Democrats & Liberals Archives

So Waterboarding is Repugnant?

At the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Michael B. Mukasey, Bush’s nominee for attorney general, could not bring himself to say that waterboarding is torture and torture is illegal according to the constitution. Now we get his “clarification” that torture is “repugnant.”

Is this all Mukasey can do? Tell us that torture is "repugnant"? What does he mean by this? He does not like it? It makes him feel uncomfortable? Nobody asked him about his feelings. We are not in the midst of a beauty contest. So it's "repugnant" to him. So what? What's he going to do about it?

Any decent American will state forthright that waterboarding is torture and torture is illegal. Why can't the guy who has been nominated to be attorney general, the one who is supposed to protect the American system of justice, say clearly that torture is illegal and that he will not allow it to happen?

It's dismaying to see so many so-called brilliant attorneys expounding on what they consider to be legal reasons for Mukasey to not say where he stands. None of them have merit and none of them deserve discussion. Torture is illegal and should not be allowed.

Senator Lindsey Graham, who has an extensive legal background, said on The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, he understands why senators like Whitehouse will vote against Mukasey. Then he proceeded on a lengthy discourse to explain that he trusts Mukasey to do the right thing and that he would vote for Mukasey.

But the legal mumbo jumbo expressed by Graham as well as other Republicans is pure nonsense. Waterboarding is torture and illegal. Unless Mukasey says this he does not deserve to be confirmed.

I have advice for Senator Schumer, who recommended Mukasey for the job. He says he is not commenting. It's obvious why: After talking a lot about upholding the constitution he recommends Mukasey who is siding against the constitution. However he has a chance to be the hero in this sorry mess by saying "I made a mistake with my recommendation. I am against confirming Mukasey and hope other senators will vote no as well."

Schumer should pay attention to what Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said:

"Will we join that gloomy historical line leading from the Inquisition, through the prisons of tyrant regimes, through gulags and dark cells, and through Saddam Hussein's torture chambers? Will that be the path we choose?" Whitehouse said in remarks on the Senate floor.

"If we allow the president of the United States to prevent, to forbid a would-be attorney general of the United States -- the most highly visible representative of our rule of law -- from recognizing that bright line, we will have turned down that dark stairway. I cannot stand for that."

I can't stand for this either. Waterboarding is not merely "repugnant," it is unconstitutional.

Posted by Paul Siegel at November 1, 2007 5:02 PM
Comments
Comment #237405

wow, Paul… pretty rare that I agree with you… nice article.

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at November 1, 2007 5:14 PM
Comment #237408

I need help in finding the Constitutional prohibition against torture. I know many have said that the Constitution does not require us to committ suicide. Can any one of you honestly say that given a situation where you absoutely knew that a biological or nuclear bomb had been planted in your city, and we had the person in custody who planted that bomb, that you would not authorize any means necessary to prevent hundreds of thousands of lives from being snuffed out? Please, really think about it, everything and everyone you know is about to become ash or dead in days if you don’t act forcefully. Whose conscious would prevent them from doing anything to stop this from happening. If you still think torture in this situation is wrong please sit down with your family tonite and tell them how much you love them but that your conscious would not allow you to possibly save them under these circumstances. And then, pray to whatever God you believe in that this scenario never happens.

Posted by: Jim at November 1, 2007 5:39 PM
Comment #237409

You have gotten right to the point, Paul - which is exactly what Mukasey refuses to do. Lindsay Graham SOUNDED tougher on torture back when Alberto Gonzales was going through the same process nearly three years ago. He expressed marked disappointment in Gonzales’ answers, but somehow voted with his party to forward his nomination to the full Senate. Graham knows what’s wrong with both these nominees, but doesn’t have the political courage to block them, when he - more than the Democrats - has the leverage to do so.

Great article!

Posted by: Walker Willingham at November 1, 2007 5:40 PM
Comment #237412

I support the clinton and gore position: Send them to Egypt and let them do it for us.
Sounds like Mukasey probably prefers that too.

Posted by: kctim at November 1, 2007 5:50 PM
Comment #237413

Jim,

The problem is that the discretion to make the exceptions for extraordinary cases needs to come at the other end of the process.

When lives can be saved by breaking laws, people will do that. But when laws are created to explicitly make every possible exception, then the allowance WILL be abused. The hypothetical ticking bomb scenario is no more a reason to legitimize some torture, than is the battered wife and child syndrome a reason to explicitly write into law when a wife can kill her husband to protect herself. There are cases where the definition of self-defense is not really broad enough to cover some such killings, but judges and juries can and should exercise some discretion based on circumstances. But if a legislature were to write a law that explicitly stated “if you fear your husband will kill you, then kill him first”, that would be crazy.

There was no ticking bomb in Abu Ghraib - just an ethic of abuse that had become legitimized. Rumsfeld and Gonzales had engineered that ethic, and Mukasey shows no signs that he is willing to repudiate it.

Posted by: Walker Willingham at November 1, 2007 5:54 PM
Comment #237416

Jim,
The Eighth Amendment forbids torture with its clause, “cruel and unusual punishment.”

“In Furman v. Georgia (1972), Justice Brennan wrote, “There are, then, four principles by which we may determine whether a particular punishment is ‘cruel and unusual’.”

The “essential predicate” is “that a punishment must not by its severity be degrading to human dignity,” especially torture.
“A severe punishment that is obviously inflicted in wholly arbitrary fashion.”
“A severe punishment that is clearly and totally rejected throughout society.”
“A severe punishment that is patently unnecessary.”
Wikipedia

In a case of mistaken identity, a man named Khaled el-Masri was kidnapped by the CIA, held in an Afghan prison for four months, and tortured. The Supreme Court rejected his case because it would reveal state secrets.

Consider that for a moment.

The United States of America is in very bad shape.

Posted by: phx8 at November 1, 2007 6:20 PM
Comment #237419

Thanks phx8. I do understand cruel and unusual punishment. Does the word punishment not imply or mean a judicial pronouncement by a court of law. How does this fit in with using means to obtain information to protect innocent lives. I hardly think that punishment would be on the mind of the authority charged with saving lives.

Walker, if I understand what you wrote, torture is OK if, after the fact, it is found that it was justified, produced results and saved lives. Do I read you correctly? If that is your position, you are asking some person with authority to make a decision to use torture which may or may not be legal and not worry about the consequences if that decision does not yield satisfactory results. Would you also place that restriction on law enforcement who in the act of preventing innocent death kills the suspected perp while acting in good faith that he/she had no other choice? Is not causing death the most extreme form of punishment? I want to be convinced that I am wrong in my position but I know that if I had the chance to prevent a horrendous crime from being committed that I would do whatever is necessary to prevent it and to hell with the consequences.

Posted by: Jim at November 1, 2007 6:43 PM
Comment #237420

Jim,
The problem with torture is that if you open the door a little, a whole lot comes in. There could be a lot of compelling reasons for torture, ranging from the 24 hour nuclear bomb scenario to more everyday situations. Suppose torturing an Iraqi civilian could save the life of someone in your platoon? Or reveal the location of an IED? Or maybe just name names of other insurgents? And what if you only suspect the civilian might have such information? Or, suppose torturing a kidnapper could force the person to reveal the whereabouts of a victim? Suppose torturing a murderer could force the person to reveal the whereabouts of the body? There are a lot of temptations, no end to them…

You get the point. It is wrong for our country, which is based upon law. It is illegal. It has to be that way.

And waterboarding is unquestionably torture.

On a personal, emotional level, both you and I might go to extremes to protect our loved ones. We might go far beyond what the law permits. I understand that. However, it is different from acting toether as a group, for society as a whole, when acting through government and through laws.

