May 3, 2009

"No dear, you're wrong. We did not torture anyone."

133 comments:

AlphaLiberal said...

She forgot part B of the talking point:

"And, anyway, if we did torture, it was effective in getting information."

We didn't torture, unless we did. Then it worked.

The effort to redefine torture has used by torturers throughout history.

former law student said...

"It's only torture if we say it is."

"We took legal advice from the best lawyers available. No one with any familiarity with international humanitarian law, but still."

AlphaLiberal said...

Ann chose to sidestep this Nixonian statement in the same interview:

"And so by definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Convention Against Torture."

IOW, the President is above the law. NOT!

Relatedly, Glenn Greenwald highlighted Ronald Reagan's opposition to torture the other day. He pointed out Reagan's comments when he signed the Convention Against Torture.

The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called "universal jurisdiction." Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution.Today's generation can't come to grips with out obligations under this treaty. Not just to punish some fall guys, but to hold those in power responsible.

Condi is well aware she's in legal jeopardy for her role in planning the torture regime.

rhhardin said...

Unwatchable. I stuck with it but couldn't make it through.

Human rights are not a priori; they're a gift from the West to the world.

Now the West has to defend them.

Human rights do not protect themselves. The West has to defend them.

Go suck your thumb and come back when you understand that.

Think about how the Geneva Convention worked, both sides defending human rights so that the fight was always about something else.

It's not true this time.

AlphaLiberal said...

Here's the text of the Convention Against Torture which Ronald Reagan, to his credit (ow, that hurt) signed.

Greenwald highlights the requirements for prosecution of torturers. I like this definition of torture:

For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions. This definition, which by our Constitution is law, clearly states that waterboarding, hanging people from shackles, threatening them with dogs, putting them in boxes in stress positions from which they cannot move, and other things being denied are actually torture.

And this is to the point of the thread, the very heading.

(thanks for posting, Ann).

AlphaLiberal said...

rhhardin, you are arguing that conducting torture is how we protect human rights.

Can't you see that we are undermining human rights by torturing?

And, we still lead the world, but this time down the road to torture. Other countries can point to our record and say it is okay to torture.

William T Sherman said...

AL --

Please post a link to when Osama signed the Geneva Convention. Or barring that, name one occasion where any member of Al-Qaeda abided by the convention's rules of war.

The whole point of Geneva was that if you don't sign on to it, and don't follow it, you don't get to be protected by it either. Every captured Al-Qaeda "soldier" could have been executed on the spot, and we'd have still been within our treaty obligations.

Peter V. Bella said...

Other countries can point to our record and say it is okay to torture.


BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I say again BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Other countries can point to our record, laugh at us, and say look how th foolish, childish Americans got caught torturing people.

If you knew how to read and did some basic research, you would learn- ready for this Alpha, you talking bobble headed poltroon- other Western countries torture and do it more viciously than we ever did and have been doing it for generations. It is part and parcel of their policy. France, the libturd utopia, is one of the most prolific torturers. So are Spain, Italy, and Germany. These are the countries that the libturds are soooooooo afraid of offending. They fear that they will not be able to beshat themselves over there and obtain some false sense of culture.

Oh, and that false canard that we did not torture people during WWII is nothing more than apple polishing by libturds to make their icon, the war criminal FDR, look good. The USA tortured people and used enhanced interrogation techniques during WWII. Where do you think many of the techniques came from?

You see Alpha, you only read comic book libturd revisionist history. Read wider and farther and you may learn something. I fear the advice is lost on you, as you do not have the capability to separate yourself from the herd. You are a sheeple.

AlphaLiberal said...

Aah, the evasion strategy. Change the uncomfortable fact that conservatives violated a treaty signed by Ronald Reagan.


rhhardin:
Think about how the Geneva Convention worked....

Did it also allow, or apply to, torture when people were abducted from civilian society by armed militia, secret police or purchased on a bounty?

Under Bush and Rice, they also sent people to other countries as part of their extreme rendition policies to do more torturing than our government was willing to do. Except that's another violation of the Convention Against Torture:

No State Party shall expel, return ("refouler") or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture. .

She does seem nervous in this video.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Condoleezza Rice makes me sick. She allowed sins against god and other horrible things to occur. She should be seeking redemption and forgiveness, not trying to justify herself and she should be beating herself up worse than her political opponents could ever hope for. Saying it was "legal" means nothing. Saying it was "out of the ordinary" means nothing. Only repentance can do that.

I worry about her. She shouldn't have gone looking for a job right after her time serving our country. She should have spent a year or two away from the public eye, sorting things out.

The legacy she's working on now seems to be the idea that torturing people is okay. Is that how she wants to be remembered?

former law student said...

when Osama signed the Geneva Convention. Only states can sign the Geneva Conventions. Example: Palestine is not allowed to sign.

Or barring that, name one occasion where any member of Al-Qaeda abided by the convention's rules of war.

The whole point of Geneva was that if you don't sign on to it, and don't follow it, you don't get to be protected by it either.
No, signing the treaty obligates the signer.

But this inability to sign the Geneva Conventions shows that the war analogy does not apply, anymore than it does to the war on drugs. Al-Qaeda are a bunch of criminals, and should be prosecuted criminally.

Maguro said...

Al-Qaeda are a bunch of criminals, and should be prosecuted criminally.

Yep, that was exactly our approach pre-9/11 and it resulted in 3,000 dead Americans.

Why would we want to retry a strategy that's a proven failure?

rhhardin said...

That's where the lawyers come in.

Ideological purity has zero clout when the ideological structure itself needs defense from attack.

If everybody would just be nice then the world would be a nice place. What age does that come up, usually?

Think of it as a set of rules, and suddenly the other guys aren't following them. It's a new ballgame.

Peter V. Bella said...

"She allowed sins against god and other horrible things to occur.Read the Bible much? Guess not. If you did, you would KNOW that vast numbers of so called atrocities were committed in the name of God.

Peter V. Bella said...

The Barney generation has taken over. "I love you, you love me... blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Jason (the commenter) said...

William : Every captured Al-Qaeda "soldier" could have been executed on the spot, and we'd have still been within our treaty obligations.

I suppose everyone who wants to say the torture was okay because it was legal is also pro-abortion and beyond that doesn't even feel bad about any type of abortion as long as it follows the letter of the law.

Minzo said...

What makes you think torture is going to bring Al-Qaida to its knees? It could only theoretically work if one of the big fish is nabbed right before a big plot but otherwise- moral considerations aside- is it even practical? Is a man hardened by religious fundamentalism and the promise of 72 virgins going to crumble and blabber the truth under torture? Isnt he more likely to feed his torturers a stream of bullshit?

Flexo said...

It would be nice if folks would bother to engage in some real and legitimate legal analysis, rather than simply shooting their mouth off.

And by legal analysis, I mean applying the statutory definition of "torture" at 18 U.S.C. § 2340.

Do you want to know why Obama and Holder have not and will not prosecute? Because despite their public demagoguery, they know that they cannot get a conviction under the statute because what was actually done, including the waterboarding, did not and does not constitute "torture" under the law.

And do you want to know why the Dems in Congress last time around wanted to amend and expand the torture statute to include waterboarding? Because they know that it currently does not include it.

Let's try having such a reasoned discussion utilizing authentic legal reasoning, and not just a bunch of partisan liberal hackery.

Minzo said...

"Do you want to know why Obama and Holder have not and will not prosecute? Because despite their public demagoguery, they know that they cannot get a conviction under the statute because what was actually done, including the waterboarding, did not and does not constitute "torture" under the law."

Are you absolutely sure thats the only reason? I can think of plenty of others- the potential bad PR of prosecuting members of a previous administration for a start.

"The Barney generation has taken over. "I love you, you love me... blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah."

Erm, where is this coming from? Are you really boiling down all the various arguments against torture into some hippie love-in?

Jason (the commenter) said...

Peter : Read the Bible much? Guess not. If you did, you would KNOW that vast numbers of so called atrocities were committed in the name of God.

