Torture and the Law

By
Friday, April 18, 2008 at 7:59 am
From Top Left: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Vice President Dick Cheney, George Tenet, Donald H. Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft and Colin L. Powell

From Top Left: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Vice President Dick Cheney, George Tenet, Donald H. Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft and Colin L. Powell

With nine months remaining in President George W. Bush’s term, virtually no legal analyst expects that anyone in his administration will face indictment and prosecution in connection with the torture of terrorism detainees. However, a new admission from Bush last week has some legal analysts contending that the case for such prosecution has gotten signifiacantly stronger.

ABC News reported on Apr. 9 that then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice chaired an informal panel of top administration officials that approved specific brutal interrogation tactics for use on three suspected Al Qaeda detainees. The panel consisted of Vice President Dick Cheney, and former administration officials — Donald H. Rumsfeld, then defense secretary, Colin L. Powell, the former secretary of state, George Tenet, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and John Ashcroft, then attorney general. This group debated for use on detainees — and eventually approved — methods of abuse like being “slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding,” ABC reported.

Illustration by: Matt Mahurin

Illustration by: Matt Mahurin

On Apr. 11, Bush told ABC that he was personally aware of the panel’s discussions. “Well, we started to connect the dots in order to protect the American people.” Bush said. “And yes, I’m aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved.”

This disclosure presents a nested series of legal implications. “I predict that there will be calls for top administration officials to be prosecuted in an international court for war crimes,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, a civil liberties expert who teaches at Duke University Law School. “This meeting supports the involvement of top officials — including the president — in approving torture.”

“If you, as an individual, order such conduct, you’re culpable under the aiding-and-abetting provision of federal law,” said Aziz Huq, director of the Liberty and National Security Project at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice. “There is at least a colorable theory, a credible case, for federal criminal liability here.”

That theory, however, depends on whether the administration’s 2002 meetings — and Bush’s approval — rose to the level of an operational order. The treatment of the three detainees, which Huq says was a “violation of the Federal Torture Statute,” included the employment of several of the techniques reportedly considered by Rice’s panel, including waterboarding. Currently, the Justice Department has an investigation open into Jose Rodriguez, a former CIA official who destroyed videotapes of those interrogations.

“In my view this is all patently illegal on many different grounds — particularly as a violation of Common Article 3″ of the Geneva conventions, said Martin S. Lederman, a former lawyer in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel who now teaches law at Georgetown University. “But as a practical matter, there’s little likelihood of any legal exposure — and virtually none of domestic federal prosecution, because the president and DOJ concluded it was legal.”

The chain of events leading from Rice’s panel to the CIA’s use of the techniques that the panel apparently discussed is not publicly known, and no official inquiry into it exists. To make a case against Bush himself — regardless of the likelihood that he will never face charges — knowing that is essential.

“He has his fingerprints on torture,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union, “but did he grip the whole thing? The real question is, what level of decision-making was the president involved in?”

Not every legal scholar is impressed by Bush’s disclosure. Douglas Kmiec, a conservative law professor at Pepperdine University, contends that the statutes in question are too vague, and the facts of the matter too obscure, to congeal into an actual case against the president. “The whole difficulty in this area is the level of generality that exists in the international agreements that the U.S. has participated in and the manner in which those were ratified by the United States — obviously, particularly with the Convention Against Torture,” Kmiec said. “But where the slippage is, in terms of legal analysis, comes with what those words mean in terms of domestic law. If I’ve understood matters correctly, we’ve tried to understand [the convention] in terms of our own Bill of Rights and the ‘shock-the-conscience’ standard — which is a standard that’s far from self-evident.”

As a matter of providing factual clarity, Fredrickson said a coalition of civil-liberties organizations, led by the ACLU, is drafting a letter to the congressional leadership urging the creation of a bicameral commission into both the facts of the torture and the legal implications. An implication of Rice’s meetings is that the Bush administration appears to have effectively decided it would not bring charges against itself for criminal behavior.

“No one in the executive branch is free of the taint of involvement with the 2002 interrogations,” said Huq, of the Brennan Center. “The whole idea of the executive branch immunizing itself becomes much more worrying than in other cases. It’s really the right hand absolving the left hand of what’s been done.”

Fredrickson wants the commission modeled after the Church and Pike inquiries of the 1970s that revealed massive and systemic illegality within the intelligence services. “It’s a great model because it was really the mechanism for bringing lot of illegality — not just by the Nixon administration but prior administrations — to light,” she said. “That might be more appropriate, to use a wider lens, because panorama of illegality is quite broad.”

Kmiec said he could conditionally support such a commission, provided it didn’t degenerate into a partisan witch-hunt. “If the commission would advance the understanding of the U.S. as to its obligations, and demonstrate to the world our seriousness of purpose, then it’s a good idea,” Kmiec said. “If the purpose of the commission is just a surrogate way of establishing a special-counsel investigation into the actions of the sitting president and vice president, then I think it is likely to degenerate into partisan bickering and not accomplish very much. Much would depend on the objective of the commission and its composition.”

But the likelihood of retributive measures against the Bush administration for torture remains remote. Huq observed that the “political appetite for that is nil,” since “an excessive of zeal for prosecuting national-security activities, historically, hasn’t happened.” His preference is to legislate the videotaping of all terrorism interrogations. A measure to do that, introduced and supported by Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), has been introduced, but it has no schedule for a mark-up, according to Holt’s office.

Kmiec said that the ultimate arbitration of the torture debate will occur at the polls. “The way our constitutional system envisions accountability on questions such as this is accountability through electoral choice,” he said. The president made his choice. The people will now make theirs.”

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Categories & Tags: National Security| Torture|

Comments

110 Comments

walter77777
Comment posted June 29, 2008 @ 9:56 am

There is a good reason for treating prisoners humanely. A man facing the choice of fighting to the death or surrendering will tend to fight to the death if he fears harsh treatment if he surrenders. A man who chooses to fight to the death will often take out one or more of his enemies (our guys) before he is killed. thus decent treatment of POWs tends to reduce our casualties.

W.


johnlewismealer
Comment posted June 15, 2008 @ 4:10 pm

Everyone needs a little torture now and then. Personally, I prefer a bit of electrical shock…

Find a better economi=y based plan than John McCain’s 3R’s…

I dare you.

Progressive Candidate John McCain comes through for America with his 3R economic plan. In the aura of Theodore Roosevelt, McCain


polisigh
Comment posted June 12, 2008 @ 1:14 am

If they can do it, we can do it. Sounds like the justification from the Court of King George IV and entourage. The Constitution is just a piece of paper too.

There’s something not quite right about a nation that threaten to torture and murder those who don’t accept its offer of peace and freedom; did I mention also dangerously juvenile.

