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Tilting at Windmills

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September 16, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

TORTURE....What DK says.

Kevin Drum 1:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (78)

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Comments

When will someone have the guts to introduce legislation stripping George Bush of his citizenship?

Posted by: cld on September 16, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

If someone had a nuke and we could only find it by torture, we must.

Thus, it is OK to torture under any circumstances.

If George Bush wants it done, it must be good.

Posted by: Al on September 16, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum complains about Bush supporting "torture" of Islamofascists while he has never once complained about Saddam's Islamofascist torture chambers, rape rooms, and child prisons. How funny!

Posted by: Al on September 16, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder to what extent torture and rumors of torture are intended as psy-ops. I mean, I get all of the moral arguments against torture, but I bet there is a certain deterrent effect against joining up to do battle against our forces if they know through what they've seen and heard in the media that if they are captured, they will in fact be tortured. And I think most people on probably believe that it's worse than what manages to get leaked out. I'm sure it works both ways, though. And another psy-ops goal could be to just inflame the other side by letting them know through leaks of humiliating torture just what we really think of them.

Posted by: Del Capslock on September 16, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder to what extent torture and rumors of torture are intended as psy-ops. I mean, I get all of the moral arguments against torture, but I bet there is a certain deterrent effect against joining up to do battle against our forces if they know through what they've seen and heard in the media that if they are captured, they will in fact be tortured.

Posted by: Del Capslock on September 16, 2006 at 2:08 PM

Or it could encourage the enemy to engage US forces in suicide attacks...which they don't need any more reason to do.

Posted by: Dismayed Liberal on September 16, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

I don't find the suggestion of torture as a deterrent to be very credible when facing an enemy that embraces martyrdom. I also don't think "inflaming" the other side is a useful tactic in a confrontation. It strenghens an opponents will to resist rather than the reverse.

I have a general question for Kevin, sorry that it is a non-sequitur. Why does this site permit essentially anonymous posts? It seems like this just empowers trolls like Al and others. Why not adopt a slightly restricted post policy like TPM that drastically reduces troll presense and yields a corresponding increase in the quality of dialogue? Please forgive my presumption in suggesting this since you undoubtedly have considered it, but perhaps you'd be willing to share your reasoning.

Posted by: Conjo on September 16, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

I put the same question to Al that I put to Specialist over at TAPPED: if you're such a supporter of the Bush "programs", are you willing to undergo them yourself? Because that's really what you're asking the rest of us to do. From the beginning, the whole question of thesae "programs" only applying to "evildoers" has been a tautology, and thus, completely full of shit. For example, detainees held at Gitmo are obviously terrorists, because they are detainees held at Gitmo, and we obviously hold terrorists at Gitmo, because there are detainees at Gitmo, who are obviously terrorists, because...et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseum. The 800-pound elephant in the room during these "debates" is that if torture is legalized against anyone, it's legalized against everyone, through the simple means of reclassification of whom you want to do violence to. So to return to my point, Al, are you willing to allow yourself to be tortured? How about your family?

Posted by: jonathan on September 16, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

And another psy-ops goal could be to just inflame the other side by letting them know through leaks of humiliating torture just what we really think of them.
To clarify what I meant by that, it's just a suspicion I have that the humiliating torture leaks are intended to inflame the muslim world contrary to the Bush admin's stated goals of the GWOT, in order to move towards a global confrontation with Muslims that would satisfy a hidden agenda that is aligned with the goals of the Rapture crowd.

Posted by: Del Capslock on September 16, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Is that numbskull still president?

What is wrong with you people?

Posted by: Ten in Tenn on September 16, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

GOP = Gang Of Pirates...morally BANKRUPT!

Posted by: cojonudo on September 16, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

"Or it could encourage the enemy to engage US forces in suicide attacks...which they don't need any more reason to do."

I don't think we were torturing anybody when the airplanes flew into the towers. Most of the captured leaders arent the ones doing the suicide missions anyway.

Have we all agreed that "torture" has been defined now as "anything that makes a detainee uncomfortable?"

Posted by: carlyle on September 16, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Since Bush is a ticking bomb....

