Tortured Logic

On Wednesday, November 7th, Alan Dershowitz, no conservative icon, took a swipe at Democrats for their stance on the issue of waterboarding as, on consecutive days the Wall Street Journal dealt with the issue on their editorial pages.

Dershowitz believes that terrorism is potentially a losing issue for Democrats if the public really believes they are willing to sacrifice the lives of innocent people to keep their consciences clean. What he knows is high-minded moralizing sounds wonderful to those who feel invulnerable. Many, many Americans do not feel invulnerable.

In November 6th's article ("Waterboarding and Hiroshima" by Bret Stephens) the comparison was with the moral dilemma involved with the massive aerial bombing campaigns of W.W.II, easily the most brutal example of anti-civilian warfare in human history. Sure, the Germans did it first. Then the allies saw their hand and raised it to a level of indiscriminate carnage unimagineable even in the earlier history of mechanized warfare. Stephens says it this way, noting the promise by Roosevelt and Churchill to bomb German cities in response to German civilian attacks was fulfilled-

"over Hamburg by 700 British bombers, in Mr.Valiunas’s telling, it was a scene from the Inferno: 'Oxygen starvation and carbon monoxide poisoning killed many; bomb shelters turned into ovens and roasted the persons inside, so that rescue workers days later found the bodies seared together in an indistinguishable mass; the molten asphalt of the streets engulfed those who fled the burning buildings.' An estimated 45,000 people died this way in Hamburg."

That, of, course was not the end. Hundreds of thousands more died in Germany and as many and more in Japan as well. The horror of these forms of warfare alone is beyond our early 21st century genteel ken. THEN we dropped atomic bombs. Stephens continues-
"Among historians, there is a lively debate about whether that result was achieved. In the cases of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the evidence that the bombings ended the war and saved as many as a million Allied and Japanese lives is overwhelming."

Are there legitimate questions as to the value of such bombings, especially those conducted over Germany? Yes. War is a bad business. Good people do horrible things in war. But one can't reasonably disconnect some horrible things from others and say that bombing German cities didn't contribute to ending the war. It most assuredly did. Neither can one expect us, when many see real enemies presenting real dangers to real innocent people, to eschew a process that has produced actionable evidence and saved real people (and has not caused the streets to become molten tar pits or children's brains to boil out of their temples).

In Mr. Dershowitz's discussion of the feel-good morality of defining something that makes one feel as though they are drowning, but leaves them unharmed, as "torture" he makes the following point-

"Marginal Democratic candidates certainly benefit from moving to the left on national security issues, but serious candidates--candidates who want to have any realistic chance of prevailing in the general election--must not allow themselves to be pushed, shoved or even nudged away from a strong commitment to national security."

You may know a loving parent who would not do genuine harm to someone they knew had information that could prevent one of their children from coming to harm or being killed. Their willingness to enforce their morality at the sacrifice of the lives of innocent third parties would be quite remarkable- very Wilsonian, to venture into a discussion from a couple of weeks ago. I personally do not know a person who would so callously dispatch the innocent for the benefit of their value structure. Interestingly, as Dershowitz points out, neither would former president Clinton (to the recent chagrin, in a debate, of Mrs. Clinton). This he quoted from an interview on National Public Radio-
"'You picked up someone you know is the No. 2 aide to Osama bin Laden. And you know they have an operation planned for the United States or some European capital in the next three days. And you know this guy knows it. Right, that's the clearest example. And you think you can only get it out of this guy by shooting him full of some drugs or waterboarding him or otherwise working him over.'"
"He said Congress should draw a narrow statute 'which would permit the president to make a finding in a case like I just outlined, and then that finding could be submitted even if after the fact to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.' The president would have to "take personal responsibility" for authorizing torture in such an extreme situation."

Dershowitz also is troubled by the rampant "wisdom" that torture produces bad intelligence.
"This is simply not true, as evidenced by the many decent members of the French Resistance who, under Nazi torture, disclosed the locations of their closest friends and relatives."

It is to be remembered, of course, that Nazis, used torture techniques that left people damaged.

That absolutist moralizing sells well on the far left is obvious by the twists and turns of the Democratic party in their attempts to stay on the good side of their best, and most vociferous, funders. That it scares the middle of the American electorate to death is obvious by polling and the fact that staunchly Democratic voices like Dershowitz's would raise alarms about the party's direction. In past wars, once we had realized the enemy presented real dangers, the petty moralizing in the service of feeling good about ourselves evaporated and we went about the grim business of doing horrible things in as measured a way as was humanly possible under the circumstances. Now, the nations to whom we did those horrible things are among our closest allies in the world.

As straw men go waterboarding-as-torture is as soggy as they get, and Democrats like Dershowitz are trying to let the rest of the party know it.

Posted by Lee Emmerich Jamison at November 8, 2007 10:11 AM
Comments
Comment #237829

There is really no arguing this — either you think waterboarding is torture, or you don’t. I think it is, and so does “staunchly Republican” John McCain.

I don’t really care what Dershowitz has to say about winning elections. He has no particular expertise on the matter, and I would be ashamed if Democrats gave in on an issue like this simply to pander to voters. Wrong is wrong.

Posted by: Woody Mena at November 8, 2007 11:55 AM
Comment #237833

There is a bill being sponsored by Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., that would unequivocally outlaw waterboarding and other practices most people would recognize as torture, but it sits there while some do political grand sanding for cheap political points.

Why does it sit there, why are there a lot of speaches given but nothing done. Because they don’t really care. Any Congressman that denouces the practise but doesn’t push for this bill is nothing but a cheap political hack.

If they can’t go on the record with a vote, then they don’t really mean what they say.

Posted by: Mutt at November 8, 2007 12:41 PM
Comment #237835

In war, you can fight back. With torture, you’re stuck in a room with somebody who has absolute power over you. The ability to defend yourself distinguishes a battle from a massacre, a hand to hand fight from a torture session, an interrogation from an act of sadism meant to encourage absolute submission.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 8, 2007 1:13 PM
Comment #237836

The Isrealis have the best and only decent response to this issue. The also have the MOST experience,sadly, of having to deal with the circumstance. Torture is forbbiden by law and the Torah.When they are placed in a position of having to get information on imminent attacks,they break the law and are prepared to suffer the consequinces from both man and God. Torture is NEVER legitamized.
Another advantage to this approach is it limits torture to the rare circumstances of an imminemt attack and does not provide cover for tortue as punishment or deterent. Most cases of torture that go on in the world are for the purpose of political repression and terror. If you believe that could never happen here you are ignoreing history. We dare not venture down that road.

Posted by: BillS at November 8, 2007 1:14 PM
Comment #237840

Actually, BillS, the approach you take is one I respect. In the example I gave of doing harm to prevent the death or injury to a child I fully expect such actions to be illegal and to own up to and accept the consequences for my actions.

Stephen’s rebuttal is laughable on the face of it. Children, dying in the face of a firestorm or in a bomb shelter can “fight back”? Nonsense. I suppose he would concede to the people who gave up information that foiled bomb plots in Europe and the U.S. the opportunity to kill some undefined number of innocent citizens to make up for their humiliation at the hands of our agressive questioning. (not totally dissimilar to the plot of “Fail-Safe” 1964, starring Henry Fonda, except WE drop the bomb on New York in the movie.)

How much time in prison is “rough questioning” worth? I think I could handle it to save many lives.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at November 8, 2007 2:00 PM
Comment #237843
This is simply not true, as evidenced by the many decent members of the French Resistance who, under Nazi torture, disclosed the locations of their closest friends and relatives.

I can’t believe that Dershowitz, a Jew, would want his country to emulate the Nazis. He should be ashamed of himself!

Posted by: Woody Mena at November 8, 2007 2:47 PM
Comment #237844

What has striken me is the role reversal (again) on an issue just so that both sides of it can support their party…

For so many years, even recent ones, we’ve been told that Republicans see things too much in ‘black and white’ while Democrats understand there is reasoning behind many things and we need to evaluate in each instance.

Yet, here we are with Republicans saying that there are times and places to do certain things and the Democrats saying that ‘right is right and wrong is wrong’.

And those not partisanly motivated are sitting around scratching their heads saying ‘huh’? We certainly don’t wnat to use the torture tactics of Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, but many people are a little more than uncomfortable with not trying to push information out of those seeking to kill Americans simply because they are Americans.

I agree with Dershowitz on this one, the Democrats are doing themselves harm, but if this is the stance they want to take for conscience reasons, who can fault them? It will most likely cost them election-wise, but if they truly believe in their principles, more power to them.

Of course, as this would be a first time, it does seem particularly strange to me…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 8, 2007 2:48 PM
Comment #237846

Yeah, Woody, that’s exactly what he was saying.

Hey, the Nazis built the autobahn too, we emulated it with the national highway system. Does that mean we want to kill all the jews as well?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 8, 2007 2:50 PM
Comment #237849

Rhinehold,

Come on, there’s a difference between building roads and torture…

By the way, the Nazis did not officially “torture” people. They used “enhanced interrogation” (Verschärfte Vernehmung). No kidding. Andrew Sullivan shows a page from a Nazi interrogation manual.

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2007/05/verschfte_verne.html


Lee,

One thing that is not clear from your article: Do you think waterboarding is torture or not? You refer to “waterboarding-as-torture” as a “straw man”, but you don’t deny that it is. Neither does Dershowitz.

There are really two distinct questions here that are getting muddled.

1) Is waterboarding torture?

2) When, if ever, should we use torture?

Posted by: Woody Mena at November 8, 2007 3:19 PM
Comment #237850

Objectively, opposing water boarding would not put Democrats on the fringe. Here is a poll:

http://www.pollingreport.com/terror.htm

69% say waterboarding is torture, 58% say it should not be allowed.

Posted by: Woody Mena at November 8, 2007 3:22 PM
Comment #237857

Some thoughts on waterboarding:

Always been a crime. Always been torture.
This technique has been around for over a hundred years. It was used during the Spanish Inquisition. It has always been classified as torture in the U.S., even during the US - Mexican war, and any soldier caught doing it has always been decomissioned. There has never been any question that it is torture.

Always been totally ineffective.
Countries that have experience with waterboarding now outlaw it. It was used in the UK and in Israel against terrorists. It was later outlawed in both countries, because it was shown to be ineffective, on top of being morally repugnant.

I think many in the world used to think of the U.S. as the good guys, who stood for certain ideals. No more. The damage is done. People like yourself that supported and continue to support torturing people, not even giving them a trial or basis for doing so, have put this country in danger. You have turned countless thousands against us. I ask you - how much would you hate a country that indiscriminately tortured one of your relatives? What wouldn’t you do to even the score?

Yet you do support torture, not because it works, or brings any benefit at all other than give its supporters the chance to beat themselves on the chest, waive their flags, and call themselves real men.

Posted by: Max at November 8, 2007 4:31 PM
Comment #237858

Lee said: “Good people do horrible things in war.”

No! Absolute polluted logic. Good people who do horrible things are no longer good people. We put people in prison for one horrible act, regardless of their past.

Some Republicans and Democrats want to have it both ways. Imprison a first time child molester or drug dealer as a bad person, but, say our military personnel who violate the rules of war, humanity, or treaty are still good people if they are OUR people. Pure BullPucky. There is no logical, ethical, or philosophical integrity in such cognitively dissonant reasoning.

Mahatma Gandhi proved that in war with an adversary one can remain a good person and win in their war. They threw off the yoke of British Empire peacefully and without violence on their part which embarrassed the British into capitulation. Violence or non-violence is a choice every good person must make when facing an adversary. But, having made the choice of violence, the very scriptures and codes of moral conduct dictate that the person who chooses violence is no longer a good person, unless and until, they cross back to the decision of non-violence.

But, the Democrats are rightfully working to restore world wide respect for America and American interaction with foreign people. Water boarding is an act that defeats that effort. It is torture, and nearly all the people of the world would view it as torture if applied to them.

Republicans are absolutely on the wrong side of this issue as is Mukasey and the Bush Administration. And it is just one of many reasons Americans continue to poll ever higher for Democrats to take more control of government and Republicans to take less.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 8, 2007 4:41 PM
Comment #237861

Wow, you really got them flag waving, torture loving real men in a corner now.
Most people don’t know that the US “indiscriminately” tortures people for fun. Most people dont know that every one of those innocent muslims were picked up because some dumb hick GI’s were bored.
I know its hard to believe, but every single one of those innocent people have been tortured and waterboarded and NOTHING of value has come from them.

Come on Max, get the word out man. Tell those who refuse to see the light just how many of those innocent people there are down there. They need to know just how many people the US has tortured. They need to know just how many people have been waterboarded. They need to know that it was for pleasure and that no intel was given up.

Oh, could you please let them know just how many Americans have been tortured and waterboarded too. Going by what is on TV and my daily visits to kos and the daily show, I’m sure it has to be up in the thousands now, but I think those chest beating a-holes need an accurate number before they will shut up.

Posted by: kctim at November 8, 2007 4:53 PM
Comment #237863

kctim, thousands have been released from Guantanamo, renditioned out, or returned to their home countries. So, tell me. Did Bush commit treason freeing our enemies to strike us again, (since you seem to believe there were no innocents in Guantanamo), or was there not enough legitimate reason to hold them in the first place even under military law, or, did the Bush administration fear what they had to say about being tortured, should their stories get into the public view and become verified?

Or, all of the above?

Are you denying America has water boarded anyone? Is it all a left wing conspiracy? May I remind you that waterboarding’s most effective use, say current and former CIA officials, was in breaking Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, known as KSM, who subsequently confessed to a number of ongoing plots against the United States. A senior CIA official said KSM later admitted it was only because of the waterboarding that he talked.

Yet, Republican presidential candidate John McCain has said: “I have sought that result for years. [CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden’s banning water boarding as an interrogation technique in Sept.] Waterboarding is a form of torture. And I’m convinced that this will not only help us in our interrogation techniques, but it will also be helpful for our image in the world.” (Quote is from interview with ABC correspondent).

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 8, 2007 5:37 PM
Comment #237866
It is to be remembered, of course, that Nazis, used torture techniques that left people damaged.

It is to be rememered, of course, that Nazis lost everything - not just their hunamity or morallity - in just a few decades.

And people wants to take the same path!?

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 8, 2007 6:02 PM
Comment #237869

David, its not that I believe there were no innocents sent to Guantanamo, but rather that I believe the majority sent there were there for a reason.
I know some want everybody to believe that the US is evil and sweeps up muslims to torture “indiscriminately,” but that is not the case.
And yes, if intel said somebody shouldn’t be released, but Bush did so for PR reasons, then he is negligent and should be held accountable.

And no, I do not deny we have water boarded anyone. The last I heard, we have used it 3 or 4 times when it was believed it would be the most effective way to get intel to our benefit.
But that is 3 or 4 out of thousands for a purpose, not “indiscriminately” as the left and its media wants the people to believe.

We also do it to our own when they go through survival training, just in case you didnt know.

And what is this about the CIA and KSM? Max says it has “Always been totally ineffective.”
Do you mean to say Max was wrong and that this technique may have actually prevented a number of ongoing plots against the US?
You wouldn’t know that from reading headlines or watching the news.

McCain is entitled to his opinion. In my opinion, he is not prepared to do EVERYTHING possible to protect the US and its citizens, so I will never vote for him.

What a totally screwed up world we live in today.
The bad guys waterboard and the good guys saw off heads.

Posted by: kctim at November 8, 2007 6:11 PM
Comment #237872

kctim,

Oh, could you please let them know just how many Americans have been tortured and waterboarded too. […] I think those chest beating a-holes need an accurate number before they will shut up.

Hum, isn’t any number above zero will be enough?
Okay, let’s see… Salem’s witches. Soldiers captured during Vietnam War. Americans captured recently. Any american spy ever captured by US enemies.

Should give more than a zero already, nope?

But to get THE accurate number, nobody will tell, even under torture. Because nobody knows. Because nobody should know. Which is telling enough.

And quite ironic, let me add.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 8, 2007 6:31 PM
Comment #237874
I know some want everybody to believe that the US is evil

No. It’s that we want everybody to believe that the US is good, but these bad policies make that a more and more difficult case.

Wanting to believe that the US is good doesn’t make unconscionable acts done in our name just disappear. They disappear only when the standards and beliefs we thought America stood for are once again honored.

Posted by: LawnBoy at November 8, 2007 6:38 PM
Comment #237875
David, its not that I believe there were no innocents sent to Guantanamo, but rather that I believe the majority sent there were there for a reason.

Yep. Which, for a majority of them, were not good enough to keep them there. So they were freed of any charge…

No charge, but no all without wounds…

McCain is entitled to his opinion. In my opinion, he is not prepared to do EVERYTHING possible to protect the US and its citizens, so I will never vote for him.

Yep. It’s called having a moral stance. Some people think that some means can’t be justified whatever the end.
Would you nuke half americans less one in order to protect the other half if you have no other choice (or can’t find one)?

What a totally screwed up world we live in today. The bad guys waterboard and the good guys saw off heads.

Nice straw man argument. Too bad nobody will fall in such obvious rhetoric trap.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 8, 2007 6:43 PM
Comment #237876

BTW:

What a totally screwed up world we live in today. The bad guys waterboard and the good guys saw off heads.

Not really. It’s more looking like the good guys wateroard and the bad guys saw off heads.
Wait. Damned. You’re right, totally screwed up world!

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 8, 2007 6:46 PM
Comment #237877

Should the U.S. suffer another attack similar to 9/11 American’s would demand to know if we had the chance to thwart the attack by obtaining intelligence using any means necessary including water-boarding! And if so, why such means were not used. Many have been lulled into thinking another catastrophic strike against us is not possible. Perhaps our government has done such a good job of stopping threats that we have become complacent. We live in a country of law and order and some can’t or won’t believe we are targets waiting for opportunity. Should another strike be successful many of you will quickly change your view. It’s quite easy to advocate treating an enemy with tender love and caring from our comfortable homes, and quite another to put into practice when we are threatened with immenient destruction. Which of you would not kill an intruder in your home threatening your life and the life of your family? Is killing not a more severe punishment than water-boarding?

Posted by: Jim at November 8, 2007 6:48 PM
Comment #237879

Jim said: “Should the U.S. suffer another attack similar to 9/11 American’s would demand to know if we had the chance to thwart the attack by obtaining intelligence using any means necessary including water-boarding!”

Jim, if any means necessary is justified then nuclear carpet bombing of the Middle East, Pakistan, Indonesia is justified.

How about sterilizing all Muslims? That would be a long term solution.

By any means necessary is and ‘ends justifies the means’ argument which is antithetical to our Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution.

Thank you, though, for this rather typical Republican view which now has 74% of Americans agreeing Bush is the wrong president for this day and time.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 8, 2007 7:15 PM
Comment #237880

kctim said: “We also do it to our own when they go through survival training, just in case you didnt know.”

That is entirely voluntary, kctim, and you damn well should know that. A huge difference from being water-boarded without consent and without knowing if it will result in your death.

Get real!

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 8, 2007 7:19 PM
Comment #237881
Is killing not a more severe punishment than water-boarding?