But stop, wait – for the past 8 years this nation has been in the control of a bizarre dangerous little twerp with a major father hang-up. An alcoholic drug addict who’s found J-E-S-U-S. I’ve got a big New Flash so has everyone on death row. I agree with Bill Maher George W. Bush should have to walk home. And then he should be tried for war crimes against humanity and hanged in effigy in the Court of Public Opinion.

Just because the Nazi didn’t win WWII doesn’t mean the President’s name isn’t Schikelgrubber.


jimbo
Comment posted April 23, 2008 @ 6:43 pm

If we are no longer a nation of laws, WTF have we become? Torture and secret rendition of uncountable innocents does not move us forward toward civilization but away from it toward madness and degenerate, less evolved forms of life.


mclaren
Comment posted April 22, 2008 @ 3:22 pm

Well well, sunnyjim, I know a little about the Geneva Conventions myself, and I’ve forgotten a whole lot more about American History than you have ever learned — obviously. I could attempt to educate you and the other horribly misguided, "March to the Gas Chambers With Dignity" types on this and other boards, but what’s the point?

You are blinded by Bush Derangement Syndrome and no amount of clear, concise proof or evidence that collides with your world view will help alleviate your "tortured" conclusions and those of the other angry "hot-button issue" types to which you cling.

Is it possible that the Khalid Sheik Mohammeds of the world aren’t built like your father or other gentlemen of Western-World fame? Is it possible that those who know how to extract information don’t start with water-boarding, but with techniques that more resemble Cpl. Hanns Scharff of WWII Luftwaffe fame?

What I know hasn’t occurred to you is that 3,000 American lives are worth immeasurably more than the life or opinion of 1 jihadist. You don’t get that, and you and your ilk never will. You are incapable of making a moral judgment. You are incapable of judging for in that, you might have to live up to said judgment. The neo-liberal will not or can not take a moral stand against anything other than his or her country, because everything is morally relative. It is an illness, and I know, because I once suffered greatly under it.

Wake up. We are better than jihadists. Not because we would treat them better, but because we would at least give them a chance, unlike what they would do for you and your father or mother or child.

The fact is that waterboarding — not torture — worked to save lives. Please go on record that you would rather watch innocent children die than have your "image" damaged in some Marxist cafe’ in Paris.


sketchley
Comment posted April 21, 2008 @ 9:55 am

The terrorist state par excellence putting its own torturers and terrorists on trial is obviously not going to happen. But as Philippe Sands has recently said, these crimninals had better remain within their own borders for the rest of their lives, for there is a whole army of us out here who will be making sure that if any of these criminals takes one step outside the terrorist state’s borders they will be arrested under international torture and genocide legislation, as their own country will not bring them to justice: "The judge and prosecutor were particularly struck by the immunity from prosecution provided by the Military Commissions Act.


spencer_ackerman
Comment posted April 21, 2008 @ 7:58 am

Can we not have comments here accusing John McCain of selling out the country while he was a POW? That’s disgusting. Stick to the issue please.


pimothy
Comment posted April 19, 2008 @ 6:52 am

This sordid chapter started back at yale when pledges hides were branded by cigarett burns. Also with exploding frogs by way of firecrackers.


ichabodcrane
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 11:49 pm

Think back to the 9/11 attacks:

On the morning of 9/11 when the president was notified of the attacks while talking with children in a classroom in Florida, he completely froze for a full 5 minutes before the Secret Service led a still obviously stunned president out of the room. (The scene was shown on network TV several times that morning, but I’ve never seen it since.) Our fearless leader then made a mad dash to Air Force One and flew off quickly, not to New York or Washington DC, but to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana! I’m sure the whole nation was relieved in those desperately uncertain hours to know that at least our commander-in-chief was somewhere safe.

Meanwhile, Our courageous Veep rapidly got himself to a secure bunker in an "undisclosed location" where he hid out for several days until it was evident that any danger was past.

Such examples of courage and leadership are truly an inspiration for the generations!

But, the two most astonishing things are:
1. These goons got reelected in 2004, and
2. No Republican politician since 9/11 seems to have asked the question, "Where’s Bin Laden?"


pmorlan
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 9:28 pm

I hope that we can all agree that no matter what our opinion is on this issue that we all recognize how important it is for our country to know exactly what our government officials did or did not do in our names. As President Reagan once said, "Trust but verify". Having a full, fair investigation into the torture question is not only prudent but the only way to ensure government accountability to the people.


staunchdem
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 9:25 pm

No doubt about it torture does work.

Just ask John McKKKain.

When he was a POW he was known as "Songbird"

POWs who were incarcerrated with him say he gave up bomber routes which got a bunch of our pilots and crew killed.

Just Google John McCain Songbird and see for yourself.


sunnyjim
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 8:44 pm

Magi91711 said:

I lost a friend in the towers. If waterboarding or anything short of pulling out some guys fingernails could have stopped he and 3000 other guitless individuals from being incinerated, I would have gladly walked to the spicket.

- – - end quote – - -

I would have run, no, sprinted – to beat you to the spicket, IF "..waterboarding or anything short of pulling out some guys fingernails could have stopped.." 9/11 and saved those lives who were not only guitless, but also included way too many of those who were Americas best heroes. I don’t think that there is a sentient being on this continent that would disagree with you on that. But that is a very big IF.

But the point (to me) is that it is only in the movies that torture-obtained information does any good and save the day.

In real life, if we the people demand an accountable and transparent government, then maybe we would find out what, if any, response happened to the memo to the POTUS titled "OBL Determined to fly planes into US buildings this summer" one month before 9/11 . Was it really just ignored? Really? It bothers me that I don’t know more about that. I don’t like secretive government.

How about the Colorado FBI agent who was onto the "terrorists are in flight school" plot and got shut down by the FBI uber-dudes in Washington D.C.. Just office politics, or what? I wish I knew.

How about decades of neglect of our immigration policies allowing (how many? – more than half) the 9/11 nineteen terrorists to remain in the US past the end of their visas? I read that 10 of them had been pulled over by local law enforcement on traffic issues in the six months before 9/11 – what if their illegal visa status had come up on the screen for the officer? And what if he had authority to detain them for ICE?

What if there were an armed air marshall on every flight. Some flights, two armed air marshalls.

But the issue in front of us involves our loss of the best part of the idea of America. If our leaders conspired to take away my valued legacy of living in a humane country, then I want them held accountable by the same law that they would apply to you or me.

"Give in to your hatred and your journey to the dark side will be complete. ~ Emporer Palpatine" …IS just a line from a movie, but the idea might have some application here in the real world.


fcukbsuh
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 7:49 pm

"Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people’s brains and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead. [Applause] When independent- thinking people (and here I do not include the corporate media) begin to rally under flags, when writers, painters, musicians, film makers suspend their judgment and blindly yoke their art to the service of the "Nation," it’s time for all of us to sit up and worry.

