Patterico's Pontifications

2/13/2008

Scalia on Torture

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:36 am



A BBC article reports on Justice Scalia’s recent remarks on torture:

Justice Antonin Scalia told the BBC that “smacking someone in the face” could be justified if there was an imminent threat.

“You can’t come in smugly and with great self satisfaction and say ‘Oh it’s torture, and therefore it’s no good’,” he said in a rare interview.

He also accused Europe of being self-righteous over the death penalty.

As regular readers know, I share Scalia’s disdain for the smug self-satisfaction of torture opponents on this issue. I oppose torture in all but the most extreme situations, and urge supporters to recognize the downsides, as I discussed yesterday. But the moral — and as Scalia makes clear, legal — framework used to examine the issue should not a pure black and white analysis, unless your priority is to assume the mantle of self-righteousness.

In the interview with the Law in Action programme on BBC Radio 4, he said it was “extraordinary” to assume that the ban on “cruel and unusual punishment” – the US Constitution’s Eighth Amendment – also applied to “so-called” torture.

Is it really so easy to determine that smacking someone in the face to determine where he has hidden the bomb that is about to blow up Los Angeles is prohibited in the constitution?

“To begin with the constitution… is referring to punishment for crime. And, for example, incarcerating someone indefinitely would certainly be cruel and unusual punishment for a crime.”

Justice Scalia argued that courts could take stronger measures when a witness refused to answer questions.

“I suppose it’s the same thing about so-called torture. Is it really so easy to determine that smacking someone in the face to determine where he has hidden the bomb that is about to blow up Los Angeles is prohibited in the constitution?” he asked.

“It would be absurd to say you couldn’t do that. And once you acknowledge that, we’re into a different game.

“How close does the threat have to be? And how severe can the infliction of pain be?”

Jan Crawford Greenburg says there may be a Due Process issue:

“Is it really so easy to determine that smacking someone in the face to find out where he has hidden the bomb that is about to blow up Los Angeles is prohibited by the Constitution? Because smacking someone in the face would violate the 8th Amendment in the prison context. You can’t go around smacking people about,” Scalia said. “Is it obvious that what can’t be done for punishment can’t be done to exact information that is crucial to society? It’s not at all an easy question, to tell you the truth.”

It may be a violation of Due Process, but Scalia wasn’t asked about that.

True, but I think Scalia’s analysis would be similar. Due Process violations are measured by what shocks the conscience. Does it shock the conscience to smack someone if you’ll save a city? Of course not.

Of course, what shocks the conscience is in the eye of the beholder. Some conservatives would gleefully see literally any torture applied to a mere suspected terrorists. If he turns out to be innocent, and his body was eaten slowly by ants, so be it.

Meanwhile, some liberals are appalled if we’re mean to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Even if we hadn’t waterboarded him, their conscience would be shocked by smacking him in the face. These sorts of cartoon liberals exist — and they consider me a worse enemy than KSM, for suggesting that physical coercion could ever be acceptable.

The reality is never as stark as Scalia posits, of course, which will inevitably lead torture opponents to claim he is trying to minimize the real issues. Not at all. He is just demonstrating that a balancing sort of analysis must occur.

None of this means that a confession obtained this way would be admissible, by the way. It’s possible to coerce an involuntary and inadmissible confession while acting in a way that doesn’t shock the conscience. So when you’re doing your weighing and balancing, realize that you could be throwing any admissible evidence down the drain. If you’re saving millions, it’s probably worth it. If you’re not saving anyone, then you might consider that the risks outweigh the benefits.

83 Responses to “Scalia on Torture”

  1. Good analysis marred by this paragraph
    Some conservatives would gleefully see literally any torture applied to a mere suspected terrorists. If he turns out to be innocent, and his body was eaten slowly by ants, so be it.

    Links? quotes?

    I would suggest that you should define torture before writing that sentence. It seems you’re excluding waterboarding (from the “eaten slowly by ants” part), and many of the people who say conservatives have no problem with torture are specifically calling waterboarding ‘torture’.

    I’ve never seen anybody on the right who’s not a loon call for indiscriminate torture, and when I’ve seen people write it they’re castigated by other conservatives.

    Veeshir (5f9b87)

  2. Scalia, and other opponents, are wussies who want it both ways. Does anyone seriously think that smacking someone in the face will yield plans to destroy Los Angeles? Hell, even in that wild fantasy of a show, “24”, Jack Bauer had to shoot people in the knee to get evidence. I have an equal amount of disdain for torture-supporters who pussyfoot about the issue as I do for those who automatically oppose any harsh measure in any situation.

    Mike (8e0e3b)

  3. It may be a violation of Due Process, but Scalia wasn’t asked about that

    Due Process? What process is due in these hypotheticals? I think one need to make one’s argument rather than just let that hang out there as a catch-all. That’s just lazy.

    j curtis (5d5cd7)

  4. Scott Jacobs was a pretty good example in patti’s hypothetical thread.

    joe (33ce8e)

  5. Scalia is just restating some of the obvious for the benefit of the uber righteous.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  6. A US Army officer was court martialed because he discharged a handgun next to a suspected terrorists head when they were trying to find out in a hurry whether an attack was imminent. I can’t find the link but it was in 2003. He gave the terrorist 30 seconds to tell them where his friends were, then fired the gun pointing away from the guy’s head. As I recall, he confessed but was drummed out for doing it. Very similar to the plot in “Rules of Engagement.”

    Mike K (6d4fc3)

  7. The officer was drummed out, not the terrorist.

    Mike K (f89cb3)

  8. I’m currently growing another thumb so I can give Scalia three thumbs up!

    Kevin (3efe14)

  9. “I oppose torture in all but the most extreme situations,”

    These arguments are so stale. And your smug assumptions have been shot down time and time again.
    So you want to make it legal under those circumstances. But who decides the circumstances? if a general in an opposing army is captured, should we be able to torture him to get information that could save thousands of lives?

    Sometimes, Pat, we just break the law because it’s the right thing to do, and afterwards we face the consequences: maybe jail, maybe a pardon. Sometimes, in the world of supermorallyseriousfantasy you even torture the baby to death And on your bloviating post daring liberals to be moral serious rather than morally righteous, you got your answer in comment #24 but the post kept going until comment #758!!

    Here’s the question Pat. Do we give our leaders the authority to choose to use torture when they in their supermoralseriousity think it’s the right thing to do, or do you simply make it taboo as it is, knowing that sometimes under extreme circumstances taboos will be broken. In a real ticking bomb scenario I would put a gun to the head of every member of the bomber’s family, and shoot them one by one until he talked, to save a million people. But the only reason you bring this shit up again and again is because you want to celebrate yourself and prove how you are so more more serious than the rest of us.

    You are not going to like this.

    On the demonstrable virtues of not caring if children die, on hardening your mind for war, and other things we can no longer avoid discussing.

    Beware that you are ready before you pass this seal.

    Let us begin with a debate between a peaceful, gentle soul, and me. The topic could be Israel’s war, or ours in Iraq, or — if they have the heart for it — the one to come.