Death vs Torture simulating death over and over and over. Hum. That’s tough decision. Let me see… Oh yeah, I’m against death penalty. So I guess I should agreed torture is legitimate…

Maye not.
Sorry, I’m not a “the ends always justify the means” guy.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 8, 2007 7:48 PM
Comment #237882

David,

Jim, if any means necessary is justified then nuclear carpet bombing of the Middle East, Pakistan, Indonesia is justified.

How about sterilizing all Muslims? That would be a long term solution.

No needs. Nukes will do that for free.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 8, 2007 7:50 PM
Comment #237883

From some pro-torture posters, I’m for changing this thread title into “Tortured ethic”, BTW.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 8, 2007 7:53 PM
Comment #237886

I’m a little confused (happens a lot lately, I’m afraid) but…

Since the US doesn’t waterboard and reports show that the US has only used the method 3 times between 2002 and 2003 (at a time of highented fears of other attacks, anthrax scares, etc, when the administration easily could have just declared martial law and did what it wanted for that time), and has since signed into law an executive order that all torturem as defined by 18 USC 2340, which includes “the threat of imminent death”…

What is the real point here? Does anyone think that waterboarding is still going on or has gone on since 2003? Why is an issue now when it looks like, to me, that it has been dealt with?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 8, 2007 9:45 PM
Comment #237887

Rhinehold-
How about having water in your lungs?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 8, 2007 9:49 PM
Comment #237888

Rhinehold,

As far as I know, the US has never denied that it is still waterboarding. The practice is against military law, but there is no explicit law against non-military personnel like CIA agents doing it.

Of course torture is against the law, but what is torture, exactly? That seems to be the $64,000 question. If Bush would just flat out say that waterboarding is torture and a crime then we could drop the argument.

Posted by: Woody Mena at November 8, 2007 9:52 PM
Comment #237890

Woody,

Well,

On July 20, 2007, U.S. President George W. Bush signed an executive order banning torture during interrogation of terror suspects. The executive order refers to torture as defined by 18 USC 2340, which includes “the threat of imminent death”.

On September 14, 2007, ABC News reported that sometime in 2006 CIA Director Michael Hayden asked for and received permission from “the White House” to ban the use of waterboarding in CIA interrogations. The source of information is current and former CIA officials. ABC reported that waterboarding had been authorized by a 2002 Presidential finding.

On November 5, 2007, The Wall Street Journal reported that its “sources confirm… that the CIA has only used this interrogation method against three terrorist detainees and not since 2003.”

On September 6, 2006, the United States Department of Defense released a revised Army Field Manual entitled Human Intelligence Collector Operations that prohibits the use of waterboarding by U.S. military personnel. The department adopted the manual amid widespread criticism of U.S. handling of prisoners in the War on Terrorism, and prohibits other practices in addition to waterboarding.

So, I guess I would ask you, where do you have the notion that the US supports waterboarding beyond what they have admitted to and opposed to the executive order and military law?

And no, I don’t support torture. In fact, I don’t think we should be removing our shoes and belts just to board a freakin’ plane, but I’m one of those personal rights nuts.

But it just seems to me to be such a non-issue, since no one has reported that this is going on in any real practice, in fact only 3 times that we can tell.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 8, 2007 10:11 PM
Comment #237895

Lee Jamison-
War is torture, torture is war… Anything to justify crossing the lines you want to cross.

It’s sort of like the time Bill O’Reilly confused Nazis murdering defenseless American Soldiers with American Soldiers shooting unarmed SS officers. I guess we needed to justify Americans committing war crimes so nobody would question the quality of leadership that allows discipline and adherence to American standards of behavior to slip.

This is about lowering the bar on what we expect of ourselves. This is not rough questioning, it’s torture. You might feel it’s more manly to inflict pain and suffering on suspects, but the evidence demonstrates the unreliability of these “tough” approaches.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 8, 2007 11:01 PM
Comment #237896

Rhinehold-
If it’s such a moot point, why did Alberto Gonzales essentially fire a guy who defined it as torture?

People don’t go so far to defend practies they’re not planning on using.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 8, 2007 11:30 PM
Comment #237897

It is ideal to think we should avoid torture. The line of reasoning within this thread that the crys against torture and supposed torture are hollow. Someone, some individual will be in a position to use whatever is at their disposal to extract information. Because in their mind they are out of options. As uncertainty mounts, as fear builds, options that we said should “never” happen are 1st to reappear. Having this discussing is an academic exercise in punishment, because prevention is something that will never happen. The Israeli example above is great because it shows that they knowingly step outside of their societal and religious rules.

Posted by: Snickers at November 8, 2007 11:36 PM
Comment #237899
Sources said he was forced out of the Justice Department when Gonzales became attorney general.

So, where is your evidence that the reason he was ‘forced out’ was because he defined waterboarding as torture and not some other issue, including a targetted housecleaning by a new AG?

And Levin did not say that it was illegal in all cases. “waterboarding could be illegal torture unless performed in a highly limited way and with close supervision”. There’s no evidence that I’ve seen that it was used in any legal way.

I’m sorry Stephen, but I’m going to have to ask for more than you’ve provided.

The link you provided does not show evidence to what you suggest, got anything else?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 8, 2007 11:52 PM
Comment #237900

Err, in any ‘illegal way’. Sorry if I caused confusion.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 8, 2007 11:55 PM
Comment #237901

Rhinehold-
How about an instructor who spent 20 years teaching our soldiers what torture is, and how to deal with it?

Andrew Sullivan did some digging recently, and found that our “enhanced interrogation”, in both name and description differs little from that which the Gestapo employed. As Sullivan writes:

Critics will no doubt say I am accusing the Bush administration of being Hitler. I’m not. There is no comparison between the political system in Germany in 1937 and the U.S. in 2007. What I am reporting is a simple empirical fact: the interrogation methods approved and defended by this president are not new. Many have been used in the past. The very phrase used by the president to describe torture-that-isn’t-somehow-torture - “enhanced interrogation techniques” - is a term originally coined by the Nazis. The techniques are indistinguishable. The methods were clearly understood in 1948 as war-crimes. The punishment for them was death.

The thing you have to understand is that most of these enhanced interrogation techniques are reversed engineered from the SERE program. Which happens to be based on modern torture methods designed by the Nazis and Soviets. This article offers an account of that.

Waterboarding is torture, and our soldier have been taught as much for a very long time.

Since torture is illegal, the answer to the question Democrats have asking should be an obvious yes. Unfortunately, there are many obvious things that seem to get muddled when it comes to this administration.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 9, 2007 12:20 AM
Comment #237902

Stephen,

I am not arguing if waterboarding is torture or not. I’m just saying if it is currently not allowed, and was only employed 3 times during 2002 and 2003 when it was allowed, why is this a big issue?

Can you show me that we are actively waterboarding anyone? With all of the leaks that pop up and have already come out that show us what we already know, there is no one suggesting that this practice is being used by the CIA or military since last used in 2003.

So again, I ask, what is the issue that has many on the left in an uproar? I’ve been out of the loop for a few months so I may just have missed something, but it seems like a huge waste of time, other than an attempt to use it as a wedge issue/political gain. And I don’t see that as working out well for Democrats if they continue to push it.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 9, 2007 12:30 AM
Comment #237907
So is “enhanced interrogation” torture? One way to answer this question is to examine history. The phrase has a lineage. Verschärfte Verneh-mung, enhanced or intensified interrogation, was the exact term innovated by the Gestapo to describe what became known as the “third degree”. It left no marks. It included hypothermia, stress positions and long-time sleep deprivation. The United States prosecuted it as a war crime in Norway in 1948. The victims were not in uniform - they were part of the Norwegian insurgency against the German occupation - and the Nazis argued, just as Cheney has done, that this put them outside base-line protections (subsequently formalised by the Geneva conventions).

From The Sunday Times
October 7, 2007

So is waterboarding torture, of course it is. It was defined as torture as far back as WW II, when several Japanese soldiers were prosecuted for utilizing waterboarding against U.S. soldiers. An American soldier was court-martialed during the Vietnam War for waterboarding a Vietnamese soldier. The argument that waterboarding is not torture when experts apply it makes the argument that some Germans were wrongfully prosecuted after WW II. Waterboarding falls within the definition of torture by our own laws and the Geneva Convention. The raising of the question whether waterboarding is torture or not, is just misdirection in order to raise doubt about its illegality.

So is three the magic number? Just because one source mentions he is aware of three prisoners of being subjected to waterboarding, can we be certain more instances have not taken place? Or is three a small enough number that we can feel self-righteous about not using it more? Is this unnamed source quoted by everyone to a point of certainty speaking also for the military, contractors and countries that received prisoners through rendition? Certainly the right believes that every one of these prisoners is guilty and evil, but at what number do we become the evil one? While we have the right to defend our home, do we have the right to torture an incapacitated criminal before the police arrive? Finally, if we are no longer torturing prisoners are we still not guilty, and specifically is President Bush no longer guilty of war crimes?

Posted by: Cube at November 9, 2007 3:49 AM
Comment #237909
On November 5, 2007, The Wall Street Journal reported that its “sources confirm… that the CIA has only used this interrogation method against three terrorist detainees and not since 2003.”

Rhinehold,

If an anonymous source gave The Nation some favorable information about Hillary Clinton, would conservatives believe it and end the argument?

I don’t think you can accuse the left of dragging out the argument. It is Michael Mukasey who didn’t want to say whether waterboarding is torture.

If you are looking for evidence of ongoing use, consider this interview with Dick Cheney in 10/06:

Hennen: “…And I’ve had people call and say, please, let the Vice President know that if it takes dunking a terrorist in water, we’re all for it, if it saves American lives. Again, this debate seems a little silly given the threat we face, would you agree?”

Cheney: “I do agree. And I think the terrorist threat, for example, with respect to our ability to interrogate high value detainees like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, that’s been a very important tool that we’ve had to be able to secure the nation. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed provided us with enormously valuable information about how many there are, about how they plan, what their training processes are and so forth, we’ve learned a lot. We need to be able to continue that.”


Posted by: Woody Mena at November 9, 2007 8:27 AM
Comment #237912

There is a good reason not to torture, beside the whole love-thy-neighbor thing. A person being tortured will say anything to make it stop, including very truthful sounding lies. All torture does is make people talk. Lots. About anything that they think will make the torture stop.

L

Posted by: leatherankh at November 9, 2007 8:55 AM
Comment #237913
This technique has been around for over a hundred years. It was used during the Spanish Inquisition.

Really…and the Spanish Inquisition was in which century???? Much more than 100 years ago…and hopefully we should’ve become much more enlightened since then…but religion was a procurer of torture then and continues to be be even over 500 years later…

Posted by: Rachel at November 9, 2007 8:57 AM
Comment #237915

Philippe
I was speaking of Americans who have been tortured by our own govt. That and our govt listening in on every American phone call are major speaking points right now for leftist.

“Yep. It’s called having a moral stance. Some people think that some means can’t be justified whatever the end.”

I have no problem with that at all.
In the real world though, the ends do justify the means when it comes to protecting lives.

“Would you nuke half americans less one in order to protect the other half if you have no other choice (or can’t find one)?”

Nope. But I would nuke any other country to protect my own, if it came down to that.

LawnBoy
Valid points. But it is true only half of the time really.
It is politics, not the need for intel which determines whether the US is good or not.

Posted by: kctim at November 9, 2007 9:18 AM
Comment #237916

Wow. Has this stirred up a hornet’s nest or what?

David, I lost some sleep over your retort- “Good people who do horrible things are no longer good people. We put people in prison for one horrible act, regardless of their past.” The very act of participation in war is a horror. You are trying to split a hair here, as though something being legal makes that thing good, or at least not evil. Hunting human beings is a horrible thing no matter what the legal auspices of doing so are. It scars good people. My late neighbor, Pete Fowler described to me some little bit of what happened on Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The MEMORY of it was torture to him.
Several people in my community who didn’t go to war held a grudge against another of my neighbors who hid out in the Big Thicket to avoid conscription. Strangely, though, the ones I knew who DID go didn’t hold such feelings. Their service had been so awful they wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

What I know beyond a shadow of a doubt is that full-fledged war is worse than torture. When leaders, in the service of some idolatrous image of “morality” and “peace” display weakness to valueless regimes they invite conquest.
David wrote-

Mahatma Gandhi proved that in war with an adversary one can remain a good person and win in their war. They threw off the yoke of British Empire peacefully and without violence on their part which embarrassed the British into capitulation. Violence or non-violence is a choice every good person must make when facing an adversary.

Ghandi was not fighting Hitler. Ghandi was not fighting Stalin. Ghandi was not fighting Mao. The violence-free opposition in each of those instances won the peace of the grave- to the aggregate tune of nearly 100 million people.

War is the immoral choice left to us when our courage to stand up for difficult things in peacetime fails us. European vengefulness, American isolationism, and the namby-pamby pacifism of Neville Chamberlain plowed the fields and sowed the seeds of W.W.II. Hitler would have been powerless without our reticence to do difficult things in the aftermath of W.W.I.

For the sake of the discussion I’m going to state that waterboarding IS torture. OK it is evil. That is a sort of infinity in human moral conception. Bombings and killings are more evil. In a world of infinities of darkness I will opt for the infinities of prime numbers rather than the infinities of whole integers if one can reasonably be expected to interdict the other.

I believe that, to this point, waterboarding has been used as though it was thought to be an evil process even in the administration. I further believe it has prevented acts of war and many deaths. Finally, I believe the left is now willing to let those innocent people die to score political points, keep their hands clean, and again raise the banner “Peace in our Time!”.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at November 9, 2007 9:27 AM
Comment #237917

David
“Get real!”

You are right, I do know damn well that there is a difference. But my intent was not to say “we do it to our own, so we can do it to them.”
I was only mentioning something that most do not know.

You read what Max and others have said about the US torturing and waterboarding Americans and innocent muslims indiscriminatly and for the hell of it. How it NEVER works and how it somehow makes us worse than our enemy and YOU know damn well that is not true.

We have used this technique a FEW times to get intel. There is no need to make it seem like it is an hourly occurrence, done at random for the hell of it, just so one can make their country look bad because their President is a Republican.

Posted by: kctim at November 9, 2007 9:39 AM
Comment #237918

kctim, I agree with you that many on the left have engaged in reprehensible hyperbole to raise awareness of this issue. It is part of a bigger picture though, Abu Ghraib, rendition, and a policy of torture by the Bush Administration that has indeed made America appear as bad as our enemy in the eyes of many in the world. That is not hyperbole, that is documented testified fact in Congressional hearings.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 9, 2007 9:46 AM
Comment #237919

Lee said: “You are trying to split a hair here, as though something being legal makes that thing good, or at least not evil.”

I did not even suggest such a thing. I suggest you reread my comments. Legality has never made an action good. Killing 6 million in Nazi Germany was legal by German law. I would never subscribe to the postulation that you somehow interpreted from my comments.

In fact, your comments reinforce mine. Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder is in large part a reaction by people with conscience for having committed unconscionable acts. They may overcome their PTSD, but, most will never shed the guilt they experience for having committed acts they would normally attribute to “bad” people. This is not only documented in PTSD research, but, I have first hand knowledge of it having listened to Viet Nam War vets, 2 of them decades after that war was over.

But, you don’t have to be a war vet to experience this. Most of us carry guilt with us for having acted wrongly toward someone we thought we should have, and thought we cared about. Guilt is a painful experience. It is the mechanism by which evolution allowed our species to develop a sense and codes of morality and ethics.

Any person who experiences guilt knows their guilty action is painful, precisely because it made them a bad or unworthy person in their own eyes. Forgiveness comes when, as I said originally, the person crosses back over to the “decision of non-violence.” (Violence is not just physical).

This is one of the basic tenets of Christianity and all the major religions for that matter. We all sin. Sin makes us bad people not only in the eyes of our god, but, our own. Redemption is achieved by ceasing to be that sinner and acting as to avoid that sin, again.

The heart of treatment for soldiers with PTSD caused by acts they committed which they abhor, is helping them understand that they are no longer that person in that situation committing that act.

The reason many, not most, can never heal, is because they know that if they had it to do all over again, they would. Hence, they know they are not forgiven, for they are still the person they were when they committed the acts that fostered guilt in the first place. Hence the perpetual reliving of the act in their dreams, flashbacks, and preoccupied subconscious thought. Which is a horrible state for the civilized human mind to live with. It is in fact, a mental health disease.

Many more get on with their lives by employing the denial defense mechanism, never thinking about, discussing, or reliving the events, ever again. This measure only carries various degrees of success depending on the individual.

Violence in defense of a direct attack on oneself or cared for, carries forgiveness and redemption within it. Violence one volunteers for against others who did not directly threaten oneself, does not carry forgiveness and redemption without some expensive mental and emotional gymnastics, or the forgiveness that comes with the acceptance that one is no longer that person, capable of those actions.

Adam Smith explores this, which is quite remarkable and genius, since his writing of the Theory of Moral Sentiments predates all modern psychology and psychiatry.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 9, 2007 10:19 AM
Comment #237921

Lee said: “Ghandi was not fighting Hitler.”

Quite right. He was fighting the British who wholesale slaughtered thousands for the crime of peaceable assembly and peaceful discourse, and enslaved millions in their own country. You find this morally elevated, do you?

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 9, 2007 10:25 AM
Comment #237922

Lee said: “Finally, I believe the left is now willing to let those innocent people die to score political points, keep their hands clean, and again raise the banner “Peace in our Time!”.

Lee we all die. Dying is natural. Torture on the other hand, is not a natural experience. That is a deliberate infliction of suffering. Your relativism on this I find peculiar.

And I can think of no more humane nor civilized goal than Peace in our Time. I am little surprised such a banner raising takes you to opposition of those raising it, even if you are a Republican supporter.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 9, 2007 10:35 AM
Comment #237925

Lee,

This may be out of left field, but the Nazis were not a result of Chamberlain’s weakness or strengths.
Hitler, and his Nazis were a result of the deprivation forced upon the whole of the German people after WW1. Hitler merely took advantage of that situation.
Perhaps if the actions of the Allies had been a bit more enlightened, Hitler could have been barely a footnote in history.

Posted by: Rocky at November 9, 2007 11:12 AM
Comment #237927

David,
I’m sure you recognize the jab at Chamberlain.

This is not really an argument over who is the moral relativist, but one over what brand of relativism we choose. I see a Wilsonian relativism as one that refuses allow anyone to be drawn into the sewer, and thus fails to maintain the sewer until after its contents have inundated the town square.
I prefer a T.R. relativism that accepts we will have people who labor daily in the sewer to keep what belongs there in the sewer.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at November 9, 2007 11:39 AM
Comment #237929

kctim-
Is mere survival all that matters? I would rather die a free man in a terrorist attack than live under a police state free from the threat of the terrorists.

That is the direction we’re heading.

The fantasy is that the government can determine arbitrarily, without recourse to any due process, or at least solid intelligence, whether a person is a terrorist. The fantasy here is that we can distinguish the guilty from the innocent when we take this “enhanced interrogation” approach. The fantasy is that people are like computers who can be “hacked” by torture to give pure information. Torture can not only compel people to lie or tell people what they want to hear, it can create false memories as the torture pushes people to remember things correctly from the interrogators point of view. Torture is unreliable for the same reason hypnosis is unreliable: it makes people suggestible, and suggestible people can be made to believe things are true that are not.

