Changelog: On Torture

Opinion • Views: 32,859

I posted this as a comment in our earlier thread about George W. Bush’s acknowledgment that he approved waterboarding for terror suspects after 9/11, but refused to consider it “torture.” I thought it might be of interest to our general audience, as a look at why my opinions have changed on some subjects.

I actually understand the impetus to defend the waterboarding of people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, because at one point I did it myself. I admit that after 9/11 I wasn’t concerned at all with the human rights of the people who attacked us. I made light of the waterboarding issue, using the rationalization that it didn’t cause permanent physical harm and therefore couldn’t be classified as torture.

I now realize I was terribly mistaken. One of the real turning points for me was when Christopher Hitchens, who was a hawk in regard to the Iraq War and 9/11 and radical Islam, underwent waterboarding, was greatly affected by it, and wrote a piece unequivocally condemning it as torture. And when I started researching the history of waterboarding and its use against US troops in Vietnam and other wars, and understood that our government had no hesitation about classifying it as torture when it was used against us, I simply had to admit that I was wrong, and that waterboarding IS torture. It evokes a primal, uncontrollable panic reaction, and yes — people can be permanently harmed by it, both physically and mentally.

Just as with the issue of global warming, as I researched and read the source material and thought about it for myself, and tuned out the flood of propaganda from right wing sites and pundits and media, I had to admit that my earlier skepticism was mistaken and based on ignorance, some of which was the result of skillful propaganda spread by ideologues.

Waterboarding is torture.

You may think the use of torture can be justified in some extreme cases (I don’t), and that, at least, is an arguable position. Wrong, but arguable.

But it’s torture. We should at least have the honesty to admit that much.

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838 comments
1 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:11:20pm

Christopher Hitchens is a man who follows his lines of thought to their ends. His report on waterboarding made a strong impression on me as well.

2 Mark Winter  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:13:04pm

Torture is terrible for 2 reasons:

For what it does to them
and
For what it does to us

3 HappyWarrior  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:15:22pm

I think what bothered me was that we used the whole they're not part of the Geneva convention thing as justification. I am sorry but that's just wrong. I believe thatw as the same excuse the Japanese used to justify their treatment of allied prisoners in WWII. I am not saying we're like Imperial Japan but that rationalization was crap and they know it.

4 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:17:30pm

re: #2 Mark Winter

Absolutely.

I really don't trust anyone who is willing to torture another human being, who coldly, calmly, thinks that this is the best way to proceed, in the face of all the evidence that torture doesn't work, that torture produces false confessions.

However, there may be someone who is only willing to do so because they are ordered to do so by men they respect, in the service of a nation they've pledged their service to.

Asking them to do so is a terrible thing.

5 Sol Berdinowitz  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:17:53pm

Condoning our own use of torture also means we cannot condemn those who would use it against us.

6 Vicious Babushka  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:17:59pm

What is the appropriate way of dealing with a "ticking bomb" terrorist if we can't go all Jack Bauer on their asses?

/

7 Sol Berdinowitz  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:18:46pm

re: #6 Alouette

What is the appropriate way of dealing with a "ticking bomb" terrorist if we can't go all Jack Bauer on their asses?

/

I can almost go along with the "ticking bomb" scenario. But have we had that yet?

8 okonkolo  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:20:20pm

I applaud this post. I know you'll get attacked for it from former fans, but deep down you know you are right, and I and many others certainly agree with you. It's a tough stand to take given the vile inhumanity of the enemy, but really you are not defending them, you are defending the principles of this great nation of ours.

9 HappyWarrior  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:20:36pm

re: #5 ralphieboy

Condoning our own use of torture also means we cannot condemn those who would use it against us.

Exactly. I actually had to write a paper on torture a few years back and I actually quoted op-eds written by John McCain and a West Point graduate who was serving in the field. It seemed to me the people most ready to apologize for torture were people who had no experience in the field at all. I understand the emotional ramifcations of the debate but I take the positions of people who have actually been in those type positiosn alot seriously than some guy who gets his kicks watching 24.

10 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:21:00pm

re: #7 ralphieboy

I can't.

In order for the ticking bomb scenario to work out, we'd have to

A) Have the right person and be certain we had the right person, the one with the information

B) Somehow be certain that he's told us the actual necessary information.

Say we have a bomb with three wires. We have a guy, that we have on camera as having planted the bomb. We ask him which wire to cut. He says blue. We torture him for awhile. He says red. We torture him for awhile longer. He says green.

Which one do we cut?

People will give whatever answer they can to get out of torture. It may be the right answer. But unless we already know what that answer is, how can we be certain we've gotten the right one?

11 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:21:54pm

re: #7 ralphieboy

I can almost go along with the "ticking bomb" scenario. But have we had that yet?

Where did you get the information about the ticking bomb? Shouldn't you go back to that source to get more information? Would you really trust information gained through torture?

12 Sol Berdinowitz  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:22:14pm

And the "ticking bomb" scenario would only work if we had very good reason to believe that the person in question had planted the bomb or was in posession of vital information on how to disarm it.

13 Kewalo  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:22:35pm

It is that self honesty that drew me to your website to begin with. It's been a pleasure and although I don't post very much, it's what has kept me coming back. I rarely miss a day.

Thank you.

14 Sol Berdinowitz  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:24:04pm

re: #10 Obdicut


I said "almost" and you went on to describe why it remains "almost" and not "wholeheartedly".

15 Killgore Trout  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:25:43pm

re: #7 ralphieboy

I can almost go along with the "ticking bomb" scenario. But have we had that yet?

I think we got some actionable intel about ongoing plots from KSM through waterboarding. I'll have to look that up.

16 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:26:06pm

re: #7 ralphieboy

I can almost go along with the "ticking bomb" scenario. But have we had that yet?

The only known example of a ticking time bomb was an Italian demolition tam who placed limpet mines on the hull of the Austrio-Hungarian Tegetthoff class battleship Virbus Unitus.
The two Ialians were capturd before the explosives went off...and they were not tortured.

The battleship was sunk in the ensuing explosion, also resulting in the loss of her captain. The Italians were interred for several days until being repatriated.

17 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:26:42pm

I agree waterboarding is torture.

Nevertheless, I also do believe there are times it may be warranted (the 'ticking bomb' scenario). Dershowitz makes a case for torture in certain cases here.

Bruce Anderson has also made the case for torture at times. See Bruce Anderson: We not only have a right to use torture. We have a duty. Anderson's piece is reasonable and thoughtful.

The Israelis live with these realities on a daily basis. I don't know for sure, but I suspect for them the issue is far less academic.

I am not a fan of torture- most of the time the time the information gathered is less than credible.

That said, there are times torture may be a regrettable but necessary option.

18 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:27:15pm

re: #17 researchok

What do you have to say to the problem I identified above of the ticking bomb scenario?

19 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:28:37pm

re: #17 researchok

I agree waterboarding is torture.

Nevertheless, I also do believe there are times it may be warranted (the 'ticking bomb' scenario). Dershowitz makes a case for torture in certain cases here.

Bruce Anderson has also made the case for torture at times. See Bruce Anderson: We not only have a right to use torture. We have a duty. Anderson's piece is reasonable and thoughtful.

The Israelis live with these realities on a daily basis. I don't know for sure, but I suspect for them the issue is far less academic.

I am not a fan of torture- most of the time the time the information gathered is less than credible.

That said, there are times torture may be a regrettable but necessary option.

The ticking time bomb scenario is a fantasy. In the last one hundred years of warfare we know of one occasion were it was in play.

20 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:29:31pm

re: #19 celticdragon

The ticking time bomb scenario is a fantasy. In the last one hundred years of warfare we know of one occasion were it was in play.

No way! It must be true, it was on 24.

21 Fozzie Bear  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:30:00pm

Of course it is torture, it always was.

I have difficulty forgiving anyone who defended this practice, even you Charles. It was an absolutely despicable position to take, and I for one am still royally pissed at everyone who created the political/media cover to legitimize the absolutely illegitimate.

I appreciate that you changed your mind, that counts for a lot, and standing up and saying "I was wrong" counts for even more. But, it doesn't make any difference now. We, as a nation, already flushed any chance of taking the moral high ground, for quite some time.

For that, there are many people, not just on the left, who are still enraged, myself one of them.

22 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:30:11pm

re: #18 Obdicut

What do you have to say to the problem I identified above of the ticking bomb scenario?

I can concoct a scenario that is also compelling in favor of torture..

As I said, there are times torture may be a regrettable but necessary option.

23 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:30:18pm

BRB

24 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:32:04pm

re: #19 celticdragon

The ticking time bomb scenario is a fantasy. In the last one hundred years of warfare we know of one occasion were it was in play.

I don't believe it is a fantasy for the Israelis.

25 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:32:06pm

re: #22 researchok

I can concoct a scenario that is also compelling in favor of torture..

This is not an answer to my question. Can you try to answer it?

There is no scenario where, if you don't already know the information, you can trust that you have received the correct information obtained during torture.

I would also be interested to see you actually provide a scenario that's compelling in favor of torture. Can you do that as well?

26 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:32:24pm

I wrote earlier, that it takes a good man to think things through on his own and to admit errors.

It is easy to understand the rage after 9/11 that fueled so many such views. Someone like KSM truly is as evil a bit of scum to ever disgrace the planet with his presence.

Yet, for all the the proper reasons, vengeance born of anger is rarely good policy and doing what is known to be wrong for s "higher cause" rarely turns out to be better. I understand wanting someone like KSM to suffer, but it is foolish to think torturing him benefited anything other than a need to inflict pain in an act of vengeance. If it worked, civilized militaries would still do it rather than forbid it outright and call it a war crime.

Charles is a truly good man. There will be numerous wingnuts who wish to somehow nail him for writing something honest. It is a mark of how far from honor wingnuts are that they don't recognize how much of a mensch Charles is for writing this.

27 Joanne  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:32:31pm

Charles, that is what makes you intellectually honest. And that is why I have respect for you.

28 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:32:40pm

re: #24 researchok

Name a time that the Israelis have been faced with a ticking time bomb, please.

29 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:33:52pm

re: #6 Alouette

What is the appropriate way of dealing with a "ticking bomb" terrorist if we can't go all Jack Bauer on their asses?

/

To lean back and remember that if you break someone under torture, they will tell you what they think you want to hear, not necessarily what is true.

There is a reason why confession is not allowed in a Beit Din.

30 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:36:03pm

re: #17 researchok

And yet it still does not work. Dershowitz is over ruled by generals from Washington and Grant to Eisenhower, Patton and MacArthur.

31 Killgore Trout  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:36:53pm

Here's what KSM gave up under torture...


Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's '31 plots'

32 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:37:13pm

re: #31 Killgore Trout

And how much of that was true?

33 Joanne  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:37:17pm

re: #12 ralphieboy

And the "ticking bomb" scenario would only work if we had very good reason to believe that the person in question had planted the bomb or was in posession of vital information on how to disarm it.

And this is exactly why that is 100% the wrong approach. IF there was a ticking time bomb and we tortured someone, they would give us so much information, of which almost if not all would be false, to follow up on. Then what? Boom! Because we shoved a machete up someone's ass, we got bad information.

There are books about how to break people and it is with the "you're my best friend" and mutual respect approach. All torture does is reinforce their justification for jihad in their minds; "Everyone in the west deserves what they get and this is proof! These people are animals!" If you treat them like human beings, they will determine that we are not the monsters we are made out to be.

Torture does not work.

34 engineer cat  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:37:48pm

it's not just the moral damage of torture that bothers me, but after seeing so many american intelligence professionals get on tv and assert that torture mostly produces bad information, it becomes clear that torture is counterproductive and a lousy way to protect ourselves

35 Charles Johnson  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:38:50pm

re: #31 Killgore Trout

Here's what KSM gave up under torture...

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's '31 plots'

Those are things he admitted to in his Gitmo hearing. Are you sure they're all obtained through waterboarding?

36 Killgore Trout  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:39:18pm

re: #32 Obdicut

And how much of that was true?

I'm sure he gave mix of true and untrue stuff. I'm not sure if that list was just the plots that checked out or a complete list of everything he said.

37 Sol Berdinowitz  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:39:20pm

I fear that many see torture as an end in itself...the notion being that even if it produces no useable intelligence, it is not wasted on these fellows.

38 engineer cat  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:39:23pm

re: #26 LudwigVanQuixote

i agree, and let me add:

what is one sign of an intelligent, functioning brain?

doubt

39 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:40:22pm

re: #36 Killgore Trout

Then what was the utility of torturing him?

40 iossarian  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:41:34pm

re: #39 Obdicut

Then what was the utility of torturing him?

It made the Bush administration look like badasses to their weak-minded supporters.

41 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:42:03pm

re: #24 researchok

I don't believe it is a fantasy for the Israelis.

Yeah, I'm sure they managed to capture a master-mind bomb maker who knew where the ticking bombs were

//


Link?

Otherwise, you are merely appealing to fancy.

The Israelis have captured suicide bombers who did not make it to their target, but it wasn't really necessary to torture them in order to know where the suicide bomb was.

Really now.

42 Killgore Trout  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:42:25pm

re: #35 Charles

I got the link from his wiki entry....

One CIA official cautioned that "many of Mohammed's claims during interrogation were 'white noise' designed to send the U.S. on wild goose chases or to get him through the day's interrogation session". For example according to Mike Rogers, a former FBI agent and the top Republican on the terrorism panel of the House Intelligence Committee, he has admitted responsibility for the Bali nightclub bombing, but his involvement "could have been as small as arranging a safe house for travel. It could have been arranging finance." Mohammed also made the admission that he was "responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center Operation," which killed six and injured more than 1,000 when a bomb was detonated in an underground garage, Mohammed did not plan the attack, but he may have supported it. Michael Welner noted that by offering legitimate information to interrogators, Mohammed had secured the leverage to provide disinformation as well.[74


He wasn't talking to investigators voluntarily that why they "enhanced" his interrogation experience. I assume he gave up most of that info after they broke him.

43 Sol Berdinowitz  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:42:36pm

re: #40 iossarian

It made the Bush administration look like badasses to their weak-minded supporters.


An end in itself...

44 Killgore Trout  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:43:25pm

re: #39 Obdicut

Then what was the utility of torturing him?

That's how he told them of those plots.

45 Mark Winter  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:43:27pm

We could never define a "legit" ticking bomb scenario. Because there are millions. All different. No law could decide which one could be "legit".

Therefore no situation could ever justify torture

46 Charles Johnson  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:44:09pm

The CIA investigator who looked into the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said they don't know how much of the information they got from KSM was valid.

John L. Helgerson, the former CIA inspector general who investigated the agency's detention and interrogation program, said his work did not put him in "a position to reach definitive conclusions about the effectiveness of particular interrogation methods."

"Certain of the techniques seemed to have little effect, whereas waterboarding and sleep deprivation were the two most powerful techniques and elicited a lot of information," he said in an interview. "But we didn't have the time or resources to do a careful, systematic analysis of the use of particular techniques with particular individuals and independently confirm the quality of the information that came out."

47 Lidane  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:44:27pm

re: #22 researchok


As I said, there are times torture may be a regrettable but necessary option.

That sentence is beneath the ideals we claim to uphold as Americans. Torture is never an option. It is the tool of the savage, not the honorable.

48 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:45:35pm

re: #44 Killgore Trout

That's how he told them of those plots.

And he told them about a bunch of stuff that he made up, or was old, or was inaccurate.

So what was the utility of torturing him?

49 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:46:30pm

re: #31 Killgore Trout

Here's what KSM gave up under torture...

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's '31 plots'

How much of that was obtained after the fact and how much before the attempt?

After the fact is irrelevant. The only plots that are important are those that were foiled because of the information and those that were not foiled.

Admitting to doing something bad is also irrelevant and, frankly, useless information.

50 Fozzie Bear  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:47:25pm

The important lesson to draw from this isn't just that torture is wrong, and things like controlled drowning of human beings is torture. That's vital, to be sure.

What strikes me as the most important lesson to draw from the Bush years is that frightened and angry people will often contort and mutilate their own personal moral framework in the pursuit of some kind of personal catharsis that can never be fully realized.

People didn't defend the practice of torture over the last decade because they thought it would work, or because they thought it was the right thing to do. They did it because they were fucking pissed off, and wanted blood. If you can admit that to yourselves, then you have learned something.

Bin Laden, of course, knew this. The man is a monster, but he is also an astute student of human nature. He counted on our reaction, as a nation, being what it was. We can draw goofy caricatures all we want, put them on playing cards, etc. Just don't forget that we got played, in a big way. We were lured into a war we could never hope to win, in an area of the world that has never known stability or peace, by a very, very evil and equally brilliant man.

There can't be any real catharsis until we accept that we lost. We were manipulated in exactly the way that was planned. Bin Laden's plot went exactly as planned, including our projected reaction to it, and we are all poorer for having played HIS game.

51 wrenchwench  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:49:28pm

re: #50 Fozzie Bear

There can't be any real catharsis until we accept that we lost.

I can't go there. Did he win? How?

52 Quant  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:51:48pm

re: #17 researchok

... The Israelis live with these realities on a daily basis. I don't know for sure, but I suspect for them the issue is far less academic.
...


and yet, Israel has apparently confronted and rejected torture.

It's an interesting article.

53 engineer cat  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:53:26pm

re: #50 Fozzie Bear

Bin Laden's plot went exactly as planned, including our projected reaction to it, and we are all poorer for having played HIS game.

the worst part to me is the fact that bin laden succeeded in getting us to gut the 4th amendment via the stalinist "patriot" act

54 harrylook  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:54:26pm

re: #53 engineer dog

stalinist? give me a break.

55 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:54:26pm

re: #51 wrenchwench

I can't go there. Did he win? How?

We are mired in a costly and unproductive war. When the western forces withdraw from Afghanistan, Al Qaeda will return to their training, and we will be frustrated.

56 Fozzie Bear  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:55:10pm

re: #51 wrenchwench

I can't go there. Did he win? How?

We invaded not only Afghanistan, but also the completely uninvolved Iraq. He tricked us in to attacking our own principles. We have cost ourselves trillions of dollars, thousands of lives, and much of what little goodwill was left for the US in the world. He even managed to help create an unstable political and economic environment here at home. All for the low low price of 19 people who had nothing to live for.

What colossal fools we were. And for what? What did it gain us?

57 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:56:05pm

re: #42 Killgore Trout

I got the link from his wiki entry...


He wasn't talking to investigators voluntarily that why they "enhanced" his interrogation experience. I assume he gave up most of that info after they broke him.


And most of that can be assumed to be just as false.


Here is some info on the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah

Top officials in the U.S. government refused to believe Abu Zubaydah was not the operative they believed him to be.[13][72] The May 30, 2005 Department of Justice memo noted that while on-scene interrogators believed Abu Zubaydah no longer had any information to disclose, CIA Headquarters ordered additional waterboarding.[72] The interrogators believed the waterboarding was "unnecessary."[72] Orders for the additional waterboarding likely came from Dick Cheney directly.[181] Additionally, the Bush White House and CIA officials couldn't believe Abu Zubaydah didn't have additional information.[13] One official stated the pressure from upper levels of government was "tremendous," and that "[t]hey couldn't stand the idea that there wasn't anything new."[13] The official said, "[t]hey'd say, 'You aren't working hard enough.' There was both a disbelief in what he was saying and also a desire for retribution - a feeling that 'He's going to talk, and if he doesn't talk, we'll do whatever.'"[13]

Some people contest Abu Zubaydah's mental health. Ron Suskind noted in his book, The One Percent Doctrine, that Zubaydah turned out to be mentally ill, keeping a diary "in the voice of three people: Hani 1, Hani 2, and Hani 3" -- a boy, a young man and a middle-aged alter ego.[16] Abu Zubaydah's diaries spanned ten years and recorded in numbing detail "what he ate, or wore, or trifling things [people] said."[15] Dan Coleman, then the FBI's top al-Qaeda analyst, told a senior bureau official, "This guy is insane, certifiable, split personality."[16] According to Suskind, this judgment was "echoed at the top of CIA and was briefed to the President and Vice President."[16] Dan Coleman, the FBI's senior expert on al Qaeda, echoed many of Suskind's sentiments in an interview with the Washington Post. Coleman stated Zubaydah was a "safehouse keeper" with mental problems, who "claimed to know more about al-Qaeda and its inner workings than he really did."[15] Abu Zubaydah's co-counsel, Joseph Margulies, wrote in an OpEd in the LA Times that:


Partly as a result of injuries he suffered while he was fighting the communists in Afghanistan, partly as a result of how those injuries were exacerbated by the CIA and partly as a result of his extended isolation, Abu Zubaydah's mental grasp is slipping away. Today, he suffers blinding headaches and has permanent brain damage. He has an excruciating sensitivity to sounds, hearing what others do not. The slightest noise drives him nearly insane. In the last two years alone, he has experienced about 200 seizures. Already, he cannot picture his mother's face or recall his father's name. Gradually, his past, like his future, eludes him.[235]


Waterboarding mentally ill moooslims saves lives.

Youbetcha.
/

58 Killgore Trout  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:58:09pm

re: #49 b_sharp

The only plots that are important are those that were foiled because of the information and those that were not foiled.

Agreed. Let's suppose half of his confessions were bullshit. Of the real plots maybe another half would have fallen apart or not worked. That leaves maybe 25% of his original list.
Here comes the moral conundrum: Let's suppose maybe one or two of those plots were foiled. How many lives saved would it take to make it worth waterboarding him? 50? 100? 1,000? 100,000? Let's admit it, at some point there's a moral obligation to do it.

59 engineer cat  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:58:40pm

re: #54 harrylook

stalinist? give me a break.

how else would you describe a bill that makes it legal for government operatives to read your email, tap your phone, and access your private business records - without even informing you that they did so?

would you describe this as "conservative"?

60 iossarian  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:58:51pm

It's so depressing that even here, people are still pointing out that the people we tortured were "evil", as if that made a difference.

Further proof that it was never about the information. As others have pointed out, there are better ways of getting that.

61 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 1:59:04pm

re: #7 ralphieboy

I can almost go along with the "ticking bomb" scenario. But have we had that yet?

My stance on the 'ticking bomb' scenario remains the same as it was when Dershowitz was playing with ideas about 'torture warrants'.

If you have a terrorist, and you KNOW he's a terrorist, who knows where the bomb that's about to disintegrate Ohio is, and you KNOW he knows, go ahead and torture his ass. Go to town. You gotta do what you gotta do.

Be prepared to make a damn good argument when you go on trial if you're wrong.

Do not expect me to sign off on a piece of paper that will give you immunity if maybe you were wrong.

62 William Barnett-Lewis  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:00:02pm

re: #53 engineer dog

the worst part to me is the fact that bin laden succeeded in getting us to gut the 4th amendment via the stalinist "patriot" act

And now we in Wisconsin have show the door to the only one with the moral courage to oppose that garbage. Sad.

Wenchwrench, we lost the day we stopped treating Bin Laden as what he is - a common criminal.

63 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:00:32pm

re: #58 Killgore Trout

No, you're not thinking it through.

How much time was wasted, and how many lives were lost, by following up on his bullshit leads?

How much of his information could have been gained faster and better through other interrogation tactics?

Your supposition has a basis-- and not even a strong one-- only if he is the only possible source of any information. He was not.

64 Gus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:01:15pm

re: #42 Killgore Trout

I got the link from his wiki entry...

He wasn't talking to investigators voluntarily that why they "enhanced" his interrogation experience. I assume he gave up most of that info after they broke him.

That really doesn't make much sense in some of those cases. First, the BBC article you link does not mention that this information was gathered through torture -- i.e. waterboarding. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was arrested in 2003, and as an example, it sort of goes against the notion that torture is used for "ticking time bomb scenarios" if we are presented with his alleged confession through torture for the 1993 WTC attack.

Thus I would ask this question. Are we now going beyond justifying torture (i.e. waterboarding) to be used for ticking time bomb scenarios but to elicit confessions from terrorist suspects? Frankly, I find the notion of using confessions obtained through torture as evidence in a court of law rather troubling.

65 Sinistershade  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:01:39pm

It doesn't matter whether torture works. To even discuss whether it has been successful misses the point. Such a discussion suggests that if it were effective, it would somehow be more acceptable.

It's wrong. It's illegal as hell. It goes against the most fundamental principles of what America is.

When did the U.S. decide it was okay to stop being the good guys? Or was that just in the movies?

66 Fozzie Bear  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:01:45pm

re: #60 iossarian

It's so depressing that even here, people are still pointing out that the people we tortured were "evil", as if that made a difference.

Further proof that it was never about the information. As others have pointed out, there are better ways of getting that.

Funny they don't point that lens at themselves, and face the fact that they are now no better than the monsters they condemn.

There is no justification for torture. None. Not only because it has been shown time and time again to be ineffective, but also because it just brings us all down into the muck together.

67 iossarian  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:02:31pm

re: #61 SanFranciscoZionist


Be prepared to make a damn good argument when you go on trial if you're wrong.

The only way in which I can envisage allowing torture is the same way that I would consider endorsing the death penalty: it can only be carried out by people who accept that they will mete out the same treatment to their own children, in the case of error.

Then we'd really see just how strong the "moral obligation" to torture is.

68 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:02:57pm

re: #41 celticdragon

Yeah, I'm sure they managed to capture a master-mind bomb maker who knew where the ticking bombs were

//

Link?

Otherwise, you are merely appealing to fancy.

The Israelis have captured suicide bombers who did not make it to their target, but it wasn't really necessary to torture them in order to know where the suicide bomb was.

Really now.

Hard is it may be for you to believe, the Israelis may be reluctant to share their intelligence with you or I.

That said the fact that the Israeli Supreme Court saw fit top rule on the matter (whether you agree or not) speaks volumes.

See this.

69 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:03:22pm

re: #19 celticdragon

The ticking time bomb scenario is a fantasy. In the last one hundred years of warfare we know of one occasion were it was in play.

What was the occasion?

70 Gus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:03:35pm

Officer. How did you obtain that confession?

Well, I placed a towel over his face and poured 55 gallons of water on his face until he confessed.

Good job officer. Heil!

71 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:03:57pm

re: #22 researchok

I can concoct a scenario that is also compelling in favor of torture..

As I said, there are times torture may be a regrettable but necessary option.

I can identify times it might be a last resort.

It should never be a safe thing for the torturer to do.

72 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:04:13pm

re: #68 researchok

Can you please answer my previous questions?

How can you be certain the information you gain during a ticking time bomb scenario is accurate, and act on it?

Can you cite a time that the Israelis faced a ticking time bomb?

73 Killgore Trout  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:04:41pm

re: #57 celticdragon


By 1999, the U.S. Government was attempting to run surveillance on Abu Zubaydah.[24] By March 2000, United States officials were reporting that Abu Zubaydah was a "senior bin Laden official", the "former head of Egypt-based Islamic Jihad", a "trusted aide" to bin Laden with "growing power," who had "played a key role in the East Africa embassy attacks."[25] None of these allegations have been corroborated at this point, however.

Internationally Abu Zubaydah was convicted in absentia by a Jordanian court for his alleged role in plots to bomb U.S. and Israeli targets in Jordan.[26] A senior Middle East security official stated Abu Zubaydah had directed the Jordanian cell and was part of “bin Laden’s inner circle."[27]

In August, 2001 a classified FBI report entitled “Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.”, which would not become public until much later, stated that the foiled millennium bomber, Ahmed Ressam, had confessed that Abu Zubaydah had not only encouraged him to blow up the Los Angeles airport, but had facilitated his mission.[28] The report also claims Abu Zubaydah was planning his own attack on the U.S.[28] An unclassified FBI report also stated that Ahmed Ressam attempted to buy a laptop for Abu Zubaydah.[29]
....
It is unclear how the Government found Abu Zubaydah. U.S. officials claimed he was tracked down after making a phone call to al-Qaeda leaders in Yemen.[30]

He seems nice.

74 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:05:34pm

re: #68 researchok

By the way, Israel outlaws torture as rule.

75 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:06:15pm

re: #68 researchok

Hard is it may be for you to believe, the Israelis may be reluctant to share their intelligence with you or I.

That said the fact that the Israeli Supreme Court saw fit top rule on the matter (whether you agree or not) speaks volumes.

See this.


Then all you have is Jack Bauer bullshit fantasies for men who cream their pants over the thought of putting the thumb screws on swarthy Arabs.

76 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:06:48pm

re: #75 celticdragon

Then all you have is Jack Bauer bullshit fantasies for men who cream their pants over the thought of putting the thumb screws on swarthy Arabs.

Yes, of course.
/

77 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:07:45pm

re: #73 Killgore Trout

He seems nice.

He is also insane, but don't let those thousands of wasted man hours chasing mental delusions...not to mention raping our legal heritage..get in the way.

78 Gus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:08:28pm

Neocons still love torture.

Woops, I mean waterboarding.

//

79 bluecheese  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:08:47pm

In the parable of the good Samaritan, it was not just a stranger that was helped. Jews and Samaritans hated each other, and had a history of bad blood.


There is a lesson in there somewhere.

80 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:09:13pm

re: #58 Killgore Trout

Agreed. Let's suppose half of his confessions were bullshit. Of the real plots maybe another half would have fallen apart or not worked. That leaves maybe 25% of his original list.
Here comes the moral conundrum: Let's suppose maybe one or two of those plots were foiled. How many lives saved would it take to make it worth waterboarding him? 50? 100? 1,000? 100,000? Let's admit it, at some point there's a moral obligation to do it.

We have a real world example here, so how about we not make up just so stories and look at that example.

Check the dates of the 'plots' he confessed to and compare them to the date he confessed.

Are there any where he confessed before the putative event? Of those, is there any record of the event happening or being stopped?

If you had a vision that told you your neighbour was going to inadvertently initiate a sequence of events that would kill a dozen people. Would you be justified in burying her alive to make sure the event never took place? What criteria would you use to determine if the vision was real or a hallucination?

If the vision told you she would initiate the sequence through an evil, malicious act, but the end result was unforeseen by her, would your actions be justified? How about if she had full knowledge of the event?

Would any of it be justified if your vision was nothing more than a bad bit of beef?

81 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:10:11pm

re: #75 celticdragon

Then all you have is Jack Bauer bullshit fantasies for men who cream their pants over the thought of putting the thumb screws on swarthy Arabs.


Meh. Subject/verb disagreement

82 Mark Winter  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:10:14pm

re: #57 celticdragon


Additionally, the Bush White House and CIA officials couldn't believe Abu Zubaydah didn't have additional information.

This is the Catch 22 of torture which has actually already been described by a German Jesuit called Friedrich Spee in 1631, in a book called "Cautio criminalis".

He argued that if you forced a "witch" to confess by torture she would confess anything just to stop it. But interrogators would not be satisfied. Sure she would know other witches? Of course the poor woman would name others. Those others would of course be tortured and "confess", hence legitimizing the first torture. The absurdity of the procedure was obvious (to him at least).

He challenged the Inquisition to name him the absurdest crime they could think of, hand him any person they chose and he would get a confession. If not, they should hang him instead.

83 Amory Blaine  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:10:15pm

Yep It's honest. We are a country that tortures. And everyone knows it.

84 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:10:35pm

re: #68 researchok

Hard is it may be for you to believe, the Israelis may be reluctant to share their intelligence with you or I.

That said the fact that the Israeli Supreme Court saw fit top rule on the matter (whether you agree or not) speaks volumes.

See this.

Bad link. And if there's no actual case in point, just pointing at the Israelis proves nothing. They fight over this ground on a regular basis.

85 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:11:01pm

re: #61 SanFranciscoZionist

My stance on the 'ticking bomb' scenario remains the same as it was when Dershowitz was playing with ideas about 'torture warrants'.

If you have a terrorist, and you KNOW he's a terrorist, who knows where the bomb that's about to disintegrate Ohio is, and you KNOW he knows, go ahead and torture his ass. Go to town. You gotta do what you gotta do.

Be prepared to make a damn good argument when you go on trial if you're wrong.

Do not expect me to sign off on a piece of paper that will give you immunity if maybe you were wrong.

How do you know he knows? How do you know about the bomb?

86 Gus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:11:14pm

re: #80 b_sharp

Check the dates of the 'plots' he confessed to and compare them to the date he confessed.

Are there any where he confessed before the putative event? Of those, is there any record of the event happening or being stopped?

Finally. That was my previous point. It's bullshit. Confessing to a crime 10 years later is not the purpose of torture -- i.e. waterboarding.

87 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:11:46pm

re: #78 Gus 802

Neocons still love torture.

Woops, I mean waterboarding.

//

Just listening to them is torture enough.

88 Amory Blaine  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:11:46pm

re: #10 Obdicut

I can't.

In order for the ticking bomb scenario to work out, we'd have to

A) Have the right person and be certain we had the right person, the one with the information

B) Somehow be certain that he's told us the actual necessary information.

Say we have a bomb with three wires. We have a guy, that we have on camera as having planted the bomb. We ask him which wire to cut. He says blue. We torture him for awhile. He says red. We torture him for awhile longer. He says green.

Which one do we cut?

People will give whatever answer they can to get out of torture. It may be the right answer. But unless we already know what that answer is, how can we be certain we've gotten the right one?

Some people watch way too much fucking TV.

89 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:12:48pm

re: #82 Mark Winter

This is the Catch 22 of torture which has actually already been described by a German Jesuit called Friedrich Spee in 1631, in a book called "Cautio criminalis".

He argued that if you forced a "witch" to confess by torture she would confess anything just to stop it. But interrogators would not be satisfied. Sure she would know other witches? Of course the poor woman would name others. Those others would of course be tortured and "confess", hence legitimizing the first torture. The absurdity of the procedure was obvious (to him at least).

He challenged the Inquisition to name him the absurdest crime they could think of, hand him any person they chose and he would get a confession. If not, they should hang him instead.

Hence the Orwellian attempt to redefine torture. If we do it, it isn't torture by definition! Win!

90 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:13:02pm

re: #85 b_sharp

How do you know he knows? How do you know about the bomb?

That is the point.

91 Our Precious Bodily Fluids  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:13:27pm

Remember Jill Carroll? Her captors involved their entire family in the ordeal. From old women to little kids. Mothers, sons, grandmothers, etc.

So, just how much torturin' are you willing to do to make sure you've got "all" the information? Don't ask John Yoo (please).

Imagine if Obama had John Yoo in his cabinet. Glen Greenwald said it best about him:

The fact that John Yoo is a Professor of Law at Berkeley and is treated as a respectable, serious expert by our media institutions, reflects the complete destruction over the last eight years of whatever moral authority the United States possessed. Comporting with long-held stereotypes of two-bit tyrannies, we're now a country that literally exempts our highest political officials from the rule of law, and have decided that there should be no consequences when they commit serious felonies.

And from Ali Soufan's NYT op-ed:

It is inaccurate, however, to say that Abu Zubaydah had been uncooperative. Along with another F.B.I. agent, and with several C.I.A. officers present, I questioned him from March to June 2002, before the harsh techniques were introduced later in August. Under traditional interrogation methods, he provided us with important actionable intelligence.

We discovered, for example, that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Abu Zubaydah also told us about Jose Padilla, the so-called dirty bomber. This experience fit what I had found throughout my counterterrorism career: traditional interrogation techniques are successful in identifying operatives, uncovering plots and saving lives.

There was no actionable intelligence gained from using enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Zubaydah that wasn’t, or couldn’t have been, gained from regular tactics. In addition, I saw that using these alternative methods on other terrorists backfired on more than a few occasions — all of which are still classified. The short sightedness behind the use of these techniques ignored the unreliability of the methods, the nature of the threat, the mentality and modus operandi of the terrorists, and due process.

Defenders of these techniques have claimed that they got Abu Zubaydah to give up information leading to the capture of Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a top aide to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and Mr. Padilla. This is false. The information that led to Mr. Shibh’s capture came primarily from a different terrorist operative who was interviewed using traditional methods. As for Mr. Padilla, the dates just don’t add up: the harsh techniques were approved in the memo of August 2002, Mr. Padilla had been arrested that May.

92 Fozzie Bear  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:14:17pm

What a heap of soulless bags of shit we have become.

If you defend torture as a practice, you aren't anything other than a psychopath in my mind. I am continually astounded at the number of people, safe behind their veil of anonymity and in the warmth of their own homes, who have no problem condoning the most abhorrent of behaviors on their behalf, who would scream and cry bloody murder about their rights were the same tactics ever employed on themselves, and who would never even begin to approach having the amount of balls it would take to perform such horrific acts themselves.

Some of you just don't fucking get what this country is about. We are a nation of laws which apply to every single fucking one of us, without ANY exception, or we have nothing for which to fight other than our mere survival. If you expect a trial when accused of a crime, no matter how horrible, and deny the rights of others to expect the same, then you do not deserve the right to call yourself a citizen.

93 Gus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:14:26pm

Heck According to the tortured logic I'm reading here might as well torture Radovan Karadzic so he can confess to his war crimes.

Why stop there. Torture all past war criminals for confessions.

Cripes. What tortured logic.

94 Eclectic Infidel  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:14:40pm

re: #17 researchok

So you're a fan of torture sometimes. Gotcha.

95 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:16:10pm

re: #88 Amory Blaine

Some people watch way too much fucking TV.

Or way too much violent, vendetta based TV and not enough fucking TV.

96 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:16:11pm

re: #85 b_sharp

How do you know he knows? How do you know about the bomb?

