November 11, 2010

Bush says "damn right" he approved of the waterboarding of 3 detainees and he'd do it again — and the American people approve.

Overwhelmingly. Mostly silently. To the distress of the small sliver of the population that includes Dahlia Lithwick.

271 comments:

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chickelit said...

Lithwick is Candian. What do expect?

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

The biggest problem with that article is many don't think waterboarding is torture.

Reading Slate might count.

Ankur said...

I am curious - do most americans realize that America has, in the past, prosecuted and in some cases executed Germans and Japanese for the crime of waterboarding?

And that Reagan's DoJ prosecuted a texas sheriff and three deputies for waterboarding?

Surely, the illegality of waterboarding cannot be in question?

But, perhaps, one could position that illegal does not necessarily equate immoral, and thus, even if what Bush did was illegal under american law and precedent, it wasn't immoral - because of the special circumstances. Is that what the american people think?

Because, if so, then it becomes a nation of men, and no more remains a nation of laws. That may or may not be a bad thing - but at the very least, if this nation decides to walk down that path, it should carefully consider the slippery slopes that abound.

John Lynch said...

The one quality about Bush that endears him to some and infuriates others is the way he has instinctual reactions to certain events. He doesn't think, doesn't question, but just moves on to action.

raf said...

I tried to read the Lithwick thing but the sheer pomposity of it drove me off within the first few paragraphs.

WV: adshint. Some extra letters there, I think.

former law student said...

To the distress of the small sliver of the population that includes Dahlia Lithwick.


It's legal if you can find someone to say it's legal -- the GW Bush legacy.

raf said...

@ankur: I presume you are not aware that the activity called "waterboarding" practiced by the Japanese in WW2 had no resemblance to that called "waterboarding" by the US.

chickelit said...

...if this nation decides to walk down that path, it should carefully consider the slippery slopes that abound.

I thought there were no such things as slippery slopes. People laughed at Scalia for even suggesting it.

The Crack Emcee said...

It's war until it's no longer war -- the GW Bush legacy.

FIFY.

edutcher said...

The hypocrisy of the Lefties and, particularly, the Demos on this would be astounding if it weren't their standard MO. Pelosi Galore and a host of Congressional biggies had no problems with it (especially, I suspect, when they thought their lives might hang on it), signing off on the practice until they saw a political angle.

Expecting Cook in 5, 4, 3...

WV "cryleche" Why every baby boy is a breast man.

PS Tojo and Yamashita were the only Japanese executed by the US and they did more than waterboard somebody. Likewise, those Germans executed did a lot worse. Ankur (another of PB&J's aliases, I suspect) is blowing smoke.

John Lynch said...

You can't handle the truth!

ricpic said...

Superior Dahlia Lithwick, she of the tortuous name,
Calling Bush's grim order a boast is her tortuous game.

Methadras said...

Fuck the leftards. Not only, if given a chance, would I funnel as much water down the throat of a terrorist, I would jiffy jam my fist right down their gullet until I either killed these motherfuckers or they talk. No fucking way I'd let any one of these head cutters get a chance to do me or the ones I love in first. Well, maybe I'd let them get a shot at Cookie, AlphaLiar, Schtickmo, et al. so I could see them try to empathize their way with the terrorist out of a beheading. It's funny to think that the last thing these morons would hear outside of their own blood curdling screams as they begin to drown on their own blood as a knife blade plunges into the sides and all the way through their necks is, Allah Ackbar!!!

Frankly, waterboarding was too good.

Ankur said...

No, raf. I am indeed not aware of the difference - but I'd be happy to reevaluate my position if there is significant difference.

How about the waterboarding committed by the Texas Sheriff, prosecuted by the Reagan DoJ? was that different too?

Seven Machos said...

How many movies about how bad torture is will have to bomb and how many times will Lithwick write such tripe because the realization dawns that Americans approve of torture in necessary cases.

Furthermore, Americans are quite sophisticated about this. Americans were embarrassed and upset about Abu Grahib (or however that is spelled) because those prisoners didn't deserve what they got. And that wasn't even torture, just some fairly humdrum humiliation.

Methadras said...

Heather said...

The biggest problem with that article is many don't think waterboarding is torture.

Reading Slate might count.


I still don't think it's torture and frankly if it was, I wouldn't care. Are you seriously going to sit in front of your computer and hack out this bullshit that if a known terrorist is captured and is planning an attack in trying to find out where and with whom, you would resort to what tactics first, before you let this sub-human animal lawyer up first I mean?

Seven Machos said...

do most americans realize that America has, in the past, prosecuted and in some cases executed Germans and Japanese for the crime of waterboarding?

Dear Ankur -- To the victor go the spoils and the right to have show trials.

If you don't like it here, get the fuck out.

Ankur said...

And again, if you read my post, Edutcher - you will notice that I haven't taken a position on the immorality of waterboarding, only on the illegality.

If I am faced with the same decisions that Bush was - I honestly cannot claim whether or not I would do the same thing. Which is to say - I understand why he did it. And I understand that presidents sometimes have to do things that are illegal, in order to save lives.

Revenant said...

Cripes, we're going to get about 30 Robert Cook comments on this one.

Ankur said...

Thank you for your opinion, Seven Nachos. I love it here.

former law student said...

I presume you are not aware that the activity called "waterboarding" practiced by the Japanese in WW2 had no resemblance to that called "waterboarding" by the US.

Oh, really? Testimony of an American taken prisoner by the Japanese:

They laid me out on a stretcher and strapped me on. The stretcher was then stood on end with my head almost touching the floor and my feet in the air. . . . They then began pouring water over my face and at times it was almost impossible for me to breathe without sucking in water.

"Waterboarding Used to Be a Crime" Evan Wallach, Washington Post, November 4, 2007

Seven Machos said...

Did the Texas sheriff waterboard common criminals or people who had information about a terrorist organization bent on inflicting mass casualties on American interests?

Perhaps you don't understand the difference between the criminal justice system and what the CIA and the military do. Which is a pity, because I can tell by your writing that you consider yourself much smarter than so many hick dumb ass Americans. How come those hick dumb asses automatically see differences you don't see?

Seven Machos said...

I don't mean leave Althouse. I mean get the fuck out of the United States.

Revenant said...

I am curious - do most americans realize that America has, in the past, prosecuted and in some cases executed Germans and Japanese for the crime of waterboarding?

I've heard that, although the person making the claim is always careful to leave the supposedly executed Germans and Japanese people safely anonymous. In real life aren't there usually records of war crimes trials?

Seven Machos said...

I am not aware of a Japanese Nuremberg. Must have been clandestine.

former law student said...

7M helpfully tells ankur that "American exceptionalism" boils down to "Might makes right."

Ankur said...

Yes, I know what you meant, Seven Nachos. And I love living in the United States. But once again, thank you for your opinion.

And when you say "Did the Texas sheriff waterboard common criminals or people who had information about a terrorist organization bent on inflicting mass casualties on American interests?" - are you saying that in some situations, waterboarding is legal, and in some situations it isn't?

Almost Ali said...

To waterboard, or not to waterboard:

Taps

Ankur said...

Oh Cripes. I've been calling you Seven Nachos for days - but its Machos. Sorry about that.

Sixty Grit said...

I concur, get the fuck out of our country, Anchor, you are part of the problem. You need to return to your third-world, piss-filled hell-hole and leave us to our own devices. Seriously. We need fewer terrorists and their butt buddies, not more.

Seven Machos said...

Former -- Might does make right. Ask anybody in North Korea. What you fail to understand is that the United States and its people automatically distinguish between times when the few times when it is good to torture and all the other times when it is bad to torture.

