Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 8, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

LOSING THE WAR....The New York Times reports today on the details of George Bush's proposed legislation regarding the interrogation of detainees. The wording is apparently so convoluted as to be nearly impenetrable, but once it's finally been penetrated it turns out that the meaning is clear:

Many of the harsh interrogation techniques repudiated by the Pentagon on Wednesday would be made lawful by legislation put forward the same day by the Bush administration. And the courts would be forbidden from intervening.

....Legal experts say it adds up to an apparently unique interpretation of the Geneva Conventions, one that could allow C.I.A. operatives and others to use many of the very techniques disavowed by the Pentagon, including stress positions, sleep deprivation and extreme temperatures.

Even the Pentagon says this stuff is barbaric and ineffective. They have figured out, in theory if not always in practice, that we are essentially fighting a global counterinsurgency, not World War III, and that this is precisely the kind of thing that produces blowback a hundred times worse than the meager amount of information we get from torturing these guys. It's a recipe for losing the war against jihadism.

But Bush is bound and determined to write it into law anyway. He is, apparently, bound and determined to continue losing the war he has fought so ineptly for the past five years. I sure hope there are at least a few Republicans who have figured this out and can put the brakes on Bush's folly. We need to start winning.

Kevin Drum 1:12 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (185)

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Even the Pentagon says this stuff is barbaric and ineffective.

COMPLETELY WRONG. President George W Bush, Commander in Chief of the War on Islamofascism, himself gave some examples of how very effective torture is in combatting the Islamofascists.

Link

"Today, I'm going to share with you some of the examples provided by our intelligence community of how this program has saved lives; why it remains vital to the security of the United States, and our friends and allies; and why it deserves the support of the United States Congress and the American people."
"Within months of September the 11th, 2001, we captured a man known as Abu Zubaydah. We believe that Zubaydah was a senior terrorist leader and a trusted associate of Osama bin Laden."
"We knew that Zubaydah had more information that could save innocent lives, but he stopped talking. As his questioning proceeded, it became clear that he had received training on how to resist interrogation. And so the CIA used an alternative set of procedures. These procedures were designed to be safe, to comply with our laws, our Constitution, and our treaty obligations. The Department of Justice reviewed the authorized methods extensively and determined them to be lawful."
"Zubaydah was questioned using these procedures, and soon he began to provide information on key al Qaeda operatives, including information that helped us find and capture more of those responsible for the attacks on September the 11th. For example, Zubaydah identified one of KSM's accomplices in the 9/11 attacks -- a terrorist named Ramzi bin al Shibh. The information Zubaydah provided helped lead to the capture of bin al Shibh. And together these two terrorists provided information that helped in the planning and execution of the operation that captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed."

Posted by: Al on September 8, 2006 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

Blowback like what? Chopping people's heads off? Oh wait they already do that.

Seriously if we're not allowed to use stress positions, sleep deprevation, and air conditioning, what can we do? Ask them to pretty please to give us the information we need?

Posted by: Will on September 8, 2006 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

What you say? GWB trying to get some stealth legislation passed that does that opposite of what he says it will do? Haven't seen that one before....

Posted by: Disputo on September 8, 2006 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin --

Here, you are way behind curve!

Where have you been and what do you smoke?

The JAGs already evidenced to the House of Reps. The Dem reps and sens already picked up on this today. Before that, everyone is against torture!

Just to catch you up (from 13:00 hrs CST, sept 7) all this argument has already been gone over. It's up to the Dems and the conscionable Repubs to bring action and to form legislation both legal and practical. What do you know?

Tell me when that happens!!

Posted by: notthere on September 8, 2006 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

Good lord, what do the trolls get out of it? I would be so friggin' bored by now... does someone pay these people?

Posted by: fishbane on September 8, 2006 at 1:42 AM | PERMALINK

"Seriously if we're not allowed to use stress positions, sleep deprevation, and air conditioning, what can we do?"

Give up. Pull back. Surrender. Negotiate terms. It's the only specific course of action the Democrats have actually mentioned so far.

Posted by: carlos on September 8, 2006 at 1:43 AM | PERMALINK

Here's another data point: I'm in favor of drawing and quartering Thomas1 in order to save the lives of 1,000,000 chickens.

Posted by: Disputo on September 8, 2006 at 1:48 AM | PERMALINK

If the Pentagon doesn't think it works, and has repudiated it, i.e. won't use it, what difference does it make whether the Congress has approved it or not?

Posted by: gary on September 8, 2006 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

One innocent human life is worth more than all the poultry in the world.

I agree, but I was talking about you.

Posted by: Disputo on September 8, 2006 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

George W. Bush is fucking insane.

Thomas1, on the other hand, is just stupid.

Posted by: SteveK on September 8, 2006 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

Aren't there any Republicans that are at least a little bit embarrassed that the President would choose to bring this up right before the anniversary of 9/11 and deep into election season? And if you are not embarrassed, please explain why. This is emotional blackmail, and it makes me sick.

Posted by: enozinho on September 8, 2006 at 1:57 AM | PERMALINK

Blowback like what? Chopping people's heads off? Oh wait they already do that.

How many American's lost their heads under Clinton?

I mean, Jesus Christ, rightwing christians. If you can't understand the potential power of a tortured martyr, I don't know who will.

Posted by: toast on September 8, 2006 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

For instance, a belly slap to save 1,000,000 American lives seems O.K. to me.

Is there a menu somewhere in conservaloony-land that details these absurd tradeoffs?

Posted by: craigie on September 8, 2006 at 2:01 AM | PERMALINK

It always amazes me that the wingnuts are actually anxious to proclaim their cowardice and promote moral relativism. Not only do they lack a moral core, they can't imagine that anyone else has one.

I'd like to see them driving around with a Torture Saves Lives sticker.

Posted by: bad Jim on September 8, 2006 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

If our government had not had these techniques available we could not have prevented 9/11 and captured Osama bin Ladin.

Posted by: GW Bush on September 8, 2006 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe it's just that we've had too many movies and TV shows in which the cops administer the third degree and the truth emerges, and too few showing a prisoner tortured into a false confession.

The Stalinist dungeons were certainly models of jurisprudential efficiency, weren't they?

Posted by: bad Jim on September 8, 2006 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

Al, Al, Al.

Yes, when they tortured Zubaydah he talked. The problem is, Zubaydah didn't know anything, so he made crap up, to get the torture to stop. The details are in Suskind's book, "The One Percent Doctrine", and are summarized in this article.

Posted by: Joe Buck on September 8, 2006 at 2:34 AM | PERMALINK

Why does the Pentagon hate America?

Posted by: kth on September 8, 2006 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK

Torturing terrorists has an undeniable visceral appeal. Unfortunately knee-jerk bloodlust and hate trumps the fact that torture is ineffective, immoral, and a long-term threat to our prestige and the safety or our troops in the world. (Yes, some terrorists will chop of American heads no matter what we do; but others, such as the Iraqis who kidnapped Jill Carroll, do not; also it is incredibly myopic to imply that 'terrorists' are the only enemies our men in uniform will ever face in future).

So why would Bush push for the power to torture people if everyone (who knows what they are talking about) says it's not only ineffective but also counter-productive? Three big reasons:

One, it's a crowd pleaser. Base emotions like fear, sex, and cruelty resonate with voters, especially the uninformed.

Two, torture is a great way to get someone to say ANYTHING you want them to say. You don't need evidence to convict someone when you can torture a confession out of them. For example, it's a safe bet that a skilled torturer could induce Karl Rove to admit the Bush administration colluded with Enron, let 9/11 happen, fabricated pre-war intelligence on WMDs, deliberately let OBL escape, orchestrated the Swift Boat attacks, used Diebold to steal the 2004 election, and has otherwise violated the constitution scores of times. Okay, bad example. =)

Three, Bush thinks it makes him look tough. And in fact, many American voters will see it that way too.

However, preaching to the choir doesn't do a thing to convert the people outside. Torturing prisoners not only alienates us from our allies but also fuels hatred for the US throughout the world and especially in the Middle East.

This is just another example where Bush is perfectly willing to violate the constitution, violate the Geneva Convention, break and federal laws, violate military laws, alienate our friends, and create new enemies all for purely political short term gain. (In case you haven't heard, there's an election in around the corner)

Posted by: Augustus on September 8, 2006 at 2:43 AM | PERMALINK

"If you wanna know something and he won't tell you, cut off one of his fingers. The little one. Then tell him his thumb's next. After that, he'll tell you if he wears ladies' underwear. I'm hungry. Let's get a taco."

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on September 8, 2006 at 2:43 AM | PERMALINK

If you tortured me enough I'd say our president was good for the country.

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on September 8, 2006 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK

The sad thing about Al is that he still believes everything President Bush says. He's one of the people who made PT Barnum a prophet.

He's also one of the reasons that Rev Moon knew he had to take the side of the GOP. Republicans make great cultists.


And Thomas1 is DougJ and American Hawk. He does a damn good spoof of a Republican though, doesn't he?

Posted by: Mike S on September 8, 2006 at 2:54 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

The president's proposal is an attempt at political theater to try to force dems into a lose/lose vote. As Josh Marshal pointed out nearly two days ago. The legislation itself is a giantic power grab as well as an attempt to slide in retroactive legalization to people and acts already commited on the president's authority.

This legislation needs to die. Any republican or dem who publically and loudly stands up for our nation's traditional constitutional principles and against this terrible and cynical bill will win major points with the public. We've had enough of the empty chest thumping from this whitehouse.