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on September 16, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Al, are you willing to allow yourself to be tortured? How about your family?
Posted by: jonathan on September 16, 2006 at 2:38 PM

How incredibly stupid and/or dishonest. Nice strawmanning there.

But to answer your idiotic question, if I become a terrorist who has it coming, then yes torture me.

Posted by: Brian on September 16, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

carlyle: Trying to equate the torture crimes that have been directed by the WH with "being uncomfortable" is like calling the Bataan Death march a 'nature walk'. Bush has directed the torture and is now trying to redefine the law to cover up his crimes.

Posted by: Chrissy on September 16, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, what Brian said. And of course, every single person that has been tortured, taken to Guantanomo, etc. -- each and every one of them was a horrible terrorist.

Posted by: Al on September 16, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

An argument in favor of torture. Round up all of the suspects involved in the California energy crisis, everyone involved in the Enron scandal, everyone alleged to have participated in the Vice President's energy task force meetings, everyone who works for Diebold, everyone who is alleged to have doctored pre-war intelligence on Iraq, send them all to Guantanamo for torture.

I'm sure it will take no time before they tell us exactly what we want to hear: that the president and FERC conspired with Enron and other energy traders to destabilize California (at a cost up perhaps $80 billion dollars) to try to bail out Enron and unseat Gray Davis, that elections in 2002 and 20004 were tipped into Republican hands by illegal manipulation of Diebold machines, that the Bush administration failed to heed warnings about 9/11 to exploit any terrorist attacks for political gain, that intelligence leading up to the war in Iraq was doctored, that the Bush administration deliberately let Osama bin Laden go for political reasons, that the NSA spying is being used to blackmail members of congress, and that Dick Cheney does in fact run the executive branch (but as a representative of Halliburton and the energy industry).

Plus, who wouldn't want to see pictures of DeLay and Hastert waterboarding?

By all means, let's allow torture. Sooner or later, all torture victims will admit their guilt and thereby justify the means.

Posted by: Augustus on September 16, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

How incredibly stupid and/or dishonest. Nice strawmanning there.

I guess we can call you just plain stupid. Learn what a strawman is.

Posted by: haha on September 16, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Let's assume for argument sake sanity is not returned to policy and law regarding torture/rendition/detainment without charges or trial. The courts and legislature either fail to stop Bush or become complicit in his crimes against humanity. All across the blogosphere DK's sentiments are echoed. Much of the rest of the world agrees. We're reeling from the sheer audicity and cruelty of Bush's policies and actions. Yet help is not on the way from any of the accepted, traditional sources of checks and balances. At what point is it a permissable moral imperative that measures outside of the courts or legislature get pursued? Can the system be so broken and the totality of crimes so heinous that extreme measures are sanctioned?

Posted by: steve duncan on September 16, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Brian says: But to answer your idiotic question, if I become a terrorist who has it coming, then yes torture me.

How do we know when you are a terrorist? When you confess to it under toture of course. This is a favored tatic of totalitarian goverments everywhere!

Posted by: seaan on September 16, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

My Georgie was always a bit of a bully but to call these issues torture is very unfair.

Why, it seems like only yesterday Georgie was killing small animals in the backyard. Annoying little pests - just like the people he has "harshly interrogated" and disappeared. Georgie is tough, not cruel and sadistic.

At Yale they tried to attack my Georgie for simple hazing. It was only burning people with cigarettes. As Georgie said at the time: "It's only a cigarette burn, There's no scarring mark physically or mentally." Georgie also had to defend himself for using hot coat hangers: "It's insignificant," he said. "Totally insignificant."

Babs

Posted by: Barbara B on September 16, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

As to the comment that it's funny that one objects to the idea of Americans torturing our own prisoners while ignoring the fact that Saddam routinely tortured his own citizens: Of course.

Of course it matters whether we torture. This entire issue is one of what we are. Is America a nation that uses torture? Are we so afraid that there's nothing we won't stoop to, no action so vile as to be beneath us if it lends us some smidgeon of security?

As a nation we've always held ourselves to the highest standard, and we've never been surprised when other nations, when the Saddams of the world, hold themselves to a much lower standard. Of course we are a great nation, exactly because we believe in a higher ideal that stands above torture. As Americans there are things we simply must not do. We're Americans. We're the good guys. We don't torture.