You, of course, will bleat that it is always wrong to torture. Such bleating will make you feel morally superior. It doesn't matter. Torture is allowed by law and the vast majority of Americans are fine by it in rare cases. Sadly, you live in a democratic republic, not a land where philosopher kings such as yourself get to set the law.

Ankur said...

Again, let me be clear: I am not taking a position on whether what bush did was right or wrong. Because "right" and "wrong" imply a moral evaluation. And, if waterboarding saves thousands of lives, it might well be moral (even if it isn't legal).

But, unless the exceptions when waterboarding is okay are explicitly described in law - it can be "right" and still be illegal.

Seven Machos said...

are you saying that in some situations, waterboarding is legal, and in some situations it isn't

Jesus Christ on a Popsicle stick. Is that a serious question?

Yes. In some situations, waterboarding is legal, and in some situations it isn't. The sheriff can't waterboard common criminals. I can't waterboard the drycleaner who messes up my nice shirts.

I am also quite sure, having worked for the State Department, that reams and reams of tripe have been created about when it is okay to waterboard a terrorist, and under what conditions, etc.

Revenant said...

Cripes, guys, stop acting like stereotypical furriner-hatin' rednecks. I disagree with Ankur's position on waterboarding, too, but he's made some thoughtful and intelligent comments in other areas. Which is more than I can say for most of the left and right-wing partisan commenters here.

I hope he stays and becomes a citizen, if he isn't one already.

blake said...

I'm pretty sure the TSA can waterboard you while groping your children.

You know, it's the price we all pay to be safe.

Ankur said...

Well, if it is explicitly legal under certain circumstances - I would love any pointers to those laws/statues. I am not a lawyer and I don't really know how to quickly look up legal stuff.

Seven Machos said...

Do you really not understand that the sheriff in Texarkana and the federal official overseeing the torture of people who have information about terror plots are faced with vastly different laws to follow and job requirements and expectations?

That's quite frankly the most remarkably stupid thing I have heard in at least a decade.

chickelit said...

are you saying that in some situations, waterboarding is legal, and in some situations it isn't?

Much like the death penalty which legal in some states but not in others. And in states like Texas, the death is legal but inappropriate under most if not all circumstances.

Why, may I ask, do you fret so over consistency Ankur?

Ankur said...

Revenant, thank you for your support.

However, please note that I have NOT taken a position regarding whether waterboarding is "right" or "wrong".

Seven Machos said...

You mean there are laws about when and who and under what circumstances the death penalty can be applied? A person can't be killed for failing to pay parking tickets? I can't kill anybody I want at any time?

I thought America was all lawless and shit. You know, Al Capone.

Revenant said...

Ankur,

You're mixing domestic law with the laws of war. The sheriff in your example is explicitly governed by the former. The treatment of captured enemy combatants is governed by the latter.

The only case I'm aware of when an enemy soldier was prosecuted for waterboarding (and nothing else) was a Japanese officer convicted of waterboarding a noncombatant civilian. He was sentenced to prison time. That's not really a useful guideline when trying to determine if it is illegal to waterboard a captured enemy who is, himself, guilty of war crimes.

Sixty Grit said...

Nothin' wrong with hatin' foreigners if they are here to subvert our nation. In fact, extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Goldwater should have been on the list of 100 most influential Americans, along with William F. Buckley.

WV: therb - thmoke it.

Ankur said...

I am open to being educated, Seven Machos, if you have the patience. Show me or point me to those different laws.

And Chickenlit - I am assuming that the DoJ prosecuted the Texas sherrif under federal law.

Maguro said...

George Bush had our highly-trained intelligence professionals use very specific interrogation procedures on terrorists. These interrogations caused no lasting harm to the terrorists. He understood exactly what he was authorizing and is accountable for his decision.

Bill Clinton turned terrorists over to Egypt to be subjected to god knows what. We have no idea whether any permanent damage was caused. He hid behind the Egyptians' skirts to avoid responsibility.

Which approach is more moral?

jr565 said...

Ankur wrote:
I am curious - do most americans realize that America has, in the past, prosecuted and in some cases executed Germans and Japanese for the crime of waterboarding?

And that Reagan's DoJ prosecuted a texas sheriff and three deputies for waterboarding?


Waterboarding means different things in different contexts. Not sure of the executed Germans and Japanese but in the Phillipines for example waterboarding was a far more serious torture. In that waterbaording they would fill your stomach till it was distended then punch you in the stomach so that your insides literally broke open, and people would often die from the treatment. Far different than having water poured over your head.
Also, people have gone to jail for killing people, and yet we have a death penalty where people are executed. If someone executed someone in the same manner as the state executes a prisoner, they might even go to jail for it, and perhaps even be executed the same way.
Finally, we've also had SERE training for the past 40 years where people are routinely waterboarded. Where was all your outrage then? and why wasn't anyone arrested for such crimes? How do those trainers sleep at night?

PETER V. BELLA said...

Sad. So sad. Every so called civilized country- France, England, Germany, Spain, Italy, Israel, and others use enhanced interrogation techniques to corroborate information on a regular basis. They just do not feel it is necessary to publicize it to the world.

They call such publication treason.

Seven Machos said...

Find the laws yourself, dude.

Are you saying that I am wrong if I cannot show you a law that says that only certain federal officials can waterboard people under very special conditions?

The fact is, you have demonstrated an obscene ignorance concerning the vast differences among federal law, state and local law, and what Rev has called the laws of war. That's your problem, dude. Not mine.

I bet there's a library where you live, and you obviously have an Internet connection. Good luck to you. 'Cause God knows, you're gonna need it.

Ankur said...

No, I am not saying you are wrong. Not everyone who asks you for pointers is doing it as a way to show you as wrong.

Some people might be genuinely wanting to know.

I don't believe in "link please" as an argument technique.

Jim said...

It's legal if you can find someone to say it's legal -- the GW Bush legacy.

Just following in the traditional of "no controlling legal authority" and "it depends on the meaning of the word is is"...

You REALLY want to open the can of worms about legal technicalities?

edutcher said...

Seven Machos said...

I am not aware of a Japanese Nuremberg.

That's the problem - there wasn't. Only Tojo and Yamashita were tried, and them at the insistence of MacArthur. One of the reasons Japan is still in denial about their atrocities in WWII is that the have never been forced to confront them they way Germany has.

Seven Machos said...

Well, Cornell University's Law School is my go-to place if I can't use WestLaw, which is a fee-based service for lawyers. This information is not going to be hard for you to Google.

Almost Ali said...

For the President of the United States, there is no legal dilemma. He is charged with protecting the country, and if that includes waterboarding, then waterboarding is within his official prerogative.

Seven Machos said...

For the President of the United States, there is no legal dilemma.

I disagree. If Congress wanted to pass a law prohibiting certain ways of treating people, it could and the executive would have to abide.

But Congress isn't going to do that. And the reason is because Congress has to answer to the people, and the people want the executive to be able to compel terrorists to give up information that doesn't shock the conscience.

Bender said...

are you saying that in some situations, waterboarding is legal, and in some situations it isn't

It is legal in the several thousand times that the U.S. military has done it to our own troops in training.

And it was legal as done as enhanced interogation with KSM, et al., as is obvious by even a cursory reference to the actual statutory law.

Maguro said...

@edutcher - Incorrect, the Tokyo War Crimes Trials sentenced 7 to death and 16 more to life imprisonment.

Largely victor's justice in my view, though certainly the Japanese behaved abominably during the war.

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

bill said...