You don't. That's my point. The 'ticking bomb' scenario is based on the idea that there is no doubt, and that the danger is imminent. Since this doesn't happen, using it as a justification for torture is moronic.

Dershowitz not only used it as a scenario, but went so far as to propose the issuing of 'torture warrants' for such scenarios.

So basically:

1. The terrorist is arrested. We know that he knows, beyond a shadow of doubt. The danger is time-imminent and specific. How do we know? We just know. Move on.

2. We wake up Judge Lynch (man never sleeps) and get a torture warrant issued.

3. Torture warrant in hand, we stick bamboo under Abdul's fingernails until he tells us something. Or doesn't.

4. Ohio is saved!

If anyone can believe in this scenario, they probably also believe in the tooth fairy.

97 Kewalo  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:16:46pm

re: #65 Sinistershade

It doesn't matter whether torture works. To even discuss whether it has been successful misses the point. Such a discussion suggests that if it were effective, it would somehow be more acceptable.

It's wrong. It's illegal as hell. It goes against the most fundamental principles of what America is.

When did the U.S. decide it was okay to stop being the good guys? Or was that just in the movies?

I think that this is what disturbed me the most about the torture issue. It is completely against the values and principles of our country and has been from the very beginning. George Washington wouldn't allow his soldiers to mistreat the Hessians, even while they might have been mistreating our soldiers.

And I think that any fantasy about the "ticking bomb" is just that...fantasy that many used so they could just ignore that it was completely against our national values. I don't care if every other country in the world uses torture, that is not who we are, or who we should be. It sickens me.

98 Gus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:17:10pm

Yo! Rambo! The ticking time bomb scenario only works in the movies.

99 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:17:31pm

re: #85 b_sharp

How do you know he knows? How do you know about the bomb?


Maybe his kids know about a bomb. John Yoo (formerly of the Justice Department and a protogee of Addington and Cheney) suggested the President had the authority to order that a childs testicles be crushed. Isn't the chance to save a thousand pople worth castrating a six year old without anesthesia?

It would be irresponsible not to ask.
/

100 Killgore Trout  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:17:34pm

re: #80 b_sharp

I have no idea what you're trying to say.
I don't know how much actionable intelligence he provided or how useful it was. I don't think that information is available.

101 bluecheese  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:17:42pm

re: #78 Gus 802

Neocons still love torture.

Woops, I mean waterboarding.

//

The proper term to be used is enhanced interrogation technique.

102 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:17:49pm

re: #82 Mark Winter

This is the Catch 22 of torture which has actually already been described by a German Jesuit called Friedrich Spee in 1631, in a book called "Cautio criminalis".

He argued that if you forced a "witch" to confess by torture she would confess anything just to stop it. But interrogators would not be satisfied. Sure she would know other witches? Of course the poor woman would name others. Those others would of course be tortured and "confess", hence legitimizing the first torture. The absurdity of the procedure was obvious (to him at least).

He challenged the Inquisition to name him the absurdest crime they could think of, hand him any person they chose and he would get a confession. If not, they should hang him instead.

You make a good point. I do think though that it is important to remember that the point here is not to get a confession to something already done but to get information to try to prevent something that has not as yet been done. I think there are pros & cons to both sides of this and they all revolve around the word 'if".

103 Gus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:18:01pm

re: #101 bluecheese

The proper term to be used is enhanced interrogation technique.

Bleh. Torture.

104 Mark Winter  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:19:06pm

re: #89 celticdragon

The problem is: The Catch 22 doesn't even require "torture". It just requires a situation that makes people confess things against their will.

But can you think of a forced situation that will make you talk against your will within minutes without being tortured?

If waterboarding isn't torture how come that it makes people talk within minutes?

105 Fozzie Bear  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:19:31pm

re: #100 Killgore Trout

I have no idea what you're trying to say.
I don't know how much actionable intelligence he provided or how useful it was. I don't think that information is available.

Then don't cite the potential for actionable intelligence as a justification, because as you say, we have no data on its efficacy in the case of the US in recent years. All the data from other sources points to the conclusion that it is ineffective.

Don't prop open the door for one argument to enter where you would demand justification for another.

106 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:19:51pm

re: #98 Gus 802

And even some movies get it right. I forget when one I watched, but they beat the shit out of the terrorist, he told them where the bomb was.

Lied about how much time was left. It blew up while they were still torturing him for how to defuse it.

They could have kept torturing him to tell the truth on how much time was left, but how would they have known when he was telling the truth?

107 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:20:08pm

re: #102 brookly red

You make a good point. I do think though that it is important to remember that the point here is not to get a confession to something already done but to get information to try to prevent something that has not as yet been done. I think there are pros & cons to both sides of this and they all revolve around the word 'if".

The 'if' is, I think, found in Matthew.

What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?

108 Romantic Heretic  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:20:20pm

re: #2 Mark Winter

Torture is terrible for 2 reasons:

For what it does to them
and
For what it does to us

Ding ding ding!

Beware when you battle monsters,
lest you become a monster.
And as you gaze into the abyss,
the abyss gazes also,
into you.

- Frederich Nietzsche.

One of the few wise things he ever said.

109 Gus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:20:52pm

10 year old information based on a coerced confession is not actionable. Unless you have a time machine.

110 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:21:02pm

re: #102 brookly red

How can you be certain that, after half an hour of torture, what the man is saying is the truth?

If you torture him for another hour, saying you know he's lying, he'll change the story. Even if it was the truth.

how do you know when he's telling the truth?

111 Romantic Heretic  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:21:21pm

re: #104 Mark Winter

The problem is: The Catch 22 doesn't even require "torture". It just requires a situation that makes people confess things against their will.

But can you think of a forced situation that will make you talk against your will within minutes without being tortured?

If waterboarding isn't torture how come that it makes people talk within minutes?

It might make them talk. There's no guarantee it's the truth.

112 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:21:44pm

re: #99 celticdragon

Maybe his kids know about a bomb. John Yoo (formerly of the Justice Department and a protogee of Addington and Cheney) suggested the President had the authority to order that a childs testicles be crushed. Isn't the chance to save a thousand pople worth castrating a six year old without anesthesia?

It would be irresponsible not to ask.
/

Holy fuck!

I think you need to waterboard John Yoo and dig out of him the source of his ideas. There must be a plot hidden in there somewhere.

113 bluecheese  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:21:54pm

re: #103 Gus 802

Bleh. Torture.

Well, alright, but just be sure to get it right if you're an American newspaper.... k?

114 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:22:19pm

re: #107 SanFranciscoZionist

The 'if' is, I think, found in Matthew.

What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?

indeed. i am glad that i will not ever be in the position to make that choice.

115 Mark Winter  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:22:27pm

re: #102 brookly red

You think? So we may torture a guy in order to make him name other guys who want to blow up something? We catch those guys and torture them to name guys we haven't caught yet but who want to blow up something?

How is this "different"?

116 Amory Blaine  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:22:45pm

re: #96 SanFranciscoZionist

I read a book by Dershowitz called "finding Jefferson" that attempts to link Jefferson with this very false argument. 200 pages of bull puckies.

117 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:22:54pm

By the way, the wingnuts are really frothing over my posts about Jewish Law.

Apparently, I am not a Jew. Apparently, I am using silly liberal interpretations of scripture when quoting Avot.

Hillel famously said that "the essence of the Law is do not do to others what is hateful to you. All else is commentary, now go and study."

This is core Judaism. Those I have quoted so far are Moses - who if you are observant is actually quoting G-d Himself directly, Isaiah (one of the most major prophets) and the sages of the Talmud.

Specifically, I draw most of my quotes from Pirkei Avot, which is one of the most famous Talmudic texts. Pirkei Avot literally means Ethics of the Fathers. I could have chosen many sources, but there are no bigger Rabbis then men like Judah HaNassi, Hillel and Akiva. Further, the entire first chapter of Avot is dedicated to the chain of transmission of the Law and these ethical principles from Moses, through the prophets to those Rabbiam. I am capitalizing the R in Rabbaim because those men had smicha.

No Jew who knows anything about Judaism will say otherwise.

Just as some further examples of other large rabbaim that I could have quoted to support what I was saying:

The Rambam, also known as Maimonides, who is perhaps the most famous of the Rishonim, because he was also a world famous, philosopher, scientist and physician, who is quoted frequently by Aquinas and all students of Western philosophy, wrote in great detail about everything I just have. Of course, he is infinitely greater than me in terms of Jewish learning.

For the record, even the Rambam quotes Pirkei Avot as something bigger than him!

"Along these lines did our Sages command us, 'All your acts should be for the sake of Heaven' (Pirkei Avos 2:17). And this is as Solomon in his wisdom stated, 'In all your ways know Him and He will direct your paths.' (Proverbs 3:6)."

On helping the poor and the weakest members of society:

"A person is obligated to be careful [in dealing] with orphans and widows since their souls are very lowly and their spirits are down -- even if they are wealthy. We are cautioned even regarding the widow and orphans of a king, as it is stated, 'Every widow and orphan you shall not afflict' (Exodus 22:21)."

“Anticipate charity by preventing poverty; assist the reduced fellow man, either by a considerable gift or a sum of money or by teaching him a trade or by putting him in the way of business so that he may earn an honest livelihood and not be forced to the dreadful alternative of holding out his hand for charity. This is the highest step and summit of charity's golden ladder.”

On not putting a stumbling block before the blind:

"Is is forbidden to fool others ('lignov da'as' -- to steal the mind), even of a Gentile. How is this? One should not sell a Gentile meat from an unslaughtered (and so non-kosher) animal with the assumption it was slaughtered, nor [sell him] a shoe [made from the hide] of a dead [animal] in place of a shoe from a slaughtered one. One should not press his fellow to eat at his house knowing he won't be able to. He should also not offer his fellow gifts knowing he will not accept them. Nor should one open barrels [of wine] for his fellow which he was going to open anyway (in order to market) in order to trick his fellow that he opened them specially in his honor. Likewise with anything similar. Even a single word of deception or trickery is forbidden. Rather, [one should have] honest lips, an upright spirit, and a heart pure of all vexation and mischief."

Now what do you think the Rambam (the most famous physician of his time!) would say about, lying that tobacco was really ok for you and that there is no evidence it causes cancer, or lying that AGW is not real and there is no reason to change things?

I could go on with quotes from him. But I hope people see I am writing core Judaism.

118 Killgore Trout  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:23:23pm

re: #99 celticdragon

Uh, be careful where you get your information. That's from the communist party of the USA and is almost certainly bullshit.

119 Shiplord Kirel  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:23:26pm

re: #61 SanFranciscoZionist

My stance on the 'ticking bomb' scenario remains the same as it was when Dershowitz was playing with ideas about 'torture warrants'.

If you have a terrorist, and you KNOW he's a terrorist, who knows where the bomb that's about to disintegrate Ohio is, and you KNOW he knows, go ahead and torture his ass. Go to town. You gotta do what you gotta do.

Be prepared to make a damn good argument when you go on trial if you're wrong.

Do not expect me to sign off on a piece of paper that will give you immunity if maybe you were wrong.

This is the best insight I have seen on this scenario. The "ticking bomb" scenario is not presented as an argument for the possible utility of torture in exceptionally extreme circumstances, but as an argument for its legalityas a matter of policy. Naive moralists will reject this distinction but it is there in the real world whether we like it or not.
For extra drama, the "ticking bomb" is usually presented as a nuclear device planted in someplace like New York. If this far-fetched scenario really happened, and millions of lives were in immediate danger, I would do whatever was necessary to save them then throw myself on the mercy of the court. It is foolish to suppose that a commander in this position would not act for fear of prosecution.
It is problematic whether torture might actually yield the required information but, again, that is not the argument. The argument is that this remote possibility justifies the legality of torture. That is simply wrong and reflects a profound ignorance of the history of these policies.

120 Gus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:23:30pm

re: #106 Obdicut

And even some movies get it right. I forget when one I watched, but they beat the shit out of the terrorist, he told them where the bomb was.

Lied about how much time was left. It blew up while they were still torturing him for how to defuse it.

They could have kept torturing him to tell the truth on how much time was left, but how would they have known when he was telling the truth?

That got me thinking.

In the movies or Rambo world. Muslim terrorists are tortured and spill their guts within minutes!

And in another movie, the American prisoners are tortured for years and never spill their guts! Some of them even die then tell their captors what they want to hear!

//

121 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:24:02pm

Now that I have posted 117, I repeat torture is forbidden by Torah Law and confession is not acceptable as evidence in a Beit Din.

122 Fozzie Bear  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:24:16pm

John Yoo is a fucking scumbag, and an absolute joke of an attorney.

[Link: en.wikipedia.org...]

123 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:24:35pm

re: #100 Killgore Trout

I have no idea what you're trying to say.
I don't know how much actionable intelligence he provided or how useful it was. I don't think that information is available.

Then why are you using that link as validation of your claim?

I think we got some actionable intel about ongoing plots from KSM through waterboarding. I'll have to look that up.

I'm confused.

124 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:24:53pm

re: #99 celticdragon

Maybe his kids know about a bomb. John Yoo (formerly of the Justice Department and a protogee of Addington and Cheney) suggested the President had the authority to order that a childs testicles be crushed. Isn't the chance to save a thousand pople worth castrating a six year old without anesthesia?

It would be irresponsible not to ask.
/

This is just how sick and evil the GOP are.

125 Gus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:25:13pm

That's the other thing. Torture only works on foreigners. Especially Arabs.

//

126 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:25:20pm

re: #110 Obdicut

How can you be certain that, after half an hour of torture, what the man is saying is the truth?

If you torture him for another hour, saying you know he's lying, he'll change the story. Even if it was the truth.

how do you know when he's telling the truth?

you don't, and you can't, and the world is not perfect. this is an unpleasant subject and there are no IMO easy answers.

127 Fozzie Bear  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:25:41pm

re: #126 brookly red

you don't, and you can't, and the world is not perfect. this is an unpleasant subject and there are no IMO easy answers.

Yes, there are.

Don't torture. Easy answer.

128 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:26:26pm

re: #117 LudwigVanQuixote

By the way, the wingnuts are really frothing over my posts about Jewish Law.

Apparently, I am not a Jew. Apparently, I am using silly liberal interpretations of scripture when quoting Avot.

Hillel famously said that "the essence of the Law is do not do to others what is hateful to you. All else is commentary, now go and study."

This is core Judaism. Those I have quoted so far are Moses - who if you are observant is actually quoting G-d Himself directly, Isaiah (one of the most major prophets) and the sages of the Talmud.

Specifically, I draw most of my quotes from Pirkei Avot, which is one of the most famous Talmudic texts. Pirkei Avot literally means Ethics of the Fathers. I could have chosen many sources, but there are no bigger Rabbis then men like Judah HaNassi, Hillel and Akiva. Further, the entire first chapter of Avot is dedicated to the chain of transmission of the Law and these ethical principles from Moses, through the prophets to those Rabbiam. I am capitalizing the R in Rabbaim because those men had smicha.

No Jew who knows anything about Judaism will say otherwise.

Just as some further examples of other large rabbaim that I could have quoted to support what I was saying:

The Rambam, also known as Maimonides, who is perhaps the most famous of the Rishonim, because he was also a world famous, philosopher, scientist and physician, who is quoted frequently by Aquinas and all students of Western philosophy, wrote in great detail about everything I just have. Of course, he is infinitely greater than me in terms of Jewish learning.

For the record, even the Rambam quotes Pirkei Avot as something bigger than him!

On helping the poor and the weakest members of society:

On not putting a stumbling block before the blind:

Now what do you think the Rambam (the most famous physician of his time!) would say about, lying that tobacco was really ok for you and that there is no evidence it causes cancer, or lying that AGW is not real and there is no reason to change things?

I could go on with quotes from him. But I hope people see I am writing core Judaism.

Ludwig, please remember that you are talking about people who condemn Islam for it's 'violent' scriptures, and yet favor the most violent and heartless version of Christian and Jewish texts they can torture out of the words.

While we're on the topic, if one more person quotes me "Those are merciful to the cruel will end by being cruel to the merciful," this being the only line of midrash they have apparently ever bothered to learn, I may scream.

129 Killgore Trout  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:26:46pm

re: #123 b_sharp

Then why are you using that link as validation of your claim?

I'm confused.

Because that's the list of things he confessed to knowing about.

130 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:26:53pm

re: #126 brookly red

you don't, and you can't, and the world is not perfect. this is an unpleasant subject and there are no IMO easy answers.

I'm sorry, but if you have no way of telling if the information is good, then what is the rationale for torturing him?

To me, that is a very easy answer; if you can't even get good information through torture, there is no need to debate about the appropriateness of torture under any circumstances.

131 Mark Winter  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:27:08pm

re: #117 LudwigVanQuixote

Maimonides is one of the major philosophers of mankind.

132 wrenchwench  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:27:56pm

re: #56 Fozzie Bear

We invaded not only Afghanistan, but also the completely uninvolved Iraq. He tricked us in to attacking our own principles. We have cost ourselves trillions of dollars, thousands of lives, and much of what little goodwill was left for the US in the world. He even managed to help create an unstable political and economic environment here at home. All for the low low price of 19 people who had nothing to live for.

What colossal fools we were. And for what? What did it gain us?

Sorry for the delay, had to work.

Your list is not of winnings and losings, but of damages and mistakes. Costly, yes, but they have not cost us the war. What we gained is hard to measure: no successful Al Qaeda strikes in the US since. So far. I'm not arguing for torture, I'm just arguing against the idea that we have lost and Bin Laden has won.

133 wrenchwench  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:28:26pm

re: #55 b_sharp

We are mired in a costly and unproductive war. When the western forces withdraw from Afghanistan, Al Qaeda will return to their training, and we will be frustrated.

Not if we withdraw to Pakistan.

134 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:28:35pm

re: #120 Gus 802

That got me thinking.

In the movies or Rambo world. Muslim terrorists are tortured and spill their guts within minutes!

And in another movie, the American prisoners are tortured for years and never spill their guts! Some of them even die then tell their captors what they want to hear!

//

A guy once told me that he thought we should burn terrorists alive in Times Square, because that would 'stop it dead'. No one would ever raise a hand to us again.

I did have to remind him that we're talking about the sort of people who crash jetliners they are on into buildings, on purpose, and that perhaps fanaticism is not so easily quelled.

He said that was a new idea to him, interestingly, and agreed to think about it.

135 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:30:05pm

re: #115 Mark Winter

You think? So we may torture a guy in order to make him name other guys who want to blow up something? We catch those guys and torture them to name guys we haven't caught yet but who want to blow up something?

How is this "different"?

I never said it was... I can't make up my mind on the death penalty either,but I know for sure I never want to see people jumping off of the 90th fl again... there are no easy answers.

136 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:30:10pm

re: #131 Mark Winter

Maimonides is one of the major philosophers of mankind.

True.

Bet he never did his own laundry though.

137 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:30:17pm

re: #112 b_sharp

Holy fuck!

I think you need to waterboard John Yoo and dig out of him the source of his ideas. There must be a plot hidden in there somewhere.

Yoo was the guy who wrote the "torture memos" allowing US agents to engage in the euphemistically termed "enhanced interrogations" which included chaining prisoners arme overhead to the ceiling for days at a time, denial of sleep for days, being chained into 'stress positions' that leed to severe joint damage and dislocations, including Strappado (take a good, long look at the picture of that woman being hanged by strapado.), forced freezing (we had good data on how much a human can take from Nazi experiments on Jews at Auschitz under Mengele), slamming into concrete walls and so on.

This man is the epitme of the banality of evil.

138 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:32:34pm

re: #118 Killgore Trout

Uh, be careful where you get your information. That's from the communist party of the USA and is almost certainly bullshit.

His quote is very widely reported, and he made the statement is an interview

Go google "John Yoo crush testicles" and have fun with it. Lots to enjoy.

139 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:32:39pm

re: #128 SanFranciscoZionist

Ludwig, please remember that you are talking about people who condemn Islam for it's 'violent' scriptures, and yet favor the most violent and heartless version of Christian and Jewish texts they can torture out of the words.

While we're on the topic, if one more person quotes me "Those are merciful to the cruel will end by being cruel to the merciful," this being the only line of midrash they have apparently ever bothered to learn, I may scream.

I wrote earlier today how they get that wrong.

One of the resident wingers was castigating me for calling certain things evil. He wrote:

You're actually not supposed to judge, either, lest...
well, you know the rest.

The, I explained this principle to him in the context of torture.

First off, that's not my book. In fact we teach that:

"When you are merciful to those who deserve justice, you will ultimately be cruel to those who deserve mercy."

This discussion is a case in point. By not calling the evil of vengeance motivated torture for no real purpose evil, we guarantee that amongst those tortured will be slews of innocent people who were picked up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

That saying needs to be understood in the context of always seeking justice. It can not be twisted to suit the needs of a simpleton who is trying to justify his own base emotional calls to do evil out of vengeance, blind hatred and malice.

I really think you might like this post I made:

[Link: littlegreenfootballs.com...]

Why Jews don't vote Republican.

140 Amory Blaine  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:33:25pm

BTW, It takes a man of character to publicly admit your wrong.

Well done Charles.

141 wrenchwench  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:34:26pm

re: #140 Amory Blaine

BTW, It takes a man of character to publicly admit your wrong.

Well done Charles.

I wonder whether he ever did his own laundry, though.

142 Gus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:35:56pm

re: #138 celticdragon

His quote is very widely reported, and he made the statement is an interview

Go google "John Yoo crush testicles" and have fun with it. Lots to enjoy.

Here you go. This is from Salon magazine:

"If the president deems that he's got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person's child, there is no law that can stop him?"

"No treaty," replied John Yoo, the former Justice Department official who wrote the crucial memos justifying President Bush's policies on torture, "war on terror" detainees and domestic surveillance without warrants. Yoo made these assertions at a public debate in December in Chicago, where he also espoused the radical notion of the "unitary executive" -- the idea that the president as commander in chief is the sole judge of the law, unbound by hindrances such as the Geneva Conventions, and possesses inherent authority to subordinate independent government agencies to his fiat. This concept is the cornerstone of the Bush legal doctrine.

143 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:36:37pm

re: #136 SanFranciscoZionist

True.

Bet he never did his own laundry though.

Actually... he did.

144 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:36:53pm

re: #141 wrenchwench

I wonder whether he ever did his own laundry, though.

My wife convinced me to do my own laundry (real laundry, not metaphorical laundry) by shrinking my clothes in the dryer.

145 JeffFX  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:37:56pm

re: #144 b_sharp

My wife convinced me to do my own laundry (real laundry, not metaphorical laundry) by shrinking my clothes in the dryer.

Just wear them and talk about how bulked-up you are.

146 Amory Blaine  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:38:19pm

I'm only allowed to do my own. Even our son doesn't let me touch his precious clothes.

147 Gus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:39:13pm

See. Had they waterboarded more Iraqis we would have learned that there weren't any WMDs in Iraq.

Woops, I forgot we had more important things to do like leaking Valerie Plame CIA status to the press then playing dumb.

//

148 Mark Winter  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:39:21pm

re: #142 Gus 802

We should be glad that Mr Yoo was not an attorney in Nurenberg 1946.

149 wrenchwench  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:40:08pm

re: #144 b_sharp

My wife convinced me to do my own laundry (real laundry, not metaphorical laundry) by shrinking my clothes in the dryer.

Did she convince you to go on a diet the same way?

150 blackvalleybob  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:40:12pm

Waterboarding--or something similar to it--was used during the Spanish Inquisition and was known as "toca."
Robert Hughs, in his biography of the painter Goya, state4s:

"In the toca, or water torture, the accused was tied down on a rack, his mouth forced open, and a toca, or linen cloth, pushed down his throat. Water was then dripped onto the cloth to simulate the sensation of drowning."
GOYA, Alfred A. Knopf, 2006, p. 59

151 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:40:24pm

re: #147 Gus 802

See. Had they waterboarded more Iraqis we would have learned that there weren't any WMDs in Iraq.

Woops, I forgot we had more important things to do like leaking Valerie Plame CIA status to the press then playing dumb.

//

Which was treason BTW and W. promised to fire whoever did it - but then didn't when it turned out to be Rove.

152 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:40:30pm

re: #148 Mark Winter

We should be glad that Mr Yoo was not an attorney in Nurenberg 1946.


I believe he would have been hanged by the neck if he had been a counsel for the SS or the Wehrmacht.

153 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:41:41pm

re: #152 celticdragon

I think the point was that his line of reasoning would have led to Hitler being able to legally order anything he wanted to be done to Jews, who he considered enemies of the state.

154 Gus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:41:49pm

re: #151 LudwigVanQuixote

Which was treason BTW and W. promised to fire whoever did it - but then didn't when it turned out to be Rove.

But they tried to blame Bob Novak? He also had his hands in it.

155 Mark Winter  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:41:57pm

re: #135 brookly red

I don't want to see that either
But I also prefer the revival of the Middle Ages to be limited to some pretty minstrel music.

156 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:42:34pm

ManCow was waterboarded and said it was torture.

Chris Hitchens was waterboarded and said it was torture.

Sean Hannity and the other chickenshits who say it isn't have (as yet) not been waterboarded.

Make of that what you will.

157 engineer cat  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:42:51pm

rabbi hillel notes that doing one's own laundry cause one to face one's own stains and contemplate them as they are washed out. rabbi akiva disagrees by noting that doing your own laundry allows you to hide your stains from others

158 McSpiff  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:43:16pm

Thank you Charles.

159 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:43:36pm

re: #145 JeffFX

Just wear them and talk about how bulked-up you are.

Hey hon, look at the massive stomach muscles I have. Aren't they impressive?
I'm shaped like a pear all right, a pair of Schwarzeneggers.

160 Killgore Trout  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:43:51pm

re: #142 Gus 802

Here you go. This is from Salon magazine:

"If the president deems that he's got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person's child, there is no law that can stop him?"

"No treaty," replied John Yoo, the former Justice Department official who wrote the crucial memos justifying President Bush's policies on torture, "war on terror" detainees and domestic surveillance without warrants. Yoo made these assertions at a public debate in December in Chicago, where he also espoused the radical notion of the "unitary executive" -- the idea that the president as commander in chief is the sole judge of the law, unbound by hindrances such as the Geneva Conventions, and possesses inherent authority to subordinate independent government agencies to his fiat. This concept is the cornerstone of the Bush legal doctrine.

Ah, ok. He's talking about international treaties. Also their caricature of unitary executive shows strong sings of BDS. There are serious and real issues to debate on this topic but it's just silly to claim the evil Bush regime was planning to crush children's testicles.

161 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:44:20pm

re: #153 Obdicut

I think the point was that his line of reasoning would have led to Hitler being able to legally order anything he wanted to be done to Jews, who he considered enemies of the state.


Which is why I think he would have been given a death sentence at the Nuremburg tribunals.

162 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:44:45pm

re: #161 celticdragon

But what if he was on the US side as a judge or lawyer?

163 Mark Winter  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:44:45pm

re: #134 SanFranciscoZionist

The punishment for people who would attempt to kill a king was horrible beyond belief.

And yet kings were killed.

164 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:45:35pm

re: #149 wrenchwench

Did she convince you to go on a diet the same way?

Actually back then I was rather fit. Now, on the other hand, I do my own laundry to make sure she can't play the diet card.

Food is good.

165 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:46:23pm

re: #155 Mark Winter

I don't want to see that either
But I also prefer the revival of the Middle Ages to be limited to some pretty minstrel music.

yes but when evoking images of the middle ages we also must take into account we are at times dealing with people that do not share your view.

To quote my dearly departed hommie Tyrone, "there are some people you don't say please to"

166 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:46:43pm

re: #160 Killgore Trout

Nobody made that claim. They made the claim that Yoo said that Bush could legally order it.

The full exchange:

Cassel: If the President deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?
Yoo: No treaty.
Cassel: Also no law by Congress. That is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo.
Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.

167 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:46:50pm

re: #160 Killgore Trout

Ah, ok. He's talking about international treaties. Also their caricature of unitary executive shows strong sings of BDS. There are serious and real issues to debate on this topic but it's just silly to claim the evil Bush regime was planning to crush children's testicles.


Yoo specifically endorsed the idea that the President had the inherent authority to order the torture of children if that could force their father to talk and was not bound by any treaty or domestic law under the doctrine of the "unitary executive", and he was the man who wrote the memos allowing torture to happen.

168 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:47:02pm

re: #163 Mark Winter

The punishment for people who would attempt to kill a king was horrible beyond belief.

And yet kings were killed.

Sorry, I had to :D

169 Gus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:47:10pm

re: #160 Killgore Trout

Ah, ok. He's talking about international treaties. Also their caricature of unitary executive shows strong sings of BDS. There are serious and real issues to debate on this topic but it's just silly to claim the evil Bush regime was planning to crush children's testicles.

Yep. The executive can do no wrong KT. The government is always right.

//

170 Gus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:47:22pm

Federalists.

171 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:47:31pm

re: #162 Obdicut

But what if he was on the US side as a judge or lawyer?


I doubt he would have been allowed within a thousand miles of that courtroom.

172 Gus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:48:27pm

And never say ANYTHING bad about the Federal Reserve.

173 Our Precious Bodily Fluids  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:48:30pm

re: #118 Killgore Trout

Uh, be careful where you get your information. That's from the communist party of the USA and is almost certainly bullshit.

since nobody read it the first time around...

"If the president deems that he's got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person's child, there is no law that can stop him?"

"No treaty," replied John Yoo, the former Justice Department official who wrote the crucial memos justifying President Bush's policies on torture, "war on terror" detainees and domestic surveillance without warrants. Yoo made these assertions at a public debate in December in Chicago, where he also espoused the radical notion of the "unitary executive" -- the idea that the president as commander in chief is the sole judge of the law, unbound by hindrances such as the Geneva Conventions, and possesses inherent authority to subordinate independent government agencies to his fiat. This concept is the cornerstone of the Bush legal doctrine.

Yoo's interlocutor, Douglass Cassel, professor at Notre Dame Law School, pointed out that the theory of the "unitary executive" posits the president above the other branches of government: "Also no law by Congress. That is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo" (one of Yoo's memos justifying torture). "I think it depends on why the president thinks he needs to do that," said Yoo.

174 McSpiff  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:48:58pm

re: #169 Gus 802

Yep. The executive can do no wrong KT. The government is always right.

//

There needs to be some internet law that no matter how heinous the government's action, there will always be at least one apologist for it in any given forum.

175 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:49:02pm

re: #156 wozzablog

ManCow was waterboarded and said it was torture.

Chris Hitchens was waterboarded and said it was torture.

Sean Hannity and the other chickenshits who say it isn't have (as yet) not been waterboarded.

Make of that what you will.

How often do ManCow and John McCain and Chris Hitchens get mentioned in the same breath?

176 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:49:04pm

re: #169 Gus 802

Yep. The executive can do no wrong KT. The government is always right.

//

Except when it comes to health care and other social programs.

177 Gus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:49:21pm

I need some fecking cigarettes! Grrrrr! My head's going to explode.

178 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:50:09pm

re: #175 WindUpBird

How often do ManCow and John McCain and Chris Hitchens get mentioned in the same breath?

Pardon my ignorance, but who is mancow?

179 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:50:44pm

re: #173 negativ

Alito is really a creepy fucking dude

When Alito served in the Justice Department, he argued that the federal government had no responsibility for the "health, safety and welfare" of the American people (a view rejected by President Reagan); that "the Constitution does not protect the right to an abortion"; that the executive branch should be immune from liability for illegal domestic wiretapping; that illegal immigrants have no "fundamental rights"; and that police had a right to kill an unarmed 15-year-old boy accused of stealing $10, a view rejected by the Supreme Court and every police group that filed briefs in the case. He also wrote a memo arguing that it would be legal for employers to fire and for the federal government to exclude from any of its funded programs people afflicted with AIDS because of "fear of contagion whether reasonable or not."

As a judge, he has ruled consistently for employers against individual and civil rights, and for unbridled executive and police power. Against the majority of his court and six other federal courts, he argued that regulation of machine guns by the federal government was unconstitutional. He approved the strip search of a mother and her 10-year-old daughter although they were not named in a warrant, a decision denounced by then federal Judge Michael Chertoff, now secretary of homeland security, as a "cliché rubber stamp." Alito ruled in favor of a law requiring women to notify their husbands if they plan to have an abortion, which was overturned by the Supreme Court on the vote of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who stated, "A State may not give to a man the kind of dominion over his wife that parents exercise over their children."

180 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:50:57pm

re: #167 celticdragon

Yoo specifically endorsed the idea that the President had the inherent authority to order the torture of children if that could force their father to talk and was not bound by any treaty or domestic law under the doctrine of the "unitary executive", and he was the man who wrote the memos allowing torture to happen.

no, he said there was no law to stop it... that is different from recommending it.

181 Gus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:51:02pm

re: #176 b_sharp

Except when it comes to health care and other social programs.

Yeah. But I meant that some people always accept everything the Feds hand to them. Regardless of who is in office or sometimes party. So, they had an unquestioning views under Bush and now they have unquestioning views about Obama.

182 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:51:35pm

re: #177 Gus 802

I need some fecking cigarettes! Grrr! My head's going to explode.

want I twist one up for you?

183 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:52:00pm

re: #178 b_sharp

Pardon my ignorance, but who is mancow?

he's a radio talker, sorta in the same vein as Howard Stern, Tom Leicus, Opie and Anthony

184 McSpiff  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:52:10pm

re: #180 brookly red

no, he said there was no law to stop it... that is different from recommending it.

If you're retarded. Seriously, what kind of legal expert thinks that post WW2 the President of the United States can give a lawful order that a child's testicles be crushed? Get real.

185 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:52:37pm

re: #181 Gus 802

Yeah. But I meant that some people always accept everything the Feds hand to them. Regardless of who is in office or sometimes party. So, they had an unquestioning views under Bush and now they have unquestioning views about Obama.

Question everything.

But, be convinced by evidence.

186 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:52:41pm

re: #180 brookly red

The claim wasn't made that he recommended it.

Thank you for admitting that he said that Bush had the legal authority to order a child's testicles be crushed.

187 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:53:00pm

re: #178 b_sharp

Pardon my ignorance, but who is mancow?

/he is between Imus & Rush ;)

188 Jack Burton  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:53:02pm

re: #178 b_sharp

Pardon my ignorance, but who is mancow?

A raving lunatic talk radio host. One time he was on Alex Jones' show and said something so asinine that even Jones thought he was over the top and that says a lot coming from that loon.

189 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:53:49pm

re: #187 brookly red

/he is between Imus & Rush ;)

An Imus, Mancow, Rush sandwich? Eww.

190 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:54:20pm

re: #188 ArchangelMichael

A raving lunatic talk radio host. One time he was on Alex Jones' show and said something so asinine that even Jones thought he was over the top and that says a lot coming from that loon.

Radio talkers like ManCow present as lunatics because that's how they succeed in the biz, I'm pretty sure it's an act, at least partially ;-)

191 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:54:24pm

re: #178 b_sharp

Pardon my ignorance, but who is mancow?

[Link: www.wikio.com...]

192 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:54:40pm

re: #188 ArchangelMichael

A raving lunatic talk radio host. One time he was on Alex Jones' show and said something so asinine that even Jones thought he was over the top and that says a lot coming from that loon.

And he had the balls to get waterboarded?

193 Gus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:54:43pm

re: #182 brookly red

want I twist one up for you?

Anything. I've got zero dollars. Phew. This sucks big time. I'm about to boil over in a rage.

194 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:55:04pm

re: #180 brookly red

no, he said there was no law to stop it... that is different from recommending it.


He specifically endorsed the idea that the President has the authority to order the torture of a child and there is no legal constraint on the President to the contrary.

I don't know how much plainer I can say it.

195 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:55:08pm

re: #192 b_sharp

And he had the balls to get waterboarded?

yup see................

re: #191 wozzablog

196 Gus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:55:27pm

Back later.

197 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:55:45pm

re: #192 b_sharp

And he had the balls to get waterboarded?

Yeah!

I think more because he wanted to be on the news and have the great big radio stunt than for any real moral anti-torture reason

198 Shiplord Kirel  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:56:34pm

Re: Yoo, Dershowitz, and my (now) fellow Lubbock resident former AG Alberto Gonzales.
It makes my skin crawl when I see lawyers arguing for the legality of torture even in highly restricted circumstances.

A case in point is the behavior of the British authorities during the Mau-Mau uprising in Kenya in the 1950s. The British police charged with suppressing this often very bloody revolt were not barbarians or Nazis. Most of them had fought the Nazis, some had been present at the liberation of concentration camps. Yet, when the authorities gave them tacit permission to resort to "extreme measures" in response to Mau-Mau atrocities (suitably exaggerated by British media), they found themselves on a very steep slippery slope.
The most heinous forms of torture soon became absolutely routine in dealing with even suspected Mau-Mau. These people did not set out to create a Gestapo style torture regime but that is what happened.

We have been faced with an analogous situation for many years now: A brutal and dehumanized enemy, and politicians willing to signal that they would look the other way.
Sometimes I'm surprised it hasn't been even worse. I would credit this to two things: The ubiquitous presence of media, and the sense of honor honor of many of our military and intelligence professionals.

199 JeffFX  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:56:48pm

re: #197 WindUpBird

And he thought he was a tough-guy and wanted to show those Liberals.

200 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:57:01pm

re: #184 McSpiff

If you're retarded. Seriously, what kind of legal expert thinks that post WW2 the President of the United States can give a lawful order that a child's testicles be crushed? Get real.