Posted by: phx8 at November 1, 2007 7:14 PM
Comment #237425

phx8

Good post. Torture is a slippery slope, all one

need do is focus for a moment on what Hitler did

during his reign of sadistic treatment, of all

the prisoners in his charge. Could this happen

again? In the event we allow some of these

mistakes to become [buried] now, where will it

END.



Posted by: -DAVID- at November 1, 2007 9:42 PM
Comment #237426

Supposedly, torture doesn’t work according to what I have read. Ask John McCain.

There is also the fact that Bush in a speech he gave said it wasn’t right for Congress to ask those questions because Mukasey hasn’t been “briefed” on the program. Just wondering what that has to do with weather or not waterboarding is torture. Bush apparently hasn’t had the opportunity for him to give Mukasey the right answers. It stinks.

Posted by: womanmarine at November 1, 2007 10:10 PM
Comment #237427
I need help in finding the Constitutional prohibition against torture.

All treaties to which the US is a party are US law…that includes the Geneva Conventions…

Posted by: Rachel at November 1, 2007 10:53 PM
Comment #237432

Jim-
The trouble with torture? It’s more about breaking a person’s will than their resistance to questioning. It puts people in a very suggestible state, which means that any amount of leading and compelling in your questioning will invite false responses confabulated accordingly.

That, combined with the fact that torture is un-American and barbaric, pretty much makes it useless to us. Clever questioning and interrogation, along with improvements in intelligence-gathering skills will save more lives.

The unfortunate fact is that conservatives have responded to the unlikely disaster that was 9/11 by taking up the assumption that they would have have to treat every unlikely scenario as if it could be true, and be aggressive accordingly.

They decided some time ago that if one wanted to be serious, one had to be willing to do anything to defend the country, rather than be inhibited by one’s scruples from doing what the Enemy would not.

There are somethings you can win by being most ruthless, a war on terrorism isn’t one of them. You have to demonstrate you’re better than them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 2, 2007 12:05 AM
Comment #237433

What ought to happen is fairly simple. Congress itself should go on the record and declare whether waterboarding is torture. They’re the ones who write who the laws.

Mukasey DID say that torture was illegal, and if the waterboarding is torture, then it would be illegal. It’s not his job, however, to actually make the laws.

Torture definitely “works”—especially in the hands of an expert interrogator.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 2, 2007 12:22 AM
Comment #237439

kctim,

I support the clinton and gore position: Send them to Egypt and let them do it for us. Sounds like Mukasey probably prefers that too.

Yeah, like outsourcing illegal behavior make you clean of any responsability…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 2, 2007 9:11 AM
Comment #237441

Jim,

[…] torture is OK if, after the fact, it is found that it was justified, produced results and saved lives. Do I read you correctly? If that is your position, you are asking some person with authority to make a decision to use torture which may or may not be legal and not worry about the consequences if that decision does not yield satisfactory results.

Hum? Why no consequences!?
In strongly disagree. You take this the wrong way. Torture being illegal, every authority that will resort to use MUST face its consequences, aka a jury MUST examine the circumstances and decide what the consequences are. Because they must have ones.
Otherwise, it means it’s always legal to torture, which is not.

Would you also place that restriction on law enforcement who in the act of preventing innocent death kills the suspected perp while acting in good faith that he/she had no other choice? Is not causing death the most extreme form of punishment?

Killing a suspect IS causing death! The suspect is just that, a suspect, until found guilty.
Good faith is not justice.

I want to be convinced that I am wrong in my position but I know that if I had the chance to prevent a horrendous crime from being committed that I would do whatever is necessary to prevent it and to hell with the consequences.

You always can. And there is always consequences. They comes with actions, remember?

Just be prepared to face them. If you torture someone, you MUST face the legal consequences. Depending on the circumstances, they could be soft or not. But they must have some.

Otherwise, it legalize torture.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 2, 2007 9:23 AM
Comment #237442

In the ticking bomb hypothesis, I’m often wondering if people will congratulates more the heroes who resort to torture (beacause they had “the balls” to do bad things to do “good”) or the ones who didn’t?

The Devil is always in the details. In torture usage too.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 2, 2007 9:28 AM
Comment #237449

Philippe
“Yeah, like outsourcing illegal behavior make you clean of any responsability…”

I don’t say that it does. I just believe our govts responsibility to protect Americans is ALWAYS more important than the rights of terrorists, not just when a Republican administration is doing it.

You see, the left is using torture to get control. They tell us how wrong it is and how evil the Republicans are for allowing it. But, as with most other things, they want the people to forget their past.

Seeing how much the left loves clinton and gore and how they never speak out against their use of torture, I don’t see how they can complain about it when a Republican supports it, and expect to be taken seriously.

Posted by: kctim at November 2, 2007 10:01 AM
Comment #237452

I think it is disgusting that conformation hearings for presidential cabinet appointees are dominated by vague political correct questions. Where is waterboard torture mentioned specifically in our laws? To ask him to make a specific judgment on a vague law is nothing more than grandstanding for camera time. Why not ask what term abortion is permissible or if affirmative action is right.? No one right or left advocate torture and their views from what I have read are about the same, just read the questioning senator’s previous statements on the use of torture. Who is proud of Abu Ghraib? Those people broke the law and the administration at watch dealt with it as any other would. It obviously was not sanctioned. The question is simply a quest for camera and blog time.

Senate hearings are to make sure crooks aren’t appointed to high office. They don’t exist to make political statements by asking an attorney to play the supreme court and determine constitutionality of an issue.

Posted by: Kruser at November 2, 2007 10:33 AM
Comment #237453

Many good comments on this issue. Just another thought, President Roosevelt authorized work on developing an atomic bomb and President Truman used it. If one accepts that death is the ultimate form of torture, were both of these presidents wrong? Few on this site will argue that both presidents didn’t do the right thing in defeating the Japaneese with this terrible weapon. Those not dying immediately in the aftermath of the nuclear bombing lived lives in terrible pain and misery. Yet, we praise and admire these two men for making the correct decision while being guilty of taking thousands of innocent civilian lives. Some will say, but that was war. I say, so is our battle against world terrorism. In some ways one can compare pornography with torture. A supreme court justice said of porn, “I know it when I see it”. With torture, we must have confidence that our authorities will use it when it is needed. If we have no confidence in our authorities to use their best judgement then we are all lost. We then have anarchy. Arguing about what is right, proper and legal when a threat is imminent makes us all losers.

Posted by: Jim at November 2, 2007 11:08 AM
Comment #237457

As I understand it, waterboarding is explicitly forbidden in the military manuals as of last year anyway, cannot be administered by military personnel, and can only be administered in the very most extreme cases (i.e., the ticking time-bomb) by officials of the CIA.

Instead of grandstanding with this issue, if Congress is serious about it they ought to pass specific laws that deal with it.

The current vagueness lies with the discrepancy between coercive interrogation techniques that cause physical and emotional discomfort and those which cause actual physical harm. Absolutely everybody agrees that breaking limbs, beatings, etc. cause physical harm—but what about sleep deprivation, stress positions, or extremely long interrogation sessions?

I don’t think that any of us derive pleasure from the idea of ANY of this going on, but it is the duty of Congress to themselves be specific about when necessity demands such actions and which specific actions should never be used.

One thing I don’t hear people talking about is that while US and international law has a lot to say about interrogation subjects must be treated, it is NOT required for US military personnel to take the risky measures involved in taking so many prisoners in the first place.

If the potential intelligence value of taking prisoners is removed, our soldiers will simply kill a lot more of the enemy on the battlefied—as they have every right to—instead of risking their own lives in trying to get them to surrender.

Seems to me that it’s ultimately more humane to try to get somebody to lay down their weapons and potentially be subjected to waterboarding (which still remains very unlikely) than to merely shoot them on the spot.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 2, 2007 11:44 AM
Comment #237458

First and foremost, the discussion here shouldn’t be about the rights of terrorists, but instead of suspects. Any other approach assumes the government’s infallibility on the issue.

