Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Enhanced Interrogation's in the Charts Again

I'm getting tired of the "debate" on torture. So many people, especially on the left, see this issue in black and white terms, and the leftists are particularly bothersome as they don't really care about the nuance of enhanced interrogation in the war on terror, because, frankly, they think we had it coming on 9/11.

Thankfully, Rick Moran - always a perceptive commentator - recently offered a clear interpretation of some of the issues surrounding torture, where he basically questioned the propriety of maintaining an absolute prohibition on torture:
There is no other issue in my lifetime except Vietnam that has elicited such passion in both defenders and detractors. At least with Vietnam there was, if not a middle ground, a gradation of opinion about our involvement and its legality. No such wiggle room exists on the torture issue. You either excuse it or condemn it. You either see the administration as blameless, trying to elicit information that would save us from another terrorist attack, or you believe war crimes have been committed in our name. Perhaps you see the application of torture as a matter of indifference or even justified during war time. Maybe you view the “enhanced interrogation techniques” as falling short of torture. Or maybe you believe that only a full investigation into detainee treatment followed by war crimes trials is the way to redeem the American soul.

Added to the opinion war now is
a report issued (PDF required) by the Senate Armed Services Committee regarding the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody. Even for those familiar with most of the details regarding Bush administration decisions about “enhanced interrogation” techniques, there is some new information as well as confirmation of the involvement of certain administration officials that directly implicates them in violations of U.S. law.
Read the whole thing, here. Moran's key insight at the passage is to suggest that perhaps there's some middle ground on the issue. As you may have noticed, he cites the Levin report, the "Senate Armed Services Committee Inquiry Into the Treatment of Detainees in U.S. Custody," available on PDF (here).

The Wall Street Journal argued last week that the issuance of the report was just a "formality," as the Bush administration's guilt has long ago been decided in left's Star Chamber of public opinion. But this passage on "the torture narrative" is worth citing at length:

Nearly every element of this narrative is dishonest. As officials testified during Mr. Levin's hearings and according to documents in his possession, senior officials were responding to requests from the CIA and other commanders in the field. The flow was bottom up, not top down. Those commanders were seeking guidance on what kind of interrogation was permissible as they tried to elicit information from enemies who want to murder civilians. At the time, no less than Barack Obama's Attorney General nominee, Eric Holder, was saying that terrorists didn't qualify for Geneva protections.

This was the context in which the Justice Department wrote the so-called "torture memos" of 2002 and 2003. You'd never know from the Levin jeremiad that these are legal -- not policy -- documents. They are attempts not to dictate interrogation guidelines but to explore the legal limits of what the CIA might be able to do.

It would have been irresponsible for those charged with antiterror policy to do anything less. In a 2007 interview former CIA director George Tenet described the urgency of that post-9/11 period: "I've got reports of nuclear weapons in New York City, apartment buildings that are going to be blown up, planes that are going to fly into airports all over again . . . Plot lines that I don't know -- I don't know what's going on inside the United States." Actionable intelligence is the most effective weapon in the war on terror, which can potentially save thousands of lives.

We know that the most aggressive tactic ever authorized was waterboarding, which was used in only three cases against hardened, high-ranking al Qaeda operatives, including Abu Zubaydah after he was picked up in Pakistan in 2002. U.S. officials say the information he gave up foiled multiple terror plots and led to the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the architect of 9/11. As Dick Cheney told ABC this week, "There was a time there, three or four years ago, when about half of everything we knew about al Qaeda came from one source" -- KSM.

Starting in 2002, key Congressional leaders, including Democrats, were fully briefed by the CIA about its activities, amounting to some 30 sessions before "torture" became a public issue. None of them saw fit to object. In fact, Congress has always defined torture so vaguely as to ban only the most extreme acts and preserve legal loopholes. At least twice it has had opportunity to specifically ban waterboarding and be accountable after some future attack. Members declined.

As for "stress positions" allowed for a time by the Pentagon, such as hooding, sleep deprivation or exposure to heat and cold, they are psychological techniques designed to break a detainee, but light years away from actual torture. Perhaps the reason Mr. Levin released only an executive summary with its unsubstantiated charges of criminal behavior -- instead of the hundreds of pages of a full declassified version -- is that the evidence doesn't fit the story. If it did, Mr. Levin or his staff would surely have leaked the details.

