C.I.A. interrogators under the Bush Admin. used waterboarding, the near-drowning technique that top Obama administration officials have described as illegal torture, 266 times on two key prisoners from Al Qaeda, FAR more than had been previously reported.
The release of the numbers is likely to become part of the debate about the morality and efficacy of interrogation methods that the Justice Department under the Bush administration declared legal even though the United States had historically treated them as torture.
Waterboarding is described as "immobilizing the victim on his or her back with the head inclined downwards, and then pouring water over the face and into the breathing passages." By forced suffocation and inhalation of water the subject experiences drowning and is caused to believe they are about to die.
Other practices under investigation include brutal treatment of prisoners, including slamming prisoners into walls, shackling them in standing positions for days and confining them in small boxes.
Waterboarding? I have to admit, I was a bit curious when I heard the term...http://xomba.com/obama_speaks_after_100_days_office
The above may be true, but your characterization is misleading, your story is incomplete and your emphasis suited to your own all too subjective biases and personal ideology. You compell a causal, ill-informed readers to accept your unstate assumptions and conclusions. You'd make a good propagandist. Unfortunately, I don't think then NY Times is hiring at this time.
Well, at least you got the premise of the post right.
Fortunately, I don't have the need to look for a job...but I believe institutions with conservative bias are much less stringent about skill sets, which is good when looking at your spelling and grammar even in English these days... And how are you rectifying your (inferred) views with, say, ex-pres candidate McCain's subjective position on torture?
Not at all factual. The Bush administration specifically asked the justice department to rule on the specific technique of waterboarding that was used, which was very different than what the Japanese used on Americans in WWII and declared as torture in international agreements. The technique as you described it in general is correct, but there were specific precautions taken, like having a doctor present, etc that enabled the justice department to rule that this harsh interrogation technique was NOT torture as legally defined in international agreements.
Of course morally speaking is another matter and there will be much disagreement and debate on that aspect of the use of this technique which should also take into account the context in history when it was used.
FYI, folks... The initial posting was the information known from reliable sources as of 4 MONTHS ago. That being just a general statement. As the story unfolds, the story unfolds.
As far as the moral and legal definitions and problems there in...we went into that in length earlier.
Yep I watched a similar report on CBC tonight. One detainy got waterboarded, 183 times in a month.
What's worse is that Obama is going to give the perpetrators immunity.
Here's the reports from multiple sources,
http://news.google.ca/news?q=C.I.A.+int … p;ct=title
Yeah Lita I heard it on CBC and the top report on the link above says the same.
Thanks, MM... I think Obama's probably following through with the idea our country has enough on its plate without prosecuting those who worked under Bush, so to speak. Can't say I disagree with him, even though the torture was obviously was wrong.
I guess by posting this I was trying to ascertain something--I'm always shocked by some of the obviously invalid sources some post here on the forums--usually to support their prior political views/claims. The source I got the above info. from was NYTimes.
I hear you Lita. There's lots of crap on the net so we should validate anything we read with other sources.
Just to play devil's advocate ('cause I like seeing things from all sides..)
When exactly do "enemy combatants" have constitutional rights? And can you think of a policy we've laid down for other nations to follow that we've followed ourselves?
While I disagree with torture and all that jazz, its always good to keep a balanced diet of healthy questions.
CNN? Larry King rocks. But..whats the deal with the Tea Party thing? Nobody cares about it there? They're not smart enough to get the bigger picture?
Pam above has it absolutely right GM (BINGO: Geneva Convention). Some things are just wrong, we know they are wrong, and any news coverage that is truly FAIR must cover it as such. Three different versions of spin does not fair news coverage make, except for the brain dead. And that is, frankly, what you often see presented as "fair and balanced," on television news these days.
If you research the tea party crap, you will see that the "movement" has actually been sponsored by a bunch of corporate interests, including the Fox network. It's not about a lack of news coverage for the big picture. I'm not sure about CNN, as who knows? It may be that Fox IS the only game in town to cover the tea junk (and junk it is).
Can you point me to some credible evidence? I'm not saying no corporate money changed hands over it. But hey, look at that last thing Acorn did...taking a bunch of people by bus to see CEOs houses.
Fox did show it on their network. And I'm sure they gave people money. But the very idea it was just something they decided to pay people to do is probably in error. Unlike the Acorn thing.
And I'm aware of the Geneva convention. Again, though, what policies have we put down for other nations to follow that we follow ourselves? I'm not saying its right that we don't, I'm just saying you're expecting us to do better all of the sudden?
Ah, I realized, you must have saw the Tea Party FOX it's self put on. You don't think they were they only ones doing it, right? If so, you're wrong. There was MANY tea parties all across the nation for the same reason. ONE was put on by FOX. ONE.
And Junk it's not. Your media is lying to you. But thats okay, go back to happy go lucky fantasy land where all is right and money is in great supply. Inflation rocks!
g?m-"Combatants' get their rights as soon as they become human. Bush never proved they did anything wrong but treated like they had. thats the rub, Bush punished these guys without giving them a trial.
Amen! Very true. Not being tortured is a basic human right above and beyond rights under the U.S. Constitution.
I disagree about keeping a balanced view of torture. I think that concept is itself kind of torturous. I mean you really have to twist yourself into some kind of weird uncomfortable knot to keep an open and balanced view of the systematic brutalization and degradation of another human being. Plus, these acts are war crimes. They aren't 'techniques', they're war crimes. Water boarding is a violation of the Geneva Convention. We prosecuted the Japanese for doing it to our guys.
Some things are just wrong, period. Doesn't matter who they are done to or why. The thing itself is abhorrent.
Although I share your disgust for such treatment to another human being but I would humbly like to disagree with you about prosecuting those directly responsible for it. My Dad was a Judge in the JAG branch in the Navy and in certain situations where there is a direct chain of command then those who are actually doing certain things (even horrible things) are merely puppets following orders(with little choice for disagreeing with orders). Of course since the top most folks like Presidents/VP's and other powerful folks are too big to be prosecuted than those "foot soldiers" tend to be made as the scapegoats. I support Obama's initiative(both transparency/not prosecuting those "foot soldiers"). I guess we can consider this as learning a lesson not to repeat such things in the future (unless you suggest the top guy(s) to be taken to task for this)
P.S: Never mind now I did see your response about prosecuting the top guys after I posted this comment.
The BBC and France24 also report it as true, Lita.
Sorry CW, but I have to disagree with you (a very rare occurrence). Even a foot soldier knows the difference between right and wrong - if we go down that path, then the Nuremburg Trial's 'Just Obeying Orders' would have stood as a viable defence.
Everybody, from the top down, should be prosecuted and this definitely includes the British intelligence service personnel implicated.
PS - I just saw your additional response to the response after I posted this comment
Sufi- It is ok you can always disagree with me. I was just saying that if some folks in Abu Ghraib were charged but the others were let off. And without getting into too much details in the Navy the Captain (who is the commanding officer) is charged for all acts of commission/omission arising out of following his/her orders(especially at sea). In military(pyramid structure) it is not so easy to either put up or get out(even discharge isn't given automatically without getting a No objections certificate from the respective unit/command head). There is a lot of peer pressure and insubordination isn't considered ok (unlike private companies where there exists a flat structure). My only argument is that those who are at the top tend to get away and at the same time if Obama does take action then it may start a precedent where the new President tends to take actions against the acts of the Previous administration. And also Presidential immunity does include the President/and his cabinet who performed there tasks in the official capacity not to be charged with anything.
So ultimately charging a few "foot soldiers" to teach others a lesson becomes the usual norm instead of trying everybody who is responsible. Hence better to let off everybody with a stern warning rather than selectively taking an action. I feel Obama is doing the best practical thing (i.e., prosecuting ex-Presidents/VP's isn't a practical option in my view).
CW- Although both Pam & Sufi make their usual good points, I see the wisdom in your view most of all. Perhaps because we have both had encounters with military matters or people. The 'foot soldiers' that often commit these acts are usually very young men and women trained to follow orders in a chain of command. I am not saying they have no responsibility towards right and wrong; I'm saying things get very fuzzy. There is sometimes wisdom in letting even evil acts go unpunished at least at some level, even though they should never be condoned. I believe this is what Obama is aiming for, as Pam mentions.
The good military officers I have known would in general agree with your comments, CW.
However, I do think Bush & Co. are guilty of atrocities. It isn't about precedence of trying our presidents, as I see it, that Obama is not pushing the charging of Bush, but because NOT doing so is for the greater good of the country--AT this point in time.
I understand what you both mean - in a thread like this, there is always going to be generalization. Most such things should be dealt with on a case by case basis. I would also argue that this argument does not apply to the CIA operatives - they are perfectly able to walk away from their jobs if they do not agree with part of it.
Before coming to Greece, we lived near RAF Brize Norton, so I have many friends in the military. Most of them are very smart people and were disgusted by some of the things going on in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Lita - I have CNN international, and it is toothless fluff in comparison to the BBC (not perfect) and the Greek news (very good).
Generique - Sorry, but I do not buy that. I do not agree with torture anyway, but 'probably' have anti-American sentiments is definitely not a justifiable cause. Being 'effective' is not a good enough reason, neither is 'the Vietcong did it so it is OK.'
What is an enemy combatant? Could you define that please.
The US has lost all credibility with the rest of the world - it now has no right to question human rights abuses in China or Turkey, for example. Sometimes, I don't think that you guys realize how much you are hated in many parts of the world. The same with the British - I now take no pride in my nationality because of actions taken 'in my name.'
Actually, good question.
Are we going to now say that all of our military is corrupt, and they don't know what they're doing, though?
Personally...I'm going to cling to the idea that we didn't decide to just run through Iraq and the middle east and find a bunch of people to fall for 9/11. We may have done this, but I hope to bob we didn't.
And as far as making it "okay," I'm not saying its good to do what we've done. Its just something I highly doubt anyone will be able to change anytime soon.
Our enemies will do it to us. And one bad turn deserves another, I suppose.
Hi Generique - I see what you are getting at there. The vast majority of the military is not corrupt. Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, on the other hand.....?
I have really enjoyed this thread - it has not degenerated into the usual mudslinging match of throwing soundbites backwards and forwards
I think that we all pretty much agree upon most things - whether prosecutions and trials are in order is another matter.
On a side note, just picking up a few things from other threads and Hubs. I have no opinion on Obama's internal policies - that is your business
From an international perspective, he seems to be doing a good job in undoing a lot of the damage caused by the previous administration. Talking to people instead of trying to bomb them into the stone-age.
Long may this continue!
I agree. I think I almost got out of hand, but I always try to reserve myself to the best of my abilities. There is no use of communicating in a destructive way...because it leads to a bunch of static and useless outcries.
Whether or not Rumsfield and Dick Cheyney are corrupt...