Ankur,

What difference does it make whether or not it's legal?

I would hope that legal or not, if the security of the nation depended on this, someone would have the common sense to take it upon themselves to break the law and get the information we needed.

Dead Julius said...

Lots of Americans approve of the waterboarding of these guys.

I think fewer approve of Bush lying about it: "This government does not torture people."

I mean... Althouse uses a "torture" tag on this post!!! Everybody knows that it's torture... it was just politically inconvenient to tell the truth about it.

Seven Machos said...

The show trials after World War II were some of the worst precedents in human history, as evidenced by, just for example, Robert Cook's meandering slop about international law.

There is no law in war, except treaties, which are not laws but contracts (and so there is no law in war).

Leaders of countries who lose wars should expect to be executed, imprisoned, or sent far away to keep a low profile. There need be and shouldn't be a statute or trials to hash it out.

Seven Machos said...

Julius -- So Bush should accept the Althouse and Dead Julius definitions of torture. Why?

garage mahal said...

Which approach is more moral?

Send someone back to their country, take them back to the U.S., or not torture in our name. Torture is for the Vietcong or the Soviets. Remember, we're the good guys. That's the country I grew up in anyway.

I just wish Althouse would stop slandering over half the people in this country as a "small sliver of the population".

Maguro said...

Julius - The whole torture/not toture thing is semantics and everyone knows it. The fact is that people are not upset about pouring water over some terrorist's face.

Almost Ali said...

If Congress wanted to pass a law prohibiting certain ways of treating people, it could and the executive would have to abide.

You're getting into the separation of powers; the duties and responsibilities of each are outlined in the Constitution.

The congress is not empowered to usurp the Commander in Chief - particularly in times of war.

And the reasons should be obvious.

Seven Machos said...

Ali -- I am getting into the separation of powers and I think I am right. Congress could make such a law. And the president would abide if Congress really wanted because Congress controls the money. That's why Congress can do whatever it wants relative to the other branches. It's a bitch getting 60 percent of 535 people to do anything, though. Herding cats...

garage mahal said...

The fact is that people are not upset about pouring water over some terrorist's face.

Speak for yourself.

Seven Machos said...

That's the country I grew up in anyway.

No, dude. The country you grew up in killed hundreds of thousands of civilians with two atom bombs and bombed Dresden so completely that there was not enough oxygen in the air to breathe. Under Democratic presidents and Congresses, by the way.

Dead Julius said...

@Seven-

Because the President should tell the truth about the government in plain commonly-used English and not bureaucratic doublespeak.

You guys complain in these comments when Obama uses careful wording to effectively lie about his programs... you should have held Bush to same standard. Bush's lies opened the door for Obama to offer bigger and bolder lies.

What would have been so awful about Bush saying, clearly, that:

(1) We're not going to obey international conventions on torture.

(2) We are torturing certain terrorist suspects when we think we can obtain useful information.

That's the message he was trying to get across; and it seems that this is what he is trying to get across now in his book and in his interviews in a more honest way. Why did he not just say it staightforwardly when he was President?

I think Americans would have admired his honesty. Besides, there's nothing morally wrong with torturing terror suspects, right? It's been done for the entirety of human history. Torture has always been extremely useful.

Maguro said...

Yes, I know you're upset, garage. And Cook and Julius. But it's not something the public is ever going to get worked up about. They didn't care about rendition either. Deal with it.

Seven Machos said...

(1) We're not going to obey international conventions on torture.

Too funny. The United States is arguably the best country in the world to be tortured in. Certainly the best advanced country.

Did Egypt, France, China, and North Korea sign your vaunted conventions? What a foolish lightweight you are.

Also, if the best you can do is quibble about definitions, you have woefully lost any substantive argument. So run along now. Go feel smarter and morally superior to everybody.

Ankur said...

One this is for certain: If waterboarding is illegal, then Congress bears as much responsibility as Bush does. Bush shouldn't have to be the only one bearing this particular cross.

Seven Machos said...

If waterboarding is illegal

Waterboarding is not illegal. We have tried to explain this to you. I am sorry that you fail to understand.

garage mahal said...

But it's not something the public is ever going to get worked up about. They didn't care about rendition either

Just setting the record straight. Just love the Althouse title of this post though. The over-reaching Democrats and Obama didn't hold a single hearing and suppressed just about anything related to the Bush torture policies. So that means the public "overwhelmingly approves". More than anything I think people for the most part haven't noticed he is giving interviews or has a book out. Or cares.

Seven Machos said...

So that means the public "overwhelmingly approves".

No. The public overwhelming approves because the public overwhelmingly approves. It's got nothing to do with Obama.

If you'd like some tips of how to create premises and draw conclusions, I may be able to help you.

opfor311 said...

According to Article 1 of the U. N. Convention against torture, torture is 'For the purposes of this Convention, the term "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.'

Since there is no severe pain or suffering involved in waterboarding, it is not torture.

Almost Ali said...

Seven,

Then, ask yourself why Congress hasn't moved specifically against waterboarding.

Not that there hasn't been related attempts, such as the War Powers Resolution (50 USC S.1541-1548) passed in 1973 over the veto of President Nixon. However, the law's validity remains dubious (untested) at best - which gives the Congress the "power" to withdraw troops committed by the CiC within 60 days. (Which they elected NOT to do regarding Bush's "illegal" Iraq war)

And when we get into national emergencies, the president has powers far exceeding matters of waterboarding.

Therefore, the issue is legally bogus in regards to the CiC.

Ankur said...

Seven Machos - I am woefully underequipped to understand the nuances of the various legal statutes that would apply.

However, I found what seems to be valid legal opinion that Waterboarding is illegal. here

I also read John Yoo's opinion some time ago, and it seems to be his legal opinion that waterboarding is legal.

So, clearly, there is debate among people much more knowledgeable than me.

I wish I shared your certainty.

Seven Machos said...

the U. N. Convention against torture

Just a few of the many hilarious signatories and ratifiers:

Algeria
Russia
Egypt
Somalia

Furthermore, it's not clear to me whether the United States has ratified this agreement.

Seven Machos said...

ask yourself why Congress hasn't moved specifically against waterboarding

I don't have to ask myself because I know the answer. Congress wants waterboarding to be legal, or at least not illegal. They want this because the American people want it, and they must stand before the American people every two or six years for judgment.

Seven Machos said...

Furthermore, Ali, Congress need not order the President to withdraw troops. Defunding the military would do the trick.

A committed Congress can do virtually whatever it wants in practice.

garage mahal said...

No. The public overwhelming approves because the public overwhelmingly approves. It's got nothing to do with Obama.

The public does not overwhelmingly approve of torture. It's never been the policy of this country since it's founding. Waterboarding has always been illegal no matter what Bush or his lawyers say to the contrary. And if you say torture is sometimes justified, then Pol Pot and Saddam Hussein were sometimes justified in torturing the people they did.

The Crack Emcee said...

Remember, we're the good guys. That's the country I grew up in anyway.

"Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice"

This is war - rock their fucking world.

Dead Julius said...

@Seven-

Why so defensive about torture? Why not just embrace it, love it? It is, after all, a point of pride for all of us Americans, as it has been for many great empires throughout history.

Personally, I love the idea of torturing those ragheads. (Reading Orwell's 1984, I got turned on during the torture sections.) I wish there were an American Torture Corps that I could sign up with and thereby fulfill my patriotic duty. I mean... just think how wonderful it would be see some Muslim dude personally suffering the full physical force the United States of America! Maybe he's a terrorist, maybe not; but it don't matter 'cuz either way it is an excellent deterrent and, moreover, a statement about what country is really in charge in the world. If we don't torture then we demonstrate to the world that we are a bunch of wimps.

