December 15, 2014

Dick Cheney went on "Meet the Press" yesterday to talk tough, and he was rock solid, unshakable.

Chuck Todd stayed with him a long time. Please read the whole transcript to get the effect I'm describing. I'll excerpt one thing:
CHUCK TODD: Let me go through some of those techniques that were used, Majid Khan, was subjected to involuntary rectal feeding and rectal hydration. It included two bottles of Ensure, later in the same day Majid Khan's lunch tray consisting of hummus, pasta, sauce, nuts and raisins was pureed and rectally infused.... Does that meet the definition of torture?...

DICK CHENEY: --in my mind, I've told you what meets the definition of torture. It's what 19 guys armed with airline tickets and box cutters did to 3,000 Americans on 9/11. What was done here apparently certainly was not one of the techniques that was approved. I believe it was done for medical reasons.

CHUCK TODD: I mean, medical community has said there is no medical...

DICK CHENEY: If you go and look, for example, at Jose Rodriguez book, and he was the guy running the program, he's got a very clear description of how, in fact, the program operated.. that was not something that was done as part of the interrogation program.

CHUCK TODD: But you won't call it torture?

DICK CHENEY: It wasn't torture in terms of it wasn't part of the program.
Is there no medical basis for rectal feeding and hydration? Obviously, the answer to that question does not establish whether it was chosen for other reasons, but if it has no medical purpose — or at least if it couldn't be thought to have a medical purpose — then it must necessarily have been chosen for nonmedical purposes. Here's a Bloomberg article on the subject:
Rectal feeding or hydration, known as proctoclysis, has been performed for centuries. It is rarely done now, though a 1998 report found water or saline given rectally was safe and effective for terminally ill cancer patients.

The first reports, on papyrus going back 3,500 years, show ancient Egyptians used reeds and animal bladders to infuse liquids like wine and milk into the rectum for a variety of ailments, according to a blog post by Eric Aadhaar O’Gorman, the author of “Complete Tubefeeding.” Perhaps the most famous patient was U.S. President James Garfield, who was fed whiskey and broth rectally after being shot since his doctors restricted what he could eat.
From O'Gorman's post (written in 2012, without any attention to the ulterior purpose of torturing, tormenting, or coercing a prisoner):
Rectal feeding does (thankfully) seem finally to have gone out of fashion although I am told that some medical students these days, upon learning of things like James Garfield's ordeals discover all over again that colonic absorption is a very fast way to get drunk. Apparently. Don't try it though, OK?
ADDED: In calling Cheney "rock solid, unshakable," I'm not vouching for the correctness of his position. I am simply observing that he came on the show with a message to deliver, and he stuck to it in a staunch and stalwart manner. Todd had a different template, which he kept trying to impose, and Cheney wouldn't budge.

123 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Again I say: A great distraction for the Democrats in power.

The reason that the media play along is obvious.

Brando said...

The torture debate will go nowhere until one questioned is answered--can torture produce reliable information? If the answer is "no", then there's no justification for torture. If the answer is "yes" (or even "sometimes") then the next set of questions become important:

1) Are we certain of the guilt of the person being tortured?

2) If we're not certain of the guilt of the tortured, are we at least certain that they possess information important enough to justify their torture (which, if they are unwilling to give willingly, may imply some guilt by knowledge)?

3) If we are certain of the tortured person's guilt, is what they're guilty of outweighed by the value of the information?

4) How certain are we that we can get reliable information from this person?

5) If we are certain we can get reliable information from this person, how valuable is that information to us?

Most people would agree that torturing an innocent person is always wrong (depending of course on how you define "innocent") just as most people would agree that torture is wrong if it cannot produce reliable information. But most people would also have no problem torturing a person who is responsible for innocent deaths, particularly if the torture is likely to get information that will prevent even more innocent lives. As long as there's disagreement on these premises, this will resemble the abortion argument--two sides talking past each other forever.

Ann Althouse said...

Cheney's position is that the things that were in the program were officially judged by the lawyers not to be torture. Then there are things outside of program: medical treatments (where they legit?) and things done by rogue interrogators (some of which might be torture, but they weren't authorized).

There is a lot of attention and disagreement over the issue of what the term "torture" refers to, but I don't think that ends the subject. Cheney relies on a relatively narrow definition of the term. Even if you accept that, however, you should still go on to ask whether this is something we should do. I don't agree with the proposition that it's fine to do whatever stops short of torture (and the corollary: let's just talk about the definition of torture).

Birkel said...

Strict utilitarian analysis often fails to capture the moral dimension of decision making, but a failure or denial that torture (or things that are uncomfortable but are not torture) produces any useful intelligence betrays a willingness to lie to escape the difficult moral decisions too.

Laslo Spatula said...

Gatorade, with the new Rectal Infusion Sports Bottle: "Get Your Ass Back in the Game."

Could happen.

I am Laslo.

Mike said...

The tell in Cheney's interview is that he keeps returning to 9/11. 9/11 justifies *anything*, according to him. Torture? 9/11. Torturing innocent people? 9/11. "Rectal hydration"? 9/11.

Personally, I think if you want to respond to 9/11, you get good intelligence to make sure it doesn't happen again. That means using techniques like Ali Soufan was using. He got more with legal techniques than we ever got with torture.

Fernandinande said...

Which is more torturous?
- Being waterboarded for...what, a few minutes, an hour? A day?
- Being locked in a cage for years?

AReasonableMan said...

Cheney failed in allowing 9/11 to happen and then panicked in the most cowardly fashion imaginable. History will not be kind to Cheney.

F said...

