May 6, 2011

"Consider how the intelligence that led to bin Laden came to hand."

"It began with a disclosure from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), who broke like a dam under the pressure of harsh interrogation techniques that included waterboarding. He loosed a torrent of information—including eventually the nickname of a trusted courier of bin Laden."

Writes former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey.
The harsh techniques themselves were used selectively against only a small number of hard-core prisoners who successfully resisted other forms of interrogation, and then only with the explicit authorization of the director of the CIA....

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden has said that, as late as 2006, even with the growing success of other intelligence tools, fully half of the government's knowledge about the structure and activities of al Qaeda came from those interrogations....
The Obama administration has ended these interrogations and is investigating CIA employees who conducted them.

131 comments:

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brennan said...

Tenant, Goss, Hayden, Panetta: EIT worked. It was used selectively.

The Left: No you.

quercus said...

Why do we stop at waterboarding? If it works so great, let's adopt the full panoply of secret police tactics: electric shock, strappado, mutilation, etc.

Quayle said...

So what's new here?

Liberals only can thrive because of the accomplishments of their hated political foes.

They're like ticks on the body politic - biting and burrowing and sucking, but totally dependent on the carrier's continued health.

Brennan said...

Why do we stop at waterboarding?

Because it works?

Do you want the suspects to be tortured? Is this some kind of cruel joke?

MikeR said...

Question for liberals: Skip the discussion on whether those enhanced interrogations/torture sessions actually provided the critical information leading to NosamaBL's demise. Assume that they did provide the information, and it could not have been gotten any other way. Do you still oppose those sessions? (I'm assuming the answer is yes.) And does it affect your feelings about the operation that killed him?

Robert Cook said...

Anyone who believes torture was inflicted by America against only a "few, select" high level prisoners is an imbecile or a willing dupe. This is just a feeble attempt to put the best face on an appalling widespread reality.

I don't know why they bother...unless their lingering fear they may one day be forced to account before the law compels them to attempt to minimize the extent of their crimes...and to provide justification for those crimes.

Such spinning certainly can't be intended to appease the American public, a majority of whom already seem perfectly happy with any brutality we mete out to other human beings, whether lawful or not.

DKWalser said...

Right. Which is why, despite the fact Obama made the right decision in authorizing the mission that took out Osama, Obama is the wrong man to be leading he war on terror. I'm NOT saying John McCain would have been better. Both men worked to outlaw the harsh interrogation techniques that produced the information necessary to fight the war on terror. Without those techniques, we've chosen to kill, rather than capture, "high value" terrorists. Without those captives and the information they provide (using harsh interrogation), we'll eventually be fighting blind.

TWM said...

"Why do we stop at waterboarding? If it works so great, let's adopt the full panoply of secret police tactics: electric shock, strappado, mutilation, etc."

Duhh, we don't need the others because it does work.

As to Barry stopping it, well, he ain't the brightest bulb in the box, and certainly a hypocrit.

Finally, I think the CIA officers have less and less to fear since the result of their efforts is now shark bait.

Sixty Grit said...
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Hoosier Daddy said...

I have been thinking about the discussions over the legality of taking out bin Laden and I thought about Greenwald’s position that he would have preferred that we arrested bin Laden and brought him to trial.

Since legality is the prime motivator I’m wondering how one reconciles the legality of ‘kidnapping’ versus ‘assassination’? Navy SEALS aren’t law enforcement, last time I checked, they don’t have arrest powers. In fact, to my knowledge, the military has no arrest powers over civilians, foreign or domestic as far as I know. Then there is the jurisdiction thing; how can we legally arrest someone in a foreign country without the assistance and consent of the host nation? Yes it sounds like nitpicking but if some are going to start critiquing on ‘legality’ then you have to go all the way if you want to be consistent.

Scott M said...

a majority of whom already seem perfectly happy with any brutality we mete out to other human beings, whether lawful or not

Are you implying that we, as Americans, are the ones that mete out brutality? Or do you agree that everyone partakes in a bit of the ultraviolent now and again? If the latter, wouldn't this be more of a question of the rule than the exception?

You can be high-minded all you want, Cook, but reality doesn't have to agree with your ideals. Sure, I'd love to live in a world free of torture, but I'd also love to live in a world where everyone gets to choose flight or invisibility when they hit puberty.

Ain't gonna happen.

EDH said...

quercus said...
Why do we stop at waterboarding? If it works so great, let's adopt the full panoply of secret police tactics: electric shock, strappado, mutilation, etc.

5/6/11 8:18 AM


Two reasons:

1.) As you say, "it works..." Your argument is pure sadism.

2.) The administration using it argues it's not torture, which is backed up by the fact that SEALs and other US military use it in training. (And no, consent is irrelevant when it comes torture. Legally, consent is not a defense to torture.)

Hoosier Daddy said...

Such spinning certainly can't be intended to appease the American public, a majority of whom already seem perfectly happy with any brutality we mete out to other human beings, whether lawful or not.

I remember back in my college days when I had a history prof that went on and on about the barbarism of our dropping the bomb on Hiroshima. I piped in and said: No Pearl Harbor, no Hiroshima.

Moral of the story is don't kick over a hornet's nest and then get mad cause you got stung.

Robert Cook said...

"Are you implying that we, as Americans, are the ones that mete out brutality?"

I'm not implying it, I'm stating it.

"Or do you agree that everyone partakes in a bit of the ultraviolent now and again? If the latter, wouldn't this be more of a question of the rule than the exception?"

If Timmy jumped off a bridge, would you? If John Gotti breaks the law, should we?

"You can be high-minded all you want, Cook, but reality doesn't have to agree with your ideals."