    The gentle soul — how I respect her! — will begin by pointing out how many innocents have died in the recent wars, and especially the children, who are the most obviously innocent. She will point out figures for Iraq, for Afghanistan, for Lebanon, and ask: “How can you justify this? These poor children, who might have been good men, good women, lain in the cold earth?”

    We have all had the conversation that far, have we not? We are accustomed to reply: “But the enemy is the one that targets children. We try our best to avoid hurting children. That makes us better. Furthermore, the enemy hides himself among children. As a result, in spite of our best efforts, sometimes children die on the other side also. But again, it is not our fault — it is his fault. He endangers them.”

    She replies: “But how can you justify their deaths? Regardless of how hard you try, will you not kill them? Some of them? Should we not choose peace instead?”

    Let us consider that.

    What if we asked her, “Let us speculate that our enemy — say in Iran — seeks to kill our children. If we attack them to stop it, we may or may not kill any of their children — and we will do everything in our power to avoid it. If we do not, they certainly will kill ours. Should we attack them or not?”

    She will answer: “That is a false example. Nothing is certain, and it is said that hard cases make bad law.”

    “Fair enough,” we reply, “but where will you find the parent who will sacrifice her children for the possibility of keeping another parent’s child alive?”

    “It would be impossible,” she will agree, but add, “However, nothing is that certain.”

    “Then let us make it conditional,” I continue. “Let us say that there is the possibility we shall kill a child — but we shall do our best not to do so — and only the possibility that they will kill our child, but it is their aim. Now, should we try to stop them — though risking their child? Or should we refuse, and take the increased risk that they will succeed in their murder, since no one dares disrupt them?”

    “It is always wrong to take the risk of killing a child, whether we do it or they do,” she will say.

    “Why so?” I ask.

    “Because it endangers the innocent,” she replies.

    “If that is the reason,” I answer, “then you are wrong. It is best that we bomb without fear.”

    Her eyes grow wide. “You are mad,” she says.

    “Not so,” I answer. “Consider: when the enemy seeks to kill our child to motivate us to surrender to his will, is it not because he believes that the danger to the children will move our hearts?”

    “It is,” she must agree.

    “And when he hides among children,” I add, “why? Children do little to deflect artillery. Must it not be because he knows that we — we ourselves — fear for the children, even his children?”

    She nods, silently.

    “Then it is proven,” I say. “It is our love of these innocents that endangers them. If we did not care if children died, they would be in little danger.”

    “That cannot be,” she replies in anger.

    “But it is so,” I contest. “If we did not care if our children died, they would not be targets. There would be no reason to target them, because we would not be moved by their deaths.

    “If we did not care if their children died,” I add, “there would be no reason to clutter military emplacements with their presence. If it were not that we are horrified by the deaths of children, the enemy’s children would be clear of all places of battle — because they are, except for the fact that we love them, a hindrance.”

    She bites her lip.

    “Of course, we cannot cut out our hearts,” I tell her. “Nor should we — as we wish to remain men, and good men, rather than monsters. Yet it is our love that is the chief danger to the innocent now — to our own innocents, and theirs also.”

    “What do you suggest?” she demands of me. “If you will not hate children, if you assert that it is right to love them — but you say we cannot love them, without wrongfully endangering them — what can we do? Where is the right?”

    “It must be,” I tell her sadly, “Here: That we pursue war without thought of the children. That we do not turn aside from the death of the innocent, but push on to the conclusion, through all fearful fire. If we do that, the children will lose their value as hostages, and as targets: if we love them, we must harden our hearts against their loss. Ours and theirs.”

    “How can that be right?” she wonders.

    “It cannot be,” I must say. “Love should always rise, above war and fear and death. Love should always be first, and not last, in our hearts. It should never be that love brings wrong, and disdain brings right.

    “And yet,” I say, “It is. I have shown you that it is. That means we have moved into a time beyond human wisdom. We can no longer know the right. It is beyond us.

    “We can only do,” I must warn her, and you. “We can only do, and pray, that when we are done we may be forgiven.”

    Blackfive- ON THE VIRTUES OF KILLING CHILDREN.

    blah (cc959a)

  10. “Some conservatives would gleefully see literally any torture applied to a mere suspected terrorists. If he turns out to be innocent, and his body was eaten slowly by ants, so be it.

    Meanwhile, some liberals are appalled if we’re mean to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Even if we hadn’t waterboarded him, their conscience would be shocked by smacking him in the face.”

    Patterico, this verbiage is VERY unfair to the conservative position. The actual facts are that we did waterboard 3 individuals, one of whom is KSM, and two other high-ranking terrorists. You have presented the liberal position only slightly unfairly – we can’t be mean to them. But to say that the conservitive position is to stake them out on an ant-hill, and we are OK if some of them are actually innocent, is a long, long way from any serious conservative position.

    Mike S (d3f5fd)

  11. blah predictably deflects, deflects, deflects, while complaining about stale arguments.

    blah, your tactics are pretty damn stale. Can you stay on topic for a change?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  12. blah – What are you doing commenting today? You’re supposed to be in mourning because someone nailed another hevyweight from that benign social organization Hezbollah, blowed him right up.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  13. So you want to make it legal under those circumstances. But who decides the circumstances? if a general in an opposing army is captured, should we be able to torture him to get information that could save thousands of lives?

    That’s a bullshit line of reasoning. Military actions are covered by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. And military prisoners are covered under the Geneva Conventions. Obviously, Patterico is talking about something else. (Okay, maybe that’s obvious to people with more than three functioning brain cells.)

    Steverino (e00589)

  14. Patterico is talking about torture not only under the constitution but under law.

    This whole debate for you and Pat is a search for moral absolution.
    There’s no such thing; in the long run there’s only moral responsibility. You face your choices and the consequences or you don’t.

    blah (cc959a)

  15. Patterico is talking about torture not only under the constitution but under law.

    This whole debate for you and Pat is a search for moral absolution.

    You have no idea what my thoughts on torture or waterboarding are, so don’t presume to claim this post is about my need for anything.

    You made a stupid hypothetical, and I showed where it fell apart. Have the guts to own up to your shortcomings.

    Steverino (e00589)

  16. Eh Joe? An example of what?

    I’ve never suggested that some street punk who shoots a fellow dealer (or even a High School student) be beaten or have his nails ripped out to get him to confess, and I wouldn’t.

    But if that same street punk is picked up directly related to a terrorism bust (he’s in the apartment at the time, is in the same car, whatever), and there’s a better than fair chance he’s not a “wrong place/wrong time” victim, then I have no problems starting with sleep dep, bright lights, clod rooms, and loud showtunes 24/7.

    And I don’t think it should just be any pipe-swinger doing it. The CIA and other agencies have people trained for agressive interogation. Never said it SHOULD be just random guys doing it.