Among the artifacts in our African art collection are two wooden funnels that were used by the Pende people to pour beer into the rectum of someone who was too drunk to drink from a pot of beer. And the Incas also had a system of pouring an alcoholic beverage into a person's rectum when they could no longer drink on their own. Think of a sort of "topping up". Or maybe "bottoming up".

jacksonjay said...

Does the Swaggy, DiFi, Johnny Mac position of droning they terrorist ass stop short of torture? To his credit, Todd went there on MTP. Killing terrorists AND the innocent collaterals is so much cleaner!

See Brando above

machine said...

Does he consider freezing the innocent to death torture?

Paco Wové said...

"It wasn't torture in terms of it wasn't part of the program."

Sorry, that's just being weaselly.

Jane the Actuary said...

There are two types of torture, it seems to me: the first, what Cheney is talking about, is methods used to cause pain during interrogation, to induce the person to speak. The second, what happens in any number of brutal dictatorships, is causing pain with no other intended end result than to cause pain. I suppose the claim here is that the rectal feeding was the latter case? that is, that this wasn't medically necessary but was done to cause pain and humiliation? Of course, I have no idea about the particular circumstances, but compared to what happens in any number of Bad Places around the world, this is trivial.

Robert Cook said...

Of course Cheney was unshakeable, just as any psychopaths / torturers in any tyrannical regime will be, justifing their abominations by either minimizing the brutality of what they did or by appealing to exaggerated claims of the dangers that would otherwise have threatened the safety of all...or both. Cheney chose this latter option.

Cheney and the other war criminals in the Bush and Obama regimes (including Bush and Obama) should be tried for their respective parts in the planning, authorization, and carrying out of the torture, or in failing to pursue prosecutions of the torturers. (This latter is also a crime.)

DKWalser said...

"...That means using techniques like Ali Soufan was using. He got more with legal techniques than we ever got with torture."

Accepting that as true does NOT mean torture does not provide useful information that could not be obtained by other means. No one's claiming that enhanced interrogation techniques should be used with all detainees, nor is anyone claiming that such techniques should be the exclusive means of gathering information. Finally, no one is claiming that such techniques are as efficient in gathering data. What's been claimed is not that such techniques are valuable for the volume of data produced; it's the quality of data that matters.

Note: Virtually all who have closely examined the techniques, including Leon Panetta who opposes their use, have acknowledged that the techniques produced critical information that the routine interrogation methods had failed to uncover.

Claiming that other, less severe, techniques would have produced the same information is not tenable. The people responsible for gathering the information were not a bunch of sadists who brutalized prisoners for the sake of it (or they would have used the "torture" techniques are far more individuals than they did). They used these methods because they thought they had tried everything else and had yet to learn more.

Jason said...

A crime according to whom, fool?

~ Steven said...

I did my internship and residency in internal medicine in the mid-1970s. Proctolysis was performed for terminally ill patients (and one with tetanus) who could not tolerate NG feeding and had no IV access. It was well tolerated by the patients and did not cause undue discomfort.

DKWalser said...

...I suppose the claim here is that the rectal feeding was the latter case? that is, that this wasn't medically necessary but was done to cause pain and humiliation?..."

Yes, that's the claim. The counterclaim would be that the prisoner was on a hunger strike and that rectal feeding was a better option than intravenous feeding, which would have taken longer and required the prisoner to be immobilized for a longer period. It might also have the helpful effect of inducing the prisoner to give up his hunger strike.

Robert Cook said...

"The people responsible for gathering the information were not a bunch of sadists who brutalized prisoners for the sake of it (or they would have used the 'torture' techniques are far more individuals than they did). They used these methods because they thought they had tried everything else and had yet to learn more."

Baloney.

Anyone who did not refuse to carry out these techniques, who "just followed orders" and who planned, oversaw, or performed the torture is a sadistic psychopath. And yes, the torture was performed simply to terrorize and hurt the subjects. That's always the real point of torture.

tim maguire said...

He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.

TreeJoe said...

The current direction we as a country are going is this:

1. We expect our government at all costs to prevent attacks on our soil.

2. We want to legally detain and provide significant rights to detainees not directly affiliated with any foreign government.

3. We don't want to threaten or pursue information gathering with detainees in any way that could be construed as morally questionable.

4. We don't want our government performing intrusive and inherent data gathering on foreign and domestic individuals and groups without us knowing and being outraged if we feel it's too intrusive.

5. Killing people via drone with minimal intelligence or oversight in any country we deem fit - including American citizens - will be considered socially acceptable and only modestly questioned or protested.

Did I sum it up right?

SE Flores said...

I wonder if the people who participated in the 2012 college craze of "Butt Chugging" realized that they were in fact torturing themselves? College kids... so smart but also so very dumb.
http://jezebel.com/5946946/attention-butt-chuggers-please-do-not-put-alcohol-up-your-butt

Unknown said...

Lying and name-calling is morally reprehensible. Lying and name-calling can be/is used to demoralize, denigrate, and otherwise degrade the individual being subject to interrogation (in fact, we need to call it "questioned" to keep from being confused). Lying and name calling is psychologically damaging to the lair and the person being asked harmless questions of.

Someone once said the Constitution is not a suicide pact.

Freder Frederson said...

There is a lot of attention and disagreement over the issue of what the term "torture" refers to, but I don't think that ends the subject.

Actually, there shouldn't be. There are clear definitions of torture in both U.S. statute and international treaties (both of which I have posted here so many times I'm not going to bother again). Just because the Bush administration definition of torture does not correspond with established law, treaty and policy does not make it not torture.

