suspected terrorists."

And if President Obama, having actionable intelligence, faced with a decision of whether or not to waterboard the next Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, demurs from using any means necessary to prevent the next mass murder of 2,974 American civilians, I will consider him to be a coward, a traitor, and an accomplice to that murder and I suspect that more than 20% of the electorate would then hold him accountable.

mariner said...

Meade,

In an Obama administration, what makes you think the American people would ever find out about it?

Obama will not be held responsible for anything.

Richard Fagin said...

The bombs were named "Fat Man" after Churchill, and "Little Boy." Little Boy was originally supposed to be named "Thin Man" after Roosevelt. The Fat Man bomb dropped on Nagasaki was the same type plutonium device tested at Alamagordo a few weeks before the bomb was dropped. Oppenheimer's crew wasn't positive the plutonium device would work. The Hiroshima bomb was a uranium "gun" type device, and was never tested prior to use. The scientists assumed it would work.

Now with all that out of the way, more people died in the incendiary bombing of Dresden (about 100,000) than in either atomic attack. Same for Tokyo (110,000), which Curtis LeMay's bombers almost totally incinerated.

Having Jon Stewart opine about "torture" and "war crimes" given his obvious ignorance of the above facts is a waste of broadcast spectrum and your time spent listening.

When Americans get mad enough, they'll deal with the bad guys in ways that make the bad guys wish they'd just minded their own business. The ACLU weenies and the Jon Stewarts will always be with us, but they tend to get ignored when the enemy is sufficiently clear to everyone else.

The turbaned throat cutters just haven't pissed us off enough........ yet.

Meade said...

mariner,

What makes me think the American people would ever find out about the mass murder of 2,974 Americans?

Careful you don't drift into conspiracy theoryland yourself there, dude.

hdhouse said...

Dale said...
"Jeremy" and a good amount of liberals who post here constantly cite polls to butress the rightness of their beliefs.


Not so Dale. Now the poll should go on to ask if breaking the law is o'k too. That question comes before the approval of torture question. That is the point that needs to be settled.

That 1 in 5 believe that torture was used means that 4 of 5 swallowed the Bush line that this wasn't torture...just uncomfortable. Heck, a nice percentage still believe that we went into Iraq to get his nuclear weapons.

kynefski said...

I agree that it would be foolish to seek prosecution of these war crimes, because we are all complicit. At the time we were doing this, almost all of the opposition was from the left, which will allow justice to be portrayed as political retribution. Witness here. And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody outside of a small circle of friends.

I'm confident that we are not, now, headed into darkness, and I'm willing to let history judge.

Meade said...

History is already judging President Bush's mistakes.

But one thing he was and is still right about:

"You're either with us, or you're with the terrorists."

Pogo said...

"Now the poll should go on to ask if breaking the law is o'k too""

Obama is just fine with breaking the law, house.

Just ask the hedge funds that are left with nothing after Obama broke bankruptcy laws and gave their money to the UAW instead.

knox said...

It's ridiculous to concern ourselves with what some citizens of other countries say they think about the US and even more ridiculous for the US to base it national policy on that. Those same citizens are unaware of what the police forces and the militaries of their own countries do to keep them safe and alive and morally preening.

Not only that, but Europe has been able to bask in its moral superiority--and its bountiful socialist programs--precisely because of our robust military and its willingness to be so distastefully tough. Oh, and that goes for you too, Eli. For all we know some or all of our asses have been saved because of info gleaned from these interrogations.

NKVD said...

hdhouse wrote "o'k too". I wonder what that means. I think it is code. It's not English.

He is dripping vile again.

knox said...

Oh, and great comment, Chip.

knox said...

36 comment and no luckyoldson/michael/jeremy! How long will it last...

Ann Althouse said...

"36 comment and no luckyoldson/michael/jeremy! How long will it last... "

Knox, I love you, but you should realize that the attention that you and many others lavish on him calls him here and energizes him. Everyone who engages him is responsible for his behavior. He's just a boring writer who responds to responses. If you don't want him here, starve him for attention.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Wow. People put self preservation above the coddling of terrorist who want to kill us all. Who would have guessed?

/sarcasm off

Pogo said...

"Everyone who engages him is responsible for his behavior. "

A quibble: Michael/Lucky/Jeremy remains responsible for his own behavior.

We're only encouraging him, as your mum used to warn.

I have a hard time ignoring insults except by not reading any further at all once a Jeremiad begins. It's hard to step over every road apple when the street's half full of 'em.

I don't have an answer that's doable in blogger.

Robert Cook said...

Jon Stewart was a pussy to retract his remarks in re: the criminality of the atomic bombing of Japan and of Truman being a war criminal.

That a majority of Americans allegedly approve of torture--we don't know the methodology of the poll(s) the or the way the questions were phrased, but let's accept for argument's sake these results are accurate--is disgraceful.

Torture is wrong--always. Not only are there domestic and international laws (to which we are party) that so establish this, but morally it's wrong. Torture is one of the great evils of humanity and a plague in our history. The prohibition in our Bill of Rights of "cruel and unusual punishment" was a recognition by our founders that torture was an unspeakable evil that could not be coutenanced in a civilized and free society.

We're witnessing the death of America as an idea and ideal. All this canned rightwing propaganda about "banana republics" is pertinent in this way: we are a banana republic to the degree that we are no longer a government of, by and for the people but a government of oligarchy, and to the degree we permit, ignore or even cheer lawlessness in our government. It is that which shitbag Karl Rove falsely characterizes as the hallmark of a banana republic--holding to account the lawbreaking of a previous administration--that we must pursue in order not to be a banana republic. He well knows this, of course, but as our latter-day Joseph Goebbels, he knows how to make lies the truth and the truth a lie.

Frankly, I don't expect any reprieve for us: we're done.

knox said...

the attention that you and many others lavish on him calls him here and energizes him.You're right, you're right, I know you're right...

Kylos said...

Meade, all the information coming out about the Bush administration's "torture" policies have been a result of strong opposition, unrelenting accusations, and a new administration willing to publish national secrets in the name of transparency. Unless Obama's popularity decreases, that sort of information will likely not be known for 25 or 50 years. Nobody ina position to talk will want to talk badly about a popular president, and if they do, that type of talk won't find traction with many anyhow.

I don't think this approaches the realm of conspiracy-theory-land; I think it is just a recognition that there is a lot that we don't know. I could tell you about terrorist threats and capabilities that never came to light, about which you'll likely never know anything because that sort of information doesn't typically enter the public domain. That doesn't mean it is a conspiracy to keep the public in the dark about such things, just that there are many secrets that do get buried, legitimately or not.

Robert Cook said...

"Waterboarding is considered by many on the left to be torture only because it occurred during the hated Bush administration".

False.

Waterboarding has long been considered torture and a crime. It was one of the notorious tortures employed in the Spanish Inquisition. We have in the past prosecuted American law enforcement and military officials who inflicted it on prisoners, and we prosecuted Japanese military after WWII for using it as well. In the cases of the Japanese tried, sentences ranged from prison time to execution.

Pogo said...

Well Robert, the only way out of these errors you see is to recognize that the American people have given over way too much power to the government.

You seem to think that if only the right people are in charge, bad things like torture won't happen.

Bullshit, of course.

If you give the gummint too much power, they use it, and over time it devolves into abuse and corruption. Every single time. Whether it's my guys or your guys, power corrupts.

The answer is less government. Take away the power, and there's far less chance of torture.

Robert Cook said...