You're a regular Bertrand Russell, or even a Mark Twain.

Bissage said...

Seriously, I don’t have any problem at all with this lying-about-torture stuff.

Truth is the first casualty of war.

Isn’t it funny how rules of description can become rules of prescription?

Ha!

Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!1!!1!!!!!!!

Bob Sacamano said...

I will say it again - Democrats in this country smell blood and are eager to finally see a Bush administration official thrown behind bars. If it was Clinton who was accused of torture, they could care less.

In fact, if this ball really starts rolling, look to see the Right suggest that the definition of torture includes the practice of kidnapping "suspected terrorists" off the streets of a foreign country only to hand them over to 3rd party country with the understanding that they will be tortured for information. Torture-by-proxy is still torture and it was signed off on by our former POTUS, Bill Clinton.

William said...

Unintended consequences move history in ways that are, by definition, impossible to predict. I don't predict this will happen, but it is a possibility. All this debate in the USA about the advisability of water boarding will be widely reported in the Islamic world. Their governing elite will use this debate to excoriate us. None of these people will reflect upon the widespread use of coercion in their own societies and decide that, you know, those American liberals are right, the use of torture is ineffective. Nonetheless a meme will be planted in the minds of thoughtful people there. Out anti-tortue debate may do more to undermine those governments than our own.....During the 1980's the North Korean government used to broadcast images of the South Korean police beating up demonstrators. They wished to publicize how brutal and repressive the South Korean government was. They had to stop. The N Korean people were noticing how well fed and well dressed the protestors were and how many cars were in the street.

Clint said...

It's a little unfair of Rice to turn the interview around on the questioner in order to regain the upper hand. He wasn't there to be socratized about WWII history. He was there to ask the former secretary of state whether she committed war crimes.

John Lynch said...

I loathe Newspeak, and the "waterboarding isn't torture" idea was stupid and fooled no one. If it did fool anyone, then I worry about them.

The debate did eventually move to "when, if ever, is torture justified?" which restored my faith in the system. That's the real question, so let's all stop wasting time arguing about whether simulated drowning is torture.

rhhardin said...

Unintended consequences move history in ways that are, by definition, impossible to predict.

Nothing is simpler than predicting unintended consequences.

Start with a Democrat.

hdhouse said...

peter v. bella repeatedly uses the term "libturd"...when he repeatedly proves to be the only turd in the room.

I am sure he likes to sit in his little room and pretend but the rest of us live in a real world. You seem to listen to Rush and Sean way way too much.

Condi's on the hook for signing off on the "interrogation techniques" and if the new AJ has a clear shot at her she can't dodge the bullet. That nuance of "hey we examined it and we are innocent" perhaps plays well a Stanford keeping the faculty in line but in, again, the real world that dog doesn't hunt.

So put up or shut up Peter...you chastise Alpha for not reading..so give us the cites...a little bibliography please if you will...we don't believe you and your storehouse of references so tell us about them (and if this is taken from Rush Limbaugh's journal of erroneous opinions, don't bother - just say "I've got nuthin'"

Ya'betcha.

rhhardin said...

That's the real question, so let's all stop wasting time arguing about whether simulated drowning is torture.

It's a lawyers' concern.

But take baseball, and your opposing team insists that they get as many strikes as it takes to hit the ball. They enforce it by swinging at you with the bat.

That's not allowed in the rules of baseball.

Nor is your subsequent action of moving to get them removed from the league.

It's a different game then. And you're unbaseballlike.

Yet your unbaseballlike move serves to preserve the game.

SMGalbraith said...

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.:
"Progressive dreams are tinged with a brave purity, a rich sentiment and a noble defiance. But, like most dreams, they are notable for the distortion of facts by desire."

For: "Problems [for progressives] are much simpler when viewed from the office of a liberal weekly [or a blog] than when viewed in terms of what will actually happen when certain ideologically attractive steps are taken."

So we don't "torture", we give full habeas and constitutional rights to terrorists in a war and, from a blog or from behind a computer, one doesn't have to worry about the consequences.

Purity doesn't have to deal with reality.

Nice world. I wish somewhere it existed.

Paul said...

I have to laugh at these leftists with their faux outrage and puffed up moral indignation over our "torturing" these genocidal sociopaths.

I talked to a marine last week who said that he and his marine buddies used to waterboard each other to see who could stand it the longest. SERE and Special Ops guys are waterboarded as a matter of training. Journalists have even submitted to it for christ sakes, so calling it torture just hollows out the meaning of the word.

It's about one thing and one thing only with these useful idiots. Tearing America down. Everything they do, everything they say, is geared to weaken and humiliate this country and has been since these Gramscian stooges first drank the Marxist koolaid that is like crack cocaine to these despicable quislings.

Besides, who here thinks that if AL or any of the other America hating leftoids here had George Bush, Dick Cheney, or Karl Rove in a dungeon filled with instruments of torture they wouldn't emerge blood spattered and foam flecked with dismembered corpses left behind if they could get away with it. We've all seen their level of streaming demonic hatred throughout history and we know where it ends up if left unchecked.

These people use their limitless moral vanity as a tool to advance their political agenda. That's it. They have no real moral core. It's simply an Allinskyite strategy. It's futile to engage them in debate. They will either be defeated and discredited or they will completely take over and like their predecessors will leave the gulags and graveyards in their wake.

hdhouse said...

Flexo said...
It would be nice if folks would bother to engage in some real and legitimate legal analysis..
And by legal analysis, I mean applying the statutory definition of "torture" at 18 U.S.C. § 2340....they know that they cannot get a conviction under the statute because what was actually done, including the waterboarding, did not and does not constitute "torture" under the law."

Here is the definition:
(1) “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;

I think that if you read the entire thing and westlaw it (just a hint) Condi might have more issues with the conspiracy sections but...unless someone "died" (which some apparently did) this entire thing goes to an OLC that had to manufacture permission and if you have taken the time to notice, is the first grape to be crushed.

You won't get Condi right away (unless they make condescension a crime) but you will after OLC members get theirs...then she will get hers and richly deserved.

ya'betcha!

hdhouse said...

Wow Paul (your 11:32 post)...

You need to get back on those meds pal.

Michael E. Lopez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PatCA said...

I wouldn't cite WWII as a paragon an exquisitely observed 'human rights' protocol. "Do your homework" indeed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Pastorius

Minzo said...

"Let's try having such a reasoned discussion utilizing authentic legal reasoning, and not just a bunch of partisan liberal hackery."

Flexo- if you think its just liberals being unreasonable in this discussion I present the folliwing gem from Paul at 11.32. Spot the reasoned legal analysis and constructive arguments in here. Now tell me again how only liberals are presenting stupid arguments:

"It's about one thing and one thing only with these useful idiots. Tearing America down. Everything they do, everything they say, is geared to weaken and humiliate this country and has been since these Gramscian stooges first drank the Marxist koolaid that is like crack cocaine to these despicable quislings.

Besides, who here thinks that if AL or any of the other America hating leftoids here had George Bush, Dick Cheney, or Karl Rove in a dungeon filled with instruments of torture they wouldn't emerge blood spattered and foam flecked with dismembered corpses left behind if they could get away with it. We've all seen their level of streaming demonic hatred throughout history and we know where it ends up if left unchecked."

Jason (the commenter) said...

I talked to a marine last week who said that he and his marine buddies used to waterboard each other to see who could stand it the longest. SERE and Special Ops guys are waterboarded as a matter of training.

The point of turture is it isn't voluntary. Some people have fantasies about being raped. That doesn't make rape moral.

Journalists have even submitted to it for christ sakes, so calling it torture just hollows out the meaning of the word.

We shouldn't worry if we torture people, but we should worry about hollowing out the meaning of the word "torture"?

hdhouse said...

Minzo:

I think Paul longs for the days of concentration camps to be honest where he could simply send anyone who disagrees..just like that.

We would also have to wear a large armband with a capital "L" on it.