George Bush, John Yoo, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and many others in the administration oversaw a program of illegal torture. In a just society they would have to answer for their crimes in a court of law. The persons who carried out the torture should also be prosecuted. "Just following orders" is not an excuse for a human rights crime.

For you to ponder whether there is some justification for rectal feeding is simply abhorrent.

jacksonjay said...

"Turns out I'm really good at killing people," Obama said quietly, "Didn't know that was gonna be a strong suit of mine."

Swaggy B

Freder Frederson said...

But most people would also have no problem torturing a person who is responsible for innocent deaths, particularly if the torture is likely to get information that will prevent even more innocent lives.

If this is true, then "most people" are morally bankrupt.

machine said...

What about torturing American citizens...that have not been charged with anything...cool with that too?

garage mahal said...

I wonder what life was saved by shoving food up someone's ass.

Thorley Winston said...

Yes, that's the claim. The counterclaim would be that the prisoner was on a hunger strike and that rectal feeding was a better option than intravenous feeding, which would have taken longer and required the prisoner to be immobilized for a longer period. It might also have the helpful effect of inducing the prisoner to give up his hunger strike.


Thank you for the summation. I find the counterclaim that this was done to thwart a hunger strike and preserve the life of the prisoner to be far more plausible than the claim that it was done to torture or humiliate the prisoner.

Brando said...

"But most people would also have no problem torturing a person who is responsible for innocent deaths, particularly if the torture is likely to get information that will prevent even more innocent lives.

If this is true, then "most people" are morally bankrupt."

Really? That's morally bankrupt? If torture does in fact save lives--which of course is the central question--but you believe that it still can never be justified, then essentially you are saying it is better to have more innocent lives lost than to stoop to committing torture. Which, if that is your opinion, doesn't really put you in a position to call someone else "morally bankrupt".

And if you do hold that opinion--that even if torture could save lives, it is still not justified--I suppose you would have to oppose any form of warfare, because surely if torturing is always wrong, full stop, then killing should always be wrong, full stop.

Unless of course your argument is that torture is NOT effective in gathering reliable information, or we have no way of being certain that only the guilty are being tortured, in which case we're back to the questions I first raised.

Brando said...

"I wonder what life was saved by shoving food up someone's ass."

I suspect much of this was just plain old sadism, which can never be justified. I haven't heard Cheney defend sadism for its own sake, though.

mccullough said...

This is not a winning issue for Democrats. What is Cheney saying that Brennan is not? He was appointed by Obama and confirmed by a Dem majority Senate.

How to deal with terrorists is dividing the Dem party.

iowan2 said...

What do we have all of the govt agencies, and depts for? What is their goal?

The Military and the CIA have specific functions. Using stereotypes to speed along the discussion. Leftist don't like the mission, cant eliminate the agencies, or military,(stupid constitution)so publicly castrate their power and demand (publicly) that they carry out missions outside their training. (fighting Ebola), behind the scenes, with the aid of the Democrat PR operation (the media), leftist in fact do use the military to kill people and break things, and the
CIA to use what ever method they deem necessary to gather information. (See Obama=letters of rendition).

As noted above this is a diversion.
The report. The product of persons that have absolutely no accountability for the product, is a bad farce. There is not a thing of substance contained in it.

It is easy to play the 'well the other guy did it too' but that is not about what the CIA did in the aftermath of 9-11. And what was done was with full knowledge of the proper committee members of congress.

In the end, that is the final telling detail of this fabricated controversy. The CIA has film, audio,and print evidence that congress persons gave full approval of all methods. Try to bring charges and watch as the CIA slowly releases, in the months before an election evidence that congress gave support and encouragement for all techniques

Freder Frederson said...

If torture does in fact save lives--which of course is the central question--but you believe that it still can never be justified, then essentially you are saying it is better to have more innocent lives lost than to stoop to committing torture.

That is what I am saying. That is also what the laws and treaties we have passed say.

Birkel said...

I wonder what life would be saved if we shoved some brains into "garage mahal". That nobody has yet tried leaves me wondering about the morals of Madisonians.

Freder Frederson said...

Leftist don't like the mission, cant eliminate the agencies, or military,(stupid constitution)

I just checked my copy of the constitution, and I don't see anywhere where it mandates the creation of a spy agency or military. In fact most of the sections of the constitution that deal with the military are to limit its power.

I do see a strict prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment though.

mccullough said...

Freder

The torture laws in the US never repealed the necessity defense.

Drago said...

Freder: "That is also what the laws and treaties we have passed say."

LOL

A lefty is talking about following what laws "we have passed say".

I think obama has fully taken care of that silly and outdated thought.

Birkel said...

Freder Frederson believes we should have the strength of his moral convictions, since the odds strongly indicate it would be somebody else who died.

He does this while calling himself moral.

Birkel said...

When, precisely, did "cruel and unusual punishment" become recast with a word other than "punishment"? I am asking if the word punishment has had a transformation from some earlier understanding to the understanding we have today.

Anybody have a scholarly article on that subject?

Hagar said...

W. and Cheney thought they were in "Jack Bauer" situation. The surprise of 9/11 may be some excuse for that, but they should have recovered their balance as time dragged on.

And Rumsfeld and Cheney, at least, have been around the Federal Government long enough to know that sending an order requiring judgment to be used down the bureaucracy is a recipe for disaster if you don't also stay right on top of it.

And I do believe that telling the judge that "my lawyer said it would be OK" will not wash in any known court in this country.

William said...