And yes, as you point out-- Egypt, France, China, and North Korea all do it. Why shouldn't we?

But I guess it really doesn't matter if you embrace and love torture, Seven Machos. What matters is that the President does, and that he does so publicly and unequivocally. Bush didn't; instead he used delicate wording that demonstrated that he, and the United States, are weak and pathetic.

Ankur said...

Two things said above that I do agree with:

Maguro said "Julius - The whole torture/not toture thing is semantics and everyone knows it." Totally. Waterboarding is waterboarding, whether its labeled torture or 'enhanced interrogation'. I don't understand the desire of either side to stick a label to it. Just deal with it at face value. Don't try to brand it.

Seven Machos said "A committed Congress can do virtually whatever it wants in practice.". Yup. Which is why, Bush shouldn't be the only one answering critics of waterboarding. Congresscritters should as well.

Seven Machos said...

Bush shouldn't be the only one answering critics of waterboarding

Dude -- Nobody particularly cares about critics of waterboarding. They are a sad minority.

Why so defensive about torture? Why not just embrace it, love it?

I have said repeatedly in these pages that I am pro-torture. Just like President Bush and President Obama. And President Clinton, who was so pro-torture he let the Egyptians and the French torture for us, so the recipients could really suffer.

Almost Ali said...

Defunding the military would do the trick.

Same difference.

The Congress could also defund the CIA. But they don't.

The Crack Emcee said...

Dead Julius,

You guys complain in these comments when Obama uses careful wording to effectively lie about his programs... you should have held Bush to same standard. Bush's lies opened the door for Obama to offer bigger and bolder lies.

You forget: we're sure - positive - Bush is on our side. Obama's lies (and apologies) are just more ammo we'll use against him.

If there's a problem, it's that he shouldn't have made us wonder about him

opfor311 said...

Ankur,

Words do matter, and by the legal definition in the article that you quoted, torture must cause severe pain and be prolonged. Waterboarding does not cause severe pain, nor is it prolonged. The pouring of water onto the cloth covering the face is a matter of seconds, and no physical pain is inflicted. There is a moment of panic, but it passes as quickly as it takes to get their next breath. It is unpleasent, but then watching 'Barney and Friends' is also, and that lasts for a whole half-hour....

Seven Machos said...

Ali -- What Congress can do and what Congress will do are different questions, as you note. However, Separation of Powers is about what Congress can do.

former law student said...

There is no law in war

A century and a half of international humanitarian law, 194 signatories to the first four Geneva Conventions -- mean nothing to 7M

opfor311 said...

FLS,

The problem with that is that 'illegal combatants' are not protected by the Geneva Conventions. That was by design, since the French ( for one) did not want what they were doing in North Africa covered by the Geneva Conventions.

Seven Machos said...

A century and a half of international humanitarian law, 194 signatories to the first four Geneva Conventions -- mean nothing to 7M

Those are agreements, dude, which hold the same meaning as an agreement between you and me. If you don't have an enforcer, you don't have a law. Who enforces international humanitarian law? Who enforces Geneva Conventions?

The answer is nobody. Not one fucking body, unless the agreement is ratified by a national government, in which case that national government enforces the law. And so it's not international law at all. It's national law. And if the national government chooses to repeal the law in a war, or for any other reason, it will unilaterally do so.

This is not complicated.

The Crack Emcee said...

Conversations like this would all go so much smoother if we were all on the same page when discussing these things, instead of some of us dealing with reality and others playing lawyers.

Methadras said...

former law student said...

7M helpfully tells ankur that "American exceptionalism" boils down to "Might makes right.


If applied properly, then yes, might does make right. Why is that so hard for you to understand.

Almost Ali said...

Separation of Powers is about what Congress can do.

In a national emergency, especially involving the military, it's all about what the Commander in Chief can and will do. As Bush clearly demonstrated.

Seven Machos said...

In a national emergency, especially involving the military, it's all about what the Commander in Chief can and will do.

That's fine. All I'm telling you is that the President can only spend the money that's there, and he can't make Congress fund anything Congress doesn't want to fund. Whereas Congress can legally withhold money from the President and there is nothing the President can do, legally.

Methadras said...

Ankur said...

Again, let me be clear: I am not taking a position on whether what bush did was right or wrong. Because "right" and "wrong" imply a moral evaluation. And, if waterboarding saves thousands of lives, it might well be moral (even if it isn't legal).

But, unless the exceptions when waterboarding is okay are explicitly described in law - it can be "right" and still be illegal.


if you keep trying to clarify, then frankly you aren't telling the truth or being honest with yourself about it. There is no shame in taking a position, but there is more than enough shame and consequence for being wrong about that position. Choose and live with it. If Bush could do it, then certainly you can find the gray area to do so as well.

William said...

If there were in fact only three cases of waterboarding, then we did not go very far down that slippery slope. I suppose waterboarding is a form of torture, but. as Whoopi Goldberg might say, it's not torture torture.....What is torture torture? Read up on how McCain and the other POW's were treated in the Hanoi Hilton. Can we demand that the Vietnamese government prosecute their jailors for war crimes? How come their use of torture was never an issue for leftists back then.....And the way the Vietnamese treated American POW's was nothing compared to what the Japanese did. They used to do experimental operations on the fliers. No anesthesia. They just tied them to the guerney. The doctor in charge of that program was pardoned and later became head of the Japanese Red Cross. He lived a long life and died with honors.....Life and war are filled with all kinds of unpalatable compromises with justice and decency. If three cases of waterboarding are the most egregious examples you can find of war crimes, then, my goodness, what a pretty little war we are waging.

Seven Machos said...

Ankur stands above it all. It's all so complicated, see. So he won't take a position.

Of course, if you are so ignorant as to think that the president, the local sheriff, and the local dog catcher can all waterboard or can't all waterboard because the law says yes or no, then maybe you shouldn't be taking a position. Maybe you shouldn't even get out of bed.

Methadras said...

Ankur said...

Revenant, thank you for your support.

However, please note that I have NOT taken a position regarding whether waterboarding is "right" or "wrong".


Why? Because you can't or you won't? Playing the murky middle only leads to cowardice when a real decision needs to be made. You appear to be walking the fine line of cowardice at this point.

Almost Ali said...

Speaking of...reality

Ankur said...

Because I can't. Because, to me, decisions like that aren't easy, nor are they to be taken flippantly. And more importantly, because I am NOWHERE close to knowing the scope, the threats involved, the advice being given and the international repurcussions.

And I sincerely hope I never have to make a decision like that.

Asking me to take a firm position on a question like that is like asking britney spears to take a position on the relative merits and demerits of the various sects of buddhism. In other words, I am unequipped to make that decision. And thus, I am thankful that I don't have to.

Ankur said...

And I can afford to be in the murky middle of indecision because I DON'T HAVE TO MAKE THAT DECISION.

What I decide is right or wrong isn't going to make a rats ass of a difference in anyone's life.

Hence, I can afford to theorize in the abstract.

Methadras said...

Ankur said...

Seven Machos - I am woefully underequipped to understand the nuances of the various legal statutes that would apply.

However, I found what seems to be valid legal opinion that Waterboarding is illegal. here

I also read John Yoo's opinion some time ago, and it seems to be his legal opinion that waterboarding is legal.

So, clearly, there is debate among people much more knowledgeable than me.

I wish I shared your certainty.