    If it comes to pass that they get a better idea that Street Punk A is in deeper than “I was just getting a ride, man”, Then you get the water and the board, and from there…

    Well, as I’ve said, when compared to the lives of innocent (relatively) civillians, I consider Terrorists to have given up their civil rights…

    Mass murder of the innocent isn’t exactly “civil”, you see…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  17. I was nauseated by blah quoting from Blackfive, since blah has demonstrated a complete inability to understand what Blackfive is talking about. Blah trying to handle someone’s carefully constructed thought is as encouraging was watching an 18 month old pick up a loaded pistol.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  18. Yup, SPQR, blah has no clue how jihadi terrorists have willfully and repeatedly broken the covenant of Sanctuary.

    What is the obvious difference between an enemy Prisoner of War, and an Unlawful Combatant? Suppose two of them were standing in a line-up. What one glaringly obvious thing sets them apart?

    That’s right! One is wearing a uniform, and the other isn’t.

    And why do soldiers wear uniforms?

    It certainly is not to protect the soldier. As a matter of fact, a soldier’s uniform is actually a big flashing neon arrow pointing to some kid that says to the enemy, SHOOT ME!

    And that’s one of the things a uniform is for. It makes the soldier into a target to be killed.

    Now if that’s all there was to it, you might say that the whole uniform thing is not such a groovy idea. BUT! What a uniform also does — the corollary to the whole idea of a uniformed person – is to say that if the individual wearing a uniform is a legitimate target, then the person standing next to him in civilian clothes is not.

    By wearing uniforms, soldiers differentiate themselves to the enemy. They assume additional risk in order to protect the civilian population. In other words, by identifying themselves as targets with their uniforms, the fighters provide a Sanctuary to the unarmed civilian population.

    And this Sanctuary is as old as human history. The first civilized people on Earth, these very same Iraqis, who had cities and agriculture and arts and letters when my ancestors were living in caves, wore uniforms as soldiers of Babylon. This is an ancient covenant, and willfully breaking it is unspeakably dishonorable.

    Now, imagine you are involved in street-to-street fighting…

    We should actually stop right here. No one can imagine street-to-street fighting. It is a refined horror that you have lived through or you have not, and all I can do with the full power of my imagination does not get to the shadow of it. Nevertheless, there are men who have peered around corners in Fallujah, and Hue, and Carentan and a hundred unknown places; places where the enemy’s rifle may be leveled inches away from your nose, awaiting the last split-second of your young life.

    Most of the time, you do not have time to think. A person jumps up from below a window three feet away. If he is wearing a grey tunic and a coal-scuttle helmet, it’s a Kraut and you let him have it before he kills you and your buddies. But what if he is wearing street clothes? What if he is smiling at you?

    For brutal soldiers – like the Nazis those of the far left accuse us of being precisely equal to – this is a moot point. The SS killed everything that moved. They executed prisoners in uniforms, partisans, hostages and children. They were animals.

    Our soldiers are civilized, compassionate and decent citizens doing a tough, horrible job. That means when they see someone who might be a civilian, they hesitate. That hesitation can and has killed them. And some people wonder why enemy soldiers without the honor and courage to wear a uniform are treated less than honorably after being captured by men full of courage and restraint.

    Worse – worse by far – than the artificial safety given to enemies not wearing a uniform is the additional horror such behavior will inevitably inflict upon their own civilian population.

    And it doesn’t hurt to point out – repeatedly – that the people they are putting at infinitely greater risk are supposedly the very people these so-called Muslim Warriors claim be trying to protect: their own women and children.

    Paul (bcc0a7)

  19. “Blah trying to handle someone’s carefully constructed thought”
    “The gentle soul — how I respect her!”

    My mother the gentle soul was a lawyer who would shove a baseball bat up your fucking ass if you ever spoke to her in such a condescending manner. Of all the self-aggrandizing moralizing pompous fucking jackassery. Frey where the fuck do you find these idiots?

    blah (cc959a)

  20. Ooooo, blah’s manning for a banning!

    Paul (bcc0a7)

  21. By the way, blah, if your mother was both a lawyer and a gente soul, I don’t think she would be committing such a violent lawbreaking act, since she would be well aware of the legal consequences.

    Paul (bcc0a7)

  22. Of all the self-aggrandizing moralizing pompous fucking jackassery.

    blah, look in a mirror.

    nk (616f8b)

  23. My mother the gentle soul was a lawyer who would shove a baseball bat up your fucking ass if you ever spoke to her in such a condescending manner. Of all the self-aggrandizing moralizing pompous fucking jackassery. Frey where the fuck do you find these idiots?

    Beginning now, I find *you* in my spam filter. Buh-bye.

    Patterico (4bda0b)

  24. And here I was so looking forward, Patterico, to having blah’s mother hunting me down for some street justice.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  25. He kisses his mom with that mouth?

    I mean, I swear a lot, but dayum…

    Who’s laying odds on him coming back?

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  26. OK, never mind. He’s gone, and I just deleted a mess of comments he left under a different IP — and other comments responding to him. Just forget he was here and move on.

    Patterico (4bda0b)

  27. Sorry Patterico – I couldn’t resist.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  28. Will do!

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  29. Patterico, I’d like to add another vote to the proposition that your characterization of the conservative position was pretty grossly unfair. If you had followed

    Some conservatives would gleefully see literally any torture applied to a mere suspected terrorists. If he turns out to be innocent, and his body was eaten slowly by ants, so be it.

    with something like

    Some liberals weep hysterically at the thought that a terrorist might miss a manicure appointment because he was picked up on his way to murder a busload of children.

    then both statements would have been obvious hyperbole. But with the contrast you drew, it is not at all clear that you don’t really believe what you wrote about “some conservatives”.

    I don’t believe that I’ve ever seen anyone other than an obvious kook (and probable troll) who had a more aggressive stand on torture than I do. Yet I’m far from gleeful at the prospect of torture. I very much feel the concern (allegedly held by the liberals*) that torture will become too easy and that innocent (or only slightly guilty) people will be tortured. But I think that the risk is unavoidable when we are faced with the level of violence that the terrorists have chosen to use. I compare torture to the death penalty: both are terrible tools that should be treated with utmost care. But I know that in the real world there are real situations that call for one or the other of these extreme responses.

    Oh, and I still don’t consider waterboarding to even be torture. But that’s another argument.

    * I’ll believe that liberals are really anti-torture and not merely anti-America-defending-itself when they start condemning the horrible things done by Stalin, Mao, Castro, the North Vietnamese communists, and the rest of their pantheon of grotesque people’s heroes.

    Doc Rampage (01f543)

  30. Patterico, this verbiage is VERY unfair to the conservative position. The actual facts are that we did waterboard 3 individuals, one of whom is KSM, and two other high-ranking terrorists. You have presented the liberal position only slightly unfairly – we can’t be mean to them. But to say that the conservitive position is to stake them out on an ant-hill, and we are OK if some of them are actually innocent, is a long, long way from any serious conservative position.

    Was I characterizing the conservative position?

    Or the position of “some” conservatives?

    Patterico (4bda0b)

  31. A legal question: Scalia seems to be saying that even the most torturous interrogation would not be unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment, which applies only to punishment, not interrogation. Is that how legal experts generally interpret the Eighth Amendment?