I think Cheyney is, to some degree, for sure. He helped pass this thing called "aspertame" here in America. Its used widely as an artificial sweetner, even though its been shown to do very harmful things. Oh, they say, it only becomes harmful at 96 degrees or so...and how hot is your body, then?
Rumsfield I've actually had not much of a personal interest in, so I can't go there myself. Excuse my ignorance on that issue. But war is only sought for three things: gold, god, or glory. And at this point, I think its all three.
I appreciate your sentiments for Obama, and how you openly state you have no business in forming in opinion. I agree with you...as much as I can watch the BBC, or a Greece network, I don't live there so I can't feel the effects on such a dire level.
I personally hope his administration is successful in pulling us together and creating a "new America." I'm just suspect of how he's so far gone about it.
Holocaust war guards are prosecuted without fail. They just took orders. Why not here?
Although if given a choice I would prosecute the memo writers. Obama held that open as a possibility today. We will see.
*Please* don't equate holocaust war guards with CIA agents dripping water on non-uniformed combatants.
Umm... the non-uniformed combatants, who violated the Geneva Convention and whom the US had legal right to execute, had some water poured on their heads, were slightly inconvenienced, and suffered no after effects. The the holocaust victims were no threat to anyone and they got dead.
See the difference now?
Years of incarceration without trial - yet you assume that they were all guilty. So, you are saying that the US has a legal right to execute people who have had no trial, or is this some strange definition of 'innocent until proven guilty' that I have never heard of?
Years of intense psychological abuse - according to you, a slight inconvenience. Losing my keys is a slight inconvenience - being deprived of freedom for a few years is a little worse than that
Many of those released now have severe mental trauma - you say 'no after effects.'
Violated the Geneva Convention - How do you know this? Have they been tried whilst nobody noticed.
Of course, this is the same Geneva Convention that specifically states that torture is unacceptable. Don't worry, it is quite alright for the CIA to do it.
There is no obligation for a trial. I suspect you are incorrectly making assumptions based on the US legal system. The non uniformed combatants are not US citizens, were not captured on US soil, and violated at least two stipulations of the Geneva Conventions by not wearing uniforms and fighting from mosques and hospitals.
Instead of summary execution, we (the US) chose to detain them. They are provided with food that meets their dietary requirements, exercise time, prayer time, medical care and legal representation. If they have a little water poured on their heads, that's the risk they took when they became soldiers.
You mean the US law that has conveniently left them in 'no man's land?"
During WWII, the Germans captured and executed thousands of Greek partisans.
Are you saying that they were right to do that?
In addition, stop referring to a little water poured over the face. The torture and abuse was far more severe than that, and trivializing it does not make it OK. You seem to have conveniently skipped over the part about the severe effects of psychological torture.
You have also skipped over the fact that not all of them were enemy combatants, but unfortunate people in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even the British Government admitted that, concerning the British citizens detained there.
As for the moral side of it.......
EDIT: And the British, Lita - Sadly, British operatives also committed torture 'in my name,' to quote Will.
They waterboarded Zubayda 83 times and subjected him to other forms of torture as defined by several international treaties which the U.S. has signed and ratified. He was literally a mental basket case by the time it was over. Moreover, many have a strong suspicion that he was tortured in an effort to get him to furnish false information connnecting Iraq and 9-11. This was one of the most shameful incidents in our country's history. The matter should be investigated from top to bottom and anyone who was culpable, from the CIA agents, to the doctors and psychiatrists who participated, to the lawyers who wrote the opinions to the individual (Cheney, no doubt, or one of his henchmen) who requested the memos.
Better take a closer look at actual history instead of the nightly spewings of the news networks. This is little similarity between what the Japanese did in WW2 and what our CIA did to terror detainees. Some differences:
- Our WW2 soldiers were uniformed combatants entitled to certain rights and protections. Terrorists are not.
- The CIA had a time limit of 40 seconds on waterboarding with a physician present who was instructed to stop the interrogation if the detainee was in real danger (the point of waterboarding is to make prisoners feel like they're in danger even though they are not).
- If you can do something to one person 180+ times and they are not permanently harmed by it, I hardly think you can classify it as torture.
- The Japanese waterboarded until soldiers had water in their lungs and were drowned or near-drowning. Our CIA never did that.
As for good information, we did get info that headed off a large scale attack on LA. The people who died on 9-11 are dead forever, but torture (if you can call these techniques torture) is temporary. No terrorist's emotional well-being is worth a single American life.
You forget one thing...there were suspected terrorists... and torture can never be justified.
I didn't forget that at all. I don't buy the premise that our form of waterboarding is torture. We do it to our Special Forces and Navy Seal candidates to help them overcome the fear of drowning. The suspect is never in real danger and IS NOT HARMED. How is this torture?
All military personnel are subjected to other "torture" techiques outlined in the memo like bland diet, sleep deprivation, long periods of standing. In addition, nearly all military trainees are forced to inhale CS (tear) gas.
We had good reason to suspect these terrorists: we caught them on the battlefield trying to kill US soldiers. That's why many of them were in Gitmo. That is something to be handled by the military, not the courts.
The point though, is that it doesn't matter whether you buy it or not. By international agreement, waterboarding prisoners is defined as torture, and the U.S. signed a treaty saying we wouldn't do it.
Navy SEALs agree to these procedures as part of training. Forcing them on a prisoner is a completely different situation.
Your personal opinion is completely beside the point. You and your friends can waterboard each other to your heart's content consensually in the privacy of your own homes. When you do it to a prisoner you break the law.
It's not my opinion. The statute in question specifically defines torture, and the CIA specifically designed their technique to fall outside the statute. The law is the law and we cannot go around retroactively prosecuting people after we change the law (which has not yet happened).
You know, we're all so down on Bush, but what about the Democrat members of the Senate Intelligence Committee who knew all about these techniques and did nothing? Should they also be prosecuted? The Speaker of the House was aware and said nothing. Should she be prosecuted as well for condoning these tactics when it was politically expedient?
Psychological torture is still torture - it is far more insidious and dangerous than the act of waterboarding, as if that were not bad enough. It is about slowly stripping a a person of their dignity.
Sensory deprivation, also used, is one of the vilest acts that you can perform on a human being. So bad, in fact, that psychologists have rarely used it since the 70's. Of course, that does not stop the CIA or military.
I'll tell you what, Specificity - how about I waterboard you 180 times per day? Then tell me that it is 'hardly torture.'
So you are not quite as bad as the Japanese. Great reference.
This is an oft-used and very lame attempt to call someone out as a hypocrite in a debate. The debate isn't about me; it's about an idea. If you've never been waterboarded, how do you know it's so bad? Several of my friends from military (Navy Seals, all of them) have told me that "it sucks, but it doesn't actually hurt you."
As a veteran, I can tell you US soldiers risk real torture if captured, like being dragged through the streets (Somalia), having your head slowly cut off (Iraq). Nothing mild like detainees experience here.
One suspect was waterboarded 183 times in one month, not "per day." If your hatred of America is so severe that your cannot differentiate between coersion and torture, then there is no reasoning with you.
Where did I say that I hate America? That is lame - "I don't agree with this guy, so let's accuse him of being anti-American."
Torture - Yes.
America - No.
Because you are losing the argument, you now resort to making it into a Democrat/Republican thing. Any Democrats implicated should also be put on trial.
You are concentrating upon the waterboarding here - the psychological torture used was far more damaging: sleep deprivation, degredation and sensory deprivation. All capable of causing severe and long lasting effects. I would not wish them upon my worst enemy.
I'm not trying to make it Dem/GOP "thing"; I merely want to ensure that the prosecutions get spread evenly. If you're fine with prosecuting members of Congress who condoned these tactics, then you are, in my opinion, intellectually honest in that regard. We are in agreement. I think it would be unjust to prosecute the Bush admin without also indicting Congress.
I don't think I'm losing the argument. I haven't even accepted the premise the CIA-style waterboarding is torture. I don't even see this forum as a win-lose affair, just an exchange of opinion. The only way to determine winners and losers is to see how the courts rule when Pres. Obama goes forward with his indictments.
Plus, I forgot to mention, ineffective. Torture doesn't produce good information. We absolutely know this. So there's no reason and no excuse for it.
I want to see Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush prosecuted and convicted for war crimes, and I don't care who knows it. I don't understand why people aren't demanding it. Some are, but more should be.
Obama can't do it and take care of the mess our country is in too, but Congress can get it started. Or another country could arrest and try them.
I must ask you this... How do you 'absolutely" know this? Especially when it has come out in the past two days that some very good intelligence was learned through these techniques. Forming an intelligence picture is a compilation of info from numerous sources. Cross referencing what more than one individual has to say, with all other available info. We also learned a lot about the structure of al quaeda, strategies and like info. It is wrong to form an "absolute" opinion based on what has been said in the news previously. Your statements are truly mis-leading and false. If you want to argue on moral grounds, that's one thing, but to argue something just doesn't work when you don't know is a fools errand.
I'm not down with torture, Pam. But there's a balanced view to be had. Waterboarding sucks, for sure.
The vietcong took our boys and shoved sticks in their ears, hit their hands with hammers.
War is hell, and if you don't think this is some sort of war (if not an outright 'culture war' or what not) then talk to the Prez to get him to change the threat level.
In war people are hurt and killed.
Torture does suck, and it can be ineffective, but its also effective as well. Humans havn't been doing it to each other for hundreds of thousands of years for no reason. Even if it doesn't create a truthful claim, at least someone then becomes the patsy and it creates some sort of closure.
Personally...its disgusting to me we're bickering about a bunch of people who probably have anti-American sentiments. We didn't capture them for going to a US pep Rally. And you think they'd treat you any better if they captured you? Hah.
Love and Peace,
Warcrimes? War....crimes? Warcrimes? The US at this point is the victor of the Iraq war. No warcrimes for you! Maybe if we lose, like Saddam did. But thats the only occasion anyone needs to be convicted of war crimes. Per history, anyway.
Actually today he left open the possibility of the Justice Department or Congress investigating this further, so we will see.
I like that he released the documents. No spin, just the documents. Let people decide for themselves what was done, and whether it was right or not. Fox says it was a mistake and makes the United States weaker. I think it makes us stronger.
It shows the world that we are not afraid of our mistakes but ready to confront them. It shows that we are not turning into what the terrorists claim we already are. Yes, not perfect, but do care about human rights to the point where we will show the world.
Then again, it also shows what we will do if you attack us. We will denouce it later, but are capable, a little something to think about.
I think Obama was assuring the CIA that the officers who were ordered to do the actual interrogation and torture would be kept anonymous and would not be prosecuted, but those higher up still could be. He chose his words very carefully to leave open the possibility that those at the top could still be held responsible.