To call someone "anti-American", indeed to be anti-American, (or for that matter, anti-Indian or anti-Timbuktuan) is not just racist, it’s a failure of the imagination. An inability to see the world in terms other than those the establishment has set out for you. If you’re not a Bushie you’re a Taliban. If you don’t love us, you hate us. If you’re not Good, you’re Evil. If you’re not with us, you’re with the terrorists."

-Arundhati Roy


dotmafia
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 6:43 pm

The supreme arrogance and ignorance of the people of America is that they erroneously believe that they should be the ones bringing freedom and democracy to the people and nations of this world.

I’ll always continue believing that this natural ignorance comes from an inherent ultra-patriotism/ultra-nationalism. This is the belief instilled in every American, from birth to death, that there can be no greater citizen, no greater country, and no greater way of life than America.

This criminal Bush "administration" has deviously and immorally used patriotic propaganda to manipulate public perception into supporting its illegal aggressions, to strip away the civil liberties and rights of Americans. When someone speaks against these fascist policies, they’re labeled unpatriotic.

You want to end this war? Start by consistently showing the American public the daily effects of it on the Iraqi population. Without censure. Show the blown-up bodies. Show the dead and wounded children. Show the grieving families. Anyone who criticizes this as blatantly indecent, should question the decency of what America has forced upon Iraq.

If the American public was truly exposed to the realities of what their government and politicians subject the peoples of other nations to, they would not be so quick to send their sons and daughters off to war, and they would think twice about the decency of their own morals and "Christian values".

The American mainstream media is complicit to this unnecessary war. They have failed both the innocent citizens of America and Iraq. Shame on them forever.

Bush and Cheney won’t be impeached and they will suffer no repercussions after leaving office because they are Americans leading their country in a time of so-called "war". Simply put, American ultra-patriotism will save them.


studentthinker
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 6:22 pm

Sorry, I just realized that posted twice. I hit the button twice. How do I delete one copy?


studentthinker
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 6:20 pm

Oh man oh man. mclaren, magi91711, and all who agree with them: here’s a couple points to consider. Aside from Sunnyjim’s excellent point about how our behavior puts our troops in danger, consider these things before you argue in favor of torture:

1 – torture DOES NOT WORK. I think this has been pointed out before but it’s worth repeating, since most of the defenses of torture I’ve come across rest on the idea that info gained through torture can save lives or some such BS. This is completely false as any competent interrogator – or even psychologist or historian – could tell you. (Also, the usual ticking-bomb scenario usually cited as rationale is extremely unrealistic outside of Hollywood.) The victim will say anything to make the pain stop, a fact which makes any ‘information’ gained by such methods highly unreliable. This is one of many reasons ‘evidence’ gained by torture is usually inadmissible in civilized courts. Arguing that torture is ok if it’s for ‘good purposes’ also BTW is an argument for the end justifying the means, which history has shown to be a dangerous and usually vile notion.

2 – torture is so widely condemned because it denies the humanity of the victim and their inalienable rights not to be subjected to excruciating, dehumanizing treatment. Take a look at the work of a respected scholar on the subject of pain, say Elaine Scarry, and tell me torture is not dehumanizing. There are also arguments to be made that it dehumanizes the torturer, and things like the Winter Soldier testimony (though not specifically about just torture) I think gives credence to this. Torture is immoral and nauseating. Period.

3 – arguing for torture is also arguing in favor of violating both US and international law. And claiming "enhanced interrogation" techniques aren’t torture is exactly the kind of BS this administration is using to shield itself from the very real threat of legal consequences. It is EUPHEMISM, nothing more. Waterboarding – one of the techniques is question – is certainly to be considered torture just on the basis of past cases in US law. The US has executed people for using it – it is certainly illegal under the terms of normal US law. Experts have also made clear that many of the techniques in question do constitute torture, whether physical or psychological. Ask Jose Padilla if being locked in a bare cell and subjected to sensory deprivation isn’t torture – except he can’t really answer you. He’s been driven insane by said techniques. (And no, I’m making no claims as to his guilt/innocence or justifying any possible crimes; I’m using him as an example of the REAL EFFECTS of these methods only.) Ask Vietnam POWs what constitutes torture. Does rape count? How about threats of rape and death in a situation where clearly they could happen? Threats of violence to one’s family? Being chained and hit until you lose consciousness? Hung by the wrists for hours? Not torture? Even if you die? Being doused in freezing water and left in below-0 temperatures so that your legs have to be amputated? (It’s been done.) How about having your children tortured in front of you? That’s something the Yoo-Bybee memos specifically mention. I could go on but you get the idea. Also consider the fact that the techniques in question with "enhanced interrogation" are not permitted under the US Army Field Manual – THE guide to operating procedure for the treatment of prisoners. Consider why Bush had to create a separate "enemy combatant" status for "detainees" specifically exempting them from legal protections like the Geneva Conventions – if such techniques weren’t torture they would be admissible under the GC and hence no special status would be necessary. Don’t play with words: we are talking about TORTURE.

4 – while I’m sure the pain of those who lost friends and relatives in 9/11 is very real and I do not in any way attack them for being angry – I wish I could do more to help them with their grief – arguing in favor of torture merely out of revenge desires, while understandable, does not advance us as a nation or as individuals with moral consciousness. Revenge is the justification of terrorist acts like 9/11. No, I’m not calling anyone a terrorist or denying their RIGHT to be angry and WANT revenge; I have such feelings myself. I’m only saying that ACTING solely out of such feelings rather than from a place of rationality and desire for JUSTICE places us on the same level as those who murdered 3,000+ people on 9/11. Is this what we want? Aren’t we called upon as human beings to master ourselves and treat our enemies better than they treat us?

Look, if my mother or father or friend died in 9/11, I’d want to roast every damn possible accomplice on a slow spit and law be damned. I’d WANT it. If I were an interrogator or were given access to possible accomplices, I’m not certain I would be able to resist giving them some ‘payback.’ Especially if I were told I wouldn’t face consequences. But even in that situation, even if it was me myself, I would STILL from the standpoint of justice consider my acts immoral and worthy of punishment. I might try to justify it to myself at the time, but I’ve thought about it and I still believe I’d be guilty. Let that make it clear I’m not attacking people angry about 9/11 or anything; I’m attacking the pernicious beliefs and attitudes that make it seem like torture is in any way "all right." That is exactly the kind of thinking that we are supposedly fighting against in our struggle against terrorism.


studentthinker
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 6:20 pm

Oh man oh man. mclaren, magi91711, and all who agree with them: here’s a couple points to consider. Aside from Sunnyjim’s excellent point about how our behavior puts our troops in danger, consider these things before you argue in favor of torture:

1 – torture DOES NOT WORK. I think this has been pointed out before but it’s worth repeating, since most of the defenses of torture I’ve come across rest on the idea that info gained through torture can save lives or some such BS. This is completely false as any competent interrogator – or even psychologist or historian – could tell you. (Also, the usual ticking-bomb scenario usually cited as rationale is extremely unrealistic outside of Hollywood.) The victim will say anything to make the pain stop, a fact which makes any ‘information’ gained by such methods highly unreliable. This is one of many reasons ‘evidence’ gained by torture is usually inadmissible in civilized courts. Arguing that torture is ok if it’s for ‘good purposes’ also BTW is an argument for the end justifying the means, which history has shown to be a dangerous and usually vile notion.