Saddam, in one of his torture rooms, had a harness rigged over a vat of hydrochloric acid. The lower portion of the victim's body was lowered into the vat. Al Qaeda used a power drill on the articulated joints of their victims. I don't know if these tactics were used to glean useful information or simply to terrify their victims. I do think that such tactics can be called torture. If you describe water boarding and sleep deprivation as torture, then you're cheapening the term and you, yourself, are the one being Orwellian........We make peace with our enemies and put Cheney in jail.

Freder Frederson said...

The torture laws in the US never repealed the necessity defense.

Then let's charge and bring the perpetrators to trial and let them offer that affirmative defense.

Mike said...

" They used these methods because they thought they had tried everything else and had yet to learn more.""

No. They used these almost immediately when they captured someone. And they used them when they had everything and just wanted to "make sure" they didn't have anything else.

Freder Frederson said...

If you describe water boarding and sleep deprivation as torture, then you're cheapening the term and you, yourself

I am not cheapening anything. I am just sticking to the statutory and internationally established definition of torture. You are cheapening it by narrowing it to only the most heinous and physically damaging acts.

MadisonMan said...

History will not be kind to Cheney

Oh, that's just BS. Cheney, like all Vice Presidents, will be forgotten.

Dan Hossley said...

Rectal feeding was administered to one individual named in the report. He was on a hunger strike. That was the reason. The other claimed instances of rectal feeding were to "unnamed" persons...if they exist.

Sending Chuck Todd in to interview Dick Cheney is like sending pajama boy in to fix healthcare.gov.

jr565 said...

Mike wrote:
The tell in Cheney's interview is that he keeps returning to 9/11. 9/11 justifies *anything*, according to him. Torture? 9/11. Torturing innocent people? 9/11. "Rectal hydration"? 9/11.

rectal hydration was not one of the approved methods. He's not thwt familiar with it but believes it was done for medical reasons. So the issue is not 9/11 but health of the prisoner, who was probably on a hunger strike.
And not "anything" was justified. Only the approved methods. Those not approved would not be justified. And they wouldn't be approved because the admin considered such things torture.

tim maguire said...

jacksonjay said...
"Turns out I'm really good at killing people," Obama said quietly, "Didn't know that was gonna be a strong suit of mine."

Swaggy B


Pffft! He does how much of this killing all by himself? He's really good at voting present while others do the dirty work. And many of us did know that would be a strong suit of his.

Thorley Winston said...

The torture laws in the US never repealed the necessity defense.

The necessity defense is a general recognized in State common law and States differ on what the elements are. Generally the elements are that (1) the defendant acted to avoid a significant risk of harm (2) there was no adequate legal means available that could have been used to avoid the harm and (3) the harm that was inflicted by the defendant’s actions was less than the harm that was avoided. Some States also require additional elements such as that (4) the harm that was avoided had to be imminent and that (5) the action taken must have been reasonably expected to avoid this imminent harm.


IMO if you have a literal “ticking time bomb” scenario where you have a captive with information about an imminent attack, you might* be able to prevail with a necessity defense but I’m not sure that it would or should work if there is no imminent attack and the object is to get more general operational information like locations of enemy bases, the structure of their networks, supporters, etc. The last two elements that some jurisdictions have added IMO are the difference between “torture only as a last resort in extreme circumstances” to “torture is just another method in our wheelhouse when they don’t cooperate right away.”


* This is a common law defense not a statutory defense and AFAIK there has been no case law on whether and under what circumstances inflicting pain or humiliation on another human being can be justified under a defense of necessity. Lesser crimes like trespass and destruction of property have been upheld in some circumstances but taking the life of another human being (except in self-defense or defense of others) has not AFAIK.


jr565 said...

Let's say we have the head planner of Al Qaeda in custody and know he's not innocent and we have reason to believe another attack will be imminent, or that if anyone has such knowledge it would be him. How far would you go to get thwt info? If it's time sensitive and you can't wait months while building a rapport. If you don't get the info a lot of people are going to potentially die in ways far worse than water boarding.
Considering we do it to our troops and don't consider it torture and considering they suffer no long term damage and it gets results, why WOULDN'T you waterboard that person? I'd waterboard ten high level ISIS embers if it led to info thwt could prevent the decapitation of One journalist. Because THAT to me is torture. To have your head sawed off without even an anasthetic. And not cut off with one cut, but rather sawed off, so you feel yourself bleed out and die in agony. Fuck anyone who thinks water boarding someone who would do thwt makes you the same as them.

Francisco D said...

ARM,

You are either an idiot or a walking leftist talking point. The two are not mutually exclusive.

You stated that Cheney failed to prevent 9/11.

The Bush administration was in office less than 8 months before 9/11 happened. They also got a late start after the Bush v. Gore debacle. Do you think that the Clinton Administration (8 years in office) might have been in a better position to prevent 9/11? Do you think that AQ plans things in an 8 month time frame?

mccullough said...

Freder,

They would be acquitted in 5 minutes. Prosecutors don't bring losing cases.

And the public would overwhelmingly support the defendants when all the evidence was out.

Obama could release all the information to the public if he wanted to. But he doesn't.

Robert Cook said...

"Someone once said the Constitution is not a suicide pact."

A specious, nonsensical statement, used to unilaterally void the constitution and its limits on government power.

rcocean said...

This rivals the "Valarie Phlame Affair" in terms of importance and interest.

Yawn.

EDH said...

The Cheney critics are right: the risk is that use of these torture methods will spread in the future.

Witness the Michelle Obama school lunch program.

Clayton Hennesey said...

Outside a strictly legal definition, "torture" becomes a term unbounded in its inclusiveness, like "brutal".

"The Democratic Party treated Debbie Wasserman Schultz with absolute brutality!"