Torture has been known to make even innocent people make confessions to acts they did not commit. It also, even with people actually guilty of something, can cause suspect to elaborate stories in line with interrogator expectations. In both cases, you may just end up sending yourself on a wild goose chase, rather than saving lives.

Torture is about control. We fear lacking control over suspects and known terrorists. Unfortunately, we can’t control the way people process information when they’re suggestible, as they are when torture works.

kctim-
Do you believe the government’s responsibility to protect people from criminals merits is more important than the right of the accused?

As for whether the Clinton administration did these things? Well, yes, they did. But why should two wrongs make a right?

The real question is, why a conservative/libertarian like yourself should be so distrustful when the government’s got a hand in your wallet or it’s nose in people’s business, but so trusting when that same government is using fascist and communist-approved torture techniques on people. A healthy distrust of the government can’t be healthy if you would trust your government to get this right when you trust them little enough with less serious power.

Kruser-
Vague? I don’t see what’s so vague about the question. Is Waterboarding Torture or not? Yes or no? What is torture? Using techniques that create pain and suffering in body and mind in order to coerce something out of somebody.

Let me make this even clearer: if a police interrogator used this on a person, would the case get thrown out on that account? Clearly, it would be. By that standard, we can affirm that Waterboarding is torture. The standard the Bush White House uses is basically the legal standard which defines When a person has to receive emergency care from a hospital or clinic.

If it’s anybody refusing to be nailed down on this, it’s this Administration. It’s they who argue in circles that something’s not torture. Well, let’s see them put in stress positions. Let’s see them stuck in a room with loud music, and deprived of sleep. Let’s see them waterboarded. Then lets ask them what’s torture.

Jim-
Death as the ultimate form of torture? It’s not for nothing that one of the definitions of torture involves distortion or overrefinement of a meaning or an argument. Killing or wounding somebody isn’t torture by itself. Now, the Nazis committed acts of war that amounted to torture, as did the Japanese, but those were coercive or sadistic acts where pain and suffering were inflicted for their own sake, or as punishment. If we accept the standard argument for why we dropped the nuclear bombs, we can’t call it torture. We were not looking to inflict pain for the sake of sadism, to punish, or to coerce them as captives. If we had dropped the nuke on them after they surrendered, when we were occupying and controlling the country, that would have been an infliction of torture.

With torture, we must have confidence that our authorities will use it when it is needed. If we have no confidence in our authorities to use their best judgement then we are all lost. We then have anarchy. Arguing about what is right, proper and legal when a threat is imminent makes us all losers.
With torture, we must have confidence that our authorities will use it when it is needed. If we have no confidence in our authorities to use their best judgement then we are all lost. We then have anarchy. Arguing about what is right, proper and legal when a threat is imminent makes us all losers.

We already have documented cases of the authorities using this and other “emergency” policies on innocent people, and in cases that didn’t merit them. The vast majority of cases prosecuted using terrorism-related laws aren’t terrorism related. Which is kind of silly, if you ask me.

It is not up to us to have confidence in our officials. It is up to our leaders to earn that confidence. As for being losers? Abu Ghraib and other cases like it are contributing to our failure in Iraq, the wasting of resources in the war on terror, and our growing isolation from the rest of the world. If we don’t use our best judgment with the policies we pursue, if we don’t at least have some debate about what’s right, legal, and proper, we’ll have worse than anarchy, we’ll have fascism.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 2, 2007 11:57 AM
Comment #237459

LO-
Let me get this straight: we have to torture to avoid forcing our soldiers to kill more of the enemy?

Leaving aside the fact that fewer people will surrender to us if they know they’ll be subject to such an ordeal, you’re proceeding on the assumption that only these torture techniques can get intelligence value out of prisoners. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Torture increases suggestibility, making coerced testimony more suspect. Meanwhile, interrogators have had a much better time of things using regular interrogation techniques.

It all comes back to control. The Right-Wing continues to believe that these people, unless we have utter control of them, will not talk to us. They’re not that disciplined. There are many ways to get these people to talk to us of their own free will. The trouble is, Bush policies make it nearly impossible to throw away bad information, or to accept that somebody isn’t merely a terrorist successfully keeping up a front. Paranoia, though, is not a substitute for good situational awareness.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 2, 2007 12:05 PM
Comment #237461

Very fair questions Stephen.

“Do you believe the government’s responsibility to protect people from criminals merits is more important than the right of the accused?”

It is our govts responsibility to protect Americans from our enemy. You don’t seem to see a difference between an American being accused of a crime and a terrorist. I do.

“As for whether the Clinton administration did these things? Well, yes, they did. But why should two wrongs make a right?”

Well, I don’t see what they did as being wrong, but you are right about two wrongs not making a right.
Why isn’t the war over? Its wrong, right?
Why does the Dems leading candidate basically have the same war outline as Bush? Bushs’ plan is wrong, right?
Why do Dems take special interest money too? Its wrong, right?

Indeed, two wrongs do not make a right, but then again, I’m not the one ignoring the wrongs of my party in trying to get them elected.

“The real question is, why a conservative/libertarian like yourself should be so distrustful when the government’s got a hand in your wallet or it’s nose in people’s business, but so trusting when that same government is using fascist and communist-approved torture techniques on people. A healthy distrust of the government can’t be healthy if you would trust your government to get this right when you trust them little enough with less serious power”

Because these techniques are not being used on Americans, they are being used on our enemy to gather intel for the defense of Americans.
When our govt pulls another Waco and starts torturing and murdering Americans, then you will hear me screaming. I am a huge proponent of the Constitutional rights of Americans, remember.

I know its not PC, (especially here on the blue side) but I put the rights, safety and prosperity of the US and my fellow Americans WAY above the “world” type govt and love you all want so bad. Just as our forefathers did.

Posted by: kctim at November 2, 2007 12:32 PM
Comment #237463

kctim,

I just believe our govts responsibility to protect Americans is ALWAYS more important than the rights of terrorists, not just when a Republican administration is doing it.

The rights of terrorism SUSPECTS.
And it does make a difference.

As proven, recently unfortunately, many suspects are not actual terrorists. Should I recall how many detainees were freed from Gitmo after years of human rights denial with NO charge at all!?!

You see, the left is using torture to get control. They tell us how wrong it is and how evil the Republicans are for allowing it. But, as with most other things, they want the people to forget their past.

Being french, I don’t care one bit about your left agenda. But I DO care about human rights violation, in particular when it comes from the self-proclaimed “good guys” nation.

The simple that you agree that torture usage could be allowed WITHOUT consequences sounds totally contrary to the “good guys” label… You can as you want drap the topic from torture being illegal to whatever political agenda, the topic remains “torture illegal or not?”, period.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 2, 2007 12:35 PM
Comment #237464

Stephen, you’re twisting my words. I’m saying that torture should never be used. But in order to ensure that it isn’t, it first needs to be defined.

Meanwhile, interrogators have had a much better time of things using regular interrogation techniques.

And for that reason, they’ll use them in almost all cases. But first you have to define “regular interrogation techniques.” Torture and coercive interrogations are not the same thing at all, and if we refuse to draw ANY difference between the two things, then you might as well say that interrogation of Al Qaeda suspects needs to take place on a sunny patio over blueberry muffins with classical music playing in the background. If the interrogation is not voluntary, then it is by definition coerced. What lines are you willing to draw? Any?

If you want to talk about making assumptions, your assumption seems to be that professional interrogators don’t know what they’re doing, have no idea what techniques work best to extract intelligence in each given situation, but would gladly sacrifice their ability to gather good intelligence for the opportunity to satisfy some pent-up blood lust. You seem to be confusing highly trained intelligence officers with those National Guardsmen you saw in photos of Abu Ghraib.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 2, 2007 12:37 PM
Comment #237466

Jim,

Few on this site will argue that both presidents [Rosevelt & Truman] didn’t do the right thing in defeating the Japaneese with this terrible weapon.