The problem isn't just with Paul as much as it is when he spews such garbage I don't see a "conservative" on this blog calling him out on it...strangely silent bunch.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Waterboarding is not the onlything that is torture. Stress positions are torture. Sex acts on prisoners, simulated hangings, beatings, desecrations; all these things are torture.

hdhouse said...

Jason (the commenter) said..."
We shouldn't worry if we torture people, but we should worry about hollowing out the meaning of the word "torture"?"

Well Jason, it's against the law. Plainly torture is against the law. Our law. American law. It's in the code...look at it.

Last I looked the proper way to "get around" this law is to change it. That wasn't done unless it sits in one of Bush's signing statements.

Are you saying its ok to break laws? Which one can I break?

Minzo said...

A quick rundown of torture laws applicable to the US here:

http://phronesisaical.blogspot.com/2009/04/quick-review-of-torture-law.html

hdhouse said...

NO DEAR YOU'RE WRONG...


sayeth Condescension Rice.

traditionalguy said...

The irony is that the political attacks made against Israel for 60 years, and the political attacks made against Bush's response to 9/11 for 6 years are from the same Thinkers and both use the same plan of attack. First they unleash a murderous inhumane attack to destroy the men, women and children of the Enemy State. Next they carefully watch the counterattacks for any half-true reports of the use of violent and aggressive methods. Next they throw those Evil Deeds done by Israel/USA, which do not not match their preferred sensitivity to the virtues of mercy and foregivness, back in their faces to divide them on the home front. Finally they resume the murderous inhumane attacks while the Israel/USA government is hamstrung from the vast faked sincerety of Athiests pretending that they have superior Godly Virtues in order to destroy the reputations the Israel/USA War leaders. This propaganda war is eligible for the famous "faked but probably true anyway" reporting standards. Only a few people with the strength to resist being mind controled and ridiculed can keep the factual categories alive when faced with this onslaught of False Reality. It just so happens that Rush and The Professor have that talent in Spades

Jordan said...

Linkage!

Dale said...

Comdoleeza is completely and without exception right.

Anyone - and I say this in all sincerity and in good faith - who does not agree has a screw loose, and is leading a completely self-centered, narcisisstic life in today's world, aided either by incredible denial of reality or mentally weakened ignorance.

Evil exists, and remedies to counter it are not always going to

sohereiam said...

Flexo -- here is the definition you reference:

(1) “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;
(2) “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from—
(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;
(B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;
(C) the threat of imminent death; or
(D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality; and

Doesn't waterboarding fall somewhere in either or both of A and B?

Joan said...

sohereiam gets to the point I was wondering about: "severe physical or mental pain or suffering."

It seems to me, given that even Christopher Hitchens underwent waterboarding twice, that designating the mental suffering caused by it as "severe" is at least debatable.

Also: if you're going to bring up WWII with Condi Rice, you better know your stuff. LOL, Clint.

former law student said...

SERE and Special Ops guys are waterboarded as a matter of training.

Training to see if they can withstand torture.

Duh.

former law student said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
former law student said...

that designating the mental suffering caused by it as "severe" is at least debatable.

Similarly, only virgins can complain about rape, because, like Christopher Hitchens, non-virgins at least once had sex willingly. Designating the mental suffering of a rape "victim" as "severe" is at least debatable.

Minzo said...

"It seems to me, given that even Christopher Hitchens underwent waterboarding twice, that designating the mental suffering caused by it as "severe" is at least debatable."

Do you really think Hitchen's 5 or so seconds of waterboarding under strict supervision and with the ability to say 'stop' at anytime is really equivalent to the kind of waterboarding terrorist suspects are subjected to? Really? And have you read what Hitchen's said about how the waterboarding felt? There's obviously a debate to be had about whether torture should be permissible, but to deny that waterboarding is torture is just staggering.

"Anyone - and I say this in all sincerity and in good faith - who does not agree has a screw loose, and is leading a completely self-centered, narcisisstic life in today's world, aided either by incredible denial of reality or mentally weakened ignorance."

And to think liberals are being lectured on here about using empty, ad hominem attacks....

John Althouse Cohen said...

You forgot the "lying" tag.

molly said...

Evil exists
Yes. The torture of human beings, for example.

Joan said...

Do you really think Hitchen's 5 or so seconds of waterboarding under strict supervision and with the ability to say 'stop' at anytime is really equivalent to the kind of waterboarding terrorist suspects are subjected to?

Yes. Terrorist suspects signal stop when they're ready to talk.

And have you read what Hitchen's said about how the waterboarding felt?

Yes, I read it.

The determining factor for me that it was not torture was Hitchen's decision, having undergone it once, to do it again. Of his own free will, knowing how it would feel, etc. He did it again. If it were really torture, he wouldn't have done it. No one, for example, volunteers to have another fingernail ripped out.

Comparing waterboarding with the actual physical assault of rape is bizarre.

Alex said...

Minzo said...
What makes you think torture is going to bring Al-Qaida to its knees? It could only theoretically work if one of the big fish is nabbed right before a big plot but otherwise- moral considerations aside- is it even practical? Is a man hardened by religious fundamentalism and the promise of 72 virgins going to crumble and blabber the truth under torture? Isnt he more likely to feed his torturers a stream of bullshit?

10:42 AM
By that reasoning, we should never capture Al Queda suspects, just kill them on the spot, since they are THAT radical.

Lem said...

Waterboarding is not the onlything that is torture. Stress positions are torture. Sex acts on prisoners, simulated hangings, beatings, desecrations; all these things are torture.

If a white supremacist were to argue that being forced to sit at a lunch counter with a black man was torture would we consider it a valid argument too?

Anton said...

Wow, Ann, the comment section of your blog really takes a turn for the worse on weekends. What with AlphaLiberal and 'former law student', you'd swear you'd run across a kindergarten class run amok with their keyboards.

Trooper York said...

Gen. Philip Sheridan: I'm going to issue you an order and give it to you personally. I want you to cross the Rio Grande, hit the Apache and burn him out. I'm tired of hit-and-run. I'm sick of diplomatic hide-and-seek.
(Rio Grande, 1950)

Jason (the commenter) said...

Lem : If a white supremacist were to argue that being forced to sit at a lunch counter with a black man was torture would we consider it a valid argument too?

Probably not, but that would be a rather odd prison to have a lunch counter.

The thing with all the things I mentioned is, the people who authorized them knew they are wrong. That's why they didn't take official pictures and why they tried to hide what was being done when inspectors came.

Guilty people hide crimes.

Flexo said...

Although the burden of proof and persuasion is on those advocating on behalf of admitted 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other admitted terrorists, partisanly claiming that these enhanced interrogation practices constitute torture, and the burden is not on those defending our country, if we take a look, we clearly see that the waterboarding as practiced in these cases does NOT fall within the definition of torture under 18 U.S.C. § 2340.

That pesky, bothersome statutory definition requires that one act with specific intent to inflict "severe physical
or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions),” the latter of which is further defined as “prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from—
“(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;
“(B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;
“(C) the threat of imminent death; or
“(D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality”

Even if we were to take the most provocative of the “enhanced interrogation techniques” at issue, waterboarding, it is abundantly clear that such does not fit within the legal definition.

Pouring water over someone’s covered face for a few seconds does NOT (a) inflict or threaten physical pain or suffering, severe or otherwise.

Pouring water over someone’s covered face for a few seconds does NOT (b) involve the administration or application of mind-altering substances or otherwise disrupt the senses or the personality.

Pouring water over someone’s covered face for a few seconds does NOT constitute (d) a threat against others.

That leaves only (c), but the pouring of water over the detainee's covered face as practice here also does NOT involve imminent death, NOR does it involve the treat of imminent death. Under the procedures involved there is no risk whatsoever of the person drowning, and the person being subjected to it knows that there is no risk of death given the use of the cloth, the presence of medical personnel, and the fact that they did not drown the previous times it was done.

Moreover, even if any of the above factors did apply (which they demonstratively do not) it does not result in prolonged mental harm, as is demonstrated by the total lack of any mental harm to the tens of thousands of members of the U.S. military who undergo waterboarding in their own training.