    Not Rhetorical (51b7e0)

  32. Not Rhetorical #1,

    Is that how legal experts generally interpret the Eighth Amendment?

    No. The Eighth Amendment applies both to pre-trial and post-trial treatment of a prisoner.

    I’m not convinced Scalia *said* what the BBC article says he said. For example this:

    “To begin with the constitution… is referring to punishment for crime. And, for example, incarcerating someone indefinitely would certainly be cruel and unusual punishment for a crime.”

    That’s a recent ruling from the EEC Court. It’s not American law. We incarcerate people “indefinitely” as punishment for a crime all the time.

    nk (616f8b)

  33. Patterico, the difference being that the vast majority of liberals are against being mean to terrorists while the vast majority of conservatives are not of the “torture em all, let God sort em out” school.
    See? You characterize the mainstream lefty position while characterizing the outlier, jackoff position of some conservatives.

    It’s like saying, “Some liberals think blacks cannot be racist while some conservatives want to lynch blacks.”

    Veeshir (dfa2bf)

  34. The waiver of sovereign immunity in the Federal Tort Claims Act was made for the benefit of people wrongfully smacked.

    Enough already.

    WLS (68fd1f)

  35. Actually, nk, the BBC article mostly omits — or at least elides — that part; I heard it on the radio, when they played a snippet of Scalia’s interview. (I am 99% but not 100% sure that Scalia himself said it, as opposed to the reporter paraphrasing.)

    In fact, he was citing indefinite incarceration as evidence that the Eighth Amendment applies only to “punishment” (i.e. post-conviction, for a crime) and not to interrogation (pre-conviction, in pursuit of a crime). He was saying that we indefinitely incarcerate people who refuse to testify, but that although an open-ended sentence would constitute cruel and unusual punishment, open-ended incarceration in pursuit of the truth is constitutional.

    Not Rhetorical (483101)

  36. Not Rhetorical #35,

    That article really sucks. I can’t imagine a scenario, under American law, where a person can be imprisoned even one second to compel him to testify against himself. And I can’t imagine that Scalia would say such a thing. I really, really, really think the BBC is pulling a Tim Rutten on Scalia.

    As for indefinite sentences as punishment for a crime, every life sentence with the possibility of parole is one such, as are involuntary commitments for the insane and sexual predators.

    nk (616f8b)

  37. “I can’t imagine a scenario, under American law, where a person can be imprisoned even one second to compel him to testify against himself.”

    Not against himself; he was talking about people who are subpoenaed and refuse to testify.

    Agreed, though, that the BBC article is less than informative.

    Not Rhetorical (483101)

  38. OK. I downloaded the episode of BBC’s “Law in Action” with Scalia’s interview, listened for myself, and transcribed the portion that I’m asking about:

    BBC: Tell me about the issue of torture. We know that cruel and unusual punishment is prohibited under the Eighth Amendment. Does that mean that the issue is a kind of — if the issue comes up in front of the court, it’s a “no-brainer”?

    SCALIA: Well, a lot of people think it is, but I find that extraordinary. To begin with, the Constitution refers to cruel and unusual punishment. It is referring to punishment for a crime. For example, incarcerating someone indefinitely would certainly be cruel and unusual punishment for a crime. But a court can do that when a witness refuses to answer — can just commit them to jail until you will answer the question, without any time limit on it — as a means of coercing the witness to answer, as the witness should. And I suppose it’s the same thing about so-called torture.

    It’s 18 minutes into a 28-minute download.

    Not Rhetorical (483101)

  39. Thank you. Now I do not know what to make of it. My impression of civil contempt was that the incarceration could not be longer than final decision in the proceeding or six months, whichever is less, as a consequence partly of statutes and partly of the constitutional right to trial by jury. (It is true, though, that the U.S. Supreme Court has not yet found Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual in the length of a sentence.)

    And “[f]or example, incarcerating someone indefinitely would certainly be cruel and unusual punishment for a crime” is just wrong. Otherwise Charles Manson would now be free. I wonder whether Scalia misunderstood the question and was talking about the EEC constitution.

    nk (616f8b)

  40. No, nk, it’s clear from the interview that Scalia didn’t misunderstand. He was talking about the U.S. Constitution.

    So is that what experts take the Eighth Amendment to mean — prohibiting only punitive torture, not torture during interrogation?

    Not Rhetorical (483101)

  41. Sorry Patterico, I lost some of my respect for you in that you refused to change that or even respond to criticism. You had something about “I was characterizing some conservatives” but you didn’t respond to challenges that it was an outlier and not-respected position on the right while you were characterizing a main-stream position of the left.
    I expected better from you. And no, I’m not saying I’ll never be back, I’ll just have to understand that you don’t like “some conservatives”.
    Or do you like people who think “torture em all, let the ants sort em out”?

    Veeshir (5f9b87)

  42. I wouldn’t say it’s a respected position on the right, but I wouldn’t say that it’s a respected position on the left to argue you can’t be “mean” to terrorism suspects. I didn’t write it as entertainingly as Doc R. did in comment 29, but I meant to be giving examples of far-out positions on each side.

    Leftists argue against torture, and some define that broadly, but to say it’s a mainstream leftist position that we can’t be “mean” to terrorists is in my view a caricature. You are welcome to provide proof to the contrary, but absent that proof, I thought I had addressed the issue.

    Ask your average liberal about smacking KSM in the face, and his main complaint won’t be that we did that. It will be that we did far more extreme things.

    Patterico (fb63ad)

  43. I asked you for links and quotes showing “some” conservatives wanting to torture anybody, I didn’t really see anything in response.

    As for not being mean to terrorists, you ask and I deliver
    Quote
    even “open” or “belly” slapping prisoners sounds like a milder form of torture
    More?
    Fine
    Quote: The techniques sought by the CIA are: induced hypothermia; forcing suspects to stand for prolonged periods; sleep deprivation; a technique called “the attention grab” where a suspect’s shirt is forcefully seized; the “attention slap” or open hand slapping that hurts but does not lead to physical damage; the “belly slap”; and sound and light manipulation.
    More?

    Okey dokey
    Notice they are equating belly slaps with waterboarding, and not as I would (as being instances of non-torture) but as instances of torture or “near torture” or something.

    One funny thing about the last link, they are against rendition (sending people back to their home countries) but then they want to close Gitmo and send them back to their home countries.

    And that’s not even including the only true conservative, Andrew “We can’t be mean to terrorists” Sullivan who writes for a respected, liberal publication.

    So yes, it is much closer to mainstream for liberals to not want to be mean to terrorists while it’s far outside the mainstream to want to just torture anybody.

    That characterization was insulting.

    Veeshir (dfa2bf)

  44. I asked you for links and quotes showing “some” conservatives wanting to torture anybody, I didn’t really see anything in response.

    I didn’t think I really needed to provide any links to prove that “some” conservatives say that. You said:

    I’ve never seen anybody on the right who’s not a loon call for indiscriminate torture, and when I’ve seen people write it they’re castigated by other conservatives.