Posted by: Joe Stafford on September 16, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Al and Brian, you just proved my point. I can quite easily pick up the phone and call 202-282-8000 (DHS operator line in Washington DC) and tell them that 2 commenters on a political weblog are suspected terrorists, here's their information, can you look into it? And right then, the 2 of you are now suspected of terrorism. And if anyone decides that they need some headlines for whatever reason, if Bush has his way, you're now destined to become nothing more than historical foototes. It would be pretty simple, really:
"Last night, in a daring raid, patriotic Homeland Security officers captured two suspected terrorists before they could put their plot into action. Details are sketchy at this time, but it is rumored that both men had in their possession communications devices that were capable of contacting overseas jihad groups, and possibly send encrypted messages to others in their purported cell. We'll keep you posted as we learn more, but DHS Secretary Chertoff reminded us that when facing such an evil enemy as this, sometimes ruthless tactics must be used, and loyal, patriotic Americans should understand this."
Have a great time in Gitmo, boys. Be sure to write me once your arm bones heal.

Posted by: jonathan on September 16, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Mere annoyance is enough to make hardened terrorists spin yarns about phony nukes, that's why Bush is asking only for the power to annoy prisoners, and no more.

Posted by: Wingnut on September 16, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

aside from the denizens of the cult of republicanism's moral depraviety, there is certainly a piece to the 'Geneva Conventions are vague' charge that is connected to the bush regime being concerned about their culpability for war crimes. By obfuscating the meaning of the conventions they hope to establish a foundation for their defense when they come to trial for crimes against humanity.

Posted by: pluege on September 16, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

our moral bankruptcy in foreign policy is already well known in places like vietnam, south america, and the middle east. whether or not we "officialy" torture is irrlelevant to these populations.

bush's advocacy of torture is simply letting the rest of the developed world know that the redneck administration in charge is, in fact, the racist imperialist trash that half the world already thinks they are.

Posted by: Nads on September 16, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

If Dem leaders have any desire to want to make an effort to say something that might make it appear that they have a residual understanding that the aim of all politics is to win elections and they would like to do that too, they should continually point to the fact that they are vehemently against the GOP's pro-torture bill.

Posted by: gregor on September 16, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Fewer than 1 American in 3 believes torture is never justified.
Posted by: GOP

as a representative of the aforementioned racist trash running this country, what do you suppose a poll asking if official american policy should endorse torture?

how about a poll asking if our official policy endorsing torture should be kept if it adversely affects the treatment of american soldiers abroad?

I realize that as a cowardly chickenhawk, who himself will likely never actually be in combat but prefers to hide behind the poor and minorities who will, these considerations may be beyond you.

Posted by: Nads on September 16, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

adorable ... the little pussies resort to name-stealing. I haven't had a name stealer on this blog yet ... not since the zionazis at lgf took over eschaton.

Posted by: Nads on September 16, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Of course GOP leadership doesn't consider humiliating and degrading treatment torture or a crime. Many of my exclusive Washington clientele gladly pay extra for it.

Posted by: Jeff Gannon on September 16, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

specifically, mr. gannon, I would argue the GOP leadership doesn't consider torture of ay-rabs to be a crime ... and they count on the racism of their base, and the myopia of the rest of america, to let it happen. It's an extension of the southern strategy, where arabs are the new blacks.

Posted by: Nads on September 16, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

As a representative of stupid hypocritical racist scum, why do you think anyone should care what you believe except other stupid hypocritical racist scum?
Posted by: GOP

come now, you name-stealing piece of white trash ... justify your opinion poll ... MAKE me believe the the majority of americans are the ignorant racist rednecks you believe them to be.

even in 2005, there was a sizeable majority who thought saddam actually had wmds and that we had found them ... that's a statement to american ignorance and fox propaganda. you have sufficient prior evidence to think that this racism can be used to the gop's advantage wrt torturing arabs ... I just think you should embrace your sides' methodology.

he honest, you dumb piece of shit. you'll feel better.

Posted by: Nads on September 16, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

GOP,

I would argue that you should be on a police watch list.