When revealing the secret prisons, the preident has shown that their disclosure can go overnight from a "treasonable offense" to a throwaway detail of the latest political gambit. This exposes the whole of cards that is the "War on Terror" that they have constructed and milked these last 5 years.

If this "WOT" is an existential threat to the safety and existence of the nation, as Team Bush/Cheney has been marketing it, they have by revealing their ability to use these people as pawns in the Novmeber campaign shown just how unserious this whole process really has always been to them.

Either it is as dangerous as he has been claiming, and he is in fact putting the nation at risk for the sake of election campaign, or he has been lieing the whole time and it was never a serious threat to begin with.

Either way we've had enough.

Posted by: patience on September 8, 2006 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

Good patriotic Democrats like Alan Dershowitz and me realize we are at war for our survival.

Posted by: Thomas1 on September 8, 2006 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

Thomas, what would it look like, if we lost this "war for our survival," as you call it? Specifically. Tell me what would America look like, be like. Please describe it in detail?

Posted by: Maeven on September 8, 2006 at 3:12 AM | PERMALINK

So why would Bush push for the power to torture people if everyone (who knows what they are talking about) says it's not only ineffective but also counter-productive? Three big reasons:

Fourth reason, and IMO the real reason:

Bush and the entire neocon movement are authoritarians. They do not negotiate. "My way or the highway."

Think back to the early days of the Bush-Cheney administration. Think back to what things were like in Congress, and how it took Jim Jeffords leaving the Republican party to stop the steamroller that was Bush-Cheney legislation.

Bush-Cheney (and the modern Republican party, which includes Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, Santorum, Frist) do NOT compromise or negotiate with their countrymen (Democrats) - why would they even consider what others from halfway around the world want? They don't get along with anybody outside of their circle, and if they ran out of outside enemies (if they succeed in wiping us Democrats out, and all others whom they oppose), they'd start on each other.

Bush-Cheney, authoritarians in general, have little understand or interest in understanding, other people's positions. They don't care what other people want. To consider anything but their own wants creates stress within themselves. And that's what their desire to torture is about. It's pure fury at being turned down. It's a primitive, infantile rage reaction to being denied what they believe is their right - whatever they want at the moment. The stress when their wants are denied is blinding.

We're talking about serious pathology. These are not sane and healthy people.

I'm not kidding.

Posted by: Maeven on September 8, 2006 at 3:34 AM | PERMALINK

You trolls should be bound and determined... because you are certainly determined to be really bad Americans. Traitors, in fact. People who put forth torture as means to an end -- well, put that ticking time bomb up your asses and tell us how proud (not loud) that makes you.

Posted by: Kenji on September 8, 2006 at 3:38 AM | PERMALINK

Maeven, you will appreciate an anecdote I heard about Bush.

A classmate of Dubya's met Jeb when Bush was running for president in 2000. He brought up a story about a friendly pickup game of basketball he and some friends had played with Dubya. Bush fouled him very hard for no apparent reason. When he finally picked himself off the ground, he had a word with Bush to try and figure out why he did it (a mistake or did he not want to keep the game friendly?).

Bush gave him the impression that it was a mistake, so they played on, he let it go and let his guard down. Bush fouled him again, even harder - like it was payback for a personal grudge (for calling Bush on his previous bad behavior?).

He asked Jeb about it and Jeb laughed and said 'George is what we in the South call a "hard case"'. Probably the translation is 'cruel for the fun of it'.

I agree with your characterization of Bush and company as being cruel and abusive by nature. It may even have been a factor in the initial decision to use torture. But I would guess that it is nevertheless incidental to the public political game they are playing now: whipping up the worst in human nature for their own political cover and gain.


Posted by: Augustus on September 8, 2006 at 3:54 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, theres no indication that they, like their slack-jawed followers, actually believe anything good comes of these extreme methods. They just like to make a nasty imprint on the world, for the principle of the thing, you might say.

But thats them. What excuse does the American public have.

Posted by: Kenji on September 8, 2006 at 4:29 AM | PERMALINK

Thomas, what would it look like, if we lost this "war for our survival," as you call it? Specifically. Tell me what would America look like, be like. Please describe it in detail?

I'm thinking it would have universal health care, a progressive taxation system, balanced budgets, less and less reliance on fossil fuels, no government secret surveillance programs on Americans, public campaign financing, sexual health education and contraceptive availability, and decentralization rules for corporate media. See, Thomas1 and his kind really are in a war for their survival. But you and me are the enemy.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 8, 2006 at 5:55 AM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe:

Further proof that liberals hate America :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 5:59 AM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe:

Thought doubtless it doesn't beat universal healthcare, the image of Thomas being "offered" to convert to Islam at swordpoint *is* kind of amusing to contemplate :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 6:05 AM | PERMALINK

"No more pork for you!"

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 6:21 AM | PERMALINK

Thomas1, you still have an outstanding question unanswered from the prior thread on torture. You've got zero credibility until you address it - and not simply say you're not going to address it because you don't believe it.

Posted by: Rich S on September 8, 2006 at 6:33 AM | PERMALINK

Re. losing GWOT. Really who cares about something as mundane as that! It's just a pretext for winning the war against Dems.

Posted by: snicker-snack on September 8, 2006 at 6:54 AM | PERMALINK

we've already lost the war on terror. poor al pisses himself whenever he sees a brown person

Posted by: merlallen on September 8, 2006 at 7:04 AM | PERMALINK

wow! you can smell the ammonia on this board from all of the frightwing bedwetters.
you pussies would be safe in Cuba, how about moving there and letting us real Americans have our country back?

Posted by: merlallen on September 8, 2006 at 7:06 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Disputo. One innocent human life is worth more than all the poultry in the world.

Not innocent, Charlie. And I'm dithering on the 'human' part. Humans don't advocate torture.

Frankly, these torture threads become incredibly tiring. The same old false assertions - torture as a means of extracting useful information, ticking time bomb - time and time again. And time and time again, shot down. Torture is useful for exactly one purpose - gaining false confessions.

The bastards always try and grind you down.

Tiresome.

IllegItimi Non Carborundum .

Nil novi sub sole


Posted by: snicker-snack on September 8, 2006 at 7:13 AM | PERMALINK

OK, say you're stranded on an Island in the south pacific and you've built a large sailing vessel to escape on before you run out of food stores. The only problem is you have to launch it down a wood ramp and it's too heavy to slide. You've tried all sorts of nearby lubricants (mud, seaweed, etc.). The only option left is the rendered fat of one of your fellow survivors. Do you choose A) the 300 pound corn fed methodist pastor, B) the anemic 90 pound islamic terrorist you've been holding and electroshocking for the CIA, or C) the voluptuous atheist. "Al" is not an option because I'm a boy scout and the only one that knows how to separate fat and sail a boat.

You have 10 minutes to decide before the fire I have built for rendering is ready. There is no more wood left.

Posted by: Al on September 8, 2006 at 7:37 AM | PERMALINK

BTW, I already know what you liberals would do.

Posted by: Al on September 8, 2006 at 7:40 AM | PERMALINK

"Al":

ROTFL !

That's almost as good as my "do you beat your anorgasmic masochist girlfriend with a rubberized metal truncheon to give her an orgasm, or do you break up with her" scenario :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 7:40 AM | PERMALINK

Augustus wrote:

"[T}orture is a great way to get someone to say ANYTHING you want them to say. You don't need evidence to convict someone when you can torture a confession out of them."
__________________

Convictions aside, the idea that torture does not ever produce accurate information is misleading, because it certainly can. We teach our aircrewmembers that anybody can be broken given enough time and the right pressure. Their training gives them enough experience to understand how the technique works. It ain't pleasant.

It's not a matter of simply administering pain until the victim blurts out all his secrets, as on TV. It's more an incremental surrender of small, verifiable bits of information (usually already known) that initially don't matter at all. Do it gradually and steadily enough and it will break down the resistance to more important questions. The working principle is, "Well, I've given up that much, this question isn't much more, it's not that important." If you make the entire environment unpleasant enough, even the slightest easing of pressure is eagerly sought. It works, as our POWs learned and it doesn't take all that long with most people.

Having learned from the Chinese, the North Vietnamese were very adept at it, if crude. If they made a mistake and went too far, the subject could always be made to disappear, as many did. Our current enemy is very bad at it, probably because they aren't interested in gaining information. They just want to kill you in the most painful way they can think of. The Geneva Conventions don't enter into the equation for jihadists. (Though there is good reason for us to follow them.)

It's quite logical that law enforcement personnel are skeptical - it's extremely unlikely that they've ever taken the time to follow the whole technique, even if they wished to.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 8, 2006 at 7:40 AM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler:

Then why do all those Pentagon JAGs oppose the methods that Bush just recommended for the CIA?

BTW, I don't believe what you describes has anymore than a 50/50 shot of producing reliable *unique* information. If the first stuff is corroborated, that's no guarantee that the later uncorroborated stuff is anything more than what's pulled out of their butts. Like reciting the names of the Cleveland Browns backfield to North Vietnamese interrogators who want to know your commanding officers, there's a wealth of information that any detainee could spout that would *sound* plausible to Americans while being complete bullshit.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 7:50 AM | PERMALINK

It's more an incremental surrender of small, verifiable bits of information (usually already known) that initially don't matter at all. Do it gradually and steadily enough and it will break down the resistance to more important questions. The working principle is, "Well, I've given up that much, this question isn't much more, it's not that important." If you make the entire environment unpleasant enough, even the slightest easing of pressure is eagerly sought. It works

Interesting comments Trashhauler. Perhaps. But mark me a skeptic. I'm especially skeptical of the 'interogator's' ability to discern the useful from the false, especially given the cultural blinders of most Americans. And even if my skepticism about the applicablity of sustained force in specific circumstances is wrong, it still doesn't change the math. In the bigger picture, being known as a torturing nation is a far bigger cost to you guys than any immediate benefit you can possibly gain and further, that this is one area where the slippery sliding slope is a reality. We've already seen your servicemen torturing suspects to death.