Not one of the 12 nonpartisan investigations in recent years concluded that the Administration condoned or tolerated detainee abuse, while multiple courts martial have punished real offenders. None of the dozen or so Abu Ghraib trials and investigations have implicated higher ups; the most senior officer charged, a lieutenant colonel, was acquitted in 2006. Former Defense Secretary Jim Schlesinger's panel concluded that the abuses were sadistic behavior by the "night shift."

Now that Mr. Obama is on his way to the White House, even some Democrats are acknowledging the complicated security realities. Dianne Feinstein, a Bush critic who will chair the Senate Intelligence Committee in January, recently told the New York Times that extreme cases might call for flexibility. "I think that you have to use the noncoercive standard to the greatest extent possible," she said (our emphasis). Ms. Feinstein later put out a statement that all interrogations should be conducted within the more specific limits of the U.S. Army Field Manual but said she will "consider" other views. But that is already the law for most of the government. What the Bush Administration has insisted on is an exception for the CIA to use other techniques (not waterboarding) in extreme cases.

As for Mr. Levin, his real purpose is to lay the groundwork for war-crimes prosecutions of Bush officials like John Yoo, Jay Bybee and Jim Haynes who acted in good faith to keep the country safe within the confines of the law. Messrs. Obama and Holder would be foolish to spend their political capital on revenge, but Mr. Levin is demanding an "independent" commission to further politicize the issue and smear decent public servants.

As Mr. Levin put it in laying on his innuendo this week, a commission "may or may not lead to indictments or civil action." It will also encourage some grandstanding foreign prosecutor to arrest Mr. Rumsfeld and other Bush officials like Pinochet if they ever dare to leave the U.S. Why John McCain endorsed this Levin gambit is the kind of mystery that has defined, and damaged, his career. We hope other Republicans push back.

Mr. Levin claims that Bush interrogation programs "damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives." The truth is closer to the opposite. The second-guessing of Democrats is likely to lead to a risk-averse mindset at the CIA and elsewhere that compromises the ability of terror fighters to break the next KSM. The political winds always shift, but terrorists are as dangerous as ever.
Keep all of this in mind as you see the left ratchet-up its push for war crimes prosecutions in the weeks ahead. Vice-President Cheney's interview, not surprisingly, has been interpreted as fresh evidence against the "evil BushCo regime" among American antiwar communists. Democracy Now! has a new post up highlighting Representative Jerrold Nadler's call for for an independent counsel to investigate the administration, with quotations from Cheney's interview. But don't delay ... folks should go straight to Jonathan Karl's interview with Cheney at ABC News and read the facts for themselves. Not only has the U.S. violated no laws in domestic civil liberties, the international rights activists are using the outcry against American "human rights violations" as a nihilist cudgel to build the internationalization of law and the delegitimation of American great power sovereignty.

But note too: Even if we were to agree that rogue actions by aggressive U.S. service personnel were to fit the left's definition of torture, we must consider whether it's in America's national interest to condone and enforce an absolute prohibition against such practices. People must realize that there are circumstances in internationl life - times when a great many lives are placed at risk - when the question of enhanced interrogation efforts take on existential proportions. Why would any nation sacrifice its national survival, not to mention the protection of human life from the potentialities of enormous terrorist evil, when institutional structures are in place, and the bureaucratic regimes are capable, of establishing decision rules and procedures to regulate and legitimize the very procedures that are now being used to protect the homeland from the kind of destruction this country witnessed in 2001? To accept an absolute prohibition on such measures - which at this point have not been defined categorically as "torture" - would be to empower the antiwar forces who are de facto allies of America's most implacable enemies around the world.

This is the question that Barack Obama must consider upon taking office. People should get this straight in their minds right now: There will not be war crimes prosecutions against top-ranking members of the Bush administration. Even enthusiastic advocates of legal recourse against the administration realize that prosecutions are legally and political impossible (see Scott Horton, "
Justice after Bush: Prosecuting an Outlaw Administration").

What we should see for the next phase of the U.S. terror war is how the new Democratic administration can implement an effective domestic regime of enhanced interrogation short of an exclusive resort to rendition of terror suspects to allied nations overseas. How this can be done is legalistically complicated. But whether it shoud be done is now only a matter of debate among the hard-left antiwar contingents. If Barack Obama's defense and foreign policy appointments are so far any clue, we may very well see the consolidation of the vigorous tactics of intelligence gathering under the Democratic policy establishment in 2009.