    Which I read as an admission that you had seen some conservatives call for indiscriminate torture (albeit you say that they were then castigated).

    I read your links. I don’t think they prove that “being mean to terrorists” is a mainstream leftist idea.

    I’d elaborate at length, but with all due respect to you (and that’s a lot, as you’re a long-time and valued commenter) I just don’t have time.

    Try this exercise: go through your links and pick out quotes that you think demonstrate the proposition “mainstream leftists think being mean to terrorists is unacceptable.” You won’t be able to. At best, you’ll find certain leftists noting that certain activities have been pursued/used by the CIA, and objections to a subset of those certain activities. Some of which (hypothermia, stress positions, etc.) have actually killed people.

    Bottom line: I was comparing two extreme positions and that’s what I still mean.

    Patterico (4bda0b)

  45. That characterization was insulting.

    Only to the people who think the way I described. But I don’t mind insulting them. They’re part of the fringe.

    I think you’re still wanting to read my post as a general description of all or most conservatives, even though I have pointed out that I didn’t say that, and didn’t mean that.

    Patterico (4bda0b)

  46. Which I read as an admission that you had seen some conservatives call for indiscriminate torture (albeit you say that they were then castigated).
    No, not conservatives.
    I wrote on the right who’s not a loon call. People consider neo-nazis “on the right”.

    And I wrote “much more mainstream”. As to lefties who don’t want to be mean to terrorists, I gave some examples but I could have found much more if I had searched Kos or Firedoglake or any of the other mainstream lefty sites.
    Where would you find people calling for indiscriminate torture? Such mainstream sites as stormfront I would guess.

    From the last link, they are against waterboarding and these things

    The Cold Cell: The prisoner is left to stand naked in a cell kept near 50 degrees and is repeatedly doused with cold water.
    Long Time Standing: The prisoner is forced to stand, handcuffed and with their feet shackled to an eye bolt in the floor for more than 40 hours, causing both extreme pain and sleep deprivation.
    Attention Slap: An open-handed strike aimed at causing pain and triggering fear.
    The Belly Slap: A hard open-handed strike to the stomach. The aim is to cause pain, but not internal injury. Doctors consulted advised against using a punch, which could cause lasting internal damage.

    A room near 50 degrees? Attention slap?A belly slap? Long time standing?
    That’s not torture, that’s not even “torture”, that’s being mean to terrorists and they’re against it.

    So yes, it is much more mainstream on the left that they don’t want to be mean to terrorists while there is no mainstream or nearly mainstream conservative thought that wants to torture everybody and let the ants sort them out.

    So yes, that characterization was insulting to conservatives.

    I’ve provided my proof, are you going to pull an LA Times or are you going to provide some links and quotes (that I asked for in the very first comment) of any conservatives calling for indiscriminate torture or are you going to admit that you shouldn’t have made that comparison?

    Veeshir (5f9b87)

  47. Neither. First I’m going to look at your evidence.

    You say:

    “From the last link, they are against waterboarding and these things . . .”

    Well, actually, the link doesn’t say they are against all the things you list, which is, I guess, why you didn’t do what I challenged you to do and provide a quote. Here’s the quote I see:

    “Relying on information provided by current and former CIA officials and supervisors, in November 2005 ABC News reporters Brian Ross and Richard Esposito provided descriptions of several techniques used in CIA interrogations:”

    Then some of these are listed. But nowhere do they say: and all of these are completely unacceptable and considered torture.

    Some of these techniques damn-sure are torture, depending on the extent to which they are used. Deprive someone of sleep long enough and you can kill them. Subject them to cold temperatures long enough and you can kill them. Tell me about the people described in this article. Were we just being mean to them? Or something more?

    As for examples, we can play a game where I provide examples and you say they aren’t conservatives, they’re the bad kind of people on the right. Then you can provide me quotes from places like Firedoglake and act like they represent “mainstream” liberals rather than the activist and sometimes fringe elements of those calling themselves liberals.

    Any quote you provide, I will ask myself: would my father-in-law, a smart and reasonable man who describes himself as a progressive, agree with it? If not, then I will simply label it fringe. Which it probably will be — just as I admit to you that the conservative position I am describing is a fringe one.

    And I wrote “much more mainstream”.

    OK, and I *didn’t* write “indiscriminate.” That’s a word you brought up first. So stop using the word “indiscriminate.” I talked about what the more extreme conservatives say they would do with a *suspected* terrorist — i.e. someone we picked up believing we had a terrorist.

    And you bet, some people even on this site, Hot Air, etc. have said and will say in the future, that if we have a suspected terrorist, all bets are off. You should be able to do whatever you need to do. Stake ’em to the ant pile if necessary. This is war. They want to kill us. The other side isn’t playing games and neither should we. Etc.

    And if they turn out to be innocent, well, that’s too bad. But did I mention this is war?

    It’s a fringe position and I never claimed otherwise. But some people hold it.

    I have to go to work.

    Patterico (4bda0b)

  48. You’re arguing against “indiscriminate”?
    Yeah, I can see how this literally any torture applied to a mere suspected terrorists is totally different from “indiscriminate”. Why, it’s very discriminating to use literally any torture on people merely “suspected” of torture. Yup, that’s very discriminating.

    The whole point of that article was to attack the US for its interrogation techniques, which techniques I helpfully quoted.
    But since you need more, I’ll quote more. Notice the bullet points at the top that are the titles of the sections
    Ending Torture, Cruel and Inhuman Treatment, and Impunity
    Then, they helpfully list the “Torture and cruel and inhuman treatment”, not “inhumane” but “inhuman”,
    have included water boarding, stress positions, hypothermia, sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation and isolation, and holding prisoners in secret CIA “black sites” in order to keep them outside the reach of the law
    Some of that list comes mighty close to torture, the real kind, like sensory deprivation and hypothermia, but holding prisoners in secret CIA “black sites” is torture? Cruel and inhuman? Sorry, that’s not even being mean, that’s just locking them up where their buddies can’t find them and blow the place up.

    The list I quoted above is from that section, the one that wants to stop “Torture and cruel and inhuman” treatment.

    I can see how listing being mean to terrorists in the section titled “Ending torture, cruel and inhuman treatment” is totally different from not wanting people to be mean to terrorists.

    You are totally right Patterico and I absolutely don’t need any links or quotes from you about any conservatives not outright loons calling for torture. Why, giving a pink belly is absolutely torture, I need to find Jimmy Hargrove from 3rd grade and bring him up before the ICC in the Hague.

    And you really need to define “torture”, as I asked in the first comment, that you then ignored.
    Are you saying pink-bellies are torture? And if so, links and quotes to people calling for this against anybody merely suspected of terrorism.

    What you will find are conservatives saying, “That’s not torture, that’s hazing”, and calling libs nitwits for not wanting to be mean to terrorists is not the same as calling for torture, it’s saying, “that’s not torture”. I know, nuanced, but that’s reality.

    What else you will find is conservatives saying, “You won’t find me crying if we waterboard Mousaoui”, again, that’s not calling for him to be tortured.