"The US hasn't forfeited any moral authority, in fact we gained it".

In a universe ruled by the Marquis De Sade, perhaps, but absolutely not in this one.

Diamondhead said...

"In the cases of the Japanese tried, sentences ranged from prison time to execution."

This makes it sound like Japanese were executed for waterboarding. Not the case.

Kirk Parker said...

Robert Cook,

See you in Civil War II, dude! You should have been careful what you wished for--you'll find the reality is vastly more painful than you could have imagined during all your silly posturing.

Robert Cook said...

"You seem to think that if only the right people are in charge, bad things like torture won't happen".

No, there are no right people. ALL people, if given authority to wield power with no oversight or checks on that power, with no threat of punishment, will abuse that power.

This is why America is--or was, or claimed to be--a "nation of laws," not men. "No man is above the law," we flattered ourselves. "All men are equal before the law," we lied to ourselves.

The way to not have torture is not to hope we have the "right people" (sic) in office, but to apply the law as mercilessly to any motherfucker in power who abuses the law as we do to any inner city kid who robs a store.

Robert Cook said...

Diamondhead said: "This makes it sound like Japanese were executed for waterboarding. Not the case".

http://isiria.wordpress.com/2009/04/25/us-executed-japanese-for-waterboarding/

Here's the pertinent passage:
“McCain is referencing the Tokyo Trials, officially known as the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. After World War II, an international coalition convened to prosecute Japanese soldiers charged with torture. At the top of the list of techniques was water-based interrogation, known variously then as ‘water cure,’ ‘water torture’ and ‘waterboarding,’ according to the charging documents. It simulates drowning.” Politifact went on to report, “A number of the Japanese soldiers convicted by American judges were hanged, while others received lengthy prison sentences or time in labor camps".

Also:
http://www.vqronline.org/articles/2008/winter/
genoways-torture/

Pogo said...

"but to apply the law as mercilessly"

Wrong.
If the government gets too much power, what it says becomes the law. What was illegal yesterday becomes legal. For example, Obama is giving unsecured creditors monies before first-tier creditors in a bankruptcy. Because he said so, even though it violates bankruptcy laws.

It's only a nation of laws when the government is small enough to be held to them, rather than do whatever the hell they want and call that the law.

Aaron said...

Look, this poll is warped because I think the debate is warped. Look, here is the truth on this. Torture isn't really well defined. Read the statute and it says thinks like severe physical pain. Well, okay, how severe is severe? the left, complaining bitterly that bush sees our nations enemies in black and white, want to pretend how we treat our enemies is a black and white issue. so they toss around the word torture as though it is defined clearly. It isn't. and to pretend it is, is intellectually dishonest.

So americans hear about the stuff we actually do, and the media says this is torture, torture, torture, but all if not most of the things they did were not immediately obviously offensive. making a person cold, putting a person in a cage with a catapillar, and so on, it doesn't offend regular americans. obvioulsy its not their idea of a fun weekend, but they don't consider it torture.

anyway, i suspect that if the poll gets into exact techniques, we might see some interesting numbers. i suspect you would get a bare plurality in favor of waterboarding, and stronger numbers for everything below that.

Bluntly, this is just more evidence that democrats have lost this debate. and if we are hit again, the anger at a government that didn't do everything it had to, will be overwhelming. By pushing for unprecedented kindness to terrorists, they might in fact set back the very causes they hoped to advance.

Diamondhead said...

“McCain is referencing the Tokyo Trials, officially known as the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. After World War II, an international coalition convened to prosecute Japanese soldiers charged with torture. At the top of the list of techniques was water-based interrogation, known variously then as ‘water cure,’ ‘water torture’ and ‘waterboarding,’ according to the charging documents. It simulates drowning.” Politifact went on to report, “A number of the Japanese soldiers convicted by American judges were hanged, while others received lengthy prison sentences or time in labor camps".

If you look into the facts, you'll find that the people who were executed were charged with act far more grievous than waterboarding.

mrs whatsit said...

"... he knows how to make lies the truth and the truth a lie."

As does our current President - and he is at least as willing as anyone in the Bush administration ever was to disregard the rule of law when it serves his purposes. (Ask those who dealt with the banks and the automakers, believing that they could trust their government to respect contract law.)

I am afraid that Robert Cook may be right that there will be no reprieve for us and that we're done -- but I don't think it for the reasons he does. I think it because so many of us -- like him -- no longer believe that we are worth defending.

mrs whatsit said...

" but to apply the law as mercilessly to any motherfucker in power who abuses the law as we do to any inner city kid who robs a store."

Presumably you intend to start with President Obama's recent abuses of contract and bankruptcy law.

Pogo said...

Nope, Robert means other laws, the kind of laws his enemy breaks. His friends are another matter.

Robert Cook said...

Fuck Obama. If he's broken the law, prosecute him.

I already consider him a war criminal, so he's due...but it won't happen if Bush and company are not tried first. Their escape of punishment for their crimes will set the precedent for lawbreaking by all present and future governments we may endure.

Pogo said...

"I already consider him a war criminal, so he's due..."

Again, if the gummint says so, no law was broken.

Don't you see how nice that works?

Robert Cook said...

Mrs. Whatsit said, "...(Obama) is at least as willing as anyone in the Bush administration ever was to disregard the rule of law when it serves his purposes".

Correct. As is any elected official...if they think they can get away with it. Which is why we must prosecute, as I said "any motherfucker in power who abuses the law...."

This is not a partisan issue, as it seems to be for many here. This has to do with rule of law and holding ALL accountable to it.

But if we allow Bush and his criminal cabal--including all Democrats in Congress who knew of their crimes and aided and abetted or ignored them--to escape prosecution for their supreme crimes of mass murder, war crimes and torture, there will be no prosecution of other officials for their lesser crimes, whatever they may be.

Diamondhead said...

"Fuck Obama. If he's broken the law, prosecute him.

I already consider him a war criminal, so he's due..."

Sorry, didn't realize you were a total nutjob. Carry on.

UWS guy said...

George bush, the president of the united states tortured an American citizen.

Say that to yourself over and over until it sinks in.

Robert Cook said...

"Again, if the gummint says so, no law was broken.

Don't you see how nice that works"
?

Unless you support the investigation of Bush and company for torture and war crimes, you are one of those who allows the "gummint" to say so. You permit a lawless government.

Pogo said...

I permit a lawless government?
That's rich.
I now vote against enlarging the gummint, every time.
And I lose, every time.
And you?
Ever vote for a Democrat? A Republican? A socialist?
If so, you permitted a lawless government

If you give them the power, they become the law, Robert.

It's why gummint should be small.

"NIXON: Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.

FROST: By definition.

NIXON: Exactly. Exactly. If the president, for example, approves something because of the national security, or in this case because of a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude, then the president's decision in that instance is one that enables those who carry it out, to carry it out without violating a law. Otherwise they're in an impossible position.

FROST: So, that in other words, really you were saying in that answer, really, between the burglary and murder, again, there's no subtle way to say that there was murder of a dissenter in this country because I don't know any evidence to that effect at all. But, the point is: just the dividing line, is that in fact, the dividing line is the president's judgment?

NIXON: Yes, and the dividing line and, just so that one does not get the impression, that a president can run amok in this country and get away with it, we have to have in mind that a president has to come up before the electorate. We also have to have in mind, that a president has to get appropriations from the Congress. We have to have in mind, for example, that as far as the CIA's covert operations are concerned, as far as the FBI's covert operations are concerned, through the years, they have been disclosed on a very, very limited basis to trusted members of Congress. I don't know whether it can be done today or not.
."

section9 said...