Fuck my ideals...it's the law.

Marshal said...

"Why do we stop at waterboarding?"

Because waterboarding isn't torture. Nailing someone's testicles to a two by four or incinerating their limbs one at a time is torture.

Patrick said...

Robert Cook, how is it that you know that "torture" was inflicted on more than a select few? And by "torture" do you mean more than water boarding? And how many people were tortured?

I suspect you have no idea. Basically, your accusation that those who believe that only a few, select terrorists were water boarded are "willing dupes" is as apt for those who, without any evidence whatsoever believe the practice is widespread, more brutal than water boarding, and covered up.

You have suspicions. No proof. Not even any evidence. If you have such, by all means, out with it.

Hoosier Daddy said...

You can be high-minded all you want, Cook, but reality doesn't have to agree with your ideals.

Terrorists video taping the beheading of Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg = Yawn

Waterboarding the guy who beheaded Nick Berg = OUTRAGE! BARBARISM! CRIMINAL!!

AJ Lynch said...

This will make for a great movie. Some obscure intel analyst has been diligently and faithfully checking up on this guy's whereabouts for about 9 years and then Blammo [The End]!

Robert Cook said...

"The administration using it argues it's not torture, which is backed up by the fact that SEALs and other US military use it in training."

Hahahaha! Is this bit of 5th Grade sophistry still being used to excuse our use of torture?

EDH said...

Robert Cook said...
Anyone who believes torture was inflicted by America against only a "few, select" high level prisoners is an imbecile or a willing dupe. This is just a feeble attempt to put the best face on an appalling widespread reality.

Probably true across the whole field of battle.

Likewise, I'm sure there were cases where unarmed people were shot in the face.

The difference, of course, is what acts were ordered by a high level officials, like Obama's (or available fall guy Panetta's) order to kill.

LarsPorsena said...

"Hahahaha! Is this bit of 5th Grade sophistry still being used to excuse our use of torture?"

Yeah, we do it. What you going to do about it?

Robert Cook said...

"Terrorists video taping the beheading of Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg = Yawn

"Waterboarding the guy who beheaded Nick Berg = OUTRAGE! BARBARISM! CRIMINAL!!"


Um, no, once again you demonstrate, Hoosier, that the Indiana schools may not have been as good as my childhood memories would indicate.

The murder of Mr. Berg by terrorists and the waterboarding of suspects by America are both outrageous, barbaric crimes.

However, I don't think we establish our own standards of acceptable behavior (or adherence to the law) by the worst acts of those who are the bad guys.

Freeman Hunt said...

Just say no to waterboarding. Because it's better to have children blown up in the street than for a terrorist to feel like he's drowning for a few seconds.

Fred4Pres said...

Obama has the right to decide it was a bad idea. But to investigate CIA employees who had authority and direction by the Director of the CIA and the President at the time? Why?

There is a world of difference from what happened to KSM under the CIA and what happened at Abu Ghraib. Andrew Sullivan tries to coflate the two, but they are not the same.

I am okay with banning waterboarding. Draw a line in the sand. A better approach may be the Col Harrinton intense interrogation practices. But while you may disagree with WB, it was not so outrageous given the circumstances.

Lincolntf said...

You can tell who the phonies are by their deliberate conflation of waterboarding with torture. If you don't know the difference (or pretend not to so as to ramp up the hysteria level) you're a hopeless twit.

TWM said...

Vindication . . .

http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/266608/motivational-poster-george-w-bushs-library

Maguro said...
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Scott M said...

If Timmy jumped off a bridge, would you? If John Gotti breaks the law, should we?

If the big, bad Ruskies build enough nukes to destroy the world, do we need them too?

Robert Cook said...

You can tell who is dishonest by noting who tries to pretend waterboarding is not torture, has not long been considered to be torture around the world, and is not against the law.

Robert Cook said...

"If the big, bad Ruskies build enough nukes to destroy the world, do we need them too?"

Um...we started that deadly race, and were in the lead the whole time.

Maguro said...

Why do we stop at waterboarding?

We don't stop there. We also kill terrorists extra-judicially with assassination squads and drones, but for some reason no one on the left has a problem with that.

No, for people like you, it's waterboarding and waterboarding alone that offends your human rights sensibilities. As if being waterboarded is more unpleasant than being shot in the head or having a 500 lb bomb dropped on your house.

Why is that?

Scott M said...

Um...we started that deadly race, and were in the lead the whole time.

Bad analogy, agreed, but hopefully you see my point. Unless, of course, you believe in American exceptionalism.

MadisonMan said...

I'm not exactly sure what investigating means in the context of this article, but certainly the people who torture, er, implement the harsh techniques, should be counseled and monitored to make certain their personalities aren't adversely affected by their job.

What happens to a person who tortures, I mean, implements the harsh techniques?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Um, no, once again you demonstrate, Hoosier, that the Indiana schools may not have been as good as my childhood memories would indicate.

The murder of Mr. Berg by terrorists and the waterboarding of suspects by America are both outrageous, barbaric crimes.


No Robert my education was quite good. I am merely pointing out your selective outrage. While I am at it, I'll toss in moral equivalency for good measure.

Scott M said...

Anyone ever confirm where the choppers came from? Duh-Jeremy was swearing up and down a couple days ago that they came from Pakistani airbases. Common sense would suggest Afghan locations, but still...

Robert Cook said...

"We don't stop there. We also kill terrorists extra-judicially with assassination squads and drones, but for some reason no one on the left has a problem with that."

Actually, there are those on the left who have a problem with that.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

The left equates the live sawing off of heads on video with towel draped faces being splashed with water.

Are there lots of butterflies and rainbows up there on your high-road?