And note Charlie/Thomas1, Trashhauler's description of an incremental process ain't gonna help much with your ticking-time bomb. So, yeah, put it where Kenji suggests.

Posted by: snicker-snack on September 8, 2006 at 7:58 AM | PERMALINK

The administration seems to be proceeding along these lines:

1. Okay, we don't want the military involved in torture or anything close to it. So we'll issue a new field manual explicitly forbidding it. That will take care of the court actions and the Geneva Conventions issue. Most of their prisoners don't know much, anyway.

2. On the other hand, the CIA still has to deal with the really high value detainees. Since they aren't acting as a part of the armed forces, the Geneva Conventions don't come into play. So, okay, we still don't want to torture (or at least, we don't want to be accused of it), so let's ask Congress to approve our interrogation techniques. After all, much of the issue surrounds the definition of where harsh interrogation crosses the line into torture. If Congressmen (those dinks) want to judge us, let's get them on record about what they will allow.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 8, 2006 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

I would torture Al into revealing the secerets of fat rendering and sailing, then kill him and the pastor just to make sure we had enough grease, then take the atheist sailing with me...he would be the most fun to sail with...

Posted by: jerryskid8 on September 8, 2006 at 8:17 AM | PERMALINK

jerryskid8:

I think by "voluptous," Al meant to imply that the atheist was female :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

Bob, snicker-snack, the idea is to not take any information without verification. That means two things - 1) correlation with other information gathered from other sources and 2) backing up and repeating the process with the subject to test for inconsistencies. Eventually, you get down to the ground truth.

None of this is pleasant, especially if you are on the receiving end of it. Theoretically, it can be done with resorting to torture, but it probably takes longer. It's even probable that the CIA is sincerely interested in having Congressional approval for their techniques. That way, any failure to obtain useful information can always be chalked up to, "Well, we went as far as we're allowed to go, shit happens."

The downside of all this information gathering is that probably none of it can be used in a court of law. I assume somebody makes a judgement call about which is more important - information or convictions.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 8, 2006 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

I wrote in the last post, "Theoretically, it can be done with resorting to torture."
___________

I meant, "without resorting to torture."

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 8, 2006 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

trashhauler, if the "verifiable information" also came from coercion you'll be playing a sadistic version of the game of telephone called "guess what Ramzi said" that will just result in unneccesary security alerts at random US monoments, icons, and urban locations.

Posted by: toast on September 8, 2006 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

jerryskid8:

I would tell the Islamic terrorist -- an al Qaeda type -- that Al was a Shi'ite, and let him use the electroshock apparatus on him, which he'd do with great relish, while I questioned Al until he broke and spilled the fat-rendering beans.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

toast wrote:

"trashhauler, if the "verifiable information" also came from coercion you'll be playing a sadistic version of the game of telephone called "guess what Ramzi said" that will just result in unneccesary security alerts at random US monoments, icons, and urban locations."
__________________

You might, toast, if that's what you're looking for. But, if the verification is done thoroughly enough, you'll limit the alerts to only those for which you have pretty solid information. In any case, it's probable that most interrogation isn't related to immediate attack plans.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 8, 2006 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler:

How do you get down to the ground truth, though? If the idea is to produce new information -- how do you test it? If stories conflict -- how do you tell which one is the truth?

Corroborating information in the beginning gives you confidence in your methods, sure. But then, say the torture-ee comes up with some entirely new information, which you haven't a clue is the truth, because you haven't heard anything about it one way or the other from any of your other sources?

On what basis to you trust that information if, as you say, after a while, the torture-ee will do or say anything to take the pressure off?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

If today President Al Gore made the same speech, Kevin and most of the rest of these Bush-haters would have no objection.

Posted by: Thomas1 on September 8, 2006 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know about the rest of the readers of this forum but if Al Gore gave a speech in favor of torture I would oppose him too. Right is right, wrong is wrong. Right and wrong aren't the property of any political party.

That you would write such tribal relativistic crap tells volumes about you and your entire "I am a Republican, I hate all the other Americans" crowd.

Right now I am supporting the efforts of Linsey Graeme and John McCain in fashioning an appropriate tool to try the 14 high value detainees just transferred to Gimo. Graeme and McCain are Republicans. They are getting a lot of bipartisan support. Why? They understand the law and the need to make sure any trials stick in front of the Supreme Court.

Why aren't they supporting Bush. Well if the Bush administration had hired competent lawyers, instead of young Republican hacks, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld wouldn't have been the shock to them it appears to have been. Several of the key components announced in the Presidents bill would without doubt be overturned by the Supreme Court. They are probably UnAmerica. Finally they are not helpful when it comes to restoring American credibility after Bush leaves office in 2008.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 8, 2006 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

Thomas1, you can raise all the hypothetical questions that you want. You can ask - and expect others to answer - low-probability hypothetical questions, but you refuse to answer one yourself. That's both dishonest and hypocritical. Until you respond to others as you expect them to respond to you, I will proceed to ignore you.

Posted by: Rich S on September 8, 2006 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

Bob, intelligence gathering isn't a matter of certainties, it's a matter of obtaining actionable leads. If the information turns out to be false, it will become evident as you follow up on it. And you've just learned something more about your subject.

That's why the "save the city from the bomb" scenarios are pretty unlikely. Intelligence gathering is a matter of sifting out the wheat from the chaff, with many false leads.

Heck, the military went into Iraq expecting to be hit by WMD. Shit happens.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 8, 2006 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

I sure hope there are at least a few Republicans who have figured this out and can put the brakes on Bush's folly. We need to start winning.

Kevin, this says it all. You didn't need to print the rest. Winning back a congressional majority is the singular goal, the ONLY goal. To do it, you'd do anything, say anything, whatever it takes to slander the current administration.

Thomas1 nailed it. If this were President Gore, no problem.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on September 8, 2006 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

sportsfan79,

Read the post again. Kevin is clearly talking about winning the war against jihadism, not a congressional majority.

Posted by: anon on September 8, 2006 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

enozinho wrote at 1:57a.m.

Aren't there any Republicans that are at least a little bit embarrassed that the President would choose to bring this up right before the anniversary of 9/11 and deep into election season? And if you are not embarrassed, please explain why. This is emotional blackmail, and it makes me sick.

I'll answer that, enzo.

The main misperception in your statement is the assumption that the administration is driving this issue. The simple fact is, it is the left that has been the driving force behind this issue, and has kept it alive in the hopes of creating a wedge issue for the elections. Ever since the ridiculous over-coverage of Abu Gharib, and with the willing help of the main stream media, the left has lobbed volley after volley of smear campaign attacks at the administration. Their greatest fantasy would be that the administration would just sit back and take it. Instead, they are rightfully responding by trying to establish interrogation standards.

What that accomplishes is to shed light on what was previously just a murky attack issue for the Dems. The hope of the left was that moderate Americans would think "The President likes to torture innocent children!". Instead, with the administration responding by working to develop standards, moderate Americans will think "Wait a minute! Democrats don't want to allow a 'belly slap' against these guys that are sawing peoples heads off!".

In other words, it will likely be another attempt at a wedge issue that will backfire. Liberals will sulk, and predictably complain that Karl Rove is some sort of evil tactical genious, and the American public got duped. The hilarious irony is that they duped themselves by trying to create the wedge in the first place.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on September 8, 2006 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

George Bush is one of the few politicians in Washington who is actually serious about fighting and winning the war.

Kevin Drum is in some alternative universe if he is accusing Bush of being "bound and determined to continue losing the war."

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on September 8, 2006 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

"Even the Pentagon says this stuff is barbaric and ineffective."

If that's the case, then they won't be using the ineffective techniques in the first place, will they?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

George Bush is one of the few politicians in Washington who is actually serious about fighting and winning the war.

being "serious" isn't enough. you also need to know how, where and by what means. Bush clearly doesn't know any of those things.

and the fact that you happily confuse chest-beating for competency says more about you than you probably want it to.

Posted by: cleek on September 8, 2006 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

Watching the Dems the past two weeks, I realized they FINALLY came up with their own plan for Iraq. Schumer, Hilary, Kennedy, Reid, Pelosi, Biden. They all said it in the last week: "Fire Rumsfeld."

Now we can't accuse the Dems of not having their own plan!

(But we CAN accuse them of not being serious about winning the war.)

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on September 8, 2006 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

moderate Americans will think "Wait a minute! Democrats don't want to allow a 'belly slap' against these guys that are sawing peoples heads off!".

if so, then 'moderate' Americans are pretty fucking stupid. And if you were merely belly-slapping them, you wouldn't be doing nearly enough. They should be gone.

No,who you are much more than belly-slapping is far too many people who were simply guilty of having the wrong nationaiity and being in the wrong place or having the wrong guy hold a grudge against them - oops.

You don't think this should be paid attention to. Sorry, but this just strikes me as total cowardice. And yeah, we all have things we don't want to look at. Buck up, man.

Posted by: snicker-snack on September 8, 2006 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

mhr - does it occur to you at all that the rhetorical questions you're pose there don't describe positions anybody is actually advocating ? in reality, nobody wants to leave terrorists in peace and privacy - the only place that person exists is in your mind.

if you're arguing against positions nobody has taken, you're just arguing with yourself.