The Democrats have damned sure lost this debate. The reason why Obama had his people take out after the lawyers, Condi, Cheney et al is that he wants to make sure that when we get hit again, techniques such as waterboarding and other forms of interrogation have been discredited.

This has nothing to do with justice. This has to do with saving Obama's ass so he can get reelected. The liberals do not get this yet, but people like Andy McCarthy and other conservatives have already seen through the Dog and Pony show.We expect Andrew Sullivan and his friends on the Left to see the light when they are already rationalizing Obama's massive trillion dollar deficits out until the time that James T. Kirk is commissioned into Starfleet. This asks too much of liberals: to bring their own assumptions into question.

Oh, wait a muinute, by the time Obama is done, we won't even have enough money to finance Starfleet, much less recover from Colonel Green's War. Thanks Barack! And you call yourself a Trekkie!

To clear up Hiroshima: why were two bombs dropped. There was a third bomb-but it was at the 509th Composite Group staging base at Wendover, Utah, under close guard. The plutonium core had just been transferred to Wendover from Site Y at Los Alamos.

The plan had been to administer a One Two punch to the Japanese. That was the idea behind Operation CENTERBOARD. Paul Tibbets in the Enola Gay would drop the Uranium rifle bomb on Hiroshima and, within five days, The Great Artiste, Chuck Sweeney's aircraft, would drop the production plutonium bomb on the Kokura Arsenal.

Tibbets' mission went off without a hitch, as we all know, save for one problem. His photo plane, Necessary Evil, had a problem with the FastEx cameras supplied by Eastman Kodak. None of the onboard cameras that were aboard George Marquardt's aircraft took any film that could be developed. The only imagery that survives from Hiroshima are a few photos from the ground taken by survivors and some pictures taken by Bob Caron, the Enola Gay's tailgunner.

When they got back, they found that they couldn't get the scientific equipment out of The Great Artiste quick enough to convert it into a strike aircraft in time to allow Victor 89 to carry the plutonium bomb, so Tibbets and Sweeney went to one of their captains, Fred Bock. Bock suggested using his plane, Victor 77, Bock's Car, as the strike plane and leaving the Artiste as the Scientific Observer plane. Meantime, Harry Hopkins in The Big Stink was to serve as the Photo Plane.

The mission had been given the final go ahead by LeMay and Spaatz on Guam on August 8th. Tibbets returned from the conference and supervised the loading of Fat Man into the Bockscar. It was then he heard from his weather people that Kokura was going to be socked in, so they moved the mission up to the 9th.

That night, Sweeney found that Bockscar had a defective fuel pump, which would allow them to do the mission, but just make it back to Okinawa. The mission proceeded an hour late, and through a series of galactic errors by Sweeney and Harry Hopkins, they missed the Kokura aimpoint by an hour. This allowed haze and smoke from a the firebombing of a nearby town to overcast Kokura. Bockscar made three passes, but Kermit Behan, the bombadier, could not bomb visually.

Bockscar barely made it to Nagasaki on fuel vapors. He had enough fuel for one pass, and Behan found a hole in the clouds, right above the Mitsubishi Iron works. Fat Man detonated above a nearby racetrack, killing some 70,000 people.

Word of the Nagasaki detonation reached the Japanese Inner Cabinet just as deliberations were taking place with the Emperor. It is telling that Hiroshima on its own was not decisive enough to settle the issue of the War. It was Sweeney's mission, not Paul Tibbets' effort, that swung sentiment in the War Cabinet behind an effort to sue for peace with the Americans. The Emperor decided to accept the Potsdam Declaration and end the war.

As it was, nobody heard out of the Japanese for two days. LeMay called Tibbets on a secure line and asked him where Bomb Number 3, due to be delivered by Tibbets himself was.

"Do you have another one of those things?" Le May asked.

"Yes, sir." Tibbets responded.

"Well, where the hell is it?" LeMay was impatient, as usual.

"It's out in Wendover".

"Well, send somebody out to get it in case we need one". With that, LeMay hung up the phone. His war wasn't over until George Marshall stopped all movement of bomb material to Tinian Island on Truman's orders.

It's worth noting that nameless Bomb Number 3 was to be dropped on the northern suburbs of Tokyo, to make a big impression on the Japanese government and the Diet. LeMay had become angry with Sweeney because of his perceived screwup of the Nagasaki mission. The strategic bombing community had wanted to eliminate the Kokura Arsenal.

As it was, it was Paul Sweeney in the Bock's Car and his crew who are as responsible as anyone else for forcing an end to the greatest bloodletting in history. That his mission was a total cockup is the great irony. That many people (like the hideously clueless John Stewart) consider, at least at first blush, the efforts of Tibbets and Sweeney to be war crimes is not only ironic, but says more about Stewart and his ilk than it does about the men of the 509th and that generation who, as Paul Tibbets was wont to say, "put their balls to the anvil".

William said...

The Japanese used to perform experimental operations on downed American pilots. They performed these operations without using any type of anesthesia. When they waterboarded, they would cane the prisoner's belly while he was being waterboarded. This apparently increased the level of pain and panic exponentially. These are not--in kind or in degree--the same offenses that the Americans are charged with.....That said, I am glad that there are people who protest torture in the same way that I am glad that there are people who protest abortion. There is a moral dimension to this issue that should be discussed.

Pogo said...

" There is a moral dimension to this issue that should be discussed."

Well said.

mrs whatsit said...

"That said, I am glad that there are people who protest torture in the same way that I am glad that there are people who protest abortion. There is a moral dimension to this issue that should be discussed."

Yes, William, agreed. Thanks for saying that.

pete-who said...

I think it was our only remaining bomb in theater. I think there were materials or assembled bombs amounting to 2 more "Fat boys". Fat Boys were the type we tested in the South West once, and used in the Hiroshima drop. "Little Man" was a different untested type we dropped on Nagisaki.Actually, "Little Boy" was dropped on Hiroshima. It was a uranium bomb with less yield, but was also much less complex. "Fat Man" was dropped on Nagasaki, utilized plutonium, and had a greater yield. "Trinity" was tested in New Mexico, and was an early version of "Fat Man". There was a fourth bomb being prepared, but it was not ready for deployment.

Interestingly, the conventional bombing of Tokyo and Osaka claimed many more lives than "Little Boy" and "Fat Man" combined. Likewise the fire bombings of Dresden.

AlphaLiberal said...

That something not turning America into a banana republic.This is one dumb talking point. Or, telling....

Enforcing the law upon the highest officials in the land and having open government is most definitely NOT a trait of "Banana Republics."

Wiretapping, torture, secret prisons, those are all traits of Bush-Cheney AND Banana Republics.

That's why they are Banana Republicans!

Diamondhead said...

"Enforcing the law upon the highest officials in the land and having open government is most definitely NOT a trait of Banana Republics."

No, but prosecuting your predecessor for political differences is - and that's what this would amount to. And that's why there will be no prosecutions (because there wasn't any, you know, law-breaking. So that small minority of the population that wants to see a show trial (leftist nitwits, all) can get over the idea.

Pogo said...

"Enforcing the law upon the highest officials in the land and having open government..."
Except for administration appointments paying taxes, following the bankruptcy laws, and failing to be actually transparent, of course.

The Drill SGT said...