Yoo specifically endorsed the idea that the President had the inherent authority to order the torture

that was the quote I was responding to... take it up with them.

201 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:57:20pm

re: #197 WindUpBird

Yeah!

I think more because he wanted to be on the news and have the great big radio stunt than for any real moral anti-torture reason

Keith Olberman offered to donate a large sum to the charity of Sean Hannity's choice if Hannity underwent a waterboarding - hannity refused, mancow did it anyway and the result is the video i posted in 191

202 Killgore Trout  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:58:01pm

re: #169 Gus 802

Yep. The executive can do no wrong KT. The government is always right.

//

I just think reducing the opposing side of any issue into a tyrannical maniac is stupid. It was stupid when the lefties did it to Bush and it's stupid when the wingnuts do it now. It's not an interesting discussion to me.

203 Slumbering Behemoth Stinks  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:58:09pm

In Soviet Russia, hamster... aw, fuck it. This is just too weird.

204 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:58:11pm

re: #199 JeffFX

And he thought he was a tough-guy and wanted to show those Liberals.

yes :)

Ahhh RADIO

205 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:58:25pm

re: #197 WindUpBird

Yeah!

I think more because he wanted to be on the news and have the great big radio stunt than for any real moral anti-torture reason

Sean Hannity talked to him on the phone afterwards and tried to persuade him it wasn't really so bad and that it wasn't torture.

Mankiw maintained it was torture and had sleep problems for weeks afterwards.

206 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:58:27pm

re: #200 brookly red

And that quote is entirely accurate, and your objection is based on misreading it.

207 Jack Burton  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:58:29pm

re: #190 WindUpBird

Radio talkers like ManCow present as lunatics because that's how they succeed in the biz, I'm pretty sure it's an act, at least partially ;-)

He was doing his normal Rush/Stern hybrid crap ranting about "Obama this, Democrats that" and then ended up talking about vampires and shape-shifters being at a party (thrown by a couple friends of mine which made this even more comedic to me) he was at in 2009. He seemed dead serious. Alex Jones cut to a commercial really fast. If the God Emperor of Kooks thinks you are crazy, you need to be in a home.

208 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:59:15pm

re: #205 celticdragon

Sean Hannity talked to him on the phone afterwards and tried to persuade him it wasn't really so bad and that it wasn't torture.

Mankiw maintained it was torture and had sleep problems for weeks afterwards.

hahha that sounds like something Sean hannity would do

209 McSpiff  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:59:19pm

re: #200 brookly red

Yoo specifically endorsed the idea that the President had the inherent authority to order the torture

that was the quote I was responding to... take it up with them.

Which is correct. Why do you disagree with that? If something isn't disallowed, its inherently allowed (or 'authorized'). That's how these things work.

210 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:59:41pm

re: #207 ArchangelMichael

He was doing his normal Rush/Stern hybrid crap ranting about "Obama this, Democrats that" and then ended up talking about vampires and shape-shifters being at a party (thrown by a couple friends of mine which made this even more comedic to me) he was at in 2009. He seemed dead serious. Alex Jones cut to a commercial really fast. If the God Emperor of Kooks thinks you are crazy, you need to be in a home.

RAD!

Ohay, maybe he is crackers :D :D

211 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:00:28pm

re: #197 WindUpBird

Yeah!

I think more because he wanted to be on the news and have the great big radio stunt than for any real moral anti-torture reason

He got more than he bargained for.

212 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:01:35pm

re: #192 b_sharp

And he had the balls to get waterboarded?

well actually some members of our all volunteer military get water-boarded as part of their training... so based on that I kinda find it hard to get all worked up over it.

213 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:02:03pm

re: #211 b_sharp

He got more than he bargained for.

Oh yeah! I believe the guy originally did it for stunty-grandstanding reasons (even better that he took Olbermann's dare over Hannity) but I also believe it changed his perspective on waterboarding, certainly

214 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:02:56pm

re: #212 brookly red

Do you understand they were waterboarded so that they would understand the kinds of torture they might face if captured by enemies?

215 Eclectic Infidel  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:03:04pm

re: #142 Gus 802

Here you go. This is from Salon magazine:

"If the president deems that he's got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person's child, there is no law that can stop him?"

"No treaty," replied John Yoo, the former Justice Department official who wrote the crucial memos justifying President Bush's policies on torture, "war on terror" detainees and domestic surveillance without warrants. Yoo made these assertions at a public debate in December in Chicago, where he also espoused the radical notion of the "unitary executive" -- the idea that the president as commander in chief is the sole judge of the law, unbound by hindrances such as the Geneva Conventions, and possesses inherent authority to subordinate independent government agencies to his fiat. This concept is the cornerstone of the Bush legal doctrine.

Sounds like a dictator. Maybe the leftists weren't so wrong on this note after all.

216 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:03:05pm

re: #202 Killgore Trout

I just think reducing the opposing side of any issue into a tyrannical maniac is stupid. It was stupid when the lefties did it to Bush and it's stupid when the wingnuts do it now. It's not an interesting discussion to me.

There were tyrannical impulses present.

It wasn't the maniacs we needed to worry about.

To quote CS Lewis from the introduction to The Screwtape Letters:

The greatest evil is not now done in those
sordid "dens of crime" that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and
labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded,
carried and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white
collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.

217 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:03:29pm

re: #194 celticdragon

He specifically endorsed the idea that the President has the authority to order the torture of a child and there is no legal constraint on the President to the contrary.

I don't know how much plainer I can say it.

you have the authority to stick your thumb in your eye... I don't recommended you do so.

218 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:03:33pm

re: #212 brookly red

well actually some members of our all volunteer military get water-boarded as part of their training... so based on that I kinda find it hard to get all worked up over it.


Oh, the basic training talking point!

219 NorthWhale  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:04:00pm

I just remembered this short rebuttal about water boarding I saw a while ago. You should watch it. It's quite well made

[Link: www.youtube.com...]

220 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:04:30pm

re: #214 Obdicut

Do you understand they were waterboarded so that they would understand the kinds of torture they might face if captured by enemies?

uhhh yes... I didn't think they did it to join a frat...

221 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:04:35pm

re: #217 brookly red

you have the authority to stick your thumb in your eye... I don't recommended you do so.

But the President doesn't have the authority to stick his thumb in your eyes.

222 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:04:50pm

re: #217 brookly red

you have the authority to stick your thumb in your eye... I don't recommended you do so.

Playing games with semantics does not impress me.

223 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:05:39pm

re: #218 WindUpBird

Oh, the basic training talking point!

and a rather effective one at that.

224 McSpiff  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:05:51pm

re: #217 brookly red

you have the authority to stick your thumb in your eye... I don't recommended you do so.

Tell me you're drunk. It will make this funny instead of sad.

225 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:06:24pm

re: #223 brookly red

and a rather effective one at that.

not really, no.

226 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:06:31pm

re: #222 celticdragon

Playing games with semantics does not impress me.

Impressing you is not high on my priorities list...

227 McSpiff  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:07:41pm

re: #223 brookly red

and a rather effective one at that.

So because a member of a volunteer force agrees to undergo something in training, that means its valid to force civilians to under go the same thing? You REALLY want to go down this road?

228 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:07:46pm

re: #223 brookly red

and a rather effective one at that.

How do you feel it's an effective talking point?

It's torture. Some-- only some-- of our armed forces personnel undergo it to understand what tortures they may be subject to.

What does that have to do with its legality or morality when done to others?

229 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:07:49pm

re: #226 brookly red

Impressing you is not high on my priorities list...


Then bully for you.

You want to play with the Red Herring fallacy, and you have been called on it.

230 engineer cat  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:08:05pm

re: #221 Obdicut

But the President doesn't have the authority to stick his thumb in your eyes.

as long as he's not allowed to pick my friend's nose

231 McSpiff  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:08:14pm

Butt Hurt in 3,2,1...

232 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:08:47pm

re: #229 celticdragon

Then bully for you.

You want to play with the Red Herring fallacy, and you have been called on it.

your brilliance continues to impress me...

233 McSpiff  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:09:43pm

re: #232 brookly red

Can we skip to the part where you grumble that the blog has changed and you storm off?

234 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:09:54pm

re: #232 brookly red

your brilliance continues to impress me...


Your troll fu is weak, young Jedi.

Work on it.

235 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:10:33pm

re: #221 Obdicut

But the President doesn't have the authority to stick his thumb in your eyes.

well not according to Yoo...

236 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:10:34pm

re: #233 McSpiff

Can we skip to the part where you grumble that the blog has changed and you storm off?


You can almost feel the flounce...

237 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:11:06pm

re: #165 brookly red

yes but when evoking images of the middle ages we also must take into account we are at times dealing with people that do not share your view.

To quote my dearly departed hommie Tyrone, "there are some people you don't say please to"

This thread has included many, many examples of people faced with folks just as bad as those we face now, who made the decision against torture on moral grounds.

238 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:11:23pm

re: #233 McSpiff

Can we skip to the part where you grumble that the blog has changed and you storm off?

is that your default program? please

239 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:11:34pm

politely - to everyone

Can we stop trying to push people over the edge of saying things they may regret?

240 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:11:51pm

re: #175 WindUpBird

How often do ManCow and John McCain and Chris Hitchens get mentioned in the same breath?

Now that is a table I would like to sit at for dinner.

241 Tigger2005  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:11:53pm

From what I understand, the waterboarding was never used to "force confessions." That would be rather pointless. The intent was to extract actionable intelligence on ongoing terror plots, thus saving civilian lives.

I disagree with those who say the intent of those who approved and carried out the torture was "pure evil" or that we're just as bad as our enemies for doing it, even as bad as the Nazis or Imperial Japanese. Did Hiroshima and Dresden make us "just as bad" as the Nazis and Imperial Japanese? In wars terrible things happen and decisions are made in the heat of the moment that may be regretted later. The Nazis and Imperial Japanese planned their innumerable atrocities in cold blood long before they actually launched hostilities, and they certainly weren't going to feel guilty or try to make amends for them afterwards... in fact, if they had won the war, the atrocities, against the conquered populations and against their own people, were going to continue....perhaps on an even larger scale.

I'm sorry, I just can't equate our use of torture in specific and limited situations, in the early years of a war that began when civilians were targeted and killed by the thousands by fanatic religious fascists, where the intent was to yield intelligence to prevent further large scale attacks on civilian targets, with the torture that is carried out on a daily basis by authoritarian regimes around the world, or the torture that was done by the Nazis or Imperial Japanese. It may have been wrong, but it is not the same. Murder is always wrong too, but we recognize different degrees of murder, and do not punish everyone the same way for killing another person.

242 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:12:40pm

re: #236 celticdragon

You can almost feel the flounce...

sorry dude, can't help you there.

243 McSpiff  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:13:05pm

re: #238 brookly red

I call'em like I see'em bud. Seems like you're out of talking points, the attacks have started. You'll cut yourself off before you get in trouble. Repeat tomorrow.

244 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:13:30pm

re: #235 brookly red

well not according to Yoo...

Actually, according to Yoo, the president does have that authority, if he thinks you're a terrorist.

245 Varek Raith  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:13:32pm

The Japanese waterboarded our troops during WW2.
We charged them with warcrimes.
What's changed?

246 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:13:42pm

re: #192 b_sharp

And he had the balls to get waterboarded?

Sort of. IIRC, they got some dude who'd been in the Army but didn't have the training, so the exact professionalism of the job is in some doubt. Mancow did get semi-drowned by this helpful soul, and he did acknowledge that it was torture.

247 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:13:48pm

re: #231 McSpiff

Butt Hurt in 3,2,1...

did you ever have an original thought in your life?

248 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:14:21pm

re: #245 Varek Raith

The Japanese waterboarded our troops during WW2.
We charged them with warcrimes.
What's changed?


a rediscovered sense of American exceptionalism.

249 McSpiff  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:15:26pm

re: #247 brookly red

did you ever have an original thought in your life?

I can send you a few, but they might not be terribly interesting if you're not into computer engineering.

250 NY Lawyer  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:15:41pm

Possibly the government did not really believe that it was torture. But "Our government had no hesitation about classifying it as torture when it was used against us". Hey good argument but not conclusive.! I simply had to admit that I was wrong, and that "tickling" "IS" [sic] torture. It evokes a primal, uncontrollable panic reaction, and yes — people can be permanently harmed by it, both physically and mentally. "Tickling" Just because you call it torturing does not make it torturing.

251 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:15:57pm

re: #205 celticdragon

Sean Hannity talked to him on the phone afterwards and tried to persuade him it wasn't really so bad and that it wasn't torture.

Mankiw maintained it was torture and had sleep problems for weeks afterwards.

I think that if you're going to talk to someone who's been waterboarded, however badly, and tell them it's not torture, you should also volunteer.

Has anyone undergone it and insisted it was NOT torture?

And please, no shit about SERE training. The reason they do it for that is BECAUSE it's torture. Not to give our men in the field shiny coats.

252 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:16:26pm

re: #250 NY Lawyer

What does that have to do with waterboarding?

253 Walter L. Newton  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:16:34pm

re: #243 McSpiff

I call'em like I see'em bud. Seems like you're out of talking points, the attacks have started. You'll cut yourself off before you get in trouble. Repeat tomorrow.

You know what the bottom line is? Water boarding is torture, and a number of other techniques to try to extract information is torture. And that's wrong, illegal and it's immoral.

And in case of an emergency, no amount of kevtching on a blog is going to stop ANY government from using it when they deem it absolutely necessary.

I don't agree with it, don't like it, it's not something I would want to be responsible for enacting... but nothing is going to stop it.

254 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:16:41pm

re: #243 McSpiff

I call'em like I see'em bud. Seems like you're out of talking points, the attacks have started. You'll cut yourself off before you get in trouble. Repeat tomorrow.

what attacks? what talking points? you make no sense at all...

255 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:16:42pm

re: #212 brookly red

well actually some members of our all volunteer military get water-boarded as part of their training... so based on that I kinda find it hard to get all worked up over it.

Tell me why? To give them shiny coats? To encourage them to swim better? Tell me WHY they do that. (Or did that, I believe it was actually discontinued.)

256 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:17:25pm

re: #241 Tigger2005

Aw, I get it. If we torture for a good motive, then that is OK.

No blood, no foul. They are Mooslims anyway and they have it coming...

//

Do you have any notion at all of absolute bright lines of human behavior? That there are some things you cannot do, no matter how pure you think your motive to be...without becoming the very sort of criminal you are fighting?

Do you know that we have laws and a Constitution as well as treaties that are meant to prevent the State and the 'Man on a Horse' tyrant ruler from having this kind of corcive power over people no matter what reason he gives??

257 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:17:30pm

re: #217 brookly red

you have the authority to stick your thumb in your eye... I don't recommended you do so.

No, that analogy would work if Yoo had said Bush had the authority to crush his OWN testicles.

258 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:17:48pm

re: #242 brookly red

sorry dude, can't help you there.

Dudette, but that's okay.

259 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:18:01pm

re: #253 Walter L. Newton

What are you talking about, Walter?

What is this complete red herring about whether people talking about it here will stop it?

What does stop governments from doing things?

260 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:18:05pm

re: #250 NY Lawyer

Possibly the government did not really believe that it was torture. But "Our government had no hesitation about classifying it as torture when it was used against us". Hey good argument but not conclusive.! I simply had to admit that I was wrong, and that "tickling" "IS" [sic] torture. It evokes a primal, uncontrollable panic reaction, and yes — people can be permanently harmed by it, both physically and mentally. "Tickling" Just because you call it torturing does not make it torturing.

either you're a jackass or are operating on some level of universal kharma none of us can see.

261 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:18:09pm

re: #220 brookly red

uhhh yes... I didn't think they did it to join a frat...

But still and yet, it's not that big a deal. "The enemy might do this to you if you get captured...but don't worry, it's rather jolly. You get wet."

262 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:18:24pm

re: #223 brookly red

and a rather effective one at that.

A ridiculous one.

263 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:18:41pm

re: #250 NY Lawyer

Possibly the government did not really believe that it was torture. But "Our government had no hesitation about classifying it as torture when it was used against us". Hey good argument but not conclusive.! I simply had to admit that I was wrong, and that "tickling" "IS" [sic] torture. It evokes a primal, uncontrollable panic reaction, and yes — people can be permanently harmed by it, both physically and mentally. "Tickling" Just because you call it torturing does not make it torturing.

Causing the deep involuntary panic of drowning - which is what happens when the lungs fill with water is not the same as tickling you sick bastard.

264 McSpiff  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:18:54pm

re: #253 Walter L. Newton

You know what the bottom line is? Water boarding is torture, and a number of other techniques to try to extract information is torture. And that's wrong, illegal and it's immoral.

And in case of an emergency, no amount of kevtching on a blog is going to stop ANY government from using it when they deem it absolutely necessary.

I don't agree with it, don't like it, it's not something I would want to be responsible for enacting... but nothing is going to stop it.

Well, its the same as any crime really, even the very terrorism we're fighting. If someone absolutely, positively think its the best (or only) option, all the laws and regulations to the contrary won't stop them. But I think we can keep it from being institutionalized in the US security apparatus.

265 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:19:22pm

re: #261 SanFranciscoZionist

But still and yet, it's not that big a deal. "The enemy might do this to you if you get captured...but don't worry, it's rather jolly. You get wet."

it's essentially harmless, but you will feel the involuntary need to blurt out your bank pin codes.............

266 Walter L. Newton  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:19:29pm

re: #259 Obdicut

What are you talking about, Walter?

What is this complete red herring about whether people talking about it here will stop it?

What does stop governments from doing things?

It's an opinion... and an observation... you don't agree... fine.

267 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:20:58pm

re: #266 Walter L. Newton

It's an opinion... and an observation... you don't agree... fine.

I'm asking you what the point of your statement is. It appears to me to be a completely pointless one, or a completely inaccurate one.

You're either saying that governments do whatever they want, whenever they want, and nobody can do anything about it. This is clearly and obviously not the case.

Or you're saying that simply talking about it here won't have any effect, which is a trivial and pointless statement.

Do you mind clarifying what you effect you hoped to achieve by saying that? What were you trying to communicate?

268 Walter L. Newton  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:21:03pm

re: #264 McSpiff

Well, its the same as any crime really, even the very terrorism we're fighting. If someone absolutely, positively think its the best (or only) option, all the laws and regulations to the contrary won't stop them. But I think we can keep it from being institutionalized in the US security apparatus.

Sure we can... and then what?

269 McSpiff  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:21:25pm

re: #266 Walter L. Newton

It's an opinion... and an observation... you don't agree... fine.

Would you agree 'random MP smashing detainee's head against the wall' is different than an established program of water boarding, stress positions, etc endorsed by the highest levels of the US government?

270 Tigger2005  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:21:41pm

re: #256 celticdragon

You did not read my post at all. I never said it was OK. I said it was ridiculous to say we are "just as bad" as the Nazis or Imperial Japanese for doing it.

I ask you. Do you think we were just as bad as the Nazis and Imperial Japanese, for what we did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

271 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:22:42pm

re: #263 LudwigVanQuixote

Causing the deep involuntary panic of drowning - which is what happens when the lungs fill with water is not the same as tickling you sick bastard.


We need to back off the personal attacks just a bit. Let his words stand on their own. They say quite enough.

272 McSpiff  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:23:28pm

re: #268 Walter L. Newton

Sure we can... and then what?

Then we're doing pretty damn good? If someone wants to beat around someone, and face the consequences later, his actions are his own moral responsibility. But if the government, in my name, orders him to do it, I become partially capable in the crime.

273 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:23:50pm

re: #248 wozzablog

a rediscovered sense of American exceptionalism.

Exceptionalism isn't about who we are, it's about what we do. I wish folks would get this, already.

274 Feline Fearless Leader  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:23:53pm

re: #80 b_sharp

We have a real world example here, so how about we not make up just so stories and look at that example.

Check the dates of the 'plots' he confessed to and compare them to the date he confessed.

Are there any where he confessed before the putative event? Of those, is there any record of the event happening or being stopped?

If you had a vision that told you your neighbour was going to inadvertently initiate a sequence of events that would kill a dozen people. Would you be justified in burying her alive to make sure the event never took place? What criteria would you use to determine if the vision was real or a hallucination?

If the vision told you she would initiate the sequence through an evil, malicious act, but the end result was unforeseen by her, would your actions be justified? How about if she had full knowledge of the event?

Would any of it be justified if your vision was nothing more than a bad bit of beef?

The whole concept of Pre-Crime. Which was one of the ideas being explored by P K Dick's story "Minority Report". And which is an ethical chestnut of long standing. If you "know" someone is going to do something what are you justified to do to prevent it before they actually commit the crime in question.

275 Walter L. Newton  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:24:00pm

re: #269 McSpiff

Would you agree 'random MP smashing detainee's head against the wall' is different than an established program of water boarding, stress positions, etc endorsed by the highest levels of the US government?

Of course it's different... but no amount of established law is going to hold up if at some point, in some situation, in some emergency, those same members of the establishment decide to forgo the law and make an exception.

276 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:24:28pm

re: #275 Walter L. Newton

This is an absolutely pointless statement.

277 Talking Point Detective  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:24:34pm

re: #160 Killgore Trout

In an interview with Jon Stewart, Yoo rationalized why Bush should be allowed to electrocute a child's testicles.

When Stewart asked Yoo whether the president could electrify someone's testicles, Yoo knew how to answer the question -- having previously implied that it would be okay for the president to order a child's testicles crushed because, "it depends on why the president thinks he needs to do that." This time he shook his head. No, no, never something so barbaric.

Are you trying to dodge his actual reasoning by pointing to his comment about treaties?

[Link: www.prospect.org...]

278 McSpiff  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:25:48pm

re: #275 Walter L. Newton

Of course it's different... but no amount of established law is going to hold up if at some point, in some situation, in some emergency, those same members of the establishment decide to forgo the law and make an exception.

That's true in every situation. You're getting back to basic founding principles of the United States (or possibly the Magna Carta). Laws only matter if they're enforced, correct.

279 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:25:51pm

re: #277 Talking Point Detective

What changed his mind?

280 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:26:16pm

re: #255 SanFranciscoZionist

Tell me why? To give them shiny coats? To encourage them to swim better? Tell me WHY they do that. (Or did that, I believe it was actually discontinued.)

you and i both know the reason, to prepare for harsh treatment if it comes to that. which makes it all so moot. by know don't you think our enemies also train their people to deal with water boarding? they know they won't really die & hey they might even get to sue for damages... war is an ugly thing, there is now way to make it pretty.

281 Drboobooday  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:26:25pm

You are refreshingly thoughtful and humane.

282 engineer cat  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:26:50pm

re: #268 Walter L. Newton

Sure we can... and then what?

it's better to have a government at least pay lip service to moral principles, even if they violate them cynically in practice, than to allow the government to institute immoral practices with force of law

283 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:27:42pm

re: #280 brookly red

you and i both know the reason, to prepare for harsh treatment if it comes to that. which makes it all so moot. by know don't you think our enemies also train their people to deal with water boarding? they know they won't really die & hey they might even get to sue for damages... war is an ugly thing, there is now way to make it pretty.

"harsh treatment" or torture?

284 Talking Point Detective  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:28:44pm

re: #160 Killgore Trout

Just to add a bit more context:

This part of the exchange during the debate with Doug Cassel, reveals the logic of Yoo’s theories, adopted by the Administration as bedrock principles, in the real world.

Cassel: If the President deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?
Yoo: No treaty.
Cassel: Also no law by Congress. That is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo.
Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.

Do you agree that depending on the President's reasoning, crushing a child's testicles should be part of officially sanctioned interrogation procedures?

285 Talking Point Detective  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:29:51pm

Sorry - forgot the second link:

[Link: www.informationclearinghouse.info...]

286 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:29:52pm

re: #270 Tigger2005

You did not read my post at all. I never said it was OK. I said it was ridiculous to say we are "just as bad" as the Nazis or Imperial Japanese for doing it.

I ask you. Do you think we were just as bad as the Nazis and Imperial Japanese, for what we did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Mass destruction of civilian populations is generally considered a warcrime, which was one reason that Secretary of War Stimson was deeply against using the atom bomb on a city.

I still think that a better case can still be made for the atom bombs than can be said for what Air Marshall "Bomber" Harris did to most of the cities in Germany. He was having women and children incinerated nightly well beyond any such time that a case could hav been made for military necessity, and he was openly insubordinate to Churchill when he was ordered to stop burning civilians and start bombing the fucking factories and railroads (which the 8th AAF was busy doing to try and win the war)

The best book to read on this subject is Among the Dead Cities: The History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan by AC Grayling.

287 Tigger2005  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:30:14pm

re: #270 Tigger2005

You did not read my post at all. I never said it was OK. I said it was ridiculous to say we are "just as bad" as the Nazis or Imperial Japanese for doing it.

I ask you. Do you think we were just as bad as the Nazis and Imperial Japanese, for what we did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

For that matter. Do you think torturing a known terrorist believed to possess actionable intelligence on a massive terrorist plot against a civilian target is just as evil as rousting Jewish families out of bed in the middle of the night and sending the children and old men off to the "showers?"

I am not saying it's "OK." I'm saying making that kind of comparison does not help matters. People are less likely to admit they did something morally wrong, and change their minds about it, when they're basically told they're the spiritual offspring of Josef Mengele. That makes them angry and defensive.

288 Walter L. Newton  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:30:20pm

re: #278 McSpiff

That's true in every situation. You're getting back to basic founding principles of the United States (or possibly the Magna Carta). Laws only matter if they're enforced, correct.

I wasn't relating it history in that sort of way... just making an observation... but yes, that's what I was trying to say. Freedom only matter if it is fair and given. We did things in WWII that were not legal and stomped on peoples freedoms.

And if there is some life and death situation, where thousands of lives are at stake, and there is the possibility that someone has the information to stop it... we'll do it again.

I don't agree with that... but it's certainly possible.

289 William Barnett-Lewis  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:30:25pm

Thank you LVB & SFZ for reminding me, once again, of what it means to be a Christian. Because you both remind where those teachings come from and the context of them; once can not be a follower of Christ and ignore what his teachings are built upon.

Now I need to go back to reading the prophet Jeremiah as I'm going to somehow teach about him to grade schoolers come Sunday.

"Jeremiah was a bullfrog..."? Nah, not quite... ;)

290 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:30:48pm

re: #280 brookly red

you and i both know the reason, to prepare for harsh treatment if it comes to that. which makes it all so moot. by know don't you think our enemies also train their people to deal with water boarding? they know they won't really die & hey they might even get to sue for damages... war is an ugly thing, there is now way to make it pretty.

Yeah, fuck morality.

291 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:31:22pm

re: #284 Talking Point Detective

Just to add a bit more context:

Do you agree that depending on the President's reasoning, crushing a child's testicles should be part of officially sanctioned interrogation procedures?

it's really hard to take that seriously...

292 Talking Point Detective  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:31:33pm

re: #279 Obdicut

My guess would be the fact that he was on TV, and didn't want to embarrass his family and dishonor his ancestors by making his depravity so obvious to so many people?

293 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:31:57pm

re: #292 Talking Point Detective

I'd agree.

294 Tigger2005  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:32:11pm

re: #286 celticdragon

Mass destruction of civilian populations is generally considered a warcrime, which was one reason that Secretary of War Stimson was deeply against using the atom bomb on a city.

I still think that a better case can still be made for the atom bombs than can be said for what Air Marshall "Bomber" Harris did to most of the cities in Germany. He was having women and children incinerated nightly well beyond any such time that a case could hav been made for military necessity, and he was openly insubordinate to Churchill when he was ordered to stop burning civilians and start bombing the fucking factories and railroads (which the 8th AAF was busy doing to try and win the war)

The best book to read on this subject is Among the Dead Cities: The History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan by AC Grayling.

You didn't answer my question. Did doing this stuff make us just like the Nazis and Imperial Japanese?

295 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:32:22pm

re: #283 wozzablog

"harsh treatment" or torture?

Interesting. I do wonder if anyone defending waterboarding would seriously argue that it wasn't torture if, say, we got into a tiff with, say Brazil, and they decided to use it on our troops, or civilians they thought might have some information.

296 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:32:46pm

re: #291 brookly red

Some of us find the whole debate about whether it's ever okay to torture prisoners hard to take seriously, since it's so fucking obvious that the answer is no.

297 Cankles McCellulite  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:33:10pm

What a great post. Charles, you have so much integrity.

298 Talking Point Detective  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:33:30pm

re: #291 brookly red

Why? People use extremely implausible hypotheticals to conjur up possible scenarios where torture might be justified.

Where do you draw the line as to what to take seriously?

299 McSpiff  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:34:08pm

re: #288 Walter L. Newton

I wasn't relating it history in that sort of way... just making an observation... but yes, that's what I was trying to say. Freedom only matter if it is fair and given. We did things in WWII that were not legal and stomped on peoples freedoms.

And if there is some life and death situation, where thousands of lives are at stake, and there is the possibility that someone has the information to stop it... we'll do it again.

I don't agree with that... but it's certainly possible.

I agree, but I still think that's largely orthogonal to the issue of legality, since we're now discussing expressly extra(para? I'm awful with these things...)-legal situations.

300 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:34:11pm

re: #291 brookly red

it's really hard to take that seriously...

Why? Slippery slope is a bad argument to slide down, but why is that beyond the realm of possibility? War, as you mention, is pretty ugly. Such things are done by our enemies. All the time. It's a real bad neighborhood out there.

Why shouldn't we? Why wouldn't we?

301 simoom  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:35:09pm

Chris Wallace Daily Show interview from last night:

[Link: www.thedailyshow.com...]

Jon Stewart: Congratulations to you. Congratulations to your team at Fox. Great job, you guys did it, you worked hard and you pulled it off. Terrific.

Chris Wallace: You mean the fact that we have the highest ratings -- more ratings than CNN and MSNBC combined?

Jon Stewart: No, no, no -- retaking control of the House of Representatives. You did it! It was not an easy job. You know, this was a two year plan and I thought --

Chris Wallace: You're talking about the Republican party, I'm talking about Fox News.

Jon Stewart: (blank stare) I'm sorry, I thought you said something d... Is there a... OK, you've sep... Oh, OK.

Chris Wallace: Yeah.

Jon Stewart: OK.

Chris Wallace: Exactly -- two completely distinct operations.

302 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:35:13pm

re: #290 SanFranciscoZionist

Yeah, fuck morality.

OK, so should the president not allow the CIA to have a drone strike if the bad guy's wife is home? At some point war involves violence.

303 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:36:55pm

re: #295 SanFranciscoZionist

Interesting. I do wonder if anyone defending waterboarding would seriously argue that it wasn't torture if, say, we got into a tiff with, say Brazil, and they decided to use it on our troops, or civilians they thought might have some information.

well, obviously it would be torture in that case. obviously, as america is the soul arbiter of ethics

304 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:37:17pm

re: #287 Tigger2005

For that matter. Do you think torturing a known terrorist believed to possess actionable intelligence on a massive terrorist plot against a civilian target is just as evil as rousting Jewish families out of bed in the middle of the night and sending the children and old men off to the "showers?"

Yes. You are committing an intrinsically evil act, and the "actionable intelligence" trope is a fantasy. Torture always destroys the practitioner, and degrades the society for whom it is employed. Bu committing torture, we are well on the road to being those very Nazis that Glen Beck think he knows about.

Torture is the ultimate act of state tyranny over the individual, and cannot have any union with a free society.

305 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:37:40pm

re: #294 Tigger2005

You didn't answer my question. Did doing this stuff make us just like the Nazis and Imperial Japanese?


See the above.

306 Intenzity  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:37:53pm
I said it was ridiculous to say we are "just as bad" as the Nazis or Imperial Japanese for doing it.

Really? The firebombing of tokyo (first time that napalm was used) killed more people than Nagasaki or Hiroshima, about 100,000, mostly civilians.

We dropped white phosphorus (whiskey pete) in Falluja, kills everything in its path in the most horrific ways, women, kids, combatants, civilians, anything. And we have left tons, literally, of depleted uranium sprayed all over Iraq which will pollute there for a century.

We are not angels. We are just the "good guys" so when we do it, it's always for a good cause, right?

The U.S. has done as equally effed up things as any other country on earth during its history. We killed just as many slaves, indians and mexicans as any other colonial empire and have our little shames as well.

You can't really get into too much relativism for state sanctioned killing, because every state says, in their time, in their frame of reference, they were justified in doing what they did.

307 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:38:18pm

re: #296 Obdicut

Some of us find the whole debate about whether it's ever okay to torture prisoners hard to take seriously, since it's so fucking obvious that the answer is no.

Others of us are disgusted that there is even a debate or that anyone who thinks they are a decent human being can argue yes.

308 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:38:29pm

re: #302 brookly red

OK, so should the president not allow the CIA to have a drone strike if the bad guy's wife is home? At some point war involves violence.

True. But we do have a considerable body of law and tradition on certain points. There is a difference and a legal distinction between torture and collateral deaths.

309 Walter L. Newton  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:38:36pm

re: #299 McSpiff

I agree, but I still think that's largely orthogonal to the issue of legality, since we're now discussing expressly extra(para? I'm awful with these things...)-legal situations.

Ok... maybe I shouldn't be mixing thoughts like I am. I'll make it simple...

It should be illegal... any form of torture. It's immoral and wrong. There should be laws on the books, and no government offical should ever suggest that torture is acceptable.

No law on the books is going to stop our government from using it if they deem that the situation is dangerous enough and thousands of life could be saved from an impending terrorist operation.

310 Vambo  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:39:11pm

re: #306 Intenzity

Really? The firebombing of tokyo (first time that napalm was used) killed more people than Nagasaki or Hiroshima, about 100,000, mostly civilians.

We dropped white phosphorus (whiskey pete) in Falluja, kills everything in its path in the most horrific ways, women, kids, combatants, civilians, anything. And we have left tons, literally, of depleted uranium sprayed all over Iraq which will pollute there for a century.

We are not angels. We are just the "good guys" so when we do it, it's always for a good cause, right?

The U.S. has done as equally effed up things as any other country on earth during its history. We killed just as many slaves, indians and mexicans as any other colonial empire and have our little shames as well.

You can't really get into too much relativism for state sanctioned killing, because every state says, in their time, in their frame of reference, they were justified in doing what they did.

You're just "blaming America first"!!/

311 McSpiff  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:39:19pm

re: #302 brookly red

OK, so should the president not allow the CIA to have a drone strike if the bad guy's wife is home? At some point war involves violence.

And you've demonstrated a lack of understanding the finer points of it. Torture, almost by definition happens in a controlled environment. You take the shot, because you have no idea if you'll get another. Torture is something very different. And since we've already thoroughly debunked the 'ticking time bomb' talking point...

312 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:39:47pm

re: #305 celticdragon

See the above.


The difference is in size, not in kind.

The Nazis tortured millions. We tortured hundreds.

That does not make us better. We just didn't do it to as many people.

313 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:40:25pm

re: #309 Walter L. Newton

What is the point of asserting that, Walter?

All you're doing is saying that human beings can act as they wish regardless of what the law is.

This is an obvious truism.

So why keep repeating it? What's the point?

314 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:40:28pm

re: #302 brookly red

OK, so should the president not allow the CIA to have a drone strike if the bad guy's wife is home? At some point war involves violence.

that's - "unintended consequence"................ that's a little bit different.

315 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:40:45pm

re: #300 SanFranciscoZionist

Why? Slippery slope is a bad argument to slide down, but why is that beyond the realm of possibility? War, as you mention, is pretty ugly. Such things are done by our enemies. All the time. It's a real bad neighborhood out there.

Why shouldn't we? Why wouldn't we?

well we can talk about why we shouldn't all day long, the fact is we do... now if one take a pacifist stance that is one thing, but once the decision is made to fight, then rules kinda fall by the wayside...

316 McSpiff  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:41:05pm

re: #309 Walter L. Newton

Ok... maybe I shouldn't be mixing thoughts like I am. I'll make it simple...

It should be illegal... any form of torture. It's immoral and wrong. There should be laws on the books, and no government offical should ever suggest that torture is acceptable.

No law on the books is going to stop our government from using it if they deem that the situation is dangerous enough and thousands of life could be saved from an impending terrorist operation.

Conscience, clear, and you won't hear any argument about it from me. I think this type of status quo also avoids the 'slippery slope' issue. If torture is going to happen, I want people to risk their career on it.

317 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:41:13pm

re: #312 celticdragon

The difference is in size, not in kind.

The Nazis tortured millions. We tortured hundreds.

That does not make us better. We just didn't do it to as many people.

You are someone who thinks morally. In both cases, it was ordered from the top, produced no benefit and appealed to the basest instincts of the most vile sorts.

318 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:42:03pm

re: #312 celticdragon

It does make us better. Very much so.

We didn't set out to commit genocide against a race. We didn't industrialize a process to do that. We didn't rationalize it in a thousand different ways.

It is terrible that we tortured. But there is no comparison between us and the Nazis, any more than there is a comparison between Lincoln, as someone who made some iffy constitutional moves, and Hitler.

319 McSpiff  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:42:08pm

re: #315 brookly red

well we can talk about why we shouldn't all day long, the fact is we do... now if one take a pacifist stance that is one thing, but once the decision is made to fight, then rules kinda fall by the wayside...

Its true, we turned Serbia to glass when we fought there. Same with North Vietnam. And China after they entered the Korean War.

Wait, we've shown restraint for decades now? Shit.