Posted by: cleek on September 8, 2006 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

"You don't think this should be paid attention to. Sorry, but this just strikes me as total cowardice. And yeah, we all have things we don't want to look at."

The difference between conservatives and liberals is that conservatives focus their energies on destroying those that want to kill us all, while liberals focus their energies on destroying those that are trying to protect us all.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

You keep paving that road with your good intentions there, Freedom. Perhaps some day you'll see where it leads you.

Posted by: snicker-snack on September 8, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

"You keep paving that road with your good intentions there, Freedom. Perhaps some day you'll see where it leads you."

Victory... as opposed to surrender?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

mhr

Can you really trust the government that brought you "Heck of a job Brownie," Iraq, and the failure to anticipate the supreme court decision in Hamdan to fight the war on terror competently?

Just getting your rocks off thinking about torturing some bastard doesn't fight the war. I am afraid that is exactly what you and Karl want us to do, feel some visceral emotion while allowing the "terrorists" to strengthen.

I will assume you are a fundamentalist Christian, of sorts. Give some thought to the staying power of a dead tortured martyr. You really want to create martyrs?

Frankly, it is long past time we fought al Qaeda and its ilk for real with an intention to win, not just create photo ops for clueless fans of 24.


Posted by: Ron Byers on September 8, 2006 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

"You keep paving that road with your good intentions there, Freedom. Perhaps some day you'll see where it leads you."

Victory... as opposed to surrender?

I suppose some might call it that. Being Canadian, though, I prefer somewhat cooler climes myself.

Posted by: snicker-snack on September 8, 2006 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

lots of white trash posting here trying to justify torturing arabs ... some ex-military. color me surprised.

Posted by: Nads on September 8, 2006 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

"I will assume you are a fundamentalist Christian, of sorts. Give some thought to the staying power of a dead tortured martyr. You really want to create martyrs?

Frankly, it is long past time we fought al Qaeda and its ilk for real with an intention to win, not just create photo ops for clueless fans of 24."

Maybe you haven't been paying attention, but photo-ops are the weapons of choice of liberals and jihadists.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

It's striking how often trolls respond so quickly and often to Kevin's posts. They should be ignored as they attempt to discourage constructive commentary.

Kevin, I like your use of the word "winning". Opponents of the Bush strategy (if you can call it that) should emphasize that we are interested in winning as opposed to playing into terrorists hands.

GWB, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz have shown themselves to be losers and to be so wrong about facts they are so sure of.

Well, I don't like to be wrong and I don't like to lose. I like to win. Let's put some winners in office.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on September 8, 2006 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

"I suppose some might call it that. Being Canadian, though, I prefer somewhat cooler climes myself."

Yeah? Assuming you are liberal, you should know that Christianity may not be the one true religion. Who knows, some relgions offer you virgins for killing your enemies. Now, isn't that much better than sitting on a cloud somewhere for the rest of eternity?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe you haven't been paying attention, but photo-ops are the weapons of choice of liberals and jihadists.

Ah yes, that well publicized picture of Osama with the codpiece in his gutra standing with the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center behind him and that glistening "Mission Accomplished" banner.

Posted by: snicker-snack on September 8, 2006 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah? Assuming you are liberal,

I'll grant it's an assumption.

you should know that Christianity may not be the one true religion.

No shit?

Who knows, some relgions offer you virgins for killing your enemies. Now, isn't that much better than sitting on a cloud somewhere for the rest of eternity?

Now the problem with that, is I prefer much, much more experienced women and I kinda like clouds.

Posted by: snicker-snack on September 8, 2006 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK


thomas1: war for our survival


really?

this seems weird then...

BUSH BUDGET SCRAPS 9,790 BORDER PATROL AGENTS

- MICHAEL HEDGES - HOUSTON CHRONICLE 2/9/05

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on September 8, 2006 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

Losing the war was the only possible outcome.

Posted by: Will on September 8, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK


trashhauler: It's quite logical that law enforcement personnel are skeptical - it's extremely unlikely that they've ever taken the time to follow the whole technique, even if they wished to.

yeah so bush went to the expert....rove....

who else wouldn't be as tortured given his family background?

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on September 8, 2006 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

"GWB, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz have shown themselves to be losers and to be so wrong about facts they are so sure of."

You mean like the "brutal Afghan winter", "brutal Iraqi summer", "graveyard of empires", "50,000 American casualties", "100,000 civilian casualties", "millions of refugees"...?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Are Al and thomas1 the same person?

Posted by: klyde on September 8, 2006 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

toast: if the "verifiable information" also came from coercion you'll be playing a sadistic version of the game of telephone called "guess what Ramzi said" that will just result in unneccesary security alerts at random US monoments, icons, and urban locations.


Unecessary? Since when?

Posted by: Karl Rove on September 8, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

The key phrase in the article is "retroactive immunity from prosecution". People who think this is about some political ploy are missing the point. It is about the Bush admin being scared shitless they will be held accountable for criminal actions and this piece of damned legislation is the only way they can avoid it.

Call it the Bush Kidnap and Torture Bill or the Get Away with Murder Bill.

Posted by: Chrissy on September 8, 2006 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK


torture? did some one say torture?


"No American will be allowed to torture another human being anywhere in the world." - GWB 1/26/06


Bush administration lawyers argue that a new law that bans cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody does not apply to people held at Guantanamo Bay. - WASH.POST 3/3/06

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on September 8, 2006 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

gop: Are you really saying there's no possibile scenario where torture would be justified?

who would jesus torture?

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on September 8, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

You know, if we torture them enough, they can probably make a nice big list of thwarted terror plots.

Evildoer: "Ow, Ow! OK, OK, I was supposed to blow up the washington monument with a melted-liquid bomb-pop, or whatever, but now I'll never do anything bad again. I promise."

Investigator Yossarian: "Yay Us! Chalk up another thwarted terrorist plot on the board. Did we meet our GSAVE quota yet?"

Colonel Rove-Cathcart: "No, now we need 300 terrorist missions thwarted before Bush can declare success for this season."

Posted by: Johnny Quest on September 8, 2006 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK
Blowback like what?

Blowback like people in the region who would be inclined to side with us against our enemies because of our being the civilized choice being less inclined to do so, and just standing aside and looking out for their own narrow immediate interests.

You seem to forget that not everyone in the world is already irrevocably committed to either al-Qaeda or the US.

Posted by: cmdicely on September 8, 2006 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe you haven't been paying attention, but photo-ops are the weapons of choice of liberals and jihadists.

That's rich. Maybe YOU haven't paid attention.

George Bush...flight suit

George Bush...Mississippi coast

Posted by: ckelly on September 8, 2006 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK
If today President Al Gore made the same speech, Kevin and most of the rest of these Bush-haters would have no objection.

Quit with the projection. Its hardly as if Kevin and other Democrats here haven't criticized Democratic politicians left and right, both on principle and on the practical effects of policy that seems motivated by a principle that the poster in question agrees with. Your positions may be defined exclusively by your feelings about President Bush, but that's no reason to assume that everyone else is the same way.

Posted by: cmdicely on September 8, 2006 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

"who would jesus torture?"

But we aren't fighting Christians. The correct question is: "who would Mohammed torture"?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, when they tortured Zubaydah he talked. The problem is, Zubaydah didn't know anything, so he made crap up, to get the torture to stop. The details are in Suskind's book, "The One Percent Doctrine" ....

Thanks for the reminder, Joe Buck.

This is why the Army (get that trolls, the guys who actually have to use the lousy information gotten from torture) is against it. The chickenhawk trolls, sitting in Mom's basement, are, of course, in favor of torture. The real men and women charged with dealing with the insurgents (and occasional terrorists) in Iraq know better. Bad intellingence gained from torture is as bad, maybe worse, than the bad intelligence from guys like Curveball, who knew nothing about weapons of mass destruction but supported our idiotic venture in Iraq.


Posted by: David in NY on September 8, 2006 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

ff: But we aren't fighting Christians. The correct question is: "who would Mohammed torture"?

.

focus...

get your talking points right..

.

gop: Are you really saying there's no possibile scenario where torture would be justified?

.

so...who would jesus torture?

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on September 8, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK


Bush sends a strong message that no matter what happens, America will always rebound with the most powerfully staged photo-ops in the world

Posted by: Stephen Colbert on September 8, 2006 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

"Good patriotic Democrats like Alan Dershowitz and me realize we are at war for our survival. This is the first time in our nation's history that the Commander-in-Chief is being undermined during said war."

Holy crap, you are hilarious. But seriously, knock it off, let the trolls hang themselves, they don't need help.

Unless of course you're serious. In that case, you should be shot out of a circus cannon into the sun, you freak.

Posted by: The Tim on September 8, 2006 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Frankly, it is long past time we fought al Qaeda and its ilk for real with an intention to win, not just create photo ops for clueless fans of 24."

We agree, Bush isn't fighting al Qaeda for real, since there were no al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq. Liberals would have sent as many troops as needed after Osama. Bush doesn't think he's important, we do.

Posted by: AkaDad on September 8, 2006 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Bush doesn't think he's important, we do.

Since GWB hasn't been able to do anything to bump his approvals above the mid 30s, OBL is starting to look important to him once again as a political prop. Expect a capture/kill in late Oct.

Posted by: Disputo on September 8, 2006 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Seriously if we're not allowed to use stress positions, sleep deprevation, and air conditioning, what can we do? Ask them to pretty please to give us the information we need?