2 – torture is so widely condemned because it denies the humanity of the victim and their inalienable rights not to be subjected to excruciating, dehumanizing treatment. Take a look at the work of a respected scholar on the subject of pain, say Elaine Scarry, and tell me torture is not dehumanizing. There are also arguments to be made that it dehumanizes the torturer, and things like the Winter Soldier testimony (though not specifically about just torture) I think gives credence to this. Torture is immoral and nauseating. Period.

3 – arguing for torture is also arguing in favor of violating both US and international law. And claiming "enhanced interrogation" techniques aren’t torture is exactly the kind of BS this administration is using to shield itself from the very real threat of legal consequences. It is EUPHEMISM, nothing more. Waterboarding – one of the techniques is question – is certainly to be considered torture just on the basis of past cases in US law. The US has executed people for using it – it is certainly illegal under the terms of normal US law. Experts have also made clear that many of the techniques in question do constitute torture, whether physical or psychological. Ask Jose Padilla if being locked in a bare cell and subjected to sensory deprivation isn’t torture – except he can’t really answer you. He’s been driven insane by said techniques. (And no, I’m making no claims as to his guilt/innocence or justifying any possible crimes; I’m using him as an example of the REAL EFFECTS of these methods only.) Ask Vietnam POWs what constitutes torture. Does rape count? How about threats of rape and death in a situation where clearly they could happen? Threats of violence to one’s family? Being chained and hit until you lose consciousness? Hung by the wrists for hours? Not torture? Even if you die? Being doused in freezing water and left in below-0 temperatures so that your legs have to be amputated? (It’s been done.) How about having your children tortured in front of you? That’s something the Yoo-Bybee memos specifically mention. I could go on but you get the idea. Also consider the fact that the techniques in question with "enhanced interrogation" are not permitted under the US Army Field Manual – THE guide to operating procedure for the treatment of prisoners. Consider why Bush had to create a separate "enemy combatant" status for "detainees" specifically exempting them from legal protections like the Geneva Conventions – if such techniques weren’t torture they would be admissible under the GC and hence no special status would be necessary. Don’t play with words: we are talking about TORTURE.

4 – while I’m sure the pain of those who lost friends and relatives in 9/11 is very real and I do not in any way attack them for being angry – I wish I could do more to help them with their grief – arguing in favor of torture merely out of revenge desires, while understandable, does not advance us as a nation or as individuals with moral consciousness. Revenge is the justification of terrorist acts like 9/11. No, I’m not calling anyone a terrorist or denying their RIGHT to be angry and WANT revenge; I have such feelings myself. I’m only saying that ACTING solely out of such feelings rather than from a place of rationality and desire for JUSTICE places us on the same level as those who murdered 3,000+ people on 9/11. Is this what we want? Aren’t we called upon as human beings to master ourselves and treat our enemies better than they treat us?

Look, if my mother or father or friend died in 9/11, I’d want to roast every damn possible accomplice on a slow spit and law be damned. I’d WANT it. If I were an interrogator or were given access to possible accomplices, I’m not certain I would be able to resist giving them some ‘payback.’ Especially if I were told I wouldn’t face consequences. But even in that situation, even if it was me myself, I would STILL from the standpoint of justice consider my acts immoral and worthy of punishment. I might try to justify it to myself at the time, but I’ve thought about it and I still believe I’d be guilty. Let that make it clear I’m not attacking people angry about 9/11 or anything; I’m attacking the pernicious beliefs and attitudes that make it seem like torture is in any way "all right." That is exactly the kind of thinking that we are supposedly fighting against in our struggle against terrorism.


irishrose
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 6:13 pm

Magi91711, I just have two questions for you. 1)Where is Osama Bin Laden? 2) Who would Jesus Torture?


stella01
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 5:02 pm

We can allow the cancer from this war-without-end to eat away at eveything we value about our country: truth, justice, honor, integrity and the value of each human life. Or, we can quietly say to ourselves: "No. I will not be deterred any longer by phrases such as ‘lack of political will,’ ‘special kind of enemy,’ ‘one person cannot change things,’ etc., etc. Whatever another person is content to ignore makes no difference. I need to be able to look myself in the mirror. So I have committed to do at least one thing every day since the president issued his "So WHAT?" retort. Read another article on torture or watch a video about it that I would rather shy away from. E-mail my congressman and both senators each week. Contact friends and e-mail them on this topic. I keep voter registration forms in my bag to sign up people who say they care, but have not even registered. I joined the A.C.L.U. and signed the petition they are sponsoring for a special prosecutor on this topic. I realize that I could do these little things until doomsday and still not make a nickel’s worth of difference. But, at long last, I cannot sit still, and I cannot look away. Even the thought of doing nothing at all makes me feel I am aiding and abetting the people who tortured in our name, and that makes me sick at heart.


ferdkjones
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 4:45 pm

As Marine Corps Naval Aviator Viet Vet I agree with Sunnyjim.


magi91711
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 4:38 pm

I lost a friend in the towers. If waterboarding or anything short of pulling out some guys fingernails could have stopped he and 3000 other guitless individuals from being incinerated, I would have gladly walked to the spicket.


sunnyjim
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 3:55 pm

mclaren – and all of you other ignorant posters who think you are "experts" on torture.

The use of torture has nothing to do with the person being tortured and how evil you think they are – it is all about who we are as Americans.

George Washington in the Revolutionary War secured better conditions for American POWs by letting the British know that if they didn’t treat US captives better, things would get worse for British POWs. Besides, intelligence professionals will tell you that torture does not work to secure reliable intelligence – the tortured will say anything to make the pain stop.

Anyone who went through boot camp in any branch of the US military had at least a day of training on the Geneva Convention, and should understand that the treatment of US prisoners of war may depend on how we treat our captives. There is a long tradition in the USA for the humane treatment of prisoners of war, and the few times that the US departed from this tradition (i.e. Andersonville in the civil war) were truly dark times for our country. Nothing good came of it.