What is your game? You've spent he better part of a day asking for help in understanding something against your own questions only to continue to repeat your ever present ignorance and still not be definitive about what you've come to understand. You can't have it both ways. Either make a decision on whether you consider waterboarding is torture or not and either shut the fuck up or confront the issue with people from your decisive point of view.

Ankur said...

Seven Machos, you have made some good points. You have also consistently misrepresented me. As far as the ad hominems are concerned - well, those seem to be the default among the posters in this blog.

But do explain this: Is it legal? or is it "Might is Right"? you seem to have changed your position midway through the thread. You can't have it both ways.

If you claim it is legal, I have demonstrated above with links that there is a valid debate among people much more learned than me regarding the legality. I suspect they are much more learned than you as well - although, I have no doubt that the opinion you disagree with will automatically become a "lefty academic" and thus dismissed.

If you claim its "Might is right" - then that is a MUCH more consistent position. And a much more defensible position. Because a president sometimes HAS to do what it takes to protect the citizens.

Methadras said...

Dead Julius said...

And yes, as you point out-- Egypt, France, China, and North Korea all do it. Why shouldn't we?


Sometimes your a dipshit. These countries and many more do it to their own populace. We, generally or as a matter of course do not. However, we as a nation under a war footing, have little to no issue with it being used on our enemies. If you don't like that, outside of your feeble satire/sarcasm, then I'm sure there are many other places that can accommodate your 'sensitivities'.

Ankur said...

Better part of the day? My first post was at 6.43. And this post is at 9.22 ish. In the middle of which I had dinner.

So no, I don't think that is too much time to get an insight into other viewpoints.

Take me at face value. Stop trying to slot me into whatever your preconceived notions are of who I should be.

Ankur said...

oh..its 10.24

former law student said...

The US ratified the UN Convention Against Torture in 1994, and, because it was not self-executing, Congress passed a law implementing it in 1998, the "Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act"

A very good explanation of the sequence of events can be found in Section III of Pierre v. Attorney General of the United States, 528 F. 3d 180 (2008).
(3d Cir. 06/09/2008)

Methadras said...

former law student said...

A century and a half of international humanitarian law, 194 signatories to the first four Geneva Conventions -- mean nothing to 7M


You do remember that guy, oh, what was his name? Oh yeah, Neville Chamberlain. That little bit about humanitarian international law with a 194 signatories means about as much as Hitler saying, "Um, where do I sign?"

Methadras said...

Ankur said...

Hence, I can afford to theorize in the abstract.


Isn't masturbation fun? Don't tell Christine O'Donnell about it though.

Alex said...

Fuck the lefty traitors. They should all be waterboarded.

Alex said...

Let me get this straight. 3 masterminds behind 9/11 should NOT get any torture or any kind PERIOD so as to satisfy our leftist lemming traitor fuckwads.

former law student said...

The problem with that is that 'illegal combatants' are not protected by the Geneva Conventions.

While the Soviets took this position, the Brits and Americans took the opposite position. The Free World carried the day, and the Fourth Geneva Convention protects "Spies, Saboteurs, and Irregular Combatants" under Article 5.

Under the American Exceptionalism doctrine, Bush's policy should not have been the same as the former Soviets, I believe. But I digress.

Art. 5 Where in the territory of a Party to the conflict, the latter is satisfied that an individual protected person is definitely suspected of or engaged in activities hostile to the security of the State, such individual person shall not be entitled to claim such rights and privileges under the present Convention as would, if exercised in the favour of such individual person, be prejudicial to the security of such State.
...
In each case, [spies and saboteurs] shall nevertheless be treated with humanity and, in case of trial, shall not be deprived of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed by the present Convention. They shall also be granted the full rights and privileges of a protected person under the present Convention at the earliest date consistent with the security of the State or Occupying Power, as the case may be.


And why? From the commentary:

It may, nevertheless, seem rather surprising that a humanitarian Convention should tend to protect spies, saboteurs or irregular combatants. Those who take part in the struggle while not belonging to the armed forces are acting deliberately outside the laws of warfare. Surely they know the dangers to which they are exposing themselves. It might therefore have been simpler to exclude them from the benefits of the Convention, if such a course had been possible, but the terms espionage, sabotage, terrorism, banditry and intelligence with the enemy, have so often been used lightly, and applied to such trivial offences (2), that it was not advisable to leave the accused at the mercy of those detaining them.
The discussions on this point at the Diplomatic Conference were long and difficult; the delegations representing the British Commonwealth and the United States took a leading part in them and, in the relevant drafting Committee, met with opposition from the outset from the Delegation of the USSR. A text was finally adopted [p.54] and submitted to Committee III, which approved its terms, by 29 votes to 8, with 7 abstentions, after a fairly lively debate (3).

former law student said...

If you don't have an enforcer, you don't have a law.

International law works without an overarching authority -- I thought 7M claimed to know something about international law: the law between nations.

Seven Machos said...

International law works without an overarching authority

No. It doesn't work. There is no law without an authority with the power to enforce the law. It's a simple, axiomatic truth.

There is no international law. There are only agreements between and among nations.

Methadras said...

Ankur said...

Better part of the day? My first post was at 6.43. And this post is at 9.22 ish. In the middle of which I had dinner.


My bad. I meant to say the better part of a couple hours, but ended up typing day instead. I sometimes go automatic in my typing vs. what I'm thinking.

Because I can't. Because, to me, decisions like that aren't easy, nor are they to be taken flippantly. And more importantly, because I am NOWHERE close to knowing the scope, the threats involved, the advice being given and the international repurcussions.

And I sincerely hope I never have to make a decision like that.

Asking me to take a firm position on a question like that is like asking britney spears to take a position on the relative merits and demerits of the various sects of buddhism. In other words, I am unequipped to make that decision. And thus, I am thankful that I don't have to.


This is intellectual cowardice and frankly, I'd say you are moving into the realm of willful ignorance. At what point do you expect enough information for you to absorb as to finally come to a conclusion? Presidents make decisions with the best amount of information they can get in as little as time as possible with regards to certain intelligence and they make decisions even without knowing the full gambit of information.

You are in essence asking to have full knowledge and only then will act on that knowledge. That's stupid and yet there are multitudes of millions of people who have zero problem coming to conclusions without going through the mental masturbation you seem to enjoy undertaking and yet end up on the right side of the issue, even against the small, yet vocal minority of contrarians against something like waterboarding, which they've called torture and are wrong about it.

Your personal stake in whether you make a decision on whether you are for or against it isn't my problem and frankly, I really don't care either way, but more than anything, it's the level of indecision you've engaged in that is makes it infuriating to deal with, not because you have some genuine ignorance about the issue, but because I think you are being deliberately obtuse about it and trying to excuse it as an exercise in theoretical abstraction. If you are trying to compare your consternation of coming to a conclusion or at least taking a position on the subject to using Brittany Spears to decide on the relative merits/faults of Buddhism, then I'd say you will never reach finality to the question because you are to stupid to understand it.

In that case, maybe you should stop at this point and let smarter people work it out.

Methadras said...

former law student said...

International law...


There is no such thing outside of treaties (which are agreements and can be broken). Try again.

Ankur said...

Hah. Wonderful.

By all means, work it out.

former law student said...

There is no international law. There are only agreements between and among nations.

I guess it was a bigger deal back when we had "a decent respect for the opinions of mankind."

I'll go back to John McCain. From the North Vietnamese point of view, he was an unprivileged combatant, meddling in their civil war for control of the country. (Among other things, the US never declared war on Vietnam.) Therefore, not covered by the Geneva Conventions, he could be flayed alive. And this was fine with 7M, because there was no more enforcement mechanism back then than there is now.