Drago said...

Francisco D: "The Bush administration was in office less than 8 months before 9/11 happened. They also got a late start after the Bush v. Gore debacle. Do you think that the Clinton Administration (8 years in office) might have been in a better position to prevent 9/11? Do you think that AQ plans things in an 8 month time frame?"

The planning, preparation and installation of actors for the 9-11 terrorist action occurred throughout the entirety of Clinton's last term.

GWBush "inherited" the terrorist action from Clinton.

Drago said...

Clayton Hennesey: "Outside a strictly legal definition, "torture" becomes a term unbounded in its inclusiveness, like "brutal"."

Or #WarOnWomen.

Or "rape culture".

Or "eliminationist rhetoric".

Or "hate speech".

Gee, it's like there's a pattern or something to how the left "brutalizes" language and terms.

machine said...

So we hang others for doing these things...but IOKIWDI...

rock solid case there...the case for torturing and killing innocents has been made in here...carry on proud patriots.

Drago said...

Robert Cook: "A specious, nonsensical statement, used to unilaterally void the constitution and its limits on government power"

I'd stick to specious, nonsensical and utterly void of logic conspiracy theories if I were you, truther-boy.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

To me, the transcript reads that Cheney is hiding behind the President and the lawyers at the Justice Department.

"It wasn't torture in terms of it wasn't part of the program."

That's mealy-mouthed, not rock solid.

Gusty Winds said...

AReasonabelMan said: Cheney failed in allowing 9/11 to happen

Somehow the eight years of failed prevention by the Clinton administration, is reasonably left out of course.

Gusty Winds said...

Well, torture, to me, Chuck, is an American citizen on a cell phone making a last call to his four young daughters shortly before he burns to death in the upper levels of the Trade Center in New York City on 9/11.

Sure seems like Cheney has a point there.

Anybody about to burn to death would probably choose rectal re-hydration as an alternative if given the choice.

B said...

I used to think Cheney wasn't that evil. Turns out I was wrong.

Alex said...

torture is being forced to listen to the drivelings of garage mahal.

Alex said...

B said...
I used to think Cheney wasn't that evil. Turns out I was wrong.


Turns out I was flat out wrong. Liberals are that dumb.

Stanley Smith said...

From someone (a Vietnam POW who was, you know, ACTUALLY tortured):

"Everyone has a different physical and mental threshold of pain that he can tolerate. If the interrogator is well trained he can identify when that point is reached – the point when if slightly more pain is inflicted, a person no longer can “hold out,” just giving (following the Geneva Convention) name, rank, serial number and date of birth. At that precise point, a very narrow torture “window of truth” exists. At that moment a person may give useful or truthful information to stop the pain. As slightly more pain is applied, the person “loses it” and will say anything he thinks will stop the torture – any lie, any story, and any random words or sounds

This torture “window of truth” is theory to some. Having been there, it is fact to me. While in torture I had the sickening feeling deep within my soul that maybe I would tell the truth as that horrendous pain increased. It is unpleasant, but I can still dredge up the memory of that window of truth feeling as the pain level intensified.

Our world is not completely good or evil. To proclaim we will never use any form of enhanced interrogations causes our friends to think we are naive and eases our enemies’ recruitment of radical terrorists to plot attacks on innocent kids, men and women – or any infidel. If I were to catch a “mad bomber” running away from an explosive I would not hesitate a second to use “enhanced interrogation,” including waterboarding, if it would save lives of innocent people.

Our [president] does not impress radical terrorists like those who slit the throat of Daniel Pearl in 2002 simply because he was Jewish, and broadcast the sight and sound of his dying gurgling. Publicizing our enhanced interrogation techniques only emboldens those who will hurt us."

n.n said...

Rectal infusions are an alternative to suicide through nutrient and liquid abstention.

That said, instead of enhanced interrogation, they could have conducted planned communication (PC). Instead of foreign facilities, they could have carried out PC in the privacy of Planned Parenthood et al facilities. The threat of abortion through lethal injection, decapitation, and dismemberment would be a potent incentive to coerce a confession.

B said...

Left Bank of the Charles wrote: That's mealy-mouthed, not rock solid.

I read it differently. His definition is far more extreme. But he took the lawyers definition and walked right up to that line with no remorse. If unrestrained, he probably would have gone further.

He's just covering his ass saying any extra-curricular activities of agents can't be pinned on him.

Brando said...

If torture "works", in terms of getting reliable information that saves innocent lives, but is still unjustifiable in every case, then shouldn't any act of war also be unjustifiable in every case?

If we knew in advance that Japanese planes were going to hit Pearl Harbor on 12/7/41, would we have been wrong to send our own planes up to meet and destroy the oncoming bombers because that would have killed enemy pilots? If not, then why would it be preferable to capturing one of their pilots ahead of time, and torturing him to find out when and where the attack would take place?

Alex said...

Brando - you miss the larger point. Even if the US had intercepted the Japanese air force on Dec 7th, it wouldn't have prevented the Pacific War. You're arguing tactics instead of strategy.

EDH said...

Keep in mind the Clinton admin "outsourced" these very same and even more extreme coercive techniques to other countries through the "rendition" program.

EDH said...

Keep in mind the Clinton admin "outsourced" these very same and even more extreme coercive techniques to other countries through the "rendition" program.

Gahrie said...

If you guys on the Left were smart, you'd drop this issue right now.

The vast majority of the American people understand that sometimes you have to do unpleasant and unsavory things in order to protect innocent lives.

By continuing to bring this up, and try to rub the Right's face in it, you remind the American people that the Right have the courage and determination to do what had to be done to protect Americans, while the Left continuously fails this duty.