When they waterboarded, they would cane the prisoner's belly while he was being waterboarded. This apparently increased the level of pain and panic exponentially. These are not--in kind or in degree--the same offenses that the Americans are charged with....agree. To be clear to everybody, what the Japanese were doing was like the Americans only in the sense that:
- folks were tied on a board
- there was water.

The basic Japanese approach was to force ingestion of large amounts of water, then beat your distended stomache, causing pain and rupture of organs.

It was not the mental panic approach that we call waterboarding today.

jr565 said...

Thank you for pointing the difference between waterboarding we do and waterboarding done by the Japanese beucase its an entirely different animal, and thus is extremely disingenous to compare the two as if we do the same. Lets find ANY journalists or anyone making a comparison between our waterboarding and the Japanese actually subject themselves to waterboarding that including ruptured organs. Just for clarity's sake. Any takers? Anywhere?

Now, to all the people like Hitchens and all the people in various organizations who submitted to waterboarding on camera and then said it was torture, how about submitting to Japanese water boarding and then tell us if they are identical or equal or even comparable. It would be like comparing American Gladiators with Actual Gladiators or a dentist chair where you have your wisdom tooth pulled versus someone standing over you with a drill asking "Is it safe?".

We waterboard those attending SERE training, using the exact same techniques used against KSM, and its not torture when we do it in SERE training. Now to all those saying that the waterboarding is identical to that done by the Japanese, do you think we would ever submit our troops to Japanese style waterboarding? ie filling their bellies with water and then jumping on them and rupturing their organs? Doens't the fact that that would NEVER happen distinguish the two procedures based on that fact alone?

The Drill SGT said...

We waterboard those attending SERE training, using the exact same techniques used against KSM, and its not torture when we do it in SERE training. Now to all those saying that the waterboarding is identical to that done by the Japanese, do you think we would ever submit our troops to Japanese style waterboarding? ie filling their bellies with water and then jumping on them and rupturing their organs? Doens't the fact that that would NEVER happen distinguish the two procedures based on that fact alone?LOL

I was waterboarded at SERE, bamboo caged in stress positions, and slapped around.

Survivors of Swamp Phase of Ranger school note that the hard part is 9 days of sleep deprivation therapy :)

Basic trainees ( I was one and was a Drill SGT) know that "walling" and "blanket parties" happen (though they should not)

The military is full of war criminals and torturers :)

Robert Cook said...

"We waterboard those attending SERE training, using the exact same techniques used against KSM, and its not torture when we do it in SERE training".

Wrong: it is torture when we do it in SERE training. That's the whole point, purportedly: to train our soldiers to endure treatment they might encounter if captured by our enemies. You know...the bad guys...the guys who do things like torture people.

If we're subjecting our soldiers to treatment that is not torture in order to train them to endure anticipated torture, then the SERE training is not merely pointless and worthless, it is senseless.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Survivors of Swamp Phase of Ranger school note that the hard part is 9 days of sleep deprivation therapy :)

HA! tell that to any new mother with a coliky baby. At least they didn't have to change shitty diapers and breast feed at the same time.

:-D

AlphaLiberal said...

The whole SERE dodge is a zombie talking point. Let's shoot it in the head.

The Pentagon group that administers the SERE training has called the tactics in question torture. (I've already posted links to that here a few times).

And, again, it's different. They're not in the hands of the enemy, there's no real question of whether they'll be returned to their normal lives, and they have far greater trust and confidence in the people administering the pain. (Though by some accounts people going through this SERE training are indeed changed - dehumanized).

To say that's the same thing as someone in their enemy's hands being subjected repeatedly to the same techniques as part of a whole host of torture techniques is, silly.

Or, maybe our government has tortured our own soldiers.

jr565 said...

This is utlimately an argument over semantics and language, but how about if instead of calling the "torture" enhanced interrogation techniques we "apologist for torture" instead refer to it as SERE training. As in, in rare cases during ticking time bomb scenarios and against high level Al Qaeda leaders we can subject said detainees to basic training.

I don't see how John Stewart could possibly object to that. Fundamentally, he has to address the point that these techniques are in fact routine, and done on our own men, for things as ordinary as graduating a class. And unless Stewart wants to claim that SERE training is in and of itself a violation of the Geneva Convention, then he has to recognize that in certian contexts he, and everyone else in this country, aside from Alpha Liberal apparenlty have no issue with said techniuques in that context. And yet, if we were to use Japanese style waterboarding techniques as part of basic training (ie pumping peoples stomachs full of water then smashing them in the stomach till they vomit the water back up and rupture their stomachs in the process)I'd imagine we'd be getting a lot fewer volunteers.(it might be hard to carry on a military career if your insides are ruptured). Stewart has to explain why, if it doesn't shock our conscience when doing that against us citizens for training, that it would shock our conscience or should shock our conscience when done against our enemies who are planning to kill citizens in a much more horrific manner, and by doing so potentially save peoples lives and prevent attacks?

Diamondhead said...

"there's no real question of whether they'll be returned to their normal lives, and they have far greater trust and confidence in the people administering the pain."

Oh, those poor terrorists questioning whether they'll be able to return to their normal lives. It's too sad to think about.

The Drill SGT said...

If we're subjecting our soldiers to treatment that is not torture in order to train them to endure anticipated torture, then the SERE training is not merely pointless and worthless, it is senselessRobert, Robert...

It isn't senseless, it isn't torture and it is good hard training. It gives officers (and a few enlisted) in vulnerable, high risk jobs a sense of the types of things that will happen if caught by the bad guys.

You need to understand the dirty little secret that SERE teaches.

psst... Everybody ultimately talks. Everybody has a breaking point. Ask John McCain. The lessons of SERE are that cold hard fact and to steel you to some of the tactics in order to stretch out your resistance. that is the R in SERE. Not D for denial.

Everybody talks. What SERE is trying to help you do is:
1. stretch that time out, till what you know is of little or no operational value. That's why McCain resisted, and ultimately gave up the names of the Packers. (that lesson is in the AQ SERE manual BTW)

2. allow troops to understand that they ultimately will be broken on a given day, but they need to spring back and not get suicidal after breaking.

When we tell the enemy exactly what we will and wont do, we allow them to write the AQ SERE manual and as Alphaliberal says, our interogations become less useful, if the KSMs know that we really cant hurt them.

Though what do I know, Alpha thinks I may be inhuman as the result of my Army training

alpha said..(Though by some accounts people going through this SERE training are indeed changed - dehumanized).

jr565 said...

alpha said..(Though by some accounts people going through this SERE training are indeed changed - dehumanized).
I did notice a steep dropoff in the quality of Hitchen's writing after he subjected himself to waterboarding. And he looks a lot more bovine if you ask me. Maybe he really WAS dehumanized by his experiences. Pretty soon he wont be able to form sentences and will have to give up his column for Vanity Fair due to his degradation. War is, as they say, hell.

jr565 said...

Robert wrote:
Wrong: it is torture when we do it in SERE training. That's the whole point, purportedly: to train our soldiers to endure treatment they might encounter if captured by our enemies. You know...the bad guys...the guys who do things like torture people.I refer you to Drill Sgt who rebuts this point quite cogently. But if SERE training is torture and you don't object to SERE training, does that mean you're ok with torturing people? The japanese did do it and we executed them for it, the talking point goes. Who knew that for 50 years or so we've been routinely torturing our own guys for something as commonplace as training and that noone on the left did anything about it all this time. Andrew Sullivan's head must be exploding about now.

Fen said...