It's a good point Sufi makes though about 'just following orders.' I can relate to it (in only a very small, small way) in some of the policies I was told to support and enforce at the bank. Some of them (at the end) I strongly felt were wrong, and I finally did think, well, at some point if I do this I have to take responsibility. I can't say, the bank is making me do this. I can leave the bank. I can ask to be reassigned. I can refuse and wait to be fired. You know, I do seriously see the problem is different in the military, but again, ultimately, if we are given an order we know to be immoral or a violation of international code, then it comes down to that person's conscience.
What's crummy is, in the past, the top guys got off scot-free and the bottom guys paid, like in Abu Gharib. That's wrong.
Yes I do want to see the top guys in court. The ones at the bottom, they have their own consciences to live with, and I am not one to second guess them from here in my comfortable safe home. But Bush & Cheney & Rumsfeld, they knew they were violating international law and they should be tried.
I am in the process of writing a hub about the tea parties. (Sponsored by Lipton, well Fox News)
It didn't get much play? It was on every news station for two days. It was on Fox all day and night on April 15.
Part of the reason is it wasn't as big as hyped. The other is because it wasn't the first this year. It wasn't a new movement. Lastly - well, I will save that for later.
Read all I wanted to know about it, BG, saw some kinda funny videos on Huffpost, too (poor things). Not watching much TV news lately as I am disenchanted with them. I dunno--working with a few lame TV stations may do that, lol...
Was just following up on GM's statement... Will take a look at your hub, , as long as it is well researched (and it sounds like it will be).
Any country that has a past of colonization of imperialism is probably hated to some extent, i.e. the US and Europe. However, I always like to keep in mind sometimes European countries forget about their past of colonization horrors, and let us just say this past cannot be clean slated completely.
To me it is time to get past this looking at nationalism and looking at people for who they are. I do not hate any country or group of people because hate is petty and small.
Also, the nuclear testing in French Polynesia that was in flagrant disrespect of the people living there. The imperialism of the British and the French. America has done some horrible things in history, but so have the Europeans.
Indeed. But look at them Aussie's now!
Imperialism has both devastated and created that which we are.
No disagreement here - the British (especially the English) have done some atrocious things. Don't worry - most people in Europe are only too aware of the past, although there are still some people who look back upon the British Empire as some benevolent force for good, instead of Imperialistic thieves.
I must clarify, after re-reading my post - I meant that the rest of the world hates and does not trust the American government, not the people. I could have phrased that a lot better
I think you're right. Not that I get around the world often. We look like bullies anymore, and I find it...dubious for us to try and place blame on one administration or another.
Our culture, afterall, warrents that which we've elected into power.
Got your message, and don't worry--I don't 'hate' you or whatever--you are entitled to your opinion. We can disagree and still be OK. (You are not personally disagreable, ever, so it's fine!)
And I do still disagree, from what I've read and researched thus far--and so you know--I do have a tendency to read a lot. I've also got a degree in journalism and have worked for (and now work with) said media, so I know the score (the biases, etc., etc.).
And as far as analyzing the media take (as of last night) on CNN, I was unimpressed as usual with the 'fair' coverage. Inviting Republican talking heads to espouse the view that 'sometimes torture works' is rather like, in some ways, inviting on an abusive husband relating that 'sometimes beating his wife works,' for whatever reason. (It's wrong, and wrong is wrong.) I suppose, if I want to be charitable, I could say they figure the viewer can deduce what they want from the various versions of spin they present--but I feel real investigative reporting and analysis--the telling of the story, and to some extent, interpretation, is >almost< always missing on our TV news, especially.
I have been following the news and Obama said that those issuing the orders/memos would be investigated but as of now not ruling out the possibility of prosecution for the top folks. He needs to tread very carefully and Cheney says sometimes those horrible methods do yield intelligence but whether the costs (of negative US image) is justified by the supposed intelligence leads received is the question we have to address.
But whatever it is that we get out of this investigation I hope the present administration doesn't try to get a political mileage and the due course of law would be pursued. As they say in legal terminology that "Justice should not only be done but also seen to be done".
Edit: After His Majesty Mark's keen legal eye
I understand you feel strongly about it, and I certainly don't mean to attack you personally. If it came across that way, I apologize.
I am not saying we should track down every CIA operative who ever punched or slapped an enemy combatant, or that we should come down hard on soldiers who do terrible things during war. Yes of course terrible things happen during war, and they always do, you can't legislate that away and punishing the people at the bottom not only does no good, it is probably actively harmful.
That said, the U.S. crossed a line when it authorized torture from the top down. That line should not have been crossed. The President, the Secretary of Defense, the Vice President--these people have no business sending out memos to both the military prisons and the CIA authorizing techniques that are recognized as torture the world over. There is good evidence emerging that they even used these techniques to get people to confess to Sadam's involvement in 9/11--which, he had no involvement.
The FBI walked away from this. They would not participate. That should tell you something.
It doesn't matter how horrible the enemy is. If we become just like them, we've lost. So I respect your right to your opinion on this, but I do not share it, nor do I think there is some reasonable middle ground.Some things, you're not going to get agreement. You're just not, and this is one of them.
I do think though that reasonably people can disagree reasonably, which I hope is what we are doing here.
No harm no foul. I take nothing personal...try to maintain peace, I just got heated for a second.
I can identify and understand your beliefs. But I think the bigger question becomes "what is torture..."
Waterboarding, for example, is a pretty average thing. Torture? Meh, some can consider it, many do not. Its actually a hazing ritual in some military circles.
That said, we successfully used waterboarding on a head al-queada guy who divulged information and lead to the arrest of a guy who was going to take down the brooklyn bridge. No joke. They found the plans and all the equipment needed. Unless they planted it.
But in general, you're right, torture is more barbaric than effective. But when it is effective its quite so.
Keep in mind that I'm a fiscal conservative who believes in a weak central power.
But I'm a very liberal person on social policies.
I know we're basically a Military Industrial Complex, and have been for some time. I do dislike it. But with the other part of the governments growing larger, its no wonder.
Had the Fed not been wasting so much energy and time with a bunch of things it has no business in 9/11 could have easily been prevented.
Unless you're of the "Loose Change" theory.
But, also, I suppose its not entirely possible that it was a weapon of mass destraction.
Seemingly credible documents and evidence has been raised throughout the years effectively proving Pearl Harbor could have been easily avoided--or have been less of a disaster.
But we were ardent isolationists then, so says my history books, and we weren't too keen on entering the war outright. I mean, why bother? We were profiting from both sides already.
"Waterboarding, for example, is a pretty average thing. Torture? Meh, some can consider it, many do not. Its actually a hazing ritual in some military circles."
Going to the grocery story is a 'pretty average thing.' Watching a baseball game is a 'pretty average thing.' Waterboarding is not a 'pretty average thing' in any universe, and if it's being done as hazing that should be stopped too.
I guess what bothers me about your statement is more the tone of it though. It feels like you are 'pulling rank' on me here by virtue of your gender and toughness and so forth. I mean, that's not a good way to go, since we're on the internet after all, and for all I know you could be an eleven year old girl with a '24' addiction.
Let's look at some facts:
Article 3 of the Geneva Convention prohibits the following:
(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) taking of hostages;
(c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;
(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
The Bush administration has admitted that the Geneva Convention applies to the 'war on terror'. We tried the Japanese for using waterboarding (same technique) during WWII on American prisoners of war, and convicted them of war crimes under the rules put forth in Article 3.
So while you may not mind being waterboarded as a bit of fun, a strong legal precedent exists defining it as torture both within U.S law and internationally as well. I don't think a pile of legal memos from the corrupt Justice Department under Bush will wash.
That's why Cheney and pals are out in front of the press every other day talking about how helpful it all was. When we WANTED to hear from Dick Cheney we could never find the guy. Now he won't go away.
The ends always justify the means. Unless, of course, you have a spark of humanity. Or care about the acts your leaders authorise in your name. Or just care about the kind of country you live in.
I lived through half a dozen IRA bombing campaigns in London. I was woken up twice by bombs going off.
When I read that the British army used torture in Belfast, I was disgusted. That barbarity was carried out in my name and I will never forgive it.
"We had good reason to suspect these terrorists: we caught them on the battlefield trying to kill US soldiers. That's why many of them were in Gitmo. That is something to be handled by the military, not the courts."
A lot of the people 'caught' in Afghanistan were sold to American forces by local militias. It was an opertunity to make money and a chance to get rid of anyone the militias didn't like.
Just check out the numbers of Gitmo detainees- all tortured- who have been released without any charge.
I would just like to point out that condoning torture of enemy combatants as used by the Bush Admin. is NOT specifically a veteran's stance. My partner is a former army officer, well decorated, and he does not condone how it was used.
It is a political stance as cited here.
If there is not some question as to what went on as far as torture under the Bush Admin. and it is as cut and dried as you portray, the papers are certainly wasting a lot of ink and some of the only decent reporters left out there--by your estimation, evidently, should be fired.
Again, I see this as a highly partisan debate as presented here, not a US military or legal debate. There are many US military men and women who have come out against the use of this torture by the Bush Admin. Not to mention the US citizens in this forum who disagree with the above stance.
Ultimately, this is a human rights issue; a code of ethics issue and is international in scope. That is why it is so important to the U.S. We have lost any moral authority we thought we had with the basically--cowardly--actions under our last Administration.
Obfuscation. I made no partisan comments. You lost the argument on facts so you change the subject.
Actually, I am partisan to the freedom and liberties provided by the US Armed Services.
Since we are changing the subject, let's indict the current administration for condoning the assassination of three black men in international waters by the US Navy. By your logic, was that also cowardly? Did that improve out moral standing?
The last time that I heard an argument that weak was at school.
"I won the argument because I said I did."
That's a completely dumb analogy. The Navy seals shot pirates who were holding the American ship captain hostage for ransom.
I don't see this as a win-lose situation, lol, but as obviously there has been much discussion on the national and global platform, as a matter of interpretation.
And it is. I believe your political stance is fairly obvious in the way you have stated your opinions.
I repeat: There is a large difference of opinion on these matters even within the US military. I don't want to have to state it again (as I did previously in this thread), but I just asked my partner, a former US military officer (and who is, wonder of wonders, a democrat, too) and he disagrees with your statements.
edit: Not really interested in discussing Obama's supposed 'misdeeds' as that is not the subject of this post--but your changing the subject does prove the partisanship of your views.
So you are saying that to fight Al-Quaeda that the US must become exactly like them?
You just want to ignore the facts that most of the people who have been held at Gitmo and were released were innocent...
Sorry, I will not take anything anyone who condones torture says seriously.
As I read back through the posts, it seems that there is no basic premise for discussion. Some of us are discussing torture based on a personal moral or ethical standard, while others (like me and I think nicomp) are discussing whether or not the CIA's version of waterboarding constitutes torture under the law.