Furthermore, it makes legitimate interrogation more difficult,making it more difficult to notice the stress responses that give away the lies of the subject, among other things.

So what are we gaining for the infamy these techniques bring us? Not much really.

As for how many times this technique has been used? I really don’t trust this administration to say. This report of yours of it only being used three times flies in the face of a number of well known facts. First, other enhanced interrogation methods do not seem to be so rare. Blaring music and sleep deprivation do not seem to have been so limited. Neither have stress positions. Second, your source is anonymous, and only speaks for the CIA, an organization not exactly known for it’s sunshine policies. Trusting the CIA not to keep embarassing information secret seems naive to me.

Third, the CIA often contracts out such interrogations. We know about this. There have been tons of stories about secret prisons. The question is not how many people the CIA has tortured, it’s how many have they allowed to be tortured by others.

Fourth, stories from Abu Ghraib and Gitmo have indicated that the notion that interrogators would magically behave in consistence with the rules as to when interrogation is permitted is flawed at best.

The leadership on this issue has been abominable. Even if Waterboarding is as rare as you say, Other enhanced interrogations methods, pioneered by the Nazis of all people, remain not only in common use by interrogators, but are also being touted as America’s salvation by the right. The Irony is sickening.

Lee Jamison-
Have you

1)ever fought in a war,
2)tortured somebody, or
3)been tortured yourself?

Knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt? I doubt you have the personal experience to match that conviction.

You talk about the supposedly namby-pamby pacifism that lead to WWII. Truth was, Europe had just been through one of the bloodiest, most atrocious wars in its history. It’s easy to call these people cowards safe in the states in the beginnings of the 21st Century, but if you just had the first truly mechanized war in your backyard, having seen millions die, and millions more disabled, you’d be a bit reticent about starting the next war, too.

More to the point, Chamberlain’s approach was the result of Europe’s gradual loss of will to continue imposing wartime penalties on the defeated Germany. Having not taken the firm but forgiving approach we took post WWII, which was sustainable, yet provided security, the European powers ended up having their victory and punishing vengeance gradually undermined into a weary permissiveness.

In short, your people are leading us down the same path.

Waterboarding is torture. It is evil. There’s no purpose for it besides inflicting simulated death on somebody. What’s more for the power it gives you over that person, it takes away their reliability as an informant, allowing your own preconceived notions to become truth for the captive.

It will not prevent another war. It will only ensure that we are barking up the wrong tree when we get blindsided by the next attack.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 9, 2007 12:00 PM
Comment #237930

kctim,

In the real world though, the ends do justify the means when it comes to protecting lives.

Oh really? Death Penalty?

This time you can’t hide behind “i’m talking of protecting AMERICAN lives”.

Would you nuke half americans less one in order to protect the other half if you have no other choice (or can’t find one)?

Nope.

Why not?!

After all, you said you will never vote for someone that is not prepared to do EVERYTHING (emphasing being yours) possible to protect the US and its citizens! But when facing between killing half americans minus one or losing all, you seems to have… how weird, some restrain to do it. Strange, isn’t it.

I’m glad you have some. The ends doesn’t justify always the means.

But I would nuke any other country to protect my own, if it came down to that.

So will these “any other” countries. Hence the renewed nukes race everywhere. A MAD race.
That why I’m opposing the first strike doctrine, BTW. It breaks MAD peaceful deadlock.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 9, 2007 12:02 PM
Comment #237941

Stephen
The survival, success and safety of the US and its people should be the number one priority. If ensuring that hurts some feelings, so be it.

“I would rather die a free man in a terrorist attack than live under a police state free from the threat of the terrorists”

So would I! Funny you don’t take that same attitude with the 2nd Amendment though. But that is off topic.
I fail to see how using any means necessary on foreign terrorists means we are living in a police state.

Waterboarding being used 3 or 4 times was not a report I quoted. It is nothing more than a number I have heard or read and I stated that. IF you can refute it with facts, then please let us know. But you saying its higher because of your partisan distrust of this admin does not make it so.

“Third, the CIA often contracts out such interrogations. We know about this.”

Yes, we have known about this for quite some time now. So why is it just now that it is so important? If it is such an evil and terrible thing, why was it not such a big deal in, say, 1996 or 2000?

This issue has nothing to do with “machismo” or feeling more “manly” about having power over someone Stephen.
I do not support these techniques because I get a kick out of them, I support them because I believe we should use all available means to protect ourselves from our enemy who is trying to do us harm.

Posted by: kctim at November 9, 2007 1:06 PM
Comment #237942

Philippe
I say what I mean and I don’t hide behind anything.

Death penalty huh? Talking about American lives, right? Ok.
As an American, if you commit murder, you are entitled to your rights and once that course has run and you are found guilty without a reasonable doubt, you deserve the death penalty.

Why not, you ask? Because you are dealing in fantasy extremes which pit American against American and I am not. The only thing strange is you having to use “24” scenarios to try and make your point.

Now this may be a shock to you, but I believe “any other country” has just as much right to love their country more than others and to defend their country as needed.
I’m not a liberal PH, I don’t hold hypocritical views.

Posted by: kctim at November 9, 2007 1:39 PM
Comment #237943

kctim-
Funny that you mention the Second Amendment. Used to be that people were reasonable about it, rather than knocking down even bills that merely delayed getting the weapon, limited the types available, or confirmed that the person making the purchase wasn’t a criminal.

Now, though, your people talk about how any regulation, however minor, will have jackbooted thugs knocking down our doors taking away our guns. And why? Because Gun rights has all become about free floating fear and anxiety concerning the world around you.

I mean, how many people are actually victims of a crime? It’s about ten times less than the media makes apparent. Crime rates go down, but people don’t feel any safer. Why? Because they see in the media a world infested with crime. Our stone age senses are overwhelmed by modern media’s concentration of these events.

What’s really going on here is that people play on such anxieties to avoid talking about the much more complex issues of governance. They tell what to fear, who to be scared of, and then tell you their opponents will be too soft on it. Or that they’re the source of the problem.

Torture doesn’t produce reliable information. Even if you get some truth, there’s no way to tell whether they’re telling you the truth or just what you want to hear without actually going out there and finding it out for yourself. This one Guy, al-Libi, tortured by our CIA’s friends, had us going on tons of wild goose chases. Then somebody talked to him about the Koran, and he gave us some actually useful information. Our interrogators in WWII didn’t employ torture, and managed to get reams of information.

The truth of the matter is, if torture is not a dependable means of extracting information, all this talk about using all available means to protect America becomes foolish, because at its essence, such an approach is wasteful. We use the methods that produce positive results. On many levels, torture doesn’t. We’re better off, safer, without it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 9, 2007 1:41 PM
Comment #237955

Stephen
You are aware that everything you just said about pro 2nd Amendment people is also true about anti 2nd Amendment people, right?
Used to be that people were reasonable and respectful of individual rights enough that they did not want that right taken away because of the actions of a few.

Now, though, your people talk about how without strict regulation, we will have wild west shootouts on our streets every second of the day. And why? Because gun rights have all become about free floating fear and anxiety concerning the world around you.

And even though very few people are actually victims of crime, your people want to take away the rights of all, because of the actions of a few. Why? Because they see in the media, that guns cause all crime and the only way to stop crime is to ban guns.

You are correct, people do play on such anxieties. They tell people to fear guns. To fear their neighbor who owns guns. And then they tell people that everybody who supports their 2nd Amendment right, are nothing but wild west cowboys who fear.

You say we are fearful because we wish to protect our right, while at the same time, you are using fear to convince people to give up that right.

But thats not whats funny. The kicker is you do a complete 360 when it comes to a right you care about. You fear the evil Republicans are passing legislation, no matter how helpful or little, so that they can monitor all your private conversations. And then you claim they are using fear to get people to agree with giving up this right.

Why is it ok for govt to use fear to give up one right, but not another?

Regarding torture, you say “even if you get some truth” by torturing and “on many levels” torture does not produce positive results.
IMO, some truth on any level, is enough in order to protect the US and its people.
Besides, its not like some evil Republican walks down the line saying “this one is waterboarded” “this one dies” “this one gets his koran” “this one is set free” etc…
The coddling and soft interegation techniques are used on the vast majority of prisoners, while the harshest techniques are used on those who are deemed to have useful intel.
You guys know this and its pitiful how you are making your own country out to be monsters who torture and kill everybody, for political points.

I’m fine with you thinking we would be better off and safer without it. I have no problems with that at all. But for me, I agree with clinton and gore and believe it is in our country’s best interest to use it when needed.

Posted by: kctim at November 9, 2007 3:01 PM
Comment #237960

Stephen,

Let me remind you-


Dershowitz also is troubled by the rampant “wisdom” that torture produces bad intelligence.

“This is simply not true, as evidenced by the many decent members of the French Resistance who, under Nazi torture, disclosed the locations of their closest friends and relatives.”

-and even President Clinton sees the “wisdom” in this. Intelligence need not be perfect, or even consistently good, to put people onto new trails that lead to success. Ask the Free French.

You say it does not produce results. It has produced results, though, some of it good. People didn’t die who otherwise would have, which, inherently is not news- to touch on your media angle.
From a news standpoint people not dying is not “good”. It’s just not “bad”, which is essentially neutral. We don’t get to hear about people not dying which is why we hear so little from Iraq these days.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at November 9, 2007 3:19 PM
Comment #237978
“This is simply not true, as evidenced by the many decent members of the French Resistance who, under Nazi torture, disclosed the locations of their closest friends and relatives.”

What is not mentioned is that many innocent people who weren’t involved with the Resistance were killed or apprehended because people gave up their names while being tortured. The Germans didn’t care if deadly mistakes were made because of faulty intelligence. Nowadays of course, we consider all the victims of Germans brutality as innocent. So shouldn’t we with the fine brush of morality try to separate ourselves from their example?

President Clinton never endorsed torture as Dershowitz implies. You should read Clinton’s exact comments. He did said in the narrow case of a “ticking time bomb” scenario:

“We have a system of laws here where nobody should be above the law, and you don’t need blanket advance approval for blanket torture. They can draw a statute much more narrowly, which would permit the president to make a finding in a case like I just outlined, and then that finding could be submitted even if after the fact to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.”

Clinton was then asked whether he was saying there “would be more responsibility afterward for what was done.” He replied: “Yeah, well, the president could take personal responsibility for it. But you do it on a case-by-case basis, and there’d be some review of it.” Clinton quickly added that he doesn’t know whether this ticking bomb scenario “is likely or not,” but he did know that “we have erred in who was a real suspect or not.”… “But I think if you go around passing laws that legitimize a violation of the Geneva Convention and institutionalize what happened at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo, we’re gonna be in real trouble.”


Posted by: Cube at November 9, 2007 6:23 PM
Comment #237979

Experts say the kinds of ticking bomb scenarios shown on 24 have never happened. I would love for this president to take responsibility for his actions, and I do hold him responsible.

Posted by: Max at November 9, 2007 7:31 PM
Comment #237988

I think, so congress and our courts can take it easy for a while, we should reapprove each Bush cabinet appointee.
Just think of all the hard issues they can solve for us in hearings. Think of all of the free camera and news time the inquisitioners can have.
Democrats would be sure to sweep the elections.
They can ask questions to the appropriate cabinet member to define everything for us all. What really is poverty? What level of Co2 emissions will stop global warming? How many casualties lose a war? The subjects are innumerable.
Rhinehold is correct, this subject is a waste of time and inapplicable to the senate conformation process.
It is an interesting subject to blog about though.

Posted by: Kruser at November 9, 2007 11:01 PM
Comment #237989

kctim-
The very nature of the problem is that you don’t necessarily know when you’re getting truth or confabulation. Hence, unreliable. A person under torture will tell you whatever it seems will get you to stop hurting you.

Framing everything in terms of softness and toughness muddles the issue. This is not an athletic competition, it’s a battle of wits.

I believe in my country. I believe that civil liberties are an essential backbone of our nation, what distinguishes us and raises us above our enemies, what makes us better than the terrorists.

Our excellence, though, cannot merely be academic or philosophical. It must be carried out in practice. We can’t be Americans simply in nationality, we have to be American in our outlook.

We can’t point to the evils of other, justifying our own, then step back and claim to be better than them. We have to have firm limits to our behavior to truly claim that honor.

Political points are what you’re trying to score with arguments about “coddling” and “soft treatment” The realities are different from what you’re presenting, and the genuine aim of many talking about this is to redeem American foreign policy.

Lee Jamison-
Dershowitz can be troubled by the empirical evidence about the effectiveness of torture all he wants to be. It’s still the truth. Yes, you can get some information. But whether it’s the truth or not is another matter. Let’s recall how well the Nazis did in France: they lost.

It produces unreliable information. If you’ve confused somebody who can’t tell you anything with somebody who won’t, you have practically no chance of getting real information.

At the end of the day, constant false alarms only serve to make defending our country more difficult than it has to be for less benefit.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 9, 2007 11:17 PM
Comment #237990

Concerning torture;
Most liberals I know are not moral absolutists so torture would be defined by the circumstance. It would be torture for me to live in a jungle due to the bugs but it wouldn’t be so to a native.
If a man was beat constantly and lived in hardship like japanese soldiers in ww2. Waterboarding might not be so bad as long as you don’t beat or starve him like his own army did.
I however, am a absolutist or someone who believes in universal truths. Death and misery are absolutely bad. A man who breaks into my home to harm my family will die. I won’t enjoy the killing but protecting my family won’t make me a bad person. The death will be unfortunate but will be totally his own doing. A man who is plotting to kill scores of innocent people and holds back info so they will die, is completely responsible himself for being tortured to talk. The interrogators will consider it unfortunate but necessary.
To put enforcement by peaceful men on the same level as hateful pain inflicting evil men is a complete injustice.

Posted by: Kruser at November 9, 2007 11:22 PM
Comment #237994

Kruser-
Nobody acts in isolation, but everybody makes decisions for themselves, and if your decisions constantly add up to something else than what you profess to be, then you will be more what you do than what you say.

We cannot forever make war, then call ourselves peace-loving without some folks thinking that ironic or pathological on our part. We cannot torture, and be repeatedly exposed as torturers, and expect that stain not to show up on our nation’s reputation.

If a man breaks into my house and I kill him in self defense, it’s not his doing, it’s mine, my responsibility. He’s responsible for making the decision to break in, I’m responsible for shooting him or bludgeoning him. In that case, though, there is an immediate, obvious threat.

A captive is at your mercy. The only thing they can do to you is not talk, or lie to you. I don’t advocate this because I’m soft. I do it because I feel this makes us weaker as Americans, weaker as opponents to the kind of evil, violent nihilism these people support. If we match it, we haven’t won, we’ve validated it.

I want them to to have to lie to make us look bad. I don’t want us doing their propaganda job for them. If we have to do something that looks questionable to take care of a real problem, I’ll support that, because in the long run the things we don’t take care of for the sake of appearances will come back to haunt us. But doing inherently questionable things and not even reflecting that they are questionable, is setting yourself on the road to hell.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 10, 2007 12:53 AM
Comment #237999

I simply don’t agree that Jehadists give a rip about our morality or image.
It is an absolute truth that all men have a right to be free. You don’t free incarcerated rapists and shame their guards for holding them because of this absolute truth.
The evil they did to innocent people relinquished that right. We treat them as prisoners because of their own actions. It is unfortunate but necessary. It certainly don’t mean we have abandoned freedom as a truth.
A terroist doesn’t honor any principle of human dignity. They aren’t fine citizens like yourself.
To be obsessed with their comfort rather than the disgusting and abhorrent acts they commit towards innocents is a confusing contradiction. Torture is too good for them.
Overreaction to the awful behavior of terrorism shows a healthy sense of justice to the world. Let’s use tolerance toward political discourse but not toward evil destructive behavior.

Posted by: Kruser at November 10, 2007 5:58 AM
Comment #238005

Kruser, your argument misses the point entirely. It focuses on the terrorists and their actions, but, regarding torture, the issue is not who the terrorists are, but, who we are. Are we a more humane people than the terrorists? Torturing human beings says we are not. And torturing human beings without the safeguards of our Bill of Rights to establish their complicity beyond a reasonable doubt, before punishing them, wreaks of hypocrisy and lack of faith in our own beliefs. That is the issue.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 10, 2007 9:51 AM
Comment #238007

Kruser-
The question is not whether the terrorists give a crap about our reputation or morality, but rather, do we?

Not all men have a right to be free. We are not violating the rights of somebody who’s raped a woman, robbed a bank or murdered someone by incarcerating them, so long as we’ve arrested them by a legitimate warrant or probable cause, convicted them based on admissable evidence and testimony, and afforded them the due process of the law. The point of our civil liberties is not smug prissiness about the rules, it’s about seeing things up so that innocent people who the law has no right to punish aren’t subject to prosecution or punishment.

Torture can take a person with no reason to confess, and make them confess anyways. Torture is the easy way out of filtering out the BS.

If we rely on such tainted information, we will waste resources that could have been better employed if we had not had such BS handed to us.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 10, 2007 10:43 AM
Comment #238008

kctim,

You say that torture has only been used a handful of times, but the Abu Ghraib pictures show mock executions, stress positions, etc. being applied indiscriminately. Quasi-official policies have a tendency to go undocumented. But let’s say you are right, why then do we need an official policy of torture. If it’s used so minimally, why not have the president personally review and assume responsibility for the decision to use torture on a case by case basis, like Clinton suggested?

You also say that torture is effective, referring to a couple exception cases where information was obtained. Let’s say that in those cases torture really was the only way to get at that information. Was it worth the collateral damage to our image here and abroad? In a war where winning the hearts and minds of our adversaries is critical, does it make sense to use the same methods our enemies do?

Or are you just making an intellectual argument along the lines of historically there have been a couple cases where torture has gotten information? How do you really feel about this policy? Do you really feel like it’s been helpful?

Posted by: Max at November 10, 2007 11:07 AM
Comment #238013

Stephen,

When you’re dealing with terrorists EVERYTHING produces unreliable information. There is no technique, your above-mentioned anecdotes included, that produces better information than “enhanced interrogation”. Applying your standard I can think of half a dozen medical treatments that would be outlawed as torture though they produce better survival rates than forgoing any treatment at all. When one is dealing with a cancer one does what one can even if what one knows to do today is unreliably efficacious.

You write Dershowitz off as though he had never expressed a cogent thought in his life. You do the same for Clinton. You say the Germans lost in France as though the French had no help in the matter and won the day BECAUSE Germans tortured people. You pretend that the captive who is party to deadly conspiracy is conceptually and morally equivalent to the uniformed soldier innocent of high-level strategy (indeed, that the unlawful combatants of Al Quaida and the insurgency qualify as soldiers at all). You imagine that the terrorist who, by lying to us in “civilized” interrogation, abets the accomplishment of some abomination visited upon the western world will somehow have been diminished in the eyes of those whom he wishes to impress.

This last point is especially galling because terrorists (insurgents in general, Al Quaida, Hizbollah, M13, Crips, Bloods, etc. etc.) gain strength, whether in the camps of Palestine or the slums of America, by exploiting the fear and assurance among the people that the civilized world is powerless to control them. The idea that people merely trying to survive assess such behavior from a moral and ethical standpoint, and that they will side with the high-minded martyr against the brutal martyr, is foolish beyond redemption.