26 comments:

dave in boca said...

The Fifth [or whatever] International's commissars began their campaign against vigorous interrogation and renditions before the Petraeus "surge" began the final phase of the war, the Victory Phase.

Now the ACLU and other communist organs are doing a mop-up operation to keep the victory out of the news cycle and keep the propaganda line working against American interests.

This campaign mirrors Plamegate, mostly smoke and mirrors, and would never have happened had a Democrat done exactly the same thing, which a BJC or LBJ would have done in a heartbeat [though bleating lambie-poo James Earl would have demurred from any testoserone-based activities trying to actually win the war and stop the terrorists].

Anonymous said...

For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God, and all professors for God's sake. We shall shame the faces of many of God's worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whither we are going.


How do you inhabit a shining city upon a hill while torturing people?

But then, I suppose Winthrop was a weak-kneed liberal who believed in the politics of soft power. Neocons have written that out of the playbook, haven't they?

And, it's despicable whether it's endorsed by a Republican or a Democrat.


Dave, Jimmy Carter is the one who began arming the mujahadeen in their battle against the Russians. We can argue the wisdom of that. We can argue whether it gave him a stiffy as you seem to feel a president should get from defense of the nation.

Carter also brought a detente between Egypt and Israel. Would you like to enlighten me as to any comparable accomplishments by the Bush administration?

Rich Casebolt said...

DLB, you don't engender the same kind of admiration when that hilltop city is dominated by cemeteries.

As long as you and your fellow-travelers continue to (conveniently, WRT smearing the current Administration) define "torture" down to anything stronger than three-halal-hots-and-a-cot, you are not furthering the cause of sustainable peace ... but you are shredding the Geneva Conventions.

Applying Miranda rights and the Exclusionary Rule are not the proper response to acts of war ... and applying them to enemy combatants who violate the Conventions' standards on combatant conduct is a misapplication of those protections, as well.

To such as these, anything more than summary execution (as spies) is fortunate for them.

And as for Carter ... did his actions PERMANENTLY remove from power one of the most brutal families in history, liberating 25 million people in the process, and end the exploitation of those people and their nation in an effort to create a high-tech, wealthy Afghanistan 2.0 with respect to supporting terrorism?

The problem with Mr. Carter (besides his proclivity for undermining those who protect life and liberty through misplaced idealism) is that his tenure as President did not produce even ONE decisive, irreversible positive outcome with respect to life and liberty ... but instead undermined progress in those areas with his vacillation.

Detente is NOT peace.

It is more like hudna, and can be reversed in short order ... either actively, or by passivity as others use your land to foment terrorism.

Egypt, for all its progress in this regard, remains an authoritarian nation, falling short of true rights-respecting governance ... and therefore is still fertile ground for growing terror.

When Egypt and other Arab nations stand up and eradicate groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Muslim Brotherhood, we will have a good start towards peace.

When they embrace rights-respecting governance, we will have peace from them.

Not before.

Jeff said...

Don – Great post. Enhanced interrogations are necessary under certain circumstances. The war crimes charges are going nowhere. This is just a show to appease the left. If we ban all forms of tough interrogation, which some on the left, and our enemies (in some cases the same thing) call "torture," then we will deny ourselves life saving information. That is just a cold fact.

Of course we are not addressing just what would we do to save the lives of thousands possible hundreds of thousands of people from a WMD attack? If we have a terrorist who can provide us valuable information that would stop a major WMD attack, what are willing to do? I guess some of the left would say, "We can't torture the terrorist for the information, even if it will save all those people. I’m sorry; those people will just have to pay the price that civilized people pay to have a nation of laws."

It makes one wonder just what the definition of "civilized" is at that point.

Obob said...

way off topic, but Merry Christmas

Grace Explosion said...

Rick Moran had an excellent article on torture that I read a few days ago. I don't know if he's changed his position, but he was clearly against torture and for the rule of law in the matter.

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/torture-a-matter-of-opinion-or-a-question-of-legality/

Maybe I didn't clearly understand his article or your response, Donald, but I really thought Rick Moran stood firmly against torture and was for lawful response to crimes against it... like he'd accept prosecution. Again, maybe I misunderstood something.