Posted by: cld on September 16, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

GOP,

I would argue that you're a streak of dimness.

Posted by: cld on September 16, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

I would argue that anti-torture fundamentalists are just as crazy as Christian fundamentalists and Islamic fundamentalists.
Posted by: GOP

what an asinine thing to say ... what moral human being wouldn't be somewhat strident in the rejection of inhumanity.

frankly, you sound like a holocaust denier, insisting that the number is NOT 6 million, and that it wasn't as bad as the jews said it was, and that they deserved it anyways so why the big deal.

Posted by: Nads on September 16, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

It is rather hilarious that we have a president that wants to institutionalize torture as an American institution.

How does one stay a Republican when the platform of their party is:

"Let's waterboard religious nuts!"

When we asked if being shot in the face was a Republican policy we were only laughing for Crissakes!


Posted by: Matt on September 16, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

GOP,

Touch! I would argue that you are a blunt wind that blows and fades and loses its ember to eternal darkness and cold vacuity while knowing not that it has ceased to blow even so much.

Posted by: cld on September 16, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Bush and Cheney are scared of being hauled before a war crimes tribunal. It's that simple.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on September 16, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

anti-torture fundamentalists

You appalling ass.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on September 16, 2006 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

GOP: I love it when you talk dirty. Bet you've got a little freak in you too.

Posted by: Jeff Gannon, gop ho on September 16, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

GOP,

Moi? Immoral? gotiste? Je ne dis pas que quelqu'un devrait tre tortur pour ma propre satisfaction petite.

I don't argue that others should be tortured for my own petty gratification.

Posted by: cld on September 16, 2006 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

You wretched freak.

My name is attached to my posts.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on September 16, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK


"I would argue that you are a blunt wind that blows and fades and loses its ember to eternal darkness and cold vacuity while knowing not that it has ceased to blow even so much."

Give it up GOP - You've been beat (metaphorically of course)..

Posted by: Xmarine on September 16, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

"Only the weak, scared and evil torture" says DK. Sounds right.

"Only the weak, scared and evil allow ongoing mass murder when they have the means to prevent these murders." That sounds right, too, doesn't it?

This is a true dilemma. We are faced with two unthinkable choices.

The harsh questioning methods used by the CIA against terrorists have worked. If we stop using these disgusting methods, hundreds or thousands of innocent people will likley die. Not just American deaths. Harsh questioning has helped prevent attacks overseas as well.

I can respect someone who wants to end the use of harsh questioning, even though thousands of innocents will die. But, those who ignore the innocent lives that will be lost by banning harsh questioning methods are not serious. They're in a state of denial.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 16, 2006 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

"As Americans there are things we simply must not do. We're Americans. We're the good guys. We don't torture."

Amen, brother!

Posted by: Lucy on September 16, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-weigant/so-is-torturing-a-daughte_b_29538.html


"If your daughter were a member of the U.S. Army and were captured by an enemy, and waterboarding and other 'interrogation techniques' you are condoning the United States use were used against her -- against your own daughter -- would you call those techniques 'torture' or would you defend them as being legal techniques?"

Catch-22. There's just no way to answer that question. That's why it needs to be asked.

The follow-up question is easy, too.

"If we hold a terrorist and we think he knows about an imminent plot, you advocate 'aggressive interrogation techniques' against him, since his comfort is less important than saving the lives of so many in an attack on America -- but if he has been trained to resist interrogation and doesn't talk, would you also advocate using the same techniques on his innocent nine year old daughter, in front of him, in an effort to make him talk?"

Posted by: cld on September 16, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal, The harsh questioning methods used by the CIA against terrorists have worked. If we stop using these disgusting methods, hundreds or thousands of innocent people will likley die. Not just American deaths. Harsh questioning has helped prevent attacks overseas as well.


Which of those sentences has any supporting evidence?

Posted by: cld on September 16, 2006 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

Since torture is both thuggish and ineffective, it's no wonder the administration has embraced it.

Posted by: Lucy on September 16, 2006 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

Don't be ridiculous. Counterterrorism experts repeatedly assert that torture is ineffective.

You could look it up.