The notion that we can make the rest of the world like us is ridiculous. On this issue both sides have preposterously wrongheaded ideas as to what others think of us and why. The right is wrong to think we are hated for our freedoms. The left is wrong to think we would be loved if we were more generous or feeling or sensitive to other cultures. We are mistrusted because we are rich beyond the imagining of the vast majority of the people of the world- and they have not a clue why that is possible. We will not gain their trust by expressing virtues that do not exist in their cultures as being so important that we are willing to let THEM die so that we won’t look bad in OUR OWN eyes. (This not just me being a smartass, but is an insight drawn from several friends who have worked in the Middle East, including a career diplomat.)

You continue to fall back on arguments raised by the left as some sort of dogma as though once they had been debunked God gives them a pass. Waterboarding is bad stuff. It is rare. It is not used on ignorant peasants and foot”soldiers”. It is more effective against the cancer of modern terrorists than your placebos even if it is not perfectly reliable. Finally it presents to our enemies and the people they would hold in the grips of terror the image of a country willing to prove we will not be powerless in the face of a determined foe who is more than happy to engineer our values into weaknesses.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at November 10, 2007 11:54 AM
Comment #238015

Lee said: “The left is wrong to think we would be loved if we were more generous or feeling or sensitive to other cultures.”

Then to what do you attribute America’s high favorable ratings amongst world opinion prior to the Bush Administration? Dumb foreigners who didn’t know any better?

C’mon, Lee. There is a reputation to be cultivated or tarnished, and it has critical implications for our ability to lead and act as the shining beacon on the hill for the people of the world.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 10, 2007 12:09 PM
Comment #238016

Lee,

At the end of the day it doesn’t matter who, or what the rest of the world thinks of us. We can think of ourselves as the “Greatest Country on Earth”, but if we don’t act that way, then what’s the point.

America has done some wonderful things for the rest of the world.
We have also done some truly awful things, and that is what we are judged on, and why we find ourselves in this situation.

Does it really matter how much aid we give to the downtrodden of the world if we have supported the despotic regimes that caused them to need that aid in the first place?

Both sides, as you see them, are wrong.
The people of the world don’t hate us for our freedoms, or that we’re rich, and powerful. They hate us because we lack the humility not to flaunt it. They hate us because we have backed some of the most repressive regimes on earth. They hate us because we rarely do anything that isn’t in our own self interests. They hate us because we are supposed to be the good guys, and we don’t act it.

On the other hand, if we were to allow the people of those countries that yearn to be democratic, and to find their own level, and not expect them to be a clone of America, I think it would go a long way toward the goals we supposedly seek.
A prime example was the elections held by the Palestinians a few years ago.
If we truly want to support those that seek democracy we must live with, and accept, the results of what those people want.

The bottom line is we either live the values we espouse to, or we are hypocrites, and no different than those we fight.

Posted by: Rocky at November 10, 2007 12:42 PM
Comment #238018

First, before anyone else does it I’m going to reprimand myself for directing my last comments so specifically at Stephen. I was trying to address just the arguments but, on rereading them, I think my comments were too personal.

Second, the rest of the world is mystified by and, thus, afraid of Republicans. This is particularly true of religious Republicans. I’m currently reading Richard Dawkins’s “The God Delusion” and he finds American religion in general and, specifically, religion in places whare it can influence policy deeply, deeply disturbing. From other Europeans I know this not to be simply an atheisT affliction. Europeans fear openly religious people. Consequently they are afraid of America when it appears to be in religious Republican hands.
Also, though I have not seen such polling, I would guess that we didn’t fare well during the Reagan Administration, particularly with the press constantly fretting over how we were going to precipitate a war with the Soviet Union. I would bet that, if Democrats got a reputation for being globally decisive that would be interpreted as adventurism and recklessness and we would be seen as a danger to all mankind.

A great deal of the worldwide public discomfort with the Bush Administration has as much to do, too, with the press organs of the world being perpetually outraged that he is president at all, treating him as though he is stupid (A 140 I.Q. doesn’t get much credit these days, after all he wasn’t smart enough not to be religious!), and reporting everything he says as though it were a lie.

Abu Ghraib, for example, on its worst day under American administration was an infinitely more humane place than it had been under Saddam. The point of reports about the place, though, was never to provide perspective or to locate failures in the military structures that ran it (and who provided the original reports anyway). It was always to find a way to weaken the Bush administration.

There are a lot of factors at work in foreign opinion of us. Hyperventilating reportage about TORTURE being on the front pages of the world in an effort to make us look bad is only a tiny part of it.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at November 10, 2007 1:04 PM
Comment #238019

Rocky,
If you are right about why people hate us why would they bomb New York? By every account the most obnoxious Americans are Texans, while New Yorkers are fairly reserved and sophisticated travellers. When we travel abroad everybody knows we’re from Texas. We Texans ought to rate a good deal more hatred than America in general, shouldn’t we? We did give the world George W. Bush, didn’t we?

Again, I haven’t seen this polling, but I’d bet Texas fares better than America in general even rating as high as we do on the worldwide wierdness scale.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at November 10, 2007 1:18 PM
Comment #238020

Lee,

Was there a more ostentatious symbol of conspicuous capitalism than the World Trade Center?

And, if you wanted to attack the “most powerful military” in the world, where would you head the plane?

Posted by: Rocky at November 10, 2007 1:34 PM
Comment #238023

A policeman who shoots a criminal isn’t instantly a criminal himself.
An interrogator who uses desperate means to save lives doesn’t become a terrorist.
The fact is we are not terrorists, are not cruel, are not killing innocents to prove a point.
Civil liberties apply to citizens. The word civil does mean something (civilians). In battle or terror, civility has gone out the window already. Then it becomes a matter of the military or anti terrorism agency. Of course they need to define parameters to avoid abuses. You cannot give combatants the same due process as an citizen suspect. A combatant has been caught in the process of killing our people (war). He is therefore already guilty. We just try to treat them how we want our prisoners treated. Unfortunatly the enemy we face beheads and mutilates ours so the example exchange is pointless.
The only ones you can impress with compassionate torture are your peers or the liberals in other contries.

Posted by: Kruser at November 10, 2007 2:22 PM
Comment #238024

Lee said: “Second, the rest of the world is mystified by and, thus, afraid of Republicans. This is particularly true of religious Republicans.”

No, not mystified at all. Lee. We have seen for years what they are about. NO mystery. As for afraid, that only applies to their having access to power. No problem if they live their lives and leave others to live theirs. The problem is when the religious, or Republicans, and especially religious Republicans, want to control how others live, how other nations govern, and who has access to world natural resources. They tend to want to kill and maim people to achieve their goals.

So, there is no mystery. No one I know is mystified. They just made up their minds about what is true and what was deception.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 10, 2007 2:56 PM
Comment #238025

Lee, you actually believe GW Bush has an IQ of 140? Did they develop a special test to administer to just GW? Besides, stupid is as stupid does, one very wise movie character once said.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 10, 2007 2:59 PM
Comment #238034

Lee, I don’t believe that people “hate” Americans for their often very boorish behavior while traveling oveseas. Annoyed, yes, and as a frequent traveler myself I’m often embarrassed to be around other Americans in foreign places. But hate or hate enough to choose a terror target based on where they think the most loud-mouthed fanny-pack wearing Americans might be congregated? I don’t think so.

No problem if they live their lives and leave others to live theirs. The problem is when the religious, or Republicans, and especially religious Republicans, want to control how others live, how other nations govern, and who has access to world natural resources.

And I suppose that religious Republicans, as opposed to other groups—like say, non-religious Republicans, liberal Democrats, or third party or independents—don’t try to control how others live their lives?

Religious Republicans have just as much right as anyone else to fight for their values in the arena of politics. If they don’t do so, then others are going to impose values that they don’t agree with on THEM. The only problem would be any attempts on their part to establish an official state religion, which frankly, I haven’t seen them trying. Personally, I see far more danger of the left wing in this country trying to impose itself on the rest of us. They want to decide virtually everything for the rest of us, from what we’re allowed to say or think and how much of our income we should get to keep (always less, in their view).

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 10, 2007 9:06 PM
Comment #238036
Then to what do you attribute America’s high favorable ratings amongst world opinion prior to the Bush Administration?

David,

It didn’t exist. I don’t know why some people like to roll out this version of revisionism, but the US did *NOT* have high favorable ratings in 1998, 1980, 1970, etc. From Vietnam and Watergate, through Carter’s scatterbrained foreign policy, Reagan’s forceful cold war with Russia, Gulf War 1, Bosnia, Kosovo, 12 year long debacle in Iraq and decades of the ‘drug war’… There’s a reason that we were attacked in 1993 (WTC 1) and again the plans continued through the 90s to hit us on 9/11. It was NOT because we were loved.

To most foreigners, Bush II is just a continuation of the same distrusted unliked US since the death of Kennedy.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 10, 2007 9:57 PM
Comment #238047

Rhinehold, you are referring to Islamic fundamentalists regarding the WTC 1 attack. They, for your information, are not representatives of world opinion.

America was highly regarded in the East, SE Asia, Europe, Australia, and even by the Russian people by and large after the Cold War ended. The only revision is in your comment.

Yes, foreign governments had peeves with the U.S. on this or that. But, in general, the people and nations of the world, Islamic fundamentalists and some African nations aside, were glad America existed and believed America was one of the best powerful countries on the world stage.

The libraries and many polls throughout the 1990’s demonstrate this. The polls after 2002 show a remarkable decline in world opinion about the U.S. role in world affairs. The evidence is there. Look it up, or keep your comment’s fantasies alive if you choose. Whatever floats your boat.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 11, 2007 3:01 AM
Comment #238048

Loyal Opp, there is a difference between fighting for one’s values in the way one chooses to live themselves, and quite another, to try to use the law of the land to force religious values on others, which is what the Religious Right has tried to do.

No ONE has tried to force abortion on the religious right, but, they have certainly tried to deny it to others on the basis of their own religious beliefs that a soul is imparted to the zygote upon fertilization. There is not one whit of evidence of that, and it is therefore, a religious belief. And America stands for religious freedom for all the world’s great religions, including freedom from religion, if one so chooses.

It is not a subtle point. But, I couldn’t be more pleased to hear conservatives like Buchannan and Tucker Carlson agree that the Religious Right has fractured and splintered, and thus lost their political influence. Amen to that, brother, Amen.

I will ALWAYS defend their right to practice their religion amongst themselves. I will ALWAYS oppose any religious persons from trying to impose their religious values through government on other citizens.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 11, 2007 3:09 AM
Comment #238052


Abortion was not forced on religious? One in four are aborted today and mostly for inconvience.
The argument really is weather a fetus is human upon conception; it is not a spiritual matter. Their dna is unique and the parent is a host.
The religious view is that all humans are made after God’s image and therefore valuable.
This should dovetail with the humanist view. Only the value is constructed in their minds.
A ban on torture would be considered a religious value.
Religiphobes are hard to reason with. The ultimate straw man when good sense won’t work.

Posted by: Kruser at November 11, 2007 10:00 AM
Comment #238053

Kruser,

You don’t have to have an abortion, therefore, unlike other countries in the world you are not forced to have one.
You assume that a fetus is a human at conception. That is your right, however you cannot force that opinion on others that don’t believe the way you do.
The mental gymnastics are yours. There is no straw man, except in your mind.

Posted by: Rocky at November 11, 2007 10:17 AM
Comment #238055

Do Republicans have no sense of history? Of the principles this country was founded on? Our forefathers believed that no one should be imprisoned without a trial, no one’s home should be violated without reason, no one should be treated inhumanely. Todays Republicans are traitors. I will not live in the fascist country you want.

Posted by: Max at November 11, 2007 11:38 AM
Comment #238065

Oh really……

The “Religeous Right” is the only sector enforcing its values on others eh?

First of all….I love the way “Religeuos Right” has become an acceptable way to demonize Republicans…..has anyone attended church? They are filled with people of all political stances…but back to the first statement…

I guess noone believes that religeous people send there children to public schools??????? Talk about imposing values….their children are forced to agree that gay/lesbian should be not only accepted (which most people religeous or not already believe that they should not be tortured or killed) but that it should be celebrated and congratulated.

This list could go on but I chose to use the one example.

Whoa…wait…how about the fact that they are now letting minor children get abortions withought a parents consent….isn’t that forcing one persons values over anothers when their parents don’t get the chance to try and reason and work out another viable solution with them?

HHHHmmmmm….funny, funny, funny…

Posted by: Traci at November 11, 2007 12:36 PM
Comment #238067

Traci,

If you don’t like the laws, work to change them.

Posted by: Rocky at November 11, 2007 1:05 PM
Comment #238069

Oh, and BTW, if you had a open line of communication with your children, abortions for underage children wouldn’t even be an issue.

Posted by: Rocky at November 11, 2007 1:07 PM
Comment #238071

Great discussion Rocky u are a hard debater…lol..too freakin bad that your two lame statements can be applied to those who fear the “Religeuos Right” are taking over the world and forcing things upon them…

try again…

Posted by: Traci at November 11, 2007 1:35 PM
Comment #238072

Lee Jamison-

When you’re dealing with terrorists EVERYTHING produces unreliable information. There is no technique, your above-mentioned anecdotes included, that produces better information than “enhanced interrogation”.

The mistake you make regarding the efficiency of these techniques concerns confusing specific approaches with the overall philosophy and approach. Empirical evidence, examined by the experts, often from the files of the torturers themselves supports the conclusion that Torture is an inferior approach to interrogation.

Part of your faulty assumption is that you see the human mind as a recording medium which can be made to spit information back perfectly, unaffected by what you do to the rest of the person. In fact, a person’s state of mind not only affects what they can remember, to start with, it also affects how they remember it and whether they rememember it correctly or even invent memory out of thin air to fill the gaps. Using torture to extract information is essentially like shooting somebody in the kneecap to encourage them to run faster.

Applying your standard I can think of half a dozen medical treatments that would be outlawed as torture though they produce better survival rates than forgoing any treatment at all. When one is dealing with a cancer one does what one can even if what one knows to do today is unreliably efficacious.

It’s irrelevant. Nobody’s trying to get information out of these people. Pain is not the objective here, but a necessary evil avoided if possible. A doctor may even take somebody off of a chemotherapy drug because of its toxic side effects. Meanwhile, people are often provided with drugs to dull the pain. Nobody’s intentionally trying to hurt these people.

You write Dershowitz off as though he had never expressed a cogent thought in his life. You do the same for Clinton.

That’s your interpretation of my write-off. In truth, I just simply think he’s wrong on this issue. We may agree on others. As a Democrat, I’m not in the habit of excommunicating people simply for having a difference of opinion.

Meanwhile, I believe Clinton clarified his points later to say he didn’t see the good in making it an institutionalized recourse.

You say the Germans lost in France as though the French had no help in the matter and won the day BECAUSE Germans tortured people.

Cruelties, perceived and real, were a large part of what motivated people to defeat the Nazis and the Japanese. Their atrocious behavior encouraged people to fight them harder, both on moral grounds.

You pretend that the captive who is party to deadly conspiracy is conceptually and morally equivalent to the uniformed soldier innocent of high-level strategy (indeed, that the unlawful combatants of Al Quaida and the insurgency qualify as soldiers at all). You imagine that the terrorist who, by lying to us in “civilized” interrogation, abets the accomplishment of some abomination visited upon the western world will somehow have been diminished in the eyes of those whom he wishes to impress.

First, we got to establish that the person is in fact affiliated with the group. In a perfect world, perhaps, we’d know that everytime, but this is not a perfect world. Second, you assume that this person would simply be allowed to continue lying. No, interrogators are not that stupid. You think they don’t have ways of confronting liars?

No, I am not assuming that this person would be innocent of higher level strategy, though al-Qaeda’s rather distributed model might make terrorists ignorant of those high level goings-on. The question is, is it possible to get this information out of people by regular methods? Yes! It’s been done! All the anecdotes I listed were from successful interrogations. We got good information out of people without torture. And how? We didn’t inflict one-size-fits all torture on them. Instead, we studied these people, and determined what would gain their cooperation, or trick them into revealing our desired information.

This last point is especially galling because terrorists (insurgents in general, Al Quaida, Hizbollah, M13, Crips, Bloods, etc. etc.) gain strength, whether in the camps of Palestine or the slums of America, by exploiting the fear and assurance among the people that the civilized world is powerless to control them. The idea that people merely trying to survive assess such behavior from a moral and ethical standpoint, and that they will side with the high-minded martyr against the brutal martyr, is foolish beyond redemption.
The first sentence is revealing. Gang members as terrorists. I guess, then, you would be open to torturing them for information. Works for al-Qaeda, works for everybody, right?

Bit by bit, the rationalization would creep across the categories. Ultimately, it’s an insidious deal with the devil, and like many, it’s not worth the satanic parchment it’s written on. We’re not getting better intelligence, we’re getting worse. It may make us feel like we’re doing more, doing all we can, but it takes the priority off of more effective means of interrogation.

In the meantime, we blacken our reputation for no good reason. Our reputation is not the most important thing, but it is not a bad thing to be considered good, to be considered just. It’s also not a bad thing to be able to spread American values through persuasion, through the good it reflects on us and gains in the situations. Cooperation and long term relationships are not to be undervalued. They’re certainly a lot cheaper than perpetual warfare and a dependence on our own resources to deal with the problems of terrorism.

You continue to fall back on arguments raised by the left as some sort of dogma as though once they had been debunked God gives them a pass. Waterboarding is bad stuff. It is rare. It is not used on ignorant peasants and foot”soldiers”. It is more effective against the cancer of modern terrorists than your placebos even if it is not perfectly reliable. Finally it presents to our enemies and the people they would hold in the grips of terror the image of a country willing to prove we will not be powerless in the face of a determined foe who is more than happy to engineer our values into weaknesses.

Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back. I presented evidence, both here and in my own thread, backing my argument. And the left? It makes the argument because it’s an easy winner: it’s true. Is Waterboarding rare? We really don’t know, not the least because your assertion is based on anonymously sourced information, and doesn’t take into account the large role of military intelligence in these things.

You call the methods I talk about placebos. Trouble with that assertion is that they actually work. Torture itself is more the placebo. It makes certain folks feel more powerful, more in control, because we aren’t “coddling” our prisoners, or otherwise moderating our actions against them.

You think this is an image problem. You think the media’s giving us the black eye. The truth is, we’re the ones doing that. We’re the ones who shout to the heavens about the virtues of civil liberties and Democracy, who justify our war on the basis of the enemy’s cruelty, and then do what we did in Abu Ghraib.

We sold ourselves, and have sold ourselves for decades now as a nation of greater values. That’s how we sold this war. When we torture, it doesn’t matter that we’re not as openly vicious as our opponents. It just matters that we seem to be setting a double standard, and that will effect our ability to do good in the world.

As for Bush’s intelligence? Whatever it is, one can smart, yet be a fool, be ignorant, be obstinate. Clinton is reputed to have 160 IQ, but he did some pretty foolish things.