I will. I’ve already expressed before.
In particular, the rational behind the SECOND bomb over Nagasaki were unconnected to ending the war with Japan, but impress the Soviets.

I don’t admire Truman (as we can’t know what would have been Rosevelt decision) for making this decision.

In some ways one can compare pornography with torture.

Sex movies vs… torture?
Woa. What a weird metaphore!

A supreme court justice said of porn, “I know it when I see it”.

Yeah, except that Supreme Court is denied to overwatch authorities doing tortures…

With torture, we must have confidence that our authorities will use it when it is needed. If we have no confidence in our authorities to use their best judgement then we are all lost.

Isn’t the main purpose of Bill Of Rights given every american the right to own a gun: to protect himself from authorities?
I guess it means having confidence on your authorities is not enough. Check & Balance is needed. That should apply to torture TOO. Or your government make it legal officially OR they MUST face the consequences when they do it illegally.

Arguing about what is right, proper and legal when a threat is imminent makes us all losers.

No, it avoid you become worst than you enemy.

Plus, which IMMINENT threat(s)?
Economy crash or recession seems the most credible imminent threat your country right now. On the middle term scale, the energy crash, but it’s not limited to your country only…


Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 2, 2007 12:51 PM
Comment #237468

LO,

The current vagueness lies with the discrepancy between coercive interrogation techniques that cause physical and emotional discomfort and those which cause actual physical harm. Absolutely everybody agrees that breaking limbs, beatings, etc. cause physical harm—but what about sleep deprivation, stress positions, or extremely long interrogation sessions?

Or… rape?
After all, it doesn’t cause actual physical arm, does it?

What? Rape is illegal!?
But long psychological or physical stressing sessions should not?

Make so much sense. Not.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 2, 2007 12:59 PM
Comment #237471

Phillipe, another thing the US could do to avoid getting their hands dirty is rendition of terror suspects to France.

The French are masters of this kind of thing, as they demonstrated with the Algerians and as they demonstrate today in their detention centers for illegal immigrants and other “undesirables” in those beatings-and-rape centers called French police stations.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 2, 2007 1:00 PM
Comment #237477

Philippe
“The rights of terrorism SUSPECTS.
And it does make a difference.”

To you, it may, to me it does not. Sorry I was not clearer on that.

“As proven, recently unfortunately, many suspects are not actual terrorists. Should I recall how many detainees were freed from Gitmo after years of human rights denial with NO charge at all!?!”

No need to recall, I am aware of it. But since you are recalling what has happened, how about recalling ALL of it? Like how much useful intel we have gotten? How many threats have been prevented? How many AMERICAN citizens have been tortured?

“Being french, I don’t care one bit about your left agenda. But I DO care about human rights violation, in particular when it comes from the self-proclaimed “good guys” nation.”

Kudos on that sir. More power to you.
But, I too care about human rights, I just care more about my fellow Americans human rights more than I do others. So, if torturing terrorists or probable terrorists has even a slight chance of preventing even one American death, I say go for it. Just as gore said.

“The simple that you agree that torture usage could be allowed WITHOUT consequences sounds totally contrary to the “good guys” label… “

Well, while I believe we do more good in the world than any other country, I don’t go with the “good guy” label. IF its for the benefit of the US and us Americans, its good. If not, its bad. End of story.
And to the country’s who do not approve of this attitude? Oh well, stop taking all our money and aid and teach us a lesson.

“You can as you want drap the topic from torture being illegal to whatever political agenda, the topic remains “torture illegal or not?”, period.”

I wasn’t trying to change the topic. I only pointed out that I actually agree with two men who I despise, about it. And how convienent it is for Dems to act like they are now against it since a Republican is in charge.

Is torture illegal: Not if its being used to save American lives.

Posted by: kctim at November 2, 2007 1:39 PM
Comment #237480

“Is torture illegal: Not if its being used to save American lives.” Posted by: kctim at November 2, 2007 01:39 PM

Well said kctim. Frankly, I do not care about the opinion of the French (or anyone else) with regard to how American’s protect themselves. To whom did Europe turn during the 20th century to save their collective asses? The U.S. And if one reads a little history of tactics used to win both World Wars you would quickly find that the Allies were not hesitant to use whatever means necessary to assure not only survial but victory. In war their can only be winners and losers. The victor cares little about the means. Mr. Philippe Houdoin is welcome to his opinion and should remember that it is American military and economic power that keeps other nations safe, prosperous and free. He should think about a world without American influence and morality. Critize us all you wish, but reflect upon how much you need us.

Posted by: Jim at November 2, 2007 3:17 PM
Comment #237483

Jim
Until the rest of the World makes Torture Legal an
the United States Changes the constitution, all
your posts are a Mute Point no matter how you
attempt to Spin this debate!

=

Posted by: -DAVID- at November 2, 2007 4:02 PM
Comment #237485

DAVID
1- The “world” does not make US law, no matter how much the left desires it did.
2- No need to change the Constitution for this issue, just quit signing treaty’s which are not in Americas best interest.
3- The only spinning going on is from people who believe the “World” makes US law, those who make it seem like US citizens are being subjected to these practices and from those who are trying to convince the American people that we do it on a daily basis to just anybody.

Posted by: kctim at November 2, 2007 4:22 PM
Comment #237487

Winston Churchill, near the top of my list of the world’s greatest hero’s said, “When at war, truth must be accompanied by a bodyguard of lies.” I would add, victory must be won at any cost.

kctim is correct, “1- The “world” does not make US law, no matter how much the left desires it did.” Treaties are authorized by our constitution but are not part of it any more than the laws we make regulating driving on our roads. Those who would un-necessarily risk American lives to honor a flawed treaty or because world opinion might not agree should, in my opinion, take off their political hat and let their brain breathe a little fresh air.

Posted by: Jim at November 2, 2007 4:51 PM
Comment #237488

Jim

Please don’t confuse “24” with real life.

Posted by: mental wimp at November 2, 2007 6:03 PM
Comment #237489

I may be in the minority because although I don’t necessarily think that waterboarding is torture, I’d have no problem with Congress deciding that it is and banning it.

Go ahead—ban it.

And then if somebody uses it anyway in the “ticking time-bomb” scenario (or when they’ve captured a top Al Qaida member) just try and find a jury who’ll convict them.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 2, 2007 6:19 PM
Comment #237490

By the way, if you would rather read an expert, rather than a right-wing blogger, on whether waterboarding is torture, click on

this link.

Posted by: mental wimp at November 2, 2007 6:20 PM
Comment #237492

kctim-
Terrorism is a crime, and the government is no less imperfect in who it decides to accuse of terrorism than any other crime.

In terms of why the war is not over, it’s because it’s decidedly more complicated to end a war than to end torture practices. Moreover, the Republicans and Bush are making it nearly impossible to pass legislation to that effect.

As for the techniques not being used on Americans? They used them on Jose Padilla. They held him without habeas corpus. He’s not the only one. And jeez, why would they be so discriminating? By your logic, terrorists would be detained whether they were foreign or American.

As for Waco, the forensic evidence proves the Branch Davidians set the fire themselves. There’s danger in lionizing Right Wingers simply because they oppose what you oppose in some fashion, or because you perceive them to be martyrs of some kind. The whole argument we’re having here is about whether we have consistent rule of law, or whether people can be arrested, held, tried, an punished without due process.

As for PC? I could care less. Y’all are more concerned with that than most Democrats. As for One World Government? Good heavens. There’s a difference between having a working system of international law and being slaves of the Anti-Christ. You’re fighting a distorted cariacture of the left, not the real thing.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 2, 2007 6:39 PM
Comment #237493

kctim

The World tries and convicts crimes against

Humanity all the time. In fact the French now

have a warrant for D. Rumsfeld as of a few days

ago for war crimes. I have never insinuated America

made laws for other Countries, an other Nations

can an do extredite, as does America. Torture is

a crime against humanity regardless of your own

personal feelings regardless of where performed.