Luckily for McCain, the US believed otherwise, and eventually North Vietnam agreed.

Lem said...

Look, they cant even produce a corpse as a result of waterboarding.

Not one corpse.

All of them sobs are alive and well.

Seven Machos said...

I guess it was a bigger deal back when we had "a decent respect for the opinions of mankind."

You mean the Golden Days, when we killed hundreds of thousands of civilians with two atom bombs and bombed Dresden so completely that there was not enough oxygen in the air for infants and frail German grandmothers to breathe? You mean back then?

Yeah, dude. That was awesome. The greatest generation fer sher!

former law student said...

International law...

There is no such thing outside of treaties


I can play, too. There are no Christians other than Roman Catholics.

jr565 said...

Dead Julius wrote:
Lots of Americans approve of the waterboarding of these guys.

I think fewer approve of Bush lying about it: "This government does not torture people."

I mean... Althouse uses a "torture" tag on this post!!! Everybody knows that it's torture... it was just politically inconvenient to tell the truth about it.


So everytime we send someone to SERE training we are torturing them?

bagoh20 said...

", if waterboarding saves thousands of lives, it might well be moral..."

It might?. And letting thousands (or even 10) die to avoid scaring a man and violating a legal technicality is...f'n crazy.

Seven Machos said...

FLS -- Show me the international law that is (1) not a treaty and/or (2) provides an enforcement mechanism that can fine, imprison, or otherwise punish without the consent of the negatively affected nation.

Good luck!

bagoh20 said...

I ask you gentlemen, would you rather be illegally waterboarded or legally sent to prison? Waterboarding: my god, the horror. Torture is a word - words have limits...for intelligent beings.

Seven Machos said...

Is it a pound-me-in-the-ass prison or one of those nice white-collar places that have dorms and allow conjugal visits?

Also, how long do I have to stay?

bagoh20 said...

You only have to stay one night, but you will get a white collar pounding. All perfectly legal and quite normal really.

Now what's it gonna be, a thorough washing or a thorough dirtying?

Seven Machos said...

I'll take the waterboarding.

former law student said...

So everytime we send someone to SERE training we are torturing them?

The SERE trainees are free not to go, and they can be certain that their brothers in arms will not seriously harm them -- to preserve Uncle Sam's investment if nothing else.

Seven Machos said...

The SERE trainees are free not to go

The people being interrogated are also free not to go. All they need to do is provide the information requested.

they can be certain that their brothers in arms will not seriously harm them -- to preserve Uncle Sam's investment if nothing else

You think it's free capturing these people, dude? Teaching somebody to waterboard is cheap. Capturing terrorists is not.

You are spouting platitudes tonight, FLS. It's kind of sickening.

bagoh20 said...

There are hundreds of unfortunate occurrences in life that I would be willing to be waterboarded to avoid. Hell, I'd agree to it to get a three day weekend, a date with that check-out girl, or an Ipad. Wouldn't you?

jr565 said...

Former Law Student wrote:
The SERE trainees are free not to go, and they can be certain that their brothers in arms will not seriously harm them -- to preserve Uncle Sam's investment if nothing else.

and those who are terrorists know if they get caught by an enemy they will most likely be tortured (if captured by enemies other than the US that is) and/or harshly interrogated. And so what if they don't know that we won't seriously harm them. We know that we wont. That's like arguing that cops cant' play good cop and bad cop because the criminal might think the bad cop is threatening.
And anyway, why should the govt be able to call something that is torture training, and why are you calling it training when clearly it is torture?
You say waterboarding is torture, even though the govt disagrees, well why should the govt be allowed to call torture training?
IF you get water poured down your throat is the physical sensation different somehow if a trainer does it or an interrogator? Seriously.

Methadras said...

bagoh20 said...

You only have to stay one night, but you will get a white collar pounding. All perfectly legal and quite normal really.

Now what's it gonna be, a thorough washing or a thorough dirtying?


Waterboarding.

bagoh20 said...

Would you rather be waterboarded or see Palin elected President?

Methadras said...

former law student said...

International law...

There is no such thing outside of treaties

I can play, too. There are no Christians other than Roman Catholics.


Sure you can play, if you know how to play. You don't. A fractured religious house isn't irredeemable. Christians can at least peacefully coexist with each other and they all know who the lord and savior is. And yet, you have no affirmation that international law is real. Um, can you point me to the international law books so I can go look up international laws?

Methadras said...

bagoh20 said...

Would you rather be waterboarded or see Palin elected President?


Man, that's a tough one. However, I'll take Palin for President for $1000 Alex. :D If for no other reason than I think she is hot as hell.

Seven Machos said...

I would be waterboarded over a Palin presidency only if I also got to choose at least a small group of Republicans who would get to become president instead.

bagoh20 said...

"I think she is hot as hell."

I do too, ever since I heard that story today in the comments about her whippin' cans at her man all hot and bothered. That's my kind of Commander in Chief. George Patton with silky smooth legs.

Lem said...

I'll take Palin for President..

Me too.. Just to see a YouTube of liberals spontaneously combust ;)

jr565 said...

FLS, SERE training calls its waterboarding "training" but is that any different than calling torture "ehnanced interrogations"? If you think that waterboarding is objectively torture, then clearly the govt has been getting away with torturing american citizens for decades under the premise that they are "training them". As Morrisey might paraphrase 'No, no, no it's torture". So where's your outrage over that torture?
You saying that servicemen could opt out of it or that their waterbaoarding has less of a drowning feeling and thus isn't torture, sounds a lot like John Yoo saying waterboarding doesn't meet the standard of torture. IF it is so harmless in training then why does EVERYONE break after a few minutes of being watrboarded even though they know that it's just training?
On the other hand, if we are willing to use a technique that some might call torture for the beneficial purpose of training our troops, I don't understand why that same technique would be morally objectionable in the rare cases it's used to save lives because a terrorist has info about a plot that will harm americans.

former law student said...

You are spouting platitudes tonight, FLS. It's kind of sickening.

7M has replaced argument with bluff and bluster.

former law student said...

why should the govt be able to call something that is torture training, and why are you calling it training when clearly it is torture?
You say waterboarding is torture, even though the govt disagrees, well why should the govt be allowed to call torture training?


Why do we call rape a crime when it is just sex? We don't call it rape when newlyweds go on their honeymoon, right? Little kid asks, "Mama, where do babies come from?" Mama doesn't say, "Daddies rape the mommies." So why do we call rape, rape?

bagoh20 said...

"Why do we call rape a crime when it is just sex?"

Now we have to ask: why is prostitution illegal?

And how long before waterboarding becomes a paid for fetish.

bagoh20 said...

I'm waiting for the rapist who claims he did it to save lives.

jr565 said...

Former Law Student wrote:
Why do we call rape a crime when it is just sex? We don't call it rape when newlyweds go on their honeymoon, right?

Well rape is not the exact same thing as waterboarding. Sex is pleasurable, unless you are being forced into it. Having water poured down your throat is uncomfortorable whether you are attending a SERE training class or whether you are being interrogated because you are a high ranking terrorist.
But suppose instead of waterboarding the army said that instead of waterboarding you needed to be gang raped to graduate. Would them saying that their raping was "training" somehow make it not gang rape?

Methadras said...

former law student said...

You are spouting platitudes tonight, FLS. It's kind of sickening.

7M has replaced argument with bluff and bluster.


As opposed to you being perpetually mistaken. Please.

Jason said...

Re: The fourth Geneva Convention -

A terrorist is not the same thing as a saboteur, spy or irregular combatant. You can be all three and not be a terrorist.