We can't see it from down here in the real world.

Freeman Hunt said...

The alternative to intensive interrogation for terrorists is not non-intensive interrogation for terrorists. The alternative is killing terrorists outright in missile strikes.

The only reason that we don't kill terrorists immediately is that we think they have information we want.

You aren't doing them any favors by advocating against waterboarding.

Lincolntf said...

I assume, Robert, that you are aware that waterboarding has been used in SERE training for years, right? And that far more painful, unpleasant methods of training (like being marched into the gas chamber sans mask) happen every day in the U.S. Army, right? You do know this, but it doesn't fit your simple-minded notion of U.S. = Evil, so you ignore it.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you your twit...

Marshal said...

You can tell whose prime mission is supporting America's enemies by reading any of Robert Cook
s thoughts.

TWM said...

"You can tell who is dishonest by noting who tries to pretend waterboarding is not torture, has not long been considered to be torture around the world, and is not against the law."

No one is pretending it's not torture. It's simply not.

God, liberals are such pussies.

AllenS said...

What do you think the Navy SEALs that took out bin Laden think when they hear that the Obama administration is investigating CIA employees who conducted the interrogations and wants to prosecute those individuals.

ricpic said...

Cookie will only be happy when his fellow Stalinists torture those turncoat Trotskyites.

Brennan said...

The murder of Mr. Berg by terrorists and the waterboarding of suspects by America are both outrageous, barbaric crimes.

I haven't read the Al Qaida ethics manual. Have you got one available?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Actually, there are those on the left who have a problem with that.

Not surprising when you're rooting for the other side.

Robert Cook said...

"No Robert my education was quite good. I am merely pointing out your selective outrage. While I am at it, I'll toss in moral equivalency for good measure."

Rather, it is you and your ilk who practice selective outrage.

Your ilk are OUTRAGED by the terrible crimes of criminals, who--by definition--do not abide by the law or prevailing public standards of behavior. Yet, when we--who boast of being a nation of law, of being the good guys, of being exceptional because our Constitution places limits on government power--when we break our own laws you cheer it as PAYBACK, MUTHAFUCKA! In other words, you are not outraged by our own criminality, only by the criminality of our enemies. You not only are guilty of selective outrage, but of selective respect for the law.

Lem said...

It is debatable whether the same techniques would be lawful under statutes passed in 2005 and 2006—phrased in highly abstract terms such as "cruel, inhuman and degrading" treatment—that some claimed were intended to ban waterboarding even though the Senate twice voted down proposals to ban the technique specifically. It is, however, certain that intelligence-gathering rather than prosecution must be the first priority..

The priority at that time was winning an election.

What is the priority now?

By the deluge of information coming out of the Bin Laden Operation, I'm led to conclude politics still remains at the top of the list of considerations of how best to safeguard the American people.

Marshal said...

The idiot still hasn't figured out we're at war. He's lucky he's alive today. 500 years ago someone supporting the enemies those he lived among would have exiled him or killed him out of hand.

Robert Cook said...

"The alternative to intensive interrogation for terrorists is not non-intensive interrogation for terrorists. The alternative is killing terrorists outright in missile strikes."

No, the alternative is to, first, make as sure as possible that the persons we are imprisoning are terrorists, rather than the hapless innocents picked up in dragnets or sold for bounty that many of them turned out to be. Next, you conduct lawful interrogations.

chr1 said...

Robert Cook, like most loony socialists, points out a standard in human behavior (violence and the threat of violence). For him, sadly, It's a symptom of the 'rotten' system that has to be replaced with the coming socialist paradise.

Those will be the days, eh comrade?

Lincolntf said...

Yes, Robert, we're all screaming about "Payback, Motherfucka!", while you're the voice of reason.
Face it, anything that slows down the destruction of America (as waterboarding does) is anathema to you. Keep screaming about how evil we all are, and we'll keep protecting you from the real evil in the world. Protecting you pathetic children is the conservative's perpetual burden.

TWM said...

"No, the alternative is to, first, make as sure as possible that the persons we are imprisoning are terrorists, rather than the hapless innocents picked up in dragnets or sold for bounty that many of them turned out to be. Next, you conduct lawful interrogations."

Jesus fricken' Christ, when will you liberal morons recognize that fighting terrorism is NOT a law enforcement activity. It's a war. You don't fight wars and win them that way.

Rialby said...

Did y'all see the rumor about 60 Minutes? Supposedly, Obama said in his interview to air on Sunday that "we don't want to upset Muslim sensibilities and how would we like it if they showed pictures of them killing us?" Apparently, Steve Kroft said, "Umm, they do".

Well, according to sources, the White House immediately stopped the interview and made the producers vow that they would not include that challenge in the final cut.

Marshal said...

"You don't fight wars and win them that way."

His goal isn't to win. His goal is to fell superior. If Americans have to die so he can feel better that's ok with him.

Patrick said...

I don't know, Rialby. That seems pretty unlikely that even a mainstream media reporter would cave like that, even for Obama. That's the type of thing I'd only believe if it were sourced to someone who was there.

Jay said...

I love the victory lap by Obama who used intelligence gathered from "enhanced interrogation" (nee, torture) to send an assassination squad into a sovereign country that poses no imminent threat to America to blow up a home while shooting everyone inside.

Spike that football Barry!!!

Patrick said...

Robert Cook,

I know that a lot of people of good will are adamantly opposed to torture, including water boarding. Most of those will say that they would be willing to die in an incident that otherwise could have been averted with the use of torture or enhanced interrogation. I see this as pretty easy, because the likelihood of this scenario for any individual is very low.