Fortunately we are not traditionally a country of such... but rather a nation that upholds standards.Total bullshit. We've been doing alot worse than waterboarding for a very long time. CIA has been torturing since its inception.

Fen said...

There is a moral dimension to this issue that should be discussed.More than you realize.

Hypothetical: I'm against waterboarding in any circumstance. I would rather my life, family, and city be sacrificed to a nuclear 9-11 than have my country engage in torture.

By what moral right do I impose my values on the other 2 million living in my city?

Robert Cook said...

"...if SERE training is torture and you don't object to SERE training, does that mean you're ok with torturing people?"

I don't object to SERE training because the soldiers put themselves there willingly. If any American soldier is coerced or otherwise made to endure SERE training involuntarily then by all means I consider them to be the victims of criminal assault.

This is another aspect of this false debate that torture apologists quite pointedly ignore: abusive treatment entered into willingly, for a purpose, at the hands of one's trusted comrades, with the knowledge that it will be end quickly enough, that one will be in one's own cot that night, is, however disagreeable, far less an assault on body and mind than to undergo the same treatment unwillingly, at the hands of unfriendly strangers, with no knowledge of how long it will continue that day, that week, that month, that year, or ever, far from home and loved ones, uncertain if one will ever emerge alive from the experience. (Oh yes, we beat some of our prisoners to death.)

Rush Limbaugh, that fat wretched sack of pig slops, infamously dismissed the abuse at Abu Graib as being no different or worse than college fraternity hazing. Well, putting aside for the moment that some college frat hazing has edged over into actual criminal assault, with serious injuries and deaths having resulted, even commonplace hazing would be abusive if inflicted on a group of unwilling college freshmen who had not expected or desired it.

But, the worst behavior, the most sickening cruelties, can be rationalized away by those with a vested interest in doing so.

We are a nation of torturers, like it or not, simply a force of thugs.

jr565 said...

Robert Cook wrote:
I don't object to SERE training because the soldiers put themselves there willingly. If any American soldier is coerced or otherwise made to endure SERE training involuntarily then by all means I consider them to be the victims of criminal assault.But noone wants to be captured and interrogated or jailed whether we use waterboarding or the army field manual or the geneva convention, or military commissions or whatever. However the jihadi finds himself in the custody of US troops is not voluntary. Does that invalidate all of such treatment? For example, suppose someone is picked up on the battlefield and simply held for the duration of hostilities (as the Geneva Convention allow) is that voluntary? If you hold someone against their will is that not wrong? If for example I kidnapped someone and held them against their will that would be torturous and cercertainly criminal behavior. Yet the Geneva convention allows it. It's not based on whether the person wishes to be held either.

When Stewart answered Mays question about getting tough with terrorists to prevent attacks he responded that being killed in attacks is potentially the cost of living in a free society (paraphrasing). You yourself seem to be making that same tradeoff. Now let me ask you, why isn't harsh interrogation, when caught, a potential cost of being a terrorist? Certainly terrorists when carrying out attacks are not particularly observant of their victims health or comfort levels and have trained all their lives to carry out aggressive acts. And when THEY capture people, civilians even, like for example Nick Berg, they certainly don't afford their detainees much courtesy. They saw their heads off. Not chop them off. Saw them off. No consulting of lawyers no applying of anasthetics. KSM is supposed to be the very person who decapitated Daniel Pearl on camera with his own hand. Surely he shouldn't expect to be treated as if he were the King of England should he? Or treated as well as a soldier who obeys all the laws of war?
And the second point is, do you think when you say we must never go through with any harsh interrogation even if its to prevent an attack, that were said attacks be allowed to go through that the people who will die in said attacks are there voluntarily and wont most likely suffer an assault far worse than waterboarding? You and Stewart both seem to be ok with that. Such is the cost of living in a free society I guess. If you want to pay that cost, be my guest. But don't assume that others want to pay the cost with their lives because you don't want to dirty your hands. Even though, realistically, these are the types of moral balancing decisions made all the time by serious people.

jr565 said...

Fen wrote:
There is a moral dimension to this issue that should be discussed.More than you realize.

Hypothetical: I'm against waterboarding in any circumstance. I would rather my life, family, and city be sacrificed to a nuclear 9-11 than have my country engage in torture.
By what moral right do I impose my values on the other 2 million living in my city?
What Robert and Alpha Liberal are doing is saying YOU should sacrifice YOUR life and family and city because they don't want to dirty their hands. Except by sacrificing your wife, family and city they are dirtying their hands far worse.

Fen said...

Rush Limbaugh, that fat wretched sack of pig slops, infamously dismissed the abuse at Abu Graib as being no different or worse than college fraternity hazing. .

1) Rush is not fat. Go take your Hate and pound it up your ass. Vigorously. Bitch.

2) You're dishonestly conflating waterboarding with the abuses of Abu Graib. You're surprised that reservists who work as civs in the prison industry were capable of such sickness? "Shocked I tell you. I'm shocked to find gambling in this establishment".

But, the worst behavior, the most sickening cruelties, can be rationalized away by those with a vested interest in doing so.No one is rationalizing the abuses of Abu Graib. We're talking about waterboarding.

We are a nation of torturers, like it or not, simply a force of thugs.Oh please. We've been torturing people since this country was founded. Quit acting like waterboarding is some new line we crossed.

Fen said...

What Robert and Alpha Liberal are doing is saying YOU should sacrifice YOUR life and family and city because they don't want to dirty their hands. .
Not even that. Given the choice of waterboarding to prevent a nuclear 9-11, they are demanding that millions sacrifice their lives and the lives of their loved ones so they can feel morally superior: "sure I made a pass at the babysitter, but I'm against waterboarding so I must be a good guy".

Robert Cook said...

"We've been torturing people since this country was founded. Quit acting like waterboarding is some new line we crossed".

Of course we have...we essentially committed genocide against the indigenous peoples--the American Indians--and placed the survivors in concentration camps. In Viet Name, as the Winter Soldier investigations revealed, we conducted torture and murder of civilians regularly. These are but two examples.

However, such conduct has never had official imprimatur, but has always been covered up, denied, or punished, however cursorily, when impossible to deny.

The line that has been crossed is not the behavior, but our new willingness to accept it, to explain it away as "necessary" and to look directly at torture and say either "it's not torture" or, "meh, it is torture but I don't care." It would be as if our elected officials conducted graft openly as part of official business, and no one thought anything of it. We all know graft is part of politics, but it's still a crime, and those engaged in it try to conceal it, and, when they're caught--so far--we still prosecute them for it.

It is this lack of horror and outrage and shame about our openly revealed barbarism that shows how far we've fallen, how thoroughly decrepit and decadent we now are.

Brian Macker said...

They may approve but it's still illegal. I thought it was legal up until around 2005 because 1) Terrorists don't get Geneva Convention coverage. 2) That was the only law anyone was complaining about in the news. 3) I didn't think to check federal domestic law for overseas acts.

Well, turns out there is a domestic law that makes it illegal for US citizens to torture anyone anywhere "under the color of authority".

So the question becomes, do we have the rule of law or not. The question isn't or shouldn't be "Do you mind torturing terrorists overseas".

Fen said...

Of course we have...we essentially committed genocide against the indigenous peoples--the American Indians--and placed the survivors in concentration camps.No. I'm saying that this country has been torturing long before your side started using it as a political prop. Electrocution, drugs, etc.