Kruser-
Are we better than these people, or just more powerful? That’s one important question. The other is, are we more interested in gaining information, or in being uncivil towards the terrorists. Fear and pain are not the only handles by which we can manipulate people.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 11, 2007 1:41 PM
Comment #238078
Do Republicans have no sense of history?

About as much as the Democrats do, I’m afraid.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 11, 2007 4:18 PM
Comment #238080
1983 The U.S.-led invasion of Grenada was condemned Wednesday by East bloc countries and a growing number of Latin American nations, and some of Washington’s European allies also criticized the operation. “This is an attempt to impose on the Grenadian people by means of force a system suiting Washington, to intimidate the other freedom-loving peoples of Latin America and not only them,” the Soviet news agency Tass said.
1998 But, while [George P. Shultz]’s action isolated the United States from the mainstream of world opinion about how to deal with the PLO, it was not immediately possible to predict what effect it might have on the incoming administration of President-elect George Bush and its ability to chart a fresh course in Mideast policy.
1981 At least 20000 demonstrators marched on THE Pentagon today to protest United States military aid to El Salvador.
1990 More than 1000 supporters of President Fidel Castro of Cuba demonstrated in Times Square yesterday to protest United States policy
1982 Germans hostile to the United States
1991 Despite a $5.3 million infusion of US disaster aid, the eruption of Mount Pinatubo has provided new grist for the outpouring of anti-American sentiment.
1988 Anti-American Sentiment Rises In Seoul. The recently concluded Olympic Games have added a new element of bitterness
1993 Somalis chant anti-U.S. slogans around a mural erected at a demonstration in Mogadishu Sunday. American soldiers seriously wounded a Somali woman Sunday during a raid to find mortars used to fire on the headquarters compound of U.N. forces
1985 Italian Media Reflect Surge Of Anti-American Sentiment
1996 US image suffering in China Anti-American sentiment swelling
1985 Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez’s purge of his NATO-bashing foreign minister cannot alter the anti-American political climate in newly democratic Spain that, despite Iberian exaggeration, reflects not only approaching crisis here but U.S. political weakness in Europe
1997 President Clinton, trying to stitch together the coalition that punished Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in 1991, has failed to win any Arab support.
1989 The result is a reservoir of anti-American sentiment, particularly in France, Great Britain and-going farther back-Spain. America as The corrupter.
1986 American news media have inadequately reported on the disequilibrium and escalating domestic and political unrest that threatens to wreck South Korea’s image. This media lapse is unfortunate, for the violence and disturbing circumstances that I witnessed may prove to be more troublesome, more durable and in some ways a more significant problem for the United States than the Philippinos’ revolution
1988 Making a Country Anti-American : At the root of the problem is the instrumental nature of U.S. policy. Honduras has been valued less for itself than as a base from which to wage war against the Sandinistas and the Salvadoran guerrillas. In the process, the welfare of the country has been largely ignored. Thus, Honduran democracy has been undermined by the U.S. strategy of militarization. Human rights violations have proliferated. And an already grave socioeconomic crisis has been allowed to further deteriorate.

Let there be no question. The anti-gringo feeling here is not simply the product of the extreme left. Honduran nationalists of all political persuasions deeply resent what has happened. This is Honduran territory. National sovereignty and stability are at stake. The fear is that, having created a Frankenstein monster, Washington will now leave Hondurans to deal with the problem on their own. Should this happen, it is by no means clear that the Honduran army could maintain order.

1982 Typical OF THE sentiment here was an editorial In Tuesday’s Herald newspaper … US Open In its Aversion THE anti-American sentiment was not suprising
1997 IN BRITISH COURT OF OPINION, US - NOT AU PAIR - GUILTY - Murder conviction OF BRITISH AU PAIR Louise Woodward has unleashed a wave OF anti-American sentiment here that threatens to grow even higher
1983 Early this week, when the United States failed in its challenge to the credentials of a delegate from Grenada, the General Assembly burst into what seemed a kind of gleeful, derisive, anti-American applause. The incident reminded some delegates of other such outbursts - including dancing in the aisles
1998 anti American sentiment is growing among Non-Muslim countries as well because The CIA destablizes these countries

Of course, we need not have to go too far back, on September 11, 2001, I was told by an individual I know who lives in England (and I quote) “God, they so deserved it.”

If you want to blame Bush for ‘anti-american’ sentiment and views throughout the world, that’s your right to do David, but you are ignoring the reality.

Oh, and I stopped WELL short of what I could have posted going back from just 1980 to 1998. The beauty of the internet, being told you misunderstand history, a history you lived through, is no longer something you have to just seethe over, you can actually go back and look at the truth as it was reported then.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 11, 2007 5:11 PM
Comment #238084

Rhinehold-
Just because we can’t make everybody love us doesn’t mean we couldn’t be loved, much less be respected by many.

Or, put another way, there’s no good reason to alienate the world on the basis of the discontent of some with our power.

America is the last country on the planet that should be reacting to events with some kind of inferiority complex.

You say we’re blaming Bush for the entire problem of America’s image. No. That’s absurd. What we are saying is that Bush has done much to harm our reputation, damaging our international relationships in a way that no other president before him did. He doesn’t have to be to blame for everything to aggravate the situation seriously.

Folks need to stop making excuses for this president. He’s not to blame for everything, but you don’t have to be the universal source of evil to cause problems and breakdowns in the government.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 11, 2007 6:46 PM
Comment #238086

Stephen,

I have no love lost for the president and am making no excuses for him, but YES, there are people saying that we have lost our standing in the international community because of Bush. I quote David:

Then to what do you attribute America’s high favorable ratings amongst world opinion prior to the Bush Administration?

The problem we have is that we have been running ‘roughshot’ over the international community for decades, expanding our own interests at the expense of others. It was tolerated (not liked) during the Cold War but has since gotten worse through the last 30 years. To blame it just on Bush is absurd, but there are those making that assertion. It also ensures that we do not fix what we are doing wrong.

We SHOULD be acting resopnsibly in world events and we are failing miserably. But we have been for decades, not just the past 6 years. Bush is worse than those who have preceeded him, but not that much worse…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 11, 2007 6:55 PM
Comment #238089

Rhinehold,

You seriously don’t think international opinion of the United States is worse under Bush than Clinton? I didn’t know anyone denied it. Care to quote an unbiased news outlet (even Fox) that shares that opinion?

Traci,

I am sorry that public schools are forcing your children to study alongside gays and lesbians rather than torturing or killing them as you believe your religion dictates. It must really be hard for you and your parish to be forced not to maim and kill people. When will this prejudice against your religion end?

Posted by: Max at November 11, 2007 7:45 PM
Comment #238091
You seriously don’t think international opinion of the United States is worse under Bush than Clinton? I didn’t know anyone denied it. Care to quote an unbiased news outlet (even Fox) that shares that opinion?

First, I’m going to assume you meant that I thought international opinion of the US was worse under Clinton than Bush, considering the partisan laden dribble you posted.

Second, if that *IS* the case, then you haven’t read what I’ve written and are applying what I haven’t said to that writing.

I’ll make it clear enough that even a blind partsian as yourself can understand. The US has been on a steady decline in international opinion since the 70s. It has been bad, it is bad, if we don’t change our ways it will continue to be bad. As I said, it is worse under Bush, but only marginally and as much as a natural progression of the international community getting fed up with what the US, president irregardless, has done, though this president certainly isn’t HELPING that view by not even pretending to care, as some previous presidents did.

However, are you trying to tell me, as David has, that the US was universally loved before 2000? I would LOVE to see a single news source that shares that opinion.

BTW. All that I quoted came from news articles in the Washinton Post, Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, etc. If you don’t like those sources, which source do you want?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 11, 2007 8:03 PM
Comment #238094

Traci,

“too freakin bad that your two lame statements can be applied to those who fear the “Religeuos Right” are taking over the world and forcing things upon them…”

Were my “lame” statements untrue?

Posted by: Rocky at November 11, 2007 9:25 PM
Comment #238097

Rhinehold-
Your problem here is that you’re equating saying that we’ve lost our standing because of Bush with saying it’s all his fault.

It doesn’t have to be all his fault, he just has to be a contributing factor. So what has he contributed?

Well, he’s weakened American military power badly by not expanding the forces along with the missions he expected of them, and by not doing the long term planning and recruiting ahead of time to support the multi-year war he’s gotten us into.

He’s weakened America’s credibility and made us look like a bunch of blustering idiots by getting us into a pre-emptive war in Iraq, insisting that a crisis had developed, only to find no crisis, no threat when we got there. It didn’t help that we berated everybody for not believing us.

He’s made America strongly dependent on undependable characters, and he lets his people actively warmonger even without the soldiers to fight the wars he already has going.

He’s made torture the policy of our nation, euphemizing it, just like the Nazis did, as “enhanced” interrogation. His people have been publically belligerent about ignoring international agreements, long standards of the civilized world.

Why is America’s reputation so cheaply thrown to the wolves? Why does it not matter how people regard this country? Are we not supposed to be great? Are we not supposed to be an example. a source of hope, a beacon of prosperity?

On so many levels, Bush’s actions have seriously harmed America’s mystique in the world, and hindered its influence.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 11, 2007 10:12 PM
Comment #238098

Rhinehold,

Plenty of Republicans know that world opinion of the United States has dramatically worsened under Bush. It’s hardly a partisan or unpopular position. I would be suprised if any of the papers you source have not written an article stating exactly that within the last year or two.

Just because other countries have been critical of the U.S. before doesn’t mean things haven’t gotten a lot worse. The reason is that we have started applying policies like eavesdropping, sending people to jail without a trial, and torturing people. We have never done this before. Historically, only fascist regimes carry out measures like these, not countries that respect human rights. It’s a dramatic departure, and the world rightly criticizes it. For the first time, countries like Russia and North Korea can compare their policies with ours and claim parity with a straight face.

I refer you to a non-partisan, relevant source: worldopinion.org

You have probably heard that America’s image in the world is not particularly good these days. The most recent evidence of this was a poll that we conducted for BBC World Service together with GlobeScan in 26 countries around the world. Polling was conducted last November through January. The question asked was whether the United States is having a positive or negative influence in the world.

On average across the 26 countries polled, 30 percent say the US is having a mostly positive influence in the world while 51 percent say the US is having a mostly negative influence.

In 20 of the 26 countries polled, the most common view is that the US is having a mostly negative influence in the world. In four countries, the most common view is that the US is having a mostly positive influence and in two of them, views are evenly divided.

Views of US influence are consistently negative in Canada, Latin America and the Middle East. They are mostly negative in Europe, with the exception of Poland, which leans positive, and Hungary, which is divided. Africans in this poll and in others have the most consistently positive views of the US. Asian views are more mixed, but lean negative. Filipinos are very positive and Indians are divided, but all others are clearly negative.

It should be noted that this reaction cannot simply be dismissed as something necessarily engendered by a powerful and rich country. The numbers we are seeing today are the lowest numbers that have ever been recorded.

During the 1990s, views of the US were predominantly positive. Comparing 1999 State Department data and recent Pew data, favorable views of the United States have dropped in the UK from 83 percent to 56 percent, in Germany from 78 percent to 37 percent, in Morocco from 77 percent to 49 percent, in Indonesia from 75 to 30 percent, in France from 62 to 39 percent, from Turkey from 62 to 12 percent and in Spain from 50 to 23 percent. Only Russia has held steady.

These numbers are also not simply a reaction to the US decision to go to war in Iraq. Views of the US did go down sharply after the beginning of the Iraq war in 2003. But now, nearly four years later, they continue to move downward.


Posted by: Max at November 11, 2007 10:15 PM
Comment #238101

Max…

I have absolutely no idea where your comment is comming from seeing as how I have read it about 10 times and still do not see where my comment would bring up that conclusion……as a matter of fact I am not particularly religeous and do not attend church….but, I do feel for those that are trying to instill their ideal morals upon their families only to have a school tell their children their parents are wrong and crazy.
If (and that is a big IF) you actually read my post which I belive you only caught the word “gay” and went on a tangent….YOU WOULD HAVE READ THAT NOONE BELIEVES THEY SHOULD BE TORCHURED OR KILLED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The point that was being made in my statement is this foolish notion that only the “Religeous Right” is trying to impose its beliefs or morals upon society….which is laughable at best.

I will no longer be taking your posts seriously considering that you absolutely wilfully, and knowingly twisted my comment into something unrecognizable and stated it as though you absolutely knew what my beliefs were only to demonstrate exactly what I was trying to prove..

Rocky~
I thought your statements were funny for a couple of reasons:

1. So what you are saying is that “Communication” with your children would end all abortion?

a.that is just funny, hillarious in fact, do you have children? If you do, and believe that you know every aspect of their life…you need to come out of the land of OZ.
I have very open communication in my family (my son is only 7 though) and my family growing up was as open as they come sometimes a little too open as we sometimes caused others to blush at our open dialogue……to an extent…by that I mean that there is and always will be a part of a child that fears that they will let their family down or simply just want something for themselves as they seek independence, or have endured something that they feel is shameful. I’m not sure how I would have handled an abortion with my family because I was lucky to never have had to face that situation (and i do say “luck” because I was not always 100% careful) but I do know that I generally told my mother about everything in my life….everything….except one thing….I was molested by my grandfather…the shame that entails was much greater than any form of “communication”. Unfortunately this had happened to many extended members of my family as i found out when it finally came to light when we reached adulthood and he was already deceased.

The point that I am making is this:
No matter how much “communication” you think you have in your family…you can NEVER bet the farm on it so to say.
Children do not have the knowledge and experience that adults do….in hindsight…my life could have been a lot easier and a lot less shameful had I actually shared this information with my parents from the start, I now know that I could have been helped and not had to live with shame and secrets….but like I said….hindsight….
Some abortions could possibly be avoided if that child sees that they do in fact have support…not just hear about it in some fantasy senerio.
By the way….I am not against abortion…I am against a law that could further divide a family and close rather than open communication lines.

Everyone was a child once…..
and I have never met an adult that doesnt admit that the so-called trauma that a child perceives to be trauma….was small in comparison to the real world of adulthood. So it is only rational to believe that the adults in their life may have a possible better influence on their decisions if so informed of them.

2. Is it not also true that if others do not like the morals that the “religeous right” are so-called putting forth….they also can work to change the laws?
That was all that I was saying…it runs both ways….but trying to suggest that they are the only ones guilty of this measure is absolutely ludacris.

I do however thank you for your comments and sharing YOUR viewpoint w/out making my comments something they were not….a lot like Max did…once again…thank-you

Posted by: Traci at November 11, 2007 11:02 PM
Comment #238105

Stephen correctly said: “On so many levels, Bush’s actions have seriously harmed America’s mystique in the world, and hindered its influence.”

But, it must be quickly added that both the Courts and the Congress were complicit in Bush’s degradation of our leadership role in the world. You implied that at the beginning when you said: “It doesn’t have to be all his fault, he just has to be a contributing factor.” But, its too important a contribution by the courts, Justice Department, and Congress to be implied. It needs to be explicit.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 11, 2007 11:38 PM
Comment #238106

Rhinehold, your arguments are pathetic when you have to resort to lying and distortion to try to make your case. You said: “However, are you trying to tell me, as David has, that the US was universally loved before 2000? “

Quote where I ever said the U.S. was universally loved. You comment is a lie and distortion. Lying and distortion are the defenses of the immature, a reaction to being inept at making one’s case rationally.

And to demonstrate your lie, here is a verifiable record of what I ACTUALLY said:

Yes, foreign governments had peeves with the U.S. on this or that. But, in general, the people and nations of the world, Islamic fundamentalists and some African nations aside, were glad America existed and believed America was one of the best powerful countries on the world stage.

A far cry from what you said I said: “However, are you trying to tell me, as David has, that the US was universally loved before 2000?”

Respected viewpoints depend upon respected fact, truth, logic, and integrity of the person speaking. Such lies and distortion do not garner respect for your viewpoints.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 11, 2007 11:50 PM
Comment #238107

Hey Traci,

I misread your post. My apologies. Still disagree with you though. No public schools force children to accept a gay lifestyle. Doesn’t happen. As far as hospitals letting underage children get abortions without their parents consent, that’s still not an example of the government enforcing its values on others. After all, its the doctors and kids who are making the decision. So - you still haven’t thought of one example where the government is forcing its values on others the way the religious right wants it to.

Posted by: Max at November 11, 2007 11:51 PM
Comment #238109

Traci,

No my wife and I haven’t had a child of our own. That was our choice.
We were, however, legal guardians of a teenage girl that was deemed incorrigible by her parents. When she came to us we laid out the rules of the house and we were consistent at all times. We never lied to her, or even hedged with our answers to her questions. We weren’t overbearing with our approach, but instead allowed her to see our point of view without brow beating her.
This girl wasn’t stupid, she just had made a few very poor choices, and needed a direction to follow.
One incident soon after she came to us was in relation to a boyfriend that was involved with Meth (we did know she wasn’t using herself).
We didn’t forbid her to see this guy, but instead asked her to look at him and his friends, and asked her how safe she actually felt in that environment, and whether he was truly looking out for her best interests.
Within days, she had dropped him even as a friend.

Yes we were lucky, but we also worked hard. Our approach worked, and by treating her as more than just a child, by giving her responsibility for herself, and by giving her solid positive influence to help her work toward moving into adulthood she thrived.

My point wasn’t that communication solves all problems, but that non communication solves nothing.
Communicating with your children, and allowing them to communicate with you might not stop abortion today, but it will certainly help toward tomorrow.

Likewise, if you don’t like the way things are, doing nothing won’t change anything.

Oh, and your welcome.

Posted by: Rocky at November 12, 2007 12:02 AM
Comment #238111
I will ALWAYS defend their right to practice their religion amongst themselves. I will ALWAYS oppose any religious persons from trying to impose their religious values through government on other citizens.

To me, this looks like bigotry against religion. A person’s “values” may result from their religion, and fighting for those values is perfectly acceptable unless (and this the only unless) they attempt to use the power of the state to establish an official religion. And nobody in the religious right is trying to do that.

Should we really start deciding who gets to participate in politics based on where they get their values instead of the values themselves? Arriving at values from, say, listening to a speech by Ralph Nader or watching a movie by Michael Moore is all right, but if you were to arrive at the same or different values from reading the Bible then you should be excluded?

If a person is against the death penalty for religious reasons, should they be told to shut up and keep their views to themselves, that they’re not allowed to participate in the political process because doing so is an effort to “impose” their religious beliefs on others?

What if someone is against war for religious reasons? Are they “imposing their religion” on the rest of us if they voice opposition to war?

Also, at what stage of pregnancy an embryo has a soul is something that will never be supported by “evidence.” If you have to prove the existence of a soul before sparing a life, then there’s no reason to not kill anybody.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 12, 2007 12:30 AM
Comment #238112

David R. Remer-
I will vouch for the fact that we’ve had an overly cautious Congress here, but that conceded, I won’t ascribe equal or even proportional responsiblity.

There was concerted, deliberate use of the privileged elements of the Administration’s power to manipulate the public, and manipulate Congress. The Active, driving forces were on his side of the aisle.

The real question to ask is who, if left to themselves, would admit that this was the wrong thing to do?

The Republicans have decided to go under with the ship.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 12, 2007 12:38 AM
Comment #238114

Rocky~

I would never think of undermining your efforts and actions of helping this girl…they are commendable…

BUT….