It's kiwi and pineapples. Whether or not someone can be prosecuted for something depends on wrongdoing according to the law. The Bush attorneys have good reason to believe that what the CIA did was legal. Whether or not their actions were moral have no bearing on prosecution.
Sure, being waterboarded CIA style would be tortuous, but I do not see that the law, or the Geneva Convention, would consider it torture.
Clear as mud?
No it wasn't. The Bush attorneys' memos instructed the CIA on how to torture. They have been withdrawn, and they have been almost universally criticized as poorly reasoned and invalid by legal scholars in the U.S. and all over the world.
Was there a memo that said, "This is torture and we recognize it as illegal but we want you to do it anyway"? If not, you are approaching this with more emotion than reason. I'm not here to judge your emotion, but there it is.
Torture is and should be an "emotional" subject as are murder, lying, cheating, etc.
Of course the memos didn't say "this is torture and we recognize it as illegal, but we want you to do it anyway." I don't get your point. The point of the memos was to reassure and offer cover against prosecution to the CIA agents who were doing the torturing. The memos have been judged legally incorrect by nearly everyone since then, and they were withdrawn by Bush appointee, conservative legal scholar, Jack Goldsmith, who resigned in protest. The CIA knew better and should have refused to follow the Cheney inspired instructions to torture Zubaida and the other supposedly "high value" al Qaeda prisoner. Worse, it is suspected the purpose of the torture is suspected to have been to get the men who were being tortured to lie and say that Iraq was connected to the 9-11 attack in order to justify invading Iraq. What we did is analogous if not comparable to what the Nazi's did in the Holocaust. And at Nuremberg the excuse that "I was ordered to do it" was not acceptable. No one should follow an order to perform an illegal act, or he should be prepared to accept the consequences.
There is nothing in your hub that hasn't been said here. In fact, there's quite a bit less.
There is no comparison between Japan's version of waterboarding and the CIA's. In Japan, uniformed combatants were brutally harmed and even drowned. In the US, non-uniformed combatants (terrorists, who are not protected by Geneva) were never in danger of losing their life or suffering permanent physical harm. Remember, we're talking about law, not any one person's opinion of what torture is.
This hub pretends to be about the rule of law, but you do not cite US Code, the Geneva Convention, or any other law that the Bush Administration broke. The CIA designed its version of waterboarding around the law so that it would not violate the law and would not legally constitute torture. Nowhere in US law does it say "waterboarding is torture."
Stripped of the force of law, your hub is left only with your opinion, and what good is that in a matter of law?
My impression is that your position and that of the Bush administration on the law is among a small minority among civilized nations. And even if the notorious torture memos by Jay Bybee and John Yoo had the force of law, or some legal significance or protective value to the CIA torturers when they were issued, they have been withdrawn and are now null and void. As I recall some or all were withdrawn by a Bush appointee to the Justice Department, Jack Goldsmith.
Here's an article on Jack Goldsmith's book about his short and not happy tenure as head of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Bush Justice Department http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/11/books … .html?_r=1
Irrelevant (even if it's true). I'm sure a man as opinionated as yourself has found himself in the minority of opinion holders and still thought his logic was sound.
So they've been withdrawn and President Obama has declared that the USA will not use these tactics (I do not believe they constitute torture). What bearing does that have on what's happened in the past? If they change the speed limit on my street from 30 mph to 25, we cannot retroactively prosecute people who went 30 before the change.
My argument is one of law. Was US code violated? I haven't seen where. Was the Geneva Convention violated? Arguably not. The CIA interrogators will not, according to the administration, be prosecuted. They will investigate and potentially indict lawyers who wrote legal opinions that were acted upon by the President.
In other words, we are about to retroactively indict people for what they think. That is at least equally chilling as any so-called torture.
Before anyone is indicted or tried there will have to be a full investigation to find out all the facts. Nobody changed the "speed limit." Bush's interpretation of the "speed limit" was wrong in the opinion of most lawyers in the U.S. and around the world as was the case with Nazi war criminals whose excuse that they were only following orders wasn't good enough. The speed limit is not a U.S. speed limit which could be changed by Bush, Cheney and all the shoddy lawyers in the Bush Justice Department. The speed limits were set by international treaties signed by the U.S. and ratified by the Congress. U.S. laws may have been violated also. I'm not a lawyer, and am only repeating what I've read (including the lawyer's memos and reports on what was done to the two terrorists) and applying the definitions in the Geneva Convention and the UN resolution both of which the U.S. is a signatory way they have been applied previously.
Again, gentlemen conservatives/liberarians/what have you, the journalists and thinkers of the day certainly are wasting much ink and synapse transmission if all were as cut and dried and legalistic as your portrayal of the situation is here.
There did not even seem to be consensus on such matters within the Bush Admin.--or with other conservatives who recently ran for office:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/04/us/po … mp;emc=rss
I think your positions are a little extreme--I suspect emotions behind them.
I agree that little in all this is cut and dried. Plenty of room to argue on all sides, which is probably why there is plenty of arguing on all sides.
I know you are all going to be pissed at me after this but, oh well.
I think that in times of war, we should do whatever is necessary to get the information we need. If that means water-boarding, then so be it.
I don't agree with torturing people for the hell of it, but I do think that if we have reasonable suspicion that a person in captivity has valuable information, he or she is subject to any kind of treatment until giving us what we want/need.
You don't agree that we should comply with our own laws and treaties that we have agreed to abide by. And what will your reaction be when our soldiers or citizens are tortured by other countries, as in the case of the American reporter currently being held in Iran. If Iran believes she has information about U.S. spying or has spied for the U.S. would it be okay for Iran to torture her?
Here are some more opinions on torture from a recent NYT.
Letters To the Public Editor
Other Voices: What Do You Call Torture? Torture
Article Tools Sponsored By
By CLARK HOYT
Published: May 2, 2009
Re “Telling the Brutal Truth” (April 26): When I went through the Navy’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training program in 1966, before shipping out to Vietnam where I flew many combat missions, everyone — those who ran the program and those who underwent the training — referred to what was done to us as “torture.”
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More Public Editor Columns
Phone: (212) 556-7652
Address: Public Editor
The New York Times
620 Eight Avenue.
New York, NY 10018
The Public Editor: Telling the Brutal Truth (April 26, 2009)
The Public Editor: Consistent, Sensitive and Weird (April 19, 2009)
The Public Editor: Behind a Byline, Family Ties (April 12, 2009)
We operated on the assumption that that was the whole point of it, to prepare us for full-scale torture by subjecting us to a smaller-scale version of it. There would have been no point to it if we hadn’t understood the direct connection between what was done to us at the SERE camp and what we could expect if we were shot down and captured.
To the extent that these recent activities have been adapted from SERE practices as they were developed in the 1960s, they should be called what those intimately familiar with them called them: torture.
Astoria, Queens, April 26, 2009
Douglas Jehl, the Washington Bureau deputy editor, asks, “On what basis should a newspaper render its own verdict” on what constitutes torture?
How about on the basis of legal theory, international treaty, statute and case law, which provide several centuries’ worth of settled definitions?
Medieval and early modern jurists argued about the effectiveness and desirability of using torture — they were well aware of its potential to produce false confessions. Enlightenment debate turned to prohibition. Regardless, jurists agreed about what constituted torture.
The deliberate euphemisms of the Bush administration add something new: redefine torture as “enhanced interrogation techniques.” This sleight of hand should not triumph in The New York Times.
EDMUND M. KERN
Appleton, Wis., April 27, 2009
The suggestion by a reader, Daniel Pilon, to drop all adjectives in describing C.I.A. interrogations was met by a criticism by Deborah Tannen of Georgetown University, who claimed that “all words have connotations.”
Let’s change the headline of April 17 that read “Memos Spell Out Brutal C.I.A. Mode of Interrogation” to read “Memos Spell Out C.I.A Mode of Interrogation.” Where is the suspect connotation? This headline is perfect — no judgment, just the facts. Why is this so difficult to do?
If The Times insists on inserting editorial comments, how is this different from other news sources headlining “Memos Spell Out Necessary C.I.A. Modes of Interrogation”?
Troy, Mich., April 26, 2009
You say that the editor Douglas Jehl “argued for precision and caution. I agree.” May I suggest that on this issue, you have lost sight of the forest while examining individual leaves on its trees?
Torture is torture: causing pain and suffering to gain information and confessions. It’s a traditional, historical, well-understood term. That’s what waterboarding is and why it exists.
The Times would not call bank robbery a “brutal cash gathering technique,” even if a president said it was so.
Cincinnati, April 27, 2009
The "But they'll do it to us!" argument is pretty ridiculous when one considers that today's chief enemies of America are people who slowly carve the heads off American civilians and post it on the internet 'cause God told them to. Yeah, they'll be real sweathearts as long as we don't question them too harshly.
Well, that's not what our military leaders are saying. Here's a good summary of the fierce debate within the Bush administration from this morning's paper:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/04/us/po … amp;ref=us
Torture is illegal, immoral and barbaric. We shouldn't do it, no matter what the circumstances. The memos were intended to provide flimsy legal cover, nothing more. And invoking how terrorists treat their hostages is ridiculous. That's the second-grade argument from "they do it too!" There's absolutely no reason for any state to condone it. Non-state actors may do it and when they do, they must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
The people arguing that it's a tool in the arsenal haven't ever shown how the other tools and SOPs are ineffective. In fact, there's plenty of evidence about the effectiveness of standard interrogation procedures as well as evidence for the inefficacy of waterboarding and other forms of torture. "If it means waterboarding, so be it" as somebody said. Well, that's the thing, that's not what it means. It was unnecessary, gratuitous and did nothing more than serve as a focal point for anger elsewhere.
And yes, waterboarding violates the Geneva Convention. It has also been prosecuted under US law.
http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/t … .html#more
Yep. Not to mention that we have damaged our country's reputation among civilized nations.
Leaving aside the question of what is torture, "no matter what the circumstances"? Really?
Yes. Don't give me the OMG Ticking Time-Bomb scenario. That's unrealistic and you know it.
Yeah, because we know none of the enemies of America like to use bombs, right? If you are trying to say that your categorical statement cannot stand then just come right out and say so.
Of course it can. They also like to fly planes. You're simply using that ticking time bomb scenario to elicit an emotional reaction. It's disingenuous.
Why don't you come right out and admit that torture has yielded less than you claim, that it hasn't prevented anything that SOP could not have? There's enough people on the record about it.
And you betray a lack of faith in your own values if you think your values need to be downgraded and subverted to fight whatever threat. Our humanity and civilization must necessarily have enough faith placed in them.
You don't have to get emotional to answer. Go ahead.