The current regime in Washington never had training on the Geneva convention or its importance, or they weren’t paying attention. For me, being as my dad was in the Phillipines in 1942 and subsequently a Japanese POW who suffered WITHOUT the benefit of the Geneva convention (the Japanese followed the doctrine of Shinto in WW II), this debate has specifal importance to me. For the first ten years of my life, I was awakened to the screams of my fathers nightmares resulting from his POW treatment.

If you try to tell me that these new terrorists are a special kind of evil that don’t deserve humane treatment, I would suggest that you read a bit of history about what you are talking about. It is not about being worked up into a lather over your personal "hot-button issue of the day" – it is about our standards as a nation and how the world will view and judge our actions. Believe it or not, America USED to have the respect and admiration of the world, prior to the actions of the last 7 years, that is.

Everybody was saddened, angered and even furious at the carnage of 9/11, but if we lose the moral high ground that the USA has worked for over a century to build, we as a nation are worse off, regardless of how many ignorant posters write miles of nonsense on the blogs because it makes them feel good.


fcukbsuh
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 3:37 pm

Yes, absolutely…Debt of gratitude courtesy of the world’s biggest lapdog (Insert any British PM)…World is sooo much safer now, country is in such great shape and we’re sooo safe now (Save the erosion of civil liberties, privacy & environment).

You have to first buy into the argument that Osama or anyone else is the root of ‘our’ problems before any ‘praise’ can be directed anywhere…That or you have to consider the irony of the ying & yang of money allocation under Georgie…Oil industries, defense industries and corporate America are curiously showing great bottom lines while the rest of America is suffering in every way imaginable not to mention the wonderful court of world opinion (Outside our puppet governments, i.e. UK) that sees us as the most dangerous country on the planet…But, sure, debt of gratitude…for setting America back a millenium.

And the next time we see Americans who are captured by foreign governments and organizations being paraded around in blindfolds or tortured by ‘enhanced and persuasive’ techniques, I’m sure we’ll simply have to all again seek out Georgie for our gratitude.


jackfish
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 3:00 pm

Hey nice objective cartoon up there to objectively illustrate waterboarding.. Only you guys are using the words torture and even brutal…..Sorry ,but harsh and enhanced and persuasive interogation do not equal torture.Hey , no terrorist acts in the USA since Sept11(and no ,the anthrax and global warming scares don’t count)As Prime minister Brown of Britain saiys, the world owes a debt of gratitude to Pres Bush


fcukbsuh
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 2:44 pm

And why isn’t George mentioned in this as someone to be indicted on war crimes as well?


mclaren
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 2:44 pm

When al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, AQI, the Abu Sayyef, etc., sign onto the Geneva articles, let me know. Until then, these un-uniformed, undeclared soldiers and slaughterers of innocent women and children can count on a lot more compassionate treatment than they give. Ask Danny Pearl about whether he would prefer the most extreme American interrogation or the typical Khalid Sheik Mohammed treatment.

3 times waterboarding was approved and used. If it saved the life of the Obama family, would you support it, or allow the Obamas to be killed by al Qaeda?


stonepier
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 2:27 pm

But…..but…..can people be tried & convicted & thrown in jail if they’re wearing flag lapel pins???


stonepier
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 9:27 am

But…..but…..can people be tried & convicted & thrown in jail if they're wearing flag lapel pins???


mclaren
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 9:44 am

When al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, AQI, the Abu Sayyef, etc., sign onto the Geneva articles, let me know. Until then, these un-uniformed, undeclared soldiers and slaughterers of innocent women and children can count on a lot more compassionate treatment than they give. Ask Danny Pearl about whether he would prefer the most extreme American interrogation or the typical Khalid Sheik Mohammed treatment.

3 times waterboarding was approved and used. If it saved the life of the Obama family, would you support it, or allow the Obamas to be killed by al Qaeda?


fcukbsuh
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 9:44 am

And why isn't George mentioned in this as someone to be indicted on war crimes as well?


jackfish
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 10:00 am

Hey nice objective cartoon up there to objectively illustrate waterboarding.. Only you guys are using the words torture and even brutal…..Sorry ,but harsh and enhanced and persuasive interogation do not equal torture.Hey , no terrorist acts in the USA since Sept11(and no ,the anthrax and global warming scares don't count)As Prime minister Brown of Britain saiys, the world owes a debt of gratitude to Pres Bush


fcukbsuh
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 10:37 am

Yes, absolutely…Debt of gratitude courtesy of the world's biggest lapdog (Insert any British PM)…World is sooo much safer now, country is in such great shape and we're sooo safe now (Save the erosion of civil liberties, privacy & environment).

You have to first buy into the argument that Osama or anyone else is the root of 'our' problems before any 'praise' can be directed anywhere…That or you have to consider the irony of the ying & yang of money allocation under Georgie…Oil industries, defense industries and corporate America are curiously showing great bottom lines while the rest of America is suffering in every way imaginable not to mention the wonderful court of world opinion (Outside our puppet governments, i.e. UK) that sees us as the most dangerous country on the planet…But, sure, debt of gratitude…for setting America back a millenium.

And the next time we see Americans who are captured by foreign governments and organizations being paraded around in blindfolds or tortured by 'enhanced and persuasive' techniques, I'm sure we'll simply have to all again seek out Georgie for our gratitude.


sunnyjim
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 10:55 am

mclaren – and all of you other ignorant posters who think you are "experts" on torture.

The use of torture has nothing to do with the person being tortured and how evil you think they are – it is all about who we are as Americans.

George Washington in the Revolutionary War secured better conditions for American POWs by letting the British know that if they didn't treat US captives better, things would get worse for British POWs. Besides, intelligence professionals will tell you that torture does not work to secure reliable intelligence – the tortured will say anything to make the pain stop.

Anyone who went through boot camp in any branch of the US military had at least a day of training on the Geneva Convention, and should understand that the treatment of US prisoners of war may depend on how we treat our captives. There is a long tradition in the USA for the humane treatment of prisoners of war, and the few times that the US departed from this tradition (i.e. Andersonville in the civil war) were truly dark times for our country. Nothing good came of it.

The current regime in Washington never had training on the Geneva convention or its importance, or they weren't paying attention. For me, being as my dad was in the Phillipines in 1942 and subsequently a Japanese POW who suffered WITHOUT the benefit of the Geneva convention (the Japanese followed the doctrine of Shinto in WW II), this debate has specifal importance to me. For the first ten years of my life, I was awakened to the screams of my fathers nightmares resulting from his POW treatment.

If you try to tell me that these new terrorists are a special kind of evil that don't deserve humane treatment, I would suggest that you read a bit of history about what you are talking about. It is not about being worked up into a lather over your personal "hot-button issue of the day" – it is about our standards as a nation and how the world will view and judge our actions. Believe it or not, America USED to have the respect and admiration of the world, prior to the actions of the last 7 years, that is.