The line that has been crossed is not the behavior, but our new willingness to accept it, to explain it away as "necessary" and to look directly at torture and say either "it's not torture" or, "meh, it is torture but I don't care."More bullshit. No one is explaining it away with your scare quotes. No one has a casual attitude about it. No one would even consider it if there was a better way to yield actionable intelligence to prevent a nuclear 9-11.

The Marines have a saying that begins: We stain our souls with blood.... What it means is that those of us who have killed to defend this nation carry a burden on our conscience. Taking a life changes you, stains you, even when done for the most righteous cause. So those like me who support waterboarding are well aware of the damage it causes to this nation's soul. To imply we have a frivolous attitude about it is either ignorant or deliberately deceptive.

Worse, people like you aren't really against waterboarding. Like most Democrats, you don't really believe in the things you lecture us about [see: Clinton - Lewinksy, Jones, Wiley]. You just say so to feel self-righteous, to fit in with the PC hip & cool crowd. You're the worst kind of hypocrite. Because when its your life, your family, your city at risk - you'll be begging people like me to dirty our souls with torture, with a wink/nod that you'll pardon us after.

It is this lack of horror and outrage and shame about our openly revealed barbarism that shows how far we've fallen, how thoroughly decrepit and decadent we now are.No, the dishonor is that people like you would use such an issue as a prop to score political points.

NKVD said...

Robert Cook, pussy and Nader voter.

Michael Hasenstab said...

What a joke. The left ardently believes that waterboarding is torture, but killing children in utero is a perfectly acceptable thing to do to a living being.

Robert Cook said...

"No one is rationalizing the abuses of Abu Graib. We're talking about waterboarding".

No, we're talking about torture, and the Americans who love it. Waterboarding is only one of the tortures we have inflicted on our prisoners.

"Because when its your life, your family, your city at risk...".

I live in NYC and work only blocks from the World Trade Centers. I stood on the street and watched much of the destruction of the towers that day. Although shocked, never once did I feel any panic, and neither did I then or ever later feel a desire to inflict torture on any of the perpetrators, who, in any event, were mostly dead. That aside, the criterion of what one might wish for if one is personally harmed is not a criterion by which the law is, or should be, shaped. As a human being, I might personally feel a desire to inflict great pain on someone who harmed or killed one of my loved ones--although perhaps I wouldn't...I certainly hope I never have to find out. But that would be simply my personal emotional response. The law is not an instrument of revenge for us as individuals or as a society. It is the means, ideally, by which we rationally and fairly try to assess the guilt or innocence of accused wrongdoers and, where guilt is determined, apply just punishment free of the heat of emotion.

Dave said...

Surely, if War Crimes trials are to be held the first ones in the dock should be Bill Clinton and all those associated with his Illegal War in the Balkans (unless one of the Lefty Apologists around here can point to a proper UN war-enabling document). And of course, there is his illegal rendition policy (lock up Al Gore for that one, too) and his various air-strikes to divert attention from the Lewinsky Affair (although perhaps I missed the UN okay on those, too).

Robert Cook said...

Hey, I'm all for Bill Clinton being tried for war crimes.

Fen said...

Robert Cook: No, we're talking about torture, and the Americans who love it. ...Idiot. YOU were talking about Abu Graib, the rest of us are talking about waterboarding. Try to keep up with your own smoke & mirrors pls.

and the Americans who love it....No one "loves" torture. Unless you're projecting again.

neither did I then or ever later feel a desire to inflict torture on any of the perpetrators, who, in any event, were mostly dead....non-responsive. So you didn't want to inflict torture out of revenge. Bravo. Is that your measure? You truly think those that support waterboarding do so out of some desire for revenge? Do you even understand the course material?

The law is not an instrument of revenge for us as individuals or as a society. It is the means, ideally, by which we rationally and fairly try to assess the guilt or innocence of accused wrongdoers and, where guilt is determined, apply just punishment free of the heat of emotion....blah blah blah. Yes, we all already agree that waterboarding is not a tool for revenge. Whats next? You going to argue that you don't drown kittens?

[The Law] is the means by which we rationally and fairly try to assess the guilt or innocence of accused wrongdoers and, where guilt is determined, apply just punishment free of the heat of emotion...we're not even on the same page. You're talking about using the law to convict a terrorist after a nuclear 9-11t. I'm talking about using waterboarding to prevent it in the first place.

Should I wait for you to gather your talking points from HuffPo?

Robert Cook said...

No, we're talking about torture by the Bush administration. Read the topic heading: "Americans think the administration used torture. The conversation digressed into a sub-discussion of waterboarding.

The reason I discuss the law is because torture is against it. The law that is. Torture is against the law. There is no justification under the law for torture due to extreme circumstances or to prevent an anticipated crime.

If Americans want to torture, if we are to become openly and legally that which we are now illegally, a torturing nation, then we can do it: we must pass an amendment to the Constitution voiding the prohibition against "cruel and unusual punishment," and we must withdraw from our treaty obligations prohibiting torture, and we must pass a new law voiding our existing law prohibiting torture. It will still be immoral, but at least it will be legal.

Fen said...

Robert Cook: No, we're talking about torture by the Bush administration. Read the topic heading: "Americans think the administration used torture. The conversation digressed into a sub-discussion of waterboarding...

How can the conversation digress into a discussion of waterboarding when you equate it torture? If wb=torture, there is no digression.

...

And you said "dismissed the abuse at Abu Graib", deliberately conflating those abuses with waterboarding.

...

The reason I discuss the law is because torture is against it. The law that is. Torture is against the law. There is no justification under the law for torture due to extreme circumstances or to prevent an anticipated crime.Yes there is. Obama has signed executive orders allowing for such in "special circumstances". So much for your "law".

we must pass an amendment to the Constitution voiding the prohibition against "cruel and unusual punishment,"..

Sigh. You're confused again. Waterboarding is not used for punishment, its used to gather actionable intelligence to prevent the deaths of innocents. At least you've answered my earlier question: you don't understand the course material.

It will still be immoral, but at least it will be legal...

Its not immoral. Its the best of two bad choices: 1) pour water down terrorist Achmed's throat to simulate drowning in order to gather actionable intelligence, or 2) allow millions of innocents to be incinerated. That you would proudly choose to stare down at your shoelaces while they burn says that your morality is the one thats out of wack. Not mine.

Fen said...

but at least it will be legal...

btw, I could give a rats ass about your legalities. I've dealt with the same bs from people like you and their stupid ROEs.

1) Can only inspect vehicles with 24 hrs notice to village elder. And no insepctions on these three days of the week

2) Can not dig in or fortify position, lest it make us look like occupiers.

3) Can not recon that sniper tower 800 meters from your pos.

[...]

And for all your misplaced faith in the Law, you've yet to touch upon the concept of Equal Protection.

Robert Cook said...

"How can the conversation digress into a discussion of waterboarding when you equate it torture? If wb=torture, there is no digression.

...

And you said 'dismissed the abuse at Abu Graib', deliberately conflating those abuses with waterboarding"
.

*Sigh*. Fen, fen, fen.... I try, I try, but I see I cast my pearls before swine.

The discussion did not digress away from "torture" to "waterboarding," but began as a broad look at the polls suggesting many Americans favor torture and then moved to a more narrow subtopic--it "digressed" to the false and diverting "debate" as to whether waterboarding is torture or not, legal or not.

I do deliberately conflate the torture at Abu Ghraib with waterboarding, as it all falls under and derives from the torture policies of the Bush administration.

Robert Cook said...

"Obama has signed executive orders allowing for (torture) in 'special circumstances.'"

Has he? Where can we find it? When did he sign it?