She is still not your child and it is not comparable…

ask any parent…the child that they have the most trouble with can go stay the night at a friends house and those parents will rave about what good manners they have and how they help around the house…meanwhile their parent will stand their with their jaw dropped in disbelief but happy that they at least know how to act right in public. Same thing at school and in the reverse as well.

Your child may absolutely HATE broccoli…the minute you tell someone that….by god they will eat seconds and thirds of it at someone elses house just to make you look foolish…lololol

My point is this….children/parent relationships never compare to any other relationship….the truth is the complications of this bond was removed when you stepped in with this girl. I am not undermining it I am just saying that kids especially teens sometimes find themselves in a position of rebelling no matter what their home life is and teens especially usually find anyone “cooler” or “more credible” than their parents.

I am not saying that all parents do a good job and know all the right things to do…I’m just sayng that sometimes it occures despite your actions as well….

Possibly a point here?

Posted by: Traci at November 12, 2007 12:50 AM
Comment #238119

David, your quote was:

Then to what do you attribute America’s high favorable ratings amongst world opinion prior to the Bush Administration?

America did NOT have ‘high favorable ratings’ prior to the Bush administration. I quoted over a dozen news articles backing that up and could have done over a hundred.

You say I am distorting (actually you said lying) about what you said, which is your usual mode of debate. I’ve quoted what you’ve said, if I misunderstood what you’ve said (as I have stated every time you make this claim) then redirect and tell me what you meant. Or, you could do what you have done and accuse of me lying. Typical.

I’ll put the question to you then, David, what did you mean, exactly, when you said

Then to what do you attribute America’s high favorable ratings amongst world opinion prior to the Bush Administration?
Posted by: Rhinehold at November 12, 2007 2:37 AM
Comment #238121

Rhinehold said: “then redirect and tell me what you meant.”

I already quoted you what I said, and meant. Your comment cherry picked what you wanted to hear instead of taking in the whole of what was actually said. A sure sign of weak debate.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 12, 2007 3:33 AM
Comment #238122

Stephen, hogwash. Democrats gave Bush authority to declare the Iranian military a terrorist organization, which under authority granted the President immediately after 9/11 in Congress, gives him the authority to strike Iran, as he invaded Iraq under that authority.

The President cannot act alone under our Constitution. His actions require the complicity of Congress to be performed without redress. It was a Republican Congress that gave such authority after 9/11, it was a Democratic Congress that gave him the potential authority to attack Iran. As if Democrats hadn’t learned something from Bush’s exercise of power to invade Iraq.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 12, 2007 3:41 AM
Comment #238123

David,

You said that the US had ‘high favorable ratings’ before Bush. Please provide your evidence to this, that counters what I’ve already posted that discredited it.

Or, you could continue to deflect by calling me a liar and having a weak argument, when I’m the only one providing evidence.

I know I’ll never convince you, I’ve never seen you admit you were wrong about anything, just devolve the debate into namecalling (liar) and using superiority (my logic is infallable) when you are proven wrong. So unless you can back up what you say there’s little point going forward, I suspect.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 12, 2007 3:48 AM
Comment #238124

BTW,

Your comment cherry picked what you wanted to hear instead of taking in the whole of what was actually said.

No, I quoted you, in full, and pointed out that you were wrong. If you had said that this administration had damaged what little credibility we had, I would have agreed and never said a thing. But you didn’t, I quoted the comment you made and provided (a small amount) of evidence to the contrary.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 12, 2007 3:52 AM
Comment #238125

Loyal Opp offerred up the following bogus argument: “To me, this looks like bigotry against religion. A person’s “values” may result from their religion, and fighting for those values is perfectly acceptable”

Fighting for one’s values is ONLY necessary if someone is trying to take them away. NO ONE is trying to take Christian values away from Christians, quite the reverse. Some Christians have been trying to impose their values through the political and legislative process on atheists and persons of other religious faiths, via the canonization of their values in public law, like banning abortion on the pretext that a human soul is imparted to the zygote upon fertilization, and placing the 10 commandments in public tax payer bought and maintained buildings, which under our Constitution must serve atheists and other religious peoples alike.

The idea of Christians imposing “under God” in the pledge of allegiance recited in public schools attended by children raised as atheists, is as offensive to our Bill of Rights as atheists attempting to introduce in science books the statement that science invalidates God, which I have never seen or heard of being attempted in any public school text book.

The death penalty is a matter of public policy, not religion, regardless of where one gets one’s values from regarding it. Death penalties are executed by public tax dollars, and that makes it a public policy issue. And everyone has the right to express their view on the issue in the halls of government through their elected representatives.

But, what one can’t assert logically, or in the spirit of the Constitution, is that a person who seeks to preserve the right to practice religious faith or atheist faith as equal under law, is a religious bigot, as you asserted you believe my comment was.

It just doesn’t hold up. Try again.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 12, 2007 3:56 AM
Comment #238126
They hate us because we lack the humility not to flaunt it. They hate us because we have backed some of the most repressive regimes on earth. They hate us because we rarely do anything that isn’t in our own self interests. They hate us because we are supposed to be the good guys, and we don’t act it.

From one citizen of this “Rest of The World” group, that’s the feeling I get from anti-americanism guys, indeed. Hypocrisy and selfness are more factors than being the #1 wealthy and powerful.

In fact the latters make the formers worst.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 12, 2007 5:47 AM
Comment #238127

Rhinehold, once again you lie. My quote in the link you refer to is: “Then to what do you attribute America’s high favorable ratings amongst world opinion prior to the Bush Administration?”

Your misquote was: “However, are you trying to tell me, as David has, that the US was universally loved before 2000?”

I did not use the words “universally loved”. If you are going to quote, quote. Don’t lie about what others said or, deceive by referencing what they didn’t say as if they’d said it. On WatchBlog, it is just too easy to point out the deception or lie.

“Favorable Ratings” is a far cry from “universally loved”. PEW poll demonstrates how very wrong your comment is, and backs up my assertion with empirical data.

I enjoy debating with you. I find it so very easy.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 12, 2007 7:37 AM
Comment #238129

David R. Remer-
As embarrassing and stupid of a move as it was, it was a Sense of the Senate resolution, which means it had all the authority of a wet paper bag. The fear that some people have is that Bush might be of the view that Congress’s permission is unnecessary, that authorizations for force from Congress simply recognize the authority he already has, rather than giving him that authority.

The problem with trying to spread blame evenly is that this ignores the extent to which Bush’s Administration has been transgressive in terms of commonly accepted limitations on executive authority, the extent to which the Republicans have backed him without question. The only reason we’re even having this discussion is that Congress is having it. The trouble is, this administration will stonewall, and the Republicans with it, any substantive motion towards change. With Congressional Democrats who spent their careers taking the scraps from the Republican’s table, what you also get is the fear of doing the political theatre it takes to make the Republicans pay for their obstinance.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 12, 2007 9:23 AM
Comment #238130

Those who stand up for what is right are always dispised by the indifferent.
I would daresay every atrocity comitted in the past was supported by indifferentce; Those who see profit in cooperating with the villans and those who don’t care about their acts. This would explain the majority of our lack of popularity.
The oil for food UN scam is an example. Numerous other countries at present are frustrated that they cannot recieve profit and ignore the terror.
I checked the polling info by the way, it was interesting but the board members have a history of pushing liberal globalist adgenda so the results are more than likely exaggerated. (leading questions and targeted audiences etc.) I do concede that global opinion by the nature of my first comments has gone in the negative. It would be unusual for the opposite to happen, given the exposure we have by putting our foot down on terrorism.

Posted by: Kruser at November 12, 2007 9:37 AM
Comment #238132

Stephen, you are still apologizing. The Congress is Constitutionally obligated by design to act as a check and balance upon an Executive that over reaches. Sorry, the blame is equally applicable. Where is the impeachment? The Democratic leadership won’t allow it. There are grounds. Just no leadership and leadership will to comport with the provisions of the Constitution to protect and defend the people, the nation, and the Constitution from those in power who step out of Constitutional bounds.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 12, 2007 9:49 AM
Comment #238133

Kruser, how typical to discount the message by discounting the messenger (PEW research), without one iota of evidence to support such a discount. People who deny the evidence in order to preserve their prejudices and biases are why this country is in such deepening trouble. The political parties can count on such people regardless of what they do.

It is sad that party loyalty has replaced national and Constitutional loyalty. Sad, but understandable when party loyalists approach governance like an NFL competition, with little more consequence. The bright spot is that registered independent voters now outnumber registered Democrats or Republicans, and it is they, not the party loyalists who will determine elections going forward.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 12, 2007 9:56 AM
Comment #238140
PEW poll demonstrates how very wrong your comment is, and backs up my assertion with empirical data.

What does a poll that takes data from 2000 to 2006 have to do with how the US was viewed from 1970 to 1999?

Your links only backs up what we all have agreed to. That Bush has caused public opinion of the US to decline. YOU are the one that asserted that… let me get this right so I don’t get accussed of lying again… The US had high favorable ratings before the Bush administration.

There was a poll taken in 1982 that showed the UK giving the US a favorable rating of 46%, less than all of the Bush years listed in the Pew report. Show me some data from the time period we are talking about and perhaps we can start debating ‘imperical data’. Until then, the simple fact is that your assertion is wrong.

1982 - A Gallup poll found that 46 percent OF THE British public viewed THE United States favorably
I enjoy debating with you. I find it so very easy.

I’m sure you do, namecalling and deflection with invalid data are very easy things to do.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 12, 2007 11:29 AM
Comment #238144

Max
“You say that torture has only been used a handful of times,”

Waterboarding has.

“but the Abu Ghraib pictures show mock executions, stress positions, etc. being applied indiscriminately.”

Being applied to prisoners by soldiers who were not following SOP. You call those things torture, I do not.

“why not have the president personally review and assume responsibility for the decision to use torture on a case by case basis, like Clinton suggested?”

Because gore’s point is better. If Americans are threatened, go get him.

“Was it worth the collateral damage to our image here and abroad?”

IF it saves American lives, yes!

“In a war where winning the hearts and minds of our adversaries is critical, does it make sense to use the same methods our enemies do?”

YOU believe it is critical, I believe saving American lives is more so.
And until you show me where the US beheads people in order to create fear and sympathy for their cause, saying we use the same methods of our enemies holds no water.

“How do you really feel about this policy? Do you really feel like it’s been helpful?”

How do I really feel? Our govt should use every possible tool it has in order to protect the US and its citizens without worrying about hurting the feelings of the world.
WE do a hundred times more good in this world than any other country and to forget about that and hate us because we protect our country is BS.

World opinion and permission did not make us the greatest country in the world, our fellow Americans did.

Posted by: kctim at November 12, 2007 12:56 PM
Comment #238146

kctim,

The main result of torture has been the creation of more terrorists. More terrorists kill more Americans. Support of terrorism puts American lives in danger without producing anything of value. It’s that simple.

There’s no better protection or greater weapon that world opinion. World opinion is what won the cold war, with Russians secretly wanting a democratic country that respected their rights.

Had we not gone into Iraq, with the world opinion and empathy we had alone we could have simply asked any country harboring terrorists to get rid of them or face world sanctions. Cooperatively, we could have ended terrorism this way, I think.

But instead, Bush chose, without reason, to start provoking and name-calling countries around the world to join him a war against a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. The best protection for Americans would have been to have never gone to war in the first place.

Posted by: Max at November 12, 2007 1:42 PM
Comment #238148


Max: There are two big reasons for the invasion that you did not mention. Iraq had a socialist economy and Iraq has a whole lot of oil.

Posted by: jlw at November 12, 2007 2:02 PM
Comment #238149

kctim,

I have to disagree here, it was our response, as we said after 9/11, that will dictate whether or not the terrorists win. If we become something we aren’t, which we have done, then we have lost. We’ve lost who we are and what we stand for simply because we are fearful.

For example, the inane ‘precautions’ we have to go through just to board an airplane are rediculous. I thought it was then and still do. By implementing these ‘Russian-like checkpoints’ all to perhaps catch someone who might want to do something stupid (and by all measures we fail on a regular basis anyway) we have become no better than the Evil Empire we defeated a couple of short decades ago.

No terrorist is going to attempt another hijacking again. Not because we are more diligent, but because the ploy only worked because the terrorists knew that we would stand down because we were told to by our government. Any attempted hijacking from this day forward is going to end like flight 93. The terrorists won’t use us as bombs in that manner again, that’s just a simple reality. And putting ourselves through the cattle checkpoint mentality we have now just let’s the terrorists know that they’ve succeeded in their goal to make us afraid of our own shadows.

We lose if we keep down this track, it’s time to regain our composure and sense of ourselves, our pride, eschewing fear until it no longer affects us anymore.

Max,

But instead, Bush chose, without reason, to start provoking and name-calling countries around the world to join him a war against a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. The best protection for Americans would have been to have never gone to war in the first place.

Tosh. Invading Iraq was the right thing. The execution of the invasion was horribly done and not at all well planned out. Don’t fall into the trap of tieing one with the other. All you do is alienate those who were for the war for all of the right reasons.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 12, 2007 2:05 PM
Comment #238150

jlw,

I can think of a few more. One of the main state sponsors of international terrorism, repeatedly shooting at American and UK pilots, blocking inspectors to complete a job that was suppose to take 3 months and instead was going on 12 years, ties to al Qaeda, plans to attack the US, etc.

BTW, we also know now that we had intelligence from a captured ‘WMD agent’ who had turned himself into German custody that was the tipping point in convincing Colin Powell to believe that there were mobile biological and chemical weapons trucks in Iraq. It turns out that Germany, and as a result the US, was being played by this person. But at the time they felt it was credible. It turns out years later that he was not. So yes, it was ‘invented’ but not by Bush as some would have us believe.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 12, 2007 2:14 PM
Comment #238152

jlw,

I can think of a few more. One of the main state sponsors of international terrorism (see my post above), repeatedly shooting at American and UK pilots, blocking inspectors to complete a job that was suppose to take 3 months and instead was going on 12 years, ties to al Qaeda, plans to attack the US, etc.

BTW, we also know now that we had intelligence from a captured ‘WMD agent’ who had turned himself into German custody that was the tipping point in convincing Colin Powell to believe that there were mobile biological and chemical weapons trucks in Iraq. It turns out that Germany, and as a result the US, was being played by this person. But at the time they felt it was credible. It turns out years later that he was not. So yes, it was ‘invented’ but not by Bush as some would have us believe.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 12, 2007 2:15 PM
Comment #238153

kctim-
Does it save more lives? Or would regular methods save just as many or more? The evidence shows that information from regular interrogations is more reliable. Reliable information, by its very nature, saves more lives than unreliable information, which is more likely to turn out to be false. False information wastes resources, wastes opportunities. Why do you think there were all those false alarms over the years? How do you think the terror alerts came to be regarded as a joke, or worse, a cynical political manipulation?

Are they really catching that many terrorists within this country? I hardly believe al-Qaeda lacks sleeper cells in this country. They even had that Cyanide Gas plot going for a while, which they gave up for unknown reasons.

You should research the al-Libi case. They guy sent us on one goose chase after another. When they really looked into the guy, it turns out he was little better than a nutty travel agent for the group. Under interrogation, of course, he admitted to greater status than he actually had, and talked about all the plans we wanted him to talk about, sending us repeatedly on fool’s errands. Then we had somebody go in and talk to him about the Koran and everything, about what he thought about things, and the guy tells us something useful: where to find Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. We were getting a constant line of bullshit when we were torturing him, but then we got good information when we actually talked to him and built a rapport.

What apologists for torture are screwing up on is this notion that people have to be honest under torture, much less remember things right. You’re assuming that when you take this person to this extreme state of mind and body. The trouble is, memory, and our ability to keep memories straight, are strongly influenced by our states of consciousness.

Moreover, if the person’s highly resistant, they’ll talk, but they’ll screw around with you. If they’re strong willed enough, they’ll take the torture and spit back bad information just to wreck your day. If you break them, though, then you make them so suggestible that they’ll agree with anything. No other interrogation method builds such uncertainties into the system by its very nature.

So, when you talk to me about saving lives, I think of all these problems and shake my head. Maybe it’s not rough enough treatment to satisfy your sense of vengeance on these people, or whoever you’re taking this position from, but in the end, it works better.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 12, 2007 2:19 PM
Comment #238154

Max, sticking our nose in their affairs and our religious views are what has brought about this islamic terrorist problem.
Sure, some are misguided and have joined up because they believe we torture all muslims, I do not deny that, but most have chosen to become terrorists because we are not muslims and because they know defeating the US will only help their cause.

On world opinion: While I do not care about world opinion, I do realize it is beneficial to us for it to be positive. But, the quest for positive world opinion should not interfere with the protection of the US.

Your opinion of what could have been if we did not go to war with Iraq is pointless really. While I agree we should not have, that does not change the fact that we are there now or the fact that we should use every available means to ensure our country’s future.

We have been told we need to understand and respect our enemy and we got 9/11 for our efforts and aid.
Its now their turn to understand and respect us.

Posted by: kctim at November 12, 2007 2:39 PM
Comment #238155

Rhinehold-
No, some thought Curveball was credible. Others noticed that the plant he was talking about had a cinderblock wall right in back of where these mobile labs were supposed to come out. Of course, they rationalized it as being a removeable wall. Clever Iraqis, right?

It’s noteworthy the tack you’re taking, quoting all the reasons to believe he might be hiding WMDs. The real question, never answered, was whether there were actual WMDs being hidden.

There was not one site confirmed. Not one.

As terror sponsors go, Iraq was nothing compared with its neighbors. As WMD threats go, it was pretty much neutralized for the time being, and the United States Government had little confirmed evidence otherwise. As for what a bad regime it was, well, there are plenty of those in the world. If we go to war with one of them, the question will remain, what justifies this action, and will this actually protect America and its interests?

The casual creep and semantic rearrangement of the defenses for this war show just how much it’s about rationalizing these actions, rather than providing firm justifications.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 12, 2007 2:46 PM
Comment #238158

Rhinehold
I was aware of our differences on this and you make some excellent points. But with myself, there is a huge difference between how our govt treats Americans, such as your example, and how we treat foreigners suspected of being terrorists.
I would never condone our govt stripping an American citizen of their rights in our battle against terrorism.

Stephen
When have I said ALL terrorists deserve to be tortured or that “regular” interrogation does not work? I did not.
What I have said is that sometimes, extreme measures are needed in order to get the intel. And guess what? “Regular” interrogation techniques are given a chance before extreme measures are even used.

Contrary to what the left wants the world to know, we do not torture indiscriminatly or for the fun of it. It is used as a last resort after all other methods have failed.

I am not an “apologist” for torture. I understand it does not always work, but I also understand that it sometimes does.
What the US apologists to the world screw up, is that we are at war and when you are at war, you use every available tool to protect your people and win.

I see the problems our country faces and I too shake my head Stephen.
This has nothing to do with vengeance or some kind of bloodlust or macho-man feeling. This is about doing everything it takes to protect my country and its people and to win.

Posted by: kctim at November 12, 2007 3:11 PM
Comment #238159
No, some thought Curveball was credible. Others noticed that the plant he was talking about had a cinderblock wall right in back of where these mobile labs were supposed to come out.