Actually, I haven't made any such claims because I don't have reliable data on that. There seem to be informed people on both sides making oppossing claims. People like to speak as if they were absolutely certain about whatever supports their point of view, but that is not the case. If we had unquestionable, scientific and unanimous information about whether or not certain techniques can yield results we wouldn't need to discuss it.
I have read that the doctors who sanctified the torture techniques were not experts by any stretch of the imagination. That this was the first time they had worked with interrogation techniques or the CIA. Yet they were both paid $1000 per day for their services. It seems very likely that the Bush Admin. was looking for 'evidence' to support their claims so that we could enter a war.
Really? I don't believe in going around and killing people and I don't like the idea of innocent people dying a violent death, but I sure do want police and the military to exercise the option of using deadly force when necessary. I don't ever want to kill anyone, but if some crazed murderer were trying to kill YOU I guess I would if I felt there was no other way to save you. I guess I couldn't count on you to do the same?
Torture isn't deadly force. They are two distinct things.
Yeah, exactly. Glad you said it. Many members of the U.S. Military would agree.
Which doesn't exactly strengthen your position, but keep avoiding the point if you like. If I were quite certain that utilizing questioning techniques that some could consider torture against a vicious killer would yield information that would save YOUR life and not doing so would likely result in your death, I guess I'd do what I had to do for your sake.
And I guess you wouldn't return the favor.
They are not "certain techniques". Oh, and please, if that's not a deliberately over-the-top emotional evocation, I don't know what is. How very big of you to do that for poor unsympathetic me.
Sure, yeah, no I wouldn't do that for you. No amount of emotional reframing will change that. And no, not for a poor old grandmother or the cutest kitten in the world. A vicious killer gets dealt with as vicious killers get dealt with. Not with torture. There are SOPs still.
But you are absolutely "certain" they are not effective, right?
No need to be emotional. It is a matter of making a choice.
I didn't think you would.
Of course, no innocent life is as important as your ability to feel self-righteous. Congratulations.
If you're going to pick apart a quote, respond to it. Efficacy and certain do not mean the same thing and you know it.
Of course not. You wouldn't ever use manipulative and overtly affective bait, would you? You know that a question can be just as affective as an answer, I'm sure.
Right in one. I wouldn't. Perhaps Jack Bauer might. Have you asked him?
Why, thank you. I'll take my medal now. You're wonderful with false analogies and projection. Also, at falsely establishing that "torture is the only way nothing else will work hypothetical doomsday scenario we're all gonna die oh why oh why won't you think of the babies and the innocent kittens?"
There is no way for you to argue those techniques are certain. Pending evidence, they are uncertain. I'm pretty sure you know how efficacy is judged. I'm certain of their lack of certainty. Personally, I don't even think their certainty should matter but I won't argue principle. They are not certain techniques, no matter how you spin them.
Right. Good job on the projection. You're saying there is no affective component to using "cute kittens" or "I would save you. You wouldn't save me"?
I'm perfectly convinced of my position, thanks. I haven't backtracked or contradicted myself or had to make unserious facile claims. You're seriously claiming that "Would you save an old innocent woman and a cute little kitten from a horrid death or would you let her die?" is not an affective question? That's not a cognitive question but to claim it is, well, that's some neat little chutzpah.
Of course there is, but I'll stipulate that I'm not certain they would always work. Are you certain they never could?
You're asking me to conclusively disprove a negative statement? Really?
No, I'm not.
So you won't answer. That makes your categorical statements much easier to make, I'm sure.
They are only talking to each other (well, sort of), Misha...lol.
No, I'm really not. I was trying to get his personal opinion based on what he does or does not know and what experience he may or may not have.
Not sure what exactly you are doing, and not gonna argue about it. But in the process you asked your opponent to make a statement that cannot be logically proven. I think you'll see that yourself when you cool down a bit.
See Lita, they react to external signals too
Please do. Maybe you haven't noticed that I've been trying to ascertain your principles.
No, you haven't. I'll tell you what. Why don't you tell me what yours are and we'll ascertain to our heart's delight? All you've done is presented me with a false choice involving saving you the martyr from terrorists, asked me to disprove a negative, told me that questions arent emotional by design, only answers are, disparaged my character. Good job on ascertaining my principles.
I guess you've noticed that the only one talking about kittens is YOU. As for the rest, I was asking questions about making choices. No emotion there that YOU have not applied. Maybe you are just overly emotoinal.
Right. So only you're allowed to frame affectively. That's nice. You accepted my premise when you included kittens and old people in your definition of innocent.
I've stated my choice many times over. No. I would not save you from a hypothetical fictional scenario. And torture is wrong. SOPs work.
Any emotion is being applied by you. Don't blame me if that is what you insist upon, or if on some level you can't really convince yourself of your position.
It would be kind of difficult to ask a fictional character, wouldn't it? As for you, you display all the 'character' I would expect of the likes of you.
Would be kind of difficult to ask me to hypothetically save you from terrorists then, wouldn't it? Because fictional scenarios and fictional characters are so disparate there is no comparison.
You're a man without doubt, eh? Nope. I simply refuse to let you or anyone else use cynical, self-serving means to hijack the country's morality.
I was asking YOU (I am assuming you are a real person) what you would do in a given situation. Are you incapable of abstract thought? Are you trying to insulate yourself from responsible discourse because you have never actually worked as an interrogator? That will leave very little room for discussion.
Nope. I'm both an unfeeling robot who won't save you and a glass case of emotion.
Conversely, are you incapable of abstract thought? And your question is not a serious question. It's predicated on the following things:
a) You've admitted you're not certain torture works. Yet, in your scenario, torture is the only thing standing between me and your certain horrific death.
b) SOPs don't work. Only torture does.
c) If I don't torture this person, you or innocent person A dies. It's pretty close to incredible how simple and linear this is. It's almost as if it were not a real-world scenario. Why? I wonder. Oh right, it's an outlier hypothetical that contradicts all evidence thus far.
YOU keep bringing up emotion the way YOU keep bringing up kittens. No need.
Ask a serious question that isn't an outright affective ploy and I won't bring up emotion. Tell me my choice is not between torture and certain death and I won't bring up kittens. I'm simply reframing what you are stating. Two can play the same game.
And it isn't what I consider torture, it's what the US and the Geneva Convention considers torture.
And now we come back to legal distinctions, which would seem to relieve you of your emoting.
Right. Legality does not matter. It's barely peripheral to this issue.
Your hypothetical situation is an unserious cynical ploy.
Okay, let's presume you think pedophilia is a terrible thing. I know I do. Now, someone presents you with a choice: Rape this child or everyone here dies. Would you do it? I'm sure someone would to protect your child. Would you do it to protect theirs?
Your question of me amounts to exactly that. Two can use ridiculous situations and false choices. You're not asking me a serious question and you expect me to give you a serious answer?
This is not an issue as raised by you. It is a false choice. Don't call it an issue when it isn't. I've already outlined how and what its assumptions rely on.
All you've proven is an allegiance to fictional expediency.
Yes, it was a hypothetical situation intended to determine your principles. You have avoided, demured, and become defensive instead of just answering directly and leaving it at that. Now, after much emoting, we know that innocent life is not as important to you as feeling good about yourself. At last we've cleared that up.
How does anything we've discussed serve me? How is the country's morality hijacked?
Torture is against the principles of Western thought. It was decried by every modern president who's gone on the record. There is no need for it. It does nothing more than debase its practitioners. There are procedures in place to prevent this sort of thing. By advancing the notion that torture is the most effective weapon in our interrogation arsenal, you're proposing something that is out of line with most rational thought.
Definitely more important that fictional unserious human life in a manipulative question. The choice is not Torture vs innocent life. That's what you're saying though. Over and over. If you're going to state an absurdity, be prepared to have it reframed. So yeah, kittens. Unless you think they're somehow evil and deserve all the pain and death coming to them.
LOL! Western history does not support that rosy view. The issue is not one of geography.
Now that suggests a degree of certainty.
Again, a categorical statement that suggest certainty.
Of course I've never said that it was "the most effective weapon," have I?
AGAIN pretending to be unable to think so as to avoid the issue.
And you have made it clear by now that in such a hypothetical situation you would sacrifice innocent life in favor of your ideals. If I didn't think you were just avoiding the practical consequences of your categorical position I might further qualify the hypothetical, but that is unnecessary at this point as you have made your etremist view known.
I have no doubt you truly feel as if you deserve one.
There are less harmful ways than torture that can be used, george bush is brainless so good on him.
Well, so far it appears there will be no prosecutions of those involved in the coerced interrogation. According the NY Times:
The findings, growing out of an inquiry that started in 2004, would represent a stinging rebuke of the lawyers and their legal arguments.
But (sic) they would stop short of the criminal referral sought by some human rights advocates...
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/06/us/po … mp;emc=rss
Generally, but not always, if a prosecutor refuses to prosecute something, it means they have no legal case to do so.
I've learned some lawyers are slimy, but know how to work the 'letter' of the law. They are not the only professionals or otherwise being considered for prosecution.
Yes, lawyers are a slimy bunch, and every administration uses them (and many Presidents are lawyers themselves!).
Yes, the letter of the law is what we follow in the USA. If they designed their interrogation techniques to fall outside the legal definition of torture, then it's not torture, and there's nothing to prosecute.
Yes, the lawyers actually are the only ones being considered for prosecution. Once AG Holder signs off on this memo, as he is expected to do, the Justice Dept. will move to civil actions against those attorneys, such as disbarment, which either be temporary or will also ultimately fail.
Hi Specificity - hope that life is treating you well.
I think that this sums up the problems with this type of debate - it is complex and built up of many differing opinions and areas of expertise. The problem is that somebody coming from one angle cannot always see the other point of view - we are all guilty of that sometimes.
For example, I have little knowledge of US law, nor do I have any particular inclination to learn. On the other hand, I study ethics a lot, and morality and ethics certainly does have a part in any debate about torture. The political angle is yet another angle, making the picture very muddy. It is tough to find common ground, but that is the key to preventing circular and bitter arguments.
Whilst I don't agree with you, I respect the fact that you are open minded enough to keep questioning your position, as we all must. Bgpappa summed it up in one of his hubs - "we don't have to agree, but we must all bring something to the table."
Personally, I detest the doctors and psychologists involved in the torture. They have broken their oath 'to do no harm,' and going against that particular part of their oath is a slippery slope. It is not a place where society wishes to go.
NYT editorial 5-7-09
The Torture Debate: The Missing Voices
Published: May 6, 2009
Last month’s release of memos prepared by the Bush Justice Department and the disclosure of a report by the International Committee of the Red Cross on the brutal treatment of detainees expanded public knowledge of an ignominious chapter in the nation’s history.
Editorial: The Torture Debate: The Lawyers (May 7, 2009)
But these and other related disclosures do not provide a complete record of the government’s abuse of detainees. One missing element is the words of those prisoners subjected to waterboarding and other brutality.