Brando said...

Of course, it's not a given that torture DOES produce reliable information. After all, if some subjects will give up truthful information under torture and other subjects will simply tell the torturer whatever the subject thinks the torturer needs to hear to stop the torture, and we cannot tell one type of admission from the other, it seems any information produced under torture is by nature unreliable.

That said, I can imagine situations where that wouldn't be the case--independent corroboration, information that at least narrows options--but I think before we embark on torture we need to establish this.

My qualms about torture are similar to those about the death penalty--in both cases we have someone at our mercy and there's usually some doubt as to whether we have a truly guilty party. But if we know that a few hours of severe pain to Mohammad Atta might save even one innocent person--if we can be certain of that--then that's a different matter.

Gahrie said...

Cheney failed in allowing 9/11 to happen

When did it become the responsibility of the vice president to ensure that no one deliberately flys airplanes into American buildings?

Gahrie said...

...the case for torturing and killing innocents has been made in here

Who advocated torturing innocents?

Everyone I read advocated torturing known terrorists......

n.n said...

The timing of this report may not be coincidental. In addition to creating a burden for the new Congress, it may serve to distract from evidence of a latent but festering recession, that has been exacerbated through trillion dollar deficits and misaligned development.

Since the Democrats are equally knowledgeable and responsible for conduct and execution in the "war on terror"; as well as bearing greater culpability in creation of the financial crisis, that aborted many high-profile Democrat interests; their selective application of a pro-choice policy begs the question of motive. Or perhaps that's the answer: selective or pro-choice policy.

Michael K said...

" He got more with legal techniques than we ever got with torture."

And you know this how ?

The Democrats put this out, I believe, in hopes that they can harass Bush and Cheney and CIA agents from the program by encouraging rogue foreign legal systems to arrest them just as the rogue prosecutor arrested Pinochet.

It is pure anger and revenge against people who they tried to prosecute and failed.

Cheney knows this and throws it back in their faces. He is one of the few tough guys who has been in our government since Eisenhower.

Brando said...

"Brando - you miss the larger point. Even if the US had intercepted the Japanese air force on Dec 7th, it wouldn't have prevented the Pacific War. You're arguing tactics instead of strategy."

That example was used just for the thousands killed at Pearl Harbor--the same question applies.

One difference of course is that the tortured person is someone "at our mercy" as opposed to enemy pilots in the air, who have agency and are in the process of attacking us (so maybe the example isn't so great). But war necessarily means killing enemy combatants, ostensibly to save lives on our side. If torture were proven to save lives (that is, "if") then why should torture not be justified in such cases?

I think for the most part the reason torture is opposed (and illegal, though of course the U.S. has long been ignoring that law, as have most countries) is because it is not considered reliable, in which case it only serves sadism.

Michael K said...

"George Bush, John Yoo, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and many others in the administration oversaw a program of illegal torture. In a just society they would have to answer for their crimes in a court of law. The persons who carried out the torture should also be prosecuted. "Just following orders" is not an excuse for a human rights crime. "

And there is the ideologue who was behind this sort of thing. And why.

Quod erat demonstrandum

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael K said...

Blogger ~ Steven said...
"I did my internship and residency in internal medicine in the mid-1970s. Proctolysis was performed for terminally ill patients (and one with tetanus) who could not tolerate NG feeding and had no IV access."

Steve, that must wring because Freder and Cookie know better.

Maybe the residency chiefs should be included in the state trials planned by Freder and Cookie.

Michael K said...

Must be wrong...

Damn autocorrect

n.n said...

I think there is a conversation to be had about creation of moral hazards, but it does not begin and end with planned communication. It includes assassination (e.g. Gaddafi, bin Laden); undeclared regime changes (e.g. Libya, Ukraine); extra-judicial conflicts (e.g. Pakistan); selective exclusion; displacement and replacement; cultural disruption; devaluation of capital and labor; and, of course, elective abortion. The last is a planning method to end a human life without cause.

As for planned communication, unlike premeditated torture, it falls in the realm of carrying out self-defense when there is probable cause. Rectal feeding may or may not have been part of planned communication, but it was necessary to prevent suicide through nutrient and water abstention. The collateral issues are one of the reasons that conflicts should be avoided until there is probable cause for self-defense.

Terry said...

In an attempt at clarity:
Torture is not punishment for being bad, it's an inducement to cooperate and so prevent bad things from happening. If an innocent person had the information that would save lives, torture is no more or less justifiable that if the person who had the needed information was a criminal. Ethically, anyway. Legally may be another matter.
Anyone who speaks in absolute terms about what are matters of opinion is a fool. There isn't much difference between "torture is always wrong" and "abortion is always wrong".

LarsPorsena said...

One of Bear Grylls old shows had him taking his fluid rectally in an episode in the Sahara.

The water wasn't potable to ingest so he used his rectum to hydrate.

Anonymous said...

It's torture to me to have to read through the oikophobic comments to this post. The worst torture to me would be tying me to a chair and forcing me to watch broadcast or cable TV.

Someone said it somewhere else but we are certainly living in a post-truth America. Or maybe I just haven't learned to love Big Brother.

Achilles said...

To all of you leftists out there: ARM, Cooke, Garage Mahal. I know it is hard on you living in this country having to walk the same streets as a moral reprobate like myself. You should save yourself this awful fate. I hear they never torture people in Afghanistan. Or Pakistan. Or the West Bank/Ghaza. Syria has nice climate.

Don't let my dark and twisted soul drag your pure clean angelic selves down. You are too good for this country and the horrible people that protect it.