Posted by: Lucy on September 16, 2006 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

Excuse me while I retrieve the evidence from under the bed.

Posted by: Lucy on September 16, 2006 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

GOP, Why do you want to let this administration escape accountability and responsibility for its actions? Clearly they are violating the law and clearly there have been many "erroneous renditions" and innocents tortured. What kind of person and American are you to want to hide from accountability and responsibility for the actions of this administration.

Posted by: Chrissy on September 16, 2006 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

GOP, news flash for you. The current legislation allows the WH to escape responsibility and accountability for any torture whether you consider it justified or not.

Posted by: Chrissy on September 16, 2006 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

Dahlia Lithwick, Sep 07, 2006:

The laundry list of programs and powers Bush outlined today represent a big fat legal do-over. This was precisely the speech he should have given five years ago. Now the president is suddenly willing to defer to Congress on the matter of military tribunals; he's newly willing to abide by the Geneva Conventions with respect to the treatment of detainees; he's ready to concede that the architects of the 9/11 attacks should face trial rather than be consigned to some legal Phantom Zone; and he acknowledges that he is bound by the December 2005 Detainee Treatment Acteven though his signing statement at the time implied that he was not. He claims, yet again, that the hundreds of Guantanamo detainees are dangerous "terrorists" even as Gitmo authorities acknowledge how few of them really are.

Bush disingenuously asks that Congress "clarify the rules" about what constitutes illegal interrogation. Of course, those rules were quite clear until Bush had his goons define them into oblivion. And he demands that members of Congress get off their duffs and sign off on the system of military trials he cooked up in his kitchen with Alberto Gonzales, becauseeffective todayevery moment those 9/11 families are denied justice and closure is a moment wasted.

Today's speech was largely a political event; a way of repackaging old demands and new admissions that would bolster Bush's positioning of himself as a bold wartime president, even while decorously conceding that the courts and Congress might be involved in this war as well.

It's a political event because all of this new law is his way of pushing back at a Congress that won't roll over for him. Even some Republicans are proving oddly unwilling to rubber-stamp the military tribunals he had once crafted for guys at Guantanamo guilty mostly of wearing Casio watches. After today, he'll be able to accuse Congress of dragging its feet on launching a trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed!

The speech teemed with all the rhetorical wizardry you might expect of a do-over. Bush justified torture and extraordinary rendition while denying that they exist. He stuck a fork in the eye of the Supreme Court while agreeing to be bound by the majority's decision. He conceded that Congress should play a role in creating military tribunals while demanding that it greenlight his plan. And he asserted that the United States will be bound by the Geneva Conventions, even while (as Marty Lederman argues) his proposed military-commission legislation both authorizes and immunizes from prosecution "alternative" interrogation techniques, as the president dubbed them todayincluding water-boarding and stress positionsthat clearly violate the tenets of Geneva.

As either a prosecutor's opening statement or a rousing game of Clue, the speech was a tour de force: Thanks to evidence procured through torture, we now know that Ammar al-Baluchi was in the conservatory with a candlestick. Whether all that evidence is reliable, verifiable, or even true is totally irrelevant. The president hopes to use it someday in his military trials, so today he gave us a preview of how dramatic it might prove.

Don't get me wrong. I wanted to see these big fish put on trial, and I finally may have fished my wish. But my hope was always that people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, and Abu Zubayda would be tried in real courts with real evidence. The suggestion today that we try them in rigged courts using torture evidence is the same old idea he's been peddling for years now: Trust us, these guys are really, really bad terrorists. But five years later, Congress, whose views on the subject finally count for something, will hopefully see these commissions for what they are: a bad idea whose time has come. And gone.

Posted by: Del Capslock on September 16, 2006 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

GOP, Do you believe it's always wrong to engage in wartime attacks that you know will almost certainly kill innocent civilians (e.g., aerial bombing of cities)?


Both of those methods of conducting warfare have been well demonstrated as effective. It's not personal and it's not wrong when conducted within the limits of accepted practice. It doesn't compare to something which has always been shown to be altogether ineffective. It's like saying that cross examination on the witness stand is acceptable so cross examination under torture is just as acceptable.