So, there's the link in case anyone wants to review his article.

Merry Christmas to all.

Grace.

Grace Explosion said...

For the record, I am completely 100% against all torture. It's illegal according to higher law and the heart of God and it's just plain wrong. If we don't want it done to our sons and daughters when they are arrested here in the USA and charged with a crime, how can we say we want it done to someone else's sons and daughters??

I think our own self-interest in demanding protection from terrorism is causing us to cross a moral line that we should step back away from. It's just wrong. I won't write more words... but we must have firm lines of right and wrong and not cross them ourselves on the basis of self-interest.

Again, Merry Christmas to all.

Grace.

Grace Explosion said...

OK, Sorry to "triple comment"... but I went back to read the Rick Moran article. Here was his summation:

" have given up trying to convince most of my conservative friends of the necessity of speaking out against what has transpired these last several years with regards to the approval of torture at the highest levels of our government. But I will continue to write about it because it is something about which I feel very strongly. I will not, as many liberals do, berate those of you who disagree with me. This is a matter of conscience. Each of us must examine our own beliefs, our own mind, and come to our own conclusions in this matter.

So in the end, while the issue is a legal one, where you stand is matter of opinion. One can dismiss the legal questions and file it under the rubric of justifiable actions taken by the chief executive during a time of war. We can try and sweep the entire matter under the rug, claiming there are more important issues to address like the economy and the continued prosecutions of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Or we can bite the bullet and risk the partisan political consequences that would surely flow if any attempt is made to investigate and prosecute lawbreakers. It may drive the two sides further apart — if it is done inexpertly and in a partisan manner. But we should risk the consequences if only to prove to ourselves that the number one reason to oppose what these men did in our name is that we are a better nation and a better people than that."

I thought Rick took a firm stand that what transpired was contrary to law and he wants to see a DOJ investigation of what transpired in the Bush administration in relation to unlawful torture. I just wanted to add the remarks for clarification.

Grace.

The Vegas Art Guy said...

Dr. D...

Do you ever sleep?

lol

Merry Christmas

R. Bosque said...

Merry Christmas Doc! Despite this crazy world at least we have REAL hope on this Holy Night. I'll e-mail you for lunch later!

cracker said...

Are you guys gonna rationalize torture?

excuse me, "enhanced interrogation"?

Dr.?....partisanship aside, and the joy of a Robust debate.

To do this, to depart from principal in times of crisis, and give torture a nod, is the indicator to our children that our national character is a sham.

This will permanently damage the United States of America, This will give a win to all terrorists. The enemy succeded. The war of principal is over......its all just killing now.....

Our "power" is not in our Military.

Our "power" is in proof of the American ideology EVEN in times of crisis and fearfullness.

In my view, to not condemn this "enhanced interrogation" as an American, to not demand accountability.....is to betray our(God given) responsibility to be the "city on the hill" and instead contribute to the "death rattle" of American Exceptionalim.

We are now "down there" with the rest of em. We blew it.

And the clock has begun ticking.

Its not accepting Gay Marriage that will be our un-doing , its the acceptance Torture.

TRUTH 101 said...

In all my travels throughout the web, I have neve rcome acroos anybody more full of crap than Mr. casebolt. Everything you write is an excersise in hypocrisy. For you to belittle Carter's record is an excellent example of your right wing silliness. The only lasting peace was negotiated by Carter. To attempt to belittle that accomplishmnet by somehow insinuating the Iraq war and Afghanistan made the mideast a better place to live is outright bullsh%t Rich.
You are correct that when the nations of the mideast rise up to defeat those that have hijacked Islam and use terrorism then peace will prevail. But it is not our job to invade and tell them peace or else. All we do with that approach is create more terrorists and insurgents. No nation in the world will fault us for protecting our borders and our citizens Rich. They were all behind us after 911. Invading a country that was no threat ruined that. Torturing people makes it worse. Thank God we only have another month before the man in the White House that shares your deluded views is no longer president.
I still wish you, Grace, Professor Douglas and everyone else a merry, torture free Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Grace, good on you for taking a stand against torture. Apparently, my testosterone level and yours aren't high enough to inflict pain on potentially innocent civilians caught up in the war on terror.