FAIL.

Robert Cook said...

"(Bush) doesn't think, doesn't question, but just moves on to action."

A very frightening quality in any human being, but particularly terrifying, and calamitous, in a person in high office.

Robert Cook said...

"...Americans are quite sophisticated about this."

How reassuring...we're "sophisticated" about how and whom to torture.

"Americans were embarrassed and upset about Abu Grahib (or however that is spelled) because those prisoners didn't deserve what they got.

No one deserves to be tortured.

"And that wasn't even torture...."

Says you.

LarsPorsena said...

"I am curious - do most americans realize that America has, in the past, prosecuted and in some cases executed Germans and Japanese for the crime of waterboarding?"

This gets repeated over and over. Repetition does not make it true.
Give me names.

master cylinder said...

Ahhh this is exactly why I read the comments on this blog, so I can see how the other half thinks. Well you regs don't disappoint, fully expected you to defend torture and you do. This American does not approve.

Robert Cook said...

"How come those hick dumb asses automatically see differences you don't see?"

Because they're hick dumb asses willing to excuse behavior by "our side" they wouldn't tolerate from "the other side."

Stupid, hypocritical, and self-justifying in all cases: the human condition.

Robert Cook said...

Maguro:

(Nonsensical blather about America's "highly trained" torturers whose victims "didn't suffer any real harm" vs. Clinton's turning prisoners over to foreign torturers who did "God knows what" to the poor wretches.)

Ending with:

"Which approach is more moral?"

What a clever trick question, designed to gull the uninformed, the uncaring, the misled, the stupid and the sadistic. The real answer, of course, is:

NEITHER.

You do know, don't you, that in addition to our own torture regime, Bush (and I presume Obama) also handed prisoners over to torturers in other countries, to be subjected to "God knows what"?

MC said...

@Ankur

"Are you saying that in some situations, waterboarding is legal, and in some situations it isn't?"

Do you have a similar problem grasping the concept of justifiable homicide?

Would you similarly exasperate people by asking "Are you saying that in some situations, homicide is legal, and in some situations it isn't?" as if that was some gotcha?

Robert Cook said...

The Screaming Baby said:

"I still don't think it's torture and frankly if it was, I wouldn't care."

This aptly and succinctly expresses the position of those who support torture--apparently, a majority of Americans--which does not validate torture as either legal or morally acceptable, (just as slavery was never morally acceptable, even when it was validated by law and by broad public and commercial support), but simply reveals the thuggish barbarism that always lies just beneath the surface of ostensibly "civilized" people.

This is not unique to America, but is true of all people in all nations. We are still essentially circus animals: chimps in lab coats and overalls, feigning rationality but savage at heart, ready to inflict the most sickening violence on each other for any reason, or no reason.

Robert Cook said...

"The people being tortured are also free not to go. All they need to do is provide the information requested."

Fixed your quote, 7M, to make it more exactly factual.

Question: What if the torturees don't have "the information requested?

If they simply say, "I don't know anything," will the torturers just stop and say, "Our bad; you're free to go"?

shoutingthomas said...

I would gladly participate in the waterboarding of Kookie.

He's got it coming.

shoutingthomas said...

Kookie,

Is there any way we can persuade you to leave this country?

I still say North Korea is the best place for you.

But, I doubt that they would put up with you either.

Roger J. said...

nothing like a good torture thread to bring out the scholastic disputation tendency in all of us.

Dont have any position on the substance of the debae other than to know that red is positive and black is negative.

HDHouse said...

What a sick little puppy.

.....Cleaning up after you cook....

Sixty Grit said...

Got that right, hdshithouse - you are one sick motherfucking puppy.

AlphaLiberal said...

Bush admits to being a war criminal.

When the Japanese waterboarded an American soldier in WWII, they were prosecuted.

So, was is a mistake to prosecute that Japanese soldier?

And, Ann, you may not know this, but legal matters are not decided by vote.

shoutingthomas said...

Bush admits to being a war criminal.

When the Japanese waterboarded an American soldier in WWII, they were prosecuted.

So, was is a mistake to prosecute that Japanese soldier?

And, Ann, you may not know this, but legal matters are not decided by vote.

Go bad to bed, Omega. When you get up, the reruns will be on.

You may not know it, but legal matters aren't decided by idiots either.

Hoosier Daddy said...

When the Japanese waterboarded an American soldier in WWII, they were prosecuted.

So, was is a mistake to prosecute that Japanese soldier?


The Japanese probably think so, especially considering they believe we forced them to attack Pearl Harbor to begin with.

That line of thinking reminds me of when Andrew Sullivan once remarked on the Dennis Miller radio show that Churchill would have never condoned waterboarding. I chuckled because Miller wasn't smart enough to reply with something along the lines of 'Well I'm sure the population of Dresden really appreciated that!'

LarsPorsena said...

"When the Japanese waterboarded an American soldier in WWII, they were prosecuted. "

Show me the case of prosecution of Japanese for water-boarding.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Would Clinton also be a 'war criminal' as he simply outsourced (rendition) torture?

*Robert C, you don't have to answer as I'm confident that every President since George Washington falls under your definition of war criminal, plutocrat, etc etc etc.

Robert Cook said...

"You may not know it, but legal matters aren't decided by idiots either."

Actually, sometimes, apparently they are.

Robert Cook said...

"*Robert C, you don't have to answer as I'm confident that every President since George Washington falls under your definition of war criminal, plutocrat, etc etc etc."

Well, I wouldn't necessarily say every President....

AllenS said...

Would it be that hard to find out what the Japanese man's name was. You know, the one who was prosecuted and then executed for waterboarding. Was there more than one? Well, what were all of their names.

shoutingthomas said...

Kookie,

Let's skip the BS, and get to the point?

To what do you attribute your personal awfulness?

Why have you devoted your life to trying to incite a mob to string you up?

Do you have any idea?

AllenS said...

A lot of American POWs captured by the Japanese, had far more to fear than waterboarding. How many 10s of thousands died from starvation? Beatings? Executions?

Waterboarding, pffft.

Lucien said...

Funny how many of those folks on the right who talk about values and criticize liberals for "moral relativism" went all utilitarian, dreaming of "ticking bomb" scenarios, when the question of torture came up.

The idea that torture is always morally wrong is a bit too absolute for them without the proviso "except when done by Americans".

Fen said...

Robert Cook: Because they're hick dumb asses willing to excuse behavior by "our side" they wouldn't tolerate from "the other side."

I thought we were talking about terrorists, not Democrats.

But good form of you to finally admit your side excuses everything you accuse "the other side" of doing. You would have looked quite the hypocrite had you not fessed up.

Hoosier Daddy said...

The idea that torture is always morally wrong is a bit too absolute for them without the proviso "except when done by Americans".

I guess it boils down to purpose and intent which is easily defined for those with common sense. Kind of like most clear thinking people can easily tell the difference between a disciplining spanking and child abuse.

garage mahal said...

Just depends what the meaning of "is" is.

Fen said...

Lucien: The idea that torture is always morally wrong is a bit too absolute for them without the proviso "except when done by Americans".

Except thats not our proviso.

America has decided that its not immoral to waterboard to get actionable intelligence that would protect American civillians from attack.

What IS immoral is that Libtards like yourself get all righteous about being anti-torture on these pages, but as soon as its *your* life, *your* family, *your* city at risk from WMD, you'll be begging people like me to make an exception to any anti-torture law you pass.

The Left doesn't really believe in the things the lecture the rest of us about. Thats been the pattern to date, and it still holds true.