Those voices remain muffled by a combination of Bush-era resistance to a reasonable Freedom of Information Act request by the American Civil Liberties Union, and the gag order imposed on lawyers representing Guantánamo detainees. Attorney General Eric Holder needs to promptly repudiate both.
For two years, the A.C.L.U. has been seeking complete transcripts of the hearings at Guantánamo for 14 men who were previously in C.I.A. custody, including Abu Zubaydah, who has been described as an operative of Al Qaeda and was waterboarded at least 83 times. But the publicly released version of these transcripts deleted all detainee statements about their ordeals.
The A.C.L.U. is appealing an ill-considered ruling by a federal trial judge in the District of Columbia, who refused to review the sought-after material before blindly upholding the bogus Bush administration claim that disclosure would damage national security.
Rather than simply adopt the Bush stand, the Justice Department has obtained a filing extension and is weighing what to do. Plainly, the right thing to do is to release the transcripts with the redacted portions filled in. The Bush team’s national security claim always had the odor of a cover-up. The interrogation program it was protecting has been discontinued, and crucial details are known. It is unsupportable to blank out grim details.
The same considerations apply to the protective order that prohibits lawyers for Guantánamo detainees from speaking publicly about their clients’ treatment unless they receive the government’s permission or the information otherwise becomes public. Disclosure of the torture memos and the Red Cross report gives detainee lawyers more leeway, but they should not have to parse their words under a threat of prosecution.
Destruction of the C.I.A.’s interrogation videos has eliminated crucial evidence of the horrors heaped on key detainees. It is unclear exactly when the torture began, and whether the procedures followed stayed within the limits set forth by the Bush legal team. That makes it all the more important for the Obama administration to let detainees’ voices be heard.
While such accounts are suppressed, culpable ex-officials are busily trying to rewrite history. Consider a recent chat at a college reception between a student and Condoleezza Rice, who as White House national security adviser was deeply involved in the development of the authorization of brutality and torture.
Among the many absurd things Ms. Rice did was to offer this argument that waterboarding is legal: “By definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Convention Against Torture.”
That notion is just as ludicrous today as it was when Richard Nixon used it more than 30 years ago to excuse his own brand of lawbreaking.
Second NYT editorial 5-7-09
The Torture Debate: The Lawyers
May 6, 2009
It is encouraging to see the Obama team moving toward some accountability for the Bush administration lawyers who justified torture.
Wednesday’s Times reported that the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility concluded that the lawyers were guilty of serious lapses of judgment when they argued that detainees could be subjected to interrogation methods long banned by American law, military doctrine and international treaties.
A draft report by the office does not call for prosecuting those lawyers, The Times said, but is likely to ask state bar associations to consider disciplinary action. We believe it must do so in unequivocal language. Bar association disciplinary committees are not set up to do investigations into torture, but they have no excuse not to use documentary evidence from the report to proceed.
When the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel renders an opinion, it has the force of law within the executive branch. It is obvious when the attorneys in that office under President Bush were asked for their legal opinion on detainee treatment, they did not make a cold, independent judgment. They deliberately contorted the law to justify decisions that had already been made, making them complicit in those decisions.
Their acts were a grotesque abrogation of duty and breach of faith: as government officials sworn to protect the Constitution; as lawyers bound to render competent and honest legal opinions; and as citizens who played a major role in events that disgraced this country.
The three primary authors of the torture memos were John Yoo, Jay S. Bybee and Steven G. Bradbury. Based on their own words and what we have read about the Justice Department investigation, it is hard to imagine any bar association allowing them to go on practicing law.
Mr. Bybee’s case is the worst. While Mr. Yoo and Mr. Bradbury returned to private life, President Bush rewarded Mr. Bybee with a lifetime position on a federal appeals court. The memos he wrote or signed made it clear that he was not fit to make judgments about the law and the Constitution. Congress should remove him.
The Justice report was finished last November, but withheld by the Bush team to give Mr. Bybee and the others a chance to amend it. The Obama administration should release the full report quickly. There can be no excuse or justification for the abuses — or the abuse of the law. But telling the truth about what happened is the best way to ensure that it never happens again.
What an insightful quote! Thanks. I hope life is good for you as well.
You're right, and there are really several discussions going on here. Many here want to see the people who did/authorized the interrogations to be prosecuted. I see no legal grounds for that and that has been the thrust of my posts.
From an ethical standpoint, I hate the idea. Having been in US counterintelligence, I am told that interrogators who use these techniques die a little bit each time they perform them (I myself have been subjected to every form of coersion listed in the memo except waterboarding). They are bad. That said, just the fact that they are on the table as an option for interrogators has cracked prisoners who did not want to be tortured into giving us information that saved lives. Now that they are off the table, I don't know how we can get that same life-saving information.
I always enjoy your posts.
Life is great, thanks - if you have not checked out bgpappa's hubs, they are well worth a look.
I liked that quote of bg's because it sums up some of the problems with debate today. Too many people repeat shallow soundbites without bothering to think for themselves. It is too easy to label somebody as a 'liberal' and follow the Limbaugh path of accusing them of being unpatriotic etc. I am sure that the same applies the other way, but I do not get the chance to watch much US news.
With any moral or ethical issue, whether it be abortion, stem-cells, torture or war, and there is often no right answer. I am anti-torture, but as long as people who disagree have thought about the ramifications (as you have), then we have some good common ground to work with.
I suspect that this is much more of a purely political decision than anything else - maybe when the papers start appearing in a few years and we know a little more, the way to proceed may become clearer.
Likewise - I like reasonable people!
Thanks, way to suck all the fun out of an endless political argument.
I actually feel the same way! I do not think some realize that others kind of enjoy arguing. I think maybe because it gives you mental exercise, for one thing, if the opponents are sharp enough...I've always had a couple friends-polar opposites politically-where all we do is argue, which is fun!
For another--I for one am aware of the different perspectives people have--legal, ethical, inside experience, etc., etc. The interest then is in learning the perspectives--which is a second benefit of endless political arguments. Also in perhaps finding that common ground--but that is what real life can be used for, lol!
(sorry, Sufi )
Don't worry folks - so do I!
I just had a couple of good and intense debates with ledefensetech, so I am chilling out at the moment. I will be back to my normal alcohol fuelled sarcastic best soon.
tksensei - give it a wee while, and I am sure that this thread will take off again.
There of course, is a difference between the 'letter' of the law, and even that of true definition, not to mention intention.
ALL HONEST people know that, and know that ethically speaking many of the views expressed here along a certain political line of thinking are actually very extreme, even within a certain said political scope or philosophy.
That is my point here. For factual information, I will look to the professionals--the journalists-- first, , in good faith.
I'D point out that the doctors advocating torture never worked as interrogators, or around interrogators, either. In fact, this was their first foray into intelligence. So! Maybe the point here is mute?...edit..oops, I mean moot (long day!)
You guys are making me laugh! It isn't exactly a debate, you know? Funny to watch, though.
Heh hey Misha, Lita. Didn't see you there *wave*
I'm off to bed. I have more papers to grade than hours in the day
You are spinning yourself into knots to avoid simply admitting that your categorical position cannot stand (as most categorical positions cannot).
Way to sidestep every point raised so far. Also, way to misrepresent sarcasm.
Interrogation methods have always been borderline, questionable, its just once it becomes public knowledge that then it becomes a debate.
They will never admit it to it. Officials are so pompous and arrogant they know they can get off. Witness Atty General Gonzalez testimony to Congress. These guys are above the law.
Oh, but the technique worked is your answer.
well, then do not have international wartime laws if they are not followed by USA, Israel and other countries. And do not say that SUA is more civil than country A.
Who really follows them now anyway? I can't think of one country.
Here's what they're up to. Without getting much traction.
Adam Blickstein: In an act of desperation, the GOP has settled on attacking President Obama and the Democrats for closing Guantanamo because none of their other political tactics have worked. It's clear that they want to be the party of national security, but both polls and electoral reality continue to refute this perception. So while Democrats and the President continue to try and make America safe, the GOP flails with failed ideas and stale talking points on the one issue they think , wrongly of course, they have the higher ground on. And in the process, Republicans in Congress disparage the men, women and military officers who protect Americans from the dangerous terrorists who already reside in prison facilities across the country and argue that they simply can't continue to do their jobs and keep America safe. Click here to read more.
Wow, Sufi... You keep weird hours. Are you one of these writers who works at night because it is quiet and nobody bothers you?
Very, very good reason to work through the night!
Yup - I am a creature of the night!
Partly because it is quiet, but most of it is the joy of working across timezones. Had a client in Thailand to talk to by IM, so had to wait up.
The movie Goya's ghosts is an interesting study in torture. Not a wow movie but an interesting one. I initially watched it because I am a huge painting buff but there are some great lines and scenes regarding torture in it.
The fact is that many people will say and confess to ANYTHING if subjected for torture long enough, whether they are actually guilty or not.
And true fanatics would rather die than betray 'the cause'. So where does that leave us?
In my opinion 'leading by example' is the most important thing we can do. Intentionally causing pain and suffering to another living being does not promote a peaceful existence. If true peace is what you want then your example must be a peaceful path. Look at the overwhelming impact Ghandi had on society. Peaceful resistance is possible, it's just a difficult and slow process.
War is also a very difficult thing, however, I do believe that being an honorable soldier requires a desire to 'do the least amount of harm' that will result in a peaceful resolution.
Killing should be the last resort and torture should be unacceptable. If every soldier had refused the orders coming down from above we wouldn't be having this conversation.
I believe that the armed forces have a history of intentionally recruiting disillusioned young people that are psychologically easier to push and brainwash into doing things they would not have normally done. (And unfortunately there are those people who have murderous desires and enjoy torture who join the army so they can do it 'legally'.)
However, in the end we are all responsible for our own actions. We are responsible for all the good and all the bad we bring into the world. Actions have consequences. Legal, moral and ethical consequences. In my opinion the ones who CHOSE to give the orders and the ones who CHOSE to follow them without exercising their 'right to say no' do have to face the consequences, whatever that may be.
And I am well aware that exercising the 'right to say no' can end in your own humiliation, incarceration, torture and even death in certain circumstances but the choice is still ours to make.
Just my two cents.
So the CIA waterboarded a prisoner and obtained information that stopped a large-scale attack on Los Angeles. Lives saved, prisoner is still alive. By the logic above, it seems you think it would have been better not to capture the prisoner, but to have killed him on the battlefield and mourn the dead in LA. Surely I am misunderstanding you.
I would like to see what evidence you have for that.
The allegedly averted L.A. attack story has been disputed. We don't have all the facts on it yet.
There is plenty of evidence that police and prisons attract more than their share of overbearing, brutal bullies. Not long ago a scandal was revealed in Michigan where rape of women by prison guards was widespread. Reports of abuses of prisoners by jailers and police are common.