I'm sure that apprehension of these individuals has been as error free as everything else has the last eight years.

But, of course, we're not torturing them anyway because it's only psychological and not physical.

Rich Casebolt said...

Crap?

Sounds like they don't like the smell of my ideas in the fever swamps of the Left, Professor ... and that has some of the same effect on me as waving red meat around has on a rottweiler.

I wonder if they can discern any Shinola placed among their store of ideas?

For you to belittle Carter's record is an excellent example of your right wing silliness. The only lasting peace was negotiated by Carter. To attempt to belittle that accomplishmnet by somehow insinuating the Iraq war and Afghanistan made the mideast a better place to live is outright bullsh%t Rich.

Tell me how peaceful Israel is today ... even if the government of Egypt harbors no ill will for Israel, its authoritarianism is fertile ground for terror that threatens both Israel and the rest of the world ... as opposed to Iraq today, which thanks to a President who didn't listen to you and your ilk and instead acted decisively, has become POISONED GROUND for terrorists.

You laud Carter for producing peace between Israel and Egypt ... even if my assertions above as to the value of that "peace" are in error, does progress there make up for the way his ineptitude and idealism uncorked the spring of Islamofascist terror via the Iranian Revolution ... and how he has undermined our PRODUCTIVE efforts in Iraq?

You are correct that when the nations of the mideast rise up to defeat those that have hijacked Islam and use terrorism then peace will prevail. But it is not our job to invade and tell them peace or else.

Why not? We have already waited for decades for them to figure it out ... and endured the WTC, Bali, London, Madrid, and Mumbai attacks, without seeing the dysfunctional nations of the Middle east making significant progress in suppressing terrorism on their own.

If free people have demonstrated what it takes to sustain peace, how many 911's are they supposed to endure so the dysfunctional nations of the world figure it out themselves?

If not us, who?

If not now, when?

This isn't the 1940's, when you could always see the war coming ... we live in a world that is far more interconnected now, and is dependent upon the very open interaction and freedom-of-movement that terrorists exploit in their attempts to foment political change at the tip of a scimitar.

The lack of confidence in the UNIVERSAL principles this nation was founded upon ... i.e. that life and liberty are unalienable and therefore need to be proactively defended everywhere ... on the part of the Leftist/"realist" community has diminished freedom and peace worldwide.

Conversely, when that community was ignored by our leaders, and we stood up and ACTED decisively to defend those principles, for ourselves and others, we saw far greater strides in liberating people and establishing sustainable peace than anything Mr. Carter midwifed.

As I always say, the real peace song of our time is not Kumbiyah ... it is Yippie-Ky-Ay-A!

All we do with that approach is create more terrorists and insurgents.

Wrong. See my statement on Iraq above ... it is no longer a net creator of terrorists. It is instead killing them as they are found, with the help of the Iraqi people at all levels.

That is because we removed the terrorist enablers from their leadership, then stood with them to defeat those who tried to come in from outside and fill that vacuum.

No nation in the world will fault us for protecting our borders and our citizens Rich. They were all behind us after 911. Invading a country that was no threat ruined that.

Typical Leftist boilerplate ... you're not living up to your name here.

T101 ... tell me how Iraq under Saddam was any different than Afghanistan under the Taliban, except for the secular vs. sectarian difference in ideological motivations?

In fact, with its wealth and level of technical advancement, Iraq under Saddam was a greater threat to the peace than Afghanistan was in the long term. Your stereotypical Leftist take on the two situations smacks of the simplistic playground justice that is characteristic of that side of the aisle, instead of a mature assessment of the threats posed.

We didn't lose the respect of the unwilling, T101, for we never really had it to begin with ... for mired in that conventional wisdom, they lacked the discernment to make the informed choice to grant such respect ... instead resorting to the same declaration of the playground rules ("DON'T HIT UNLESS HIT FIRST!") that you have.

They lacked the discernment to see that taking down Saddam WAS protecting our borders and our citizens, in an age when the storm clouds of war have been supplanted by bolts of terror from the blue.

They saw "imperialism", when they should have seen liberation, instead.

Torturing people makes it worse.

As I said to DLB earlier, the problem is in how y'all define torture down. For a bunch that loves to cite the Geneva Conventions, you sure treat them with disrespect when you can't discern the difference between POWs, civilian noncombatants, and enemy combatants.