I doubt there is such an executive order, but even if there is, the President cannot void the law. Torture remains illegal despite anything the President might say or do, until and unless we change our existing laws and withdraw from our treaty obligations, which are also the law of the land under the Constitution.

William said...

I think Fen has won this argument and by a wide margin....I would just make this observation in support of Robert Cook: When the Japanese performed experimental operations upon our fliers without any type of anesthesia, I don't think their real interest was in increasing the store of medical knowledge. The operations were a cover for inflicting pain upon people they hated. A permissive attitude towards torture has its risks. But Robert Cook should understand that if there were repeated attacks upon US soil, all of us would soon find moral justification for much harsher methods than waterboarding.

Robert Cook said...

I'm sure Fen is gratified by your vote of confidence, William, but there was no argument. Torture is illegal. We tortured. We broke the law.

I don't doubt many more Americans would embrace torture if there are repeated attacks on U.S. soil. Such would not make torture acceptable, but would simply reveal how much we have lied to ourselves about being a special nation, "better" than other nations. We're as barbarous as anyone. Such embrace would also not make torture legal, unless, as I pointed out, we were to explicitly pass laws making torture legal, thereby voiding existing laws against it.

Fen said...

Robert Cook: I do deliberately conflate the torture at Abu Ghraib with waterboarding, as it all falls under and derives from the torture policies of the Bush administration...

It does not. They are two entirely different things. That you need to bolster you torture argument with Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse only reveals how weak your position is.

Robert: Such embrace would also not make torture legal, unless, as I pointed out, we were to explicitly pass laws making torture legal, thereby voiding existing laws against it...

Oh please. Quit pretending that this is about the rule of law for you. Your party leadership routinely breaks this nation's laws and you stare down at your shoelaces. For you, the Law is only a tool for political gain that you'll discard as soon as its convenient to you.

Robert: the President cannot void the law. ..

Ha. I'm arguing with an ignorant fool. Silly me.

[...]

William: if there were repeated attacks upon US soil, all of us would soon find moral justification for much harsher methods than waterboarding...

Worse, international law and geneva would be completely discredited and thrown out, the good parts along with the bad. People like Robert don't seem to appreciate that risk, nor can they comprehend what would come after.

jr565 said...

Robert Reed wrote:
I live in NYC and work only blocks from the World Trade Centers. I stood on the street and watched much of the destruction of the towers that day. Although shocked, never once did I feel any panic,
I live in NYC too, and I too saw the towers fall, though I wasn't at ground zero at the time. But the point is you may have been able to watch it happen but other people actually had it happen to to them. The people jumping to their deaths from the 80th floor were real people. And I'd imagine they suffered panic, felt fear, pain etc. And they felt such pain, and suffered such damage specificially because someone targeted them. preventing more people from suffering similar fates is a legitimate societial concern.

and neither did I then or ever later feel a desire to inflict torture on any of the perpetrators, who, in any event, were mostly dead.
People interrogate high level al Qaeda targets slimited cases are not saying we should harshly interrogate people out of revenge, but rather interrogate people who have information to get needed information about imminent and potential attacks so that other people don't suffer and dieen masse in horrible ways. KSM definitively has information about 9/11 and other attacks and people in his organization who will carry out attacks. there will be noone, save OBL who will know more, and if he follows through on his goals people will die as a result. If we simply wanted to torture people we could do what KSM did to Nick Berg, ie chop off his head. Instead, we went out of our way to shield people from as much harm as possible while we interogate them. Do you think when real torturers torture people they look for ways to minimize damage on their victims? The whole point is, attacks like 9/11 are devastating. We need info to prevent said attacks, and the people who have that info don't want to give it up. If you honestly feel that people should be sacrificed and die horribly because we can't even treat the person who would otherwise kill them the least bit roughly (not because we want to treat them roughly out of revenge, but because if we don't they wont give up the NECESSARY info)then that is what is morally untenable. And it doesn't even make sense in real world applications.

That aside, the criterion of what one might wish for if one is personally harmed is not a criterion by which the law is, or should be, shaped. As a human being, I might personally feel a desire to inflict great pain on someone who harmed or killed one of my loved ones--although perhaps I wouldn't...I certainly hope I never have to find out. But that would be simply my personal emotional response. The law is not an instrument of revenge for us as individuals or as a society.
Again, you keep positing this as a means to get revenge, whereas I would argue this as a means for society to defend itself from an attack (which will lead to thousands suffering). I could rattle off dozens of scenarios where society has to make decisions weighing the morality of dual harms, but for example if there is a hostage situation and it looks like the negotiations are going to fail and in fact the hostage taker is going to shoot the hostage, we can as a matter of course kill the hostage taker. And it's morally right! (in fact the navy under Obama just did that to some pirates recentlY). "But, you're talking about shooting someone in the head and that is something the Nazis did!" is something I'd imagine you'd respond with. But its a ludicrous argument. As to the actual illegality of waterboarding, and its definiteveness as torture, that is far from true. In fact, the democratic congress could have defined it as such over the past few years so as to bring clarity to the situation, but never in fact did so. I wonder why?

It is the means, ideally, by which we rationally and fairly try to assess the guilt or innocence of accused wrongdoers and, where guilt is determined, apply just punishment free of the heat of emotion.

I've heard a lot of people want to put KSM on trial so that he can be found guilty and pay for his crimes for the rest of his life behind bars. How is that fundamentally different than saying we should torture people? Holding someone in a confined cell for the rest of their lives against their will sounds kind of like revenge and torture to me. If I kept someone confined in a closed quarter for the rest of their lives, I'm sure you'd accuse me of torturing/abusing him. So clearly you can see that context matters.
Society doing such a thing (putting someone in confined quarters for the rest of their lives might be considered "TORTURE" in an absolute sense, but you're making the moral calculus that so long as society has deemed that person quilty that its not torture ton confine them.So be morally consistent.You would have to argue that society could never jail people, even if guilty, as that constitutes torture and even though there is some good in putting someone in jail, we as a society can't commit the evil act of holdign someone against their will to punish them.Right?

Robert Cook said...

Deny all you may that the desire to torture our prisoners is borne of a desire for revenge--at least that the approval of such torture by American citizens is borne of a desire for revenge--but that is exactly what it is. Many soldiers who enlisted after 9/11 to go fight in Iraq have stated explicitly they were motivated by a desire for revenge...although they were revenging themselves on a people who had nothing to do with 9/11, just as many or perhaps even most of those we have abducted, imprisoned and tortured were not terrorists and had nothing to do with 9/11 or with any plots against America.

For the administration, it was about exacting confessions from the prisoners, false or otherwise, it didn't matter, but confessions that would justify our baseless invasion of Iraq. I don't for a second believe any of Cheney's claims that information extracted through waterboarding (or other torture) "stopped other plots" and therefore saved additional American lives. There are those in the government who have disputed such claims, and given the character of the Bush administration, were there any slightest truth to such claims, they would have billboarded their successes at arresting further attacks all over the media.

Rather than stare at my shoelaces, I would be very happy to see any politicians of either party hauled into court for crimes they have committed. Let's do a RICO prosecution of Clinton, Bush, and Obama...they're all guilty of war crimes. Let's drag in any members of Congress who aided and abetted their crimes. Pelosi? Reid? Jay Rockefeller? Throw them in, too! Let's make a clean sweep of these parasites on the American people, these betrayers of the Constitution.

Fen said...