Sodium Pentothal, Sodium Amytal, and Scopolamine

have a 40 to 60 % chance in all except Sociopathic

personalities (does not work at all.)Make it legal

an let the Military use
that.

Posted by: -DAVID- at November 2, 2007 6:54 PM
Comment #237494

Stephen, a denial of habeas corpus going through a legal process in the attempt to obtain one is not “torture” by any stretch, and the 4th District Court of Appeals ruled that as an illegal enemy combatant, Jose Padilla could be held without charges.

You talk about “a distorted caricature of the left, not the real thing,” but beyond simply ascribing to the right and Republicans everything you disagree with, I wonder how much of “the left” really is so eager to grant terrorists and illegal enemy combatants all of the rights and protections given to American citizens in our legal system. Eager to find avenues to criticize the administration—yes. But it’s highly doubtful that the presidential candidate “the left” is about to make their standard-bearer would seek to weaken executive powers in any of the areas “the left” calls for in regards to a Republican administration.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 2, 2007 7:17 PM
Comment #237495

In the above post, I believe the Military should
not have this source of (so called truth serum,)
because of invasion of privacy laws, must be
respected an I doubt the Milty’s integrity. A
special Medical Dept. could be used in must know
situations. Most of the failures in this research
occurred because technics were not followed.

Posted by: -DAVID- at November 2, 2007 7:26 PM
Comment #237496

David, if the French want to start tossing around indictments for torture and war crimes, they can start with the enormous number of such culprits who are French citizens who fought in the Algerian war of independence.

But like much of the international left, there are many French who are more preoccupied with the US than what’s goes on in their own backyard. Not even the French, apparently, care what the French do.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 2, 2007 7:27 PM
Comment #237502

LO-
Once somebody’s slipped through the cracks of habeas corpus, anything can happen. That’s the point of habeas corpus.

This is about the rule of law, not any person’s worthiness of it’s protection. We sent away a number of terrorists to life sentences, deprive them of martyrdom, and won cases against them without resorting to torture.

Depriving terror suspect of rights is about revenge. It’s about doing evil to those who would do evil to us. It’s about treating them as subhuman. And as tempting as that is, with the pain and mistreatment they’re willing to inflict on us, these things are evil, and they get only worse if the victim turns out to be innocent.

Which inevitably will happen, when the safeguards like Habeas Corpus and the prohibitions on torture are violated.

Inevitably, the innocent will be caught up in this. Inevitably, some will object to people doing these things on principle. In order to justify this, folks will rationalize and even advocate these evils, and it will creep out from there to saturate other corners of the society. We can’t cross certain lines without becoming more evil ourselves.

We also end up inflicting harm on ourselves in the long run, out of fear of our enemies. We reduce our freedoms, sacrifice our protections against intrusion by our government, and don’t necessarily end up safer for it.

Some talk about PC, but I think that’s a weak-as-water term for what I’m interested in. What I’m interested in is integrity and as clear a line between good and evil as possible. I believe that many times, going over to the dark side to save and protect what you love only puts what you love at greater risk.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 2, 2007 10:08 PM
Comment #237503

This is a good subject and debate, it still has nothing to do with confirming a cabinet member for the president. If it does then dozens of controversial subjects should be resolved by him in the senate hearings while we have him there. Who needs bloggers, courts and congressmen anyways?


Posted by: Kruser at November 2, 2007 10:46 PM
Comment #237517

Kruser

Have you ever heard the term (Cruel and unuasual

treatment.) The irony of torture, if an individual

is tortured and confesses to being a witch, they are

indeed a witch. If tortured however, and the

individual doesn’t confess, it must mean they

don’t feel pain and are therefore a witch. This

same scenario would apply for most torture cases.

Posted by: -DAVID- at November 3, 2007 2:37 AM
Comment #237520


I believe the highest office in the United States,

an it’s highest Executive, the Attorney General,

must know with out a doubt, in his own mind the

meaning of torture, as in “Water Boarding.” I

would not expect the Attorney General to know all

our Geneva Conference rules or all the Treaties we

have with other Countries, an since the assistant
Attorney General has been on a water board, an
was fired because he stated that water boarding
was indeed Torture! We can not open the door to
other countries to use more torture on our
soldiers, because one nit wit an his boss will not
back down on this issue.

Posted by: -DAVID- at November 3, 2007 3:31 AM
Comment #237524

LO,

The French are masters of this kind of thing, as they demonstrated with the Algerians and as they demonstrate today in their detention centers for illegal immigrants and other “undesirables” in those beatings-and-rape centers called French police stations.

You did/do worse, is that your argument to consider torture legal?!

Be my guest, History is ridden of horrible behavior in the name of safe, revenge, power, security or whatever. You don’t need to resort to current neocon french government to help you justify your belief that torture is usefull and should be tolerate.

Stand up, be a man and assume it plain and simple. Alone. This “other do torture too” argument is pure crap.

On a side note, I’m like americans who didn’t elect Bush: I’m in the minority, shameful on many human rights violation made by my current government. I’ll bet many americans disagree with Bush government for the same reasons too. Don’t confuse a government with nation people.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 3, 2007 5:47 AM
Comment #237526

kctim,

No need to recall, I am aware of it. But since you are recalling what has happened, how about recalling ALL of it? Like how much useful intel we have gotten? How many threats have been prevented? How many AMERICAN citizens have been tortured?

Good questions, indeed.
Do you can answer any of those at all?!
Maybe I miss them, but AFAIK no facts was ever provided to answer to that. We have NO record on how many threats were avoid by torturing someone(s), less even on how usefull whatever intelligence gathering during torture sessions…
If you have ANY facts like these to share with us, be our guest.

Meanwhile, we DO have facts on tortured people at Gitmo and Habu Graib that were latter released free of any charge.

I too care about human rights, I just care more about my fellow Americans human rights more than I do others.

Thank you for making clear that for you non americans are less human, and as such deserve less rights.

And to the country’s who do not approve of this attitude? Oh well, stop taking all our money and aid and teach us a lesson.

Taking all your money?! You know that Marshall Plan ended long ago, right? I don’t recall any US program under which France is today receiving *your* money or aid for free. Make you clearer please.

Is torture illegal: Not if its being used to save American lives.

So torture should be regulated, not illegal. Ask your local congressman to pass a law for that, as people asking to do torture can’t remain without legal protection. Don’t forget to quit Geneva Conventions, as it’s clearly in contradiction with any legal torture policy.

Thanks you for making your belief about torture very clear. I didn’t expect anything less than such from you.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 3, 2007 6:03 AM
Comment #237527

Jim,

To whom did Europe turn during the 20th century to save their collective asses? The U.S.

Oh no! Okay, let’s do it again and again and again: thanks you very much.
And about Battle of Yorktown, you’re welcome.

Can we move on now? Or are we forever, american *and* french, cross-bound by debts for being two free countries?

And if one reads a little history of tactics used to win both World Wars you would quickly find that the Allies were not hesitant to use whatever means necessary to assure not only survial but victory. In war their can only be winners and losers. The victor cares little about the means.

If you reads a little history, the victors of World Ward One SHOULD have care more about the means. May the victors, French in particular, have made the Germans less support the cost of losing, we won’t have World War II. If you don’t cares about the means to win a war, you will lost the peace, as Europe did in 1918.

Mr. Philippe Houdoin is welcome to his opinion and should remember that it is American military and economic power that keeps other nations safe, prosperous and free.

Hum, I guess our own economy and nukes deterence does that too for our own nation.
And I’ll bet some nations would disagree with the relative safety US is supposed to give them. Follow my eyes.