So please, don't presume to lecture the rest of us about morality. You would let scores of innocent civillians die rather than waterboard the terrorist who illegally targeted them.

Simulated drowning of Mohammed VS a dozen women and children choking to death on their own blood? Thats not even a moral dilemma.

DADvocate said...

I've never bought into the meme that liberals hate America, but maybe they do. They seem to want to impose a set of rules that make America ineffective and bound to fail.

Fen said...

Hoosier: I guess it boils down to purpose and intent which is easily defined for those with common sense. Kind of like most clear thinking people can easily tell the difference between a disciplining spanking and child abuse.

This.

Geoff Matthews said...

I'm glad he took this attitude, and I'm glad that Col West threatened to kill an insurgent if he didn't tell him where the ambush was.

I'd like to win this war. We need to do things in war that we wouldn't do in peace time.

MB said...

‪‪former law student‬ said...

It's legal if you can find someone to say it's legal -- the GW Bush legacy.

But ‪former law student‬ what if :
"There is no controlling legal authority that says this was in violation of law." -- Al Gore,

Fen said...

I've never bought into the meme that liberals hate America, but maybe they do. They seem to want to impose a set of rules that make America ineffective and bound to fail.

To be fair, I think the Left only opposes waterboarding as an Indulgence. Much in the same way they adopt other "righteous" causes to offest the real sins they commit everyday.

AllenS said...

Our captured enemies are still being "tortured" just like they were when Clinton has president. It's just being done in other countries.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Just depends what the meaning of "is" is.

Yes garage, it does depend. It depends on whether you waterboard Goatherder First Class Achmed whose intel value most likely consists of field stripping his Kalishnikov or waterboarding say, al-Awlaki who in all probability has knowledge of pending attacks, location of terrorist cells.

Now if the CIA can call in Kyra Sedgewick to pull the info out of him with guile then I'm all for that too.

Hoosier Daddy said...

One of the more humorous (albeit sad) rejoinders was that our use of waterboarding would mean that our captured soldiers would be subject to torture.

That of course assumed our captured soldiers weren't killed out of hand as they were in reality.

bagoh20 said...

I assume those against waterboarding, would be willing to shoot a terrorist before he detonates a school of kids, but not pour water on his face to stop it.

How about shooting him with a water gun?

Someday this test will be real and I pity the leader that lets hundred die for this principle. A moral confusion that I doubt has never existed before in history. I blame higher education, so I bow to your educational superiority, but please stay out of positions of power and responsibility.

Michael said...

AlphaLiberal: "And, Ann, you may not know this, but legal matters are not decided by vote." So how do they decide which pieces of legislation become law?

bagoh20 said...

Here's another dilemma:

What if all American hostages and soldiers captured would be released tomorrow if they were waterboarded first? Should we agree to that, or let 'em rot?

How about the same for Gitmo detainees?

Brian said...

This seems academic. We don't torture, right? Obama said so. We turned the page and America is back in right-standing with the world.

No moral ambiguities any more. We closed Guantanamo, got completely out of Iraq, winding down the war in Afghanistan. We're now less of a target because we don't waterboard any more.

If we were still doing these things, then Democrats in congress would have investigated it, and held the administration culpable. Obama himself would have had to appear before the UN Human Rights Council. Right after they finish condemning Israel, of course.

Jason said...

Re: Would you have a problem if it were done to Americans?

I think if Afghan authorities capture an un-uniformed American terrorist who is a known mastermind, planner, financier and facilitator for an organization known to have conducted large scale deliberate terrorist attacks responsible for the deaths of thousands, in violation of the law and outside of any responsible national authority or chain of command they should absolutely zap his nuts until he 'fesses up to every damn thing he knows, including his little league batting average.

Can we put that stupid, idiotic piece of equivocating to rest now, libtards?

Lucien said...

@Fen:

You say: "America has decided that its not immoral to water-board to get actionable intelligence that would protect American civilians from attack."

First, don't pretend to speak on behalf of America.

Second, your statement is only about the intent of the torturer, namely, to obtain "actionable intelligence to protect American civilians" (although you probably also believe it is OK to do so to protect American soldiers, or some non-American civilians, too).

So what do you say to the people you torture who turn out not to have any "actionable intelligence"?

"Ooops, sorry, my bad"? ("And by the way, I'm so afraid that I've "radicalized" you by wrongly torturing you that I will use that to justify keeping you locked up indefinitely") ("Radicalized" means you're pissed off because I tortured you.)

former law student said...

A terrorist is not the same thing as a saboteur, spy or irregular combatant. You can be all three and not be a terrorist.

I agree. Terrorists are civilian criminals and should be prosecuted in civilian courts.

bagoh20 said...

"So what do you say to the people you torture who turn out not to have any "actionable intelligence"?"

If the "torture" is waterboarding, I'd say: "Sorry, here's a towel. You'll be fine, dinner is at five.

What do you suggest, anesthesia and reconstructive surgery?

bagoh20 said...

I don't read about any soldiers who were trained by waterboarding then becoming "radicalized".

The arguments against waterboarding all require assuming it's something that it's not: terrible, damaging, beyond recovering from within minutes.

Start with facts, then analyze.

former law student said...

Um, can you point me to the international law books so I can go look up international laws?


Sure. The origins of public international law -- the law we're talking about here -- as we now understand it go back to the time of the Protestant Reformation. So a good start would be Grotius' De Jure Belli ac Pacis.

For more current information I suggest starting with The Digest of the United States Practice in International Law , along with the parallel books from other countries.

Lincolntf said...

Waterboarding is not torture. It's unpleasant, frightening and causes discomfort by triggering unpleasant muscular and psychological reflexes.

Real torture is what is being experienced by the WoT prisoners shipped to third countries, a practice continued and accelerated by Obama. Those people would happily trade a year of water-boarding at Gitmo to get an hour of relief in their Saudi/Egyptian/Iraqi prisons.

former law student said...

I've never bought into the meme that liberals hate America, but maybe they do. They seem to want to impose a set of rules that make America ineffective and bound to fail.


Americans urged that set of rules upon the world, sickened by WW II. I fear now that was just a way of patting themselves on the back for not being Nazis or Imperial Japan, much as Americans became more publicly religious in the 1950s as a way of distinguishing themselves from the godless Communists.

jr565 said...

Lucien wrote:
So what do you say to the people you torture who turn out not to have any "actionable intelligence"?

"Ooops, sorry, my bad"? ("And by the way, I'm so afraid that I've "radicalized" you by wrongly torturing you that I will use that to justify keeping you locked up indefinitely") ("Radicalized" means you're pissed off because I tortured you.)


First off, you don't do it to any tom, dick or harry (or Achmed) you capture on the battlefield. It's limited to specific individuals or specific cases. Which is why is was only authorized three times. But in the case of KSM who is already radicalized and who, being the head of logistical operations of Al Qaeda and the mastermind of 9/11, definitively has to have actionable intelligence. And considering he is not responding to traditional interrogation,
It sounds like you would have a problem with any interrogation, even short of waterboarding because it was coercive. What if we played good cop bad cop and held KSM in a head log or jabbed him hard on his chest, or used female interrogators and he got insulted, and what if we kept him indefinitely imprisoned for the duration of the war as we are allowed to do under Geneva. Might tnose actions not also radicalize a detainee? Are you against detaining prisoners too?

garage mahal said...

"Our torture isn't as bad as Egypt's!"

shoutingthomas said...

"Our torture isn't as bad as Egypt's!"

Oh, you're wrong there, garage.

Reading your comments is far worse torture than anything Egypt has done.

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