As Soviet practice of 1930s shows, you are absolutely correct. In fact the right wording would be "almost anybody"
Here I have to disagree. Soldier's job is to obey orders, otherwise army is not possible. It may sound inhumane, but this is how things work I believe.
More Legal Perspective
So I had a little time this morning and I did some research on the comparison of Japanese & CIA waterboarding. According to the wikipedia entry on the subject: In 1947, the United States prosecuted a Japanese military officer, Yukio Asano, for carrying out various acts of torture including kicking, clubbing, burning with cigarettes and using a form of waterboarding on a U.S. civilian during World War II.
Civilian. Legally, that is a completely different matter than what the CIA did. As for torturing POWs, much of what the Japanese did appeared to be for sport including feeding them dry rice and water until their bowels ruptured, amputation of healthy limbs, burying alive, and many other horrific treatments that even made the Nazis a little squeamish. It does not appear that the Japanese were prosecuted for waterboarding, but for severe, physically injurious torture. Reports say anywhere from 25-32% of British and US POWs dies in Japanese captivity.
It seems that some people are willing to support revisionist history in order to prosecute political enemies as war criminals. President Obama knew this when he originally refused to investigate and said he wanted to "move forward." This investigation is little more than brow-beating of political enemies at the behest of one wing of the Democrat party (and yes, after doing a little actual research on the basis for this investigation, I do believe it comes down to a partisan issue).
Torturing will always be a human debate. The truth is from a consequentialist viewpoint, torture may not be a bad thing. Consequentialism says that you look at the overall net benefit provided to the greatest amount of people. If you have to torture someone to save a million lives is it worth it? Before you rush off to say how it isn't, what if one of those million lives is yours?
Your comment assumes that torture "works." Knowledgeable people say it does not produce reliable information, and that other less cruel methods work better.
"Torture" is an abstract, subjective concept--YOUR definition of torture is grounded in your ideological biases.
Where have you been? - it has been far too quiet around here recently
Studying for the bar exam and finals-very busy.
Best of luck with that - Let us know how you get on with them, and we can start up a party thread when you pass
Wrong as usual. My definition of torture is grounded in definitions long and widely, if not universally, accepted around the world and definitions in my dictionary.
Here's an example from the UK
http://www.harpweb.org.uk/content.php?s … ;con=m17-1
You seem to put a lot of stock in how many other people share your opinion. Lots of people around the world think the USA was wrong on this issue, but they think it's wrong any time the USA stands up for its own interests. I would expect the majority to think what the USA did was wrong, but that doesn't make it so.
That's what legal definitions are for; they remove the subjectivity.
I think you are mistaken here. If legal definitions were completely objective, we would not need courts to interpret them. So yes, they are definitely more objective than personal opinions, but not fully objective
Yup, and just because something is legal does not make it 'right.' In some countries, the law states that adulterous women, often including victims of rape, should be stoned to death.
No amount of legal shenanigans is going to convince me that the practice is acceptable. The law can be an ass
Very true. Legal decisions are among the most subjective interpretations around. However, consensuses are meaningful.
So when two wolves and a sheep vote on what to have for dinner, there is consensus among the wolves, and that is...meaningful?
We're talking about laws (US Code, Geneva Convention) that have already been ruled upon before. Surely a law + precedence carries some weight with you folks? True, as Sufi says, the law can be an ass, and I certainly am not of the persuasion of Hobbes' thinking that the law can never be wrong, but we certainly can't prosecute people based on consensus.
Our new President has taken coersion off the table and apologized to the world for it. What would you (all) like to see going forward?
The problem with the torture idea is that is consequentialist - A must lead to B. Saying that torture stopped attacks is a narrow view, and only looks in a linear dimension. In 1971, the British did much the same thing with IRA suspects, bringing in internment without trial and extreme psychological torture.
This acted as a fine recruiting sergeant for the IRA, as well as providing them with more financial 'donations,' and the bombing campaign intensified. Basically, it backfired, and these stories coming out of Guantanamo are having serious long term effects.
The answer is not easy, but there was finally peace in Northern Ireland, through talking instead of maltreatment and 'tit for tat.' Ultimately, you have to engage with terrorists, however nasty the taste, and that requires a 'moral high ground.' That does work both ways, so I can understand why Obama is a little cagey about the whole prosecution affair.
Embracing the lowest common denominator is not a good thing - the campaign becomes ever more bitter. People stop fighting for a cause and begin fighting for revenge - it is hard to reason with that emotion.
Answering your final question, it is not an easy process, but the US has to change the image that it has of being a bully that does what it wants, and realise that it is part of the international community.
I see what you're saying, Sufi, but I think your analogy is a little off. In Northern Ireland, there was actually something to negotiate for. In this case, if you ask the terrorists what they want, they'll answer 'death to America and Israel.' There is no way to engage that kind of hatred. Over decades we have seen that even when they agree to land for peace or somesuch scheme, they take the time to re-arm and go back on the attack. When someone says, "I want you dead" there's little room for negotiation.
As for being part of the world community, I don't think the world will ever look past those areas where they disagree with the USA to appreciate all the times we're there with money, aid, troops, and whatever else is needed. Few countries in the world would weather disasters as well as they do if we stopped responding with help, yet we still look like the bully. Even in war we try hard to avoid civilian deaths and we return the nation back to the people, yet we're branded 'imperialists.' I'm not sure we'll ever please the world community.
I agree there are many humanitarian works being performed by USA (and personally I prefer all such efforts to be routed through a world body like UN). The reason I prefer through UN is that it sometimes may fill a nation with a false sense of pride or maybe end up considering themselves a benevolent force of good across the world (as the erstwhile British empire) and then justify there bad acts too since they do some good acts. I think the axis of evil propounded by Mr.Bush only tends to take on selectively. If Russia/China indulged in anything US tends to just issue some statements as has been seen from Tibet to present day Darfur. Even the pressure being applied on countries like India for nuclear compliance on NPT is meaningless when USA/Russia have more than 90% of the nuclear arsenals. I guess US tends to selectively promote its ideals of human rights and democracy. I don't remember who said this "US doesn't have any permanent friends only permanent interests". Btw do you still think US is unfairly considered a "bully" after entering Iraq on a false pretext? Let us all pray and hope that President Obama is able to correct this negative image of US across the globe. And as Sufi said one needs to have a higher moral ground to gain respect for the actions.
Certainly, it is not an easy process - the Irish troubles lasted for over 40 years. The reason that I made the analogy is that the process revolved around the people. The people, on both sides of the divide, had had enough. I am convinced that the vast majority of the Islamic world does not support terrorism, so the key is to engage the moderates and let them stop it. Not easy and a long process.
The US does have a bad image internationally - Greeks still do not trust the American government for something that happened 45 years ago! The key is that they have nothing against the American people, who most people see as kind and decent. The problem, only in my opinion, is that the US does a lot of good work, but phrases like "Your either with us, or against us," create a bad impression and force opinion to polarize. I like America (it provides me with work!), but not the foreign policy.
Certainly a long and tough road, but challenges bring out the best in American ingenuity
EDIT: Enjoy the Weekend!
I would like to see America stand for what the Declaration and Constitution hold. But of course, the founding fathers were trying to escape central banks and now the middle class is being screwed by central banks and by liar loans and by loan sharking credit card banks. Guess we lost the revolution after all, to the sob big banks.
And we still are killing people in Afghanistan in order to put a pipeline into the country. We never went into Afghanistan for 911 as that was just an excuse.
Tell me Specificity, did you know that the Taliban were invited and went to Texas in order to be bribed for that pipeline access? They rejected the bribe and the rest is history.
I saw them at a Rangers game with BigFoot and Elvis.
Clinton and Bush negotiated with the Taliban like we do with lots of countries hoping that our magical Western Influence will make them cease their evil ways and ride over to our side on pink unicorns. It never works.
If Afghanistan was just a ruse, why is everyone else claiming that the war in Iraq was a distraction and we need to get Bin Laden in Afghanistan? Are you saying that President Obama is also a greedy oilman?
On a personal note
I just got a phone call indicating that everything has fallen into place for me to take a short trip into the woods with just my backpack, a good book, a fishing pole, and a borrowed dog. There's just enough light left to get my tent set up before dark. See you all in 2 days!
I realize you are backpacking but the truth is stealing Iraq oil is imperialism. Paul Wolfowitz, architect of the Iraq War was telling people in Europe that Iraq was swimming on a sea of oil. Those are the facts.
As far as conjecture regarding the Taliban, Unocal gave weapons to the Taliban until they rejected the bribe. Bottom line, Daddy Bush, war profiteer that he is, like his Father Prescott Bush who financed Hitler, has investments in the Caspian and W. tried to protect that investment. So our war in Afghanistan is a war crime and imperialism just like Iraq.
Oh brother.....let me guess, and George Bush masterminded 911 so he could have that excuse, right?
If we could make a car that runs on nuts we'd be all set...
Human rights are generally recognized as universals. It isn't even about the rule of a consensus. As you know, there have been times when it turned out that a minority was in the right--many instances throughout a long history.
This is an ethical universal--and while subject to interpretation as it must be certainly as to the degree of what constitutes torture--the Bush admin. was aware that these techniques were at best, borderline as far as ethics (let alone the fact that it is also universally recognized these methods work to the detriment of interrogation results). If this admin. was aware and admits to uncertainty (taking the high road in that regard and with the word 'uncertaintly')--and this is obvious by the dearth of information that is coming forward--then why can't you see this?
The real issue is that the US has lost the respect of other lawful nations around the world. Yes, I'm in support of a legal view--one that has been established that has set the standards for international law for humanitarian concerns years ago. Parsing and mincing of words for sleazy legal 'truth,' will always be just that. And a lawless nation is a lawless nation.
So...you want to follow the rule of law, but only when you don't feel it is "sleazy," but you don't want to be "lawless."
Is that a double contradiction?
I don't feel that it is. Unless you think Clinton saying that "he did not have sex with that woman," was truthful to the rule of law and not sleazy.
This should not be a partisan issue. And you see I'm not the one offering a contradiction, am I? There is a difference between 'rule' and the sleazy 'letter' of law across the board.
Actually, that was not truthful to the law. That's part of why he was impeached.
Sure, the difference is what you like or what you don't. But "a country of laws" doesn't work like that.
Ahem, wrong. Not to my way of thinking. (Which is the problem and the assumption here--not all think about benefits and what they 'like' and 'don't like' for their party or interests.) It is my belief that there are certain universal laws/rights that are sanctioned across the board--just as it is a universal that we all breathe air. I believe in this case, the issue of torture has already been settled.
To my knowledge, Clinton was not impeached. See, I couldn't resist--I understood what you were saying, but d*mn, you didn't say it with clarity, so that automatically makes me right, doesn't it, to the letter? ....Hope you might know where I'm going with that?