The next, and perhaps most important question is whether you would tell someone else to die for that principal. Or, tell someone that their child must die for that principal. Can you do that? Really? I don't think I can. In the end, maybe that makes you a better person than me, but it almost seems selfish to me. I'm not a fan of torture, or even most enhanced interrogation (or whatever), but asking someone else to die, or sacrifice their child for my principle, that's a tough sell.

chr1 said...

Obama was elected on being unknown, riding the cycle and public sentiment on the double wings of hope and change. I have heard every silly argument made by every interested player on the Left, about how pragmatic he is. Perhaps he is, and to boot a law professor with political ambitions who had little experience and expected to govern "from the pragmatic center,' seizing his opportunity.

After Cash for Clunkers, immigration reform, the Green Dream Team, QE1 and QE2, and, dear God, the Affordable Care Act...I not only would not vote for him, but I may work to vote against him.

Again, he's got to pander to the base...

exhelodrvr1 said...

To those who oppose EIT:
If your child were kidnapped, and one of the kidnappers was grabbed in the process, would you want the police to "rough him up" or use other EITs while questioning him? Knowing that many, if not most, kidnap victims are killed within a few hours of being taken?

Hoosier Daddy said...

when we break our own laws you cheer it as PAYBACK, MUTHAFUCKA! In other words, you are not outraged by our own criminality, only by the criminality of our enemies.

Actually I cheer it as getting information that will keep Americans from being turned into corpses. I'm not interested in payback. I didn’t see bin Laden’s death as revenge but rather as one more step in eliminating the leadership of an organization that is committed to the destruction of this country.

I don’t view Al Queda as a bunch of gangbangers with Born to Lose tattooed in their foreheads who are knocking over liquor stores who need to be Mirandized. I am perfectly content with extracting information if we say please and they cooperate. I am also content with shoving their heads under water if that doesn’t work. That’s because I realize the stakes are pretty high in terms of American lives, lives I think that are more important and sacred then the sensibilities of some savage who wants to kill me.

Jay said...

From the Washington Examiner:

President Obama, one of the Bush administration’s most strident and vocal opponents, used the very tools, techniques, and tactics that he attacked previously and very publicly to accomplish it all, vindicating former President Bush and six years of the War on Terror before Obama took office.”


Watching they staggering hypocrisy never ceases to amaze...

Sixty Grit said...
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Robert Cook said...

"To those who oppose EIT:
If your child were kidnapped, and one of the kidnappers was grabbed in the process, would you want the police to "rough him up" or use other EITs while questioning him? Knowing that many, if not most, kidnap victims are killed within a few hours of being taken?"


Most probably would...I probably would.

That's immaterial. That's the personal emotional response of the crime victim.

We do not write laws--or choose when to adhere to already established law--based on our emotional reaction to being victims of crime or to satisfy the desires of crime victims. This is why law is law...it is the sober judgement by society at large as to how suspects should be treated, and how convicted criminals should be punished. It is, in fact, established to remove revenge or other personal emotional responses from the acceptable bases for establishing our treatment of persons held by the state.

Stoutcat said...

AllenS said...
What do you think the Navy SEALs that took out bin Laden think when they hear that the Obama administration is investigating CIA employees who conducted the interrogations and wants to prosecute those individuals.


They think they're really really glad they turned off the video feed for that 25 minutes.

Marshal said...

Instead of believing other people should die for his moral superiority I suggest Cook kill himself. If he thus proves himself not a hypocrite I for one will acknowledge his moral superiority.

Robert Cook said...

"Face it, anything that slows down the destruction of America (as waterboarding does) is anathema to you."

We are the only ones destroying America. The normalization of torture and the acceptance of lawlessness by our government as SOP is destroying America. Bin Laden and Al Qaeda or Islamic terrorism in general could never destroy America.

PETER V. BELLA said...

How do we know the Obama administration ended these techniques? Because he said so?

PaulV said...

UBL expected 72 virgins for his demise, he only got 72 versions of his demise.

madAsHell said...

Ohhh...if only we had arrested binLaden (binSmoked?), then we could have reformed him with our love.

Yes, Titus, that is sarcasm.

Marshal said...

"We are the only ones destroying America."

America is doing just fine on this front no matter how many fools like Cook wish it were otherwise.

MayBee said...

MadMan:
What happens to a person who tortures, I mean, implements the harsh techniques?

5/6/11 8:47 AM


Considering SERE trainers do it, and several people were willing to do it to journalists on television, I'd guess not much.

I'd rather water board a terrorist than perform an abortion on a healthy viable fetus. How about you?

Lincolntf said...

Wrong Robert. You are a moral and physical coward so you choose the U.S. as your target of protest. To protest against real injustice, you would have to go somewhere where you wouldn't last a second with your pitiful yelps of unfairness. Go to the Mideast (or Dearborn, MI) and protest the second class citizenship of women in Islam if you really want to make a difference. Or head to any major city and protest the drug pushers and pimps that have destroyed the lives of so many poor Americans.
You'll do neither because the easiest and safest thing to do is to stamp your feet and pout about how evil American soldiers are. Because we let you. Try that shit with some other group and see how far you get, chump.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Bin Laden and Al Qaeda or Islamic terrorism in general could never destroy America.

You'd be surprised what a few strategically placed nuclear bombs could do to change this country.

PaulV said...

Cook read how the US Code defines torture. If the code does not fit Holder cannot convict. It is mealy mouth crap typical of politicians. Why are the liberal not concerned about Obama gorging himself on what they deem the fruit of the poisonous tree? Hypocrits.

TWM said...

"We are the only ones destroying America. The normalization of torture and the acceptance of lawlessness by our government as SOP is destroying America. Bin Laden and Al Qaeda or Islamic terrorism in general could never destroy America."