Everybody was saddened, angered and even furious at the carnage of 9/11, but if we lose the moral high ground that the USA has worked for over a century to build, we as a nation are worse off, regardless of how many ignorant posters write miles of nonsense on the blogs because it makes them feel good.


magi91711
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 11:38 am

I lost a friend in the towers. If waterboarding or anything short of pulling out some guys fingernails could have stopped he and 3000 other guitless individuals from being incinerated, I would have gladly walked to the spicket.


ferdkjones
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 11:45 am

As Marine Corps Naval Aviator Viet Vet I agree with Sunnyjim.


stella01
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 12:02 pm

We can allow the cancer from this war-without-end to eat away at eveything we value about our country: truth, justice, honor, integrity and the value of each human life. Or, we can quietly say to ourselves: "No. I will not be deterred any longer by phrases such as 'lack of political will,' 'special kind of enemy,' 'one person cannot change things,' etc., etc. Whatever another person is content to ignore makes no difference. I need to be able to look myself in the mirror. So I have committed to do at least one thing every day since the president issued his "So WHAT?" retort. Read another article on torture or watch a video about it that I would rather shy away from. E-mail my congressman and both senators each week. Contact friends and e-mail them on this topic. I keep voter registration forms in my bag to sign up people who say they care, but have not even registered. I joined the A.C.L.U. and signed the petition they are sponsoring for a special prosecutor on this topic. I realize that I could do these little things until doomsday and still not make a nickel's worth of difference. But, at long last, I cannot sit still, and I cannot look away. Even the thought of doing nothing at all makes me feel I am aiding and abetting the people who tortured in our name, and that makes me sick at heart.


irishrose
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 1:13 pm

Magi91711, I just have two questions for you. 1)Where is Osama Bin Laden? 2) Who would Jesus Torture?


studentthinker
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 1:20 pm

Oh man oh man. mclaren, magi91711, and all who agree with them: here's a couple points to consider. Aside from Sunnyjim's excellent point about how our behavior puts our troops in danger, consider these things before you argue in favor of torture:

1 – torture DOES NOT WORK. I think this has been pointed out before but it's worth repeating, since most of the defenses of torture I've come across rest on the idea that info gained through torture can save lives or some such BS. This is completely false as any competent interrogator – or even psychologist or historian – could tell you. (Also, the usual ticking-bomb scenario usually cited as rationale is extremely unrealistic outside of Hollywood.) The victim will say anything to make the pain stop, a fact which makes any 'information' gained by such methods highly unreliable. This is one of many reasons 'evidence' gained by torture is usually inadmissible in civilized courts. Arguing that torture is ok if it's for 'good purposes' also BTW is an argument for the end justifying the means, which history has shown to be a dangerous and usually vile notion.

2 – torture is so widely condemned because it denies the humanity of the victim and their inalienable rights not to be subjected to excruciating, dehumanizing treatment. Take a look at the work of a respected scholar on the subject of pain, say Elaine Scarry, and tell me torture is not dehumanizing. There are also arguments to be made that it dehumanizes the torturer, and things like the Winter Soldier testimony (though not specifically about just torture) I think gives credence to this. Torture is immoral and nauseating. Period.

3 – arguing for torture is also arguing in favor of violating both US and international law. And claiming "enhanced interrogation" techniques aren't torture is exactly the kind of BS this administration is using to shield itself from the very real threat of legal consequences. It is EUPHEMISM, nothing more. Waterboarding – one of the techniques is question – is certainly to be considered torture just on the basis of past cases in US law. The US has executed people for using it – it is certainly illegal under the terms of normal US law. Experts have also made clear that many of the techniques in question do constitute torture, whether physical or psychological. Ask Jose Padilla if being locked in a bare cell and subjected to sensory deprivation isn't torture – except he can't really answer you. He's been driven insane by said techniques. (And no, I'm making no claims as to his guilt/innocence or justifying any possible crimes; I'm using him as an example of the REAL EFFECTS of these methods only.) Ask Vietnam POWs what constitutes torture. Does rape count? How about threats of rape and death in a situation where clearly they could happen? Threats of violence to one's family? Being chained and hit until you lose consciousness? Hung by the wrists for hours? Not torture? Even if you die? Being doused in freezing water and left in below-0 temperatures so that your legs have to be amputated? (It's been done.) How about having your children tortured in front of you? That's something the Yoo-Bybee memos specifically mention. I could go on but you get the idea. Also consider the fact that the techniques in question with "enhanced interrogation" are not permitted under the US Army Field Manual – THE guide to operating procedure for the treatment of prisoners. Consider why Bush had to create a separate "enemy combatant" status for "detainees" specifically exempting them from legal protections like the Geneva Conventions – if such techniques weren't torture they would be admissible under the GC and hence no special status would be necessary. Don't play with words: we are talking about TORTURE.

4 – while I'm sure the pain of those who lost friends and relatives in 9/11 is very real and I do not in any way attack them for being angry – I wish I could do more to help them with their grief – arguing in favor of torture merely out of revenge desires, while understandable, does not advance us as a nation or as individuals with moral consciousness. Revenge is the justification of terrorist acts like 9/11. No, I'm not calling anyone a terrorist or denying their RIGHT to be angry and WANT revenge; I have such feelings myself. I'm only saying that ACTING solely out of such feelings rather than from a place of rationality and desire for JUSTICE places us on the same level as those who murdered 3,000+ people on 9/11. Is this what we want? Aren't we called upon as human beings to master ourselves and treat our enemies better than they treat us?

Look, if my mother or father or friend died in 9/11, I'd want to roast every damn possible accomplice on a slow spit and law be damned. I'd WANT it. If I were an interrogator or were given access to possible accomplices, I'm not certain I would be able to resist giving them some 'payback.' Especially if I were told I wouldn't face consequences. But even in that situation, even if it was me myself, I would STILL from the standpoint of justice consider my acts immoral and worthy of punishment. I might try to justify it to myself at the time, but I've thought about it and I still believe I'd be guilty. Let that make it clear I'm not attacking people angry about 9/11 or anything; I'm attacking the pernicious beliefs and attitudes that make it seem like torture is in any way "all right." That is exactly the kind of thinking that we are supposedly fighting against in our struggle against terrorism.


studentthinker
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 1:20 pm

Oh man oh man. mclaren, magi91711, and all who agree with them: here's a couple points to consider. Aside from Sunnyjim's excellent point about how our behavior puts our troops in danger, consider these things before you argue in favor of torture:

1 – torture DOES NOT WORK. I think this has been pointed out before but it's worth repeating, since most of the defenses of torture I've come across rest on the idea that info gained through torture can save lives or some such BS. This is completely false as any competent interrogator – or even psychologist or historian – could tell you. (Also, the usual ticking-bomb scenario usually cited as rationale is extremely unrealistic outside of Hollywood.) The victim will say anything to make the pain stop, a fact which makes any 'information' gained by such methods highly unreliable. This is one of many reasons 'evidence' gained by torture is usually inadmissible in civilized courts. Arguing that torture is ok if it's for 'good purposes' also BTW is an argument for the end justifying the means, which history has shown to be a dangerous and usually vile notion.