Finally, it is additionally abundantly clear that the interrogators, knowing that there is no real risk of harm involved, did not act with the specific intention or purpose to cause severe physical or mental pain or suffering.

Not even a SINGLE element of the alleged offense can be established, either in law or fact. (And we can add to this the jurisdictional requirement that the conduct take place "outside the United States," and as the Supreme Court has ruled, Gitmo is no longer considered to be outside the United States for purposes of these detainees.)

Now, it may be unpleasant, but unpleasantness is not the standard. Indeed, “pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions,” such as imprisonment, including life imprisonment, is most certainly far more unpleasant and comes closer to tortuous conduct than does waterboarding, yet such infliction of “pain and suffering” is expressly deemed to NOT be torture. To be sure, if waterboarding is torture, and long-term imprisonment is factually far more unpleasant and severe, then we had better close every jail and prison in the country because we are “torturing” millions upon millions of prisoners by the very fact of their incarceration.

Added to this is that it is undeniable that even the infliction of severe pain and suffering is NOT and cannot be, in and of itself, torture. That is what we do in our hospitals every day. We cut into people and chop their limbs off and inflict all sorts of horrors on them. Of course, such pain and suffering is inflicted on them in the present for the greater good of saving or improving their future lives.

Thus, it is indisputable that the reason for the harsh treatment is the final determinant of whether an act might be torture. Inflicting pain for sadistic kicks is morally wrong. Inflicting pain to save lives can be morally good.

Then you have the whole problem of trying to define torture in wartime. Can we really say that it is OK to sink an enemy’s boat, leading to the horrific drowning of the crew, that that is a legitimate act of war, but pouring water on that same enemy’s face without killing them in order to gain lifesaving information about future attacks is not OK and is torture?

Add into this the fact that, in surrendering rather than fighting to the death, these admitted terrorist detainees implicitly agreed to no longer fight and resist by virtue of that surrrender, including in the withholding of vital information about the enemy’s plans. It can well be argued that their resistance and refusal to voluntarily disclose this information alters the rules of surrender, effectively putting them back on the battlefield, where a much harsher level of treatment is a legitimate act of war.

Now, waterboarding may lead one to confess things that one might otherwise keep to oneself, but overcoming the will or causing duress is also not the standard. Police overcome the will of suspects everyday in interrogation rooms, often merely by threatening prison if they do not cooperate. If that is what makes waterboarding “torture,” then, again, we are torturing criminal suspects each and every day by obtaining confessions from them. (The question of whether or not the responses would be admissible in court is entirely separate from the question of whether it constitutes "torture.")

By any stretch of the imagination, the waterboarding techniques used here -- and the videotaped "demonstrations" pushed by left groups once again accusing the U.S. of all the evil in the world do NOT acccurately depict what was actually done -- do not and never have constituted "torture," either as a factual, legal, or moral matter.

traditionalguy said...

To the Euro-civilized intelligentsia who comment here, remember the French and Indian War taught the Idiot Europeans that the Rules of Honorable Wars as fought on the Continent were not applicable to the style of war chosen by their Indian allies in battles fought in New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.... Soon the frontier families (a/k/a Militia under the 2nd amendment)adopted to the Indians' rules, and did so successfully. If you cannot choke down the truth and use courage to join in fighting these brutal wars, then please go back and join the European Empires. You and your Idiot's rules of moral superiority in time of war are not welcome here in the United States.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

She's always been such a good liar.

Lem said...

...the people who authorized them knew they are wrong. That's why they didn't take official pictures and why they tried to hide what was being done when inspectors came. Guilty people hide crimes.

Were I work when people have asked lawyers what should be saved for archiving purposes - should we just save the final submission or should we also save all the drafts?
We get divergent answers. Some say save everything, some say just save the final product, some say don't save anything unless you are compelled by law.

Not everything that's not saved for archiving necessarily means that something nefarious was being hidden.
It seems to me that what gets archived greatly depends on who you ask.

Lem said...

BTW - If someone broke the law by not saving interrogation video or pictures they should be prosecuted.

Of course that appears not to be nearly as juicy as a 'torture' prosecution.

Lem said...

...but that would be a rather odd prison to have a lunch counter.

I was trying to elicit an image from the civil rights struggles.

PatCA said...

Let's hear from the anti-torture/whatever group what we should do to get information to save American lives. The great political philosopher Jon Stewart says "do nothing, it's the price we pay for living in a free society."

Do you agree with that?

CarmelaMotto said...

FLS - so you think someone who was raped would ask to have it done again? Did you ever graduate from law school? You seem to have an inability to reason.

sohereiam said...

Flexo -- I have to say, I think you're arguing your case to reach the conclusion you desired in the first place. I think waterboarding certainly does "otherwise" disrupt the senses -- the entire point of the exercise is to make the victim feel as though he is drowning.

mrs whatsit said...

PatCA, I just came here to ask precisely that question. Those of you who take a position of principled opposition to waterboarding and such methods of "enhanced interrogation" -- what would you do, or what would you have Obama's administration do? What are the limits? It's not a trick question. I assume you've thought about this. What methods are acceptable, and when? Is it never, ever acceptable to cause pain or fear to a person in custody, no matter how high the stakes, not even if you, as the official charged with making the decision, might have good reason to believe that the alternative to, let's say, waterboarding, which causes a brief period of intense fear and misery but leaves the subject alive and physically uninjured, might be the intense fear, misery, suffering and death of thousands of your compatriots, including, perhaps, your families, or you?

We can go on all afternoon about what we shouldn't do, but all that makes us is self-important prigs like the young man questioning the former Secretary of State in that video. (Yes, Ms. Rice eventually became condescending to him, after he had interrupted her several times, displayed his remarkable ignorance, lectured her, ignored the answers he'd asked for, and showed no signs whatsoever of having done the rigorous thinking that this subject actually requires. Rarely have I seen anyone who so richly deserved to be condescended to.) But anyway. It would really be more helpful to those currently charged with the responsibility for keeping the people of this country safe to know what they CAN do than to listen to us prattle on about what we don't want them to do. So. What can they do?

molly said...

Let's hear from the anti-torture/whatever group what we should do to get information to save American lives. The great political philosopher Jon Stewart says "do nothing, it's the price we pay for living in a free society."
You can interrogate suspects without having to strap them backwards to a chair for eight hours. Remember this article about what techniques were successful for getting answers from Nazis during World War II?

molly said...

The main reason you guys should be opposed to torture is that it just doesn't work.

mrs whatsit said...

Okay, Molly, I went and read the article. It did not actually say one word about what methods were used, unless you want to count taking the prisoners out for steaks to soften them up. Otherwise, all it described was what wasn't done. My question still stands. What can we do -- bearing in mind that the obvious differences between interrogating a German officer and an Al Queda terrorist are large? Surely you have something a bit more detailed in mind, when you say there are other methods, than taking everyone at Guantanomo out for a steak. What?

mrs whatsit said...

Molly, your point that torture does not generally work to obtain reliable information is a good one, and I tend to agree with you. But perhaps that's another reason that we should not consider waterboarding torture -- since, according to President Obama at his most recent press conference, it HAS worked in the past to obtain information that turned out to be real and that protected American lives.

molly said...

You'll have to ask the CIA for their specific interrogation techniques. That is supposed to be their area of expertise, right? And how many false confessions do you get through torture compared to one accurate one?

Lem said...

I'm proud to say I never compromised my humanity. Said the WWII interrogator.

Would it be fair to say that maybe that's why he was not at the frontline?

mrs whatsit said...

No, I'm sorry, that's a total cop-out. We are all sitting here telling the CIA and others like them, what they can't do -- taking the position that we know more than they do about what they should do, or are more moral than they are, or whatever it might be. You said yourself, there are other methods that are more reliable. If you're going to say things like that, it's necessary to think about what they are, and why you think they will work -- or if you don't think they'll work, then what, exactly, are you proposing that President Obama should do, when he finds himself, as surely he will, facing some terrible decision with the safety of the people who elected him at stake?