    So yes, the comment was insulting.
    I am actually surprised you didn’t just admit that at first and change it to something closer to equal. Like, “Some libs don’t want us to be mean to terrorists while conservatives love it when we’re mean to terrorists”.

    But no, you had to further a liberal stereotype of conservatives and that’s why it’s insulting.

    If I were to say, “Some defense attorney want to get serial murderers off while some prosecutors want to literally hang jay-walkers” would you be so blase?

    Veeshir (5f9b87)

  49. Sorry for the extra sarcasm, I tried to edit it out, my first response had even more, but I see I missed some.
    That was not necessary. Well, not totally necessary and a little rude and I shouldn’t have done it.

    I try to treat people the way they deserve and you didn’t.

    I stand by what I wrote but I wish I had been less sarcastic in some parts.

    Veeshir (5f9b87)

  50. I know you’ll see this and probably nobody else.
    It was a small point and I’m actually surprised you didn’t admit you had not evenly characterized both sides, but that’s your opinion. I just think you are conceding the battle space to the left in that comparison. A fairer comparison might have been that some what to help the terrorists (ISM, Code Pink and Cindy Sheehan for example), but no.

    As for why was rude, I took this
    is, I guess, why you didn’t do what I challenged you to do and provide a quote
    As impugning my honesty. I didn’t attack you personally and you attacked me personally. It’s especially grievous since, as I quoted, there were quotes there that backed up my position.

    At least I apologized for being rude.

    Veeshir (5f9b87)

  51. Sorry, but I feel like I’m chasing my tail here.

    If I give you examples of people on the right calling for severe torture of suspected terrorists, you’ll just say they’re on the fringe. To which I’ll reply: yes, they are. And that’s what I’ve been saying all along. You already admitted you’ve seen quotes like that from parts of the fringe right, in the context of your argument that they get chastised by conservatives. So why are you making such a big deal out of my not providing quotes that you admit exist, and that you’ll just define away as coming from the fringe, which point I’ll agree with?

    Your links don’t prove your original proposition that mainstream liberals oppose being “mean” to terrorists, as opposed to torture or other physically violent techniques.

    I never meant to impugn your honesty, just to argue that you hadn’t supported your position with specific quotes and apparently can’t. I’m sorry you lost some respect for me based on what appears to be a misunderstanding of what I wrote, but I don’t see how I can explain it any better.

    I always characterized it as a position held by only “some.” You appear to have read it more broadly. I have reiterated that I didn’t mean it broadly. Apparently you won’t accept that. Well, there’s nothing I can do about that.

    Patterico (c88362)

  52. I wasn’t still arguing, I know I’m right, you know you’re right, what’s there to talk about?

    I was explaining why I was rude.

    Veeshir (dfa2bf)

  53. Veeshir,

    I wonder if you’d be willing to try out my pet idea for people trying to discuss an issue: each party states the other’s arguments, in their own words, to the other party’s satisfaction.

    No belittling the other side’s position in the statement of the other guy’s argument. No taking issue with the argument until the other party says you have stated their position satisfactorily.

    Want to give it a go?

    Patterico (cf8340)

  54. “I wonder if you’d be willing to try out my pet idea for people trying to discuss an issue: each party states the other’s arguments, in their own words, to the other party’s satisfaction.”

    – Patterico

    So people must understand the other side’s position (to the other side’s satisfaction) before the merits of that position can be debated?

    If I understand you right, that’s a good idea. You should propose it at the end of your next contentious post. I’d be willing to work with it as a groundrule.

    Leviticus (43095b)

  55. Sure, I’ll give it a whirl.

    Veeshir (5f9b87)

  56. Oh, and you impugning my honesty (in my eyes) wasn’t why I lost some respect for you, that happened much earlier in this thread.

    It was because you refused to provide any quotes backing up your statement, your defense appeared very LA Timesish to me. Especially over basically a throw-away line that had little or nothing to do with the main thrust of the piece.

    You still haven’t provided any quotes.

    Veeshir (dfa2bf)

  57. “You still haven’t provided any quotes.”

    No, Veeshir, I haven’t.

    I could explain for the umpteenth time why I am convinced that would be an unproductive exercise — or we could both try to have a *productive* discussion by trying to express each other’s viewpoints to the others’ satisfaction.

    You said you’d be willing to do that. I am too. So let’s try it.

    Patterico (a1a022)

  58. You don’t feel the need to provide quotes to back up an assertion? That’s……. odd. And that’s why I lost a little respect for you. You gave up the battlespace to the left in that comparison and refused to provide any quotes or links to back up your assertion. You really need to quote someone who gleefully wants to do that stuff to people merely suspected of terrorism. Seriously.

    I know your viewpoint, you think that people who don’t want to be mean to terrorists are equivalent in power and influence in the lefty world to people who would “gleefully” use ‘literally any torture on mere suspected terrorists’ in the righty world. Are we okay so far?

    I asked for your definition of torture, but that’s not necessary as you have the qualifier “literally any torture”, so, since words have meaning, that includes stuff that leaves pieces of the merely suspected terrorist on the floor, or in the dog they made the guy merely suspected of terrorism watch eat it or in the belly of the guy who’s merely suspected of terrorism as they made him eat his own flesh.
    That also includes flaying the skin from his entire body and rubbing in chili pepper. Or hanging him by his wang over a fire and slowly cooking his flesh while it’s still on his bones and then feeding it to a dog as the guy merely suspected of torture watches. Or… well, you get the idea.

    So tell me if I’m right or where I misinterpreted you.
    I’ll tell you beforehand, that if you deny my interpretation of “literally any torture”, I will not accept that, you wrote it, words have meaning, “literally any torture” includes all the nastiest stuff thousands of years of human ingenuity came up with to make the lives of our fellow humans a living hell. That includes Saddam’s plastic shredders, Chinese bamboo under the fingernails, all the stuff Mengele did and listening to Hillary Clinton talk.

    Veeshir (5f9b87)

  59. Here’s one.

    “personally, i think we should torture terrorists just for the hell of it..even if they dont have information”

    http://www.antsmarching.org/forum/archive/index.php/t-206350.html

    You have failed to state my point accurately. For one, I didn’t make any attempt to compare what subset of conservatives hold the fringe position, and what percentage of liberals hold the fringe position. I merely said “some” on each side.

    Please try again.

    Please also specify what I mean by being “mean” to terrorists? We have to be specific. Remember that being mean and torturing is collectively more than being mean.

    This is a valuable exercise because it ensures one is taking issue over the other person’s viewpoint, rather than a misunderstanding of it.

    I think it’s fair to ask you to go first because it’s my statement you are taking issue with. Once you have stated my argument to my satisfaction, I’ll do the same with you.

    It would be productive to avoid the quibbling until this exercise is complete. I provided a quote only because you continually demand one. But I’d really rather save quibbling over the quotes until we agree about what each other’s respective views are.

    Patterico (efb142)

  60. Good link, I’ve never heard of them.
    Also, you seem to have taken one commenter out, there are people there coming down on each side. And your quote does not match your original sentence.