He should think about a world without American influence and morality. Critize us all you wish, but reflect upon how much you need us.

Like in any symbiotic system, that works both way.
China alone own over 65% of your nation debt. Who own who? Global economy means global too, not just economy.

Regarding american morality, stop kidding yourself. In a large part of the world, it’s regarded as a violent, gun-loving, selfish and spoiled one. I know that even on the red colum we’ve often all agreed that the image of morality projected by US around the world is bad.

And claiming that torture can be good wont help in that regard.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 3, 2007 6:29 AM
Comment #237532

Kruser-
Our last Attorney General was generally acknowledged by both sides to be a terrible one, in no small part because he seemed more interested in figuring out how to politicize the law and act as the president’s personal lawyer, than serve as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.

Bush’s lawyers have read into the CINC clause of the constitution powers the Bill of Rights and other sections of Congress explicitly deny the government. They like to assert that because we are at war, anything goes, but we are still a nation of laws, and we need somebody in charge who will enforce those laws, even if he has to tell the President no. If he’s not strong enough to stand up to the president on what torture is, then he’s not strong enough to do his job.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 3, 2007 10:05 AM
Comment #237539

Well, you have all finally convinced me that I am wrong about torture. It should never, ever be used against anyone for any reason. No matter what peril our nation might face and regardless that the loss of innocent American life might be saved we can not bend or bow in our convictions so that in our righteous death we may finally say, I died to keep a terrorist from being water-boarded. Honor me!

Posted by: Jim at November 3, 2007 12:26 PM
Comment #237542

Yep Jim, that’s actually why such issue is a moral one, not a tactical one.
Because there is honor to lose/to get.

But please, keep you “24” tv show morality set if you like it better. Just stop call it moral.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 3, 2007 1:11 PM
Comment #237546
Our last Attorney General was generally acknowledged by both sides to be a terrible one, in no small part because he seemed more interested in figuring out how to politicize the law and act as the president’s personal lawyer, than serve as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.

Our last attorney general was attacked for supposedly politicizing the law by those who were politicizing it themselves, but the reason he got the boot was that he failed so miserably to defend himself over matters that required no defense in the first place.

They like to assert that because we are at war, anything goes, but we are still a nation of laws, and we need somebody in charge who will enforce those laws, even if he has to tell the President no.

Before anybody can “enforce” the laws, somebody else (Congress) has to make them. That is their job, and Mukasey is being asked by a few liberals on the judiciary committee to take a stand on something that Congress itself has not done.

In any case, it’s not going to work because Diane Feinstein and Chuck Schumer have announced that he’s getting their vote.

Charles Schumer in his own words: “It’s easy to sit back in the armchair and say that torture cannot be used. But when you’re in the foxhole, it’s a very different deal. And I respect, I think we all respect, that the President’s in the foxhole every day.”

It would be difficult if not impossible for Schumer to not support this nominee when Schumer himself, a very left-wing Senator, has publicly gone far beyond the administration’s position (which is to ban torture—once it’s established what that actually is) and is actually advocating it.

It’s a prime example of how members of the left as manifested on blogs like this one are so out of touch with the positions of their actual representatives.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 3, 2007 2:38 PM
Comment #237557

Jim-
Are we better than these people we’re fighting, or just on a different side? Are we, a great nation in size, population and resources, so impotent in the face of our enemies that we can’t acheive the same aims by means more consistent with our principles?

Our torture techniques were adapted from SERE training exercises, where our special forces are subjected to simulated torture consistent with what they might run into if they’re captured.

And what were SERE training exercises based on? We reverse engineered the training from the KGB, Vietnamese, and North Korean torture techniques.

Doesn’t that just make you so proud? That these terrorists scare us so shitless that we’re willing to emulate our enemies to win.

Read The One Percent Doctrine by Ron Suskind. They got these people to talk by giving mothers operations, giving jihadists pornography, by bribing, talking about the Quran, etc, etc. There are plenty of ways to get somebody to talk without having to get them to crack. All these “enhanced” interrogations methods are meant to do is break a person’s will. break a person’s will, though, instead of getting them to volunteer the information, and you run the danger that they’ll tell you what they think you want them to say, which bears no necessary relation to what actually might be the case.

The title of the book reflects the trouble with the Bush administration’s approach. Cheney articulated the philsophy: treat any threat that has even just a one percent chance of being correct as if it will actually happen.

Unfortunately, that approach is massively wasteful, and encourages a kind of desperation and fearfulness that helps the terrorists more than it helps us. Paranoia, like I’ve said before, is often a waste of good suspicion.

We don’t need to be acting like a threat is imminent unless we know it to be. A constant state of emergency just wears people out. What we need it the ability to focus our efforts on where the threats are.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 3, 2007 4:00 PM
Comment #237558

LO-
Tell me something: when did we start letting our police officers use KGB torture methods on anybody, citizen or non-citizen? If we won’t let our police officers use such methods, we can’t really call them legal, now can we.

The law is clear. It’s this administration that’s muddled things up. The courts and the legislature have been clear. It’s this administration’s failure to execute that law properly that’s creating this controversy, and the Republicans continued support for the President’s failure to do his job that are sustaining it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 3, 2007 4:04 PM
Comment #237573
Tell me something: when did we start letting our police officers use KGB torture methods on anybody, citizen or non-citizen?

Never is when. Simply because we’re having a legitimate disagreement between people of conscience (which I assume you are as well) about a single non-lethal interrogation technique is no reason for making such outlandish comparisons. Are you even minimally aware of the history of the KGB? The kinds of things they did, and the truly massive scale of it?

The law is clear. It’s this administration that’s muddled things up. The courts and the legislature have been clear.

When you say that they’ve been clear, are you referring to the times when they’ve upheld—as you were complaining about ealier—the treatment of Jose Padilla? Are you referring to Congress bolstering with legislation most of the administration’s position on the treatment of illegal enemy combatants?

No and no. You are holding the administration to standards which are your own personal partisan opinions and are simply calling those opinions “laws” despite the fact that they are NOT laws, not findings of the court, and intersect seldom if at all with reality.

When it comes to waterboarding, the left-wing members of the judiciary committee can introduce legislation banning it any time they want. Such legislation will FAIL, however, because it is not the will of even the Democratically-controlled Congress. So these critics do all that’s left for them: browbeating somebody who won’t take a position on an issue which is THEIR responsibility to resolve. That is, if they could ever summon the will to resolve it.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 3, 2007 11:14 PM
Comment #237575

LO-
I’m aware we reversed engineered our “enhanced interrogation” methods from methods the KGB used. Torture isn’t about wounds and blood, it’s about pain and suffering. Not very many people who go through waterboarding come out of the experience question whether it’s torture.

This isn’t about right-wing or left-wing.

How about a simple test for whether this is torture: undergo it yourself.

We’ve already banned torture. Mukasey himself said it was illegal. Waterboarding is a widely recognized form of torture, known to have been used by notoriously cruel interrogators. It shouldn’t be this difficult, but it is because the right is so in love with the idea of going to the dark side to save America.