Lem said...

Unless the democrats are prepared to introduce war fighting legislation all this bluster and outrage is just political posturing.

PatCA said...

Yes, a total cop-out. And expected cop-out, Molly, sorry. The left-leaning "anti" people never have a remedy: "It's not my job!"

Yes, it is.

If you campaign against a technique that has been alleged reliable by those involved, you--and Mr. Obama--need to answer our question.

Bob said...

"Under Bush and Rice, they also sent people to other countries as part of their extreme rendition policies to do more torturing than our government was willing to do. Except that's another violation of the Convention Against Torture:

No State Party shall expel, return ("refouler") or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture. "

Alpha, wasn't Bush and Condi simply following the previous administration's policy?

molly said...

Personally, I feel like the burden of proof is on the people who want to torture, not those who don't. If you think the opposite, I don't think we can see eye to eye on much of anything.

Bob said...

Molly, I think the nub of the issue is that some of us think waterboarding and stress positions are torture. Others do not. None of us would aurgue that taking a blowtorch to an insurgent would be torture. The other relevent point is only one side cares. US civilians and military personnel will suffer long, slow, and quite gruesome deaths and will be found (if at all) mutilated.

So I think its just we don't agree upon where the line that marks torture is located.

mrs whatsit said...

This isn't about burdens of proof. It's about thinking through both sides of the question, not just the side that makes you feel comfortable. The people you have elected do not have the child-like luxury of leaving the thinking to somebody else, as you have said you would prefer to do. They are not just talking about the problem. They will have to DO something about it, which might include making some pretty desperate guesses as to what will work, and what won't. Until you, and others with your views, have faced up to what that means, and have asked yourself what YOU would do if you were in their shoes -- you have not actually started to think about this subject in any meaningful way.

molly said...

The people you have elected do not have the child-like luxury of leaving the thinking to somebody else, as you have said you would prefer to do. They are not just talking about the problem.Yeah, that's totally what I said. Seriously, we obviously have divergent enough perspectives that going back and forth on the internet is not going to achieve anything productive. But wouldn't you rather chill in my gulag?

hdhouse said...

Soooo...the obvious resolution here is to arrest a fair number and put them on trial. If the government can't make it's case then they are innocent. If the government can make the case they are guilty.

It will end up in the Supreme Court eventually so let's get the process started.

mrs whatsit said...

I ask what you think. You answer: "You'll have to ask the CIA for their specific interrogation techniques. That is supposed to be their area of expertise, right? . . . Personally, I feel like the burden of proof is on the people who want to torture, not those who don't."

I'll take your word for it that you didn't mean you prefer to leave the thinking to somebody else -- but I still don't know what you think, or why you think it.

I am sure we won't agree on much, and that's fine with me. I didn't enter into this discussion to try to reach agreement. I entered it because I really do want to know if the anti-waterboarding people have thought the question through, and if they have, I'd really like to know what they think. Clearly, you haven't thought it through -- though, sincerely, I give you props for jumping into the discussion and trying. I'm still hoping somebody else will come along who's taken a rational stab at what, exactly, they are hoping this administration will do when faced with this problem.

Trooper York said...

Juror #6: Well, I'm not used to supposin'. I'm just a workin' man. My boss does all the supposin' - but I'll try one. Supposin' you talk us all out of this and, uh, the kid really did knife his father?
(12 Angry Men, 1957)

Lem said...

If we are not prepared to explore the legal outer limits when responding to an attack commensurate with 9/11 2001 then we should be prepared to live and die with those consequences.

Can't have it both ways.

Bob Sacamano said...

Unfortunately, some folks just want to have it both ways all of the time.

They want to be able to blame the people who used extraordinary measures in the wake of 9/11 to ascertain when and where another attack was to take place.

They also want to be able to accuse the administration in power during the attacks of doing nothing to stop them.

Let me pose this question - if waterboarding the 20th hijacker in August of 2001 had stopped the attacks of 9/11 would waterboarding be considered acceptable?

THAT is the ticking time-bomb that every denier claims doesn't really exist. No, it's not a bomb - it's a group of angry, young Islamists loose in our transportation system, ready to cause mass destruction. Same thing.

TitusSaysGoodmorning2U&U&U2 said...

I bet she has eaten fish tacos.

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

paul a'barge said...

I lurve Condoleeza.

Alas, I'm already married and even if I were not she'd be way above my league.

Still, she's the bomb!

Pastafarian said...

Alpha, hdhouse, et al -- I find your comparison of waterboarding to rape to be unbelievably offensive.

The fact that you're too squeamish to withstand, administer, or even watch a procedure doesn't make it torture. It just makes you squeamish little girls.

You'll cling to this club as long as you can; you'll call me a crazy, immoral bastard for suggesting that waterboarding isn't nearly as "severe" a form of pain and suffering that these assholes deserved. You'll lash out not because you believe it, but because this is the club that you can use to lash out at Bush, Cheney, and your father, who never attended your ballet recitals.

Waterboarding. Jesus Christ, grow a pair of nuts, sprout a dick, and get a fucking clue. Tell you what -- if Althouse has another meetup in my area, I'll attend, and one of you little liberal bastards can waterboard me to your heart's content. (If you're not too squeamish).

All you have to do in return is watch a few decapitation videos, and then tell me with a straight face that this treatment is just too harsh for these sons of bitches.

Hopefully I didn't exceed the Althouse profanity limit on that one.

section9 said...

This isn't a matter of law at all. It's a matter of public policy. Obama will find that out the minute he has to order somebody waterboarded. Which he will, by having them shipped to the Saudis or the Egyptians and having them do it.

Waterboarding is okay when "Filthy Arabs" do it, as long as the Democrat doesn't have to get his hands dirty.

That's the way the Clintons did things, and that's the way Obama will do things.

See, the problem the Lefties don't get is that they're still looking at this from a legal point of view, and the weren't listening to what Condi said about watching people jump out of 80-story buildings.

Obama is a politician. Politicians care about one thing and one thing only: getting reelected. If people are jumping out of 80 story buildings on Obama's watch, you can say two words:

President Palin.

Obama knows this. The Democrats on this board are the biggest bunch of yahoo suckers this side of Glenn Greenwald. They think Obama doesn't care about Registered Voters. Obama will waterboard to avoid a Beslan or 9/11 style attack faster than a liberal can say "Al Franken" to avoid an electoral defeat.

Period. Oh, and by the way, liberals will applaud him for doing so. Liberals are nothing if not situational ethicists.

As to the legality of what Rice "conveyed" (and that's actually what she did, she was only being precise-Presidents order, it's what we elect them to do), that remains in dispute, despite the current wisdom in the Democratic party and the Left in general.

Al Qaeda is not a signatory to Geneva, nor is it covered by the Treaty. Iraqi insurgents were, which is why Abu Ghraib was so monstrously wrong. But one can see the sloppy thinking inherent in the Democratic Party these days when so many on the Left are willing to grant AQ full Geneva Convention rights that they have done nothing to deserve.

This is not about us. It is about them. If they were, say, Germans in uniform, we would be compelled to treat them properly (which, btw, we did for the most part. The same cannot be said of our treatment of the Japanese...). AQ, however, has left the human community in its conscious decision as an organization to attack the human community.

What they deserve is extermination, not pity about what rights they have coming to them. Rice at least partially understands that because she has clear in her mind the nature and intent of AQ as an organization. Too bad our President has lost the plot. It is my hope that he will regain some sense of what Al Qaeda actually is.

We have, after all, only one President at a time. Too bad it isn't Rice. She at least is not for turning.

dick said...

Molly,

I for one would love to know just what you consider torture. You claim that you want the CIA to make that decision but at the same time you call the decision they already made and practiced torture. How are they then to make this decision. Something is either torture or it is not. If you are not going to define it, then you have no call for claiming that the CIA tortured someone. You had the chance to define it earlier or support someone who would but you and they did not.