320 Killgore Trout  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:42:14pm

re: #284 Talking Point Detective

Just to add a bit more context:

Do you agree that depending on the President's reasoning, crushing a child's testicles should be part of officially sanctioned interrogation procedures?

Uh, no but I'm not a lawyer. I suspect that if you were to watch the whole lecture he was probably making a valid (or semi-valid) legal point. Taking it out of context to make Yoo look like a maniac isn't very interesting. I don't know much about him, he might have a point or maybe not.

321 Talking Point Detective  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:42:14pm

re: #291 brookly red

Also, I just wanted to clarify that Yoo's reasoning was not, as was earlier implied, based on what types of treaties exist. Yoo clearly stated that crushing a child's testicles could be justified on why a president thinks it needs to be done:

1) A completely subjective rationale
2) Apparently, in Yoo's mind, a subject to be taken seriously.

How comfortable are you with a President determining policies such as torture on the basis of what he thinks needs to be done? That is the larger context for Yoo's position - and one that reflects large-scale questions of Constitutionality.

322 Walter L. Newton  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:42:22pm

re: #316 McSpiff

Conscience, clear, and you won't hear any argument about it from me. I think this type of status quo also avoids the 'slippery slope' issue. If torture is going to happen, I want people to risk their career on it.

I guess I was conflating to many thoughts all together... but yes, I agree, that's what it comes down too in my opinion.

323 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:42:24pm

re: #314 wozzablog

that's - "unintended consequence"... that's a little bit different.

Al-Zarqawi's sixteen-year-old wife died when we took him out.

I can't say we shouldn't have done it.

That doesn't make it good, and it doesn't make it acceptable to make immoral choices where we do have choices.

324 McSpiff  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:42:34pm

re: #316 McSpiff

PIMF: Concise...

325 Killgore Trout  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:42:59pm

re: #285 Talking Point Detective

Sorry - forgot the second link:

[Link: www.informationclearinghouse.info...]

Yes, That's written by American Communists.

326 SpaceJesus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:43:19pm

Signing and ratifying a convention against torture and then consciously engaging in torture is bad.

327 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:43:37pm

re: #308 SanFranciscoZionist

True. But we do have a considerable body of law and tradition on certain points. There is a difference and a legal distinction between torture and collateral deaths.

so it is worse to water board someone who will have no long term physical harm form the experience then to blow up their whole family? these are tough calls to make.

328 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:43:45pm

re: #315 brookly red

well we can talk about why we shouldn't all day long, the fact is we do... now if one take a pacifist stance that is one thing, but once the decision is made to fight, then rules kinda fall by the wayside...

Jesus wept.

329 Walter L. Newton  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:43:46pm

re: #324 McSpiff

PIMF: Concise...

I caught what you meant... if you notice, my tenses suck when I am thinking and typing fast.

330 prairiefire  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:44:11pm

I feel the condoning of torture is part and parcel of the "short cut" type of thinking of many conservatives. A type of thought incapable of nuance, it appears.

331 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:44:17pm

re: #327 brookly red

Are you asserting that the US has intentionally blown up entire families?

332 McSpiff  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:44:24pm

re: #329 Walter L. Newton

I caught what you meant... if you notice, my tenses suck when I am thinking and typing fast.

And apparently the ruthless mocking goes right out the window...

333 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:44:43pm

re: #318 Obdicut

It does make us better. Very much so.

We didn't set out to commit genocide against a race. We didn't industrialize a process to do that. We didn't rationalize it in a thousand different ways.

It is terrible that we tortured. But there is no comparison between us and the Nazis, any more than there is a comparison between Lincoln, as someone who made some iffy constitutional moves, and Hitler.

You are correct, but I didn't get that was what she was saying. As to organizing genocides, America's genocide against the native tribes was different than the one the Germans tried on us. America's genocide was more successful. Just ask a Susquehanna or Conestoga Indian - of course you can't because they are all dead to the last man, woman and child.

334 Walter L. Newton  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:45:02pm

re: #332 McSpiff

And apparently the ruthless mocking goes right out the window...

I'm immune.

335 Killgore Trout  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:45:27pm

Ok, the talking points from the communist party are getting really tiresome. I'll go pull weeds for a while.

336 Bob Levin  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:45:56pm

re: #17 researchok

I agree. Even if we can go so far as eliminating the inclination to waterboard, the rules of warfare sometimes require that one side gets information that is accurate, and that they get it very quickly.

The ticking bomb analogy is not about a bomb ticking. It is about a situation where many lives are in immediate danger, and that a certain bit of information can save those lives. It's not difficult to imagine such a situation arising during a war.

There really isn't a way out of this without cracking morals. Battlefield morality is very simple, to survive. The only other option is to perish.

Nevertheless, humans have devoted quite a bit of thought to methods of fighting that minimize the number of moral positions that must fall by the wayside. There have been any number of technological innovations that, taken in total, minimize the number of casualties on both sides.

The best way to avoid even the consideration of torture is to have such reliable and remarkable methods of getting information that events never lead to the 'ticking bomb' scenario. However, it's nearly impossible to carry this out perfectly.

Many war movies, actual war stories, and certainly every spy story revolve around information, disinformation, and crisis. I don't believe this is conflating reality and fiction.

When someone is coming to kill you or many people in your country--it's very hard to get them to agree to use the Marquis of Queensbury rules. That is, you're not going to get them to agree to play fair and help you to save lives.

337 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:46:30pm

re: #319 McSpiff

Its true, we turned Serbia to glass when we fought there. Same with North Vietnam. And China after they entered the Korean War.

Wait, we've shown restraint for decades now? Shit.

Serbia, North Vietnam & China are still there sorry to disappoint you... In fact China is doing quite well in the bond market.

338 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:46:30pm

re: #335 Killgore Trout

Ok, the talking points from the communist party are getting really tiresome. I'll go pull weeds for a while.

KT, I am certainly not quoting the Commies. No one is.

You are letting your emotions get the better of you.

339 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:47:09pm

re: #327 brookly red

so it is worse to water board someone who will have no long term physical harm form the experience then to blow up their whole family? these are tough calls to make.

it isn't a matter of choosing one over the other.

340 bratwurst  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:47:52pm

Ah yes...the old "since water boarding causes no long term physical harm it isn't torture torture" meme. Coming up next: those krazy kids at Abu Ghraib were just blowing off steam!

341 Talking Point Detective  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:48:03pm

re: #320 Killgore Trout

Ok - let's look past the fact that you justified his position by leaving out important context from his larger answer (his follow up answer had nothing to do with treaties).

Yoo's main focus is not torture, it's what powers should be handed over to the President. Are you OK with the President, whichever President it happens to be at any particular time, deciding what constitutes justifiable "enhanced interrogation," to be conducted on whomever, depending on what he thinks?

That was Yoo's argument. Personally, I'd rather have a set of rules established. You know, based on precedent. Oh, I don't know, like precedent set when the United Staes tried people as torturers for waterboarding?

342 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:48:41pm

re: #337 brookly red

Serbia, North Vietnam & China are still there sorry to disappoint you... In fact China is doing quite well in the bond market.

I think that was sarcasm, somehow.

343 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:48:42pm

re: #333 LudwigVanQuixote

No, America's genocide was not more successful. Disease was the primary killer of the American Indians, and that disease had come long before we did.

Furthermore, the Susquehanna were not killed by citizens of the United States, but by colonists before we were a nation. There was no national government policy of eradicating them. Further furthermore, they were a single village.

There is not a comparison. what was done to the American Indians was terrible, but it its its own story of brutality and tears and awfulness, and a very, very different story from that of the Nazis.

344 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:48:42pm

re: #339 SanFranciscoZionist

it isn't a matter of choosing one over the other.

your right... when your in a fight you can't say punching is fair but elbowing is not.

345 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:48:44pm

re: #341 Talking Point Detective

Ok - let's look past the fact that you justified his position by leaving out important context from his larger answer (his follow up answer had nothing to do with treaties).

Yoo's main focus is not torture, it's what powers should be handed over to the President. Are you OK with the President, whichever President it happens to be at any particular time, deciding what constitutes justifiable "enhanced interrogation," to be conducted on whomever, depending on what he thinks?

That was Yoo's argument. Personally, I'd rather have a set of rules established. You know, based on precedent. Oh, I don't know, like precedent set when the United Staes tried people as torturers for waterboarding?

Great post.

346 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:48:50pm

re: #318 Obdicut


We didn't set out to commit genocide against a race.

We stood by as Shia death squads butched thousands of Sunnis...and they were being directed right out of the Office of the Ministry of The Interior in a government we set up from scratch.

So no, we didn't do it directly. We watched it happen and gave ammunition and political cover to the people doing it. It wasn't until November 2006 that the administration even admitted what was happening.

We didn't industrialize a process to do that.

True The death squads were pretty inefficient.

We didn't rationalize it in a thousand different ways.

You might want to rethink that given the comments on this thread.

347 Talking Point Detective  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:48:56pm

re: #325 Killgore Trout

Oh, I didn't realize you had evidence that it wasn't true. Got a link?

348 McSpiff  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:49:46pm

re: #334 Walter L. Newton

I'm immune.

I feel like we should be able to apply a variation on Godel's Incompleteness Theory to the American legal system and obtain a formal proof of our theory about inherently 'legal' illegal government actions... but that might just be a tired engineer talking.

349 Intenzity  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:50:11pm

re: #312 celticdragon

The difference is in size, not in kind.
The Nazis tortured millions. We tortured hundreds.

Better go ask the Choctaw, and the Cherokee and the Sioux and anyone who is black and had great-grandparents who were born in America. Did we explicitly crush their nuts under a boot heel? No, we destroyed their culture and their way of life and enslaved them and denied them basic human rights and made them live on plantations and reservations. For generations and generations.

You add those up, you will get way over a million. Trust me.

And thats just on OUR soil. The go add those in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Vietnam, and Iraq, all the cou de tas the CIA did all over the world, the graduates of the School of The Americas we sent back to South America to disappear people...

I am not blaming "America First" I am saying, the same debates in all those countries happened, and they felt exactly the same justification we feel, because it was their culture they thought they were protecting from an imminent threat so drastic measures were needed. They had different cultural filters on than we do. So ours seems reasonable, to us, and theirs seems like homicidal genocide. To us.

Its not apples to apples, obviously..the Death Camps will always be one of the most fucked up things in human history, bar none. Ours didnt have ovens or forced labor camps, true, but if you tried to live on a Indian Reservation in 1899, it would be some hard time for sure, very, very hard time, you would be lucky to survive there as well. And we did that for decades here.

Just saying, all states do effed up stuff. We do too.

350 Dekar  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:50:49pm

This is all hindsight. If another attack happens, there will be waterboarding. It's like Southpark's 100th episode, lets say something, and do the opposite! Israel made it illegal. Doesn't mean they don't do it secretly.

351 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:51:30pm

re: #347 Talking Point Detective

Oh, I didn't realize you had evidence that it wasn't true. Got a link?

so are you actually a detective or are you just playing one on TV?

352 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:51:40pm

Yeah, if I were in charge of Hamas or Hizbollah, I'd keep on storing weapons in schools or fire big guns from hospital roofs. Yesiree, I'd do that because I know we'd never get hit- and we can count on everyone else to damn the Jew bastards if they defend themselves.

There were arguments made as early as 1942 against bombing Auschwitz and other camps so that they might be put out of business, because Jews and other civilians would be killed. So they stayed in business until 1945.

I guess not bombing the camps was the moral thing to do. So very, very moral.

War is not pretty. The moment the first innocent is killed in a war, that war becomes immoral. Every war is immoral.

That does not mean that all wars are unjust or ought not be fought. Had Berlin been bombed after the outbreak of hostilities in 1939, up to 50 million lives would have spared.

50 million.

Yeah, good thing we did the moral thing and spared the good citizens of Berlin.

353 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:52:22pm

re: #346 celticdragon

Do you understand that that actual stated policy of the Nazi government was the eradication of the Jews? That they had a conference, and agreed that the Jews would be enslaved, worked to death, and entirely eradicated?

If the US government supported the genocide of the Sunni population of Iraq, there would be no Sunnis left in Iraq.

Did we shamefully fail to prevent ethnic cleansing, cynically, even turn a blind eye to it? Yes.

Is this in any way the same as building Auschwitz-Birkenau and sending train after train there, to work, slave, and die? To select group after group-- Jews, gypsies, homosexuals-- who were to be entirely eradicated?

No.

All things are not the same.

354 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:52:35pm

re: #344 brookly red

your right... when your in a fight you can't say punching is fair but elbowing is not.

You really want to propose warfare without limits, without morality, without rules, and without restraint, because "when you're in a fight, you gotta fight?"

Who are you, the effing Kurgan?

(Oh, never mind, let me just eat this copy of the Geneva Conventions now...)

355 reine.de.tout  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:52:43pm

re: #338 LudwigVanQuixote

KT, I am certainly not quoting the Commies. No one is.

You are letting your emotions get the better of you.

LVQ - I dinged him up to counter the downding -

I recall a time when he was hounded & downdinged mercilessly over his tea-party stance; and he was right all along.

In this case, he might be letting his emotions get the better of him.I've seen enough of Killgore to give him the benefit of the doubt, as knowing what he's talking about, rather than simply dismissing whatever he says.

356 Walter L. Newton  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:52:43pm

re: #348 McSpiff

I feel like we should be able to apply a variation on Godel's Incompleteness Theory to the American legal system and obtain a formal proof of our theory about inherently 'legal' illegal government actions... but that might just be a tired engineer talking.

And after a quick look over that page... you'd also be talking over my head... that's why I veered to database management and database programming and not scientific programming.

357 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:53:16pm

re: #352 researchok

Can you answer the questions I posed earlier in the thread, or do you intend to simply not answer them?

358 prairiefire  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:54:28pm

New video from Sarah Palin PAC. It has a creepy kind of meth head feel. Is it just me?[Link: politicalwire.com...]

359 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:55:09pm

re: #348 McSpiff

There are no inherently legal illegal government actions. They would be illegal, but still actually happen. That a system of laws cannot prevent human behavior doesn't have any effect on that system of laws. It is simply a truism.

No matter how many laws we make against murder, people will still murder sometimes.

No matter how many laws we make constraining the government, the government will still violate them sometimes.

It is an absolutely pointless assertion.

360 wrenchwench  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:55:18pm

re: #338 LudwigVanQuixote

KT, I am certainly not quoting the Commies. No one is.

You are letting your emotions get the better of you.


It is not true that no one is.

361 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:55:23pm

re: #343 Obdicut

No, America's genocide was not more successful. Disease was the primary killer of the American Indians, and that disease had come long before we did.

Furthermore, the Susquehanna were not killed by citizens of the United States, but by colonists before we were a nation. There was no national government policy of eradicating them. Further furthermore, they were a single village.

There is not a comparison. what was done to the American Indians was terrible, but it its its own story of brutality and tears and awfulness, and a very, very different story from that of the Nazis.

Obdi, I am a Jew. I lost family to the Nazis. I am not insensitive to the history and I would never ever try to minimize what happened to our people.

However, you are just wrong. The Nazis were industrialized and did it over the course of a few years. America was haphazard and did it over the course of centuries.

Do you forget the scalping kits sold by the Sears catalogue so that you culd bring proof of your kills in for the bounty the government put out on Indians? That was certainly post colonial.

are you really going to minimize the organized attempts to kill Indians by the European powers, State militias, local Americans and our Federal government? What exactly was Tippecanoe or Wounded Knee.

Either way the dead do not care. When one group who has the guns and the numbers declares another group sub-human and fit only to be eradicated - and then proceeds to murder down to the last child, the only real moral difference was the technology and the scope of it that German technology made possible.

362 Talking Point Detective  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:55:59pm

re: #351 brookly red

Long time lurker.

It's been fascinating to watch the evolution of LGF over time. Well, I guess it isn't evolution because that doesn't exist. Must be some form of Intelligent Design.

363 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:56:27pm

re: #357 Obdicut

Can you answer the questions I posed earlier in the thread, or do you intend to simply not answer them?

I'm sorry I had to step away. Which comment are you referring to?

364 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:58:05pm

re: #361 LudwigVanQuixote

But the US government really did have the power to murder all American Indians down to the last child, and they did not.

Some tribes were eradicated. Others were entirely dispossessed. The treatment was abominable, and shameful. But the Nazis really would have killed all of the Jews, all of the gypsies, enslaved all of the slavs.

Americans really did not kill all of the American Indians.

It is a difference. It is not in any way a proud thing that we're not as bad as Nazi germany, that's not a rallying cry, but it is still a true thing.

365 McSpiff  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:58:12pm

re: #356 Walter L. Newton

And after a quick look over that page... you'd also be talking over my head... that's why I veered to database management and database programming and not scientific programming.

You might be getting an email later... I'm working on a databases assignment as we speak...

366 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:58:47pm

re: #363 researchok

I'm sorry I had to step away. Which comment are you referring to?

Say we have a bomb with three wires. We have a guy, that we have on camera as having planted the bomb. We ask him which wire to cut. He says blue. We torture him for awhile. He says red. We torture him for awhile longer. He says green.

Which one do we cut?

People will give whatever answer they can to get out of torture. It may be the right answer. But unless we already know what that answer is, how can we be certain we've gotten the right one?

367 engineer cat  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:59:12pm

re: #358 prairiefire

New video from Sarah Palin PAC. It has a creepy kind of meth head feel. Is it just me?[Link: politicalwire.com...]

"'We're going to stand up and we're going to speak out. It may take some renegades going rogue to get us there. It may take folks shaking it up to get there"

crazy moose witch feeling the heat as big business wing of the gop works to shut her losing-candidate-supporting ass down but quick

368 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:59:30pm

re: #366 Obdicut

Fucked up the formatting, but you can figure it out.

369 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 3:59:32pm

re: #354 SanFranciscoZionist

You really want to propose warfare without limits, without morality, without rules, and without restraint, because "when you're in a fight, you gotta fight?"

Who are you, the effing Kurgan?

(Oh, never mind, let me just eat this copy of the Geneva Conventions now...)

no, but when you face an enemy that actually targets civilians (re:9/11) what do the Geneva Conventions (and thank you for knowing that there was more than one) have to do with anything... did Atta wear a uniform? Did the Christmas bomber? Hows about this last round of mail bombs? Geneva Conventions material?

370 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:00:09pm

re: #353 Obdicut

Do you understand that that actual stated policy of the Nazi government was the eradication of the Jews? That they had a conference, and agreed that the Jews would be enslaved, worked to death, and entirely eradicated?

If the US government supported the genocide of the Sunni population of Iraq, there would be no Sunnis left in Iraq.

Did we shamefully fail to prevent ethnic cleansing, cynically, even turn a blind eye to it? Yes.

Is this in any way the same as building Auschwitz-Birkenau and sending train after train there, to work, slave, and die? To select group after group-- Jews, gypsies, homosexuals-- who were to be entirely eradicated?

No.

All things are not the same.

As somebody above pointedly reinded me, we did engage in state sponsored genocide of Native Americans, but that is another topic.

I do not believe you do yourself any favors when you try to equivicate between evil actions on one scale and similar evil actions on a lesser scale..and that is what you are doing.

We tortured people to death, and nobody will ever be held responsible in our lifetimes. We stood by as literally tens of thousands of people who expected our protection were tortured to death and beheaded by the very people we paid and gave training to. in Iraq

Yeah, the Nazis did even more damage. Somehow, I don't feel that is such a great bar to have to clear, ya know?

371 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:00:09pm

re: #364 Obdicut

But the US government really did have the power to murder all American Indians down to the last child, and they did not.

Some tribes were eradicated. Others were entirely dispossessed. The treatment was abominable, and shameful. But the Nazis really would have killed all of the Jews, all of the gypsies, enslaved all of the slavs.

Americans really did not kill all of the American Indians.

It is a difference. It is not in any way a proud thing that we're not as bad as Nazi germany, that's not a rallying cry, but it is still a true thing.

I see the distinction you are making. That is why in my first response to you, I pointed out the part I thought was correct. However, in terms of torture, We really did have a policy of doing this down from the top, and Celticdragon's point was right on target and does not contradict you.

372 Stanghazi  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:00:46pm

re: #358 prairiefire

New video from Sarah Palin PAC. It has a creepy kind of meth head feel. Is it just me?[Link: politicalwire.com...]

I read that the sunrise at the Statue of Liberty shown during the line "this is our morning in America" is actually a sunset played backwards! heh. She cannot stand a fact check even with graphics.

373 Walter L. Newton  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:01:05pm

re: #365 McSpiff

You might be getting an email later... I'm working on a databases assignment as we speak...

I look for it... maybe at work tonight... have a 6 hour shift coming up in a few minutes... get off at midnight.

And it looks like I am the "new" temporary Sat. and Sun. overnight cashier for a while, since the regular guy blew out his knee somehow, and now he's embroiled in a workman's comp battle, can't work and I'm low man on the totem pole... so guess who gets to replace him.

I'm not real happy about it, but at the same time, it's better than no work.

374 calochortus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:03:24pm

re: #336 Bob Levin

I agree. Even if we can go so far as eliminating the inclination to waterboard, the rules of warfare sometimes require that one side gets information that is accurate, and that they get it very quickly.

Except, that torture is ineffective and counterproductive as it encourages the other side to engage in it too.

375 prairiefire  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:04:20pm

re: #367 engineer dog

When she says: "There is more than enough reason to have faith in America" it sounds like full throated emotional speaking. She sounds like Shirley Temple.

376 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:04:32pm

re: #370 celticdragon


I do not believe you do yourself any favors when you try to equivicate between evil actions on one scale and similar evil actions on a lesser scale..and that is what you are doing.

I don't feel it's a great bar to have to clear either. I do think it is absolutely and completely and vitally important to make distinctions between evils. I absolutely reject the idea that 'equivocating' between actions on a scale is unimportant. Scale is immensely, hugely important.

377 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:04:44pm

re: #373 Walter L. Newton

I look for it... maybe at work tonight... have a 6 hour shift coming up in a few minutes... get off at midnight.

And it looks like I am the "new" temporary Sat. and Sun. overnight cashier for a while, since the regular guy blew out his knee somehow, and now he's embroiled in a workman's comp battle, can't work and I'm low man on the totem pole... so guess who gets to replace him.

I'm not real happy about it, but at the same time, it's better than no work.

don't give up. I have been solicited by 3 companies today. Could the election have had anything to with it? Nawwww not a chance.

378 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:04:49pm

re: #373 Walter L. Newton

that's my father's biz, doing workers comp cases

379 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:04:54pm

re: #374 calochortus

Except, that torture is ineffective and counterproductive as it encourages the other side to engage in it too.


God help any of our servicemen and women who get captured now. It is now a dead certainty.

380 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:05:01pm

re: #372 Stanley Sea

I read that the sunrise at the Statue of Liberty shown during the line "this is our morning in America" is actually a sunset played backwards! heh. She cannot stand a fact check even with graphics.

LOL Curse you sun rising in the West and setting in the East - like it always has - since angular momentum is conserved....

Don't worry, the GOP will get right on claiming that momentum conservation is a hoax too. If you think about, they are already arguing that energy conservation is a hoax with their denial of AGW.

381 engineer cat  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:05:02pm

CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll. Oct. 27-30, 2010.

If Barack Obama were the Democratic Party's candidate and [see below] were the Republican Party's candidate, who would you be more likely to vote for: Obama, the Democrat, or [see below], the Republican?" .

Barack Oblandma (D) 45%
Smiley McMormonpants (R) 50%


at this rate, i look forward to a endless corporate valium disneyland ruled over by a complacent haircut

382 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:05:50pm

re: #376 Obdicut

I don't feel it's a great bar to have to clear either. I do think it is absolutely and completely and vitally important to make distinctions between evils. I absolutely reject the idea that 'equivocating' between actions on a scale is unimportant. Scale is immensely, hugely important.

I agree, however, in reference to torture, we are dealing with the same crime by our top officials, if not the same number of victims.

383 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:05:51pm

re: #377 brookly red

there's one thing that never changes regardless of who's in office, my business

384 haikugoalie  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:05:53pm

Dilemma Haiku

What value is law
when we allow folks to die
so scum don't suffer?

Torture may save lives;
Follow the law, lose New York
Heads and tails, you lose.

385 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:05:59pm

re: #366 Obdicut

Clearly, torture in that case would be hard to justify. Odds are pretty good the suspect would lie. As I noted early, I am against torture with very few exceptions.

On the other hand, suppose a suspect is caught and boasts he knows of a big attack to come. There might be a case to justify torture to extract verifiable information.

See Bruce Anderson: We not only have a right to use torture. We have a duty

386 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:06:18pm

re: #374 calochortus

Except, that torture is ineffective and counterproductive as it encourages the other side to engage in it too.

they stone their own... somehow I don't think what we do influences them.

387 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:06:19pm

re: #376 Obdicut

I don't feel it's a great bar to have to clear either. I do think it is absolutely and completely and vitally important to make distinctions between evils. I absolutely reject the idea that 'equivocating' between actions on a scale is unimportant. Scale is immensely, hugely important.


The man who murders one person with a shotgun is still as much a murderer as the one who kills ten.

The moral implications do not change with scale.

388 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:07:02pm

re: #383 WindUpBird

there's one thing that never changes regardless of who's in office, my business

/pimping ain't easy...

389 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:07:29pm

re: #385 researchok


On the other hand, suppose a suspect is caught and boasts he knows of a big attack to come. There might be a case to justify torture to extract verifiable information.

Why? You haven't in any way shown this?

Why would you think that the information you got from him would be accurate?

Say you tortured him for an hour and he said that the attack would come at dawn and involve car bombs.

Is the information accurate? How do you know?

Say you tell him you think he's lying and torture him some more.

He changes the story, and says it'll come at noon and involve a hidden bomb.

Is that true? How do you know?

I've read Bruce Anderson. He also fails this question.

390 calochortus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:07:50pm

re: #386 brookly red

they stone their own... somehow I don't think what we do influences them.

Maybe it will influence them and maybe not, but lets get back to the fact that in real life most people who gather intelligence say torture is not effective.

391 Walter L. Newton  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:07:53pm

re: #377 brookly red

don't give up. I have been solicited by 3 companies today. Could the election have had anything to with it? Nawww not a chance.

I still send 2-3 resumes out a week to tech companies... even some more contract, work from home stuff like my Kaiser contract would help... all in all, I'm fine... but still... programming is a passion for me... would rather be doing that all the time.

Out to work.

392 Bob Levin  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:08:25pm

re: #364 Obdicut

I'll reply to that one.

You've got the wrong guy in the chair. You should have someone on your side with enough expertise in explosive devices to know how to defuse the bomb.

Interrogation is for information regarding, date, time, method. If you successfully interrogate someone, then maybe the public will hear about it, like those explosive devices from Yemen. There was another Al-Queda plan to have planes explode in the air over America. That was foiled.

And then there are stories where the information was not accurate, and you read about those all of the time because many people were killed.

393 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:08:25pm

re: #389 Obdicut

Why? You haven't in any way shown this?

Why would you think that the information you got from him would be accurate?

Say you tortured him for an hour and he said that the attack would come at dawn and involve car bombs.

Is the information accurate? How do you know?

Say you tell him you think he's lying and torture him some more.

He changes the story, and says it'll come at noon and involve a hidden bomb.

Is that true? How do you know?

I've read Bruce Anderson. He also fails this question.

I referred to verifiable information.

394 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:08:32pm

re: #369 brookly red

no, but when you face an enemy that actually targets civilians (re:9/11) what do the Geneva Conventions (and thank you for knowing that there was more than one) have to do with anything... did Atta wear a uniform? Did the Christmas bomber? Hows about this last round of mail bombs? Geneva Conventions material?

That makes our situation even more complicated. Our single biggest problem in this conflict is that we're being targeted by a nonprofit organization with multiple spin-offs, as well as fighting in two destabilized nations with multiple players.

It also makes the slope far more slippery. People on this site were calling for the underwear bomber to be treated a military operative rather than a criminal, and calling the Obama administration weak for allowing terrorists to be tried in civil courts. So we really have a problem at times, figuring out whether we're dealing with criminals, enemy combatants, or illegal enemy combatants. And we tend to pick and choose.

But we also do not torture criminals, according to the US legal code and considerable long-standing tradition in Anglo-American practice. This is a sort of new situation, but not so new that we need to throw out all previously existing law and moral expectations.

395 reginald perrin  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:08:34pm

Nicest Canadian couple in world dole out lottery winnings

A retired Canadian couple who won $11.3 million in the lottery in July have already given it (almost) all away.

"What you've never had, you never miss," 78-year-old Violet Large explained to a local reporter.

She was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer when the couple realized they'd won the jackpot in July.

"That money that we won was nothing," her tearful husband, Allen, told Patricia Brooks Arenburg of the Nova Scotia Chronicle Herald. "We have each other."

more here

396 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:09:13pm

Damn I hate being sick. I'm sitting here hacking up my lungs right now. I feel miserable.

397 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:09:17pm

re: #387 celticdragon

The man who murders one person with a shotgun is still as much a murderer as the one who kills ten.

The moral implications do not change with scale.

And? I've poured Drano down the drain, even though I know it's bad for the environment. Am I as much of a polluter as Shell Oil?

Is a man who killed one person just as evil as Hitler? Is that what you're saying, in the end?

398 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:09:33pm

re: #372 Stanley Sea

I read that the sunrise at the Statue of Liberty shown during the line "this is our morning in America" is actually a sunset played backwards! heh. She cannot stand a fact check even with graphics.

Eh, that I won't worry about. Except on a symbolic level.

But you know the 'Boy in Blue' is actually a girl, and the Mona Lisa isn't smiling, she's beginning to smile.

399 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:09:48pm

re: #393 researchok

I referred to verifiable information.

Great. If it's verifiable, then you already know the answers. So why are you torturing the guy?

400 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:10:08pm

re: #381 engineer dog

Can i tell you how fascinated I am with Romney?

Friends of mine and I, we have an entire fantasy campaign, where Romney images himself as the Supreme Overlord of Leisure, all his campaign material has that 50's cadillac design aesthetic to it, the stretched out deco letteringm he drives around in a 59 coupe de ville, pink with burgundy pleated velvet interior, wearing a smoking jacket, lounge band everywhere he goes, there's just something about that guy's hair and his smile

Romney: The Luxury President

Romney: Lounge Towards The Future

401 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:10:17pm

re: #375 prairiefire

When she says: "There is more than enough reason to have faith in America" it sounds like full throated emotional speaking. She sounds like Shirley Temple.

Don't talk like that about Shirley Temple.

402 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:10:40pm

re: #396 celticdragon

Damn I hate being sick. I'm sitting here hacking up my lungs right now. I feel miserable.

trying to change minds here will do that to a gal.

(i'm a guy, but i imagine the psychological consequences are just the same)

403 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:11:02pm

re: #392 Bob Levin

I
Interrogation is for information regarding, date, time, method.

And why is there any reason to trust such information given under one hour's worth of torture?

What if the person gives different information at hour two of torture?

Which is the real answer?

Are any of them real answers?

404 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:11:15pm

Reposted for commentre: #399 Obdicut

Great. If it's verifiable, then you already know the answers. So why are you torturing the guy?

Because we didn't have the information before he was tortured.

405 Quant  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:11:22pm

re: #393 researchok

I referred to verifiable information.


If you have verifiable information from some other source, why then would you need to torture?

406 mr.fusion  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:11:26pm

I had a similar epiphany on torture....for me it started with McCain's quote that torture "isn't about them, it's about us." The more I looked into it though, the more entrenched I became in my stance against it. The final straw was (and this may have already been mentioned in this thread) not just that we classified waterboarding as torture when it had been done to us by our enemies.....we also punished American soldiers in the past who were caught waterboarding. During the Vietnam War there was a picture published of an American soldier waterboarding a POW, and he was subsequently dishonorably court martialed. American soldiers were also discharged in the Philippines for waterboarding.

Americans have always prosecuted Americans for waterboarding, and we have always considered it torture.

407 engineer cat  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:11:38pm

re: #391 Walter L. Newton

I still send 2-3 resumes out a week to tech companies... even some more contract, work from home stuff like my Kaiser contract would help... all in all, I'm fine... but still... programming is a passion for me... would rather be doing that all the time.

Out to work.

what languages do you work in? here in no. ca. there are a lot of coding jobs, especially with telecoms, especially if you have experience in c, c++, java, javascript, or perl

408 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:11:41pm

re: #393 researchok

I referred to verifiable information.

hahaha are you just torturing him for a second opinion, then?

"Well, we know you did it, we have you on the closed circuit feed setting the bomb, we know where your accomplices are...but we have the gyroscopic pain cage all set up! We gotta try it out!"

409 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:11:55pm

Reposted for comment:

Yeah, if I were in charge of Hamas or Hizbollah, I'd keep on storing weapons in schools or fire big guns from hospital roofs. Yesiree, I'd do that because I know we'd never get hit- and we can count on everyone else to damn the Jew bastards if they defend themselves.

There were arguments made as early as 1942 against bombing Auschwitz and other camps so that they might be put out of business, because Jews and other civilians would be killed. So they stayed in business until 1945.

I guess not bombing the camps was the moral thing to do. So very, very moral.

War is not pretty. The moment the first innocent is killed in a war, that war becomes immoral. Every war is immoral.

That does not mean that all wars are unjust or ought not be fought. Had Berlin been bombed after the outbreak of hostilities in 1939, up to 50 million lives would have spared.

50 million.

Yeah, good thing we did the moral thing and spared the good citizens of Berlin.

410 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:12:08pm

re: #379 celticdragon

God help any of our servicemen and women who get captured now. It is now a dead certainty.

To be honest, knowing how propaganda and disinformatzia works, I don't think there was any way we could have protected our troops through clean hands. If the pictures weren't real, they would have been fake, but they would have been out there.

411 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:12:11pm

re: #404 researchok


Because we didn't have the information before he was tortured.

Then how was it verifiable?

And, more importantly, you haven't explained how you knew when to stop, when he'd given you the real information. How did you know that? Why didn't you keep torturing him to see if the story changed?

412 engineer cat  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:12:31pm

re: #400 WindUpBird

lolz!

413 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:12:41pm

re: #409 researchok

This has nothing to do with torture.

414 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:13:14pm

re: #412 engineer dog

lolz!

girls in long glittering dresses with even longer cigarettes cooing "Love that Romney!"

415 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:13:26pm

re: #408 WindUpBird

hahaha are you just torturing him for a second opinion, then?

"Well, we know you did it, we have you on the closed circuit feed setting the bomb, we know where your accomplices are...but we have the gyroscopic pain cage all set up! We gotta try it out!"

No, you misunderstood my point.

I said if he were captured and boasted of knowing of an upcoming attack, he might give up information that might be verifiable and thus valuable.

416 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:13:28pm

re: #394 SanFranciscoZionist

That makes our situation even more complicated. Our single biggest problem in this conflict is that we're being targeted by a nonprofit organization with multiple spin-offs, as well as fighting in two destabilized nations with multiple players.

It also makes the slope far more slippery. People on this site were calling for the underwear bomber to be treated a military operative rather than a criminal, and calling the Obama administration weak for allowing terrorists to be tried in civil courts. So we really have a problem at times, figuring out whether we're dealing with criminals, enemy combatants, or illegal enemy combatants. And we tend to pick and choose.

But we also do not torture criminals, according to the US legal code and considerable long-standing tradition in Anglo-American practice. This is a sort of new situation, but not so new that we need to throw out all previously existing law and moral expectations.

I have to admit I am one of those people... now be real if we sent someone from the CIA to blow up an airframe from Iran would you not call it a military action?

417 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:14:10pm

re: #413 Obdicut

This has nothing to do with torture.

It is related. We were talking about bombing Hiroshima, Dresden, etc.

Why is this different?

418 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:14:19pm

re: #415 researchok

No, you misunderstood my point.

I said if he were captured and boasted of knowing of an upcoming attack, he might give up information that might be verifiable and thus valuable.

or you know, he'll tell you crazy shit that you'll follow up on and find nothing but dead ends or stuff you already know because, you're torturing a guy and he wants you to stop

419 Cannadian Club Akbar  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:15:08pm

I am gonna be as literal as I can here. A dude came within 2 inches of hitting my mom's house. I let him call a friend.with a chain. He wasn't drunk. No reason to call the cops. Holy shit!!

420 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:15:10pm

re: #417 researchok

I feel it's a deflection.

Can you understand, in your pro-torture scenario, how you knew when to stop, when the true information had been given?

421 calochortus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:15:23pm

re: #415 researchok

No, you misunderstood my point.

I said if he were captured and boasted of knowing of an upcoming attack, he might give up information that might be verifiable and thus valuable.

Or he might not.

422 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:15:48pm

re: #417 researchok

So you just want a conversation about the general morality of war why?

423 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:16:20pm

re: #412 engineer dog


Romney needs a Tiki Room in the white house

424 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:16:26pm

re: #415 researchok

And how do you know he's telling the truth, and isn't boasting that in order to distract your attention and delay you in finding out the truth?

425 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:16:28pm

re: #418 WindUpBird

or you know, he'll tell you crazy shit that you'll follow up on and find nothing but dead ends or stuff you already know because, you're torturing a guy and he wants you to stop

That was my point. I said verifiable.

I believe we are obligated to do whatever we can so as to prevent another catastrophe.

Will it always work? I don't know. But there are times it will work.