    The guy was not “gleeful”, he did not say “Literally any torture”, he didn’t meantion them being killed in the process (for the ants to eat) and he also said, “terrorists”, not “suspected terrorists”.

    So that’s a fail on multiple counts. So when we get back to quotes, leave that one out or explain to me how that anonymous commenter is “some conservatives” and indeed, how you know he is a conservative and not a moby*, how that is “gleeful” how that encompasses “literally any torture” on “merely suspected terrorists” and how we kill them while torturing them so we can then let the ants eat their dead bodies.

    Remember, words have meanings and “gleeful” “literally any” and “merely suspected” are incredibly broad and encompass quite a bit while letting the ants eat them is explicitly saying we tortured them to death. Suspected terrorists.

    As for this
    For one, I didn’t make any attempt to compare what subset of conservatives hold the fringe position, and what percentage of liberals hold the fringe position. I merely said “some” on each side.
    That you made both statements, side by side, is implicitly comparing the two positions and what I and some others above were exactly talking about. You might not like that characterization, but that’s how I saw it (and doc rampage at least), words have meanings.
    You wrote about “some conservatives” and then said, and I quote, Meanwhile, some liberals are appalled if we’re mean to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
    Meanwhile implies that they are related.
    So you write about “some conservatives” as gleefully wanting to do Nazi/Attila the Hun/Saddam stuff on “mere suspects” and then about “some liberals” being all Andrew Sullivan-like “gob-smacked”.

    You might not like that characterization, but that’s how honest people can see it, how I saw it and how I still see it.

    Note: I’m not accusing you of dishonesty, so please do the same for me. If you do accuse me of being dishonest again, I’m outta here.

    I already listed some things that I think are “being mean to terrorists”, but I’ll repeat them in case you forgot
    (from above)
    Attention Slap: An open-handed strike aimed at causing pain and triggering fear.
    The Belly Slap: A hard open-handed strike to the stomach. The aim is to cause pain, but not internal injury. Doctors consulted advised against using a punch, which could cause lasting internal damage.

    A room near 50 degrees? Attention slap?A belly slap? Long time standing?
    That’s not torture, that’s not even “torture”, that’s being mean to terrorists and they’re against it.

    I will note that I don’t think that we do the “long time standing” for 40 hours, that’s not quite torture, but that’s being unnecessarily cruel.

    However, you have to write what you mean by “being mean to terrorists”, I’m sorry I didn’t ask for that earlier, but I had assumed our definitions were at least similar.

    *Moby: lefty acting all torturistical on conservative sites to make them look bad.

    Veeshir (dfa2bf)

  61. This exercise of stating the other person’s position is very difficult to do, because it requires you to set aside FOR THE MOMENT the points you yourself want to make, to actually state the other guy’s point as he means it.

    Once we have both restated each other’s positions to the other’s satisfaction, you are of course free to argue that my words don’t express my argument properly. You can also attack my quotes, etc.

    But I really think that should wait until each party has, one time in one place, accurately stated the other party’s position to the other party’s satisfaction. Towards that end, I’ll save my retort regarding the quotes issue until this portion of the exercise is complete.

    It’s not complete yet, because I am flatly telling you that I did not intend so equate the two by using “some” for each. I’m not saying at this point that it’s unreasonable to read it that way, just that I did not intend that. That was not my point.

    Patterico (fe855e)

  62. If you’re going to take me at my word, you’re going to have to ask yourself, then: what *was* my point in saying “some” conservatives say x and “some” liberals say y?

    I could just tell you, but that puts us in an argumentative posture. The point of the exercise is to move past reflexive argument by really trying to see the other guy’s point of view as he understands it. I want you to think about it, re-read that portion of what I wrote, and see if you can state my position on that in a way that I would agree with it.

    Same for “mean” treatment. What do you *think* my view is on what constitutes treatment that is merely “mean”? See if you can state it in your own words, in a way that I would agree.

    Patterico (38af84)

  63. Veeshir – I don’t mean to intrude on the discussion, but how many times does Patterico have to ask you to do the same thing. He’s not accusing you of being dishonest, but the way you are acting is incredibly evasive and thick headed. His request is easy to understand, but it may not be easy to comply with. Take a breath.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  64. Okay, I can’t define “mean” for you as you’ve already dismissed the site that put pink bellies under “torture and cruel and inhuman treatment”. That’s why I asked you to define it, after you do so then I will be more than happy to restate.

    As for your position?

    Your position is that you didn’t implicitly compare liberals not wanting to be mean to terrorists with conservatives who want to laugh as suspected terrorists are tortured to death.

    Veeshir (dfa2bf)

  65. I could just tell you,

    I gotta say, you should have told me that long ago and this would not have gone on as long as it did.

    Veeshir (5f9b87)

  66. This exercise of stating the other person’s position is very difficult to do, because it requires you to set aside FOR THE MOMENT the points you yourself want to make, to actually state the other guy’s point as he means it.

    I understand I didn’t do that to daleyrocks satisfaction, but I thought I had done that in this comment
    where I quoted you saying:For one, I didn’t make any attempt to compare what subset of conservatives hold the fringe position, and what percentage of liberals hold the fringe position. I merely said “some” on each side.
    which I meant as your position and so replied
    That you made both statements, side by side, is implicitly comparing the two positions and what I and some others above were exactly talking about. You might not like that characterization, but that’s how I saw it (and doc rampage at least), words have meanings.

    I should have waited for you to accept that before I argued against it.

    Veeshir (5f9b87)

  67. “Your position is that you didn’t implicitly compare liberals not wanting to be mean to terrorists with conservatives who want to laugh as suspected terrorists are tortured to death.”

    That’s part of it, but there is a reason that I did mention what some conservatives and some liberals think. It’s not a mystery: if you read the post, it’s relatively clear why I mentioned what some liberals think and what some conservatives think. I don’t want to just tell you because that defeats the purpose of the exercise: to really try to understand what the other person is arguing.

    “That you made both statements, side by side, is implicitly comparing the two positions and what I and some others above were exactly talking about. You might not like that characterization, but thats how I saw it (and doc rampage at least), words have meanings.”

    Indeed they do. And the meanings of the words I used to describe the exercise we agreed to engage in is this: begin by trying to frame the other person’s argument in a way that they *will* accept as accurate.

    Instead, you have done the opposite: you havw framed my argument in a way that you seem to know I *won’t* recognize as my own.

    You justify that, essentially, by telling me that’s what I really said. In other words, you yout your own reading of my language as the ONLY reasonable way to read what I said.

    You maintain this even in the face of my explicit statement that I was *not* trying to draw a comparison between the two.

    So what could I have possibly been trying to do? Is there any reasonable way to read what I wrote as something *other* than an implicit comparison of the frequency with which these respective opinions occur in leftist and conservative thought?

    Again, it’s no mystery. It’s in the post.

    Patterico (3cdb97)

  68. Hint: start with the sentence immediately before the one beginning “Some conservatives . . .” Ask yourself why I wrote that sentence, and what it has to do with the views of some conservatives and some liberals.