Robert Cook Deny all you may that the desire to torture our prisoners is borne of a desire for revenge--at least that the approval of such torture by American citizens is borne of a desire for revenge--but that is exactly what it is....

Bullshit.

Many soldiers who enlisted after 9/11 to go fight in Iraq have stated explicitly they were motivated by a desire for revenge...although they were revenging themselves on a people who had nothing to do with 9/11, ...

And this supports your wacko theory that americans support torture out of revenge...how?

Robert: For the administration, it was about exacting confessions from the prisoners, false or otherwise, it didn't matter, but confessions that would justify our baseless invasion of Iraq....

More bullshit. Waterboarding was done to gather actionable intelligence, not to exact confession.

Robert, I've determined that, while you are not an idiot, you don't even have a basic understanding of what you so falsely assert.

I'm done with you. And you needed a bit more salt anyways.

Tom Perkins said...

"This has to do with rule of law and holding ALL accountable to it."

and

"There is a moral dimension to this issue that should be discussed."

The law doesn't say what Cook needs it to say unless a jury agrees with his tendentious supposition, and the people talking about how horrible it all is have all of the moral superiority of someone declaring there are no nails and even if there were, they'd never use a hammer.

"For the administration, it was about exacting confessions from the prisoners, false or otherwise, it didn't matter, but confessions that would justify our baseless invasion of Iraq."

Prove it. 'Til you can, quit tossing yourself in public.

"Many soldiers who enlisted after 9/11 to go fight in Iraq have stated explicitly they were motivated by a desire for revenge...although they were revenging themselves on a people who had nothing to do with 9/11"

So? It is a perfectly valid thing to express to say with whatever circumlocution is employed, that vengeance is sought against the Arabic weltanschuang--it must be reformed drastically or destroyed before mass murder becomes too cheap.

Or they'll do far more of it.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

Robert Cook said...

weltanschuang"

You must be smart.

Tom Perkins said...

weltanschuang"You must be smart."

Even typoing it by dropping an a, yeah, I think I've got you beat.

What is needful cannot be depraved, what shortens a war of this scale and which is done which is effective to the AlQaeda personnel who desire to be enemies of humanity is needful.

It's certainly more targeted than a missile strike, and to all evidence more useful.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

Fen said...
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Fen said...
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Fen said...

vengeance is sought against the Arabic weltanschuang--it must be reformed drastically or destroyed before mass murder becomes too cheap.

Waste of your time. Our dear friend believes Bush deliberately lied about Saddam's WMD program so we could go in and get their oil.

The concept that we must reform Islamic civilization before they destroy our civilization is not even on his radar.

Fen said...
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Fen said...

And if the West* falls, what will be the islamic law re torure?

Something involving hacksaws and powerdrills, I think.




* if you're watching Europe these days, don't blink.

Robert Cook said...

"Our dear friend believes Bush deliberately lied about Saddam's WMD program so we could go in and get their oil".

Of course...there's no real doubt about that. It was an obvious con even before we invaded Iraq. Bush even continued lying after they could no longer pretend there were any WMD to be found: he repeated numerous times the lie that we had to invade Iraq because Saddam refused to allow weapons inspectors in to certify there were no WMD, and thus the invasion was prudent and necessary. As we all know and well remember, the UN weapons inpectors were granted entree to Iraq in November 2002 and were there until just before we invaded in March...a total of about four months or so. Their mission was terminated prematurely when they were warned to remove themselves with alacrity from Iraq as our attack was imminent.

Of course, inattentive or poor readers, or those with a partisan axe to grind and who therefore think the media had an obvious bias against Bush and spared no opportunity to bash or embarrass him, seem not to have noticed that the media has never challenged him on this egregious and obvious lie.

But I would say their goal was more broad-based and nuanced than merely "getting their oil." They wanted to control access to the oil while also establishing a strategic base of operations in the region from which they could engage in a spectrum of actions, military and otherwise, as needed, to maintain American global dominance. It was possibly the last gasp of a moribund empire; this century will see China as the dominant power, such as that may be in a world of diminishing resources world-wide and escalating environmental despoilage.

"The concept that we must reform Islamic civilization before they destroy our civilization is not even on his radar".

Setting aside that we have no hope of "reforming" "Islamic civilization," even in fantasy, we have no business and no right to attempt it, and to consider that they might "destroy our civilization" is simply absurd, if not insane.

Fen said...

Robert: Of course...there's no real doubt about that..

See? No need to even read further, unless you want to entertain yourself with his stupidity and ignorance.

I wish he had put out this disqualifier a few days ago. Would have saved us all alot of time.

Fen said...
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Fen said...

Oh, but this is a keeper.

to consider that [Radical Islam] might "destroy our civilization" is simply absurd, if not insane..

Gotta save that one for future events.

Robert Cook said...

You're being a bit dishonest here, Fen. You said we must "reform Islamic Civilization" before they can destroy us.

I replied that it is absurd to think "Islamic civilization" could destroy us. I'll add here that I don't believe they even have any intent or desire to destroy us.

You then quote me and substitute "Radical Islam" in place of the broader "Islamic civilization" which had been your original phrase.

Let's be plain: the two are not equivalent.

That said, I no more think "Radical Islam" can destroy us than can the broader "Islamic civilization." I do not assert terrorists, Islamic and otherwise, are not dangerous and a threat to human lives, but they are not an existential threat.

Fen said...

The switch had more to do with meter than deception.

But your overall points is that mine stands - call it whatever you want, you no more think Radical Islam can destroy us than can the broader Islamic civilization.Thanks for the clarification. I guess.

Robert Cook said...
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Robert Cook said...

"Thanks for the clarification. I guess".My clarification was less to do with my stating the obvious--that if I do not believe "Islamic civilization" can destroy us I would certainly find even less credible the notion that a ragtag band of criminals within that civilization could so--but more to do with pointing our your sleight of hand switching of the term.

I do not believe your purpose was for "meter," a silly idea. I think you do that which many others in our country do, you actually do equate radical Islamists with the whole of Islamic culture. This would be as if I used "Ku Klux Klan" synonymously with "America."

This view by many that all Muslims are suspect and potential terrorists is pernicious and malignant, and leads us to the unconcerned and indiscriminate killing, imprisonment and torture of Muslims that makes our so-called "war on terror" an ongoing war crime.

FLEA1989 said...

Actually, the Japanese say the only reason they gave up was because
1) we said we would allow the Emperor to remain unharmed as Emperor and that the country would remain intact.
2) The Russians had just declared war and the Japanese knew that if they had to surrender to the Russians that the country would be split up.

FLEA1989 said...

I would bet that most Americans and others that are effected with this economy, would gladly watch the people involved in greedy tactics be tortured! I'm sure water boarding wouldn't be enough though! LOL

FLEA1989 said...

Robert,
Here are some quote by Democrats about Saddam and his weapons!

"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program." President Clinton 1998

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has 10 times since 1983." Sandy Berger Clinton Nation security adviser 1998

"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end it's weapons of mass destruction programs". Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, and John Kerry 1998

"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force- if necessary- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is real and a grave threat to our security." John Kerry 2002

“Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.” Nancy Pelosi 1998

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.” Hillary Clinton 2002

I laugh how Democrats seem to forget the things that led us to to the invasion! Also how do you know that the Russians didn't take their weapons with them in the 20 cargo trucks that were leaving Baghdad when we arrived? Our Russian "friends" have helped other countries arm themselves, such as Iran and North Korea! Nobody stopped the trucks to see what was in them! I can't believe that they had 20 trucks full of files that they claim!