Yes, included in those that thought he was credible was the head of German intelligence and George Tennet who said it was a Slam Dunk. The ones that didn’t were lower level operatives. Bush chose to go with Tennet, I’m sure we can all blame him for making the wrong choice, right?

But, here comes the real problem, Stephen. You assert that Iraq had no WMD. The fact is that they did. We were unable, because of the actions of Iraq, to verify that those agents were no longer there and he did everything to make us believe he still had them as well as having programs to continue. Saddam had every chance to stop the invasion by accepting 1441 but he refused. Blix even admitted this to the UN. His view was that despite that he wanted to keep inspecting, but he had to admit that Saddam did not live up to the requirements of 1441 AND said that he would not be surprised if we did find WMD when we invaded. Why? Because no one KNEW whether he had them or not, 12 years after the fact.

If there hadn’t been the history leading up to the invasion, I would probably have been on your side, Stephen. But I was urging Clinton to remove Saddam in 1998 along with other Democrats and he did nothing to change my view of that (other than a Republican was a President).

It is clear that the decision to invade or not was not as clear cut as you would have us believe, or Tennet would have had us believe. As we did find out there were no large WMD caches (to say we found none at all is not accurate either, but they were older stockpiles). It didn’t help much that we now know that a chunck of some of the WMDs that were unnaccounted for were sitting in a room at the UN!

So, it’s a dangerous tact to take to say that it should have been obvious to everyone that we shouldn’t have invaded, as I’ve shown there were more reasons than just WMDs to make the case, because you are doing the very thing that you accuse Bush of doing with the rest of the international community, alienating those very people you need to work with and move forward with. Creating a rift that is doing more harm than good, IMO.

It was not a clear cut decision either way, those on the left should really stop trying to validate their arguments by attempting to make that case. And I’m sure if we had found WMD you would have agreed that we should have invaded and you were wrong? Or would you have said that it doesn’t matter because we had them contained and we should have waited anyway? You see the danger in the attitude that many on the left are making?

I’m afraid you don’t, or at least many who make comments like Max has done who say stupid things without concern about what those things do to their own cause don’t. Should we have healing by capitulation or understanding and accepting the difficulties of the decision at the time? Or, as is more probably the case, no healing at all because that doesn’t help the short term political agenda.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 12, 2007 3:42 PM
Comment #238167
Yes, included in those that thought he was credible was the head of German intelligence

Do you make this up as you go along, or do you actually believe what you say?

Five top German intelligence officers say that the Bush administration and the CIA repeatedly ignored warnings about the veracity of the information that an Iraqi informant named ‘Curveball’ was giving about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. The Los Angeles Times, in a massive report published Sunday, reports that “the Bush administration and the CIA repeatedly exaggerated his claims during the run-up to the war in Iraq.” They also say that ‘Curveball,’ whom the Germans described as “not a psychologically stable guy,” never claimed that he had produced germ weapons, nor had he ever seen anyone do it.

According to the Germans, President Bush mischaracterized Curveball’s information when he warned before the war that Iraq had at least seven mobile factories brewing biological poisons. Then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell also misstated Curveball’s accounts in his prewar presentation to the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003, the Germans said.

Curveball’s German handlers for the last six years said his information was often vague, mostly secondhand and impossible to confirm. “This was not substantial evidence,” said a senior German intelligence official. “We made clear we could not verify the things he said.”



The Christian Science Monitor, November 21, 2005
Posted by: Cube at November 12, 2007 4:44 PM
Comment #238178

Sorry, Cube, but I’m going by the 60 minutes report that came out, oh, last week? It entirely contradicts the Christian Science Monitor report you are quoting from 2 years ago.

I think I’ll go with the more current information after the amount of investigation they did, especially since they uncovered a letter from Dr. August Hanning that reported Curveball as being believable and his information plausible.

The answer came from Berlin 48 hours later from the German intelligence chief, Dr. August Hanning. In a letter, a copy of which 60 Minutes has obtained, Hanning began, “Dear George.” He said no to Curve Ball being interviewed on television or by an American officer. Hanning wrote that Curve Ball’s reporting was “plausible and believable,” but, he added, “attempts to verify the information have been unsuccessful.” Curve Ball’s reports “must be considered unconfirmed,” Hanning wrote. If Tenet still wanted to use the information despite these caveats, Hanning said he could if the source was protected.

German intelligence did not allow the CIA to interview Curveball and provided the intelligence to Tennet as plausible and believable, but could not be confirmed at the time.

Tennet made the mistake of taking this information and presenting it to Bush and Powell as a Slam Dunk.

There was no micharacterization of the information that Curveball provided. They took, almost verbatim, the information that he provided and presented it to the UN, including the drawings that he made. If you look back over the speech that Powell gave, which 60 Minutes did during their report, you will see that they simply reported what was reported to them.

If the handlers had misgivings about the information provided, it was not presented that way by the Intelligence Chief as we see in the letter.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 12, 2007 5:40 PM
Comment #238182

Who make comments like Max has done who say stupid things without concern about what those things do to their own cause.

Like what? Have I called you a blind partisan? Or stupid? I wouldn’t stoop to your kind of debate, if you want to call it that. Was it my link to the worldopinion.org article showing that, in fact, there has been a dramatic worsening of internation opinion of the United States since Bush? A fact acknowledged by most Republicans and Democrats alike?

By the way, wrong again about there being ample reason to invade Iraq. 1. Bush’s father already did a thorough assessment and realized occupation would be disastrous. 2. There was no evidence of WMDs - on the contrary, Blix said there definitely were none in Iraq. 3. Iraq was already under sanctions and constant monitoring, it was not a threat. Only someone dead set against attacking Iraq would have made the decision Bush made. Really only Bush.

Posted by: Max at November 12, 2007 7:25 PM
Comment #238184
By the way, wrong again about there being ample reason to invade Iraq.

No, I’m quite right. What part of my assessment did you disagree with?

1. Bush’s father already did a thorough assessment and realized occupation would be disastrous.

Yes. And by not planning for what was already known they screwed up. But because something would be hard to do doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.

2. There was no evidence of WMDs - on the contrary, Blix said there definitely were none in Iraq.

Again, wrong.

Asked if he thought Iraq no longer had banned weapons when he conducted his inspections, Blix replied: “It’s one suspicion I have. You want to pin me down, but I still think it’s too early to do that.

“I don’t exclude that they can find things. … I don’t think I’d be surprised if they found it.”

Blix himself did not know ‘for sure’ if there were WMDs in Iraq. If he didn’t know then how do we expect anyone else to know? Saddam did his best to make sure no one knew, he was playing a game, it turns out.

3. Iraq was already under sanctions and constant monitoring, it was not a threat.

Again, even under these sanctions, which were about to be lifted, I might add, they were still able to fund and support international terrorism throughout the world. And their past ties to Al Qaeda was evidence enough that they were a danger, let alone the constant attacks (over 100 in the first few months of 2001) on US and UK warplanes showed how desperate they were.

Oh, and the sanctions were killing millions of kids, I guess that’s no big deal since they weren’t ours…

Only someone dead set against attacking Iraq would have made the decision Bush made. Really only Bush.

This comment makes no sense sorry, could you rephrase it?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 12, 2007 7:36 PM
Comment #238189

kctim-
Close Gitmo. Ship them to American soil. Define the suspected terrorists as unlawful combatants and give them lawyers and all the rights an accused person is entitled to in this country.

Then, if you really get a ticking time bomb scenario, where saving lives depends on getting answers, and nothing else seems to help, do what you have to, and face the consequences, while keeping in mind that the information you get from torture will be so unreliable that you might not even be able to save lives having crossed the line you did.

That said, ticking time-bomb scenarios are rare, so rare that people like the Herrington guy I mention on this or the other site have never run into them. Without such situations materializing, the only thing fueling this desperation would be free-floating anxiety over 9/11 that manifests itself with the urge towards authoritarianism.

All too often, extralegal, secretly carried out means of last resort, once permitted, become either common place, or impossible to dismiss. You may not be an advocate for all-singing, all-dancing cavalcade of torture, but you’re sure fighting hard for something you claim not to be so committed to. Would you be willing to let American policy return to regular interrogation being not just the rule, but the acknowledged law of the land, understanding that in an emergency, folks would do what they had to?

Do you agree that a perpetual state of emergency is a contradiction in terms, and corrosive to democracy?

Rhinehold-
The irony of this all is that you’re justifying the war the same way they did, by focusing on what could be, or what might be possible, instead of establishing things and confirming them.

These people didn’t talk about chances or possiblities. No, they talked about certainties. They talked about things that they knew. They removed references to disagreements caveats, qualifiers from the declassified report, which made it seem far more rock-solid than the heavily hedged NIE that the intelligence community actually pulled together.

They created their own analytical intelligence workshops among their political operatives, sifting through intelligence reporting to find reports that agreed with their assertions.

In short, they treated it like they were selling the war, rather than determining the actual need for one. They made sure Congress got scary information with little apparent room for doubt, all while spending that summer talking about the need to disarm Saddam Hussein, all while accusing political opponents of being weaklings and collaborators with the terrorists.

But did they get their facts straight? No. That wasn’t even their first concern. They thought they knew what was really going on, and they weren’t about to let the liberals and the naysayers get in the way. They weren’t about to let the country have doubts and reservations from the intelligence community to chew on. Because who knows, they might actually find reason not to go to war, and that would just be awful.

They weren’t really honest about why they wanted to go to war. They went with terrorists and WMDs because they felt they could get the most support for that. They concocted these unlikely scenarios, using 9/11, that most unexpected of scenario come true, to make it seem possible. They spun nightmare scenarious of the smoking gun of Iraq’s WMD operations being a Mushroom Cloud over one of our cities.

Spin your hypotheticals and appeal to what people thought. The Bush administration had the opportunity to get the intelligence right on this, and it was too busy trying to get the war it wanted and the political victories it sought to do a good job of that. Thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis are now dead because of this. There is no excuse for the Bush administration to have gotten carried away with this.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 12, 2007 9:36 PM
Comment #238194

Rhinehold,

1. Your assessment ignores feasibility.
2. Blix famously called out Bush as dramatizing the threat of WMDs.
3. Sadaam and Al Qaeda were not friends when we went to war.
4. The sanctions worked.

Pointing to an “anything’s possible statement by Blix, who thought the case for war was weak, to argue it was strong is a desperate move, and just the kind of upside-down rhetoric that led us into this mess.

Posted by: Max at November 12, 2007 10:00 PM
Comment #238196
The answer came from Berlin 48 hours later from the German intelligence chief, Dr. August Hanning. In a letter, a copy of which 60 Minutes has obtained, Hanning began, “Dear George.” He said no to Curve Ball being interviewed on television or by an American officer. Hanning wrote that Curve Ball’s reporting was “plausible and believable,” but, he added, “attempts to verify the information have been unsuccessful.” Curve Ball’s reports “must be considered unconfirmed,” Hanning wrote. If Tenet still wanted to use the information despite these caveats, Hanning said he could if the source was protected.

In late September or early October, 2002,… Drumheller, whom I always considered to be a capable officer, now says the German told him, “You do not want to see him [Curve Ball] because he’s crazy. Speaking to him would be ‘a waste of time.’” The German reportedly went on to say that his service was not sure whether Curve Ball was telling the truth , that he had serious doubts about Curve Ball’s mental stability and reliability…. Further, the BND representative worried that Curve Ball was a “fabricator.”


Transcript from 60 Minutes, Nov. 4, 2007
Sorry, Cube, but I’m going by the 60 minutes report that came out, oh, last week? It entirely contradicts the Christian Science Monitor report you are quoting from 2 years ago.

So the answer is, you make it up as you go along.


Posted by: Cube at November 12, 2007 10:34 PM
Comment #238207

kctim,

World opinion and permission did not make us the greatest country in the world, our fellow Americans did.

So true. Nothing better than self-proclamate your country is the greatest in the world. That way, you don’t even needs to check if the world actually agree.

After all, who are these “world” guys to contest such obvious claim!? You know better about the world.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 13, 2007 5:14 AM
Comment #238208

Rhinehold,

Blix himself did not know ‘for sure’ if there were WMDs in Iraq. If he didn’t know then how do we expect anyone else to know?

Then why do you accept Bush could knew better, then!? If anyone else could know, anyone else could know.

And we go back to the usual One Percent Doctrine preemptive war debate. If there is 1% of risk a catastrophe could occurs, we must act before (even using torture, so we must make it legal today!), blah blah blah…

Problem: future is always unknown. By definition there can’t be a 0% risk of anything happening in the future. So stop the bullshit, start wars as you want, use torture, but don’t expect people to swallow such stupid doctrine, in particular when you were so obviously wrong, like with Iraq WMDs and such.

And more than anything, don’t expect people to trust you blindly anytime soon.


Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 13, 2007 5:33 AM
Comment #238209

Ooops:
If NO ONE else could know, no one else could know.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 13, 2007 5:34 AM
Comment #238211
he [Blix] had to admit that Saddam did not live up to the requirements of 1441 AND said that he would not be surprised if we did find WMD when we invaded. Why? Because no one KNEW whether he had them or not, 12 years after the fact.

But:

“Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.” - Dick Cheney, August 26, 2002

“We know where they are. They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad.” - Donald Rumsfeld, March 30, 2003

At least these two top governement officials said they KNEW where these wapor WMDs were. Notice the present I’ve emphased in their quotes. They were NOT talking about 12 years past.

It didn’t help much that we now know that a chunck of some of the WMDs that were unnaccounted for were sitting in a room at the UN!

Which is historically highly ironic, after so much strong “no doubt/we know/we’re sure that Saddam have NOW WMDs” declarations made before UN Security Council…

Truth is they knew nothing for sure, but they wanted so much this war with Saddam that they shaped truth to match their will.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 13, 2007 5:59 AM
Comment #238222

Stephen
I personally don’t care if they are at Gitmo or somewhere in one of our deserts or the most northern part of Alaska. But they are not Americans and do not deserve, nor should they be entitled to the same rights an American has.

And yes, we must always keep in mind that the intel we get from using extreme measures may not always be reliable and that it may or may not save American lives. It is still better than doing nothing and just hoping nothing happens.

Ticking time-bomb scenarios are indeed rare, but then again, so is us using extreme measures such as waterboarding.
And once again, you are trying to convince the world that it is SOP for the US to use such extreme measures on every prisoner. That is not the case.

“but you’re sure fighting hard for something you claim not to be so committed to.”

Stephen, you do not distinguish between Americans and terrorists, I do.
I am totally committed to allowing our govt to use whatever tools it needs to get intel from our enemy in order to protect our country and our people.
So yes, I would be willing for regular interrogation of our enemy to be the law of the land, in order to protect us.

“Do you agree that a perpetual state of emergency is a contradiction in terms, and corrosive to democracy?”

Keeping the American people in such a state would definetly be “corrosive” to our Republic. But we are talking about our enemy, not our fellow Americans here. Why you refuse to acknowledge that difference, I do not know.

Due to the actions of our enemy over the past 20 some years, our govt should be in a state of emergency when it comes to terrorism and they should be willing to do everything in order to prevent it.

Posted by: kctim at November 13, 2007 10:08 AM
Comment #238223

PH
I have no guilt for being proud to be an American, so yes, there is nothing better than loving my country enough to proclaim it is the greatest.
And if I don’t care if the “world” agrees or not, why would I check?

“After all, who are these “world” guys to contest such obvious claim!?”

If I gave a damn about what they had to say, I would say its probably the same “world guys” who hate America, but don’t hate us enough to not accept our aid and money.

“You know better about the world.”

Nope. Not one bit and I would never claim to either.
But, I do “know better” when it comes to the US and I know its better for us to put the US above all else.

Posted by: kctim at November 13, 2007 10:27 AM
Comment #238236
Ticking time-bomb scenarios are indeed rare, but then again, so is us using extreme measures such as waterboarding.

Only because it’s not legal (yet), and the people who does it/order it knows they could face their responsibility. Remove that threat, and you could bet you’ll see more usage.

Posted by: Philippe houdoin at November 13, 2007 12:53 PM
Comment #238239

kctim,

“You know better about the world.”

Nope. Not one bit and I would never claim to either.

You do, when you claim US is the greatest country of the world.

Without knowing about the whole world, how could you claim which is the best country? Did you lived in every country to claim such thing?
Just because you claim it doesn’t make it an universal truth. Except for the one claiming it.

It’s like I self-proclaim myself being the best man in the world. After all, I know better about me than anyone. Except it’s a very stupid claim. And one very easy to prove wrong, too.

If I gave a damn about what they had to say, I would say its probably the same “world guys” who hate America, but don’t hate us enough to not accept our aid and money.

Yeah, yada yada. With so much aid and money, I’m even surprise your country didn’t buy the whole world yet. It will make such debate (more) useless.


Maybe some countries are not yet totally dependent on US money.
Maybe US is not yet totally independent on foreign economy, too.
Maybe giving aid with string forever attached is not “giving” but “buying”.
Maybe US is not one single side (let me guess, the “good” one?) of the world, the other being called “the rest” (nice superiority complex, BTW).
Maybe there is another point of view in every issue than just US vs the rest of the world.
Maybe.

For a guy who don’t care one bit about the rest of the world, who like to ignore it as much as possible, you seems quite obsessive about an unnamed foreign threat.

But, I do “know better” when it comes to the US and I know its better for us to put the US above all else.

Then your claim should be US is the greatest US of the world. Because you indeed know better about US than about the world, as you agreed.

Posted by: Philippe houdoin at November 13, 2007 1:13 PM
Comment #238244

Philippe
How can I claim the US is the best country in the world? Because I think we are.
Other countries don’t think we are? So what.
And no, I have not lived in every country. I have only been to the majority of Europe, Central America, Canada, Southeast Asia and North America. But I do not need to go to a country to believe it is second to the US.

You are correct: there are some countries not dependent on US money. But we both know I was talking about those who take our money with one hand while praying for our doom with the other.
And yes, we do benefit from foreign economys. But we would be fine without them. Sure, life would be harder for us, seeing how pampered we are now, but I would be fine with it.
Call it “buying” if you wish, whatever floats your boat. But remember, we cannot “give” or “buy” if they do not take.

Let’s see, I am an American, so yes, the US are the good guys and everybody else is “the rest” of the world.

Is “unnamed foreign threat” what you guys now call terrorists over there? Interesting.
Not surprising though. I know you wouldn’t want to offend those who hate your way of life and are trying to kill you.

Hey, if it will help you see that I have the right to love my country more than I love the world, then fine: The US is the greatest US in the world.
And since I believe the US is the greatest kind of country in the world right now and we are the only US in the world right now, then I guess that means I believe we are the greatest country in the world.

Tell me Philippe, why do my beliefs bug you so much?
Is it because I do not feel guilty to be an American?
Is it because I am proud to be an American?
Is it because I don’t believe the US owes you anything or that you owe us anything?
Is it because you believe we have too much and you have too little and that is not fair?
Is it because we don’t need you?
Is it because we do not want you all telling us what to believe and do?
Or is it something as simple as you not liking that I love my country more than I love the world?

There is nothing wrong with putting ones own country above all others Philippe. You should try it sometime, it feels great to be this proud.