426 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:16:51pm

re: #419 Cannadian Club Akbar

I am gonna be as literal as I can here. A dude came within 2 inches of hitting my mom's house. I let him call a friend.with a chain. He wasn't drunk. No reason to call the cops. Holy shit!!

o_o

427 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:17:10pm

re: #394 SanFranciscoZionist

That makes our situation even more complicated. Our single biggest problem in this conflict is that we're being targeted by a nonprofit organization with multiple spin-offs, as well as fighting in two destabilized nations with multiple players.

Additional note: The above reference to 'two destablilized nations' should not be read to indicate that Afghanistan was ever particularly stable, and perhaps should be read as 'unstable nations'.

428 calochortus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:17:33pm

re: #425 researchok

That was my point. I said verifiable.

I believe we are obligated to do whatever we can so as to prevent another catastrophe.

Will it always work? I don't know. But there are times it will work.

Can you provide an example, or some statistics or something to back this up?

429 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:17:49pm

re: #424 Obdicut

And how do you know he's telling the truth, and isn't boasting that in order to distract your attention and delay you in finding out the truth?

OK so what do you have that works better? We are all ears :)

430 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:17:49pm

re: #424 Obdicut

And how do you know he's telling the truth, and isn't boasting that in order to distract your attention and delay you in finding out the truth?

As noted, I believe we are obligated to do whatever it takes in the attempt to prevent another catastrophe.

I am not advocating torture. I did not say we ought to torture everyone.

I was responding to your query.

431 Cannadian Club Akbar  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:18:14pm

re: #426 WindUpBird

o_o


my bad.
I had to guarantee I would cann the cops.

432 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:18:24pm

laters. this will never go anywhere.

dead enders are dead ended.

433 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:18:50pm

re: #425 researchok

That was my point. I said verifiable.

I believe we are obligated to do whatever we can so as to prevent another catastrophe.

Will it always work? I don't know. But there are times it will work.

When you say we'll do "whatever we can", that's actually pretty freaky

"Well, we MIGHT be able to prevent another 9/11 if we capture this guy's kids and start lowering them inch by inch into acid, he'll probably tell us some good info, we think! I mean, we're the United States! We're like, never wrong!"

yeah, sorry, don't buy it, if you can't prevent the catastrophe without being vicious human monsters? Then you don't get to prevent the catastrophe.

434 Bob Levin  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:18:55pm

re: #403 Obdicut

That's part of the skill in interrogation, being able to tell if the person is telling the truth. Usually, interrogation is not done cold. Interrogators begin with information that they know to be true. They build from there, to calibrate whether a person is lying or not.

It's not a science. People make mistakes, and lives are lost. Sometimes they get it right, and lives are saved.

This question is not open and shut. It's a good bet that research is going on right now regarding MRIs and PET scans, trying to calibrate that data with truth or falsity, and figuring out whether this data can be helpful in interrogation.

All you need to understand about how technology can help with military ethics is to look at the casualty numbers from one afternoon in WWII and the entire casualty numbers from Iraq.

If anything this is a technological problem, not an ethical question.

435 Cannadian Club Akbar  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:18:58pm

re: #431 Cannadian Club Akbar

my bad.
I had to guarantee I would cann the cops.

Call. PMF. And it continues....

436 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:19:08pm

re: #430 researchok

And I am saying that torture is not part of what it takes, and never can be, for the reasons I've given and that you have not addressed.

How do you know when to stop? When have you tortured him enough to go check that information?

Or in your world, do we have infinite resources to validate this information as it spills out of him?

437 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:19:42pm

re: #433 WindUpBird

Vicious INHUMAN monsters, but I suppose "vicious human monsters" has a cooler rhythm to it with all th two syllable words

438 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:19:47pm

You know, rather than anyone eating each other, amongst the non-wingnut lizards, I respectfully suggest that the GOP is still out there, and the GOP still thinks torturing brown people is just great to do.

The GOP is about to launch in inquisition against science.

By doing so, it is going to delay actions that are needed to save our nation, our civilization and the lives of billions.

The GOP is going to do its level best to gut education.

The GOP is going to do its best to help large businesses rape you, by getting rid of pesky regulations.

The GOP is going to continue to try to re-write history and replace it with their own twisted nonsense and lies.

There is a real foe out there.

How about all the energy you have for bashing other good hearted and well intentioned lizards -as opposed to the few idiots who think these things are ok - gets applied to actually reaching out to thse around you to spread some truth and actually organizing something grass roots to fight this?

We may not have the billions of dollars that gets poured into the GOP, but we do have the truth on our side. The only question is if we have the moral courage to organize and do more than just bitch.

439 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:19:52pm

re: #397 Obdicut

Good counterpoint.
As much a polluter? Well, no. You still are polluting in a minimal (misdemeanor)way, although you are not doing something with the kind of deliberatness that we saw with safety violations (and loss of life!)in the Gulf.

But yes, I would say that a murderer with a small body count is just as evil in a way as a Hitler. The crime really is the same. The details are different, but the intent to deny an innocent of life is the act of a monster. Hitler was more effctive in his crime and was able to bring millions of willing followers with him. I still think that the moral implication of (deliberate)murder remains the same regardless of scale...but that may also be some of my theology talking here.

440 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:19:55pm

re: #404 researchok

Reposted for comment

Because we didn't have the information before he was tortured.

What stops him from sending you on a wild goose chase? What prevents him from giving answers that can't be verified? How much time do we have again?

441 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:19:59pm

re: #428 calochortus

Can you provide an example, or some statistics or something to back this up?

No, I cannot.

That said, given the nature of intelligence and covert operations, I do believe statistics would be hard to come across.

Now, in many ways this conversation is outdated.

There are drugs available today that make torture irrelevant. Subjects can be easily made to be forthcoming.

442 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:20:12pm

re: #434 Bob Levin


If anything this is a technological problem, not an ethical question.

Nothing you said in any way made a defense for torture vs. any other form of interrogation. It is most definitely an ethical question.

Do you really feel that you've explained why torture is an appropriate method?

443 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:20:59pm

Remember when "24" was regularly invoked as good policy for torture? Oh good times

444 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:21:29pm

re: #439 celticdragon

But yes, I would say that a murderer with a small body count is just as evil in a way as a Hitler.

Saying someone is just as evil 'in a way' is not saying they are just as evil, though.

I still think that the moral implication of (deliberate)murder remains the same regardless of scale...but that may also be some of my theology talking here.

I'm an atheist. I'm unmoved by aspects of morality that have any mystic element to them.

445 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:21:38pm

re: #434 Bob Levin

interrogation and torture aren't the same thing

446 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:21:43pm

re: #430 researchok

As noted, I believe we are obligated to do whatever it takes in the attempt to prevent another catastrophe.

I am not advocating torture. I did not say we ought to torture everyone.

I was responding to your query.

don't even bother... if you don't agree lock step you are a monster and a war criminal & probably support Palin too...

447 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:21:51pm

re: #436 Obdicut

And I am saying that torture is not part of what it takes, and never can be, for the reasons I've given and that you have not addressed.

How do you know when to stop? When have you tortured him enough to go check that information?

Or in your world, do we have infinite resources to validate this information as it spills out of him?

All true.

And that is why I don't like torture.

As I noted above, in many ways this conversation is irrelevant nowadays.

There are drugs and drug cocktails that make extracting information easier.

448 Varek Raith  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:22:19pm

re: #409 researchok

Reposted for comment:

Yeah, if I were in charge of Hamas or Hizbollah, I'd keep on storing weapons in schools or fire big guns from hospital roofs. Yesiree, I'd do that because I know we'd never get hit- and we can count on everyone else to damn the Jew bastards if they defend themselves.

There were arguments made as early as 1942 against bombing Auschwitz and other camps so that they might be put out of business, because Jews and other civilians would be killed. So they stayed in business until 1945.

I guess not bombing the camps was the moral thing to do. So very, very moral.

War is not pretty. The moment the first innocent is killed in a war, that war becomes immoral. Every war is immoral.

That does not mean that all wars are unjust or ought not be fought. Had Berlin been bombed after the outbreak of hostilities in 1939, up to 50 million lives would have spared.

50 million.

Yeah, good thing we did the moral thing and spared the good citizens of Berlin.

Was firebombing Tokyo the "right thing to do"?
Was dropping bombs on the first responders to the firebombings the "right thing to do"?

449 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:22:28pm

re: #441 researchok

What you have been writing on this has been despicable and you have refused to see any of the points made that completely debunk you. You are a good guy, but please do us the courtesy of realizing that actual military people with names like Washington, Grant, Eisenhower, Patton, Macarthur and Bradly to name a few, have considered everything you have brought up - in much tougher situations - have discounted your arguments and considered them criminal.

450 prairiefire  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:22:32pm

re: #401 SanFranciscoZionist

Don't talk like that about Shirley Temple.

She's a Republican, you know. I bought the video tapes for my little girl when she was tiny and we had a blast watching them.

451 Irenicum  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:22:35pm

Thank you Charles. Thank you for sharing this with us and those who still think waterboarding isn't torture or even if they accept that it is, think that it's somehow OK. Torture is always wrong under every circumstance. And it's not wrong because it doesn't work. It's wrong because it's evil.

452 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:23:07pm

re: #429 brookly red

OK so what do you have that works better? We are all ears :)

Better than torture? As has already been stated many times, befriending the people, making them trust us, and getting the information that way.

How to get information out of someone you just picked up, in a hurry? Impossible to do with veracity.

Maybe that person was just planted by the enemy with false information in order to throw you off. Maybe the first five things they'll tell you will be false. Maybe they'll tell you the truth right away, and then after you torture them, they'll tell you something else.

There is no magical method. No jedi mind tricks. The world isn't so perfect a place.

453 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:23:46pm

re: #447 researchok

All true.

And that is why I don't like torture.

And that is why torture is, contrary to what you said, never warranted.

454 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:23:53pm

I repeat:

There is a real foe out there.

We may not have the billions of dollars that gets poured into the GOP, but we do have the truth on our side. The only question is if we have the moral courage to organize and do more than just bitch.

455 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:23:53pm

re: #409 researchok

Reposted for comment:

Yeah, if I were in charge of Hamas or Hizbollah, I'd keep on storing weapons in schools or fire big guns from hospital roofs. Yesiree, I'd do that because I know we'd never get hit- and we can count on everyone else to damn the Jew bastards if they defend themselves.

There were arguments made as early as 1942 against bombing Auschwitz and other camps so that they might be put out of business, because Jews and other civilians would be killed. So they stayed in business until 1945.

I guess not bombing the camps was the moral thing to do. So very, very moral.

War is not pretty. The moment the first innocent is killed in a war, that war becomes immoral. Every war is immoral.

That does not mean that all wars are unjust or ought not be fought. Had Berlin been bombed after the outbreak of hostilities in 1939, up to 50 million lives would have spared.

50 million.

Yeah, good thing we did the moral thing and spared the good citizens of Berlin.

Who would have bombed Berlin, in 1939, and what would our justification have been? Can you tell me that war would not have ensued if 'we' had done so? It would have been over right then?

We did bomb Baghdad, so did the Iranians, but hostilities didn't end. (Although Saddam left Kuwait.)

How do you decide who's crossed the 'let's bomb the shit out of them and save lives' line? Not saying there isn't one, we negotiate it in each and every war. But it's not easy.

456 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:24:31pm

re: #446 brookly red

don't even bother... if you don't agree lock step you are a monster and a war criminal & probably support Palin too...

Ah, it's not so bad...

Your bucking a trend in here, that's all.

I get plenty of grief but when all is said and done, I get my message across. That's what it's all about. Some take it, some reject it, some ignore it and some think about it.

C'est la vie!

457 calochortus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:25:06pm

re: #429 brookly red

OK so what do you have that works better? We are all ears :)

Try Googling "effective interrogation techniques" or some such. Effective techniques are harder to describe than saying "torture the guy".
Experts prefer more refined techniques such as developing a relationship and eliciting information through conversations, and maybe a little psychological manipulation rather than torture because the results are better.

458 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:25:06pm

re: #452 Obdicut

Better than torture? As has already been stated many times, befriending the people, making them trust us, and getting the information that way.

How to get information out of someone you just picked up, in a hurry? Impossible to do with veracity.

Maybe that person was just planted by the enemy with false information in order to throw you off. Maybe the first five things they'll tell you will be false. Maybe they'll tell you the truth right away, and then after you torture them, they'll tell you something else.

There is no magical method. No jedi mind tricks. The world isn't so perfect a place.

Please excuse me if I oppose your nomination for Secretary of Defense.

459 Intenzity  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:25:27pm

re: #421 calochortus

Or he might not.

why stop there?

You bust a mid-level drug dealer, he wont give up his source, so torture him until he does. That could save potentially thousands of lives, right, in drug overdoses or street violence over turf.

Go to the maximum security wing of every prison and take out the known gang leaders and torture them all until they tell you everything about their network, inside and outside prison walls. That will save hundreds of lives potentially.

Any kidnapping, bank robbing or hostage situation, why not just torture any member of the team you get your hands on about all the others?

Why is it just for a "terrorist"? You don't think once it is okay for doing it to a "terrorist" that what gets classified as terrorism isn't going to change?

What's the magic number, 10 people have to die before you can use it? 20? 100? Only if an explosive is used?

460 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:25:39pm

re: #416 brookly red

I have to admit I am one of those people... now be real if we sent someone from the CIA to blow up an airframe from Iran would you not call it a military action?

Sure. Now, be real: what nation's intelligence service was Fruit of the Boom an operative of?

461 Varek Raith  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:25:46pm

re: #446 brookly red

don't even bother... if you don't agree lock step you are a monster and a war criminal & probably support Palin too...

We charged Japanese soldiers who water boarded our troops during WW2 with warcrimes.
Should they be exonerated?

462 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:25:48pm

I get the feeling with pro-torture advocates, that there's an undercurrent of punishment, as if it simply no longer is evil or it just doesn't count because well, they're bad guys, so who cares? They cease to become human beings, they're just a thing you abuse to get information and make yourself feel better


Much the same way people sort of root for bad things to happen to people in prison, because you know, they did a thing wrong, they must deserve everything derp de derp!

And we slide towards animal status, whee!

463 prairiefire  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:25:55pm

re: #423 WindUpBird

Romney needs a Tiki Room in the white house

He sounds like Robert Goulet.

464 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:26:05pm

Back later. Need to feed the kid and I feel dreadful.

465 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:26:19pm

re: #423 WindUpBird

Romney needs a Tiki Room in the white house

The White House just needs a Tiki Room, period. With one of those every-hour fake rainstorms.

466 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:26:26pm

re: #460 SanFranciscoZionist

Sure. Now, be real: what nation's intelligence service was Fruit of the Boom an operative of?

FRUIT OF THE BOOM!

Did you just make that up? :D

467 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:26:46pm

re: #464 celticdragon

Back later. Need to feed the kid and I feel dreadful.

Feel better!

468 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:27:16pm

re: #429 brookly red

OK so what do you have that works better? We are all ears :)

Professional interrogation, based on sound psychology, as written about since at least the Second World War by men who've gotten results sounds good.

469 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:27:18pm

re: #458 brookly red

Please excuse me if I oppose your nomination for Secretary of Defense.

I'm sorry that you dislike that i'm not willing to lie to you and tell you there's a magic truth wand we can beat the terrorists with that'll make them tell us everything, but it's not true no matter how much you want it to be.

If you want someone as secretary of defense who thinks that there is a foolproof way of getting information out of someone in a timely manner, then you want someone who is dangerously deluded.

470 SpaceJesus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:27:48pm

sorry been on facebook. so who won this argument?

471 goddamnedfrank  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:27:58pm

'Enhanced interrogations' don't work, ex-FBI agent tells panel

"From my experience -- and I speak as someone who has personally interrogated many terrorists and elicited important actionable intelligence -- I strongly believe that it is a mistake to use what has become known as the 'enhanced interrogation techniques,' " Soufan noted in his written statement.

Such a position is "shared by many professional operatives, including the CIA officers who were present at the initial phases of the Abu Zubaydah interrogation."

Soufan told the committee that within the first hour of his interrogation of Zubaydah, the suspected terrorist provided actionable intelligence.

But once the CIA contractors took over and used harsh methods, Zubaydah stopped talking, Soufan said. When Soufan was asked to resume questioning, Zubaydah cooperated. After another round of more coercive techniques used by the contractors, however, Soufan said it was difficult for him to re-engage Zubaydah.

472 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:28:12pm

re: #449 LudwigVanQuixote

What you have been writing on this has been despicable and you have refused to see any of the points made that completely debunk you. You are a good guy, but please do us the courtesy of realizing that actual military people with names like Washington, Grant, Eisenhower, Patton, Macarthur and Bradly to name a few, have considered everything you have brought up - in much tougher situations - have discounted your arguments and considered them criminal.

Ludwig.

I have stated I am against torture as a rule. There are very limited cases I would agree to it.

On to more important questions: How do you feel about the use of psychotropic drugs that induce a cooperative state?

Also, what are your thoughts on the bombing of Auschwitz as I noted in 409 or having to deal with Hamas or Hizbollah hiding behind civilians?

473 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:29:11pm

re: #460 SanFranciscoZionist

Sure. Now, be real: what nation's intelligence service was Fruit of the Boom an operative of?

exactly, he was not... so their is no Geneva Conventions, there are no rules, there is only win or lose life or death. Nasty but true.

474 prairiefire  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:29:12pm

re: #468 SanFranciscoZionist

Professional interrogation, based on sound psychology, as written about since at least the Second World War by men who've gotten results sounds good.

They ingratiate themselves with the prisoner. Mental and emotional manipulation.

475 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:29:18pm

re: #472 researchok

I have stated I am against torture as a rule. There are very limited cases I would agree to it.

But you haven't actually made any sort of case for why that is so. In fact, you've agreed that torture does not produce good information.

So why would you ever agree to it?

476 calochortus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:29:50pm

re: #459 Intenzity

So very true.

477 Varek Raith  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:29:51pm

re: #473 brookly red

exactly, he was not... so their is no Geneva Conventions, there are no rules, there is only win or lose life or death. Nasty but true.

Yes.
Let's be the monsters they are.
That'll show em!

478 prairiefire  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:30:12pm

re: #473 brookly red

exactly, he was not... so their is no Geneva Conventions, there are no rules, there is only win or lose life or death. Nasty but true.

But there are still conduct codes for handling criminals. Is he a criminal?

479 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:30:38pm

re: #472 researchok

Ludwig.

I have stated I am against torture as a rule. There are very limited cases I would agree to it.

On to more important questions: How do you feel about the use of psychotropic drugs that induce a cooperative state?

Also, what are your thoughts on the bombing of Auschwitz as I noted in 409 or having to deal with Hamas or Hizbollah hiding behind civilians?

My thoughts on those are that those are other cases entirely and that you are using a despicable debating tactic with me that dishonors my own dead. I had thought you would be above such things. I was sadly wrong.

480 Bob Levin  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:30:43pm

re: #442 Obdicut

No, I've said that if we have to talk about torture, then we don't have the technological capabilities to gather information quickly from people who aren't in the mood to give up that information.

But the need is there for rapid acquisition of information.

The issue is whether such a need arises in the course of war. Questions of torture arise from the speed needed in acquiring information. It comes from a slight breakdown in the normal course of spying.

But such breakdowns inevitably happen. And you will either save the lives or you won't. Sometimes it regrettably gets down to a roll of the dice. I think there is a moral obligation to roll the dice.

If you can devise technology that makes such a roll irrelevant, great.

481 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:30:44pm

re: #475 Obdicut

But you haven't actually made any sort of case for why that is so. In fact, you've agreed that torture does not produce good information.

So why would you ever agree to it?

Because as I have stated, I do believe there are limited times where torture (or the threat of torture, in important psychological component) can be effective.

482 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:31:38pm

re: #481 researchok

Because as I have stated, I do believe there are limited times where torture (or the threat of torture, in important psychological component) can be effective.

I'm sick of this. I have some actual work to do.

483 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:31:45pm

re: #466 WindUpBird

FRUIT OF THE BOOM!

Did you just make that up? :D

No, someone else did, back when the case was in the news. I just found it amusing, and adopted it. Also, 'Captain Underpants'.

I have to admit to laughing a great deal over that fellow's tragic mission abort.

484 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:31:47pm

re: #481 researchok

Because as I have stated, I do believe there are limited times where torture (or the threat of torture, in important psychological component) can be effective.

But you haven't defended this view at all. In order to do so, you'll have to answer the following:

How do you know when to stop? When have you tortured him enough to go check that information?

Or in your world, do we have infinite resources to validate this information as it spills out of him?

485 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:32:14pm

re: #480 Bob Levin

Then you also need to answer this question:

How do you know when to stop? When have you tortured him enough to go check that information?

Or in your world, do we have infinite resources to validate this information as it spills out of him?

486 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:32:29pm

re: #478 prairiefire

But there are still conduct codes for handling criminals. Is he a criminal?

not in my book... in my book he is a combatant (the bomb thing was a deal breaker). Sorry.

487 Varek Raith  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:32:33pm

Bombing the death camps in Nazi Germany would've been ineffective.
Why?
Just look how quickly they were able to rebuild their air and oil fields after a bombing run.

488 calochortus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:32:34pm

re: #481 researchok

This appears to be a faith based position and cannot be challenged with facts.

489 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:33:06pm

re: #479 LudwigVanQuixote

My thoughts on those are that those are other cases entirely and that you are using a despicable debating tactic with me that dishonors my own dead. I had thought you would be above such things. I was sadly wrong.

What are you talking about?

I brought the subject up after reading about the bombing of Hiroshima, Dresden, etc. Nowhere did I refer to torture in my remarks!

I'm sorry if I did not make that clear.

490 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:33:27pm

re: #473 brookly red

exactly, he was not... so their is no Geneva Conventions, there are no rules, there is only win or lose life or death. Nasty but true.

No rules? Exactly how did the criminal code of the United States of America disappear on us?

491 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:34:04pm

re: #487 Varek Raith

Bombing the death camps in Nazi Germany would've been ineffective.
Why?
Just look how quickly they were able to rebuild their air and oil fields after a bombing run.

oil fields? in Germany? please do tell...

492 prairiefire  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:34:06pm

re: #401 SanFranciscoZionist

Don't talk like that about Shirley Temple.

Do you want some of my old VHS tapes? They are not going for much on Ebay.

493 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:34:18pm

re: #491 brookly red

Hungary. Controlled by Germany.

494 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:34:23pm

re: #474 prairiefire

They ingratiate themselves with the prisoner. Mental and emotional manipulation.

The argument you often see here is that it can't be done because the guys we fight now are 'culturally too different'. I think that's an excuse with a hefty dose of racism underlying it, but it is something a number of people have expressed.

495 Varek Raith  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:34:32pm

re: #491 brookly red

oil fields? in Germany? please do tell...

Not in Germany, but in the surrounding countries.

496 prairiefire  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:34:52pm

re: #483 SanFranciscoZionist

No, someone else did, back when the case was in the news. I just found it amusing, and adopted it. Also, 'Captain Underpants'.

I have to admit to laughing a great deal over that fellow's tragic mission abort.

Was it Varek? I remember that post.

497 calochortus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:34:58pm

re: #438 LudwigVanQuixote

An excellent point as usual. One of the reasons I like LGF is because for most posters, most of the time, we can apply new information and form more accurate views of reality. Conservatives apparently oppose this concept and we will need to be vigilant.

498 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:35:07pm

re: #484 Obdicut

But you haven't defended this view at all. In order to do so, you'll have to answer the following:

How do you know when to stop? When have you tortured him enough to go check that information?

Or in your world, do we have infinite resources to validate this information as it spills out of him?

Again, I will repeat myself- you elucidate the very reasons I am against torture except in very rare cases.

Those cases are becoming more rare, as I note because today there a whole host of psychotropic drugs that can be used to break down defenses.

499 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:35:08pm

re: #490 SanFranciscoZionist

No rules? Exactly how did the criminal code of the United States of America disappear on us?

since we started talking about Muslims.

500 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:35:38pm

re: #490 SanFranciscoZionist

No rules? Exactly how did the criminal code of the United States of America disappear on us?

when the act became one of war the criminal code no longer applies... you do realize that we are at war, yes?

501 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:35:41pm

re: #478 prairiefire

But there are still conduct codes for handling criminals. Is he a criminal?

I say, if you're planning to blow up an aircraft with your panties, you just might be a criminal.

Also, I think torturing Mr. Underpants would have been the world's biggest waste of time. He was a total pawn, and basically spilled his guts as soon as someone would talk to him.

502 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:35:55pm

re: #488 calochortus

This appears to be a faith based position and cannot be challenged with facts.

To what are you referring, specifically?

503 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:36:41pm

re: #498 researchok

Again, I will repeat myself- you elucidate the very reasons I am against torture except in very rare cases.

No, I elucidate the reasons you should be against torture in ALL cases.

You have not provided any explanation for why you are in favor of it in any cases.

Please answer the question: in this cases where you support torture, how do you know when to stop the torture, when the tortured person has given you the real information for you to go verify?

504 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:38:00pm

re: #501 SanFranciscoZionist

I say, if you're planning to blow up an aircraft with your panties, you just might be a criminal.

Also, I think torturing Mr. Underpants would have been the world's biggest waste of time. He was a total pawn, and basically spilled his guts as soon as someone would talk to him.

he light his own junk on fire... how pray tell do you torture him?

505 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:38:28pm

re: #482 LudwigVanQuixote

I'm sick of this. I have some actual work to do.

This is the first time you have not employed a cogent argument or responded to me in a way that was less than cordial.

I hope all is well.

506 Bob Levin  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:38:45pm

re: #485 Obdicut

I think the scenario you are imagining is when interrogators go into the room cold, without any information at all. In such a case, don't even bother asking questions. I mean, nothing should be happening because the interrogators are not properly prepared.

Interrogations should begin with several ways the interrogator can discern the truth of any given statement.

The issue regarding intensity is time constraint. But still, if the issue is time constraint, then all statements should be immediately verifiable.

507 calochortus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:38:49pm

re: #502 researchok

To what are you referring, specifically?


What I am referring to:
re: #481 researchok

Because as I have stated, I do believe there are limited times where torture (or the threat of torture, in important psychological component) can be effective.

I haven't seen any evidence that it would be effective, in limited cases or otherwise. I think we are wasting time going over and over it.

508 engineer cat  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:39:38pm

re: #501 SanFranciscoZionist

torturing Mr. Underpants

ok, now everybody is wondering what i am giggling about...

509 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:39:49pm

re: #486 brookly red

not in my book... in my book he is a combatant (the bomb thing was a deal breaker). Sorry.

What about a US citizen using explosives on a terrorist mission? Or, for that matter, a foreign national planning to blow up an abortion clinic or something? How would you categorize this person?

Also, what kind of combatant? If we're discussing his uniform or lack thereof, aren't we right back to Geneva?

510 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:40:14pm

re: #503 Obdicut

No, I elucidate the reasons you should be against torture in ALL cases.

You have not provided any explanation for why you are in favor of it in any cases.

Please answer the question: in this cases where you support torture, how do you know when to stop the torture, when the tortured person has given you the real information for you to go verify?

I would say you stop torture when you receive the desired (truthful) response- in those very limited cases where I would agree to torture to begin with.

511 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:40:15pm

re: #505 researchok

This is the first time you have not employed a cogent argument or responded to me in a way that was less than cordial.

I hope all is well.

He has employed a perfectly cogent argument throughout this thread.

You are the one who is currently asserting that, even though torture cannot be relied on to produce good information, it should be used in some cases.

You are not able to defend this position.

512 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:40:41pm

re: #510 researchok

I would say you stop torture when you receive the desired (truthful) response- in those very limited cases where I would agree to torture to begin with.

How do you know it is the truthful response?

513 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:40:55pm

re: #492 prairiefire

Do you want some of my old VHS tapes? They are not going for much on Ebay.

Nah, I got Netflix. And I can only take so much cute at one time.

514 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:41:07pm

re: #507 calochortus

What I am referring to:
re: #481 researchok

I haven't seen any evidence that it would be effective, in limited cases or otherwise. I think we are wasting time going over and over it.

I couldn't agree more.

515 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:41:23pm

re: #496 prairiefire

Was it Varek? I remember that post.

Maybe. Don't actually recall.

516 Melissa in NorCal  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:42:18pm

I agree it is torture. Just like abortion is murder. You can rationalize and justify it all you like, but it is what it is. Murder. Some would argue in some cases - abortion is euthansia. Also true, but the bottom line is - you are taking the life of another individual without their consent.

517 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:42:33pm

re: #516 Melissa in NorCal

GAZE.

518 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:43:06pm

re: #512 Obdicut

How do you know it is the truthful response?

If the guy says 'My friend Bob has a bomb in his basement' well, that can easily be verified.

Still, the future is about extracting information via drugs and drug cocktails.

Whether or not that is torture will be a whole other debate.

519 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:43:37pm

re: #500 brookly red

when the act became one of war the criminal code no longer applies... you do realize that we are at war, yes?

By what definition was it an act of war, legally speaking? And don't get into the 'you do realize we're at WAR' nonsense. You yourself have said this situation is not one that Geneva applies to. Now the criminal code also doesn't apply. What are we left with, exactly? The 'war of us against anyone with a bomb'?

520 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:44:14pm

re: #504 brookly red

he light his own junk on fire... how pray tell do you torture him?

Well, there's always waterboarding.

//

521 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:44:29pm

re: #517 Obdicut

GAZE.

Remember today's date. We may agree from time to time but on this, we occupy the same space, time and plane.

522 calochortus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:44:30pm

re: #514 researchok

I couldn't agree more.

You agree that torture is ineffective, or that we've beaten the topic to within and inch of its life?

523 calochortus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:45:13pm

re: #522 calochortus
Within an inch
PIMF

524 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:45:13pm

re: #518 researchok

If the guy says 'My friend Bob has a bomb in his basement' well, that can easily be verified.

You are really not taking this debate at all seriously.

So as soon as the terrorist tells you that bob has a bomb in his basement, you go look for it? So you torture him for five seconds. He says bob has a bomb in his basement. You go look-- takes an hour. No bomb.

You go back to him, torture him. Five seconds of torture, he says that it's rob who has a bomb. Takes two hours to get there. No bomb.

Why would you trust anything the terrorist told you?

525 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:46:03pm
I think we are wasting time going over and over it.

I agree we ought to stop our discussion for now.

526 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:46:28pm

re: #509 SanFranciscoZionist

What about a US citizen using explosives on a terrorist mission? Or, for that matter, a foreign national planning to blow up an abortion clinic or something? How would you categorize this person?

Also, what kind of combatant? If we're discussing his uniform or lack thereof, aren't we right back to Geneva?

no a US citizen would be a traitor and the laws are kinda harsh about that...

as far as the foreign national planning to blow up an abortion clinic or something? Why do you feel the need to hide behind semantics? Will it take an attack on your home town for you to acknowledge we have a problem?

527 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:47:29pm

re: #524 Obdicut

You are really not taking this debate at all seriously.

So as soon as the terrorist tells you that bob has a bomb in his basement, you go look for it? So you torture him for five seconds. He says bob has a bomb in his basement. You go look-- takes an hour. No bomb.

You go back to him, torture him. Five seconds of torture, he says that it's rob who has a bomb. Takes two hours to get there. No bomb.

Why would you trust anything the terrorist told you?

When the guy says Bob has the bomb, you quit. If he's telling the truth, it's over.

If he isn't a decision has to be made whether or not to continue.

528 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:47:29pm

re: #517 Obdicut

GAZE.

hahaha!
lockstep

529 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:48:14pm

re: #519 SanFranciscoZionist

By what definition was it an act of war, legally speaking? And don't get into the 'you do realize we're at WAR' nonsense. You yourself have said this situation is not one that Geneva applies to. Now the criminal code also doesn't apply. What are we left with, exactly? The 'war of us against anyone with a bomb'?

why do you want to confuse the situation and allow people to attack us?

530 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:48:39pm

re: #528 albusteve

hahaha!
lockstep

That is exactly what I said.

531 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:48:41pm

re: #527 researchok

When the guy says Bob has the bomb, you quit. If he's telling the truth, it's over.

If he isn't a decision has to be made whether or not to continue.

Okay, so you'll never need to have to torture him at all. He'll be happy to give you lie after lie about where the bomb is. Before you get near him with the lead pipe, he'll say that bob has it, then that rob has it, then that doug has it.

Again: Why would you trust anything he was saying?

532 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:49:21pm

re: #529 brookly red

why do you want to confuse the situation and allow people to attack us?

Why are you accusing SFZ of wanting to allow people to attack us?

Don't be a dick.

533 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:49:32pm

re: #526 brookly red

no a US citizen would be a traitor and the laws are kinda harsh about that...

yes - but they have to be found to be a traitor - and for that you need evidence, and to obtain evidence you need some sort of organised system - that system generally has to operate under some sort of jurisdiction.


are you generally this disconnected from chains of circumstance?

534 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:49:53pm

re: #530 researchok

That is exactly what I said.

"don't GAZE me bro!"

535 engineer cat  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:50:12pm

GAZE

???

web acronym finder no gots

536 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:50:24pm

re: #531 Obdicut

Okay, so you'll never need to have to torture him at all. He'll be happy to give you lie after lie about where the bomb is. Before you get near him with the lead pipe, he'll say that bob has it, then that rob has it, then that doug has it.

Again: Why would you trust anything he was saying?

Obdi, we're going in circles.

There are limited times I would agree to torture- very limited.

537 Quant  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:50:26pm

re: #458 brookly red

Please excuse me if I oppose your nomination for Secretary of Defense.


Why? Obdicut is simply making the same case against the efficacy of torture as has been made by a number of military and intelligence personnel, some of whom are experienced interrogators.

For example:
A collection of quotes by people in intelligence and the military, including a quote by General Petraeus:

“Some may argue that we would be more effective if we sanctioned torture or other expedient methods to obtain information from the enemy. That would be wrong. Beyond the basic fact that such actions are illegal, history shows that they also are frequently neither useful nor necessary. Certainly, extreme physical action can make someone ‘talk;’ however, what the individual says may be of questionable value.”

The report is by Think Progress, but each quote is sourced.

Also, a well-written article by Hitchens about Latchmere House, the British prison for Nazi spies. The commanding officer, Colonel Robin Stephens, famously said, "Violence is taboo, for not only does it produce answers to please, but it lowers the standard of information."

538 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:50:39pm

re: #526 brookly red

no a US citizen would be a traitor and the laws are kinda harsh about that...

as far as the foreign national planning to blow up an abortion clinic or something? Why do you feel the need to hide behind semantics? Will it take an attack on your home town for you to acknowledge we have a problem?

1. Plotting to blow up an airliner isn't treason. It's a criminal act.

2. It's not a matter of semantics, it's a matter of creating definitions. "You know, those people," is not good enough when creating a game plan to fight terror.

3. My home town has already been offered to the terrorists as a burnt offering by Bill O'Reilly, so you're a bit late there.

Your big mistake is thinking that I don't 'take this seriously', or 'realize we're at war', 'acknowledge there's a problem', or any of a dozen other cliches. I do. This is life and death. Getting sloppy with our thinking is potentially deadly. Why in God's name do you think I don't think we have a PROBLEM, except that I don't agree with you about torture and how to deal with trying terror suspects? Everyone who 'gets it' is supposed to think like you?

539 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:50:42pm

re: #535 engineer dog


It's not an acronym, it's just capitalized.

540 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:51:01pm

re: #535 engineer dog

GAZE

???

web acronym finder no gots

look in the childrens section

541 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:51:15pm

BBIAB

542 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:51:19pm

re: #529 brookly red

why do you want to confuse the situation and allow people to attack us?

Aaand, we reach the 'fuck you' stage of the discussion.

543 brookly red  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:52:14pm

re: #532 Obdicut

Why are you accusing SFZ of wanting to allow people to attack us?

Don't be a dick.

your right I do not accuse SFZ of wanting people to attack us... sorry if it came off that way. I do wish to suggest that we need to do what we need to do to prevent attacks, and that may not be pretty.

544 calochortus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:52:18pm

re: #542 SanFranciscoZionist

Maybe we could just move on....

545 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:52:33pm

re: #536 researchok

Obdi, we're going in circles.

There are limited times I would agree to torture- very limited.

We're not going in circles. You're simply not providing any coherent argument in the least, at all. Do you seriously not recognize that?

You have provided absolutely no scenario where torture would ever be useful. You provided a scenario where, whatever a terrorist said under interrogation, you would go and 'verify', meaning that he could simply lie endlessly and you would be endlessly stymied by it.

You have not done anything, at all, to support your position. It is bizarre to me that you think that you have.

546 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:52:36pm

re: #542 SanFranciscoZionist

Aaand, we reach the 'fuck you' stage of the discussion.

it's a dead end
also in the news....Sparky Anderson passed away...RIP coach

547 Varek Raith  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:52:40pm

re: #496 prairiefire

Was it Varek? I remember that post.

Wasn't me.
I ain't that clever.
:)

548 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:52:49pm

re: #538 SanFranciscoZionist

1. Plotting to blow up an airliner isn't treason. It's a criminal act.

2. It's not a matter of semantics, it's a matter of creating definitions. "You know, those people," is not good enough when creating a game plan to fight terror.

3. My home town has already been offered to the terrorists as a burnt offering by Bill O'Reilly, so you're a bit late there.

Your big mistake is thinking that I don't 'take this seriously', or 'realize we're at war', 'acknowledge there's a problem', or any of a dozen other cliches. I do. This is life and death. Getting sloppy with our thinking is potentially deadly. Why in God's name do you think I don't think we have a PROBLEM, except that I don't agree with you about torture and how to deal with trying terror suspects? Everyone who 'gets it' is supposed to think like you?