If you want the CIA to be all moral about everything, then you need to address the question of what you would consider moral undertakings for them to gather the intelligence we need to protect this country. You cannot just throw the call to someone else and then reserve for yourself the right to second guess them but that is what you are trying to do. It is like that judge who said he could not define porno but he knew it when he saw it. The only problem is that before you can say you know it when you see it it has to have already happened. At that point you expect them to arrest these people for going past undefined limits because it offends your tender moralities? even if it costs the country another 3K or more deaths and people jumping out of 100 story buildings to their certain death because the info could not be gotten when the interrogators could not use the methods that would have gotten it? That is the obvious result of your choice not to define anything.

Paul said...

HDH sez:

"Minzo:

I think Paul longs for the days of concentration camps to be honest where he could simply send anyone who disagrees..just like that.

We would also have to wear a large armband with a capital "L" on it."

That's where you're wrong.

180 degrees wrong.

I am pointing out that the left ever since the Jacobins, and including the Bolshevics, Fascists, Nazis, Maoists, Communists in SE Asia, Africa, Latin America, etc., have left mountains of skulls in their wake in trying to enforce their particular brands of social justice. And it's the leftists, statists, who always have the reeducation camps, the show trials, the self criticism sessions, and ultimately the boneyards filled with their political enemies.

You people are their philosophical and PSYCHOLOGICAL heirs. One only has to mingle amongst committed leftists or visit DKOS or DU to see the same toxic mixture of self righteousness, extreme idealism, and total dehumanizing hatred and contempt for anyone who opposes them on their Utopian mission. You are the same creatures that formed all the previous leftist revolutionary movements except your methods are Gramscian. And if you are as ignorant as it appears you don't even know what that means. Not my fault.

I, and people like me on the other hand just want to be left the fuck alone. We like the traditional American system of individual liberty and small government. We KNOW, as did the framers, that your idea that society is perfectible at the hands of a well intentioned totalitarian state inevitably ends in tyranny and democide. ALWAYS. Government, once it achieves enough power to enforce its will to accrue yet more power unchecked becomes cachexic.

So the last thing I want is concentration camps. I could care less what your stupid fucked up and historically disastrous political beliefs are. Live and let live is my motto.

Until that time that your political madness comes to threaten me and my freedom that is.

Unfortunately that time has come and like I said either we will beat you back or your side will prevail and the historically inevitable dystopia will result.

CarmelaMotto said...

All I can say is Molly is typical. Way too typical.

"I don't like torture...This is torture...but don't ask me to make decisions about the fates of others...I will leave that to the experts." That's the freakin CIA. But don't worry, after all this hand wringing and outing by Obama and the news (abc outing the supervising shrinks)...another 9/11 or worse is assured.

How do I know? Because in the 1970s all you brilliant anti-war types decided that our spies should not rub shoulders with undesirables, pay them off, or do anything that wasn't squeaky clean. And guess what? None of those dirty evil people do things that are squeaky clean. So our intelligence capabilities are severely diminished yet the CIA officers are then crucified when they "don't know" about danger coming our way...

Way to go. Keep it up. We are now in the best of hands. I will die where I work in times square oh so moral and good thanks to the efforts of Obama and his alcolytes.

Purity is so fabulous....the Europeans love me again....thank GOODNESS! I am dead, but oh so righteous! Thanks!

Lawgiver said...

Condi rocks. If she moves to Texas and establishes residency we'll elect her governor.

Peter V. Bella said...

In the Sixties the chant was "the whole world is watching."

Now the chant is "the whole world is laughing" At us.

daredevil-66 said...

This topic seems to be suspended in amber, I am so tired of it like all things Iraq. I am willing to take the anti-waterboarding folks at face value and believe their moral compass says its wrong. But I wish they had some consistancy as they have no problems with rendition or what happens to detainees in Egypt or Saudi Arabia. The fact they never call obama on that tells me much about how genuine their "outrage" is.
Either torture is wrong all the time everywhere or its not.

commenter said...

how to remember a guantanomo in a love song, that has a bunch of ambiguity to its meaning, too

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5JLCAIJLJ8

commenter said...

how to remember a guantanomo in a love song, that has a bunch of ambiguity to its meaning, too

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5JLCAIJLJ8

The Exalted said...

funny how quick condi was to proclaim what happened at abu gharaib wrong.

most of the horrors in the abu gharaib pictures was specifically authorized by sec. state rumsfeld: forced nudity, stress positions, dogs, sexual humiliation.

was it the hood or the box then?

the real problem for rumsfeld, rice etc is that there were cameras present.

this seemed clear from rumsfeld's testimony on the subject back in 2004.

her argumentation here on the video was as weak and pathetic as can be expected. repeatedly harping on some verdict rendered by an organization after a dog and pony show...sad.

Frodo Potter said...

I appreciate what some of the more conservative voices are saying: that some of the liberals on this board are squishy and squeamish.

Having said that, I still don’t think anyone has successfully addressed Molly’s—and especially Minzo’s—argument that torture is not practical. Perhaps we should have killed all the AQ prisoners right there on the battlefield; I find nothing particularly morally objectionable about whacking tin pot dictators we don’t like; and I will shed tears of joy if Israel successfully bombs Iran’s reactors.

But I agree with Minzo—torture is not practical. I’m not remotely concerned about the tender feelings of AQ members, but torture tends to produce a distorted picture. First of all, many people being tortured will, at some point, lose some sense of reality and may well convey false information. They will say anything to end the pain. They may also truly believe the lie they are telling, which makes it that much harder to ascertain just what is the true and false. The second consideration is that torture may give the questioners such a heady sense of power that they become overconfident. In a phrase: they lose their edge.

When I was an undergraduate I read a story that illustrates my point; I believe it was by Sartre, though it may have been Camus or Jean Larteguy. The Gestapo had caught someone from the French underground and was torturing the man to find out where the leader of the Resistance was hiding. (Andrew Sullivan notwithstanding, the Gestapo really did torture.)

Finally, in desperation, the man decided to tell them a plausible lie, anything to stop the pain. He told the Gestapo that the leader was hiding in a certain cemetery. They told him that they would check out the information and, if he was right, he would be freed. If he had lied, then it would be worse than ever. They left him and he sat there, trying to find the strength to endure what he knew was coming. He had bought himself a little time, but only a little.

Several hours later, the Germans returned, cleaned him up, thanked him for his cooperation, and set him free. What had happened? Through sheer happenstance, the Resistance had decided to move their leader to a safe place—in the cemetery. The Germans ambushed them and wiped them out. It was sheer coincidence, but the Gestapo probably patted themselves on the back for their brilliance.

If torture does not work, then what does work? I don’t know but I suspect it involves playing head games with prisoners. It certainly involves tricking them. And of course with sociopaths such as AQ, it may well involve setting them against each other. I also think that so-called truth serums such as sodium pentothal could be in order (I don’t know enough about them to say for sure). But interrogators cannot afford to blur prisoners’ sense of reality and the interrogators—above all—cannot afford to become overconfident.

After all, it was overconfidence that helped lead to 9/11 in the first place.

AJ Lynch said...

Let me defend Condi Rice.

If she were reading this post, she'd probably say this blog has a few dumb America -hating pussies...Alpha, DTL, Hdhouse & FLS. Did I leave anyone out?

hdhouse said...

Pastafarian said...
Alpha, hdhouse, et al -- I find your comparison of waterboarding to rape to be unbelievably offensive...The fact that you're too squeamish to withstand, administer, or even watch a procedure doesn't make it torture. It just makes you squeamish little girls....little liberal bastards can waterboard me to your heart's content. (If you're not too squeamish)."

And there you have it ladies and gentlemen. The voice of reason and debate. Can't think of anything so you just hurl.

"it doesn't make it torture"...you asshole. can't you read. read the law. Read it instead of just being a fool.

"compare it to rape"....I DID NOT and right here and now go find where I did.

"waterboard me..." oh blah blah blah...you wouldn't last two seconds. you are like that spineless wimp Hannity...all talk and absolutely no guts.