In fact, many of the civilian deaths caused by bombing or sanctions are likely to be slow and painful.

A lot of things are slow and painful.


All those things Murad confessed to had already happened or been thwarted. He could talk about them without betraying anything.


GOP, do you think serial killers are wrong?

Posted by: cld on September 16, 2006 at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK

"If we stop using these disgusting methods, hundreds or thousands of innocent people will likley die." - ex-lib

Good point. But it is made on the assumption that liberals care for life. They don't. They supported the policy of containment which was nothing more than a slow death for hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's with no forseeable end, yet it wasn't in the news, therefore the libs didn't have to deal with it.

The lefts desire is just too not have to do anything, at all. Just pass resolutions and play nice so Arianna's cocktail party will go on as scheduled.

Speaking of cocktail cirsuit, how's Valerie Plame and that Greatful Dead wannabe of a husband doing?

Posted by: Jay on September 16, 2006 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans no longer talk about the Anthrax Terrorist. Why? Because there's no one to torture. Except that guy who was a 'person of interest'. Why don't they just torture him, I bet he knows something.

Posted by: cld on September 16, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

GOP: The new "legislation" gives the administration retroactive immunity from prosecution. Think about it.

Posted by: Chrissy on September 16, 2006 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

This really is interesting beyond the Bush "give me a hypothetical" to pursue "this program." Has anyone actually seen what "this program' is?

As ever, there are two camps. One, driven by Bush, Cheney, Rove, Gonzalez, Yoo, the catch-all neo-cons, etc., who see no counter-productive reaction or any moral problems in pursuing their goal to torture; I really believe they wouldn't mind using thumb-screws or the rack (but there's a multi-million $ replacement coming down the contract line). The second driven by history, conscience, morality and wider vision, including people who have been on both sides of the damaging effects of war. The first group seem to be singularly lacking in experience of war. I am sure the right will inform me of the exceptions. It is clear where the moral and experiential opinion lies.

The Geneva Convention(s) has evolved over decades. The post-WWII Convention was brewed from the direct experience of whole societies who had been involved in the war, seen and experienced the wost depravities, and whose senior members had already experienced the "War to end all wars".

The inferiority of this minority of a minority to tell the USofA and the world what needs to be done for defence but on a road of moral declination would be laughable if not sad that they really cannot see their faults. Good Christians, all I am sure.

Please, everyone, also look to the present bill as being regressive in withdrawing Habeas Corpus rights from prisoners.

Habeas Corpus is the most fundamental right in securing justice for the individual. Without that society re-becomes totalitarian.

Posted by: notthere on September 16, 2006 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

GOP,

I got distracted by the ballgame.

Posted by: Lucy on September 16, 2006 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

CORRECTION:
Good Christians, all I am sure.
=
Good Christians all, I'm sure.

Sorry.

Posted by: botthere on September 16, 2006 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

DK did, in fact, nail it. How the Smirking Chimp can even suggest that we have to employ fascist state tactics to interrogate terrorism suspects, demonstrates how far right the mainstream media has been manuveured.

This is America, folks. We didn't suspend the Bill of Rights or resort to torture, even when the British burned down the White House during the War of 1812 and President Madison had to hide in the woods to avoid capture. When we begin to torture and withhold basic human rights from anyone, including an al-Qaeda operative (which is probably 5% of the prisoners at Gitmo), we have lost any claim to moral superiority and have become just like them.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 16, 2006 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

State vs State conflicts do not involve personal sanction. You are largely absolved of responsibility in these conflicts because the state absorbs the responsibility. If a state sanctions torture, however, it levels the whole responsibility of the opposing state's actions upon the victim and absolutely absolves itself of any responsibility at all. The scale of this displacement is completely irrational and in real life has never occurred and will never occur and it leaves the state committing the torture in the position of wholly responsible both for the act and every subsequent act of either side.

And that is in addition to the widely noted incapacity of torture to produce any serious result.

Posted by: cld on September 16, 2006 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Here's something from a Frenchman for all you wild and crazy Bush fans out there!