"these people" never commit criminal acts. criminal acts only happen in a pre 9/11 mindset when you are a clintonista and are begging for the nation to be attacked by wanting a law enforcement approach to tackle whats best handled by "real men, like off of that darn cool show 24".

549 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:52:50pm

re: #544 calochortus

Maybe we could just move on...

That might be best.

550 kirkspencer  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:53:36pm

The question the pseudo-practicalists ask is always the wrong one. They ask, "Does torture work?" and are able to show that sometimes it does.

The better question is "does it work better than non-torture interrogation?" The answer there is resoundingly no. Sympathetic interrogation is always at least as accurate and as fast. More importantly, the asset is usable later while an individual broken by torture can no longer be trusted in any fashion.

Then there's the strategic issue. Being known as torturers gives your opponents morale. It gives them a reason to resist. It makes opponents less willing to surrender, for surrender leads to a fate worse than death. Those who might have been ambivalent now fail to support you, and sometimes even move against you. Bluntly, it increases our casualties while making our effort more difficult.

I would hope the moral position would need no defense.

On tactical practical, strategic, and moral grounds torture is the worse choice. It aids our enemy and weakens our own resolve where it does not make us what we profess not to be.

We're f'in Americans, we don't f'in torture.

551 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:53:43pm

re: #542 SanFranciscoZionist

Aaand, we reach the 'fuck you' stage of the discussion.

i was there a while ago.

i tried to cut slack up thread - but yeah, it's fucking weak.

552 calochortus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:54:49pm

We could take bets on whether McNearny or Harmer will win in CA 11... Or whether people in Alaska can spell Murkowski correctly...

553 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:56:08pm

re: #552 calochortus

We could take bets on whether McNearny or Harmer will win in CA 11... Or whether people in Alaska can spell Murkowski correctly...

Now, I think it was determined that small spelling errors are acceptable, as long as the intent of the voter can be determined?

554 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:56:15pm

re: #552 calochortus

We could take bets on whether McNearny or Harmer will win in CA 11... Or whether people in Alaska can spell Murkowski correctly...

Mark my words - Tom Delay will get a posse together and start banging on the counting room windows to get all votes for "Murkowskii" or "Murkowsski" thrown out.

555 calochortus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:57:25pm

re: #553 SanFranciscoZionist

re: #554 wozzablog
I think Miller is already making noises about fraud.

556 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:57:27pm

re: #554 wozzablog

Don't even bother, i know, i know

"2000 called, they want their frame of reference back"

557 Reginald Perrin  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:57:48pm

re: #543 brookly red

I made light of the waterboarding issue, using the rationalization that it didn’t cause permanent physical harm and therefore couldn’t be classified as torture.

I now realize I was mistaken.

Do you know who wrote this quote?

558 Varek Raith  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:57:52pm

re: #556 wozzablog

Don't even bother, i know, i know

"2000 called, they want their frame of reference back"

Damn.
:P

559 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:58:16pm

re: #555 calochortus

re: #554 wozzablog
I think Miller is already making noises about fraud.

Ain't he speshul. (Bless his heart though, of course)

560 Stanghazi  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:58:17pm

re: #554 wozzablog

Mark my words - Tom Delay will get a posse together and start banging on the counting room windows to get all votes for "Murkowskii" or "Murkowsski" thrown out.

I do believe he's in a courtroom at the moment.

[Link: www.google.com...]

561 calochortus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:59:19pm

re: #557 Reginald Perrin

Do you know who wrote this quote?

I could swear I read it at the top of this thread-Oh yeah, Charles...

562 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:59:32pm

re: #557 Reginald Perrin

Do you know who wrote this quote?

so what's your point?

563 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 4:59:35pm

re: #560 Stanley Sea

I do believe he's in a courtroom at the moment.

[Link: www.google.com...]

My day was just made a lot lot better.

(hugs)

564 calochortus  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:01:34pm

re: #560 Stanley Sea

I do believe he's in a courtroom at the moment.

[Link: www.google.com...]

How nice :-)

Well, off to start making some dinner.

565 Reginald Perrin  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:01:49pm

re: #562 albusteve

so what's your point?

Brookly trolled a very important thread.

He likes messy with peoples heads, Charles included.

566 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:02:22pm

re: #560 Stanley Sea

I do believe he's in a courtroom at the moment.

[Link: www.google.com...]

actually - i have upgraded my initial response to

*doing the snoopy dance*

567 Bob Levin  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:02:59pm

re: #531 Obdicut

I've got to run, but you're picking hypothetical situations where torture wouldn't be the right way to get information. I would venture to say that if you asked researchok to create the proper hypothetical, rk would have a difficult time creating it.

The point is, at some point during warfare, or when many lives are in danger, sometimes information is needed very quickly, and it's up to your side to get that information. Thus far in our world, we haven't figured out the proper way to do that. But there are times where the best we've got is all we've got.

I think everyone would agree that right now, the best we've got isn't good enough. Further research could make this question a moot point.

568 Stanghazi  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:03:09pm

re: #566 wozzablog

actually - i have upgraded my initial response to

*doing the snoopy dance*

You are welcome!

569 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:03:22pm

re: #565 Reginald Perrin

Brookly trolled a very important thread.

He likes messy with peoples heads, Charles included.

dissenting opinion from the masses is trolling?...since when?

570 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:04:34pm

re: #567 Bob Levin

I've got to run, but you're picking hypothetical situations where torture wouldn't be the right way to get information.

No, I'm not. I'm demonstrating inherent weaknesses in any torture scenario.


The point is, at some point during warfare, or when many lives are in danger, sometimes information is needed very quickly, and it's up to your side to get that information. Thus far in our world, we haven't figured out the proper way to do that. But there are times where the best we've got is all we've got.

And torture is not the best.

571 KingKenrod  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:04:57pm

re: #531 Obdicut

Okay, so you'll never need to have to torture him at all. He'll be happy to give you lie after lie about where the bomb is. Before you get near him with the lead pipe, he'll say that bob has it, then that rob has it, then that doug has it.

Again: Why would you trust anything he was saying?

I don't understand this argument. Interrogations would follow some kind of escalation procedure. Give the detainee a chance to cooperate; the truth is rewarded, disinformation is threated with escalating punishment. The speed of the escalation depends on the particulars of the threat.

So if you are resorting to illegal torture in a "ticking bomb" scenario, you will either get the truth in time, or you won't.

572 Killgore Trout  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:05:55pm

re: #550 kirkspencer



Then there's the strategic issue. Being known as torturers gives your opponents morale. It gives them a reason to resist. It makes opponents less willing to surrender, for surrender leads to a fate worse than death. Those who might have been ambivalent now fail to support you, and sometimes even move against you. Bluntly, it increases our casualties while making our effort more difficult.


Good points but I don't think it effects enemy morale very much. Their beliefs about American zionist blood drinking vampire rapists are far beyond anything we do in reality anyways. I would much rather be a jihadi in the Bush years. If you're high value enough you get shipped to gitmo and visits from the Red Cross. These days a drone sends a missile into your cave or if you're captured you are never heard from again and probably stored permanently in a CIA warehouse in in rural Albania.
Have we publicly acknowledge the capture of any high value Al Qaeda since Obama's been in office? I can't think of any.

573 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:05:59pm

re: #550 kirkspencer

The question the pseudo-practicalists ask is always the wrong one. They ask, "Does torture work?" and are able to show that sometimes it does.

The better question is "does it work better than non-torture interrogation?" The answer there is resoundingly no. Sympathetic interrogation is always at least as accurate and as fast. More importantly, the asset is usable later while an individual broken by torture can no longer be trusted in any fashion.

Then there's the strategic issue. Being known as torturers gives your opponents morale. It gives them a reason to resist. It makes opponents less willing to surrender, for surrender leads to a fate worse than death. Those who might have been ambivalent now fail to support you, and sometimes even move against you. Bluntly, it increases our casualties while making our effort more difficult.

I would hope the moral position would need no defense.

On tactical practical, strategic, and moral grounds torture is the worse choice. It aids our enemy and weakens our own resolve where it does not make us what we profess not to be.

We're f'in Americans, we don't f'in torture.

Damn straight.

574 Varek Raith  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:06:11pm

re: #571 KingKenrod

I don't understand this argument. Interrogations would follow some kind of escalation procedure. Give the detainee a chance to cooperate; the truth is rewarded, disinformation is threated with escalating punishment. The speed of the escalation depends on the particulars of the threat.

So if you are resorting to illegal torture in a "ticking bomb" scenario, you will either get the truth in time, or you won't.

Or he'll simply string you out with tidbits of truth until the "ticking bomb" explodes.

575 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:06:43pm

re: #547 Varek Raith

Wasn't me.
I ain't that clever.
:)

says the man with the space laser destructinator in his garage.

576 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:07:18pm

re: #574 Varek Raith

Or he'll simply string you out with tidbits of truth until the "ticking bomb" explodes.

Or he expires of natural causes in his cell.

577 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:07:20pm

re: #565 Reginald Perrin

Brookly trolled a very important thread.

He likes messy with peoples heads, Charles included.

I can use a good fight from time to time. It's an Irish thing.

578 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:07:20pm

re: #571 KingKenrod

the truth is rewarded, disinformation is threated with escalating punishment. The speed of the escalation depends on the particulars of the threat.

And? That doesn't in the least counteract anything I said. If you act on every piece of information, then you are limited by the time it takes to check it out. What's to stop the terrorist from simply reeling off a long list of places, every time you return to torture him?


So if you are resorting to illegal torture in a "ticking bomb" scenario, you will either get the truth in time, or you won't.

Exactly. And you are wasting time by torturing the guy, since it is not in any way a reliable form of extracting information in a rapid fashion.

579 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:07:39pm

re: #572 Killgore Trout

They are not the only enemy we have, or will ever have.

580 Reginald Perrin  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:07:42pm

re: #569 albusteve

He is a troll.

581 Killgore Trout  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:09:09pm

re: #579 Obdicut

They are not the only enemy we have, or will ever have.

No they aren't.

582 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:09:45pm

I have to go home now. It's pasta night.

583 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:10:09pm

re: #580 Reginald Perrin

He is a troll.

we are all trolls then, including you

584 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:11:34pm

re: #583 albusteve

we are all trolls then, including you

But some bridges have a higher quality of reference material under them than others.

585 KingKenrod  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:13:17pm

re: #578 Obdicut

And? That doesn't in the least counteract anything I said. If you act on every piece of information, then you are limited by the time it takes to check it out. What's to stop the terrorist from simply reeling off a long list of places, every time you return to torture him?

Exactly. And you are wasting time by torturing the guy, since it is not in any way a reliable form of extracting information in a rapid fashion.

Is it a waste of time if legal methods have not produced truthful information?

586 Reginald Perrin  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:13:24pm

I understand why Charles posted this today. There is a problem with the LGF Wiki page.

587 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:14:36pm

re: #585 KingKenrod

Is it a waste of time if legal methods have not produced truthful information?

Yes, for the reasons that I already stated. You have no reason to trust anything said by the terrorist at any given moment in the torture process. Ever.

Unless you have infinite capacity to 'verify' anything that the terrorist says, and there is no potential harm in verifying those leads-- like your agents walking into an ambush-- then it is monumentally stupid to do so.

588 engineer cat  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:15:03pm

re: #583 albusteve

we are all trolls then, including you

everybody is a trool to somebody

589 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:15:48pm

re: #588 engineer dog

everybody is a trool to somebody

trooly?

590 Charles Johnson  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:17:18pm

re: #586 Reginald Perrin

I understand why Charles posted this today. There is a problem with the LGF Wiki page.

Well, there is a problem going on over there, true, but it really has nothing to do with this post. It came up in the earlier thread, and I posted it publicly because I thought it needed to be said. That's the whole reason.

I never post anything in reaction to the creeps who stalk me around the web, unless it's specifically about them, and that's rare. They don't set my agenda, and they never will.

591 kirkspencer  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:18:40pm

re: #572 Killgore Trout

Good points but I don't think it effects enemy morale very much. Their beliefs about American zionist blood drinking vampire rapists are far beyond anything we do in reality anyways. I would much rather be a jihadi in the Bush years. If you're high value enough you get shipped to gitmo and visits from the Red Cross. These days a drone sends a missile into your cave or if you're captured you are never heard from again and probably stored permanently in a CIA warehouse in in rural Albania.
Have we publicly acknowledge the capture of any high value Al Qaeda since Obama's been in office? I can't think of any.

I'm not sure how to argue with this - it appears you don't read newspapers or listen to anything but Fox. In fact it appears you didn't even read what I wrote. Let me try, anyway.

Not all followers of Islam are terrorists. Not all terrorists are elites, dedicated to success or death (or through death as the case may be).

Most do not think we are "American zionist blood drinking vampire rapists."

Actually, during the Bush years if you were high value you were more likely to be shipped to a "black" prison and become a ghost. There were a few articles about that and if you can't find them ask and I'll see if I can link a few. As to recent captures, I'll give the example of Mullah Baradar in February of this year. Or perhaps you'd prefer the April capture of Nazal Sabar al-Jughaify.

As to what I wrote, you completely ignored the behavior of those who might be our allies, or who if not could be persuaded to not help the terrorists. When we torture, we convince these in the middle that the other guys have a case when they call us evil.

Torture works. It just works worse, and it creates additional problems on every level to include the gradual destruction of the torturer's humanity.

592 engineer cat  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:18:45pm

Scott Brown Finds Himself On Tea Party's 2012 Hit List

this is why we must support president smiley and his fabulous hair in the war of the eisenhowers vs the teabags

593 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:19:05pm

I think we should be asking some real questions Glen Beck and Fox style:

I'm just asking important questions...

How else could Sarah have reached prominece without the madness incurring malevolence of the old ones?

Isn't it interesting that I am the only one asking this?

You won't see it asked on the "mainstream" media will you?

Some say that Sarah Palin opened the Necromomicon, learned forbidden knowledge and got a hickey from the madness of the old gods. Some say she is the love slave of Hastur. Others say that she got those breast implants to please the King in Yellow. Others say she spreads her legs for the dark and bloodstained affections of Cthulu cultists in a frenzied attempt to wake the old god from his death like slumber in the sunken city of R'lyeh.
Did you notice that Sarah Palin is in league with the tea parties and we all know that the Boston Tea party took place in a New England bay - just like the one near Arkham where the deep ones dwell? Coincidence? Maybe, but look at the pattern!

And what about her cult? Need I say more?

It is certainly true that when she makes speeches, people are either driven into the cult to madly gibber the thoughts of eldrich horror, or are simply rendered insane. Her warbling could well have been learned from the forbidden tongues of the deep ones. However, whether she learned to induce madness from the aftershocks of fellatiating the gibbering appendages of a shoggoth or the orgies of the deep ones is of no matter. The evil effect of her words, the madness and broken souls left in her wake, and the unspeakable horrors she creates are clear.

She is obviously the tool of long hidden and malevolent forces which are beyond the imagination of our limited human minds. She has tasted the madness and ecstasy of Kadath and gone over the blasted plains of Leng.
Look at the effect her presence has had on the entire GOP. Soul rending and twisted glimpses into the dark vistas of the cruel and uncaring multiverse that rend a man's spirit apart and reduce his mind to twisted fragments of broken sanity are the only logical explanation for her power and popularity.

Only one who believed in the utter insignificance of humanity in the face of the Old Ones could be so callous to the poor. Why help them if they are all food for Cthulu anyway? Only one with hidden knowledge knows how the old ones feed on human madness and misery - why else try so hard to spread such madness and misery?

Surely she realizes this when she lays down in the stone circle for some affection from the unspeakable Yog-Sothath. One quickie with the old ones, under the right alignment of the stars, accompanied by some romantic cultic chanting and her mission is made all the more "clear" to her twisted mind.

Did you ever notice that she never wears short sleeves - could it be to hide the runic tattoos copied from the Necronomicon? What of her glazed and distant stare? Could it be that her broken mind clearly wanders onto the unspeakable delights of getting face from an abomination with one hundred mouths and six foot tongues?

Isn't that interesting?

594 bratwurst  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:19:29pm

Not sure if this has been posted yet, but good news bears repetition in any case:

Another religious extremist has officially been defeated: Brady will not be governor of Illinois.

595 Reginald Perrin  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:21:55pm

re: #590 Charles

I was referring to the person with multiple IP numbers who is making an issue out of missing posts. The claim that you are trying to cover-up you past positions on certain "sticky" issues. An sincere honest admiration such as today's, kills that argument.

596 Eclectic Infidel  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:23:50pm

re: #516 Melissa in NorCal

Another sleeper awakes.

597 Reginald Perrin  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:24:01pm

admission....not admiration
pimf

598 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:24:26pm

re: #594 bratwurst

Not sure if this has been posted yet, but good news bears repetition in any case:

Another religious extremist has officially been defeated: Brady will not be governor of Illinois.

darn it....nothing in there about his plan to pay off his state's multibillion dollar unfunded pension mandates

599 Charles Johnson  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:24:49pm

re: #595 Reginald Perrin

I was referring to the person with multiple IP numbers who is making an issue out of missing posts. The claim that you are trying to cover-up you past positions on certain "sticky" issues. An sincere honest admiration such as today's, kills that argument.

Yeah, I see how you're looking at it -- but honestly, that couldn't have been farther from my mind when I wrote this post.

600 RadicalModerate  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:25:30pm

Ugh. Parker/Spitzer on CNN are interviewing Texas' slug of a Governor Rick Perry.

He's already drumming on "States Rights" regarding constitutional rights, and is talking about how he would raise retirement age to 72, and force privatization of the Social Security fund.

601 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:26:40pm

re: #600 RadicalModerate

Ugh. Parker/Spitzer on CNN are interviewing Texas' slug of a Governor Rick Perry.

He's already drumming on "States Rights" regarding constitutional rights, and is talking about how he would raise retirement age to 72, and force privatization of the Social Security fund.

Rick Perry is singularly one of the most vile people in the political world. Full stop.

602 Vicious Babushka  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:29:44pm

If I could torture the thieves who stole my TV, would I?

Of course. I would take away their TV, and their Blu-Ray, and their Playstation, and their Wii, and their iPhone and iPad, and their Blackberry and their laptop.

And I would take away their bling and their SUV.

And I would give them a bunch of books to read, a bicycle to ride, and veggies to eat.

I can be cruel when necessary.

603 Killgore Trout  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:31:13pm

re: #591 kirkspencer


There were a few articles about that and if you can't find them ask and I'll see if I can link a few. As to recent captures, I'll give the example of Mullah Baradar in February of this year. Or perhaps you'd prefer the April capture of Nazal Sabar al-Jughaify.


Ah thanks.
Mullah Baradar

Mullah Baradar has been in Pakistani custody for several days, with American and Pakistani intelligence officials both taking part in interrogations, according to the officials.
....
The officials said that Pakistan was leading the interrogation of Mullah Baradar, but that Americans were also involved. The conditions of the questioning are unclear. In its first week in office, the Obama administration banned harsh interrogations like waterboarding by Americans, but the Pakistanis have long been known to subject prisoners to brutal questioning.


LOL. I'd rather be waterboarded by the CIA than tuned up by Pakistani intelligence.

604 bratwurst  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:31:58pm

re: #598 albusteve

darn it...nothing in there about his plan to pay off his state's multibillion dollar unfunded pension mandates

I am a resident of Illinois and I will gladly pay higher taxes with Democrats in office to avoid having religious idiots in charge who want to teach the bible in lieu of science. See I read all about it here:

[Link: littlegreenfootballs.com...]

605 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:33:03pm

Is it just me - or are some people here not just a little bit peeved at the utterly condescending attitude some posters have towards "liberals" here about the ugly realities of war?.
It's almost as if maintaining a point on the political spectrum (to them) is the next best thing to actually being out there and busting heads.................

606 Killgore Trout  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:35:20pm

re: #605 wozzablog

Is it just me - or are some people here not just a little bit peeved at the utterly condescending attitude some posters have towards "liberals" here about the ugly realities of war?.
It's almost as if maintaining a point on the political spectrum (to them) is the next best thing to actually being out there and busting heads...

I got a little peeved earlier when people kept linking that article written by the American Communist Party about Bush crushing children's testicles.

607 Reginald Perrin  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:35:20pm

re: #599 Charles

Anyway it will be good material for the new improved Wiki. Ice and Jimmah are lending a hand with my little contribution. I hope to have a couple more on board soon
I have been watching Space Jesus and Obdicut do incredible work at Wiki.
I really wouldn't be too concerned about it, the stalker trolls always fail.
Ask Bill O'Reilly.

608 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:37:08pm

re: #606 Killgore Trout

I got a little peeved earlier when people kept linking that article written by the American Communist Party about Bush crushing children's testicles.

i didn't read it. but not as important that it was written by communists is the veracity of what is contained in the article - if it's bull shit then fair enough.

If i get time i'll read it.

609 wrenchwench  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:37:43pm

In the spirit of CuriousLurker: BBL

In my case, that means tomorrow.

610 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:37:46pm

re: #604 bratwurst

I am a resident of Illinois and I will gladly pay higher taxes with Democrats in office to avoid having religious idiots in charge who want to teach the bible in lieu of science. See I read all about it here:

[Link: littlegreenfootballs.com...]

I've read all about it for a couple of years now...gladly paying higher taxes has nearly destroyed the business climate in CA...it will be Il next

611 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:38:07pm

re: #609 wrenchwench

In the spirit of CuriousLurker: BBL

In my case, that means tomorrow.

(down ding)


/////////

612 (I Stand By What I Said Whatever It Was)  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:39:36pm
“Astonishment at the existence of the other, as he boundlessly asserts himself through torture, and astonishment at what one can become oneself: flesh and death. The tortured person never ceases to be amazed that all those things one may, according to inclination, call his soul, or his mind, or his consciousness, or his identity, are destroyed when there is that cracking and splintering in the shoulder joints. That life is fragile is a truism he has always known [...]. But only through torture did he learn that a living person can be transformed so thoroughly into flesh and by that, while still alive, be partly made into a prey of death. Whoever has succumbed to torture can no longer feel at home in the world. The shame of destruction cannot be erased. Trust in the world, which already collapsed in part at the first blow, but in the end, under torture, fully, will not be regained. That one’s fellow man was experienced as the antiman remains in the tortured person as accumulated horror.”

-- Jean Améry: At the Mind’s Limits: Contemplations by a Survivor on Auschwitz and Its Realities (New York: Schocken, 1986), p. 40.

613 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:40:21pm

re: #605 wozzablog

Is it just me - or are some people here not just a little bit peeved at the utterly condescending attitude some posters have towards "liberals" here about the ugly realities of war?.
It's almost as if maintaining a point on the political spectrum (to them) is the next best thing to actually being out there and busting heads...

Sure, it irks me. So I say it irks me. And shrug a lot.

614 lostlakehiker  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:40:32pm

re: #45 Mark Winter

We could never define a "legit" ticking bomb scenario. Because there are millions. All different. No law could decide which one could be "legit".

Therefore no situation could ever justify torture

Generalizations are generally wrong in a few outlying cases.

You can't say "never". You can say that whoever does the waterboarding, and whoever orders it, must die. But if the issue is sufficiently serious, they'll give that order anyway and pay the price.

That defines "legit". It's so important, it's so sure to work, you'll give your own life.

615 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:40:34pm

re: #606 Killgore Trout

I got a little peeved earlier when people kept linking that article written by the American Communist Party about Bush crushing children's testicles.

I noted that.

616 Varek Raith  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:40:34pm

re: #602 Alouette

If I could torture the thieves who stole my TV, would I?

Of course. I would take away their TV, and their Blu-Ray, and their Playstation, and their Wii, and their iPhone and iPad, and their Blackberry and their laptop.

And I would take away their bling and their SUV.

And I would give them a bunch of books to read, a bicycle to ride, and veggies to eat.

I can be cruel when necessary.

That's harsh!
Can't you just waterboard me instead?
/

617 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:40:57pm

re: #545 Obdicut

We're not going in circles. You're simply not providing any coherent argument in the least, at all. Do you seriously not recognize that?

You have provided absolutely no scenario where torture would ever be useful. You provided a scenario where, whatever a terrorist said under interrogation, you would go and 'verify', meaning that he could simply lie endlessly and you would be endlessly stymied by it.

You have not done anything, at all, to support your position. It is bizarre to me that you think that you have.

Back.

Let's change the scenario.

Suppose a Janjaweed field commandeer is captured. His troops have been rampaging through Darfur. With one radio call he can call his troops to immediately stop the carnage. If the call is not made, the slaughter, rape, and mayhem continues unabated.

That is one case I would support torture.

618 bratwurst  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:40:58pm

re: #610 albusteve

I've read all about it for a couple of years now...gladly paying higher taxes has nearly destroyed the business climate in CA...it will be Il next

So I guess I should have voted for young earth creationists who want to dumb down education even further instead. Where were you when I needed your help in the voting booth?

619 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:41:34pm

re: #613 SanFranciscoZionist

Sure, it irks me. So I say it irks me. And shrug a lot.

The quality of your shrugging puts Gallic shoulder action to shame.

620 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:42:53pm

re: #617 researchok

That is a completely unrelated scenario. Completely.

And how do you know that he can do this with this one call? What if you torture him, and he makes the call, and they laugh at him and continue?

How do you know the future?

621 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:43:32pm

re: #618 bratwurst

So I guess I should have voted for young earth creationists who want to dumb down education even further instead. Where were you when I needed your help in the voting booth?

just looking at choices and what they mean....creationism is the spookiest vibe to enter the political arena in my time I'd say....but still there are legal limits, not so when cutting deals with unions

622 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:43:41pm

re: #620 Obdicut

How do you know the future?

Because, apparently, there are still straws to be grasped at.

623 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:44:18pm

re: #620 Obdicut

That is a completely unrelated scenario. Completely.

And how do you know that he can do this with this one call? What if you torture him, and he makes the call, and they laugh at him and continue?

How do you know the future?

Yes, I suppose it is- but it does address the reality of when torture might be reasonably applied.

The question arises in scenarios other than the ones you describe.

624 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:44:52pm

re: #615 SanFranciscoZionist

I noted that.

until KT says "bite me", he's not too pissed

625 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:45:26pm

re: #623 researchok

How do you know that when he makes that call, he won't used coded language that means "I'm being tortured, increase the atrocities"?

It is not a situation where torture can reasonably be applied. Like your other situations, it depends on you having knowledge that you cannot have.

626 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:45:37pm

re: #622 wozzablog

Because, apparently, there are still straws to be grasped at.

So you would not agree torture that might stop the carnage could ever be justified?

627 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:45:43pm

re: #614 lostlakehiker

Generalizations are generally wrong in a few outlying cases.

You can't say "never". You can say that whoever does the waterboarding, and whoever orders it, must die. But if the issue is sufficiently serious, they'll give that order anyway and pay the price.

That defines "legit". It's so important, it's so sure to work, you'll give your own life.

People make terrible decisions all the time, even when the stakes are very high.

628 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:46:38pm

re: #617 researchok

Back.

Let's change the scenario.

Suppose a Janjaweed field commandeer is captured. His troops have been rampaging through Darfur. With one radio call he can call his troops to immediately stop the carnage. If the call is not made, the slaughter, rape, and mayhem continues unabated.

That is one case I would support torture.

That sounds great.

Is there any Janjaweed commander with that kind of control and general communications ability?

629 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:47:05pm

re: #625 Obdicut

How do you know that when he makes that call, he won't used coded language that means "I'm being tortured, increase the atrocities"?

It is not a situation where torture can reasonably be applied. Like your other situations, it depends on you having knowledge that you cannot have.

So you would not approve of torture in that scenario?

630 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:47:37pm

re: #626 researchok

So you would not agree torture that might stop the carnage could ever be justified?

In my view torture is never the way ahead.

It's generally counter productive and experts without a particular axe to grind agree that gaining the confidence of the detainee is better for information flow.

631 Intenzity  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:48:54pm

re: #617 researchok


Let's change the scenario.
.

This has degenerated into a version of what John Caparullo calls the "What Would you do for a million dollars" game...

Seriously, what if, it was crippled girl in an iron lung, and there was transplant on a plane, and a terrorist was on the flight, would you do torture then? What if it was your niece? What if it was your daughter!

Come on. Enough already.
Any arbitrary line that is drawn for when you torture, can be redrawn anywhere at anytime. You either think it is okay or you don't.

You can come up with 5,000 variations on "Would you torture the terrorist now" game. They are all kinda moot.

632 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:49:47pm

re: #628 SanFranciscoZionist

That sounds great.

Is there any Janjaweed commander with that kind of control and general communications ability?

They are pretty organized- but that is not the issue.

Please understand, I'm not being adversarial in the sense that I believe torture is always justified. As I have said repeatedly, I am against torture of any kind, with very few exceptions. The scenario I just related would be one of those exceptions.

I can understand if you disagree

I for one would not approve of just standing by.

633 Varek Raith  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:50:12pm

re: #617 researchok

Can you demonstrate where torture has even worked?

634 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:50:38pm

re: #631 Intenzity

This has degenerated into a version of what John Caparullo calls the "What Would you do for a million dollars" game...

Seriously, what if, it was crippled girl in an iron lung, and there was transplant on a plane, and a terrorist was on the flight, would you do torture then? What if it was your niece? What if it was your daughter!

Come on. Enough already.
Any arbitrary line that is drawn for when you torture, can be redrawn anywhere at anytime. You either think it is okay or you don't.

You can come up with 5,000 variations on "Would you torture the terrorist now" game. They are all kinda moot.

That is exactly my point.

The torture issue cannot be limited to one set of scenarios.

635 bratwurst  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:50:48pm

re: #631 Intenzity


Seriously, what if, it was crippled girl in an iron lung, and there was transplant on a plane, and a terrorist was on the flight, would you do torture then? What if it was your niece? What if it was your daughter!

If only "24" were still on the air...you could have sold a screenplay out of this.

636 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:51:27pm

re: #626 researchok

So you would not agree torture that might stop the carnage could ever be justified?

I would say, rather, that I am not too interested in finding special situations that might, in some very specialized hypothetical situation, justify torture.

Are there some? Sure. There's probably some specialized situation in which a person might feel justified or coerced into doing damn near anything. But it doesn't, to my mind, have much to do with general policy or social mores. In general, overwhelmingly, I believe that Americans do not and should not torture.

If some dude ever ends up torturing a Janjaweed field commander who know where the time bomb that will kil the assembled world scientists is or something, he can explain himself to the court, and the court can decide if his reasons were justifiable.

637 Usually refered to as anyways  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:52:05pm

re: #631 Intenzity

This has degenerated into a version of what John Caparullo calls the "What Would you do for a million dollars" game...

Seriously, what if, it was crippled girl in an iron lung, and there was transplant on a plane, and a terrorist was on the flight, would you do torture then? What if it was your niece? What if it was your daughter!

Come on. Enough already.
Any arbitrary line that is drawn for when you torture, can be redrawn anywhere at anytime. You either think it is okay or you don't.

You can come up with 5,000 variations on "Would you torture the terrorist now" game. They are all kinda moot.

I could come up with scenarios that I would do the torturing, just involve my children its not hard.

However, I hope that my country and its appointed rulers of it are not as barbaric as the individual.

638 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:52:15pm

re: #633 Varek Raith

Can you demonstrate where torture has even worked?

No, I cannot. I am not in that business and the intelligence and covert operations business do not make their successes and failures a matter of public record.

That however, does not change the question.

639 kirkspencer  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:52:39pm

re: #626 researchok

So you would not agree torture that might stop the carnage could ever be justified?

While I'm not the one to whom you directed the question: No, I would not agree. The key word in your sentence is "might".

There's an old aphorism. How many innocents will you punish to ensure a single guilty one does not escape justice? The flipside is how many guilty will you tolerate to ensure one innocent is not wrongfully harmed.

It is impossible to deal with absolutes in the real world. "might", "probably", "likely", these are the qualifiers with which we must live.

There are lines I will not intentionally cross. Torture is one of those lines.

As I stated earlier, it's an easier morale line than most to resist because it does not work better than the alternative. The alternative is as fast, more certain, and gives long-term and strategic advantages. Choosing to torture is somewhat analogous to using your pogo stick to commute to work. It works, but there's no real-world situation where it works better than the alternatives.

640 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:53:01pm

personally I would waterboard a bad guy, but I'm not the US govt....different standard

641 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:53:04pm

re: #636 SanFranciscoZionist

I would say, rather, that I am not too interested in finding special situations that might, in some very specialized hypothetical situation, justify torture.

Are there some? Sure. There's probably some specialized situation in which a person might feel justified or coerced into doing damn near anything. But it doesn't, to my mind, have much to do with general policy or social mores. In general, overwhelmingly, I believe that Americans do not and should not torture.

If some dude ever ends up torturing a Janjaweed field commander who know where the time bomb that will kil the assembled world scientists is or something, he can explain himself to the court, and the court can decide if his reasons were justifiable.

We are on the same page.

As noted, I do not approve of torture as a rule.

642 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:53:15pm

re: #629 researchok

So you would not approve of torture in that scenario?

It's too farfetched. I am not quite the anti-torture purist of some folks there, but the scenario simply isn't going to happen, to the best of my knowledge. Why worry about it?

643 Tigger2005  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:53:38pm

Here is what I'm seeing. People saying all torture is equally evil no matter who is being subjected to it or what the motivation for it is. People saying that those who approved the waterboarding and those who carried it out are, essentially, as bad as Hitler and Mengele. People telling those who dare to challenge this perspective (even if they agree that torture is wrong) that they are evil and immoral and that they think torture is fine and dandy as long as “our side” is doing it.

In other words, even if you agree with these people that torture is wrong, if you dare to take a thoughtful or nuanced approach toward the issue...if you dare to even think about thinking about the relative morality of, say, waterboarding a person almost certain to have knowledge of an impending massive nuclear, biological, or chemical attack on a major city, vs. not doing everything possible to prevent the attack and save thousands or millions of lives.. then you are EVIL.

As I've said, this attitude does not lend itself to a productive discussion of the issue, and it's not likely to change many minds.

644 Bob Levin  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:53:49pm

re: #374 calochortus

I'm not saying that this should be a matter of policy, I'm saying the sometimes events push you into a corner and this the best tool at our disposal. I can't think of a particular set of circumstances where torture is necessary, as I've been out shopping and have had time to think about it. But, I'm sure that such a set of circumstances does exist.

645 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:54:14pm

re: #639 kirkspencer

While I'm not the one to whom you directed the question: No, I would not agree. The key word in your sentence is "might".

There's an old aphorism. How many innocents will you punish to ensure a single guilty one does not escape justice? The flipside is how many guilty will you tolerate to ensure one innocent is not wrongfully harmed.

It is impossible to deal with absolutes in the real world. "might", "probably", "likely", these are the qualifiers with which we must live.

There are lines I will not intentionally cross. Torture is one of those lines.

As I stated earlier, it's an easier morale line than most to resist because it does not work better than the alternative. The alternative is as fast, more certain, and gives long-term and strategic advantages. Choosing to torture is somewhat analogous to using your pogo stick to commute to work. It works, but there's no real-world situation where it works better than the alternatives.

We disagree, In the scenario I described, could not abide doing nothing.

646 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:54:42pm

re: #643 Tigger2005

People saying that those who approved the waterboarding and those who carried it out are, essentially, as bad as Hitler and Mengele.

I'm not.

647 Varek Raith  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:55:19pm

re: #646 wozzablog

I'm not.

Neither am I.
Nice red herring he's got there.

648 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:55:24pm

re: #637 ozbloke

I could come up with scenarios that I would do the torturing, just involve my children its not hard.

However, I hope that my country and its appointed rulers of it are not as barbaric as the individual.

It's the Ellie Nesler principal.

I totally understood why she did it.

We still had to arrest and try her.

649 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:56:24pm

re: #646 wozzablog

I'm not.

others have...some of us were compared to the NK's and told to go live with those of our own ilk....pretty funny actually, how zealous folks can get

650 Dark_Falcon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:56:31pm

re: #5 ralphieboy

Condoning our own use of torture also means we cannot condemn those who would use it against us.

I'm willing to forgo condemning others use of it. I really do think that torturing Khalid Sheik Mohammad was justified. We had to have what in his head and we had to b willing to use any means to get it.

651 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:57:16pm

re: #647 Varek Raith

Neither am I.
Nice red herring he's got there.

before your time here

652 Bob Levin  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:57:23pm

re: #403 Obdicut

Back from shopping. In my hypothetical, if you're torturing someone for two hours, then something is wrong. You've got a hypothetical situation where someone can be tortured for hours.

That's not my hypothetical. My hypothetical is that you don't have two hours to get the information.

653 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:57:23pm

re: #650 Dark_Falcon

I'm willing to forgo condemning others use of it. I really do think that torturing Khalid Sheik Mohammad was justified. We had to have what in his head and we had to b willing to use any means to get it.

185 seperate times?

654 Usually refered to as anyways  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:57:58pm

re: #645 researchok

Just out of interest, how much of your reasoning has to do with the countries involved?

What if it was North Korea against Iran?
Or Iran against North Korea?

655 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:58:06pm

re: #642 SanFranciscoZionist

It's too farfetched. I am not quite the anti-torture purist of some folks there, but the scenario simply isn't going to happen, to the best of my knowledge. Why worry about it?