Seriously, that's all the police do to criminal suspects like hardened Mafiosi, gang members, kidnappers, rapists, serial killers and murderers -- they talk to them, and confront them with evidence. And yet the police routinely get confessions without using stress positions, sleep deprivation, and other forms of torture. Talking seems to work.

Also, if we do get any confessions using torture any information we get from those confessions will be inadmissible in court, so we can never convict these men.

Posted by: Arminius on September 8, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

You need to invest in a 'troll filter.' It would be similar to the 'comode diode' I have installed in my car radio, which filters out all the shit kicking (C & W) music.

Posted by: Chief on September 8, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

The rationalization of torture by so-called conservatives just highlights the moral depravity and crude thuggishness that has taken over the GOP. The Cheney administration flies captives to nasty little regimes in the dark corners of the world to do their dirty business because civilized nations would prosecute them for innumerable crimes and human rights violations. We can judge them by the company they keep.

Abu Ghraib was an example of the moral ethos that emanates from the Cheney White House. They have even turned low ranking prison guards into routine torturers of civilians, including women and children.

How far the United States of America has been taken down the shameful road of torture and gulags by this administration.

Posted by: bellumregio on September 8, 2006 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

After we defeated the Nazis, we put them on trial, partly due to their barbaric prisons.

We have gone down that road now. We are not at their point, but we are on the road.

After the Soviets lost, we stated that they lost due to our superior system.

Now, we have admitted that we too had a gulag system.

Today, I am ashamed to be an American.

Posted by: POed Lib on September 8, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

"Good patriotic Democrats like Alan Dershowitz and me realize we are at war for our survival. This is the first time in our nation's history that the Commander-in-Chief is being undermined during said war."

Fascist thinking here. I don't wake up every morning and kiss George's dick. If I did, I wouldn't be an adult.

You're a moron.

Posted by: POed Lib on September 8, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

What was the date when Bush v Gore was handed down? Whatever that was, that's the end date to put on America's tombstone.

The chief executive openly advocating torture. Cheez-whiz. What a way for a great experiment to end.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on September 8, 2006 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Disputo. One innocent human life is worth more than all the poultry in the world.

But you're not a human. Your intelligence puts you on chicken level.

Posted by: POed Lib on September 8, 2006 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Expect a capture/kill in late Oct.

Not very likely since he's been dead for years.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on September 8, 2006 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

GOP,

no I can't, offhand. And you sure as hell don't build into the legal code.

and if you ever did come across your hypothetical situation where it was so obviously the right and just, lean-as-best-you-can-to-the-light thing to do, I would assume that if you were a man, you would break the rules and just do it, and be willing to go before a jury who would look at the circumstances.surrounding your actions.. But it should never, ever be part of the rules. That just invites abuse of the worst kind. Isn't it obvious?

I thought in the US it was Republicans that were for strict rules or is that just strict rules for powerless people?

Posted by: snicker-snack on September 8, 2006 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

What a way for a great experiment to end.

"In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other. I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution."

An except from Benjamin Franklins speech to the Constitutional Convention. September 17, 1787

Posted by: bellumregio on September 8, 2006 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

"Liberals would have sent as many troops as needed after Osama. Bush doesn't think he's important, we do."

Would these be the same liberals who protested the ouster of the Taliban?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

"Today, I am ashamed to be an American."

Just today?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

The Big Lie:
Violence in Iraq is winding down.

The Truth:
Deaths in August tripled.
http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0907/dailyUpdate.html

(personally, I think the insurgents are probably cranking it up for the US elections, and it will decline a bit after November).

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 8, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: "But Bush is bound and determined to write it into law anyway. He is, apparently, bound and determined to continue losing the war he has fought so ineptly for the past five years."

Kevin has got this wrong. Bush is "bound and determined" to give himself the powers of a hereditary king who is above and beyond the rule of law. It has nothing to do with the so-called "war on terror" which is the greatest hoax every perpetrated on the American people in the history of this country. There is no "war on terror". Since the 9/11 attacks, the "war on terror" has been nothing but a pretext for the Republican Fascist Party of Dick Cheney and his smirking idiot frontman, George W. Bush, to grab more and more power.

The essence of the legislation that Bush is demanding from Congress is not specifically that it authorizes torture, but that it places the president above the rule of law. That is dictatorship, plain and simple.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 8, 2006 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

"The chickenhawk trolls, sitting in Mom's basement, are, of course, in favor of torture. The real men and women charged with dealing with the insurgents (and occasional terrorists) in Iraq know better."

Trying using a little logic here. If torture didn't actually work, there'd be no reason to use it.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Trying using a little logic here.

Attaboy Freedie, keep it up. Someday, you might attain.

Posted by: snicker-snack on September 8, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

"and that this is precisely the kind of thing that produces blowback a hundred times worse than the meager amount of information we get from torturing these guys."

This is pure speculation, uninformed at that. It is however convenient to his thesis - so in it goes.

Posted by: Fitz on September 8, 2006 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

"The essence of the legislation that Bush is demanding from Congress is not specifically that it authorizes torture, but that it places the president above the rule of law. That is dictatorship, plain and simple."

How would he be above the law, if the law would authorize it? Maybe you'd better leave the US before they come for you.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Trying using a little logic here. If torture didn't actually work, there'd be no reason to use it.

Torture works -- by terrorizing, degrading and dehumanizing those who are subjected to it, by causing intense pain, fear, suffering and grief, by cowing those who might otherwise dissent, and by desensitizing and stripping away the humanity from both the tortured and torturers. That's why evil regimes use it, because they rule by fear and terror, and that's why Bush and Cheney want it.

Posted by: Arminius on September 8, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

"Fascist thinking here. I don't wake up every morning and kiss George's dick. If I did, I wouldn't be an adult.

You're a moron."

Don't forget "sub-human" too.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Fighter of Freedom: How would he be above the law, if the law would authorize it? Maybe you'd better leave the US before they come for you.

You know, if you rewrite this as "How can the Fuehrer be above the law, if the law would authorize it? Maybe you'd better leave Germany before they come for you, Jew" it makes so much more sense.

Posted by: Arminius on September 8, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

"Torture works -- by terrorizing, degrading and dehumanizing those who are subjected to it, by causing intense pain, fear, suffering and grief, by cowing those who might otherwise dissent"

So the head choppers are just dissents, and those who fight to stop the head choppers are the real terrorists.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

If torture didn't actually work, there'd be no reason to use it.

Now you're catching on, FF. And we thought you couldn't learn.

Posted by: ckelly on September 8, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

If someone believes strongly enough that torturing a person is necessary, they should be willing to suffer the consequences.
No law permitting such conduct is necessary. Torture can still happen, even if it is illegal.
It's kinda like jumping on a grenade(an actual explosive device) to protect your fellows.
If you don't believe strongly enough that you are willing to be suffer, maybe you ought not engage in it.
It's actually a very good filter!

The only people who need legislative permission to torture are sadistic misfits - Dahmer wannabees. They want to have their fun, AND get away with it.
Those are the last people who should be in a position of extracting important information from prisoners.

Posted by: kenga on September 8, 2006 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Its amazing the backbending convolutions (stress positions, you could even say) that some people will go through to justify something as beyond-immoral as torture. I mean, listen to yourselves.

Its all hypothetical this and well-show-them that -- a whole boatload of sadistic crap while you guys dont even notice that this democracy thing you say youd do anything to defend has already been parcelled off and sold to Halliburton. Onward Christian soldiers!

Posted by: Kenji on September 8, 2006 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

It has been said that someone who considers embryonic stem cell research immoral is a hypocrite if he uses medical treatments developed from such research.

How about someone who considers harsh questioning of terrorists to be immoral. Harsh questioning has prevented terrorist attacks here, so it may have saved this person's life. To avoid being hypocritical, should he commit suicide?

P.S. To make my sarcasm explicit, I think opponents of harsh questioning are comparable to opponents of stem cell research.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 8, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

I'm proud of being stupid. That's why I post one stupid comment after another on this blog, so that as many people as possible can see how stupid I am.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Trying (sic) using a little logic here. If torture didn't actually work, there'd be no reason to use it.
Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 11:54 AM

People torture other people for lots of reasons. Mostly to gain a sort of sadistic sexual pleasure that comes with hurting others.

As to whether torture leads to actionable intelligence, I will defer to the experts who uniformly say no it doesn't.

Personally I learned torture doesn't work from an expert at the FBI. I read the same just yesterday in comments made on September 6 by the Army's Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence.

The way you get actionable information out of somebody is to talk to him and listen. Over time anybody will tell a professional trained interrogator asking just the right questions in just the right way everything he knows. It's human nature, and it transcends ideology.

What the victim of torture will od is admit to whatever you want him to say. The North Vietnamese were able to torture John McCain into confessing that he intentionally bombed school children.

I have also heard that during the middle ages lots and lots of women were tortured into admitting they were witches. Lots and lots of Jews were tortured into converting to Christianity. Of course, the admitted witches and newly converted jews were then killed to save their souls. The torturers knew that as soon as the torture stopped they would recant.

Freedom fighter, how does it feel to defend a practice that is legally, factually, ethically and morally wrong?

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 8, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: How about someone who considers harsh questioning of terrorists to be immoral. Harsh questioning has prevented terrorist attacks here,

It has? Prove it.

so it may have saved this person's life.

It has or it may have? Make up your mind.

To avoid being hypocritical, should he commit suicide? P.S. To make my sarcasm explicit, I think opponents of harsh questioning are comparable to opponents of stem cell research.

You know that "sarcasm" is not a synonym for "dumbass stupidity," right?