Mike said...

That the media (and rubes like Garage et al) have conflated the medical treatment of one known prisoner (rectal rehydration to prevent him from starving/dying of thirst) with what they term "torture" to other known enemy combatants illustrates why this subject cannot be discussed rationally. Then DiFi let the cat out of the bag with her admission they had to rush it out before the Republicans took over committee chairs. SIX years of investigation and they had to "rush" it out without interviewing any CIA personnel or directors.

And the Left just eats this shit up!

Rusty said...

Freder Frederson said...
The torture laws in the US never repealed the necessity defense.

Then let's charge and bring the perpetrators to trial and let them offer that affirmative defense.

But, Freder, If it saves just one life isn't it worth it?

Describe the morality of war.

n.n said...

Terry:

Premeditated murder (e.g. abortion) is always wrong, other than in cases of self-defense, where moral judgment is relaxed. Abortion terminates a human life. Elective abortion terminates a human life for trivial causes.

n.n said...

re: premeditated murder

Even in war, there is an effort to prevent collateral damage, that is noticeably and practically missing in carrying out abortion, where the sole intent and purpose it to terminate a human life.

I Callahan said...

A crime according to whom, fool?

This was my response also. I'd like to ask the people who love to use the term "war criminal": who decides what is a war crime, and what is not?

Krumhorn said...

There is not a liberal in this country worthy of kissing Bush's rear end, but the weakest members of the herd run from Bush. Compared to the lickspittles denying and attacking him, Bush is a moral giant -- if that's not damning with faint praise. -- Ann Coulter

While lefties torture the truth, there is nothing in the enhanced interrogation procedures that constituted torture any more than second regretful thoughts the morning after were the result of rape.

The bitchers and complainers conveniently forget that Bill and Hillary, working through Jamie Gorelick, were responsible for creating "the wall" between the intelligence community and the FBI. That wall was a material factor in the failure to detect and prevent 9/11...none months after the Clintons left town.

President Bush and Vice President Cheney did their jobs and prevented another attack for the rest of their terms in office.

If someone wanted to torture with rectal hydration, they would have put a fair amount of Tabasco Sauce in the hummus.

- Krumhorn

Terry said...

n.n.-
If the child will die in any case, and the mother can be saved if the child is aborted, is it a moral wrong to abort the child?
Suppose aborting one child is the only way to save one of a pair of twins?

I Callahan said...

Anyone who did not refuse to carry out these techniques, who "just followed orders" and who planned, oversaw, or performed the torture is a sadistic psychopath.

This is just your opinion, Cook. You don't know any of the people who did this, and can't fathom why someone would. This is just a result of your knee-jerk emotional revulsion to the idea as a whole.

Fernandinande said...

n.n said...
Rectal infusions are an alternative to suicide through nutrient and liquid abstention.


They're also science-y:

"AS THE SUN set over Lake Eyasi in Tanzania, nearly thirty minutes had passed since I had inserted a turkey baster into my bum and injected the feces of a Hadza man – a member of one of the last remaining hunter-gatherers tribes in the world – into the nether regions of my distal colon. I struggled to keep my legs in the air with my toes pointing towards what I thought was the faint outline of the Southern Cross rising in the evening sky. With my hands under my hips – and butt perched against a large rock for support – I peddled an imaginary upside down bicycle in the air to pass the time as I struggled to make sure my new gut ecosystem stayed put inside me."

n.n said...
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n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
richard mcenroe said...

I'm starting to treat ARM like I treat Laslo.

Skip on down.

n.n said...

Terry:

You've given examples of probable cause. Except for the dysfunctional baby, which may or may not die with varying degrees of uncertainty. I have noted an exception for the mother's life, not welfare. The same applies to one or more babies. A further consideration is if the life of the mother or baby(s) can be saved without terminating one or more lives. There will always be exceptions to the rule, which necessitate and justify an exemption, but the principles do not change.

The principles are individual dignity and intrinsic value. The constraints are the natural and conscious order. Everything else is reconciliation guided by a fitness function (i.e. moral philosophy or religion).

Terry said...

Not to split hairs, n.n., but this is what I meant by writing "There isn't much difference between "torture is always wrong" and "abortion is always wrong"."
Making terse, absolute moral statements is foolish, or at best a sort of shorthand for a more complex argument. The WaPo has written an editorial saying that all torture should be forbidden on moral grounds. Really? The WaPo thinks it is morally evil slap a person if it meant saving the entire human race from extinction? What would be the point of that?
I am not a Catholic, but I read First Things. In First a things article about torture, J.D. Flynn writes "The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that “torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity.”"
http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/12/torture-and-witness-to-life
This seems about right. Intent does matter.

Anonymous said...

Brando said...
Of course, it's not a given that torture DOES produce reliable information. After all, if some subjects will give up truthful information under torture and other subjects will simply tell the torturer whatever the subject thinks the torturer needs to hear to stop the torture,**** and we cannot tell one type of admission from the other,**** it seems any information produced under torture is by nature unreliable.

********

It's a strawman argument to claim that "torture" always yields reliable results. That's not the claim.

The claim is, If the terrorist has lied under pressure, the interrogators will find out. How?
By going out to act on the information. That's why it's called "actionable intelligence."


I'll never understand why progs come up with revisionist history, right on the spot, to justify their points of view. SINCE when does 5,000 years of human history tell us that torture "never" works, or alternatively, that when it did work, milder methods "would/could have" worked as well?????

Terry said...

Didn't the Left sentence Terry Schiavo to death by starvation for the crime of being inconvenient? Schiavo was not brain dead, you can look it up.