Thank God we only have another month before the man in the White House that shares your deluded views is no longer president.

Actually, is you who are among the deluded ... mired in the conventional wisdom of the last century, that placed excessive restraints on the checked-and-balanced power of rights-respecting nations, while granting those who do not respect life and liberty moral equivalence to the rights-respecting.

Fortunately, the President-elect has shown signs that he is backing away from your conventional wisdom. The more he does that ... the more he will avoid repeating the history of the last four decades or so, when that conventional wisdom led to delusions of peacemaking on the part of even prudent leaders, and let the threats grow to the levels seen today.

I echo your call for a joyous celebration of Christmas ... and also will assert that we can do so in part because we had a decisive leader in the White House in these last seven-plus years.

May his successor continue to move away from the conventional wisdom, and more towards the true wisdom that was implemented by Mr. Bush.

Jeff said...

Grace and Cracker - I can assume you'd let a whole city go up in fire and have possibly hundreds of thousands of innocent people killed rather than torture one terrorist. As the proliferation of WMDs becomes a very series problem this is a very real scenario down the road. The torture debate is a very tough debate and those against it seem not to be able to grasp the possible situation we could face. If your answer is “yes,” that you'd let a whole city go up in flames in order to protect the rights of one terrorist, then I'd say your truly a very principled person and yet a moral coward for allowing such an absolutist position to cause the horrific death on thousands of innocent men, women and children. Moral absolutes are for the class room. Real life and death situations do not offer us such sanitized and easy choices. I respect people like you both, but your also people who must never ever be in charge of protecting people.

To conclude, I agree torture is morally reprehensible and should remain illegal. But faced with a catastrophic situation, I am no absolutist. Torture is wrong, but not always.

Ema Nymton said...

.

Smoke'em if you got'em. You seem to be whistling past the grave yard at mid-night.

Your arrogant stance notwithstanding, it is the law. Torture is a crime!

(Your trying to blame "...rogue actions by aggressive U.S. service personnel ..." is an utter betrayal of the honest service members placed in a criminal situation by the top most government leaders (SHAME shame on you!!))

Up hold the Constitution of the US! Political consideration _must_ not be allowed to undermine the rule of law, no matter how loud (your pals of the RW) war criminals try to squirm away from their responsibilities. The law requires the incoming administration to face these issues.

Remember this- all the rights you and your RW pals have been willing to give your current president are going to be passed to the next one. Your not standing up to protect your rights over the past eight years, will make it impossible to whine about losing your rights over the next four/eight years!

Happy Winter Solstice all.

.

TRUTH 101 said...

I see you adhere to the Professor's strategy of typing as many paragraghs as possible in the hope that some other deluded fool like you will think you know what you're talking about Mr. Casebolt. You could have saved your keyboard alot of wear and tear by just typing that you endorse torture and think that anyone who disagrees with you is a leftist.
Rich: what you and the rest of your right wing ilk refuse to accept is that your approach to everything is a failure. You called for less regulation. We have a financial system in shambles. When Shinseki called for more Troops to ensure a successful occupation of Iraq, your boy Rumsfeld called for less. What our Great Country needs is LESS deluded right wing fools making decisions that make our Nation less safe. That make the missions our Brave Troops are asked to perform impossible.
Thank God our Nation saw fit to vote the Republicans out of power. Sit back and be miserable while our Nation starts back on the road to prosperity under the leadership of Barack Obama if that gives you pleasure Rich. Despite our differences, I still wish you a merry, torture free Christmas.

cracker said...

{Whispering}
Pssst.....Hey Jeff

This statement you made

"To conclude, I agree torture is morally reprehensible and should remain illegal. But faced with a catastrophic situation, I am no absolutist. Torture is wrong, but not always."

Is,.... to use your terms,... moral cowardice


Merry Christmas my man, Merry Christmas

Philippe Ohlund said...

No Donald, it is never acceptable to torture people.

Donald, you say: "I'm getting tired of the 'debate' on torture".

Come on, Donald!

You are too smart to advocate torture.

Torture is against our laws and religious beliefs.

I have a law degree myself, and I know you will not find a decent attorney or lawyer who advocates torture.

If we start to torture people who are threats to America's, Chinas's, Europe's, Israel's, or Russia's security, then we will create a lawless world.