"...extensive studies of torture show that it is largely ineffective as a means of gathering correct information. For example, the Gestapo's use of torture against the French resistance in the 1940s and the French use of torture against the Algerian resistance in the 1950s both proved largely ineffective. As another example, Diederik Lohman, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch, found that the torture of suspected criminals typically yields information that is not accurate. A final, and rather famous example is that of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi. Under torture, al-Libi claimed that Al Qaeda had significant links to Iraq . However, as he himself later admitted, there were no such links. Thus, the historical record seems to count against the effectiveness of torture.

Third, as history and basic human psychology show, most people will say almost anything to end terrible suffering. For example, a former prisoner from Abu Ghraib told the New York Times that, after being tortured, he confessed to being Osama Bin Laden to put and end to his mistreatment. Similar things occur in the context of domestic law enforcement in the United States : suspects subjected to threats and mistreatments have confessed to crimes they did not commit. As such, torture seems to be a rather dubious way of acquiring reliable intelligence."

http://www.philosophers.co.uk/cafe/provocations20.htm

For god's sake, GOP, you could google it.

Posted by: Lucy on September 16, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

Let me be quick to add that I'm not sure if the guy is actually French.

Posted by: Lucy on September 16, 2006 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=2452777


Ex-FBI Agent: Harsh Interrogation Doesn't Work

Sept. 16, 2006 Amid a debate between President Bush and bipartisan members of Congress over how harshly to question terror detainees, a former FBI agent said some of the most aggressive interrogation techniques in dispute are rarely effective anyway.

Cloonan said there are more fruitful practices.

"Knowing the subject matter, building rapport and having that time to get that person to know you works, and I've done it many times," he said.

Because those being interrogated expect to be tortured, they're caught off guard by non-violent approaches, and often release information more easily, Cloonan said.

"In their manual it says the opposition will torture you, so they expect it," he said. "When you don't do it, it has the opposite effect."

Among interrogators, Cloonan says there's always been a moral debate about torture.

"Some people think it works, some people don't," he said. "The boss has made the decision, now it's a question of giving these people protection."

Cloonan dismissed the notion of the "ticking time-bomb" scenario in which interrogators must beat information out of someone quickly to prevent an attack.

"Let's deal with the reality of the situation: Generally speaking, that's not going to happen," he said. "It doesn't happen in the real world, so we don't need to go to that level."

Posted by: ABC News on September 16, 2006 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

GOP,

That's one specific instance which fails your need because none of the provided information was timely or actionable and it leads to nothing.

But, without the link I can't read the whole thing.

Israel's former chief interogator was all over the media a few months ago explaining why it is wrong in some detail, and I cannot remember his name. (He did say that the only thing like torture that could work was mostly surprise and it could work only initially since the victim quickly comes to expect it).

Torture is always wrong because it is always ineffective, but it is wrong for a wide range of other reasons as well, primarily in the way the state and society regard the individual. If it is correct to do this in any circumstance, there are circumstances where quite literally anything is acceptable, and, you know, that cannot be. What is your view of serial killers? Are they always wrong?

If the state sees this as a proper action toward individuals, how will individuals regard one another? Society fails in every way if this is thought right, even a little.

Posted by: cld on September 16, 2006 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

GOP,

I didn't say torture was "ineffective in all cases." I simply said it was "ineffective".

Posted by: Lucy on September 16, 2006 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

Reading sheep innards may not be a reliable source of gathering information, but that obviously does not mean it cannot, has not, or will not be used successfully to obtain information needed to thwart terrorist attacks.

other methods that haven't been proven ineffective are praying to friendly Grey aliens and doing the hokey-pokey in a wading pool filled with Mars bars.

Posted by: torcher on September 16, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

Wow! Celebrity at at last!

I must have really hit a nerve! I always thought I was making relevant criticism of the right. But now I know I did,

Thanls Al, and Al, and Al! Unless there are some other super-ignorant people out there.

Bush has put the US on a bad course and most USians know it. Only the reugnuts left to sink with the ship.

Posted by: Notthere on September 16, 2006 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Though I can see why the president would demand "clarity" when "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States" was apparently a bit too opaque for him.

Posted by: Lucy on September 16, 2006 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Torture would be more popular if we could all participate, say via the Internet? Can we strap one of these Islamic dudes with the long names, "Mullah el otsa bel ubber", adding electrodes, for example.