2 – torture is so widely condemned because it denies the humanity of the victim and their inalienable rights not to be subjected to excruciating, dehumanizing treatment. Take a look at the work of a respected scholar on the subject of pain, say Elaine Scarry, and tell me torture is not dehumanizing. There are also arguments to be made that it dehumanizes the torturer, and things like the Winter Soldier testimony (though not specifically about just torture) I think gives credence to this. Torture is immoral and nauseating. Period.

3 – arguing for torture is also arguing in favor of violating both US and international law. And claiming "enhanced interrogation" techniques aren't torture is exactly the kind of BS this administration is using to shield itself from the very real threat of legal consequences. It is EUPHEMISM, nothing more. Waterboarding – one of the techniques is question – is certainly to be considered torture just on the basis of past cases in US law. The US has executed people for using it – it is certainly illegal under the terms of normal US law. Experts have also made clear that many of the techniques in question do constitute torture, whether physical or psychological. Ask Jose Padilla if being locked in a bare cell and subjected to sensory deprivation isn't torture – except he can't really answer you. He's been driven insane by said techniques. (And no, I'm making no claims as to his guilt/innocence or justifying any possible crimes; I'm using him as an example of the REAL EFFECTS of these methods only.) Ask Vietnam POWs what constitutes torture. Does rape count? How about threats of rape and death in a situation where clearly they could happen? Threats of violence to one's family? Being chained and hit until you lose consciousness? Hung by the wrists for hours? Not torture? Even if you die? Being doused in freezing water and left in below-0 temperatures so that your legs have to be amputated? (It's been done.) How about having your children tortured in front of you? That's something the Yoo-Bybee memos specifically mention. I could go on but you get the idea. Also consider the fact that the techniques in question with "enhanced interrogation" are not permitted under the US Army Field Manual – THE guide to operating procedure for the treatment of prisoners. Consider why Bush had to create a separate "enemy combatant" status for "detainees" specifically exempting them from legal protections like the Geneva Conventions – if such techniques weren't torture they would be admissible under the GC and hence no special status would be necessary. Don't play with words: we are talking about TORTURE.

4 – while I'm sure the pain of those who lost friends and relatives in 9/11 is very real and I do not in any way attack them for being angry – I wish I could do more to help them with their grief – arguing in favor of torture merely out of revenge desires, while understandable, does not advance us as a nation or as individuals with moral consciousness. Revenge is the justification of terrorist acts like 9/11. No, I'm not calling anyone a terrorist or denying their RIGHT to be angry and WANT revenge; I have such feelings myself. I'm only saying that ACTING solely out of such feelings rather than from a place of rationality and desire for JUSTICE places us on the same level as those who murdered 3,000+ people on 9/11. Is this what we want? Aren't we called upon as human beings to master ourselves and treat our enemies better than they treat us?

Look, if my mother or father or friend died in 9/11, I'd want to roast every damn possible accomplice on a slow spit and law be damned. I'd WANT it. If I were an interrogator or were given access to possible accomplices, I'm not certain I would be able to resist giving them some 'payback.' Especially if I were told I wouldn't face consequences. But even in that situation, even if it was me myself, I would STILL from the standpoint of justice consider my acts immoral and worthy of punishment. I might try to justify it to myself at the time, but I've thought about it and I still believe I'd be guilty. Let that make it clear I'm not attacking people angry about 9/11 or anything; I'm attacking the pernicious beliefs and attitudes that make it seem like torture is in any way "all right." That is exactly the kind of thinking that we are supposedly fighting against in our struggle against terrorism.


studentthinker
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 1:22 pm

Sorry, I just realized that posted twice. I hit the button twice. How do I delete one copy?


dotmafia
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 1:43 pm

The supreme arrogance and ignorance of the people of America is that they erroneously believe that they should be the ones bringing freedom and democracy to the people and nations of this world.

I'll always continue believing that this natural ignorance comes from an inherent ultra-patriotism/ultra-nationalism. This is the belief instilled in every American, from birth to death, that there can be no greater citizen, no greater country, and no greater way of life than America.

This criminal Bush "administration" has deviously and immorally used patriotic propaganda to manipulate public perception into supporting its illegal aggressions, to strip away the civil liberties and rights of Americans. When someone speaks against these fascist policies, they're labeled unpatriotic.

You want to end this war? Start by consistently showing the American public the daily effects of it on the Iraqi population. Without censure. Show the blown-up bodies. Show the dead and wounded children. Show the grieving families. Anyone who criticizes this as blatantly indecent, should question the decency of what America has forced upon Iraq.

If the American public was truly exposed to the realities of what their government and politicians subject the peoples of other nations to, they would not be so quick to send their sons and daughters off to war, and they would think twice about the decency of their own morals and "Christian values".

The American mainstream media is complicit to this unnecessary war. They have failed both the innocent citizens of America and Iraq. Shame on them forever.

Bush and Cheney won't be impeached and they will suffer no repercussions after leaving office because they are Americans leading their country in a time of so-called "war". Simply put, American ultra-patriotism will save them.


fcukbsuh
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 2:49 pm

"Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people's brains and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead. [Applause] When independent- thinking people (and here I do not include the corporate media) begin to rally under flags, when writers, painters, musicians, film makers suspend their judgment and blindly yoke their art to the service of the "Nation," it's time for all of us to sit up and worry.

To call someone "anti-American", indeed to be anti-American, (or for that matter, anti-Indian or anti-Timbuktuan) is not just racist, it's a failure of the imagination. An inability to see the world in terms other than those the establishment has set out for you. If you're not a Bushie you're a Taliban. If you don't love us, you hate us. If you're not Good, you're Evil. If you're not with us, you're with the terrorists."

-Arundhati Roy


sunnyjim
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 3:44 pm

Magi91711 said:

I lost a friend in the towers. If waterboarding or anything short of pulling out some guys fingernails could have stopped he and 3000 other guitless individuals from being incinerated, I would have gladly walked to the spicket.

- – - end quote – - -

I would have run, no, sprinted – to beat you to the spicket, IF "..waterboarding or anything short of pulling out some guys fingernails could have stopped.." 9/11 and saved those lives who were not only guitless, but also included way too many of those who were Americas best heroes. I don't think that there is a sentient being on this continent that would disagree with you on that. But that is a very big IF.

But the point (to me) is that it is only in the movies that torture-obtained information does any good and save the day.

In real life, if we the people demand an accountable and transparent government, then maybe we would find out what, if any, response happened to the memo to the POTUS titled "OBL Determined to fly planes into US buildings this summer" one month before 9/11 . Was it really just ignored? Really? It bothers me that I don't know more about that. I don't like secretive government.