Posted by: Arminius on September 8, 2006 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

GOP: There is no evidence there is any scenario in which this Republican administration has used torture that can be justified. They need to be held accountable.

Posted by: Chrissy on September 8, 2006 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas!: Just ask John McCain -- he gave up ACCURATE and classified information during his torture in Vietnam.

In John McCain's book "Faith of My Fathers" he tells how after torture he confessed that he was an "air pirate" who was guilty of unprovoked warfare against the peace-loving people of North Vietnam:

"I had been taken back to the theater after telling my guards I was ready to confess. For twelve hours I had written out many drafts of the confession....He [the guard] demanded that I add an admission that I had bombed a school. I refused, and we argued back and forth about the confession's contents for a time before I gave in to his demand. Finally, they had me sign the document."

So under torture John McCain admitted that he bombed a school. Was that ACCURATE information?

Posted by: Arminius on September 8, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Boy oh boy, there are some sick fucks out there. For the young, deluded & stupid among us, let me tell it to you straight:

The real U.S. does not torture our prisoners (no matter what info they might have, we'll kick their ass with or without their info).

The real U.S. does not attack first, we wait until we're attacked & then finish the job (against those who attacked us, not the asshole in some other country who happens to hate us & has sparred with us in the past).

The real U.S. takes the first blow (whatever it is, even a nuclear explosion) & then delivers the next 20 to the dumbasses who made the mistake of delivering the first blow.

This is the 'real' America, not the preening, sick, evil America I have seen for the past 6 or so years.

Posted by: Paul in KY on September 8, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

....I have also heard that during the middle ages lots and lots of women were tortured into admitting they were witches. Lots and lots of Jews were tortured into converting to Christianity. ...
Posted by: Ron Byers on September 8, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK


I wonder if those two FoxNews reporters who were abducted last month, and converted to Islam, I wonder if they still pray to Mecca 5 times a day?

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 8, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Just ask John McCain -- he gave up ACCURATE and classified information during his torture in Vietnam.
Posted by: Thomas1

Actually, at some point you start giving up whatever it is you think they want to hear. This is what I was told by SERE trained drill sergeants when I was going through basic training. Everyone eventually cracks, but the problem for the interrogators in the ticking time bomb scenario you've ripped from 24's plot line is that they don't know whether the person has cracked or is just feeding them a line. The time constraint you've built in actually works in the detainee's favor; by the time they've checked the story it's too late, bomb has gone off.

If you want to see a dramatization of how trained soldiers stall for time while being tortured just look at "Bravo Two Zero". Although everyone has a breaking point the trick to rendering information under torture is to hold out for as long as you can; the longer you wait, the less actionable the intelligence. Torture works best at getting BS confessions from people. After that its effectivity is severely limited and any intell gained that way has to be regarded in a very skeptical light.

Posted by: cyntax on September 8, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

No, Arminius, he did give up his actual target though.

Yeah, the school. That must have been his actual target, since he admitted it and wrote and signed a confession to that effect. Do you have some proof that the school wasn't his target, since he himself admitted it was?

Posted by: Arminius on September 8, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas!: My "proof" is his book admitting to the true confession revealing the actual target (he still regrets it) and pointing out (as you quoted) the false confession.

Sure, he says that now -- it's a self-serving way to escape blame. But at the time he admitted he bombed the school -- wrote and signed a confession to that effect. Doesn't it make sense that he's just lying about not doing so?

Of course, the other more sensible explanation is that people will admit to all sorts of things under torture, making any information you receive from it essentially worthless.

Posted by: Arminius on September 8, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas, the FBI expert and the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence are paid to know how to extract usable information (actionable intelligence.) They are probably good at what they do. They want to be very efficient.

You are just a Republican apolgist defending evil. And I don't care if you are 67 years old, and you might be a damn good Bush Republican, but you aren't much of an American.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 8, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

On the one hand, we have a handwritten, signed and dated confession from McCain that he bombed a school. On the other, we have a book he wrote thirty years later, written with a presidential run in mind and therefore self-serving, in which he says you know what, I was lying, I never bombed a school but just said I did because I was tortured.

It seems if you think torture is so effective you'd believe the first version rather than the second....

Posted by: Arminius on September 8, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

cyntax:

Did you see my hypothetical on the other Torture thread, where you had 10 minutes and the ability to immediately verify the info?

Posted by: Thomas1

Nah. I'm on West Coast time; haven't had time to check every post of every thread, but that's pretty much a total fantasy with no relation to a real world scenario. If you construct a narrow enough hypothetical, anything will work. But that shouldn't be the basis of policy.

Posted by: cyntax on September 8, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas1: "There MAY be times we can't wait for accurate information"? And thus have to torture?

Listen you monster, we don't abandon our values and morality on the basis of MAY BE. We don't abandon all norms of civilization for some speculation based on fear. You and your torture apologists don't have one IOTA of hard evidence any of this rendition and torture was implemented for any valid reason. In fact the evidence shows the republican administration has used it helter skelter and used it against innocents and more horribly innocent women and children.

Posted by: Chrissy on September 8, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

"Mostly to gain a sort of sadistic sexual pleasure that comes with hurting others."

Why not argue against that? Why keep bringing up the "torture is ineffective" argument?

"What the victim of torture will od (sic) is admit to whatever you want him to say. The North Vietnamese were able to torture John McCain into confessing that he intentionally bombed school children."

But, according to liberals, isn't that what we do in Afghanistan and Iraq today as well? So your argument is: John McCain told the truth and torture works?

"Freedom fighter, how does it feel to defend a practice that is legally, factually, ethically and morally wrong?"

Please show me where I have defended torture.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

cyntax:

It should be the basis of an emergency circumstance written into law though.

Why should something that will never happen in the real world be the basis for law? That's beyond silly.

The way you talk about torture, I'm beginning to think it's a panacea that makes you feel better, but about which you've done no serious thinking.

Posted by: cyntax on September 8, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

"Listen you monster, we don't abandon our values and morality on the basis of MAY BE."

Sure you do. This is exactly the line of attack you lefties used against Bush for "not conencting the dots".

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

"It seems if you think torture is so effective you'd believe the first version rather than the second...."

So liberals now actually believe American servicemen aren't "baby killers"?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie Lawrence posting as "Thomas1" wrote: "I actually voted for Al Gore and John Kerry"

No, you did not. You are a liar. You have always been a liar ever since you first began posting on this site.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 8, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not really as stupid as I seem to be. I actually hate Republicans, so I pose as a Republican and post the stupidest comments I can think of to make all Republicans look stupid.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas1: who would be called a monster if 1 million Americans were killed by a nuclear explosion that it turns out you could have prevented by NOT kidnapping and torturing? by not turning this country into an object of contempt throughout the world?

Posted by: Chrissy on September 8, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

How do you folks imagine the CIA will work under the next Administration?
________________-

Ron Byers wrote: "Personally I learned torture doesn't work from an expert at the FBI. I read the same just yesterday in comments made on September 6 by the Army's Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence.

The way you get actionable information out of somebody is to talk to him and listen."
__________________

And if the suspect, which you have strapped to a chair in some apartment because you aren't in the country legally, simply stays silent?

Do you sneak him out of the country? Where do you take him? Do you take him to the States? What if you don't have any probable cause to hold him? Suppose you get him someplace where you can hold him indefinitely, what do you want from him - evidence for conviction or intelligence about his group and their intentions? Is it your intent to simply talk to him forever? How long do you hold him before you give up?

The CIA will eventually be subject to the orders of a Democrat. Do you want to give them legal guidance or not?

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 8, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Of course, the other more sensible explanation is that people will admit to all sorts of things under torture, making any information you receive from it essentially worthless."

Of course liberals can't tell the difference between information gathering and propaganda. No collaboration is required if all you are looking for is a propaganda soundbite.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

You can believe whatever you want about John McCain -- my only point in bringing him up (confirmed by cyntax above) was that torture works.

No. What I'm saying is that you can be certain torture will break someone.

Once that has happened, you can't have any certainty about how actionable anything they tell you is. The BS to truth ratio is everything in extracting actionable intell, and torture increases that ratio; it doesn't decrease it. All of which is fine when your main objective is a political dog and pony show like the "confession" extracted from McCain. But when you've got to make tactical decisions about where to deploy your field assests, you sure as hell are not going to want to rely on some BS intell you've tortured out of a panicked field operative.

Like I said upstream, you *can* construct some very narrow hypothetical situation which bears no relation to actual events, and from there you might *try* to extrapolate back to the real world and written law, but thankfully there will be people like the JAGs who will fight your idiocy tooth and nail, as they're currently doing with GWB's latest fantasy-fueled legislation.

Gotta ask yourself, if torture is so useful why would the Director of the FBI and the military be so against it? I know: cause they hate America, just like us liberals do.

Posted by: cyntax on September 8, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

So liberals now actually believe American servicemen aren't "baby killers"?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter

No, I don't belive I'm a baby killer. Get some new stereotypes or better yet, go do a hitch in the Army like I did.

Posted by: cyntax on September 8, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

"The CIA will eventually be subject to the orders of a Democrat. Do you want to give them legal guidance or not?"

You are operating under the assumption liberals apply the same standards for Democrats as they do the Rethuglikkkans.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

If the things that are restricted are specifically outlined in congress, then anything not mentioned would be legal? Is there really enough paper for a bill like that?
A lot of tree huggers are going to be pissed off.