Sorry to be so blunt, but you're a fool.

For one thing the "normalization of torture and the acceptance of lawlessness by our government as SOP " is not happening, and secondly, the dhimmitude of the left is the ony way America can be destroyed by radical Islam.

TWM said...

"You'd be surprised what a few strategically placed nuclear bombs could do to change this country."

Just one really - in Washington or New York City - would be enough to crash our economy.

Of course, much of the Middle East would be glowing at that point.

MadisonMan said...

That seems pretty unlikely that even a mainstream media reporter would cave like that, even for Obama. That's the type of thing I'd only believe if it were sourced to someone who was there.

The story sounds very much like a tweet someone posted in an althouse thread a couple nights ago, attributed to Obama, then immediately corrected to be accurately attributed to someone else -- a Republican Senator or Representative or something.

Sorry for the vagueness.

Titus said...

I'm ok with water boarding. Especially if it helped Bin Laden be killed.

MadisonMan said...

Considering SERE trainers do it, and several people were willing to do it to journalists on television, I'd guess not much.

There's be a difference in how I would react to torturing a person so they know what happens vs. torturing a person to extract information.

Doesn't a good torturer have to show delight in what they're doing, so that the person being tortured knows that the torturer will stop at nothing to get what they want?

How does one turn off that delight in inflicting pain on someone else?

exhelodrvr1 said...

No, Robert, it's not immaterial. It shows your hypocrisy. You would be willing to torture if it helped you save a loved one. But you're not willing to torture if it will save some faceless others you don't know.

Robert Cook said...

"...the 'normalization of torture and the acceptance of lawlessness by our government as SOP' is not happening...."

It's already happened and is a done deal.

junyo said...

I, for one, echo the demand that the organized murder and brutality that is warfare be fought by Marquis or Queensbury rules, in the name of civil society. No matter how many extra people need to die or be hurt, it's much better to strictly follow an arbitrary set of rules. Otherwise our systematically applied violence would become quite disorderly, or even, dare I say it, immoral.

Hoosier Daddy said...

It's already happened and is a done deal.

If you truly believe this than in all seriousness, how can you in good conscience continue to live here?

I mean honestly, I have never once seen you say a positive thing about the US. Never mind the humanitarian aid we provided to Hati and Indonesia after their earthquakes, or Japan after theirs, or the billions in financial aid given to Africa in fighting AIDs. But waterboard some terrorist to get intel and we're a horrible nation.

Robert Cook said...

"No, Robert, it's not immaterial. It shows your hypocrisy. You would be willing to torture if it helped you save a loved one. But you're not willing to torture if it will save some faceless others you don't know."

It's not that I would be "willing" to torture in hopes of saving a loved one, it's that my emotional distress might cause me to wish to do that which is both illegal and morally wrong. My emotional response does not make the illegal legal or the morally reprehensible acceptable, and it does not mean any torture carried out to satisfy my wishes or to catch the bad guy would or could be justified. I am no hypocrite, but I recognize my fallibility as a human being and my possible response if a loved one were in danger. It would not mean I would be right if I wanted to inflict torture on someone.

The law protects us from our own worst impulses as creatures subject to emotional extremes and the impaired or rash judgement and actions that follow from that.

The law is not an instrument of personal revenge, not a ratification of lynch mobs.

edutcher said...

The advice proffered by someone here to the SEALs to lawyer up looks like it's applicable to a lot of the people involved in this op.

Purge, anyone?

I'm beginning to believe that rumor about Barry being totally out of the loop a whole lot more.

Robert Cook said...

"The administration using it argues it's not torture, which is backed up by the fact that SEALs and other US military use it in training."

Hahahaha! Is this bit of 5th Grade sophistry still being used to excuse our use of torture?


Translation: "Damn! Can't get past that one!".

"If the big, bad Ruskies build enough nukes to destroy the world, do we need them too?"

Um...we started that deadly race, and were in the lead the whole time.


No, we didn't start it. Stalin did.

Is a lobotomy required for employment at the Daily Worker?

Jay said...

Robert Cook said...
. The normalization of torture and the acceptance of lawlessness by our government as SOP is destroying America.


Hysterical Hyperbole.

You couldn't possibly explain this absurd statement.

We do not write laws--or choose when to adhere to already established law--based on our emotional reaction

Yeah, Lawrence v. Texas and Roe v. Wade are great examples of this, kookie...

TWM said...

"It's already happened and is a done deal."

How so? Some details please.

Robert Cook said...

"You'll do neither because the easiest and safest thing to do is to stamp your feet and pout about how evil American soldiers are...."

Who says I'm talking about the fucking soldiers?!

Sure, soldiers who murder unarmed or helpless persons--combatants or noncombatants--or who take part in torture are evil, no doubt.

I'm talking about leadership...the generals and politicians in Washingon who set the policies and call the shots. I guess you're not as adequately educated as you claim if you cannot see this fundamentally clear and clearly fundamental point.

Robert Cook said...

"No, we didn't start it. Stalin did."

Really? Stalin had the bomb before we did? He started manufacturing and stockpiling nukes before us?

Do tell!

dbp said...

MM: "Doesn't a good torturer have to show delight in what they're doing, so that the person being tortured knows that the torturer will stop at nothing to get what they want?"

I think rather the opposite: If I was involved in such interrogations, it would be useful to at least act sad that the subject was forcing me to do this distasteful thing. One should expect that the interrogator is not the one who actually administers the "enhancements" in enhanced interrogation. He would have assistants to do this. Whether they show pleasure would be immaterial, since they are not the ones calling the shots.

MayBee said...