I'm wondering how you feel about the character of Javert in Les Miserables? lol
The only partisan point I'd make here is that I find Clinton having an affair being an impeachable offense utterly, utterly ridiculous as compared to basically what amounts to war crimes committed under the Bush Admin... But then maybe that's not so partisan of an opinion. Maybe it's just one of a reasonable person.
Although the impeachment process succeeded at the level of the House of Representatives, without the Senate's confirming action in this matter, no further action was taken.
On December 19, following much debate over the constitutionality of the proceedings and whether or not Clinton could be punished by censure rather than impeachment, the House of Representatives held its historic vote. Clinton was impeached on two counts, grand jury perjury (228–206) and obstruction of justice (221–212), with the votes split along party lines. The Senate Republicans, however, were unable to gather enough support to achieve the two-thirds majority required for his conviction. On Feb. 12, 1999, the Senate acquitted President Clinton on both counts. The perjury charge failed by a vote of 55–45, with 10 Republicans voting against impeachment along with all 45 Democrats. The obstruction of justice vote was 50–50, with 5 Republicans breaking ranks to vote against impeachment.
...but not convicted.
Nothing else to say about the general MEAT of what I said, or shall it all be semantics? In which case, I personally don't like playing so much, and will have to start agreeing with everyone, .
I'm afraid you don't understand what impeachment is. It is the process, charges brought against the defendant. Impeachment does not mean conviction or the removal of the official from office. Clinton was impeached, it is a fact.
I have to say "where's the beef?" We are still left with your claim that you support the law but not when you feel it has been applied in a "sleazy" way. I can't avoid seeing the contradiction there.
I am not sure of US law in general and impeachment proceedings in particular. But usually those who are undergoing trial aren't considered guilty unless charged/convicted. I read that Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 were tried and acquitted. I also read the full document where it says "A two-thirds supermajority of those Senators "present" is required to convict"
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_On … peachments
Thanks, CW. But I reckon TK-teacher won his tick-tack-toe game, I'll concede, lol...but I'm not being too generous.
Please pardon me if I didn't understand the context and barged in between any "games" that you both were playing.
No, you are fine, CW. That last was supposed to be an editorial comment on my part on the way some people win arguments... Or did they really 'win?' Or to go further, does America win?
It's not. That is not what he was impeached for.
And this brings us back to the law vs emotions
And NO, its not so much emotion (in fact, none registering) as it is being incredulous that these are actually supposed to be reasonable people. An affair? Sex? Vs. going against the tenets of international law. Hmmmmmmm.
Again, what do you think of the character of Javert?
I would agree it is
To avoid it in my own life, I just don't follow the law unless I am forced to, and follow my own set of rules, that may or may not correspond to certain laws and change perpetually according to my life experience
Valid point you bring up. That being said, I have a hard time believing that torture doesn't produce good information (although I could be wrong). Why else would good people do such a cruel thing? The comments on here that we just enjoy hurting other people seem very unreasonable. What am I missing?
haha very funny.
I doubt our government wakes up in the morning thinking "I really can't wait to water board someone today. Who do we have that I can water board?" If you think that, then maybe you are the one that needs a reality check my friend. If they continue doing it, then it must be showing some results. We live in a results oriented society.
Government definitely does not, it is so busy with ripping all of us of all of our money it does not have any other thoughts. But certain interrogators do. This you fail to acknowledge. Juts recall Abu-Graib
And no, if you did not notice yet, in America we live in show-off oriented society, it is materially different from results oriented.
Agree with you on the interrogator comment (some of them, I would think a minority, probably have bad intentions).
How does a show-off oriented society relate to torture? I fail to see what we are showing off. In fact, in most cases aren't we trying to conceal that we even know about it? (Nancy Pelosi).
Oh, that's easy. Tortured people tell whatever they are instructed to tell, in order to stop the torture. So interrogators get the record number of cases resolved in record time. Does not matter that those cases later fall apart in the court, they were already reported and recorded as resolved and resulted in bonuses/promotions (see Guantanamo cases)...
Don't know about the physical torture (although I suspect the same is true), but psychological torture, such as sleep and sensory deprivation does give false and reliable information. Apart from making the recipient confused and unable to answer even a simple question, they will attempt to give the answer that they think will make it stop.
From what I can see, we continue to torture not because it works, (studies and experts show that it does not) but because there is a segment of society who experience strong sadistic impulses and those people are often unleashed upon illdoers.
We allow these people to torture because we are afraid, because inflicting pain on others, even in a second hand fashion, makes us feel strong. Because we are willing to sacrifice our humanity in the pursuit of power, in the pursuit of an illusion of safety which can never be real.
The fact that there is even debate over whether or not people will be charged for these human rights violations demonstrates that we do not understand that we follow ethical codes for ourselves and for the sake of our own societies, not because other people have 'earned' this right.
When we torture, we become all that we fear.
Hope, I agree, it's just not acceptable. We have to draw the line, otherwise, we are no different than the "enemy" and our principles mean nothing.
'Consequentialist viewpoint'? Isn't that just a fancy pants way of saying 'the ends justify the means'?
Ralph is right though--even from that 'consequentialist viewpoint' the ends are more negative than positive. For every fragment of semi-useful information (that could have been gleaned in a less abusive fashion) you get thousands of lies told willingly just to make the pain stop, a populace stripped of basic human rights (and that includes you, my friend), and enemies who now hate us for good reasons instead of bad ones.
It's surreal to see the right reduced to defending torture. I feel like I'm living in some weird dystopian novel.
The less abusive tactics work primarily because the more coercive tactics are on the table. Terrorists train hard to resist torture and are treated to all kinds of polemic concerning how they'll be treated if captured. Many are surprised to get food, a bath, and shoes instead. Now we have announced to the world that coersion is off the table. If there were no consequences, how much information would you divulge?
What do you base that assertion on? Experience or conjecture?
I don't know what to say except you're wrong. Every single bit of evidence shows that torture is counterproductive. I was married to an FBI counterintelligence agent for years, and his brother was CIA for 20 years. The FBI walked away from this nonsense, not just because it violates international law, but because it's ineffective and insulting to the years of field experience of every good intelligence agent we have.
What you are saying is simply false. You can say it all you want with all the authority you can muster but nothing supports your view and no on in the field agrees with you.
If torture did work, I'd still be against it. But this argument that we have to use torture because it is so effective is lame.
As a staunch supporter of our right to defend this nation's security, I nevertheless believe the primary argument against the use of torture is one of humanity rather than any measure of the effectiveness of coercion. Ultimately, we are accountable as individuals and as a nation for our acts - those of commission and of omission. We degrade our humanity as a people when we subject prisoners of war, terrorists, non-documented would-be bombers, etc. to inhuman acts of coercion or brutality.
Alexis de Tocqueville, a 19th century French historian, visited America to try to learn the reason for her prosperity and rise to prominence on the world stage. After his American tour ended, Tocqueville concluded, "America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
Our handling of such critical issues of humanity and morality determines the very direction of this nation's destiny. Every blessing has a corresponding sacrifice. If America wishes (to continue) to be great, we must first be good.
I'm married to a physician, that doesn't qualify me to see patients. I was however in military intel/counter-intel.
We're seeing as more and more light is shed on the situation that there were no laws broken. It appears there will be no prosecutions, and I challenge you to make a legal argument otherwise. You defintion of torture is different from the legal definition, and that's cool, but you can't use them interchangeably.
@ pgrundy & Ralph Deeds: In his book How to Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq, author and interrogator Matthew Alexander discusses his disdain for coercive techniques, but also notes that the threat of coersion was clearly on the mind of detainees. There was always the chance that if they didn't cooperate, their friend Mr. Alexander would be replaced with someone not nearly so nice. My opinions are not personal conjecture; I do have some experience in the field and have been subjected to all the coersion techniques listed in the Bush memos except waterboarding.
Touché on the ends justify the means comment!
Nevertheless I'm okay with my basic human rights being stripped if I'm out slaughtering innocent people. In fact, I would expect my rights to be stripped if I were acting in such a manner.
What about the detainees who were released without charge? Did they deserve to have their rights stripped?
If they were indeed innocent, then I would agree with you they didn't deserve to have their rights stripped. This is a weakness in consequentialist viewpoint: the minority rights are often trampled upon. If a more creative solution exists, then I'm all for it.
Never been the biggest fan of consequentialism - it is too easily misused into an end-justifies-the-means mentality, and that is a dangerous path to tread.
Why does no one who favors this kind of thing for the 'guilty' ever stop to think it could happen to themselves? Once you are assumed guilty and stripped of your rights, there's no way to prove you are innocent. You've already been charged, convicted, and hauled off to a secret prison.
Do people honestly think this can never happen to Americans? Do you think it will only happen to 'bad' people? Once the precedent is established, the government can haul off each and every person on this forum if they want to, including the ones defending torture as a necessary evil, and torture them. All they have to do is say they have a suspicion that you might know something about some terrorist. You don't even have to be one. You don't even have to be charged with anything.
Personally, I'd like to close off that possibility for myself and my loved ones.
Proponents of torture should ask themselves two questions:
1) What if you end up being the tortured victim?
2) How about a family member of yours?
Would you still support such a heinous act?
Bush was no better than Hitler. In fighting terrorism, Bush became a terrorist himself. Bush was a terrorist and should be tried in the court of law subjected to the same process as innocent and guilty subjects of 'war on terror' were made to go through. The world should know better what America actually believes in and stands for.
by Ralph Deeds 9 years ago
It appears to me that the torture issue, as Frank Rich observed in today's NY Times, is "bigger" than Obama. Rich's Op-ed provides a concise summary of where the issue currently stands. In my opinion, Obama had better get out from in front of the train! Here's a link to Frank Rich's...
by tobey100 8 years ago
Obama states "It not that the people are mad about the past year or two years, they're mad about the past eight years". What? So this savior of mankind, after the stunning upset in MA. is telling us that the people are so mad at the republicans and George Bush they elected a...
by Hollie Thomas 5 years ago
Recently, Desmond Tutu has refused to appear at conference in South Africa because Tony Blair will be present. Tutu has also made clear his feelings about George Bush and Tony Blair and their involvement in the Iraq war, calling for both to be brought before the ICC to face charges. Do you believe...
by The Medicine Man 3 years ago
Obama's executive orders 144, Clinton 364, Bush 291, Hoover 968 why is said he's issued the most?
by marinealways24 8 years ago
All opinions respected. Who would win a debate between Obama and Limbaugh?
by Julianna 9 years ago
"Cold War Baby" had written an article on this documentary and interesting enough there is an abundance of fact and truth to what happened post 09/11 , what is disgusting is that our government killed our own people. If you get the time please review the video as it is an 1:29 minutes...
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