It’s not helping us. We’re going to the darkside, and it’s only helping the darkside to win.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 3, 2007 11:50 PM
Comment #237576

I am suffering from a sinus infection at present giving me empathy to the poor waterboard victims. You lay down and here comes that drowning sensation.
This interrogation procedure doesn’t look as bad as you make it appear. It is not vengeance or justice, it is simply a way to get terrorists to talk. You know, the same guys that chop off innocent people’s heads on camera to make a statement. There is a difference between terrorists involved in a plot, who don’t play by any rules and a citizen of a country who is a suspect in a crime.
I don’t think discussion of torture makes “Osama prodigies” want to pay us back. It simply makes them laugh about what wimps we are. It encourages them to carry on, since the strong always win in their eyes.
The connection to confirmation is too vague still since there are many other important policy items that congress doesn’t agree with every appointee. I think the fishing for a subject to attack each one Bush sends up should stop. A president usually gets his choice for cabinet positions unless the appointee committed a crime in the past or he lacks experience.
Here is a little history from the senate homepage:

Executive branch appointments customarily end with the departure of the president who made them, except for those independent agencies whose officials have fixed terms. Judicial appointments, however, are for life and can be terminated only through the time-consuming congressional impeachment process. Historically, Supreme Court nominations, in great disproportion to their number, have attracted the close attention of senators, the media, and scholars. While the Senate has explicitly rejected fewer than 2 percent of all cabinet nominees since 1789, nearly a quarter of all Supreme Court nominations have failed to be confirmed, their nominations rejected, withdrawn or declined.

Throughout the nation’s history, appointments to judicial posts below the Supreme Court have generated little controversy. This has been due in part to the large number of such appointments and to the tradition of “senatorial courtesy,” which defers to the preferences of senators belonging to the president’s party who represent a particular nominee’s home state. Lower court judges have been considered less potentially mischievous because they are more closely constrained by precedent than are Supreme Court justices, and they do not have the final judicial say on significant issues.


Posted by: Kruser at November 3, 2007 11:59 PM
Comment #237578

Kruser-
The Terrorists can afford to not play by the rules. They’re terrorists. We’re a civilized country. There’s a difference, and there should be a difference.

To properly oppose terrorism, we need to have moral leadership in the world. We need the cooperation of the other governments on a police level.

As for the President’s choice? Advise and Consent. The last Attorney General this guy got confirmed basically adopted some rather unlawful positions, and did an awful lot to justify Bush’s constitutional excesses.

We’re not interested in more of that B.S. We want Bush held to account.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 4, 2007 1:14 AM
Comment #237579

Stephen Daugherty

I like your moral stance against torture. Thanks.

Posted by: -DAVID- at November 4, 2007 1:35 AM
Comment #237585

I don’t believe anything unlawful was found in the last attorney gen’s hearings. He resigned so the senate and president could move on to more important business.
It is customary for an Attorney General to replace people who don’t attend to policy concerns of the president. That is one of his functions. An administration customarily replaces most every appointment from the past administrations. Bush’s new tone bit him in this instance.
This congress is a showcase of behavior I have observed in business. People who get ahead by complaining about others become impotent when they are put in positions of authority. This hearing is simply another example of that principle.
Torture is certainly a subject who’s perimeters should be debated by civilized people. Senate confirmation hearings aren’t the place. We aren’t passing a law here.

Posted by: Kruser at November 4, 2007 9:44 AM
Comment #237588

Another reason for the resignation is his inability to be effective with feigned controversies hanging over his head. Every move he made from now on would be potentially controversal. It is hard to lead when you are looking over your shoulder all the time.
There were certainly no illegal actions found.

Posted by: Kruser at November 4, 2007 9:54 AM
Comment #237597

Kruser-
The US Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President. However, in modern history, most Presidents have left them alone, to avoid the appearance of impropriety, and to shield prosecutions from the appearance of partisan motivation.

Most of the time, these Attorneys are replaced all together. Bush replaced just a handful, each who had either pursued politically damaging cases to the Republicans (remember, these US Attorneys are Republicans themselves, or at least thei appointees), or not pursuing prosecutions on Democrats with a vigor that suited Bush and the other Republicans.

Even fellow Republicans, at the end of the day, found Gonzales’ testimony difficult to believe. Either he was so out of day to day operations that he wasn’t doing his job, or he had participated in the firings and didn’t have the honesty to tell Congress that.

Congress has a right to know whether it’s laws are being properly carried out. Congress has already declared torture to be illegal, and waterboarding is consider torture by most people familiar with the subject, or with it’s experience. John McCain, for example, having experienced this, called it torture. So did the Justice Department official who underwent the treatment himself to determine it’s character.

Seeing as how torture is illegal, and waterboarding is widely considered torture, is it not within Congress’ authority, with their constitutionally mandated oversight of the Executive Branch’s execution of the law, to ask a future Attorney General whether he agrees with the consensus interpretation of the law?

There was nothing feigned about the controversy, or this one. If there’s political motivation, there’s also moral motivation to back it up. Americans are sick of looking like hypocrites and sadists. As for illegal actions? The President admitted he did wiretaps on American citizens without a warrant. More to the point, this administration is pushing FISA legislation with Telecom company immunity built in. Why do you need immunity if you did nothing illegal?

Oh, and did I mention all the ruckus over the Republicans using our government bureaucracy for political purposes? That’s illegal, you know, against the Hatch act.

If you want to go into further denial, be my guest. It’ll certainly be entertaining to info dump on you for the benefit of others.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 4, 2007 2:04 PM
Comment #237609

The words “widlely considered” and “consensus” prove my point.. Hash this out in court or in congress but not in conformation hearings. Maybe the next appointee can resolve the global warming debate.

Posted by: Kruser at November 4, 2007 8:55 PM
Comment #237622

Stephen
You are making excuses for your party again. If the war is wrong, then Dems need to end it like they said they would. Quit blaming everybody else and end it already eh. The candidates also should not have the same plan as Bush either if they are going to end this “wrong,” but they basically do.

We are talking about torture here. Was Padilla tortured? Just how many “innocent” people have been waterboarded? I bet you can count them on one hand.

You miss the significance of Waco. They were tortured for weeks on end and attacked by their own govt for trumped up charges.
So tell me, why is it ok for govt to torture its own people, but wrong to torture those who are our countrys enemy?

“The whole argument we’re having here is about whether we have consistent rule of law, or whether people can be arrested, held, tried, an punished without due process.”

We have all of those for Americans.
Whatever means necessary used on our enemy.

“Y’all are more concerned with that than most Democrats”

Probably because I care alot more about freedom and individual rights than you all. I don’t want rights taken away simply because I disagree with them.

There also is a difference between a working system of international laws and a system which ties our hands. International law should not dictate what we do for America and no American should EVER be subject to another countrys laws while in America.

Posted by: kctim at November 5, 2007 9:42 AM
Comment #237625

Philipe
There is one fact which trumps all others: No American has died from a terrorist attack on US soil.
Does that mean it will never happen again? No, we will be hit again, guaranteed. And surely you don’t believe the terrorists have quit trying to hit America again do you?
I agree, we, the average joes, don’t know exactly how we “torture” these terrorists or what info we have gotten from it and how it has helped. But, unlike you all, most Americans do not believe their govt “tortures” for the fun of it and for nothing.

“Meanwhile, we DO have facts on tortured people at Gitmo and Habu Graib that were latter released free of any charge.”

Tortured or treated harshly? Which one was water boarded and then found to be innocent of ALL charges?

“Thank you for making clear that for you non americans are less human, and as such deserve less rights.”

I never said less human. What I did say was that I care more for Americans than I do non-Americans.
And, seeing how Americans have many more rights than most others and that I do not believe non-Americans are entitled to those rights, than yes, they have less rights.

You say France takes no foriegn aid from the US? Good for you guys. As one of our harshest critics, I’m glad to hear that you do not. But since we are at war with muslim terrorists, I was kind of speaking mainly about them. Like the Palistines, who cheer American deaths in their streets, but beg for our aid in back.

Americans already have laws which are supposed to protect them from torture by their govt.
Quit Geneva? Ok. We are one of the few who actually abide by it anyways.

“Thanks you for making your belief about torture very clear. I didn’t expect anything less than such from you”

You are welcome and thank you for the compliment.
I know its kind of hard dealing with somebody who loves his country more than the “world,” but you tried your best. Have no fear though, at least half of our voters believe the world comes first and America last as you do. We are becoming more and more socialized like you all every year and patriotic Americans are a dying breed.
Soon, America will be no different or better than you average countrys.