We humans are created in the image of God.

We should build up one another, not hurt one another.

And America should always be an example for the world to follow.

If society is under an orchestrated attack, then war is the option to use.

But torture, no!

Anonymous said...

Philippe, I'm going to get you in trouble here by saying, "great comment." I apologize for that and for underestimating you. You and Grace are true Christians. I may not agree with all of your beliefs, but it is hard for anyone to argue with, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." And good for both of you for standing up for that.

I hope the new year brings you success in your new ventures.

Philippe Ohlund said...

Thanks, DLB! :-)

There's no need to apologize.

Enjoy your holidays, and I wish you all the best!

Rich Casebolt said...

Rich: what you and the rest of your right wing ilk refuse to accept is that your approach to everything is a failure.

Way too simplistic, T101.

And BTW, the length of my post was in direct proportion to the drivel you produced ... just like this one. That is the nature of a Fisking.

You called for less regulation. We have a financial system in shambles.

WRONG. Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain both called for more regulation on the financial industry, on multiple occasions. It was your Dimocrat buddies in Congress who were whistling past the graveyard, like the influence-peddling political weasels they are.

Conservatives aren't against prudent regulation ... what we stand against is the Left's insistence on applying either the hammer of Federal government regulation, or the grease of Federal government money, to EVERY problem ... in accordance with the Biggest Lie of All:

All you have to do, is show up for work ... we'll make sure OTHERS take care of the other aspects of your socioeconomic life.

I don't have a problem with government "referees" regulating the playing field ... but what you and your ilk seek is to impose so many rules (in the name of your simplistic, playground sense of "fairness") that the honest (and often, best) players are tied down like Gulliver ... and/or for these referees to also hold the coach's clipboard, even though many of them have never even played the game for real.

That is why the Dimocrats are willing to entertain an automaker bailout, for example ... they see it as a chance to force the application of their watermelon ideology down our throats, "for our own good".

When Shinseki called for more Troops to ensure a successful occupation of Iraq, your boy Rumsfeld called for less.

TRUE, BUT STILL WRONG. What Shinseki called for was effectively the invocation of the Powell Doctrine ... troop numbers which would have instead reinforced the "Imperialist Crusader" propaganda of our enemies ... provided them with more targets to shoot at ... while, in the absence of the ultimate answer, the change to the clear-hold-build strategy that led to the Awakenings and made the Surge successful, would have done NOTHING to earn the trust of the Iraqi people, and very little to increase the peace.

The true error made by Bush, Rumsfeld et. al. was not to reject the advice of Shinseki ... the true error was to fight this war, from the time that statue fell to the time the Ready First implemented clear-hold-build in Ramadi in 2006, as if they were walking on eggs, trying to avoid any bad press while keeping one eye peeled for an exit ... a "minimal footprint" approach that proved almost as wrong as applying the Powell Doctrine, executed in response to media/international/domestic critics like you.

However, critics like you were at least as wrong then as Mr. Bush was ... for the two extremes -- the Powell Doctrine, or withdrawal -- are all the Left, from Mr Obama to yourself, have offered as alternatives to the policies of the Administration. Where was the CONSTRUCTIVE criticism from y'all, criticism not prefaced with the words "quagmire" "war for oil", or "impeach"?

When did YOU call for the right answer ... the PROVEN right answer ... clear-hold-build?

What our Great Country needs is LESS deluded right wing fools making decisions that make our Nation less safe.

WRONG ... for it is the alternatives to those "deluded right wing fools" that facilitated our present situation, and have CONSISTENTLY supported the wrong approaches with respect to the facilitation of sustainable peace.

It is y'all who kept demanding that we defer to an international community that does not fully respect those "self-evident truths" this nation was founded upon, but instead slavishly worship the Best and Brightest as you on the Left do ... that is, when they are not working behind the scenes to lift themselves up at America's expense.

It is y'all who kept telling our leaders that proactive confrontation of totalitarian evil equates to imperialism ... and when you were listened to, these enemies have had the chance to grow stronger and bolder, as we have now seen.

OTOH, whenever our leaders ignore you and confront these enemies in a direct, timely, resolute, and decisive manner, these enemies are set back and eventually DEFEATED ... and the conditions for a sustainable peace are created and/or reinforced.

Consistently so, as shown by history.