Posted by: vampire77666 on September 8, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

cyntax wrote:

"Actually, at some point you start giving up whatever it is you think they want to hear. This is what I was told by SERE trained drill sergeants when I was going through basic training. Everyone eventually cracks, but the problem for the interrogators in the ticking time bomb scenario you've ripped from 24's plot line is that they don't know whether the person has cracked or is just feeding them a line."
_______________

Cyntax is right in saying that the "torture to prevent the bomb from exploding" scenario is very unlikely. And he's correct in pointing out that everybody cracks and will tell you what he thinks you want to hear. But there is a way to get actionable information, even when the subject starts to lie. Pardon me while I borrow from my own post far above:

It's not a matter of simply administering pain until the victim blurts out all his secrets, as on TV. It's more an incremental surrender of small, verifiable bits of information (usually already known) that initially don't matter at all. Do it gradually and steadily enough and it will break down the resistance to more important questions. The working principle is, "Well, I've given up that much, this question isn't much more, it's not that important." If you make the entire environment unpleasant enough, even the slightest easing of pressure is eagerly sought. It works, as our POWs learned and it doesn't take all that long with most people. If you get a lead, you follow it to see if it's true. If it's not, you use that against the subject and try again.

Having learned from the Chinese, the North Vietnamese were very adept at it, if crude. If they made a mistake and went too far, the subject could always be made to disappear, as many did. Our current enemy is very bad at it, probably because they aren't interested in gaining information. They just want to kill you in the most painful way they can think of. The Geneva Conventions don't enter into the equation for jihadists. (Though there is good reason for us to follow them.)

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 8, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

"No, I don't belive I'm a baby killer. Get some new stereotypes or better yet, go do a hitch in the Army like I did."

Well, you better tell your buddies. It is afterall, a term coined by your lefty fellow travelers.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Whats wrong with keeping torture illegal and pardoning the torturer who gets the accurate location of the ticking time bomb? Do you think any cop or official if they came across a real time bomb scenario wouldnt channel Jack Baur and start banging away? The real problem is that all the trolls scenarios, from torture to wiretapping, start with the premise that the target (a brown skinned Muslim) is already guilty. In the real world, how do we know these things? Sometimes we are wrong (WMDs anyonre?). What effect does torturing an innocent person have? How does it affect their family, or nation? What are the consequences?

Posted by: exlitigator on September 8, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler,

The scenario you're laying out is accurate, but you're talking about an incremental and more open-ended time scenario. Which is the only scenario under which you can get accurate intell whether you use torture or not. Torture could speed things up, but it really depends on your subject and the nature of the info you're trying to get. Real interrogators have to build up profiles of their subjects, take voluminous notes and do methodical cross-checking. It's an incremental process and one that is very meticulous. And most of the people I knew in Intell and Counter-Intell said that gaining the subject's trust was the sine qua non of extracting good info. The unglamorious and frustrating truth is that it's a slow process and anything done to speed it up can compromise the results.

Having said that, it doesn't mean that an SF team behind enemy lines and without the means to extract prisoners won't treat them harshly, but you can bet your bottom dollar that they will regard any intell gained that way with very jaundiced eyes.

Posted by: cyntax on September 8, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas!: You can believe whatever you want about John McCain -- my only point in bringing him up...was that torture works.

Yeah -- it "worked" to get him to admit he'd deliberately bombed a Vietnamese school.

Posted by: Arminius on September 8, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

vampire 77666 wrote:

"If the things that are restricted are specifically outlined in congress, then anything not mentioned would be legal? Is there really enough paper for a bill like that?"
_______________

Well, the new Army field manual apparently did it. One suspects that the Administration (probably urged by DOD) have agreed that the military Services won't be involved in the heavy lifting on intelligence gathering (aside from the tactical military stuff). The hard cases will be turned over to the CIA.

The CIA would probably appreciate some cover from Congress, lest they be blamed for all the busted court cases that will result from harsh interrogation. At the least, it would be nice if somebody provided guidelines about when they should be more concerned with convictions or actionable intelligence.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 8, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

"No, I don't belive I'm a baby killer. Get some new stereotypes or better yet, go do a hitch in the Army like I did."

Well, you better tell your buddies. It is afterall, a term coined by your lefty fellow travelers.

Uh... like 30 or 40 years ago? Why don't you explain why it's relevant? Oh wait, this is another one of those Clenis things isn't it? Wild appeal to emotional non-sequitur, and let's distract everyone with some BS from 40 years ago. But if you want to go on about that fine: I'm still waiting to hear whether a good patriot like you has done his hitch in a combat unit...

Posted by: cyntax on September 8, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

WTF?

We have some fucking -excellent- drugs these days.
More and better than Tim Leary ever dreamed of.

And I'm expected to believe that the best we can do is beat someone with a rubber hose or some other method of similar barbarism?

Posted by: kenga on September 8, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

"What effect does torturing an innocent person have? How does it affect their family, or nation? What are the consequences?"

As an exlitigator, can you tell us what effect does jailing an innocent person have? How does it affect their family, or nation? What are the consequences? Should be ban jails?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

cyntax wrote:

"The unglamorious and frustrating truth is that it's a slow process and anything done to speed it up can compromise the results."
_____________

Ain't nobody claiming it's easy, cyntax. Which is why the detainees have enjoyed our company for so long. The measured application of pressure (short of torture or not) can accelerate things a little or a lot, depending on the subject.

It's just that there is no sense pretending that intelligence gathering can always be a clean, easy thing to do. It is seldom a matter of low spoken questions in a comfortable room somewhere. And there has to be some way of urging a real hard case to cooperate at least a little. If the Democrats take over, they'll either let the CIA do its work or they won't. But they shouldn't think that the idea of harsh interrogation techniques started with the current Administration.


Posted by: Trashhaulerd on September 8, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Uh... like 30 or 40 years ago? Why don't you explain why it's relevant?"

Sure, liberals are still calling American servicemen baby killers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not much has changed in 30 or 40 years, and it is very much relevant.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 8, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

kenga wrote:

"We have some fucking -excellent- drugs these days. More and better than Tim Leary ever dreamed of."
________________

If we has such magic formulas, wouldn't we be using them already? Besides, how is the use of drugs any less objectionable than other intrusive methods? Is Congress going to make the use of drugs for interrogation legal?

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 8, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

Before creating new laws should we not enforce the ones we already have?
If the supreme court has determined things to be illegal then why has the DOJ failed to file any charges? Why has congress failed to even introduce impeachment proceedings? What is the point of new laws if the current laws are not enforced? Is it only an impeachable offence if it involves a blowjob?

Posted by: vampire77666 on September 8, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Sure, liberals are still calling American servicemen baby killers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not much has changed in 30 or 40 years, and it is very much relevant.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter

Well, that's news to me. I imagine you have a citation to back your assertion?

Posted by: cyntax on September 8, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas1:

"You're in the woods with your highschool buddies and a case of beer hijacked from one of your dad's coolers in his garage. As you swap stories of cafeteria grossout contests and who went furthest with which girl, you suddenly realize that the sun has gone down. Your fire is dwindling, it's getting cold, and you realize that you can't see your way to the trail that led you to this little enclave. Your last joint is lone gone, and soon so is the final cigarette.

Suddenly, a stray cat appears. He seems quite friendly and rubs up against the legs of one of you. You have a small bit of lighter fluid left.

Do you 1) douse the kitty with lighter fluid and set it ablaze, knowing that it will run back to civilization, and you can follow the light of its burning fur -- or do you 2) try to hunker down and get some half-drunken, piss-swollen shivering sleep among the leaves, and await your familial punishment in the morning?

Quick! That cat's about to bolt ..."

It would NEVER occur to me to light up the cat. I can't imagine putting the cat in such pain. Or any fellow creature, human or other animal. I would spend a night shivering and take my punishment in the morning. It wouldn't kill me.

Actually, I would never be in such a situation.

This scenario says far more about you than you can imagine, obviously.

Also, your other scenarios justifying torture are ridiculous. If a million Americans were going to be bombed, you would know about this by other means rather than through one "terrorist", and the idea that slapping him on the abdomen would OF COURSE cause him to give up any info he had is beyond ludicrous. As are your other scenarios.

Also, you say that you voted for Gore and Kerry. Good for you. But you "trust" that they would use torture if indicated. What is your basis for such a belief? Neither has ever said anything in support of torture, as far as I know. Kerry's statements after returning from the Vietnamese war would indicate the contrary.

Freedom Fighter: your posts today are more than usually vapid. Are you high on something?

Also, for those of you who think that we liberals would agree to torture if it were proposed by Gore, Kerry, or another Democratic leader: WRONG. OK, I can't speak for all others who consider themselves liberal or progressive, but I am against torture from the very core of my being, and would not support any leader who advocated torture. Not to mention, this is an extremely vapid argument to use anyway. It doesn't justify torture; it merely demonstrates how partisan you are.

Those of you who approve of torture are on the wrong side of the argument from both a practical and moral viewpoint and I think you know it. Your arguments simply don't hold up.

Posted by: Wolfdaughter on September 8, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

It's just that there is no sense pretending that intelligence gathering can always be a clean, easy thing to do. It is seldom a matter of low spoken questions in a comfortable room somewhere. And there has to be some way of urging a real hard case to cooperate at least a little. If the Democrats take over, they'll either let the CIA do its work or they won't. But they shouldn't think that the idea of harsh interrogation techniques started with the current Administration.

It certainly isn't a gentlemanly undertaking done at some Ivy League watering-hole, but was anyone seriously suggesting that it was? If they were, that's absurd. The CIA has coexisted with both Republican and Democratic administrations in the past and I'm certain that they've preferred some administrations to others, but they're none too fond of the current administration so I imagine they'll find a way to work effectively with Democrats if the situation arises.