How about the Colorado FBI agent who was onto the "terrorists are in flight school" plot and got shut down by the FBI uber-dudes in Washington D.C.. Just office politics, or what? I wish I knew.

How about decades of neglect of our immigration policies allowing (how many? – more than half) the 9/11 nineteen terrorists to remain in the US past the end of their visas? I read that 10 of them had been pulled over by local law enforcement on traffic issues in the six months before 9/11 – what if their illegal visa status had come up on the screen for the officer? And what if he had authority to detain them for ICE?

What if there were an armed air marshall on every flight. Some flights, two armed air marshalls.

But the issue in front of us involves our loss of the best part of the idea of America. If our leaders conspired to take away my valued legacy of living in a humane country, then I want them held accountable by the same law that they would apply to you or me.

"Give in to your hatred and your journey to the dark side will be complete. ~ Emporer Palpatine" …IS just a line from a movie, but the idea might have some application here in the real world.


staunchdem
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 4:25 pm

No doubt about it torture does work.

Just ask John McKKKain.

When he was a POW he was known as "Songbird"

POWs who were incarcerrated with him say he gave up bomber routes which got a bunch of our pilots and crew killed.

Just Google John McCain Songbird and see for yourself.


pmorlan
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 4:28 pm

I hope that we can all agree that no matter what our opinion is on this issue that we all recognize how important it is for our country to know exactly what our government officials did or did not do in our names. As President Reagan once said, "Trust but verify". Having a full, fair investigation into the torture question is not only prudent but the only way to ensure government accountability to the people.


ichabodcrane
Comment posted April 18, 2008 @ 6:49 pm

Think back to the 9/11 attacks:

On the morning of 9/11 when the president was notified of the attacks while talking with children in a classroom in Florida, he completely froze for a full 5 minutes before the Secret Service led a still obviously stunned president out of the room. (The scene was shown on network TV several times that morning, but I've never seen it since.) Our fearless leader then made a mad dash to Air Force One and flew off quickly, not to New York or Washington DC, but to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana! I'm sure the whole nation was relieved in those desperately uncertain hours to know that at least our commander-in-chief was somewhere safe.

Meanwhile, Our courageous Veep rapidly got himself to a secure bunker in an "undisclosed location" where he hid out for several days until it was evident that any danger was past.

Such examples of courage and leadership are truly an inspiration for the generations!

But, the two most astonishing things are:
1. These goons got reelected in 2004, and
2. No Republican politician since 9/11 seems to have asked the question, "Where's Bin Laden?"


pimothy
Comment posted April 19, 2008 @ 1:52 am

This sordid chapter started back at yale when pledges hides were branded by cigarett burns. Also with exploding frogs by way of firecrackers.


spencer_ackerman
Comment posted April 21, 2008 @ 2:58 am

Can we not have comments here accusing John McCain of selling out the country while he was a POW? That's disgusting. Stick to the issue please.


sketchley
Comment posted April 21, 2008 @ 4:55 am

The terrorist state par excellence putting its own torturers and terrorists on trial is obviously not going to happen. But as Philippe Sands has recently said, these crimninals had better remain within their own borders for the rest of their lives, for there is a whole army of us out here who will be making sure that if any of these criminals takes one step outside the terrorist state's borders they will be arrested under international torture and genocide legislation, as their own country will not bring them to justice: "The judge and prosecutor were particularly struck by the immunity from prosecution provided by the Military Commissions Act.


mclaren
Comment posted April 22, 2008 @ 10:22 am

Well well, sunnyjim, I know a little about the Geneva Conventions myself, and I've forgotten a whole lot more about American History than you have ever learned — obviously. I could attempt to educate you and the other horribly misguided, "March to the Gas Chambers With Dignity" types on this and other boards, but what's the point?

You are blinded by Bush Derangement Syndrome and no amount of clear, concise proof or evidence that collides with your world view will help alleviate your "tortured" conclusions and those of the other angry "hot-button issue" types to which you cling.

Is it possible that the Khalid Sheik Mohammeds of the world aren't built like your father or other gentlemen of Western-World fame? Is it possible that those who know how to extract information don't start with water-boarding, but with techniques that more resemble Cpl. Hanns Scharff of WWII Luftwaffe fame?

What I know hasn't occurred to you is that 3,000 American lives are worth immeasurably more than the life or opinion of 1 jihadist. You don't get that, and you and your ilk never will. You are incapable of making a moral judgment. You are incapable of judging for in that, you might have to live up to said judgment. The neo-liberal will not or can not take a moral stand against anything other than his or her country, because everything is morally relative. It is an illness, and I know, because I once suffered greatly under it.

Wake up. We are better than jihadists. Not because we would treat them better, but because we would at least give them a chance, unlike what they would do for you and your father or mother or child.

The fact is that waterboarding — not torture — worked to save lives. Please go on record that you would rather watch innocent children die than have your "image" damaged in some Marxist cafe' in Paris.


jimbo
Comment posted April 23, 2008 @ 1:43 pm

If we are no longer a nation of laws, WTF have we become? Torture and secret rendition of uncountable innocents does not move us forward toward civilization but away from it toward madness and degenerate, less evolved forms of life.


polisigh
Comment posted June 11, 2008 @ 8:14 pm

If they can do it, we can do it. Sounds like the justification from the Court of King George IV and entourage. The Constitution is just a piece of paper too.

There's something not quite right about a nation that threaten to torture and murder those who don't accept its offer of peace and freedom; did I mention also dangerously juvenile.

But stop, wait – for the past 8 years this nation has been in the control of a bizarre dangerous little twerp with a major father hang-up. An alcoholic drug addict who's found J-E-S-U-S. I've got a big New Flash so has everyone on death row. I agree with Bill Maher George W. Bush should have to walk home. And then he should be tried for war crimes against humanity and hanged in effigy in the Court of Public Opinion.

Just because the Nazi didn't win WWII doesn't mean the President's name isn't Schikelgrubber.


johnlewismealer
Comment posted June 15, 2008 @ 11:10 am

Everyone needs a little torture now and then. Personally, I prefer a bit of electrical shock…

Find a better economi=y based plan than John McCain's 3R's…

I dare you.

Progressive Candidate John McCain comes through for America with his 3R economic plan. In the aura of Theodore Roosevelt, McCain


walter77777
Comment posted June 29, 2008 @ 4:56 am

There is a good reason for treating prisoners humanely. A man facing the choice of fighting to the death or surrendering will tend to fight to the death if he fears harsh treatment if he surrenders. A man who chooses to fight to the death will often take out one or more of his enemies (our guys) before he is killed. thus decent treatment of POWs tends to reduce our casualties.

W.


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