That make the missions our Brave Troops are asked to perform impossible.

The Awakenings and the Surge have proven you WRONG here, as well. Our warfighters have carried out their missions -- and more -- with distinction, whenever and wherever they were allowed to do so.

In fact, it is the policies you advocate that place our troops at a greater risk ... for you either advocate "kicking the can" down the road for a future President to deal with -- and allowing our enemies to grow stronger in the interim ... or, when we do fight, work to see us stop short of decisive victory -- all but assuring that our warfighters will have to go back and retake the same ground in the future.

Thank God our Nation saw fit to vote the Republicans out of power. Sit back and be miserable while our Nation starts back on the road to prosperity under the leadership of Barack Obama.

Acutally, what will pave that road to prosperity is more and more ordinary Americans rejecting the Left's Biggest Lie of All, and instead taking personal responsibility once again for prudent socioeconomic decisions.

And mark my words ... any lasting progress Mr. Obama facilitates as President with regards to prosperity and peace will be proportional to how much he deviates from the Dimocrat party line, and embraces conservative principles.

He already is showing significant deviations from the Dimocrat campaign rhetoric ... and looking more like a principled Democrat than the darling of the Left y'all thought you supported.

I will give Mr. Obama credit for any progress he facilitates ... but it will be an objective definition of progress that is used, not the playground definitions of you and your ilk, T101.

I will only be miserable, if misery is imposed in objective terms ... however, as I have seen in a half-century of living, misery will ensue if he listens to the likes of you and your "progressive" fellow-travelers, for he will be Carter 2.0 in that case.

Been there, experienced that.

TRUTH 101 said...

Congratulations Rich. You are on the road to enlightenment. Your post reluctantly agrees with me on everything from Shinseki to regulation. I certainly understand your need to type 10,000 word manifestos Buddy. We all have an image to maintain. I'll have the good professor lined out soon enough. Then he will be forced by integrity to change the name of his site to "American Power To The People."

Rich Casebolt said...

T101 ... my path hasn't changed.

Even before Rummy was replaced, I called for changing our strategy to what I call "precision-guided ruthlessness"; i.e. treating Iraqis who did not take up arms against us or their brethren as No Better Friends; while treating those who did take up arms ... especially against the innocent ... as No Worse Enemy.

Clear-hold-build embodies that philosophy to a high degree.

However, I still respect SECDEF Rumsfeld, along with the rest of the Bush Administration, for standing firm in the face of those who demanded the implementation of a far greater error ... a Vietnamesque withdrawal once things got tough. And when you look at history, the errors they made are par for the course when it comes to warfare.

In fact, by pressing to decisive victory without succumbing to the temptation to grind the innocent to powder in the process (as in places like Dresden and Tokyo), the case can be made that this Administration has improved on the past.

When their critics acknowledge the errors of their own INACTION and navel-gazing, in terms of avoidable loss of life and avoidable breach of the peace, it is they who will be on the path to enlightenment.

Ema Nymton said...

.

?""precision-guided ruthlessness";?"

Of all the nonsense. One will not lie oneself to the truth.

You are willing to become, have become and are trying to make USA worse than those you fight. Your deranged lawless approach has resulted in the total abrogation of everything USA once said USA stood for.

Can you name two things Saddam was accused of that USA has not done?? USA has turned itself against its own laws and against international law; and for what?

Torture is a crime! Those who permit it to be carried out are also guilty of breaking the law.

The incoming administration must make USA a country of laws again. The rule of law has to be reinstated. A complete and open legal investigation and (when needed) prosecution of accused criminal behavior must be carried out.

.

CS said...

Phillippe, I am glad you and I agree on something. That, it is reprehensible to torture people under any circumstances.

Unfortunately there are degenerates that advocate this practice, as long as it is administered by "their" people.

They live by the principle of "if the saint does it, there's no guilt".

Pay close attention the use of phrases like, "ADVANCED INTERROGATION TECHNIQUE" ?

This is neo-con babble for nothing else but TORTURE. This type of word play is used rampantly in politics and policy making in order to confuse decision making and implementing processes and to maintain ambiguity in the intentions of said policies.

Infact, a friend of mine wrote a masters thesis on this exact topic, specifically the usage of convoluted ambigiuous language to mask the real intentions and meanings of policy.