Posted by: cyntax on September 8, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Freedom Fighter wrote: "Sure, liberals are still calling American servicemen baby killers in Iraq and Afghanistan."

You are a liar. But since you are a Republican Fascist brownshirt, you are no doubt proud to be a liar.

In fact, it is the US military justice system that is calling American servicemen in Iraq "baby killers" and will likely send several of them to prison for life for brutally raping and murdering a 14-year old girl and her family.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 8, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Wolfdaughter wrote: "Your arguments simply don't hold up."

You give them too much credit. They don't have any arguments.

All they have is simpering, quivering fear; infantile, delusional hero-worship of the fake, phony "great leader" George W. Bush; a desire to be freed of the burden of being free citizens of a self-governing democracy so they can be the servile obedient subjects of a hereditary king; and slavish, rote regurgitation of scripted, programmed right-wing extremist talking points.

That's why the are unable to "argue". They don't have the ability. They post some boilerplate, scripted talking point that's been spoon-fed to them by the right-wing extremist propaganda machine, and when it is shot down as the bullshit that it is, they recite another one. Or simply repeat the same one again. It makes no difference to them; all that matters to them is the feeling of security they get from thinking what they are told to think and saying what they are told to say.

Slavish obedience is their sanctuary from real life.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 8, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

cyntax wrote about the CIA:

"they're none too fond of the current administration so I imagine they'll find a way to work effectively with Democrats if the situation arises."
_____________

True enough, true enough. While the CIA cannot be too happy with this "all harsh questioning is torture" meme that is currently popular, they are probably counting on most of the Democrat outrage to evaporate around 20 Jan 09. Depending on who is sworn in, of course.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 8, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Wolfdaughter:

In the interest of fairness and full disclosure (I never thought anyone would take that scenario seriously, as you did), the flaming-cat hypothetical was me parodying Thomas1.

The intent was entirely sardonic, to mock the gleeful sadism in the trolls who somehow can't stop talking about vastly unlikely TV plots as a way to privilege torture. I believe there's something psychologically very messed up, especially about an anti-abortion absolutist, who keeps yammering at us about these fantasies of his. What is it about torture that he just ... can't ... give ... up?

So I wrote a scenario that reflected nothing so much as the meaningless sadism of highschool troublemakers egging each on with peer pressure. Both seem about as ethically valid to me.

All this being said, I think it *is* possible to talk about interrogation techniques intelligently and ask hard questions about where we draw the line. Trashhauler's and cyntax's exchanges have been quite good in this regard. Each has military training and a valid perspective on what does and doesn't come out of interrogations and how quickly.

Notice that Trashhauler doesn't lend any credence to the ticking-time-bomb scenario so beloved by our armchair sadist trolls.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Enough of truth cannot make the CIA too happy. Meme Democrats are wrong, they are not currently popular, counting on evaporation seems like a funny way to campaign, don't you think? Outing rage, depending on who swears, cannot question the happiness in January 2009 or in 2900. Remember when you were a child and it all seemed so easy to know what was true, it was easy to be popular then, and the trouble of knowing what way to turn was never difficult. Now, no matter what the issue, harsh treatment greets the patriot, who has to swallow the course whole or be labled a coward.

Posted by: Will on September 8, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Will's comments (e.g. "Enough of truth cannot make the CIA too happy") remind me of some computer-generated poetry I once read. It had the correct grammatical structure of English sentences, and the correct rhyming and metric structure of poetry, but the specific words were apparently selected randomly, or almost randomly, so the result was gibberish. Reading it aloud induced uncontrollable hysterical laughter in anyone who heard it.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 8, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

While the CIA cannot be too happy with this "all harsh questioning is torture" meme that is currently popular, they are probably counting on most of the Democrat outrage to evaporate around 20 Jan 09. Depending on who is sworn in, of course.

Yeah, that's probably true. Where you get into real problems with "harsh questioning" and how to apply it is not I would think with the CIA, but when you do something like put MPs in charge of interrogating prisoners (not their job) and give them what they perceive as carte blanche to be the Jack Bauers of their locale detention facility. It burns me that very few field officers got clipped over that stuff, just the enlisted. There's no way a bunch E-4's and what not are gonna come up with that stuff on their own; there must of been a bunch of nod and wink from the higher ups.

Posted by: cyntax on September 8, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Patriotism induces hysterical laughter in anyone who questions the metrics and structure of uncontrolled terrorism.

Formula magic, like the use of drugs, is like a child's dream, objectionable to the adult but intrusive nonetheless to a patriot's pursuit of legality.

Posted by: Will on September 8, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

You seem to be crapping your size 52 pants that a Democrat might be able to use the intelligence gathering apparatus of the United States to defend America--afraid they'll do a better job and not have to break every law and every rule in order to do it?

Honestly Jason, I'm not at all sure that Trashhauler is as partisan as you're making him out to be. Freedom Fighter and Thomas1 seem to fit the bill better but that's just my opinion.

Have a good one...

Posted by: cyntax on September 8, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Guidance can be useful, it shouldn't go overboard, though, and burn people alive. Eventually we all grow up, but condemning caution is what adults don't do, allowing children to play in the street shouldn't be a matter of what is allowable, but rather a stern caution is my point. Between the white lines is not the place to practice. The yellow line has always been illegal to cross. Children know that. When growing up it should matter who is president, but not after being excused from class, or even when the gang is the first thing you do afterwards. It is guidance that we want, after graduation, which is my point, even from some Democrats, as long as they do not throw caution out with the president.

Posted by: Will on September 8, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Chum can be used to name a childhood friend or acquaintance. It is also used to catch sharks. Terrorists are like sharks, but when they call Bush chum it is difficult for children to understand, friend or foe , but why let a child get heartburn for that. Security is whatever he tells us it is and trust is the beauty of childhood.

Posted by: Will on September 8, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Will:

1) What are you on, man?

2) Can I cop some from you?

Seriously, your posts are either avante-garde prose poetry or the obsessive word salad of a clinical schizophrenic.

I can assure you that NOBODY here has the tiniest clue of WTF you're talking about.

We *have* managed to parse, however, that you're a Republican troll. So, in lieu of anything resembling either reason, facts or simple common sense, expect nothing but acid ridicule.

For surely, being a troll you deserve neither more nor less.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks. Coming from you it means more not less.

Posted by: Will on September 8, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Will:

My posts at least *parse*, Will.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 8, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, the sort of free-associative, impressionistic writing that Will is doing is pretty hard to pull off. It's certainly well beyond the ability of the brain-dead regurgitators of scripted Republican talking points who generally infest these pages with their moronic trolling.

And for me personally, the thing that's most disgusting and offensive about that lot is not that they are Republicans or Bush supporters, but that they are dishonest, stupid, ignorant mental slaves who robotically repeat, verbatim, every stupid thing that they are told to say by the right-wing extremist propaganda machine. They are mental degenerates.

Whatever Will's political views may be, at least he's not doing that.

As far as I can make out, Will seems to be saying "Don't scare the children."

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 8, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

Will's comments ... remind me of some computer-generated poetry I once read. It had the correct grammatical structure of English sentences, and the correct rhyming and metric structure of poetry, but the specific words were apparently selected randomly, or almost randomly, so the result was gibberish.

Noam Chomsky's work in linguistics demonstrated how nonsensical words can be placed in sentences but still be well spoken English. When I studied modern grammar, now known as transformational grammar, Chomsky's gibberish, but grammatically correct sentences, were the main examples of this, and where I first heard about him. Thanks, Professor D'Angelo.

I think Will is a right wing nut, like so many who comment here. Maybe he is trying some new way to confuse and dominate these threads, not that the other right wing nuts are not already doing a pretty good job.

Posted by: Hostile on September 8, 2006 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

I am of the opinion that Mr. Bush's aggressive curbs on civil liberties will be treated in retrospect as un-central to our victory over global jihadism as Mr. Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus was to the Union victory in the Civil War, or Mr. Roosevelt's assault on domestic freedoms during the Second World War.

But indefinite detention and torture are on a whole other level, a much darker shade of bad. Some future president will one day apologize for Mr. Bush's crimes against detainees as Ronald Reagan apologized for the internment of Japanese-Americans, but it will be cold comfort the aging sons and daughters of the disappeared.

Posted by: Linus on September 8, 2006 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, reading back over Trashhauler's comment and my response to it, I realize I was wrong. TH *was* speculating on the political fallout of the torture issue as it regards the Democrats.

However, I think he has the politics exactly reversed. The Dems (and Reps) who've made a stink about extra-Geneva interrogations aren't doing it out of political expediency; they're doing it out of principle. It's the blogosphere who's expressing outrage at the issue. Don't expect Hillary to issue a strong statement against torturing "those who would harm America." It's an extremely easy issue to demagogue, and I doubt opposing harsh interrogation will be a major talking point of the Democrats.

Although GOP and Thomas1 have argued in an extremely ham-fisted way with that idiotic ticking time bomb, the more subtle point that both they and TH are trying to make is that "harsh interrogation methods" or extra-Geneva interrogation or whatever you want to call it, has a place in American intelligence -- and it's better to put it under the purview of a code than have it go on anyway at black sites.

And I think that's an arguable point.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus, like I haven't encountered enough delusional two-bit flame artists in a decade of posting ...

But thanks for playing, Jason. And make sure you keep your eyes peeled for all those obscene posts. I'm sure we all appreciate your vigilance on our behalf.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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