You buy the plane ticket to Pakistan and let someone snatch your sorry ass off the street and waterboard you like they meant it and you would first piss your panties and then beg ....

Where the hell do you get off?

=

hdhouse said...

AJ Lynch said...
" dumb America -hating pussies...Alpha, DTL, Hdhouse & FLS."

You left yourself out you prick. You obviously hate this country or you would defend the constitution...but no....you can only hurl and blame with no brain to guide you. You have no idea about me or the others...your just a feckless vile piece hellbent on dividing the nation.

Peter V. Bella said...

Hey house,

You do hate America and all it stands for. You hate free speech, unless it is yours, you hate free expression, unless it is yours, you hate freedom to redress grievances, unless they are yours. You hate everyone who disagrees with you.

You are a hater and a hate monger. You are dangerous.

Peter V. Bella said...

BTW, hate house,

I defended the Constitution in the military and for almost thirty years on the police department.

WHat the fuck have you ever done, except whine, piss, moan, and complain?

Skyler said...

I really like Condoleeza Rice because I think she is very intelligent, articulate and completely unflappable.

But I couldn't believe the circular logic she offered. If the president forbid the use of any interrogation technique that was not in accordance with treaties and laws, then we could not have used torture. Huh?

Also, she seemed a bit weasely when she was distancing herself from having been part of the process of deciding and directing what interrogation techniques were used.

Forget the moral failure, just the international relations failure of using torture (because that's what it is) has done more to harm our war against terror than anything that might have happened on a battlefield or in a terrorist training camp.

We won't be able to live this down for generations, and all for what? Cheney seems to think it was worth it. I can't imagine what might have been so valuable as to jeapardize our ability to gain allies and prosecute this war with the higher moral plane. It's been a disaster.

When I was in Iraq, we would teach our Marines that the ROE were there to help us win the war. We followed the rules, even if it made things harder in the short term, because they made it easier in the long term. Sure they can go in and massacre families like 3/1 did in the city of Haditha and claim that they were justified (a very weak claim, by the way), but the damage to our ability to get the people of Iraq to work with us wasn't worth it.

It's the same with torture, on a bigger scale. Yeah, it might (but I doubt it) give us information that we can't otherwise learn, but it was used against us to get a marxist elected to office and jeopardizes the entire war effort. Even if we could justify torture, and we can't, it still wasn't worth it.

former law student said...

America -hating

my country is the great American Republic. My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.-- Senator Carl Schurz

SERE training included interrogation techniques developed by the Red Chinese to use on captured American GIs during the Korean War. It was developed to simulate the worst conditions our boys were likely to face:

http://levin.senate.gov/newsroom/supporting/2008/Detainees.121108.pdf

If America continues to debase its ideals so that we're no better than the worst of our enemies, what the fuck good is America?

What does America stand for?

so you think someone who was raped would ask to have it done again?

No, I think that treatment, however harrowing, meted out with your consent by your comrades in arms, to whom you are a valuable part of the team, is not at all the same thing when administered by your enemies who have imprisoned you for an indefinite period, just as being penetrated, however delightful when you have given your consent to someone with your best interests at heart, is quite another thing when a random stranger is doing it to you by force.

Capice?

William said...

Here's the way the death of a thousand cuts worked. The torturer had three urns. In one urn was a ball that had the name of a body part: knee, arm, eyeball, etc. The second urn had three balls to indicate piercing, laceration, or burning. The third urn indicated the length of time before the next ball was chosen: one hour, one minute, one day. Neither the torturer nor his victim knew what would happen next. I don't know how effective this technique was at gathering information, but the victim generally became irrevocably insane within the space of a few balls......Is it fair to describe this technique and water boarding as both being torture? Don't degrees of intensity enter into the definition? Differences of degree become differences of kind.....Also, I can see why a society would wish to foreswear torture. There are many very good reasons not to torture, but to say that one of them is because it does not work is simply not true.

Jason said...

In WWII, when US troops liberated the Dachau concentration camp, we summarily executed a number of German guards who were either surrendering or had already surrendered.

Court martial articles were drawn up; General Patton refused to prosecute these men, though.

Some guys just need killing.

God forbid we put a panty on their heads, though.

William said...

I have seen pictures of Saddam Hussein's prisoners, their hands tied behind their back, being thrown off the roof of two story buildings. They had a carriage rigged for dipping the lower part of the body into vats of acid. If the aggregate volume of torture in the world was diminished by our invasion of Iraq, have we not done something to eradicate torture. Can you name any left wing group that has ever done anything effective to diminish the use of torture in any state other than the USA?

Jason said...

Skylar: "We won't be able to live this down for generations."

Laughable.

The idiots at Abu Ghraib did us substantial harm. The waterboarding of KSM? Not one iota.

kwood said...

I am very much looking forward to Ms. Rice becoming the first black American president. THAT will be a day worth celebrating, commemorative dinner plates and all.

former law student said...

Ms. Rice becoming the first black American president

No. Her biggest strength -- loyalty to her "husband" -- is also her greatest weakness.

hdhouse said...

Peter...

I can't tell you what I did for 10 years overseas. You can figure it out probably and perhaps that is why I have so little patience with your type of "patriot".

I'm not a hater Peter. I just don't suffer fools.

NKVD said...

hdhouse - "your" does not equal "you're".

hdhouse said...

NKVD...

Your type of patriot refers to Peter's type of patriot...intolerant, prejudiced, closeminded and what is good for him has to be good for everyone and if they don't get their way they whine and bitch and call names. They cite nothing but IMHO and made up crap that is so transparent as to figure zero intelligence and imagination.

the topic here is Ms. Rice's spinning history to keep her out of the possibility of prosecution which, if this is a nation under God, will happen.

NKVD said...

Right, pardon me for not being able to read your rants.

Also, one should begin a sentence with a capital letter, if attempting to write standard English.

Carry on...

hdhouse said...

I'm wondering how many of the righties on here saw the movie Braveheart...or if Condi did.

Certainly no one suggests that Wallace's goals are remotely those of the scum we encounter and I'm not so don't go there.

Just remember the end, when he is hung, racked and disemboweled and the minister whispers to him "just say the word and the pain will stop"...and his head will be cut off. That, dear readers, is torture in all its glory. Now read the US Code and come back and talk about the rightous Ms. Rice.

Floridan said...

Jason: "Journalists have even submitted to it for christ sakes, so calling it torture just hollows out the meaning of the word."

And people commit suicide every day, but that doesn't make murder any less illegal.

AJ Lynch said...

Hdhouse- Condi called and told me to tell you she thinks you are still an America-hating pussy.

hahahahaha.

Jason said...

Murder is illegal because there is a law against it.

There is no law against waterboarding, as practiced by the CIA on illegal combatants.

mrs whatsit said...

Agreed that torture can lead to false results and that this is a strong argument against its use. However, ANY form of pressure brought to bear on a subject can lead to false results. False confessions happen regularly in police interrogations, in the absence of torture, for all kinds of reasons. We've got a case in my area right now in which a mildly retarded man confessed to a sex crime that he did not commit and served several years in state prison before his "victim" was caught manufacturing similar allegations against somebody else and admitted that she had made up the first claim, too. Nobody tortured the defendant -- he just wanted to please his interrogator and said what he thought the interrogator wanted to hear. The D.A., who should have known better, ran with it.

So, the false results problem, though real, isn't the end of the argument. And further, isn't especially helpful, because it STILL doesn't tell us what we can do, as opposed to what we can't.

Somebody mentioned truth serum. My guess is that it doesn't work the way it does in the spy movies, and that to the extent that it does work at all, we're already using it. If it worked perfectly the way we wish it did, we wouldn't need to have this conversation.

Somebody also mentioned mind games. There, too, however, we need limits -- remember the nationwide screeching when it was falsely reported that the military was defacing Korans at Guatanomo? If it had happened at all, that would have been a mind game, indeed, and BOY was it not okay with the purists.