Rusty said...

richard mcenroe said...
I'm starting to treat ARM like I treat Laslo.

Skip on down.


At least laslo is entertaining. Genuinely funny.
I suspect he is Betas alter ego.

Francisco D said...

@Drago,

I see that ARM has left the thread. He only got paid to interjects his stale leftist talking point, not to debate the obviously logical timeline. That talking point has got to be 13 years old.

Maybe he will resurface to tell us that fire does not melt steel, so the collapse of the twin towers had to be set up with explosives, presumably by Bush so that he could invade Iraq. LOL!

Why do we waste our time with these trolls?

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

I've watched enough 24 to know that torture is absolutely necessary. You just need to get Jack Bauer on it.

n.n said...

Terry:

In both cases, there is only one exception: self-defense. The only remaining question, now that we have rejected planned abortion, torture, and planned communication for trivial causes, is what should the response of society be?

In the case of planned communication or "enhanced interrogation", there is presumably probable cause, that justifies its use. The same probable cause that justifies planned abortion or premeditated murder.

I prefer not to phrase it "not always wrong", because, whether it is torture, enhanced interrogation, or abortion, the default statement is "always wrong, but with an exception". And in the case of abortion, the subject slated for termination is known or assumed to be wholly innocent (i.e. without malicious purpose or intent). This further complicates the "self-defense" exception.

So, yes, the emphasis, while perhaps nuanced, is important.

Alex said...

I've maintained since 9-11 that it will take a nuclear device going off in America for the American people to tell the liberals the STFU forever about torture or whatever else the fuck America needs to do.

Thank god that hasn't happened.

n.n said...

Alex:

That may be true, and it was in extraordinary circumstances, including most notably World War 2; but, the occasional review of our national moral philosophy or religion is a healthy exercise. However, I would refrain or limit participation in the midst of an active conflict that exposes Americans, allies, and others to enhanced risk.

Jason said...

Incontrovertible video proof that coercive interrogation methods work:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6sAJUrHWfM

Jason said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLN6QDovF2U

Jack Bauer interrogates Santa Claus.

"You're on the naughty list this year, Jack. The NAUGHTY LIST!"

Alex said...

Jack Bauer would interrogate the elves. That's how badass he is.

jr565 said...

Paco Wove wrote:
"It wasn't torture in terms of it wasn't part of the program."

Sorry, that's just being weaselly.


Not at all. That's saying it's not one of the techniques authorized by him or the president as part of enhanced interrogation. The person who did authorize that though says it was done for medical reasons.

Lets go after CHeney for things that were authorized and not things that occurred despite not being authorized> Because he may not even know they were done, and certainly can't answer for why they were done by others.

jr565 said...

Althouse wrote:
Even if you accept that, however, you should still go on to ask whether this is something we should do. I don't agree with the proposition that it's fine to do whatever stops short of torture (and the corollary: let's just talk about the definition of torture).

But that doesn't say what you ARE authorized to do. John Yoo was tasked with coming up with things you could do that fall short of torture, but which could get us information.

jr565 said...

Althouse wrote:
you should still go on to ask whether this is something we should do. I don't agree with the proposition that it's fine to do whatever stops short of torture
so what line are you saying should be adopted? You see how you're going to have to get into the very question that John Yoo was tasked with. What is the acceptable line. Its not torture for you, its something short of torture. HOw short of torture. Can they go beyond the army field manual. Weigh that with how important is it to get the information. What if the army field manual wont get the job done (because they were trained to know what's in the army field manual) but you are pressed with time to deal with, say, a 2nd 9/11.

n.n said...

jr565:

Exigent circumstance. I know that it creates a moral exception, and it is logical that there is a legal exception. Also, we should take care to distinguish between authorized and incidental actions. The latter should be addressed separately.

That said, this still does not intimate a pro-choice policy. A pro-choice policy is an unprincipled act of willful ignorance. With exigent circumstances, as are present to justify self-defense, there are recordable and reproducible standards, not pro-choice.

Achilles said...

Francisco D said...

"I see that ARM has left the thread. He only got paid to interjects his stale leftist talking point, not to debate the obviously logical timeline. That talking point has got to be 13 years old."

Hopefully he took me up on my offer. I would hate to see such a pure and holy person be tainted by our presence. I hear Russia is looking for morally outstanding people like him and he would never have to be around evil.

Anonymous said...

"Blogger Gahrie said...
If you guys on the Left were smart, you'd drop this issue right now.

The vast majority of the American people understand that sometimes you have to do unpleasant and unsavory things in order to protect innocent lives.

By continuing to bring this up, and try to rub the Right's face in it, you remind the American people that the Right have the courage and determination to do what had to be done to protect Americans, while the Left continuously fails this duty.

12/15/14, 11:44 AM


The reason for this isn't complicated.

The left, many of whom were raised right here in the United States, believe the world to be a safe place filled with nice people who are just misguided.

The Right believes the world is filled with dangerous people.

The left doesn't realize that when the dangerous people come knocking at our door, they will be held to task for their misguided idea that the world is filled with rainbows and unicorns.

Fortunately for the left, the chickens of the Clinton administration didn't come home to roost until the Bush administration.

If they get lucky again, the harm the Obama administration has caused won't be fully realized until the Ted Cruz administration begins in 2017. Then they left can smile and pat each other on the back once again and reassure each other that it's Bush and Cruz who caused the harm, not their policies and head in the ground attitude they've had for the 16 years of those two administrations.

Grung_e_Gene said...

Torture does not produce reliable evidence, unless you believe those men and women tortured by the Inquisition were actually withces and in league with the devil.