Then we can log into the guy like he is some Kevin Drum blog, and type away. Each keystroke gives the guy a bit of a microvolt, but to keep key clicks up we would have to get a big crowd typing away.

Of course we would get real time feed back. We can ask him a questrion, like, "Is Mohammed a fag?", and then we all type away until the little camel lover responds with an annswer we might like.

Posted by: Matt on September 16, 2006 at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK

It amazes me how a few grainy out of focus videos of a couple of dozen guys doing a jungle jim with 50-year old automatic rifles makes everyone shit in their pants. Yes, they got lucky as we got stupid with airline security and piled a couple of airplanes into buildings and killed a bunch of our people. Had the cheap bastards running our country had an ounce of vision the doors to the cockpits would have been bolted and we would all be now spending our time obsessing over who the Bush girls were screwing instead of shaking in our boots over a bunch of clowns running around in sheets and masks. Each day I grow more ashamed of the American people! Where are our balls? Apparently the last generation that had any is now in their 80's or dead! Anyone ever seen the WWII news films of the German and Japanese military. Now those were films you could shit your pants over! Guess our spineless and pampered Dr. Spock generation has finally grown up. Too bad they weren't told there really isn't a Santa Claus or Boogeyman! I can't believe these slimy Republicans have managed to pull off this much fear with such shitty visuals! Had they tried to pull this off in the late 1930's or early 1940's they would have been laughed out of office! Get a grip everyone. The total number of American's killed by terriorists in the last twenty years is still less than the number of Americans that yearly die of flu! See stupid, you should be far more worried about getting your flue shot than being killed by a terrorist!

Posted by: AluminumKen on September 16, 2006 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

Well said, AluminumKen. Guess this is the scaredest generation. If it were up to them, the Romans would have better legal cover when they were killing Jesus. (These wild-eyed anarchists are threatening our sacred way of life!) But with these guys nothing is more tortured than their logic.

Posted by: Kenji on September 17, 2006 at 12:42 AM | PERMALINK

As I thought. No reply.

You guys are so weak. You have a blind put down but no argument.

Notme notthere:
GOP, I'm not an American, so I don't give a shit about the Bill of Rights. I'm also sub-human, so I don't care about human rights either.

Posted by: notthere on September 16, 2006 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

Everything I write supoports the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

OBVIOUSLY NOT YOU, who hides behind my name.

Posted by: notthere on September 17, 2006 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

Pardon me for posting this again, but I was so inspired by AluminumKen (any realation to the tin woodman?) that I had to get my own rant up and its really late and...

Jeezus X Christ! When will the first courageous soul on the national scene stand up and scream it?

What goddam war? Five years without so much as a firecracker set off in anger and we call this a war? What kind of pussies are we? We quake in fear at every bump in the night, while the Republicans use this bogus war bullshit to justify every encroachment on our liberties! The Republicans use this bogus war bullshit to justify their very existence! Stop playing into their hands you wimpy Democrats and tell the truth for once. There is no goddam WAR!

And another thing, every time I hear a Republican say something like, These are extraordinary times, we need to take extraordinary measures, I feel like running screaming from the room and puking on the first Republican I see!

(Thats not as easy as it sounds. Most of the Republicans in this town work behind 67 layers of security and dont go home until after midnight in big black SUVs with curtains drawn. Everyone else in DC is a Democrat.)

We had a real shooting war with millions of people getting killed sixty years ago, you scaredypussies. Thirty years ago, the Russians had a nuke aimed at every square foot of ground in this whole country and you think THESE are extraordinary times?

If only I had a time machine so I could shoot the Bush Babies back to 13th century Florence. Im sure they would find the politics much more to their liking!

Posted by: James of DC on September 17, 2006 at 3:31 AM | PERMALINK

GOP AND TERRORISTS AGREE....


....AMERICANS SHOULD BE SCARED...

Posted by: simple on September 17, 2006 at 6:49 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: ff on September 17, 2006 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

ff nails it!

Posted by: Kenji on September 17, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

GOP,

That is a great article.

Posted by: cld on September 17, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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