Doesn't a good torturer have to show delight in what they're doing, so that the person being tortured knows that the torturer will stop at nothing to get what they want?

That sounds like something you've come up with yourself. So I'll say, doesn't the good abortionist have to show delight in what they are doing, so the patient doesn't feel judged or uncomfortable?

I don't know why a CIA interrogator doing water boarding should be more reviled that a military sniper. I don't think we need to wonder "what kind of person would do that??" about one more than another.

Titus said...

I think I am kind of a neogay. A subset of the neocons.

TWM said...

"I don't know why a CIA interrogator doing water boarding should be more reviled that a military sniper. I don't think we need to wonder "what kind of person would do that??" about one more than another."

Don't kid yourself, the left reviles them both equally.

Carol_Herman said...

I still can't believe the extent of Obama's screw up on such a positive story!

The Israeli press has provided details we have not seen.

The Navy Seals entered the compound, using a small explosive, to gain easy access. And, then the entire team, plus dogs (more than one), went in and took different routes, within. Looking for a guy 6'$" tall.

When a few Seals found him ... And, yes. You could hear the dogs barking. (And muslems don't have dogs for security or protection), one of the Seals managed to get behind Bin Laden. Who threw his wife into the path of the oncoming Seals. That's when he got shot in the back of the head!

The Paki's came in after the Seals departed, and went over the joint with a fine tooth comb. Turning over the dead bodies they saw to "face the camera." And, a green squirt gun (belonging to one of the children), was put into the photo. These photos were SOLD TO REUTERS!

Again, Obama's screw up is on par with a high wire artist's working without a net. And, then going down. Istead of across.

Up ahead, I'm sure Carney's replacement is being interviewed, now. While most of the democraps are very worried about "fall out."

Fall out probably means most of the democraps who are up for re-election in 2012 realize the bamster has no coattails. And, grabbing him by the tuchis ... seems to be what was done, already, in the Situation Room.

Oh, yeah. The "25-minute blackout." You think Hillary wanted to watch the boring stuff? After Osama went down ... and all the humans, alive, were tied up in plastic wrist bands ... What was left? Looking at computers and stuff being carted out? Even the dogs stopped barking.

The helicopter that didn't lift off, however, meant that a backup one came down right away. And, the helicopter was exited (without cameras on) ... and then as much of it as could be exploded was.

Well, the team came in with explosives, didn't it?

And, according to an Israeli source, ALL the electricity and phone wires, in the neighborhood, were cut. I'd bet there was a crew on the ground that left by cars for the border. (Who knows? Maybe, they got the body? And, the dogs with their handlers?)

So many questions. While the bamster handled himself as well as he's done with his birth certificate.

Now, all the GOP needs is to put up the competition people will vote into office. (Yes, we are gonna see new faces in Congress.) Fer shur.

Original Mike said...

"The Obama administration has ended these interrogations and is investigating CIA employees who conducted them."

Two words come to mind:
Fucked. Up.

Lincolntf said...

'...as you claim if you cannot see this fundamentally clear and clearly fundamental point..."

This from a dipshit who equates routine training measures with the Inquisition. Can you see that fundamental point, Robert?

wv:tride

How I used to get to Fenway.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Robert cook,
Then you are saying right now, when there should be no emotion involved, that you would rather have one of your loved ones die than have the police use EIT to get information that would save their life.

Titus said...

Lincoln used to go to Fenway and I used to go to The Fens.

Phil 3:14 said...

I'll say the same thing about this piece as I have with the Obama's admin multiple stories/versions re: OBL assassination.

too much public info

The American public across the political spectrum is glad he's dead and that we killed him.

'nuff said

Oligonicella said...

MadisonMan --

"Doesn't a good torturer have to show delight in what they're doing, so that the person being tortured knows that the torturer will stop at nothing to get what they want?"

No, one could project the same certitude for continuance with an emotionless face with perhaps a small tick.

Original Mike said...

We should hire Alan Rickman to do our torturing.

Scott M said...

We should hire Alan Rickman to do our torturing.

Or Micheal Palin's, Jack Lint from Brazil.

Lockestep said...

Mr. Cook shows a lack of intellectual honesty by consistently trotting out the "it is against the law" meme. Going 36 is a 35 MPH zone is against the law. Blowing up two buildings and killing 3000 innocent people in a horrific manner is against the law. But the two are not morally equivalent.
Further, there are times when breaking the law to prevent a greater tragedy is allowed. Breaking the speed limit while rushing someone to the hospital might be a very good idea. Pouring water on a murderer to prevent thousands of deaths might be a good idea.
Finally, we have to recognize that the greatest duty of society is to protect itself from destruction. We give all sorts of rights to the most viscous of criminals, but those who attempt to destroy society itself forfeit those protections. It is a testament to the greatness of our society that, even as it engages in a war with a brutal opponent who only understands the world with a 13th century mindset, we continue to moderate our actions.

Shanna said...

Your ilk are OUTRAGED by the terrible crimes of criminals, who--by definition--do not abide by the law or prevailing public standards of behavior.

I suppose that makes what they do totally ok, then. I can't imagine why anyone would be outraged by it! Heavens to betsy.

AllenS said...

Carol, please, it's SEALs not Seals. Two different things.

ic said...

They claim the credits anyway.

Of course, up till now, the Iraq war was the Obama-bin-Biden's greatest achievement.

Are they delusional, or are the American voters really that stupid to believe them?

Scott M said...

Are they delusional, or are the American voters really that stupid to believe them?

At least 90% of 12.9% of us are, bank on it. He will be.

Phil 3:14 said...

This is why law is law...it is the sober judgement by society at large as to how suspects should be treated, and how convicted criminals should be punished. It is, in fact, established to remove revenge or other personal emotional responses from the acceptable bases for establishing our treatment of persons held by the state.