Posted by: kctim at November 13, 2007 2:38 PM
Comment #238245

I always love when the right wing, in support of morally reprehensible actions take the “emminent threat” ‘worst case scenario’ to support its use in ALL cases.
Repeatedly I have pointed out that there is many small problems with support of the current activities.
1) Done in secret, with no oversight
2) Done to ACCUSED terrorists — so the whole arguement that “They” are bad guys that want to kill Americans — and torture would ONLY be done to “Bad Guys that want to kill Americans” avoids the touchy subject of
A) how do we know?
B) Who gets to decide who these “Bad Guys” are?
The right wing does not like to discuss these aspects of the arguement.
That innocent people are being subjected to Torture in the name of the American people because we have become so frightened that we have abrogated our due process protections.
All their arguements re: the necessity of Torture for “National Security” are BOGUS because they are all based on a falicious assumption (guilt of those being tortured)
These right wingers are the same ones that feel the Gov’t is incompetent — they don’t want them prescribing health care, but it is ok to pick out the “guilty” amongst the crowd and torture them without any oversight!! Amazing twisted logic.
I am disappointed that the Democrats have not stood up to this Secret, Arrogant, Unpatriotic, Incompetent, and Morally bankrupt administration.

Posted by: Russ at November 13, 2007 2:42 PM
Comment #238247

KCTM — wow!! you must have access to secret information that the rest of us (including Congress) are not privy to.
and/or — you provide this adminstration with a level of credibility that most of your fellow Americans do not share.
When you say:
“Ticking time-bomb scenarios are indeed rare, but then again, so is us using extreme measures such as waterboarding.
And once again, you are trying to convince the world that it is SOP for the US to use such extreme measures on every prisoner. That is not the case”

How is it that you know to what extent the US (CIA and by the way, private contractors, AND the countries we have contracted with via extordinary renditions) DOES use these extreme measures???

do you have access to secret reports?? or you actually TRUST what this adminstration claims???

It seems incongruent as if they are not using it all that much (and by the statement of most knowledgeable experts — torture has been PROVEN to be ineffective in getting USEFUL intelligence) then why are they fighting so hard to have it made legal? (and why are they fighting so hard to keep it secret??)
I believe they are using it much more than what they claim, and I believe they are using it not for intelligence gathering, but for the same reason other tyrants use it — to quell opposition.

Posted by: Russ at November 13, 2007 2:50 PM
Comment #238252

Russ
“How is it that you know to what extent the US (CIA and by the way, private contractors, AND the countries we have contracted with via extordinary renditions) DOES use these extreme measures???”

The same way you “know” they use it much more and that they are using it to “quell opposition.”
I just happen to believe it is facts which should cause me to question my govt on this, rather than politics or the words of our enemies.

So, what should I believe?
There have been thousands of prisoners and 3 or 4 or even 10 cases of extreme interrogation measures being used?
OR
Our enemy “says” we torture everybody for fun and Bush is a Republican, so it must be true.

You side with Democrats, I side with the US.

Let me know if its still so terrible when hillary is in charge or if its “different” because she is a Dem.
Kind of like it was “different” for you guys when bill and gore were doing it.

Talk about twisted logic.
I’m surprised you guys don’t have constant whiplash.
It was ok then, but its bad now, but it will be ok again soon.

Definetly twisted, but definetly typical liberal hypocrisy.

Posted by: kctim at November 13, 2007 3:27 PM
Comment #238258
Tell me Philippe, why do my beliefs bug you so much? Is it because I do not feel guilty to be an American? Is it because I am proud to be an American? Is it because I don’t believe the US owes you anything or that you owe us anything? Is it because you believe we have too much and you have too little and that is not fair? Is it because we don’t need you? Is it because we do not want you all telling us what to believe and do? Or is it something as simple as you not liking that I love my country more than I love the world?

No, no, no, no, no, no and no.

It is because you’re ready to deny basic human rights to what ever foreigner in order to protect americans lives.
Which is the same than saying whatever american live worth more. Which is classical superiority complex.

And I just can’t agree with such belief.

There is nothing wrong with putting ones own country above all others Philippe. You should try it sometime, it feels great to be this proud.

While french are less inclined to patriotism than americans for historical reason I guess (Vichy regime) indeed, when it comes more too “the rest of the world sucks”, they deserves less basic human rights than americans, etc, it’s not anymore patriotism but nationalism:

Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first. - De Gaulle.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 13, 2007 4:16 PM
Comment #238261

Philippe
“It is because you’re ready to deny basic human rights to what ever foreigner in order to protect americans lives.”

Uh, no. I am ready to deny basic human rights to our enemy, who wishes to deny Americans our basic human rights and murder us.

“Which is the same than saying whatever american live worth more.”

They are worth more to me Philippe. Not because I hate you or others, but because they are fellow Americans.

Love of my own country and people comes first, always.
But you should not confuse my not caring about others as hate.

Posted by: kctim at November 13, 2007 5:36 PM
Comment #238265

David R:
“They threw off the yoke of British Empire peacefully and without violence on their part which embarrassed the British into capitulation.”

Is this going to work with Osama or other terrorists?

I can’t believe that you wouldn’t justify some sort of extreme measure in questioning techniques if it were to save American lives or otherwise. If Waterboarding is repugnant or as you said - ineffectual - I’m open to suggestions on other methods…

Point is, I am less concerned about being morally conscionable, when my (our) enemies give no thought to casually killing thousands of innocent men, women, and children.techniques if it were to save American lives or otherwise. If Waterboarding is repugnant or as you said - ineffectual - I’m open to suggestions on other methods…

Point is, I am less concerned about being morally consciencable, when my (our) enemies give no thought to casually killing thousands of innocent men, women, and children.

Posted by: b0mbay at November 13, 2007 6:00 PM
Comment #238270

Will be being more brutal and disrespectful of human rights save lives? No. It hands tyrants and terrorists a new means to rationalize their violence and sell it to others who might not otherwise permit it. We set the tone here.

No amount of ruthlessness will provide us with perfect security. Terrorist attacks happen even in countries where the rulers are authoritarians. In the meantime, we look like bloody hypocrites.

Folks can pat themselves on the back for how committed they are to America’s defense, but commitment and intentions will not prevent torture and other forms of human rights violations from backfiring and affecting the lives of Americans adversely. I’m sure people justified what was being done in Abu Ghraib as necessary to save lives, but that didn’t prevent the revelations from becoming the motivation to kill more Americans.

The mistaken impression here is that if we kill or hold incommunicado a terrorist, it ends there. But it doesn’t. If it’s an innocent person, then we’ve just made enemies of their family. If it’s not, even so, somebody else will come along to replace them. As evidence inevitably leaks out about what we’re doing, what we’re prepared to do, this will not only encourage more antagonism towards the United States, but also lead allied authoritarian states to employ the same tactics, inflaming things by their actions as well.

America’s real advantage lies not in an abandonment of international norms, but in our country becoming a civilizing, calming force. The more we represent law and order in the eyes of the world, the more the lawlessness and nihilistic violence of the terrorists is revealed for what it is.

The more we make ourselves like these people, the harder it is to sell ourselves as the heroes, and get people to buy that. And if they can’t buy us as the heroes of the story, or a set of heroes, then what do we end up as?

Torture is bad because its cruelty reflect poorly on our culture, whose export allies people to us. Reforms go poorly in the middle east because what the reformers ask for is associated with us. Torture is bad, even in an emergency, because we cannot depend on torture to reliably extract truth from the suspect. Patience, in the end, will save more lives than vengeance.

I don’t care what depths the terrorists have sunk to. It’s not necessarily an advantage to them. Many people in the Middle East have come to hate them for their viciousness. When we become like them in their ruthlessness, we only make it more difficult to distinguish between us and them.

I have no problem with American moving with necessary purpose to defeat the terrorists. But the means we employ will affect our success, and so far, we’ve gained little from rationalizing vicious, vengeful, and sadistic behavior by asserting that we haven’t yet become as evil as the terrorists.

If we want to win against the terrorists, we must make them the pariahs, not us.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 13, 2007 6:50 PM
Comment #238272

Very nice quote Philippe, thank you for sharing it.

Posted by: Cube at November 13, 2007 6:54 PM
Comment #238277

b0mbay, thank you for that eloquent expose’ on the rationale of stooping to the level of one’s enemies to fight them, which of course, makes one no better than one’s enemies, and if one is no better, then what is the rationale for winning, or asking for assistance in winning from others.

We are better than al-Queda, because when IDIOTS like Bush try to become like our enemies, we Americans rise up in moral indignation and say STOP! THAT IS NOW WHAT WE WILL ALLOW IN OUR GOOD NAME !

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 13, 2007 7:25 PM
Comment #238304

kctim,

Uh, no. I am ready to deny basic human rights to our enemy, who wishes to deny Americans our basic human rights and murder us.

Do you really believe more than one second that 1) every people captured and detained in Gitmo were all your enemies (then why many were release free of charge after months or even years of basic human rights violation) and 2) that even your so-called enemy is not human too?

It’s well known tactic to label an enemy as devil, satanic, barbaric or whatever name-calling hyped, mostly to avoid above all calling him an human. Doesn’t make him less human. Or you more human, for that matter.

Basic human rights are basic human rights. They should apply to every human, even the worst one. Or they’re not “basic” human rights anymore.

You’re all free to disagree with these basic human rights. But you can’t agree only for some human. It’s a case of all or nothing.

Posted by: Philippe houdoin at November 14, 2007 4:28 AM
Comment #238305

b0mbay,

Point is, I am less concerned about being morally conscionable, when my (our) enemies give no thought to casually killing thousands of innocent men, women, and children.

How could you be so sure about that?
Do you believe that no jihadists ever refuse a suicide mission, ever refuse to kill thousands of innocents?

From who do you think we get our best intelligence on islamic terrorism? Westerners? Or former islamic terrorists?

Again, considering your enemy don’t have any conscionable issues doesn’t make him less human, or you more human. But it let you wrongly think you can behave as barbaric as him without losing your moral status.

If we were still falling in the “They do it too” trap, we still would be just a bunch of cannibal rapists today, you know…

Posted by: Philippe houdoin at November 14, 2007 4:40 AM
Comment #238306

Stephen,

Torture is bad because its cruelty reflect poorly on our culture

And unfortunately your culture started to reflect it too. The “24” TV show being the most obvious example worldwide…

Posted by: Philippe houdoin at November 14, 2007 4:46 AM
Comment #238378

D. Remer,

Given the choice between “stooping to the level of one’s enemies to fight them, which of course, makes one no better than one’s enemies, and if one is no better, then what is the rationale for winning, or asking for assistance in winning from others. ”
Or taking measures (sometimes extreme) that can perhaps save innocent Americans…well, maybe that is where you and I are different.

You can take your argument to the next logical level andmake the claim that killing by itself is wrong (certainly more permanent than Waterboarding). Maybe we shouldn’t be working toward exterminating our enemies either. If waterboarding is morally reprehensible, than what category would killing them fall into?

Sorry, I would rather simulate drowning the sorry bastards if that would give me the opportunity (great, slim or none) to obtain information that could be used to protect American lives.

Posted by: b0mbay at November 14, 2007 6:32 PM
Comment #238393

“And unfortunately your culture started to reflect it too. The “24” TV show being the most obvious example worldwide…”

Huh???

Big difference between TV and real life there Phillipe. I can’t believe you actually took time to write that.

Posted by: b0mbay at November 14, 2007 9:07 PM
Comment #238418

b0mbay,

Huh???

Big difference between TV and real life there Phillipe. I can’t believe you actually took time to write that.

Well, it seems kids *AND* some soldiers to make this difference. I’m not alone taking time to write about that, mind you. I guess you simply miss what Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan, dean of West Point United States Military Academy, said about 24 TV show side effects on young soldiers:

I’d like them to stop. They should do a show where torture backfires… The kids [West Point’s cadets who soon be commanders in the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan] see it and say, ‘If torture is wrong, what about 24’?

May I suggest you to read more deeply this article on “24” producer “patriotic” agenda to shape a thicker opinion on how culture could reflect your torture policy badly too :

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/02/19/070219fa_fact_mayer

Posted by: Philippe houdoin at November 15, 2007 5:33 AM
Comment #238419

b0mbay,

Given the choice between “stooping to the level of one’s enemies to fight them, which of course, makes one no better than one’s enemies, and if one is no better, then what is the rationale for winning, or asking for assistance in winning from others. ” or taking measures (sometimes extreme)that can perhaps save innocent Americans…well, maybe that is where you and I are different.

I guess many will consider americans less innocent if they, as a whole, agreed to spit on their former basic moral values by using torture.

What could give you a short term gain could turn on the long term a big lose. Unfortunatly, shaping a policy on the long term is more harder. Going to war is easy, winning peace is not.

You can take your argument to the next logical level andmake the claim that killing by itself is wrong (certainly more permanent than Waterboarding).

I guess many people will agree that killing by itself is wrong, indeed.

Maybe we shouldn’t be working toward exterminating our enemies either.

Yep, maybe you should be working toward securing peace instead.
And maybe you should stop using words that have a very loaded usage history, like 60 years ago. Exterminating the enemy? You mean defeat, the main objective of a “good” war started by the “good” guys can’t be extermination.

Because, you know, an extermination war comes with another name…

If waterboarding is morally reprehensible, than what category would killing them fall into?

Same category. I fail to see why it should fall into another.

Posted by: Philippe houdoin at November 15, 2007 5:46 AM
Comment #238469

philippe,

yup - you’re right. making “nicey” with the bad guys worked wonders for you guys during WWII. If my memory serves me correctly, the French became “L’Etat Francais” or The French State instead of the Republic of France, which was little more than a puppet regime run by the Third Reich. During that Regime, the French willingly collaborated with the Germans by rounding up Jews and other persons that didn’t fit the Aryan profile.

Lucky for you guys there were others in the world that recognized WINNING was not going to be accomplished by appeasement.

Here are a quote that puts a smile on my face before I go to bed…

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”
-John Stuart Mill


Posted by: b0mbay at November 15, 2007 4:48 PM
Comment #238476

1. Trolls Go Home:
Liberals do not hate guns. Conservatives do not love guns. These are both stupid ideas propagated by your media masters. Shed those stupid ideas and go talk to some folks like Murtha and Giuliani.
2. Torture is personal for me.
So you say you’ve never met someone who couldn’t torture someone else? Never met a nurse or a doctor? Well, at any rate, you’ve met me. I know someone very close to me who has been tortured. I hear his screams, when he relives those times. If you gave me a knife, and asked me to cut someone, to make them bleed to death — no. Not for G-d, not for country, not for ten little babies.
3. They aren’t human until they fit ANY of the criteria for what differentiates a human from an ape. This moral definition (which is a coherent one) says that infanticide is moral if done at birth. Please don’t make this the only option, I strongly believe that abortions and birth control are far far better options.

Posted by: Myurl at November 15, 2007 5:02 PM
Comment #238477

When will people realize we fell into BinLaden’s trap when we invaded Iraq?
He only did that to get us mired in a landwar in Asia…

For all this torture, I haven’t seen one good terrorist plot foiled yet. _Where are the smart ones hiding?!_

Posted by: Myurl at November 15, 2007 5:04 PM
Comment #238486

b0mbay,

yup - you’re right. making “nicey” with the bad guys worked wonders for you guys during WWII.

You knows Chamberlain wasn’t french, right?

If my memory serves me correctly, the French became “L’Etat Francais” or The French State instead of the Republic of France, which was little more than a puppet regime run by the Third Reich.

Agreed, but not before we lost more than 380,000 dead or wounded soldiers in the Battle of France trying to stop Nazi invasion of our country.

BTW, I find it weird that each time the french, who cover the british retreat at Dunkerque, are the only one considered surrenders to nazis (and I’m not even talking about the usual monkeys prefix) and *never* the british… Since when fleeing back home is more noble?

Oh well.

If you really want to pin french noze in their torturers ugly past, your WWII choice is a pity, while the more recent Algeria War make the obvious case of choice.
I’ll short it for you: we too did fall in the torture trap during this war. We too though winning this war was not going to be accomplished by appeasement. But in the end, torture turn even the most pro-french algerians against us.

Here, you have a strong case about french history and torture. Yeah, I know, too bad it doesn’t help selling yours. Sorry. If you want to learn more, here a starting point :

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

Give a deeper look at the French “School” section in particular. It’s right after The Question Of Torture one. Can’t be anything but a coincidence…

Regarding Mill quote, thanks.
If you’ve checked France history a little bit, you will have notice that my country is not known for being the less willing to fight. Ask our neighboors. Anyone.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 15, 2007 6:12 PM
Comment #238495

So lets see, a couple years from now we get solid intel that a suitcase nuke is going to go off somewhere in Chicago. Through a stroke of luck one of the plotters falls into our hands a day prior to the planned attack date. So just what is President Hillary going to authorise….withholding his tv priviledges until he talks? I guess I shouldn’t be so sarcastic, I bet if the FBI just showed him respect and asked nicely he would just tell us where the bomb was.

Posted by: Carnak at November 15, 2007 9:11 PM
Comment #238708

Carnak,

Please provides any link to your suitcase nuke plot targetted at Chicago. I don’t remember any.
You’re not talking of dropped Jose Paddila’s drity bomb allegation here, right?

Whatever next president, in such ticking bomb possibility, he/she will do what he/she it take or not, but what matter is in both case he/she should take responsability and face consequence. If it’s illegal, why he/she should be above the law?

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 19, 2007 6:02 PM
Comment #238803

Carnak was using a scenario - one that is totally plausible - to make a case for using extreme measures in order to SAVE AMERICAN LIVES! Not that hard to figure out, but I guess for some, the world truly is only black and white. I don’t think that there is anyone here who is an “advocate” for torture, but I am surprised that not more of us can’t see the forest through the trees.

I’ll leave you with another quote Phillipe - only for intellectual ponder if your patty cake appeasement idea doesn’t pan out…

“If an injury has to be done to man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared”.
-Machiavelli

Posted by: b0mbay at November 20, 2007 4:31 PM
Comment #238964

b0mbay,

Carnak was using a scenario - one that is totally plausible - to make a case for using extreme measures in order to SAVE AMERICAN LIVES! Not that hard to figure out, but I guess for some, the world truly is only black and white.

And for some the world is truly only english native speaking. Which I’m not. I didn’t catch the “a couple years FROM NOW” part, hence my misinterpretation.

I’ll leave you with another quote Phillipe - only for intellectual ponder if your patty cake appeasement idea doesn’t pan out…

“If an injury has to be done to man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared”.
-Machiavelli

A nice guy, this Machiavelli ;-).
And he knew torture from first hand.

He also wrote this: … in a well-ordered republic it should never be necessary to resort to extra-constitutional measures in his discourses on Livy book.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 21, 2007 7:22 PM
Comment #239129

If your wife worked you good one day so you would sleep soundly that night, and she aquired a secret from you by talked to you while you were sleeping, would she be guilty of torture?

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 24, 2007 2:28 PM
Comment #239130

Philippe,
I heard a quote the other day and wonder if it is true. It was uttered by a co-worker who, despite being younger, I consider an informed person. His quote was:

The only war the French won was against themselves

Is this true?

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 24, 2007 2:47 PM
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