Too farfetched? There are legions of Janjaweed groups going around and killing and raping, as you know. Sudan has seen the deaths of millions. These groups are armed by Khartoum, have excellent logistical and commutations capabilities.

I would submit the scenario is not farfetched at all. The when may be the question, but the if is very real.

656 Lidane  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:58:54pm

re: #623 researchok

Yes, I suppose it is- but it does address the reality of when torture might be reasonably applied.

No it doesn't, because it's a fantasy scenario in the first place. It has nothing to do with the reality of America torturing people.

The question arises in scenarios other than the ones you describe.

The question shouldn't arise at all. We're better than that. We should never, ever torture. It's beneath this country to even debate the topic.

If we managed to get information and intel from enemy soldiers in WW2 by talking to them, we can damn sure get it out of some terrorist without waterboarding him or otherwise torturing him. I don't buy a single argument for it, ever. They make no goddamn sense.

Plus, ethically, it's very simple-- if you think it's wrong for other people to waterboard or otherwise torture American soldiers, then it's wrong for us to do it to anyone else, regardless of the circumstances. Period.

657 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:58:58pm

re: #593 LudwigVanQuixote

I think we should be asking some real questions Glen Beck and Fox style:

I'm just asking important questions...

How else could Sarah have reached prominece without the madness incurring malevolence of the old ones?

Isn't it interesting that I am the only one asking this?

You won't see it asked on the "mainstream" media will you?

Some say that Sarah Palin opened the Necromomicon, learned forbidden knowledge and got a hickey from the madness of the old gods. Some say she is the love slave of Hastur. Others say that she got those breast implants to please the King in Yellow. Others say she spreads her legs for the dark and bloodstained affections of Cthulu cultists in a frenzied attempt to wake the old god from his death like slumber in the sunken city of R'lyeh.
Did you notice that Sarah Palin is in league with the tea parties and we all know that the Boston Tea party took place in a New England bay - just like the one near Arkham where the deep ones dwell? Coincidence? Maybe, but look at the pattern!

And what about her cult? Need I say more?

It is certainly true that when she makes speeches, people are either driven into the cult to madly gibber the thoughts of eldrich horror, or are simply rendered insane. Her warbling could well have been learned from the forbidden tongues of the deep ones. However, whether she learned to induce madness from the aftershocks of fellatiating the gibbering appendages of a shoggoth or the orgies of the deep ones is of no matter. The evil effect of her words, the madness and broken souls left in her wake, and the unspeakable horrors she creates are clear.

She is obviously the tool of long hidden and malevolent forces which are beyond the imagination of our limited human minds. She has tasted the madness and ecstasy of Kadath and gone over the blasted plains of Leng.
Look at the effect her presence has had on the entire GOP. Soul rending and twisted glimpses into the dark vistas of the cruel and uncaring multiverse that rend a man's spirit apart and reduce his mind to twisted fragments of broken sanity are the only logical explanation for her power and popularity.

Only one who believed in the utter insignificance of humanity in the face of the Old Ones could be so callous to the poor. Why help them if they are all food for Cthulu anyway? Only one with hidden knowledge knows how the old ones feed on human madness and misery - why else try so hard to spread such madness and misery?

Surely she realizes this when she lays down in the stone circle for some affection from the unspeakable Yog-Sothath. One quickie with the old ones, under the right alignment of the stars, accompanied by some romantic cultic chanting and her mission is made all the more "clear" to her twisted mind.

Did you ever notice that she never wears short sleeves - could it be to hide the runic tattoos copied from the Necronomicon? What of her glazed and distant stare? Could it be that her broken mind clearly wanders onto the unspeakable delights of getting face from an abomination with one hundred mouths and six foot tongues?

Isn't that interesting?


I bow before your superior knowledge of the forbidden knowledge of The Old Ones and the Necronomican.

Vote Cthulu and the Elder Party in 2012! Why settle for thee lesser of two evils?

658 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 5:59:12pm

re: #655 researchok

Too farfetched? There are legions of Janjaweed groups going around and killing and raping, as you know. Sudan has seen the deaths of millions. These groups are armed by Khartoum, have excellent logistical and commutations capabilities.

I would submit the scenario is not farfetched at all. The when may be the question, but the if is very real.

exactly - legions of disparate Janjaweed backed by foreign governments, and your scenario involved one guy on the ground.

659 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:00:23pm

re: #654 ozbloke

Just out of interest, how much of your reasoning has to do with the countries involved?

What if it was North Korea against Iran?
Or Iran against North Korea?

I'm not sure I understand your question.

In any event, as I have repeatedly said, i am against torture in most cases. There are however, scenarios in which torture may be justified, in my opinion.

Even then, I take no pleasure in that position.

660 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:00:25pm

re: #655 researchok

Too farfetched? There are legions of Janjaweed groups going around and killing and raping, as you know. Sudan has seen the deaths of millions. These groups are armed by Khartoum, have excellent logistical and commutations capabilities.

I would submit the scenario is not farfetched at all. The when may be the question, but the if is very real.

Seriously, you figure it could be stopped by finding field commanders and torturing them until they tell their troops to stop?

Yes, that's pretty farfetched. For one thing, please note your 'armed by Khartoum'. This is not something that will be fixed by pulling out one guy's toenails. Or even several guys'.

661 Bob Levin  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:00:54pm

re: #445 WindUpBird

Right. If something has gone very wrong in interrogation, such as there isn't time for proper interrogation, then what's left? Nothing good, only what is necessary. And you hope for the best. Remember, many lives have to be at stake.

662 Usually refered to as anyways  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:01:54pm

re: #659 researchok

I'm not sure I understand your question.

In any event, as I have repeatedly said, i am against torture in most cases. There are however, scenarios in which torture may be justified, in my opinion.

Even then, I take no pleasure in that position.

So you can see times where the Iranians could justifiably torture people from other countries?

663 Varek Raith  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:02:14pm

Got it.
Torture is a-ok.
Let's exonerate all those we punished in the past for such war crimes, since we are just like them.
Awesome.

664 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:02:48pm

re: #658 wozzablog

exactly - legions of disparate Janjaweed backed by foreign governments, and your scenario involved one guy on the ground.

OK, suppose we captured a Iranian officer who could put a halt to a deadly cross border raid into iraq that might kill innocent Sunnis, or Kurds, etc., with one radio command.

Could torture then be justified?

665 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:03:08pm

re: #661 Bob Levin

Right. If something has gone very wrong in interrogation, such as there isn't time for proper interrogation, then what's left? Nothing good, only what is necessary. And you hope for the best. Remember, many lives have to be at stake.

There is no fool proof method of obtaining information - some are better than others - one of the worst is torture.
In a scenario like that where the detainee reckons their time on this earth is short they can spin you any plausible yarn and have you scatter your forces away from the primary target.

666 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:03:21pm

re: #662 ozbloke

So you can see times where the Iranians could justifiably torture people from other countries?

That is an entirely different conversation.

667 kirkspencer  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:04:13pm

re: #645 researchok

We disagree, In the scenario I described, could not abide doing nothing.

Ah, but I did not say I'd do nothing. That's your failure to understand. The choice is not torture or nothing. It is torture or one of the 'soft' interrogation techniques. There are effective interrogation techniques that are as likely to work which will work as fast.

Of course you created an impossible hypothetical. You know that if he gives the signal the butchery will stop. And you know that he'll swiftly succumb to torture and will give the correct command when released. You know he doesn't have a weak heart or other condition which will kill him if you torture him. In other words you've made a situation where torture is 'justifiable' only by a hypothetical almost impossible to achieve.

No. The world does not work that way.

668 Bob Levin  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:04:20pm

re: #570 Obdicut

I never disputed that torture is not the best. If you get to that point, of considering torture, then an entire series of screw-ups have preceded that moment. I just acknowledge that it's possible to have an entire series of screw-ups. And many lives have to be at stake.

669 Varek Raith  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:04:24pm

re: #664 researchok

OK, suppose we captured a Iranian officer who could put a halt to a deadly cross border raid into iraq that might kill innocent Sunnis, or Kurds, etc., with one radio command.

Could torture then be justified?

Ok, suppose an American was captured by Iranians that would put a stop to an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities that would release radioactive fallout and harm civilians.

Could torture then be justified?

670 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:05:03pm

re: #664 researchok

OK, suppose we captured a Iranian officer who could put a halt to a deadly cross border raid into iraq that might kill innocent Sunnis, or Kurds, etc., with one radio command.

Could torture then be justified?

You had my answer above - and in this case we should interdict the border raid (seeing as we know it's coming and pick up even more prisoners we can gather intelligence from).

671 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:05:05pm

re: #664 researchok

OK, suppose we captured a Iranian officer who could put a halt to a deadly cross border raid into iraq that might kill innocent Sunnis, or Kurds, etc., with one radio command.

Could torture then be justified?

Is there a girl in an iron lung in this one?

672 Dark_Falcon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:05:05pm

re: #658 wozzablog

exactly - legions of disparate Janjaweed backed by foreign governments, and your scenario involved one guy on the ground.

Well, a start to solving the problem of legions of Janjaweed would be drone attacked with cluster bombs and frag missiles. Give them a warning and 36 hours to stand down and then start the attacks. Kill enough of them and you'll blunt their impact. It would also reduce the allure of Radical Islam in Sudan. Kill 10 to warn 100.

673 Usually refered to as anyways  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:05:08pm

re: #666 researchok

That is an entirely different conversation.

Only if you think that its ok for Americans to torture, or whoever you see as being on the right side.

But often in war, both sides feel their side is on the right side.

Torture on the other hand is either, acceptable or not.

674 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:05:13pm

re: #660 SanFranciscoZionist

Seriously, you figure it could be stopped by finding field commanders and torturing them until they tell their troops to stop?

Yes, that's pretty farfetched. For one thing, please note your 'armed by Khartoum'. This is not something that will be fixed by pulling out one guy's toenails. Or even several guys'.

We are discussing stopping one raid that destroys a village or preventing a few dozen rapes.

Would you say that even then, torture is not an option?

675 Political Atheist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:06:43pm

Late again. Oh well.
I have come to a sad conclusion on this quite some time ago. Soon after 9/11 in fact.

It seems to me if you torture at all or kill without reason you are surely immoral. It seems to me if you think some of our actual fighters or leaders would refuse to water-board or worse if our nation were hit with a real ongoing series of big attacks, you fail to understand what happens in war.

It seems to me the above lengthy debate will not change any of the above. What is, is. We will always overstep these boundaries in war, in fact that is a top reason to head off the war to begin with if you can.

A particular dichotomy is overwhelming. We understand the immorality of torture. We then fail to understand the immorality of this.

676 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:06:56pm

re: #672 Dark_Falcon

Well, a start to solving the problem of legions of Janjaweed would be drone attacked with cluster bombs and frag missiles. Give them a warning and 36 hours to stand down and then start the attacks. Kill enough of them and you'll blunt their impact. It would also reduce the allure of Radical Islam in Sudan. Kill 10 to warn 100.

Out last incursions in Africa ended so well after all.

Believe me though - forcing these assholes back and destroying them utterly is my preferred option.

677 Killgore Trout  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:06:57pm

hmmm...nobody found my #603 tantalizing? I thought for sure that'd get a response. Let's face it; Jihadis have it far worse now than they did under Bush. No human rights, no fair trial, no Red cross, no lawyer and horrific torture beyond anything you could imagine. "We don't torture" is a nice slogan but our friends do torture. It's an ugly reality. Not that I'm complaining but I'm just sayin'

678 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:07:11pm

re: #673 ozbloke

Only if you think that its ok for Americans to torture, or whoever you see as being on the right side.

But often in war, both sides feel their side is on the right side.

Torture on the other hand is either, acceptable or not.

No, we are discussing a something different.

That said, i can assure you the Iranians or any repressive regime would torture regardless of what we did.

679 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:07:37pm

re: #602 Alouette

If I could torture the thieves who stole my TV, would I?

Of course. I would take away their TV, and their Blu-Ray, and their Playstation, and their Wii, and their iPhone and iPad, and their Blackberry and their laptop.

And I would take away their bling and their SUV.

And I would give them a bunch of books to read, a bicycle to ride, and veggies to eat.

I can be cruel when necessary.

Veggies to eat. You are a cruel woman.

680 celticdragon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:07:52pm

Michelle Bachmann of the glassy eyes and vacuous look is claiming Obama will be spending 200 million dollars a day and is sending 34 warships to support his trip to India.

Seriously. 200 milion a day, a fleet of air force jets and 34 warships (10% of the Navy)

The entire war effort in Afganistan costs 190 million a day.

El Rushbo, Hannity and Bachmann are now claiming Obama is spending more then the war in the Afghani TO on a trip to India based on their own cross referenced claims from other right wing idiots.

The wingnut parallel universe is a sort of singularity. It is impenetrable by any outside influence.

681 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:08:05pm

re: #664 researchok

OK, suppose we captured a Iranian officer who could put a halt to a deadly cross border raid into iraq that might kill innocent Sunnis, or Kurds, etc., with one radio command.

Could torture then be justified?

OK, forget the iron lung. We're now torturing uniformed military officers to avert military attacks?

682 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:08:39pm

re: #677 Killgore Trout

hmmm...nobody found my #603 tantalizing? I thought for sure that'd get a response. Let's face it; Jihadis have it far worse now than they did under Bush. No human rights, no fair trial, no Red cross, no lawyer and horrific torture beyond anything you could imagine. "We don't torture" is a nice slogan but our friends do torture. It's an ugly reality. Not that I'm complaining but I'm just sayin'

I just came back and saw that as you referenced it.

Speaks for itself.

683 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:10:04pm

re: #674 researchok

We are discussing stopping one raid that destroys a village or preventing a few dozen rapes.

Would you say that even then, torture is not an option?

Yeah. I'd rather the U.S. Marine Corps be waiting for the raiders.

Dead, they will not maraud again.

684 Our Precious Bodily Fluids  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:10:07pm

Michael Yon had an excellent post on the subject of torture a couple of years ago. It's quite long, but people with a dog in this hunt should read the whole thing.

Torture works. There is no doubt that we can squeeze information from people. A lot of people say that information derived from torture is useless and suspect, and, of course, torture can make someone say anything just to stop the pain. But the fact is, torture does work. That does not mean we should do it. While torture might provide tactical gains, it delivers a strategic blunder. Let’s not argue whether it works or not. Let’s have the hard argument – whether or not it’s consistent with our values. We can obtain short term benefits from using torture, but in the long run we inflict far more pain on ourselves. The scars of torture never heal. Conversely, when detainees are treated with respect, they never forget it. Obviously, there are some hardcore prisoners who should be kept locked away until they die, but there is a much larger part who just want to go back to life without war.

While stationed in Germany with the 10th Special Forces Group, I spoke to many older Germans. I speak German and many of the older Germans did not speak English. These men and women lived through World War II. They often apologized for the younger generation of Germans who did not respect the United States. They told me stories of their days as POWs under American control, and described the honorable and respectful treatment they received. One of my grandfathers was a guard on a ship that brought German prisoners to the United States. My grandfather said they treated the Germans well. When the ship steamed into New York, the Germans were astonished to see the city lights. They had been told that New York City was being bombed and was blacked out. When those young German soldiers were eventually released, they went on to become thousands upon thousands of ambassadors for the United States. It is difficult to convey how good it made me feel when old Germans would tell me that Americans, our grandparents, were honorable people, far more honorable than the Nazis who committed industrial-sized genocide. The Nazis broke all the rules, and we beat them, not only because of our superior resources and fighting abilities, but the strategic advantage of our values. Atrocities occurred on all sides, but at least we considered atrocities to be war crimes, even when committed by our own people. When our soldiers were convicted of rape, they were executed. Still, our “Greatest Generation” harbored ill feelings toward the “Japs.” These feelings lasted long after the war was over. Why? Because, the Japanese had tortured and murdered our people after they were captured. And no doubt partially because of these crimes, we detonated two nuclear weapons over Japanese cities.

But once we defeated the Axis, we helped rebuild their countries. Our Greatest Generation acted with honor and great wisdom. It was the right thing to do, but also the strategically intelligent thing to do. Now Germany and Japan are stable, prosperous democracies and close allies.

685 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:10:32pm

re: #676 wozzablog

Out last incursions in Africa ended so well after all.

Believe me though - forcing these assholes back and destroying them utterly is my preferred option.

The Janjaweed are the fucking Klan.

I'd like to see them stomped.

686 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:11:00pm

re: #677 Killgore Trout

hmmm...nobody found my #603 tantalizing? I thought for sure that'd get a response. Let's face it; Jihadis have it far worse now than they did under Bush. No human rights, no fair trial, no Red cross, no lawyer and horrific torture beyond anything you could imagine. "We don't torture" is a nice slogan but our friends do torture. It's an ugly reality. Not that I'm complaining but I'm just sayin'

There wasn't rendition in the Bush years?

I didn't approve then, either.

687 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:11:38pm

re: #678 researchok

No, we are discussing a something different.

That said, i can assure you the Iranians or any repressive regime would torture regardless of what we did.

How can we tell the difference between their repressive torture and our freedom-loving torture, if not by the fact that we do not torture?

688 Political Atheist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:12:56pm

re: #677 Killgore Trout

It's the kind of thinking that got me long ago, when under Bush certain guys went via rendition to places where things far worse than water-boarding were scheduled.

689 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:13:00pm

re: #681 SanFranciscoZionist

OK, forget the iron lung. We're now torturing uniformed military officers to avert military attacks?

No, I wanted to make a point.

If a Hizbollah officer led comandos who were intent on crossing the border and killing innocents- as in Samir Kuntar- I'd be all over him to stop the raid.

By the, Israel released Kuntar and when back in Lebanon, announced he would do it all over again.

690 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:13:38pm

re: #617 researchok

Back.

Let's change the scenario.

Suppose a Janjaweed field commandeer is captured. His troops have been rampaging through Darfur. With one radio call he can call his troops to immediately stop the carnage. If the call is not made, the slaughter, rape, and mayhem continues unabated.

That is one case I would support torture.

You have to answer a question before that can be accepted - does torture work more reliably and faster than other interrogation methods?

691 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:14:00pm

re: #689 researchok

No, I wanted to make a point.

If a Hizbollah officer led comandos who were intent on crossing the border and killing innocents- as in Samir Kuntar- I'd be all over him to stop the raid.

By the, Israel released Kuntar and when back in Lebanon, announced he would do it all over again.

intercept the fucking raid - christ - if you know it's coming hit the bastards coming over.

692 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:15:21pm

re: #620 Obdicut

That is a completely unrelated scenario. Completely.

And how do you know that he can do this with this one call? What if you torture him, and he makes the call, and they laugh at him and continue?

How do you know the future?

Because that particular just so story has it as part of the plot.

693 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:15:30pm

re: #690 b_sharp

You have to answer a question before that can be accepted - does torture work more reliably and faster than other interrogation methods?

we've moved on from interrogation because we did not have good enough reasons for standing up to principal.
we are now on coercive doomsday scenarios where all the power in the world rests in the hands of one man.......... and several teevee executives writing scripts.

694 Dark_Falcon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:15:42pm

re: #691 wozzablog

intercept the fucking raid - christ - if you know it's coming hit the bastards coming over.

The problem with that in Iran's case is that opening smashing the raid would publicly humiliate Iran. If you put them in that sort of corner they might escalate the fighting simply to save face.

695 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:15:43pm

re: #690 b_sharp

You have to answer a question before that can be accepted - does torture work more reliably and faster than other interrogation methods?

In some cases it presume it might.

As I noted earlier, I am not in that business and the intelligence and covert operations business do not make their successes and failures a matter of public record.

That however, does not change the question.

696 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:15:51pm

re: #629 researchok

So you would not approve of torture in that scenario?

Did you just not read what I wrote?

Your scenario doesn't exist. You don't know that the call will have the effect you think it will.

697 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:16:32pm

re: #691 wozzablog

intercept the fucking raid - christ - if you know it's coming hit the bastards coming over.

You are presuming we might know exactly where and when.

Big presumption.

698 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:17:02pm

re: #694 Dark_Falcon

The problem with that in Iran's case is that opening smashing the raid would publicly humiliate Iran. If you put them in that sort of corner they might escalate the fighting simply to save face.

if they are determined to risk casualties in a mass border incursion in the first place why would they simply not chalk off the detainee as a battle casualty?

699 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:17:07pm

re: #689 researchok

No, I wanted to make a point.

If a Hizbollah officer led comandos who were intent on crossing the border and killing innocents- as in Samir Kuntar- I'd be all over him to stop the raid.

By the, Israel released Kuntar and when back in Lebanon, announced he would do it all over again.

I know who Samir Kuntar is.

I remember when they released him. I got very, very drunk.

700 Varek Raith  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:17:18pm

re: #697 researchok

You are presuming we might know exactly where and when.

Big presumption.

You're entire premise is that the guy we are torturing will tell the truth.
What if he tells us to just fuck right off?

701 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:17:24pm

re: #652 Bob Levin

Back from shopping. In my hypothetical, if you're torturing someone for two hours, then something is wrong. You've got a hypothetical situation where someone can be tortured for hours.

That's not my hypothetical. My hypothetical is that you don't have two hours to get the information.

Dude, the actual amount of time is completely irrelevant to what i said.

Please, actually bring an argument.

702 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:17:50pm

re: #697 researchok

You are presuming we might know exactly where and when.

Big presumption.

Yours still seems bigger to me.

703 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:18:15pm

re: #697 researchok

You are presuming we might know exactly where and when.

Big presumption.

Then interrorgate the guy to find out where it's happening - doing that gives him a way out and a reason to co-operate. beating him until he makes a radio call just tells him he ends up dead either way.

704 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:18:18pm

re: #696 Obdicut

Did you just not read what I wrote?

Your scenario doesn't exist. You don't know that the call will have the effect you think it will.

You say the scenarios do not exist.

I can go back (as I did with the Kuntar reference) and show you they can and do exist.

The torture narrative is not one dimensional.

705 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:18:27pm

my presumption is bigger than your presumption

706 Varek Raith  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:19:17pm

re: #705 albusteve

my presumption is bigger than your presumption

How ya feeling?
Are you a cyborg yet?
;)

707 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:19:23pm

re: #626 researchok

So you would not agree torture that might stop the carnage could ever be justified?

There may be artificial conditions where torture would be functional and useful, but only a handful of scenarios reflect reality. It's up to the story teller to show the story is realistic.

708 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:19:59pm

re: #704 researchok

You say the scenarios do not exist.

I can go back (as I did with the Kuntar reference) and show you they can and do exist.

The torture narrative is not one dimensional.

No, they don't exist. You cannot know that the call will have the effect that you're saying it will.

How on earth do you think you can know that? That he won't have a way of communicating that you're torturing him?

All of our field agents have a way to communicate that.

709 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:20:14pm

re: #704 researchok

You say the scenarios do not exist.

I can go back (as I did with the Kuntar reference) and show you they can and do exist.

The torture narrative is not one dimensional.

Hold it. Are you telling me that the IDF had someone in custody who could have called off Kuntar's raid if they had tortured him? Because I don't know that part of the story, and without it, Kuntar proves absolutely nothing.

710 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:20:18pm

re: #706 Varek Raith

How ya feeling?
Are you a cyborg yet?
;)

feeling not bad...I'm ready for a good waterboarding

711 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:20:35pm

re: #699 SanFranciscoZionist

I know who Samir Kuntar is.

I remember when they released him. I got very, very drunk.

Timeout-

When that happened, I was beside myself. I cannot read about what he did and not get emotional about it- and given my line of work, that says something.

They are broken- the society is broken. And the results are broken glass and blood.

We may now resume disagreeing.

712 Varek Raith  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:21:20pm

re: #710 albusteve

feeling not bad...I'm ready for a good waterboarding

OK!
Mineral or tap water?

713 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:21:42pm

re: #629 researchok

So you would not approve of torture in that scenario?

That's the wrong 'leading' question to ask.

How is the scenario realistic?

714 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:21:53pm

re: #712 Varek Raith

OK!
Mineral or tap water?

either...don't forget the lime tho

715 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:22:07pm

re: #711 researchok

Timeout-

When that happened, I was beside myself. I cannot read about what he did and not get emotional about it- and given my line of work, that says something.

They are broken- the society is broken. And the results are broken glass and blood.

We may now resume disagreeing.

Damn skippy.

OK, back to our previously scheduled argument, already in progress...

716 Vicious Babushka  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:23:01pm

re: #689 researchok

No, I wanted to make a point.

If a Hizbollah officer led comandos who were intent on crossing the border and killing innocents- as in Samir Kuntar- I'd be all over him to stop the raid.

By the, Israel released Kuntar and when back in Lebanon, announced he would do it all over again.

I don't think Samir Kuntar should be tortured. A quick, painless death is OK. Maybe even a slightly painful death.

717 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:23:10pm

re: #708 Obdicut

No, they don't exist. You cannot know that the call will have the effect that you're saying it will.

How on earth do you think you can know that? That he won't have a way of communicating that you're torturing him?

All of our field agents have a way to communicate that.

I'm saying we have to try. I am the father of a daughter. If she were in danger I would at least want someone to try.

How long can we do nothing? Because in reality, that is what we talking about. Post war, we said 'Never Again'.

We lie to ourselves.

718 Vicious Babushka  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:23:58pm

re: #712 Varek Raith

OK!
Mineral or tap water?

Really fizzy seltzer!

719 Dark_Falcon  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:24:22pm

re: #698 wozzablog

if they are determined to risk casualties in a mass border incursion in the first place why would they simply not chalk off the detainee as a battle casualty?

Good point. But if you've got proof in advance and already have forces in position, you might be able to quietly warn them off without the public finding out.

720 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:24:56pm

re: #716 Alouette

I don't think Samir Kuntar should be tortured. A quick, painless death is OK. Maybe even a slightly painful death.

I'll help!

721 Varek Raith  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:26:36pm

re: #720 SanFranciscoZionist

I'll help!

You'll need a Goa'uld sarcophagus.

722 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:27:23pm

re: #717 researchok


How long can we do nothing? Because in reality, that is what we talking about.

No it isn't - some of us just believe beating people with rubber hoses and drowning them isn't all that effective.

"won't somebody please do something" is not a good enough reason for derivating from common human decency on our part

723 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:27:41pm

re: #721 Varek Raith

You'll need a Goa'uld sarcophagus.

stargate upding

724 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:28:22pm

re: #723 wozzablog

stargate upding

what are you?...like twelve?

725 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:28:52pm

re: #716 Alouette

I don't think Samir Kuntar should be tortured. A quick, painless death is OK. Maybe even a slightly painful death.

I agree re Kuntar. He- and those around him are beasts, Not PC, but true nonetheless. 'It wasn't personal' he said.

I have a daughter- I will say no know more.

What we were discussing is as follows:

Suppose we capture a Hizbollah commander. We know via intelligence that there will be an 'action' but we don't know where or when. We do know the event is imminent. Supposing the terrorist commandos included Samir Kuntar.

In that case (and it isn't as if Kuntar were the first terrorist to attack innocents) would you allow the captured commander to be tortured to reveal the plans?

726 recusancy  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:29:11pm

re: #21 Fozzie Bear

Of course it is torture, it always was.

I have difficulty forgiving anyone who defended this practice, even you Charles. It was an absolutely despicable position to take, and I for one am still royally pissed at everyone who created the political/media cover to legitimize the absolutely illegitimate.

I appreciate that you changed your mind, that counts for a lot, and standing up and saying "I was wrong" counts for even more. But, it doesn't make any difference now. We, as a nation, already flushed any chance of taking the moral high ground, for quite some time.

For that, there are many people, not just on the left, who are still enraged, myself one of them.

Amen.

727 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:29:28pm

re: #719 Dark_Falcon

Good point. But if you've got proof in advance and already have forces in position, you might be able to quietly warn them off without the public finding out.

As long as that quiet warning is not somebody's ear delivered on ice that's another one of my preferred options.

728 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:29:55pm

re: #724 albusteve

what are you?...like twelve?

*blows raspberry*

729 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:30:15pm

re: #717 researchok

I'm saying we have to try. I am the father of a daughter. If she were in danger I would at least want someone to try.

How long can we do nothing? Because in reality, that is what we talking about. Post war, we said 'Never Again'.

We lie to ourselves.

It wouldn't be trying. It'd be lying to yourself that you were achieving something good.

730 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:30:16pm

re: #722 wozzablog

No it isn't - some of us just believe beating people with rubber hoses and drowning them isn't all that effective.

"won't somebody please do something" is not a good enough reason for derivating from common human decency on our part

I was venting- sorry.

But I stand by my contention that at times- very rarely- torture may be used

731 Varek Raith  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:30:31pm

re: #724 albusteve

what are you?...like twelve?

I got some bubbles!

732 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:31:12pm

re: #729 Obdicut

It wouldn't be trying. It'd be lying to yourself that you were achieving something good.

To stop the likes of Samir Kuntar, I would say every means possible.

733 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:31:16pm

re: #728 wozzablog

*blows raspberry*

HA!...I knew it

734 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:31:47pm

re: #730 researchok

You stand by it. You haven't supported it in the least. You have made an emotional appeal for it. That is insufficient.

735 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:32:06pm

re: #732 researchok

To stop the likes of Samir Kuntar, I would say every means possible.

And you would be deluding yourself that you were doing good.

736 recusancy  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:33:37pm

re: #92 Fozzie Bear

What a heap of soulless bags of shit we have become.

If you defend torture as a practice, you aren't anything other than a psychopath in my mind. I am continually astounded at the number of people, safe behind their veil of anonymity and in the warmth of their own homes, who have no problem condoning the most abhorrent of behaviors on their behalf, who would scream and cry bloody murder about their rights were the same tactics ever employed on themselves, and who would never even begin to approach having the amount of balls it would take to perform such horrific acts themselves.

Some of you just don't fucking get what this country is about. We are a nation of laws which apply to every single fucking one of us, without ANY exception, or we have nothing for which to fight other than our mere survival. If you expect a trial when accused of a crime, no matter how horrible, and deny the rights of others to expect the same, then you do not deserve the right to call yourself a citizen.

You're my new hero on this blog.

737 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:38:36pm

re: #715 SanFranciscoZionist

Damn skippy.

OK, back to our previously scheduled argument, already in progress...

One more timeout.

You know who just came to mind? Librescu, the professor at VA Tech Tech who sacrificed himself.

He and Kuntar may have shared human mammalian DNA, but no more.

I believe with every fiber of my being that the likes of Kuntar must be stopped by all and any means possible.

OK, kick me some more, if you must- but know this- my belief stems from my morality and not my ideology. Loaded words, but true.

738 Usually refered to as anyways  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:39:31pm

re: #736 recusancy

You're my new hero on this blog.

One of the highlights of this thread for me.

Fozzie Bear said:
We invaded not only Afghanistan, but also the completely uninvolved Iraq. He tricked us in to attacking our own principles. We have cost ourselves trillions of dollars, thousands of lives, and much of what little goodwill was left for the US in the world. He even managed to help create an unstable political and economic environment here at home. All for the low low price of 19 people who had nothing to live for.

What colossal fools we were. And for what? What did it gain us?

end quote:

739 yasharki  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:39:55pm

I respect everyone's opinion who disagree with use of torture to extract vital information from one's lethal enemy. However, it seems to me that (and my argument may be a fallacy) if it's right, proper, and arguably honorable to pull a trigger and kill someone who's got you in his/her sights before they do the same to you, in order to save your own and possibly other people's lives. Why is it so wrong to exert physical force on a captured enemy during wartime, in order to gain life saving information on someone who's been captured while waging open warfare on yourself, your family and your countrymen instead of giving them the ultimate punishment?

740 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:41:21pm

re: #739 yasharki

I respect everyone's opinion who disagree with use of torture to extract vital information from one's lethal enemy. However, it seems to me that (and my argument may be a fallacy) if it's right, proper, and arguably honorable to pull a trigger and kill someone who's got you in his/her sights before they do the same to you, in order to save your own and possibly other people's lives. Why is it so wrong to exert physical force on a captured enemy during wartime, in order to gain life saving information on someone who's been captured while waging open warfare on yourself, your family and your countrymen instead of giving them the ultimate punishment?

it isn't, regardless of the pablum posted here

741 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:42:32pm

re: #734 Obdicut

You stand by it. You haven't supported it in the least. You have made an emotional appeal for it. That is insufficient.

No, you present a certain narrative and I presented another, more complicated one. You will deny that and find a thousand reasons I am in the wrong- and that's OK. Like most things in life, the human endeavor is never easy or ever reduced to a single narrative no matter how much we want it to be.

Now let me ask you a question- would you have approved bombing the camps in 1942 so as to put them out of business?

742 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:45:16pm

re: #739 yasharki

Why is it so wrong to exert physical force on a captured enemy during wartime

Because physical force doesn't work very often - and our generals past and present call bullshit on the notion of 24 style detainee treatment.

743 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:47:19pm

re: #740 albusteve

it isn't, regardless of the pablum posted here

I would only approve of torture in limited cases- rarely, actually.

744 Lidane  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:48:05pm

re: #739 yasharki

Why is it so wrong to exert physical force on a captured enemy during wartime

Because Rambo and Jack Bauer aren't real. That's why.

If the United States could manage to get information and intel from Nazi soldiers in WW2 without torture, we can damn sure get it out of a bunch of cave-dwelling terrorists without resorting to barbarism.

745 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:48:46pm

re: #743 researchok

I would only approve of torture in limited cases- rarely, actually.

pacifists suck

746 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:49:53pm

re: #744 Lidane

Because Rambo and Jack Bauer aren't real. That's why.

If the United States could manage to get information and intel from Nazi soldiers in WW2 without torture, we can damn sure get it out of a bunch of cave-dwelling terrorists without resorting to barbarism.

war is barbaric....you fight for your life

747 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:49:56pm

re: #745 albusteve

pacifists suck

LOLOL

748 yasharki  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:50:02pm

re: #742 wozzablog

Human civilization is largely based on application of physical force if I'm not mistaken, how can you claim that it's mostly ineffective?

749 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:51:52pm

re: #748 yasharki

Human civilization is largely based on application of physical force if I'm not mistaken, how can you claim that it's mostly ineffective?

Because the generals do. And unlike armchair quarterbacks i tend to listen to them now and again.

750 Lidane  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:52:35pm

re: #746 albusteve

war is barbaric...you fight for your life

No shit. Next you'll tell me water is wet and the sky is blue.

Of course war is barbaric. However, we don't have to resort to torture in war, regardless of the circumstances. We didn't use it against the Nazis, so why use it now? That makes no goddamn sense.

751 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:55:42pm

re: #750 Lidane

No shit. Next you'll tell me water is wet and the sky is blue.

Of course war is barbaric. However, we don't have to resort to torture in war, regardless of the circumstances. We didn't use it against the Nazis, so why use it now? That makes no goddamn sense.

bah, a little torture never hurt anyone...we could just blow their fucking head off instead eh?...if a Harpoon up their ass is acceptable, waterboarding is a gift

752 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:55:48pm

deadend - dead thread.

"lets not listen to the battle field commanders about what suits the needs of our intelligence gatherers best, lets instead live in the land of Bruce Willis action movies where the bomb clock stops at 00:01..............."

Awesome, slice me off a piece of that action.

753 Mr Pancakes  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:58:06pm

re: #750 Lidane

No shit. Next you'll tell me water is wet and the sky is blue.

Of course war is barbaric. However, we don't have to resort to torture in war, regardless of the circumstances. We didn't use it against the Nazis, so why use it now? That makes no goddamn sense.

Who cares about war?..... If I could I'd waterboard my upstairs noisy neighbors in a heartbeat..... I'm certain it would have positive results.

754 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 6:58:36pm

re: #710 albusteve

feeling not bad...I'm ready for a good waterboarding

How about a good snow boarding in a couple of months?

755 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:00:21pm

re: #741 researchok

No, you present a certain narrative and I presented another, more complicated one. You will deny that and find a thousand reasons I am in the wrong- and that's OK.

Your narrative is a fiction that you use to justify your emotions. It isn't real. You refuse to look at it full in the face.

And that is not okay.

756 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:00:37pm

re: #754 b_sharp

How about a good snow boarding in a couple of months?

arrrggghh!
I hate boarders!....well I used too anyway...my boy got me into it a little, but with a artileg, my mogul blasting days are over...I just hope to trolly down a hill again someday

757 Bob Levin  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:01:14pm

re: #665 wozzablog

You're right. Despite the interrogation techniques, it all gets down to chesslike strategy. Torture can only be done from a point of strategic weakness. But in war, things sometimes go very wrong, and you are at a point of weakness.

758 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:02:28pm

re: #755 Obdicut

Your narrative is a fiction that you use to justify your emotions. It isn't real. You refuse to look at it full in the face.

And that is not okay.

My narrative is not fiction. In fact, it is certainly well in the realm of possibility in many places all over the world.

But now I will press you- would you have bombed the camps in 1942?

759 Usually refered to as anyways  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:05:54pm

re: #757 Bob Levin

You're right. Despite the interrogation techniques, it all gets down to chesslike strategy. Torture can only be done from a point of strategic weakness. But in war, things sometimes go very wrong, and you are at a point of weakness.

I wonder if that is what the Germans thought?

760 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:06:47pm

re: #758 researchok

My narrative is not fiction. In fact, it is certainly well in the realm of possibility in many places all over the world.