I'm fine defending Mr. Cook's viewpoint. I disagree with it but I think I understand it. I'd only ask you Mr. Cook if you appreciate that the "rules of war making" will invariably go beyond the boundaries of civil law. Are you a strict pacifist and if not, what actions during war are you ok with and at what point in your mind do the demands of war-making supersede the rights of prisoners?

The Crack Emcee said...

And you and Meade support Obama in this, too, riiiight?

Shameful.

ALH said...

Seen at Lucianne.com:

Obama killed Osama. We got the 72 versions.

jr565 said...

Quercus wrote:
Why do we stop at waterboarding? If it works so great, let's adopt the full panoply of secret police tactics: electric shock, strappado, mutilation, etc

If it works why would we have to go further? The point being, we want a mechanism we can use that doesn't rise to the level of torture, but which is harsh enough to get results SO WE DON'T HAVE TO GO TO THE NEXT LEVEL. See, we're not doing this to inflict pain on detainees like say Saddaam did when he actually tortured people.
If it produces the information, then there's no reason to go further (snce again, the goal is not to hurt detainees out of revenge). And we use the same technique on our own cadets, and they break as well. Now, why are we not using mutilation and strappado on our cadets? Because we don't use torture there either.

jr565 said...

Robert Cook wrote:
You can tell who is dishonest by noting who tries to pretend waterboarding is not torture, has not long been considered to be torture around the world, and is not against the law.


wait, if it's against the law, the that would mean the US military has been breaking the law for years when it makes people go through SERE training. I'd figure some trainers would be in handcuffs by now.

Freeman Hunt said...

Doesn't a good torturer have to show delight in what they're doing, so that the person being tortured knows that the torturer will stop at nothing to get what they want?

No, I would assume the opposite.

(1) The goal is to get the person with information to comply. Showing delight would be more likely to engender oppositional behavior than compliance.

(2) The person with the information must be made to understand that his discomfort will end immediately upon his compliance. If his questioners show delight in what they are doing, he is less likely to trust that his compliance will end his discomfort.

MadisonMan said...

If I was involved in such interrogations, it would be useful to at least act sad that the subject was forcing me to do this distasteful thing.

Yeah, I can see that, but if I'm on the receiving end, you're not going to be getting a lot of empathy from me. :)

Freeman's point (2) sounds about right.

jr565 said...

Robert Cook wrote:
"We don't stop there. We also kill terrorists extra-judicially with assassination squads and drones, but for some reason no one on the left has a problem with that."

Actually, there are those on the left who have a problem with that.


Then those on the left who have a problem with that have a fundamental misunderstanding of how the world functions and should be locked in looney bins for their own protection. Because they are too delicate to survive in a real world.
You ever notice how all the great pacificts end up getting killed by violent men? That's because they have no response to people who are determined to inflict violence, very often on them.
i could see you arguing that we shouldn't waterboard people on moral grounds, but you're going to have to come up with a way for us to deal with a group like Al Qaeda, who don't ascribe to your no violence rule. Can we shoot them while trying to apprehend them? Can you think of a way we could get them into custody that didn't involve some form of force? Would all such uses of force be prohibited?
And is all such violence equivalent? If a police officer shoots someone who has a gun to a hostages head is that police officer morally equivalent to the hostage taker who is about to blow someones brains out? People being raped or mugged who kill their attacker are morally equivalent to those trying to rape or harm them?
If you make accomodations for someone using violence for defensive means or to protect themselves or others, then you have to acknowledge that not all violence is equivocal. An if you can't make such accomodations then you are either crazy or a fool, and I'm surprised you lasted this long in the real world.

E.M. Davis said...

We are the only ones destroying America. The normalization of torture and the acceptance of lawlessness by our government as SOP is destroying America.

By your accord, America has always been in the wrong, then, by our actions through-and-through, from the development of the Constitution, through the Civil War, and every war since.

We are a sick, evil culture — born and bred that way since our inception. War, slavery, torture, racism, sexism — the ingredients of our country.

If only we had a model society upon which to base our New America.

Methadras said...

quercus said...

Why do we stop at waterboarding? If it works so great, let's adopt the full panoply of secret police tactics: electric shock, strappado, mutilation, etc.


Now that's just a stupid thing to say. This isn't some linear calculus of techniques that follow some form of logical conclusion of getting better as a function of the severity of the techniques used. Waterboarding works, they stick with it, why go elsewhere. Such shallow, narrow-minded, simplistic thinking. Oh, are you a leftard?

Methadras said...

Robert Cook said...

Anyone who believes torture was inflicted by America against only a "few, select" high level prisoners is an imbecile or a willing dupe. This is just a feeble attempt to put the best face on an appalling widespread reality.

I don't know why they bother...unless their lingering fear they may one day be forced to account before the law compels them to attempt to minimize the extent of their crimes...and to provide justification for those crimes.

Such spinning certainly can't be intended to appease the American public, a majority of whom already seem perfectly happy with any brutality we mete out to other human beings, whether lawful or not.


Is this what happens when the Cookie crumbles? Have you shed tears for OBL yet?

Just Lurking said...

I'm talking about leadership...the generals and politicians in Washingon who set the policies and call the shots. I guess you're not as adequately educated as you claim if you cannot see this fundamentally clear and clearly fundamental point.

Try a little empathy. What would you do, if you were responsible for protecting your country from an imminent attack, and no matter what choice you made, some innocents would be hurt? Would you do nothing, knowing that inaction meant the certain death of many innocent citizens?