Here we are in the real world, and here we are, apparently, completely unable to talk about what we WILL accept in exchange for our security. Happy to armchair quarterback and second-guess and prosecute and pillory those who faced up to the reality and made the tough decisions for the rest of us -- but completely incapable of thinking through those decisions for ourselves with any level of intellectual honesty, even on the nice safe rhetorical level of this comment thread. It ain't a good sign for any of us.

hdhouse said...

Hey AJ....did she dial 1-800-butthead ......

PatCA said...

That's right, mrs whatsit, we still haven't gotten an answer to our question, have we?

former law student said...

Here we are in the real world, and here we are, apparently, completely unable to talk about what we WILL accept in exchange for our security.

Because it's a nonsensical question, on the order of "Would you tase your mom in exchange for keeping the highest marginal income tax rate at 36%?"

Which of your ideals would you sacrifice to preserve the remainder of your ideals?

mrs whatsit said...

Why is it nonsensical, FLS? You've put a little straw man in your comment that has nothing to do with the questions Patca and I asked in the upthread posts, which perhaps you haven't read. I am trying to get somebody here who is opposed to waterboarding and such techniques to say something rational about where they draw the line, and why. There's plenty of armchair quarterbacking going on here about what shouldn't be done. What I want to hear about is what SHOULD be done. Unless you are truly advocating that we should not act at all to protect our own security if doing so will inconvenience our attackers in any way -- and I am quite certain you are not -- then you must have some kind of line in mind beyond which we should not go. What is it? Is causing any level of fear and/or pain in interrogation always unacceptable? Does it depend on the stakes? When President Obama must decide what to do about some suspect who may have information that will fend off another September 11 attack, what do you want him to do?

I agree with you, of course, that there's no point in debasing our ideals in order to preserve other ideals. However, that's one of those obvious platitudes that sounds great and makes the speaker feel righteous, but offers no actual specifics that mean anything. If we are committed to protecting our ideals -- and I hope to God that we are -- shouldn't we be able to articulate SOME sort of standard as to how we know when we are debasing them? If it's nonsensical even to ask this question, then I ask you: what good does it do to try to protect our ideals, when we apparently don't even know what they are?

hdhouse said...

mrs whatsit said...
" What I want to hear about is what SHOULD be done."

Follow the law. Abide by our laws. If you stay within the laws of the land then it should be an easy answer to that question.

mrs whatsit said...

HD, I don't think you're a lawyer, are you? Everybody agrees that we have to follow the law, of course. But this whole comment thread shows that following the law isn't good enough to satisfy people like you. Condoleeza Rice describes the process the Bush administration followed in asking the lawyers for an interpretation so they would know which actions were permissible and which weren't -- and you are practically drooling with glee at the prospect of prosecuting her for it. And FLS is telling us that this effort, again because he disagrees with the interpretation, makes us "no better than" our enemies who decapitate and rape and stone and electrocute, and who would laugh at the idea of trying to stay within any law.

Laws have to be interpreted, especially broad, vague laws like the torture definition you quoted from the U.S. Code. Standards are necessary for interpretation -- something more than pure partisanship, at least as long as we are still trying to be a nation of laws and not of men.

Skyler said...

who would laugh at the idea of trying to stay within any law.

Then isn't it odd that the Nazis, the Saddam regime, the Stalinists and all the brutal totalitarian regimes in recent times all tried to justify their actions by using law?

The definition of torture is broad because it was intended (by our country, anyway) to encompass all maltreatment. Our history has been very consistent that way. We condemned water boarding by the Japanese in WWII.

Waterboarding is often used in SERE training, not because we think it not torture, but because it is a form of torture that we can use that doesn't leave permanent injuries to our own people, yet we want them to get a flavor of what other countries have historically done to prisoners. Torture, as defined by our laws and treaties, does not have to be permanent in its effect to be illegal.

I still find it hard to believe that so many conservatives, who are often the ones professing to be so upright and moral and decent people, no longer look upon the most horrific of crimes and call it a good thing. We've completely lost our way.

And the result is that without a good moral center of capitalism and freedom and non-torture, we now have a marxist ideologue in the white house.

We're so doomed.

hdhouse said...

mrs whatsit said...
1. "that following the law isn't good enough to satisfy people like you."

2. "Condoleeza Rice describes the process the Bush administration followed in asking the lawyers for an interpretation so they would know which actions were permissible and which weren't"

sure it is. if they did. that is a very big "if" in case you haven't noticed, OLC notwithstanding....and there is plainly the rub as there seems to be a real and genuine debate as the the role of the OLC in all this and it coming up with a rather labored (I'm being generous) effort to thread the camel through the eye of the needle.

More to the point, the timelines don't match up... the OLC opinions coming out AFTER the authorizations...tail wags dog.

The devil is in the details....and a whole lot of court cases get decided on timelines ... criminal cases particularly...like who conspired with whom and when.

Again, if there is nothing to this then don't fight it and let the good folks at Justice take a close look.

mrs whatsit said...

Well Skyler, you and I are more in agreement than you might think. I agree that we are on horribly dangerous ground in this whole discussion. Our country's philosophical history does mostly argue your way, though I'm not sure we've always been quite as pure as you suggest (And "all maltreatment"? Really? ALL? Are we not even allowed to hurt their feelings, say, to save our lives? If so -- then yeah, we're doomed all right, if not quite in the way that you suggest. If not -- then I'm still waiting for some kind of comprehensible dividing line as to what's maltreatment and what's not.)

But don't misunderstand. I'm not calling waterboarding "a good thing." I doubt anybody here is. I hate it. I don't want to live in a time or a place where such things are done by anyone, to anyone. But all the same, I am not ready to pronounce criminal judgment against the military for using it in what I understand to be a handful of severely limited situations, as a matter of last resort, in the aftermath of 9/11, in the effort to prevent another similar tragedy -- when I frankly have no idea what else they might have done to get the information that they apparently believed in good faith that they needed.

I used to argue just like Molly did, up thread. I never voted for Republicans (still don't most of the time, in fact, with a single exception.) I used to hope really, really hard that we'd just never have to face these problems, that believing that things would get better would make it happen, and that we'd be able to go on living out our lives here as safe people, insulated from all that ugly stuff other countries have to deal with. But then my cousin died in the World Trade Center, and I started to read about terrorism. I began to understand, for the first time (yeah, I was dumb and naive before, but in what little defense I might deserve, so were a lot of us) that these issues are not abstractions and that wishing that all people meant us no harm will not make it so. I've asked myself since then what I would have been willing to do, or to accept, in an effort to prevent what happened that day, and I am just not sure. If, however, something unsavory I could have done might have stopped it, I don't think it would have been particularly moral for me to stand back and refuse to do it and allow thousands of people to suffer and die, just so my own hands would stay clean.

And, too, I suspect some of the critics here -- not you, obviously -- of blind partisanship, in that the reason they can't or won't articulate any standard to be followed is that their real complaint about waterboarding is that Bush did it. If Obama told us tomorrow that he ordered the waterboarding of some Al Queda captive for what he believed to be essential reasons of national security, I'm guessing some of these people would be celebrating his hard-nosed wisdom and courage and good judgment.

The danger in failing to think clearly about what we WILL accept, and focusing only on armchair quarterbacking as to what we won't, is that with no guidance for the future and no precedent other than after-the-fact show trials of the type HD proposes, the door is wide open to a philosophy of national security based entirely on rudderless partisan point-scoring and political gamesmanship. That's every bit as corrosive to our moral center, not to mention our political freedom, as is "torture" of the nature we have been discussing here.

In any event, I am deeply afraid that you are right about the damage that has already been done -- whether by the waterboarding and such itself, or by the partisan hay that's been made out of it ever since by the ALs and HDs among us.

AlphaLiberal said...

How interesting that no conservative could address the the uncomfortable fact that conservatives violated a treaty signed by Ronald Reagan.

--
Amazing, too, that Peter Bella accuses the WWII generation of torture. But can't back that shit up. Cannot do it. Bella is kind of like a holocaust denier in this way, rewriting WWII history.

--
Good comments, Skyler.

Sorry if these comments are late, but I got more spring chores done.