Your narrative is a fiction. You imagine you would understand the results of the phone call. You do not consider that the consequences might be worse, that you might torture someone to call off an attack and the result of that might make things worse, might make the attack worse, might cause the deaths of more.


But now I will press you- would you have bombed the camps in 1942?

No. More Jews would have died if I had. They were killing them in the fields, in the villages, wherever they found them. The camps were an obscene perversion, but they were also a waste of resources. If the Nazis hadn't built the camps, they could have killed far more Jews.

What I would have done is drive much harder and much faster through Europe. And gone with Patton.

You are not thinking things through, in the least, because you have reduced this to an emotional narrative. It is severely disappointing.

In your narrative, you can always be sure that after you've tortured him, the rebel general's phone call will call off the attack, that he won't speak code words to let his aides know that he's being tortured. In your narrative, bombing the camps would stop or hinder the killing.

If only the world was so simple.

But it is not.

761 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:10:20pm

re: #756 albusteve

arrrggghh!
I hate boarders!...well I used too anyway...my boy got me into it a little, but with a artileg, my mogul blasting days are over...I just hope to trolly down a hill again someday

How is the recovery going? Has the pain subsided some?

762 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:11:01pm

re: #760 Obdicut

Exactly, emotion is not a good place to argue this from. This is why we elect people - who are hopefully emotionally removed enough - to make these decisions on our behalf and have courts that operate strictly on principles of what is legal.

763 Our Precious Bodily Fluids  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:11:30pm

re: #753 Mr Pancakes

Who cares about war?... If I could I'd waterboard my upstairs noisy neighbors in a heartbeat... I'm certain it would have positive results.

For a day. How's that gonna work out for you once their friends and family find out what happened?

764 Killgore Trout  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:11:34pm

re: #759 ozbloke

I wonder if that is what the Germans thought?

I can read minds but I don't speak German. Bummer.

765 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:12:03pm

re: #760 Obdicut

Your narrative is a fiction. You imagine you would understand the results of the phone call. You do not consider that the consequences might be worse, that you might torture someone to call off an attack and the result of that might make things worse, might make the attack worse, might cause the deaths of more.

No. More Jews would have died if I had. They were killing them in the fields, in the villages, wherever they found them. The camps were an obscene perversion, but they were also a waste of resources. If the Nazis hadn't built the camps, they could have killed far more Jews.

What I would have done is drive much harder and much faster through Europe. And gone with Patton.

You are not thinking things through, in the least, because you have reduced this to an emotional narrative. It is severely disappointing.

In your narrative, you can always be sure that after you've tortured him, the rebel general's phone call will call off the attack, that he won't speak code words to let his aides know that he's being tortured. In your narrative, bombing the camps would stop or hinder the killing.

If only the world was so simple.

But it is not.

You need to visit Auschwitz. It was a killing FACTORY- far more efficient than killings in the fields. Read Davidovic.

I will say this: A couple of years after we were in Afghanistan, we had intel that all the big Al Qaeda mucky mucks would be in attendance at a funeral of a 'colleague'.

We knew when and where they would be. A decision was made not to take out the entire Al Qaeda leadership because some of their families would be in attendance.

Do you approve of that decision.

766 Our Precious Bodily Fluids  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:12:26pm

re: #762 wozzablog

Exactly, emotion is not a good place to argue this from. This is why we elect people - who are hopefully emotionally removed enough - to make these decisions on our behalf and have courts that operate strictly on principles of what is legal.

When I see optimism like this, I can never tell whether to laugh, or cry.

767 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:13:12pm

re: #766 negativ

When I see optimism like this, I can never tell whether to laugh, or cry.

optimism like mine? - i assure you i operate in the realm of stoic norse glass half emptydom.

768 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:13:14pm

re: #761 b_sharp

How is the recovery going? Has the pain subsided some?

yes, finally...
this will be my third winter of not skiing...
it's not the best in the country, but Taos is only two hours north and then there is Telluride, Purg, Wolf Creek, all about five hours from ABQ...maybe next year

769 yasharki  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:13:53pm

re: #749 wozzablog

Pardon my ignorance but I've no clue what "24 style detainee treatment" means. I am also puzzled by your "generals" reference. I grew up hearing stories from WWII veterans who got highest military honors, medals, and some became generals for capturing nazi officers who would be interrogated by counter intelligence , or plainly speaking tortured in order to extract tactical and strategic intelligence. You can argue that soviet methods (I am a Russian immigrant) were wrong, but those grandpa's who were telling us these stories said that they didn't have a choice, it was kill or be killed, and since the other side has abandoned all previously practiced, so called "honorable" rules of engagement they had to do what they had to do...

770 Our Precious Bodily Fluids  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:15:59pm

re: #765 researchok

You need to visit Auschwitz. It was a killing FACTORY- far more efficient than killings in the fields. Read Davidovic.

I will say this: A couple of years after we were in Afghanistan, we had intel that all the big Al Qaeda mucky mucks would be in attendance at a funeral of a 'colleague'.

We knew when and where they would be. A decision was made not to take out the entire Al Qaeda leadership because some of their families would be in attendance.

Do you approve of that decision.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Provide some?

771 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:17:36pm

re: #765 researchok

You need to visit Auschwitz. It was a killing FACTORY- far more efficient than killings in the fields. Read Davidovic.

I have visited Auschwitz. WWII is a passion of mine. I am Jewish. Stop lecturing me.

It was not more effiicent than killing in the fields. Coming across a Jew and shooting them then and there-- that was the most efficient want to kill them. Not the camps. The camps were the obscenity. They were not an efficiency.


I will say this: A couple of years after we were in Afghanistan, we had intel that all the big Al Qaeda mucky mucks would be in attendance at a funeral of a 'colleague'.

We knew when and where they would be. A decision was made not to take out the entire Al Qaeda leadership because some of their families would be in attendance.

Do you approve of that decision.

You keep deflecting. Over and over. You keep demanding I answer random questions that have nothing to do with the very, very simple fact:

Your support for torture has no basis in logic. You have no reason, at any point, to trust that what a terrorist says due to torture is the truth, or what they communicate to someone else due to torture will not involve a trap or a lie. You might torture a terrorist to find out where a bomb was and have your agents sent right to a trap. You might torture a terrorist to stop an attack and have them communicate that they were being tortured to their aides. You might bomb the camps and use up resources that should be used on the Romanian oil fields, so that the Nazis are able to fight on and delay longer and the death tolls rise higher.

You do not consider any part of the narrative except your desired outcome. And you pretend that is a reason.

Saying "But I need to do something" is not a reason. It is a cry of the heart. It does not mean it is wise, reasonable, good, or moral.

772 yasharki  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:17:39pm

re: #770
negativ

re: #765 researchok

No shit, where did this information come from?

773 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:17:50pm

re: #770 negativ

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Provide some?

nice dodge...consider the question hypothetical

774 Obdicut  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:17:56pm

And good goddamn night.

775 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:18:36pm

re: #769 yasharki

Pardon my ignorance but I've no clue what "24 style detainee treatment" means. I am also puzzled by your "generals" reference. I grew up hearing stories from WWII veterans who got highest military honors, medals, and some became generals for capturing nazi officers who would be interrogated by counter intelligence , or plainly speaking tortured in order to extract tactical and strategic intelligence. You can argue that soviet methods (I am a Russian immigrant) were wrong, but those grandpa's who were telling us these stories said that they didn't have a choice, it was kill or be killed, and since the other side has abandoned all previously practiced, so called "honorable" rules of engagement they had to do what they had to do...

24 is a teevee show where detainees are savagely beaten and the ticking time bomb always stops a second before it is meant to explode. Real life doesn't work like that - sometimes the bomb goes off anyway.

General Patraeus believes torture is counter productive in intelligence gathering -and he is fighting the current war, not the war some 70 years ago - but the one we are actually in right now.

[Link: www.georgewashington2.blogspot.com...]

776 Varek Raith  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:19:06pm

re: #773 albusteve

nice dodge...consider the question hypothetical

Ok.
A Bin Laden is hiding in an orphanage. Do you bomb it?

777 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:19:59pm

re: #776 Varek Raith

Ok.
A Bin Laden is hiding in an orphanage. Do you bomb it?

no, why do you ask?

778 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:20:08pm

re: #765 researchok

You need to visit Auschwitz. It was a killing FACTORY- far more efficient than killings in the fields. Read Davidovic.

I will say this: A couple of years after we were in Afghanistan, we had intel that all the big Al Qaeda mucky mucks would be in attendance at a funeral of a 'colleague'.

We knew when and where they would be. A decision was made not to take out the entire Al Qaeda leadership because some of their families would be in attendance.

Do you approve of that decision.

Stop this shit now. It is degrading to the dead. You are starting to disgust me.

779 Varek Raith  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:20:31pm

re: #777 albusteve

no, why do you ask?

Just a hypothetical.

780 Lidane  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:20:34pm

re: #753 Mr Pancakes

Who cares about war?... If I could I'd waterboard my upstairs noisy neighbors in a heartbeat... I'm certain it would have positive results.

I'd firebomb the demolition company that's been tearing down a building on my block, and who start their days at itsfuckingearly o'clock in the morning every morning, but my conscience prevents me from doing anything more than just bitching about it all. Loudly. XD

781 Usually refered to as anyways  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:21:19pm

re: #773 albusteve

nice dodge...consider the question hypothetical

/ Osama is hiding with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, do we bomb em?

782 Varek Raith  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:21:44pm

re: #781 ozbloke

/ Osama is hiding with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, do we bomb em?

Yes.
/

783 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:22:15pm

re: #781 ozbloke

/ Osama is hiding with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, do we bomb em?

not until the Stones pay their back taxes.........

784 yasharki  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:23:10pm

re: #771 Obdicut

WWII is your passion? Please explain. Also, "Coming across a Jew and shooting them then and there-- that was the most efficient want to kill them", you really think so? They tried that at baby yar, which pales in comparison to an assembly line of death at auswitz, dahau, buhenvald, and so on.

P.S.

I'm also Jewish, but that doesn't give me a right to shut people up and tell them to stop lecturing me.

785 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:23:27pm

one hypo deserves another I guess

786 Varek Raith  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:24:27pm

re: #785 albusteve

one hypo deserves another I guess

I got no problems with hypotheticals.

787 yasharki  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:26:26pm

re: #775 wozzablog

Aha, so it's not generals, it's a general. And a rather particular one at that. Furthermore you say that previous history of warfare has to be scratched because it's _old_. I'm at a loss of words...

788 b_sharp  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:29:00pm

re: #768 albusteve

yes, finally...
this will be my third winter of not skiing...
it's not the best in the country, but Taos is only two hours north and then there is Telluride, Purg, Wolf Creek, all about five hours from ABQ...maybe next year

That's good to hear Steve. I'm sure you'll be back to skiing eventually, although you'll probably have to go back to the kiddie hill for awhile.

789 albusteve  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:30:44pm

re: #788 b_sharp

That's good to hear Steve. I'm sure you'll be back to skiing eventually, although you'll probably have to go back to the kiddie hill for awhile.

doh!..
back to the rope tow

790 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:32:19pm

re: #771 Obdicut

I have visited Auschwitz. WWII is a passion of mine. I am Jewish. Stop lecturing me.

It was not more effiicent than killing in the fields. Coming across a Jew and shooting them then and there-- that was the most efficient want to kill them. Not the camps. The camps were the obscenity. They were not an efficiency.

You keep deflecting. Over and over. You keep demanding I answer random questions that have nothing to do with the very, very simple fact:

Your support for torture has no basis in logic. You have no reason, at any point, to trust that what a terrorist says due to torture is the truth, or what they communicate to someone else due to torture will not involve a trap or a lie. You might torture a terrorist to find out where a bomb was and have your agents sent right to a trap. You might torture a terrorist to stop an attack and have them communicate that they were being tortured to their aides. You might bomb the camps and use up resources that should be used on the Romanian oil fields, so that the Nazis are able to fight on and delay longer and the death tolls rise higher.

You do not consider any part of the narrative except your desired outcome. And you pretend that is a reason.

Saying "But I need to do something" is not a reason. It is a cry of the heart. It does not mean it is wise, reasonable, good, or moral.

Actually, you are the one doing the lecturing.

I am illustrating a point- that controlling the narrative only works for so long. There is always another narrative that can be applied. In denying that, you are the one who presents only the narratives that support your desired outcome.

As I have said all along, I do believe that torture is rarely a good idea. I have also said there are a few instances when torture may be of value. I have given possible scenarios to illustrate that. You reject them wholesale, accusing me of 'emotionality'. In my business that is real deflection.

The funny thing about torture is that if it never, ever worked, the practice would have been abandoned long ago.

I submit that there have been rare instances it has done as advertised. Human nature is something with which I have a passing familiarity. There are individuals who will cave with threats of torture, mild torture and others who will respond to severe torture. Military organizations and intelligence agencies the world over have studied this phenomena.

The who's and the whys are not germane to this conversation, however.

791 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:35:14pm

re: #787 yasharki

Aha, so it's not generals, it's a general. And a rather particular one at that. Furthermore you say that previous history of warfare has to be scratched because it's _old_. I'm at a loss of words...

Mazeltov - it's a puzzler isn't it?

But a top British general (also fighting the current war may add some light to the matter..................)


Asked why he would have stopped the practice of hooding immediately had he realised it was being used earlier in 2003, Reith replied: "Because I had understood this was no longer policy and I also knew to tactically question someone you needed to look them in the eyes because you have to develop a rapport with them."

[Link: www.guardian.co.uk...]


(there are more..............)

792 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:35:41pm

re: #770 negativ

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Provide some?

Here is one version- there are others

Taliban in our sights?

793 William  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:36:42pm

Waterboarding is a tempest in a teapot, harped on by the NY Times crowd. Let's get to the real deal: should Black Ops be abolished? Should terrorists, and the like, not silently disappear into the night, because it violates some theoretical ideal? Let's be adults, and acknowledge that the world is a dangerous place, and our illusion of security is provided by those willing and able to get their hands dirty.

794 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:38:40pm

re: #787 yasharki

Snark doesn't push my buttons - it just improves my link-fu.

795 yasharki  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:38:57pm

Man, I had no idea who Bachmann was until reading Charles's "Hypnotized" post earlier today. Just watched some of her clips on youtube. Dude, I thought Sarah Palin was retarded, but this lady puts her to shame: "CO2 Is A Natural Byproduct of Nature ... Carbon dioxide is not harmful ...". How come no one offered her to put a garbage bag over her head and inhale some of that sweet harmless co2? Or better yet, seal all windows and doors in her house and fire up the stove :)

796 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:39:18pm

re: #792 researchok

Here is another version:

U.S. passes up chance to strike Taliban

797 yasharki  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:41:42pm

re: #791 wozzablog

You got me all confused, I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or serious. Need to take a brake from them vodak shots :)

798 yasharki  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:44:25pm

re: #794 wozzablog

That's a very lame comment, you can do better.

799 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:44:59pm

re: #793 William

Waterboarding is a tempest in a teapot, harped on by the NY Times crowd. Let's get to the real deal: should Black Ops be abolished? Should terrorists, and the like, not silently disappear into the night, because it violates some theoretical ideal? Let's be adults, and acknowledge that the world is a dangerous place, and our illusion of security is provided by those willing and able to get their hands dirty.

At least you didn't use the, 'rough men stand ready in the night', quote.

800 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:45:08pm

uh-huh.
You are relatively new here so i will let you in gently - i am being serious and sarcastic at the same time.

There is a very long list of serving Generals in all western armies against the use of torture on the grounds that it is ineffective, and many more on the basis that their troops are more likely to be maltreated if they maltreat.

A list of retired Flag Officers of the US armed forces signed up to the declaration against torture:

Retired Military Flag Officers

Brigadier General Hugh Aitken
Brigadier General David M. Brahms
Brigadier General Stephen A. Cheney
Admiral Archie Clemins
Brigadier General James P. Cullen
Major General Paul D. Eaton
Lieutenant General Lawrence P. Farrell, Jr.
General Ronald R. Fogleman
Brigadier General Evelyn "Pat" Foote
Major General Eugene Fox
Lieutenant General Robert G. Gard, Jr.
Brigadier General Wilfred L. Goodson
Rear Admiral Donald J. Guter
General Joseph P. Hoar
Brigadier General John A. Hurley
Rear Admiral John D. Hutson
Brigadier General David Irvine
Admiral Greg G. Johnson
Brigadier General John H. Johns
General James L. Jones
General John P. Jumper
Lieutenant General Claudia J. Kennedy
General Paul J. Kern
General David M. Maddox
Colonel Peter Mansoor
General Merrill A. McPeak
Major General Melvyn S. Montano
Brigadier General Richard M. O'Meara
The late Lieutenant General William E. Odom
Lieutenant General Charles P. Otstott
General Joseph W. Ralston
Major General Thomas J. Romig
Brigadier General Maurice D. Roush
Brigadier General Murray Sagsveen
Vice Admiral Jack A. Shanahan
Lieutenant General Harry E. Soyster
Lieutenant General James M. Thompson
Colonel Theodore B. Voorhees
General Volney F. Warner
Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson
Brigadier General Stephen N. Xenakis

801 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:46:12pm

re: #798 yasharki

That's a very lame comment, you can do better.

I am only as good as whoever is trying to push my buttons. It's a mirror reflection.

802 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:46:12pm

re: #800 wozzablog

uh-huh.
You are relatively new here so i will let you in gently - i am being serious and sarcastic at the same time.

There is a very long list of serving Generals in all western armies against the use of torture on the grounds that it is ineffective, and many more on the basis that their troops are more likely to be maltreated if they maltreat.

A list of retired Flag Officers of the US armed forces signed up to the declaration against torture:

Retired Military Flag Officers

Brigadier General Hugh Aitken
Brigadier General David M. Brahms
Brigadier General Stephen A. Cheney
Admiral Archie Clemins
Brigadier General James P. Cullen
Major General Paul D. Eaton
Lieutenant General Lawrence P. Farrell, Jr.
General Ronald R. Fogleman
Brigadier General Evelyn "Pat" Foote
Major General Eugene Fox
Lieutenant General Robert G. Gard, Jr.
Brigadier General Wilfred L. Goodson
Rear Admiral Donald J. Guter
General Joseph P. Hoar
Brigadier General John A. Hurley
Rear Admiral John D. Hutson
Brigadier General David Irvine
Admiral Greg G. Johnson
Brigadier General John H. Johns
General James L. Jones
General John P. Jumper
Lieutenant General Claudia J. Kennedy
General Paul J. Kern
General David M. Maddox
Colonel Peter Mansoor
General Merrill A. McPeak
Major General Melvyn S. Montano
Brigadier General Richard M. O'Meara
The late Lieutenant General William E. Odom
Lieutenant General Charles P. Otstott
General Joseph W. Ralston
Major General Thomas J. Romig
Brigadier General Maurice D. Roush
Brigadier General Murray Sagsveen
Vice Admiral Jack A. Shanahan
Lieutenant General Harry E. Soyster
Lieutenant General James M. Thompson
Colonel Theodore B. Voorhees
General Volney F. Warner
Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson
Brigadier General Stephen N. Xenakis

Wozza, you just don't get it. How could these people know more about the harsh realities of war than a bunch of bloggers who really love their country?

//

803 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:47:23pm

re: #802 SanFranciscoZionist

I know. I should just quit the blogosphere altogether. Arguments using empirical data are sooo yesterday in the face of gut feeling and patriotism.

804 Interesting Times  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:48:58pm

re: #790 researchok

The funny thing about torture is that if it never, ever worked, the practice would have been abandoned long ago.

Of course torture works. It's by far the best way to:

- generate pain and terror
- extract false confessions
- demoralize, degrade, and destroy a human being

...all of which contribute quite nicely to tyrannical regimes who like to keep their citizens in a constant state of fear.

805 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:54:02pm

re: #804 publicityStunted

Of course torture works. It's by far the best way to:

- generate pain and terror
- extract false confessions
- demoralize, degrade, and destroy a human being

...all of which contribute quite nicely to tyrannical regimes who like to keep their citizens in a constant state of fear.

I submit that there have been rare instances it has done as advertised. Human nature is something with which I have a passing familiarity. There are individuals who will cave with threats of torture, mild torture and others who will respond to severe torture. Military organizations and intelligence agencies the world over have studied this phenomena.

Never say never.

806 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:54:44pm

anybody else want to throw some 3rd grade snark at me before i head out the door?.................

807 Wozza Matter?  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 7:58:07pm

g'night all.

808 Talking Point Detective  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 8:03:39pm

re: #606 Killgore Trout

I got a little peeved earlier when people kept linking that article written by the American Communist Party about Bush crushing children's testicles.

Ok, I'm calling bullshit on that one.

I asked you if you had any evidence that the information was false. In response, you ducked, went to pick weeds.

And the issue stands because Yoo, as the person who drafted the memos that justified waterboarding as constitutional, spoke to the issue. Here, I'll repost:

Cassel: If the President deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?
Yoo: No treaty.
Cassel: Also no law by Congress. That is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo.
Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.

Ok - let's look past the fact that you justified his position by leaving out important context from his larger answer (his follow up answer had nothing to do with treaties).

Yoo's main focus is not torture, it's what powers should be handed over to the President. Are you OK with the President, whichever President it happens to be at any particular time, deciding what constitutes justifiable "enhanced interrogation," to be conducted on whomever, depending on what he thinks?

That was Yoo's argument. Personally, I'd rather have a set of rules established. You know, based on precedent. Oh, I don't know, like precedent set when the United Staes tried people as torturers for waterboarding?

Care to stop ducking and respond?

809 Interesting Times  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 8:53:21pm

re: #805 researchok

Never say never.

George Washington apparently did:

“Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner]. . . I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause… for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.” -
...
"Treat them with humanity, and let them have no reason to complain of our copying the brutal example of the British Army in their treatment of our unfortunate brethren who have fallen into their hands."

But what did he know. /

810 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 8:58:21pm

re: #793 William

Waterboarding is a tempest in a teapot, harped on by the NY Times crowd. Let's get to the real deal: should Black Ops be abolished? Should terrorists, and the like, not silently disappear into the night, because it violates some theoretical ideal? Let's be adults, and acknowledge that the world is a dangerous place, and our illusion of security is provided by those willing and able to get their hands dirty.

Hello troll. I'm curious, which one are you? Class of 2004 no less... Been saving it a long time huh?

Are you Iron Fist perhaps?

If so please let me tweak your tactical thong and give you a tactical wedgie.

811 Jimmah  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 8:58:43pm

Great post, Charles.

812 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 8:59:33pm

re: #811 Jimmah

Great post, Charles.

Jimmah, this has been quite a day of good posting.

813 Jimmah  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 9:05:13pm

re: #812 LudwigVanQuixote

Jimmah, this has been quite a day of good posting.

Yerah, just doing a little catching up now. We've been getting the place ready for a visit from my Dad tomorrow; unfortunately I can't hang around tonight.

Say Hi to Miss S for us - hopefully we'll see you here soon when we're around for a bit!

814 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 9:07:34pm

re: #809 publicityStunted

George Washington apparently did:

But what did he know. /

He also said, "What students would learn in American schools above all is the religion of Jesus Christ." -- in a speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs, May 12, 1779

I take it you agree?

815 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 9:27:43pm

re: #811 Jimmah

Great post, Charles.

sup jimmah

816 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 9:28:04pm

re: #802 SanFranciscoZionist

Wozza, you just don't get it. How could these people know more about the harsh realities of war than a bunch of bloggers who really love their country?

//

ahahahaha

817 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 9:30:51pm

re: #687 SanFranciscoZionist

How can we tell the difference between their repressive torture and our freedom-loving torture, if not by the fact that we do not torture?

perfect comment

818 Velvet Elvis  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 9:45:00pm

Way to go Charles. You are now officially more liberal than me.

(I believe there are theoretical circumstances where it would be justified and perhaps even morally obligated. To the best of my knowledge none of these came to pass in the war on terror.)

I think it's kind of interesting that the Bush administration tried to torture people in plain view rather than hiding it in dark sites like past administrations would have done. They came up with legal arguments to permit it and were like "yep, we're down here in Cuba torturing people. No secrets."

That doesn't make it OK

819 yasharki  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 9:49:32pm

re: #802 SanFranciscoZionist

You didn't have to cut'n'paste, this would have been considered flooding elsewhere, you could have just provided an url: [Link: www.campaigntobantorture.org...] Your condescending tone of comments and their content clearly show your level of intelligence mine general.

820 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 9:54:21pm

re: #819 yasharki

You didn't have to cut'n'paste, this would have been considered flooding elsewhere, you could have just provided an url: [Link: www.campaigntobantorture.org...] Your condescending tone of comments and their content clearly show your level of intelligence mine general.

haha you know SFZ is A) a teacher, B) one of the most universally respected and beloved people in this joint, right?

821 yasharki  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 9:55:28pm

re: #820 WindUpBird

So, should I bow down to him regardless of what he says?

822 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 9:58:41pm

re: #819 yasharki

You didn't have to cut'n'paste, this would have been considered flooding elsewhere, you could have just provided an url: [Link: www.campaigntobantorture.org...] Your condescending tone of comments and their content clearly show your level of intelligence mine general.

Whoa-

SFZ may not agree with you, but she not condescending. She may at times offer up a bit of snark, but I can assure you she is stand up 100% of the time. She's a class act.

She and I don't see eye to eye all the time, for sure. We have at times butted heads, but all in all she has never made our different opinions personal- never. I respect her and her opinions. Further, that can be said for a whole lot of people around here. By and large, most of the people around here are like that.

I respect her and would ask you do the same. I can assure you that over time you will be able to distinguish what are indeed insults and what is mere 'heat of the moment' snark,

823 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 10:02:28pm

re: #821 yasharki

So, should I bow down to him regardless of what he says?

No, you can disagree, of course. You can be snarky, a smartass, whatever.

But there is a line- don't make it personal or too piquant. And don't piss on them, even when you've made your point.

Over time, you'll come to know the people in here. For the most part, they are a pretty good lot.

824 yasharki  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 10:04:55pm

re: #822 researchok

You know after taking a step back and scratching my head a bit I think you're 100% correct, not only did I answer SFZ in the heat of the moment while trying to reply to wozzablog, I also completely misunderstood "snark", thinking it was a cheap shot at my alias. I'm humbled by your cool headed response, and apologize to SFZ and anyone else I may have offended. My bad. I am indeed a newb at LGF and need to respect the fact.

825 researchok  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 10:11:20pm

re: #824 yasharki

You know after taking a step back and scratching my head a bit I think you're 100% correct, not only did I answer SFZ in the heat of the moment while trying to reply to wozzablog, I also completely misunderstood "snark", thinking it was a cheap shot at my alias. I'm humbled by your cool headed response, and apologize to SFZ and anyone else I may have offended. My bad. I am indeed a newb at LGF and need to respect the fact.

Give it time- you'll find your place around here.

I have- and although I can drive some people around here nuts, I have never been made to feel 'persecuted'.

Like I said, these are a pretty good bunch of people, over all.

826 yasharki  Thu, Nov 4, 2010 10:21:33pm

re: #825 researchok

Thanks for understanding. I too believe LGF members/bloggers are good peoples (sic), otherwise I wouldn't have registered. It's like you said, it takes time to get situated and find one's place, meanwhile I should probably keep it on a dl :)

827 Bob Levin  Fri, Nov 5, 2010 2:13:19am

re: #701 Obdicut

How about we simply agree on a set of facts and definitions, and then begin to argue? All along we've had different scenarios in mind, and different definitions.

828 Bob Levin  Fri, Nov 5, 2010 2:25:32am

re: #759 ozbloke

The Germans were sadistic criminals. Is that what and who you have in mind doing the interrogations?

I'm thinking of professional, ethical interrogators working for the US military or intelligence organizations. I'm thinking these folks are in a situation where their options have just about run out, and if they do not get useful information, many people will die. And they very well might fail in this task.

829 Bob Levin  Fri, Nov 5, 2010 3:56:45am

re: #760 Obdicut

I was going through the thread, and finding that, for the most part, there isn't much disagreement. Briefly, a defense was made over waterboarding, but that didn't last long. It wasn't until comment 636 that any attempt was made to differentiate torture as a matter of policy from the other position, that in certain circumstances--which were never adequately defined--torture might be the right thing to do. And even then this was more of an acknowledgment of possibilities rather than an endorsement of torture.

Still, there were several unspoken ideas on what was happening during the torture. Some visualized Nazis inflicting unbearable pain for hours and days on end, while others were focused more on exerting pressure for one man to answer one question. No one thought that this method would definitively yield truth.

But I do not understand how you can possibly say that bombing the concentration camps would have lead to more victims of Nazi crimes. The reason the camps were built in the first place was that other methods of killing, from the German analysis, were not very effective. The Nazis first tried lining up their victims and then machine gunning them down--only to have soldiers and commanders who carried out the orders, who gave the orders, go back to their barracks or tents and commit suicide.

There were also calculations done on the amount of ammunition it would take to kill everyone they considered undesirable. The Germans wanted to create a depersonalized way for mass murder that did not expend resources needed for other battles. The Germans were fighting in Russia, Africa, and eventually throughout Europe. And they were running short of all resources the longer they fought.

There is no question that bombing the camps would have greatly slowed the rate of murder.

830 Teh Flowah  Fri, Nov 5, 2010 6:20:42am

I'm not sure why people say that torture simply "doesn't work." Because of course it does. We've used it before, in WW2, tactics that would most definitely fall under "torture", to find Nazi war criminals, and those tactics worked. And of course there is potential for bad information, there /always/ is, whether you use torture or not.

I think if you're relying on "torture never works" you're being dogmatic about it, and unreasonably so. Of course, saying that torture can produce good information does NOT mean that one should use torture, non-torture methods could also potentially produce good information.

The ticking time bomb scenario is one that is abused by both sides. Pro-torture advocates use it to tug at one's emotions, and anti-torture advocates use it to describe what they consider an absurdity. But it is really only an absurdity because no one expects a NUCLEAR WEAPON to be within minutes of going off in an American city, with torture the only option. But perhaps something smaller? An IED? A car bomb? An ambush on a convoy? Who knows. Do you really consider all of these scenarios, which definitely have a time element to them, to be so far beyond the realm of possibility?

I would never actually advocate torture, but then I am not in any position of power. I can see the pressure if, as POTUS, I was told that there is imminent danger to thousands of Americans, and we've tried non-torture methods but getting nowhere. Not only do I not want to see Americans die, but I also worry how I will be blamed for those deaths if I did not resort to torturing an individual who is clearly not the most morally upright.

In my opinion, the United States should NEVER make torture a policy. It leads down a dark road. It is a slope entirely too slippery. However, if someone felt they had to, because they thought it was the only way to save lives, I can't say I don't understand their mentality. And if they are right, they should still face the consequences, and if they are wrong, moreso. But I suspect, if the were right, and made their case, the American public would find a way to forgive them.

Finally, I will say that some of these methods, such as secret prisons, secret renditions, kidnappings, and more, unsavory interrogation methods, have been employed by the Clinton administration. This is not a new phenomenon. What /is/ new, is the willingness to go public about it, giving an air of legitimacy to those tactics. In my opinion, that is almost more dangerous than using it. There is some benefit in paying lip service to the unacceptability of torture and going to lengths to give that appearance.

831 Romantic Heretic  Fri, Nov 5, 2010 6:22:44am

Bombing the camps would simply have helped the Nazis in their extermination.

The facilities actually used to conduct mass murder are easy to replace. The Nazis would have built shelters for the guards, and none for the prisoners.

That would have saved them a lot of problems. Hundreds of tons of explosives raining down on unprotected people would leave very few alive. Considering that the Nazis were not unimaginative I can see them building fake camps. Well, fake excepts for the prisoners, so that the Allies will do the Nazis killing for them.

No. The only way to get the Nazis to stop their mass murder was the way we did it. Go in and make them surrender.

832 harrylook  Fri, Nov 5, 2010 7:11:43am

re: #59 engineer dog

perhaps you meant to say 'unconstitutional' or something. you should read up on stalin, i think. so should the 8 people who up-dinged you for your ridiculous comment.

833 goddamnedfrank  Fri, Nov 5, 2010 7:38:22am

re: #830 Teh Flowah

I'm not sure why people say that torture simply "doesn't work." Because of course it does. We've used it before, in WW2, tactics that would most definitely fall under "torture", to find Nazi war criminals, and those tactics worked.

This is a blantant, greasy, slanderous lie:

Back then, they and their commanders wrestled with the morality of bugging prisoners' cells with listening devices. They felt bad about censoring letters. They took prisoners out for steak dinners to soften them up. They played games with them.

"We got more information out of a German general with a game of chess or Ping-Pong than they do today, with their torture," said Henry Kolm, 90, an MIT physicist who had been assigned to play chess in Germany with Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess.

Blunt criticism of modern enemy interrogations was a common refrain at the ceremonies held beside the Potomac River near Alexandria. Across the river, President Bush defended his administration's methods of detaining and questioning terrorism suspects during an Oval Office appearance.

Several of the veterans, all men in their 80s and 90s, denounced the controversial techniques. And when the time came for them to accept honors from the Army's Freedom Team Salute, one veteran refused, citing his opposition to the war in Iraq and procedures that have been used at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

"I feel like the military is using us to say, 'We did spooky stuff then, so it's okay to do it now,' " said Arno Mayer, 81, a professor of European history at Princeton University.

You should be ashamed of yourself, our WWII interrogators were professionals with dignity, honor and integrity. These appear to be completely foreign concepts to you.

834 Romantic Heretic  Fri, Nov 5, 2010 7:51:13am

re: #120 Gus 802

And in another movie, the American prisoners are tortured for years and never spill their guts! Some of them even die then tell their captors what they want to hear!

//

It's happened.

Oh wait. He was French.

835 Steve Dutch  Fri, Nov 5, 2010 7:59:28am

I recall discussing this years ago in school, with the scenario being the police torturing a kidnapper to reveal the whereabouts of a kidnap victim. You can say he's found with the victim's effects, so he's the right guy, or at least knows who is. And you can check the veracity of what he says by going to the location he reveals, so false information is not an issue. I can assure you if someone dear to me were kidnapped, was in imminent danger, and I got there ahead of the police, I would be most creative. SOA doesn't have a clue.

We discussed this secure in the knowledge it was all hypothetical, meaning we could take a stand without worrying if the situation would actually arise. Now it's not so hypothetical.

The Washington quote in 809 is out of context. Washington is talking about gratuitous abuse of prisoners who are no longer a threat. If he'd caught a French soldier who could have warned of the ambush on Braddock's army in 1755, who knows?

I'm pleased that the discussion has gotten more rational, since of the first 300 or so posts, I'd say at most a few dozen avoided invective and were rational.

I think we can state a few principles. First, all punishment is cruel, by definition. It's deliberate, calculated infliction of unpleasantness (physical, psychological, or financial) on someone. If it weren't cruel, it wouldn't be punishment. That's why Monty Python's skit about the Spanish Inquisition is so funny ("the comfy chair!") So arguing that something is wrong because it's cruel is ridiculous.

Second, deliberate infliction of pain for a greater good is sometimes just, even mandatory. Think of taking a small child with bad teeth to the dentist or for a tetanus shot. Or a sniper taking out someone holding hostages.

We can confidently say that gratuitous abuse for sadistic reasons or vengeance is completely wrong.

Also, making it a matter of policy is a disaster. You can bet that if Sweden were seriously under siege, they would publicly denounce torture but practice it secretly. Hint: Google "Johann Patkul."

As for anything else, the morality has to be weighed by any other just war criteria: whether the harm to innocents outweighs the harm to the guilty. So torturing a whole village to find one guy who knows about an ambush that might kill half a dozen soldiers is outside the pale. If you capture someone with weapons or documents, then it's a whole other story. Even if he's not directly involved, he knows who is.

I seriously doubt that most of the people being tortured are random victims just hauled in off the street. Most, despite what they may later say in public, were captured with evidence implicating them in terrorism. The guy may tell you he's just a shopkeeper, and he may actually be a shopkeeper, but he doesn't bother to say he was captured in a firefight. And there are myriad ways of checking whether the information is valid. That's why interrogations are lengthy and repeated - to cross check.

But one question, which I seriously doubt will be answered coherently, is this: If it's okay to denounce torture as absolutely wrong in all times and places, what's your grounds for condemning other people who say the same things about abortion or homosexuality? And if you're going to fall back on other principles, what's your proof that those principles are valid? If ultimately all you have is your own personal sentiment, why should anyone else take you seriously? If there are real objective moral laws, we have to be prepared for the possibility that some things we abhor might be moral and some things we like might be abhorrent.

836 Teh Flowah  Fri, Nov 5, 2010 11:02:18am

re: #833 goddamnedfrank

Actually.. it's not?

[Link: en.wikipedia.org...]

They threatened his wife with the deportation of her sons to the Soviet Union. And she knew exactly what that meant. That is torture under the definition of torture we use today.

837 Charles Johnson  Fri, Nov 5, 2010 11:31:59am

re: #835 SteveDutch

But one question, which I seriously doubt will be answered coherently, is this: If it's okay to denounce torture as absolutely wrong in all times and places, what's your grounds for condemning other people who say the same things about abortion or homosexuality?

Are you kidding?

You really don't see the difference between condemning torture and condemning people for their sexual orientation?

Good grief.

838 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Fri, Nov 5, 2010 4:16:47pm

re: #821 yasharki

So, should I bow down to him regardless of what he says?

Don't call someone who is likely vastly smarter than you stupid.

Also, SFZ is a she.


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