I agree that we need to push that point that we don't want to become the barbarians we are fighting, or we have lost the battle. But I contend we have not. The fact that the Bush admin asked for legal advice on what methods they can legally use to extract information, says to me that they were not brutal torturers who got off on hurting people. True sadists wouldn't worry about such trivialities as the law.

Personally I think the decision to waterboard known terrorists like KSM is on a higher moral ground than sending in drones to kill them. Waterboarding done correctly is less likely to kill an innocent than a drone attack. But I won't outright condemn the drone attacks because I understand the reality that taking terrorists alive is a lot harder than killing them. But it is debatable whether the Obama admin has made the right choice to go with drone kills rather than live capture and interrogation of terrorist leaders. And it should be debated.

And people like you and me are free to offer up our opinions and they should be respected. But so should we respect the difficulty of the task our leaders have when it comes to protecting us. They are not facing some hypothetical in a blog comment section- they are dealing with reality.

BTW if you are a pacifist who, when given no other option, would rather die than resort to barbaric acts to protect yourself or your loved ones, you should be grateful to have leaders and a military willing to make the tough choices and do the dirty work to keep you and your loved ones alive. On your own, you and they would not survive long in this world.

And if you can find a place in this world that has never resorted to or will never resort to interrogation, war, assassinations, or much worse in order to preserve its civilization, please let me know after you've moved there.

Mikio said...

Ah yes, conservative “facts” contradicting each other yet again.

I’ve noticed two emerging right-wing tropes, both crediting waterboarding and discrediting Pres. Obama -- of course. That’s just a given in the walnut-floating-on-yellow-bile cranial space of a typical RWer.

One storyline, however, is claiming Pres. Obama put an end to waterboarding and replaced it with a limp-wristed, ineffective, crossdressing, liberal interrogation program, but fortunately enough info had been gathered by the tumescent Bush administration to eventually drive a stake into OBL:

Acknowledging and meeting the need for an effective and lawful interrogation program, which we once had, and freeing CIA operatives and others to administer it under congressional oversight, would be a fitting way to mark the demise of Osama bin Laden. -- Michael B. Mukasey opinion article, WSJ, 05/06/11

And another right-winger storyline is asserting Pres. Obama didn’t end waterboarding, has been lying about it the whole time and is even more of an odious douche for still distancing himself from the kickass technique instead of crediting it like he should because he owes all of his friggin’ undeserved praise to it:

And President Obama, one of the Bush administration's most strident and vocal opponents, used the very tools, techniques, and tactics that he attacked previously and very publicly to accomplish it all, vindicating former President Bush and six years of the War on Terror before Obama took office. -- Christopher Taylor opinion article, Wash. Examiner, 05/06/11

Which conservative drumbeat will prevail? Stay tuned!

edutcher said...

Robert Cook said...

"No, we didn't start it. Stalin did."

Really? Stalin had the bomb before we did? He started manufacturing and stockpiling nukes before us?

Do tell!


We were prepared to offer the technology to him.

He didn't share well.

But you know that...

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

Mikio, you ignorant slut.
There are no "tropes" developing, there are divergent (but rapidly converging) opinions on a matter where virtually everyone has incomplete information. The imaginary Death Squads of Cheney have been made real by Bloodthirsty Barry and it's driving all of you batty. Fun to watch.

Phil 3:14 said...

Mr. Cook ran away?

Jay said...

Mikio said...

Ah yes, conservative “facts” contradicting each other yet again.


Um, dum-dum, where?

Because this:

Acknowledging and meeting the need for an effective and lawful interrogation program, which we once had,

Doesn't mean what you think it means.

Let me help you:
Consider how the intelligence that led to bin Laden came to hand. It began with a disclosure from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), who broke like a dam under the pressure of harsh interrogation techniques that included waterboarding.

--Mr. Mukasey was attorney general of the United States from 2007 to 2009.

You've beclowned yourself well.

Jay said...

And another right-winger storyline is asserting Pres. Obama didn’t end waterboarding, has been lying about it the whole time

Actually, nobody is asserting any such thing.

Mr. Mukasey wrote an op-ed entitled:
The Waterboarding Trail to bin Laden

In said Op-ed he re-iterates that waterboarding is legal.

Christopher Taylor is only pointing out that Obama capitalized on the Bush program.

Are you really this dumb, or are you joking?

Tomas said...

"I think that without a doubt, torture and enhanced interrogation techniques slowed down the hunt for bin Laden," said an Air Force interrogator who goes by the pseudonym Matthew Alexander and located Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, in 2006.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/05/04/tortured_logic

If waterboarding works so well, why didn't we get OBL in 2003?

Jason said...

Because, shit-for-brains, the people being waterboarded didn't know where he was. Especially if bin laden and all his contacts they knew about went dark and moved as soon as binalshibh and KSM disappeared.

showbiz111 said...

Is there a jury that would convict those CIA interrogators, after Usama Bin Decomposing? (I've always been a little suspicious about the media's name change for Osama, to Usama, seems that on a subconscious or conscious level they want the public to associate USAma with the USA). I doubt, even in the bluest of blue states that the CIA heroes would be convicted. But what is more troubling is Obama's response to Debra Burlingame the other day, that he would not even voice his opinion to the AG about prosecuting these heroes. (Of course many of us suspect that he is aces with Holder's prosecution of these agents, but will put off the indictments until the second term-God forbid, because bringing it before 2012, would unleash a firestorm of protest that Obama could ill afford).

Tomas said...

Wow, Jason is really into respectful dialogue here.

Anyway, here's a question: Are there currently any ongoing DOJ investigations of the CIA agents involved in waterboarding KSM? I thought that the Obama Administration had pretty much given up on it some time ago, with all that "let's look forwards, not backwards" thing.