Posted by: kctim at November 5, 2007 10:12 AM
Comment #237632

No American has died from a terrorist attack on US soil.

WTF? It happened on GWB’s watch! Don’t you remember? Presidential daily briefing saying Al Quaeda wants to fly planes into buildings, Condi Rice saying she didn’t know what to do and no one told her what to do, so they didn’t do anything? Boom! Planes hit, and the administration all of the sudden realizes that it wasn’t just leftover BS from Clinton, but a real risk? This ringing any bells?

Posted by: mental wimp at November 5, 2007 12:46 PM
Comment #237635

WTF? MW?
This issue of torture did not come up until after 9-11. It was fine when gore and clinton did it for some reason though.

No American has died from a terrorist attack on US soil since we were attacked. Dems don’t care what happened before then.

Posted by: kctim at November 5, 2007 2:19 PM
Comment #237651

No American has died from a terrorist attack on US soil since we were attacked.

When couldn’t you say no American has died from an attack on US soil since we were attacked? That’s the most illogical statement I’ve ever heard. The only time it’s not true is in the middle of an attack.

BTW, another group of terrorist lovers weighs in on torture here:

http://thinkprogress.org/jag-letter-waterboarding/

Posted by: mental wimp at November 5, 2007 6:40 PM
Comment #237666

mental wimp

Good post an thanks for the link. I find it hard

to believe that with all the facts presented here

an the Constitution, an case histories as references

to research, that so many people are down right

ignorant an seem to want to stay that way. Just

look at what Feinstein, Schumer, an Arlan Spector

say torture is bad, then decide to back an vote for an Attorney

General, for all intensive purposes, believes

torture is permissible. To bad their States don’t

re-call them.

Posted by: -DAVID- at November 6, 2007 12:08 AM
Comment #237676

Pu-leez Mental, you know very well what the story is.
Our govt ignored the terrorists for decades.
We were attacked by them on US soil.
Our govt acted, too late IMO.
We have not had another terrorists attack since.

The left can blame Bush for ignoring one of the hundreds or thousands of memos from intel.
The right can blame clinton for doing nothing.
It doesn’t change the fact that we were attacked, our govt finally acted and we have not had another attack of the same magnitude.

Posted by: kctim at November 6, 2007 9:38 AM
Comment #237719

kctim

We haven’t heard any more about the contractor

who walked into a nuclear power plant last week,

an was “accidentally” caught by another employee

with a Pipe Bomb, so much for serious actions being

handled by our Nuclear Regularity Commission. An

knock on you head, because History has, an could

repeat itself, as far as terrorist’s are concerned.

Posted by: -DAVID- at November 6, 2007 4:51 PM
Comment #237721

Um, he was caught and the situation was contained David.
Why was he caught? Because we the people are more alert and, IMO, so is our govt.
ALL are far from perfect though, which is why ALL must be constantly vigilant.

And a “knock on my head” because history could repeat itself?
Terrorists will hit us again, it is only a matter of time my friend. I am not naive enough to believe otherwise. But, I also am not so hateful of my President to believe his policies have had no affect on preventing another terrorist act on US soil.

Posted by: kctim at November 6, 2007 5:13 PM
Comment #237728

This issue is really very simple. Let me use a straightforward scenario to illuminate it. Let’s assume that there are US and British special forces operating on Iranian territory at present. As we have had many reports recently that this is the case, it is not such a huge stretch of the imagination. There are also some US citizens in Iran, going about legitimate business. Perhaps they have family there, or perhaps they are christian evangelists.

Now, the Iranian security forces capture some of these people. They believe that they are seeking to subvert the Iranian state, and are assisting and colluding with terrorist elements within Iran. They believe that some of these people know of upcoming attack and are indeed deeply involved in them. If they can get the information from these people by the use (1) of waterboarding, who thinks this would be legitimate? And if you don’t think so, but believe it is ok for the US to do so, why do you so believe?

(1) If the Iranians, or indeed any other country who detains US citizens on their soil, who they believe are involved in destabilisation or subversion or terrorism, decide to use toture methods against these US citizens to extract what they believe to be critical info from them, would this be wrong? If so, why so?

Not many people here seem to know that Japanese interrogators got 15 years in the WW11 war crimes tribunals for water boarding. But I guess my fallacy is that the US, being that exceptional nation, does not carry out torture, even when it does. You people sicken me.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at November 6, 2007 7:14 PM
Comment #237729

As for those of you who fear that you may be attacked again within the US. Get real. They don’t need to attack you there. Their plans are working just perfectly.You are destroying yourselves with your imperial overreach, your insane imperialistic militarism, and your immoral corporate greed and slime. And meanwhile joe public drinks from the propaganda trough. Wrap the flag around me, I’m a patriot, so I don’t question my leaders. Puuuullllleaaaaasssssss! The end of the US imperium approaches. I just hope it does not take down the rest of humanity with it. The US is now at least as corrupt as the Soviet Union was before its collapse. It is a hollowed out husk, dessicated on the inside with the outer shell decaying rapidly. You have allowed your constitutional safeguards to be vandalised by insane megalomaniacs, and yet of those of you not cheering them on, you can only mount pathetic bleating on blogs and anaemic protests. That the best you can do? You people are sleepwalking into the abyss through your ignorance.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at November 6, 2007 7:26 PM
Comment #237752

kctim

I believe the seriousness of a pipe bomb getting

in to a Nuclear facility is unacceptable, an could

have made 9/11 look like a drop in a bucket. I can

only hope the powers of the Nuclear Regularity Comm.

come down with all means possible, on that an all

Nuclear power Plants, an any Company including

the Military, making an absolute commitment

towards securing “Positively Secure” Facilities!

I would like to find out how an why a Military

plane with Nuclear Bombs slipped across many

States undetected, until someone noticed it just

sitting there, “How an Why??” on the tarmac with

no guards.

Posted by: -DAVID- at November 7, 2007 12:23 AM
Comment #237760

Paul
Let’s see now. Iranians have intel which tells them a certain American in their country could stop the deaths of their fellow Iranians and you want to know if we think it would be ok for them to use whatever means they need in order to extract that info to prevent those deaths? YES!
I have a feeling they love their country just as much as I love mine and I am quit sure they would probably do even worse than what we do.

And I actually agree alot with your second post. Due to the socialized route our country has taken, we will soon be joining all you other country’s in that stinking, socialist, abyss.

DAVID
I too hope the NRC takes appropriate actions to fix the problems which allowed this little pipebomb to slip through and I too was disturbed by that military aircraft story. Hopefully, additional precautions have been put in place to prevent another such incident.
From working very closely with nuke security in the military, I can tell you that this is not the norm.

A military blunder and a lax security guard is no justification for saying the policies which have been put in place have not prevented further attacks though.

Posted by: kctim at November 7, 2007 9:40 AM
Comment #237796

kctim, the biggest socialism in the US today flows massively from the corporations sucking at the public tit, particularly the congressional military industrial complex, the moneychangers on wall street in that temple of capitalism, the crony capitalism of the blackwaters, the KKR’s, Haliburtons with no bid contracts etc etc etc. Even during the present financial meltdown, caused by voraciously evil greedy three card trick men ( Wall Street ) who have scammed the whole world with their Financial Weapons of Mass Destruction ( Warren Buffett ),the treasury and the plunge protection team is propping them up with the public monies. So much for moral hazard. Hardly surprising however when you consider that every US administration is peppered through with these Wall Street gangsters. Where did Hank Paulson come from anyway? The fact is that there is a revolving door between Wall Street and Washington. What some people call corpocracy, or what was originally called fascism. But then wasn’t granddaddy Prescott Bush intimately tied up with the original of the species? Can a leopard change its spots? Or do genes leave their indelible mark?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at November 7, 2007 6:24 PM
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