    Then take a stab at explaining what my argument is when I raise the issue of what “some conservatives” and “some liberals” say.

    Fight the urge to mock my argument. For now, you’re trying to phrase my argument in a way I’ll agree with it.

    It’s tough. It forces you to at least *try* to see the other guy’s argument as reasonable — because if you phrase it in a way that sounds silly, you know he won’t agree.

    The tendency is to attack, belittle, and mock the other guy’s argument. Fight the tendency. Try to put in your own words what my point is.

    Patterico (585b24)

  69. daleyrocks or anyone else, you’re welcome to try this too.

    Patterico (585b24)

  70. Wait, I thought we were going to get things straight before we start arguing.
    I’ll repeat.

    Your position is that you didn’t implicitly compare liberals not wanting to be mean to terrorists with conservatives who want to laugh as suspected terrorists are tortured to death.

    Now, without telling me why you wrote what you wrote, tell me if that statement is true and then we can go on from there. I thought those were the rules.

    Veeshir (5f9b87)

  71. I should rewrite that
    Your position is that you didn’t implicitly compare the relative influence on the left of liberals who don’t want to be mean to terrorists with the relative influence on the right of conservatives who want to laugh as suspected terrorists are tortured to death.

    That’s what I think is your position. In as few words as possible, and without explaining motives or anything else, tell me if that’s your position.

    Veeshir (5f9b87)

  72. And I get that from this comment where you say
    but I meant to be giving examples of far-out positions on each side.

    Veeshir (dfa2bf)

  73. And I dont’ want to look obsessive, but I keep forgetting things.

    You need to tell me what you mean by “Being mean”. You wanted me to tell you that, but I already tried and you seemed to indicate I was wrong (belly slaps, cold rooms for instance are instances of being mean).

    Veeshir (dfa2bf)

  74. Patterico – Thanks for the invitation, but no thanks. I’ve either participated in or read enough torture threads here to leave this little debate to you and Veeshir. He doesn’t have to satisfy me, by the way, his agreement was with you.

    I’m having fun watching him flail around trying to explain your argument and then rejustify his original pigheaded indignation.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  75. Damn it, I had to reread the post as I was starting to respond to daleyrocks, I realized that was just feeding a troll, but I do have to change my idea of Paterico’s point one more time, this is the last time.
    Your position is that you didn’t implicitly compare the relative influence on the left of liberals who don’t want to be mean to terrorists with the relative influence on the right of conservatives who want to laugh as innocent people are tortured to death

    From here If he turns out to be innocent, and his body was eaten slowly by ants, so be it.

    Veeshir (5f9b87)

  76. Wait, I thought we were going to get things straight before we start arguing.

    That’s what I hoped for. I have not argued with you; I have attempted to encourage you to get things straight before we start arguing.

    Your position is that you didn’t implicitly compare liberals not wanting to be mean to terrorists with conservatives who want to laugh as suspected terrorists are tortured to death.

    OK, you ask me to say whether this is right:

    Your position is that you didn’t implicitly compare the relative influence on the left of liberals who don’t want to be mean to terrorists with the relative influence on the right of conservatives who want to laugh as suspected terrorists are tortured to death.

    Yes, it is, as I have already said — but I have already said that there is more to my position. There is a reason that I did bring up the liberals and conservatives in question, and as I already said, I want you to tell me what that reason is.

    Your position is that you didn’t implicitly compare the relative influence on the left of liberals who don’t want to be mean to terrorists with the relative influence on the right of conservatives who want to laugh as innocent people are tortured to death

    Nope, now you’re not stating it right. Actually, I think there are those on the right who think like that, just as there are some people who think Elvis is alive, and some people who eat poop. Some people will do just about anything. But it isn’t what I said.

    What I said is that some conservatives will be gleeful about torture of suspected terrorists — and if they turn out to be innocent, well, so be it. Torturing suspected terrorists is necessary, and the fact that you might end up torturing some innocent folks is just part of the game, according to these people.

    Now, please. Tell me WHY I brought up the fringe conservatives and liberals. What point was I making?

    If I can’t get an answer to that, I may have to exit the discussion. I have spent a lot of time on this and the communication hasn’t gotten much easier.

    Patterico (4bda0b)

  77. Patterico writes :I have not argued with you
    But you wrote this in your previous comments:
    Ask yourself why I wrote that sentence, and what it has to do with the views of some conservatives and some liberals.

    That surely looks like argument to me and not just clarifying your position. “Why” is not what I thought we were deciding, “What” is what I thought we were deciding.
    I thought that before we get to “Why you wrote what you wrote” we have to decide what we are arguing about. “Why” is not important at this stage, it is immaterial.
    And the point I am arguing is whether or not you brought up equivalent “fringe” positions on both sides. You can just repeat that and then we can get on with the argument. I have a couple of incremental “Why”s just as you have a position on “Why you think it was right”, but that’s for later, after we agree on our positions.
    You also wrote this:Then take a stab at explaining what my argument is when I raise the issue of what “some conservatives” and “some liberals” say.
    “Explaining” your position is not describing it.
    “I think that all men are stronger than women.”
    Is “What my position is”.
    “I think that because all the men I know are stronger than all the women I know.”
    Is “Why” I hold that (ridiculous and not serious) position.

    So,as I understood, we are arguing not “why” you did it, but “what” you did. Then, after agreeing on our positions, we can get to “Why” you feel it is the correct position and I can get to why I don’t think it is the correct position.

    Isn’t that what you meant when you wrote this:So people must understand the other side’s position (to the other side’s satisfaction) before the merits of that position can be debated?

    “Why” is concerned with the merits of the “What”.

    Where am I wrong? Before we can decide “why” you wrote what you wrote, we have to figure out both of our positions.

    As you wrote this Yes, it is, as I have already said, isn’t it time to get my position before we discuss your motives for writing “What” you wrote?

    Oh, and bravo for not falling into my little trap, the one where you claim that I keep rewriting my position (mostly between 1 and 2), you see, I reread my first comment on your position and I realized it was not clear, it could be read in a way that was not how I intended it. Just the way your initial comment could be read a different way.
    Contra this comment you yout(sic) your own reading of my language as the ONLY reasonable way to read what I said.
    You could have figured that out from this statement from me
    You might not like that characterization, but that’s how honest people can see it, how I saw it and how I still see it.
    “…that’s how honest people can see it.” is not even close to equivalent to ‘That’s the only way any reasonable person can see it.”

    I’m as big a fan of “intentionalism” as Jeff Goldstein, but I also know that we are not perfect and we can write something that makes sense to us, but can be read differently and indeed, seems to be closer to the different position than the one we intended.

    Veeshir (5f9b87)

  78. Oh, and I thought I was clear when I wrote this in the comment you quoted
    Now, without telling me why you wrote what you wrote, tell me if that statement is true and then we can go on from there. I thought those were the rules.

    Veeshir (5f9b87)

  79. “That surely looks like argument to me and not just clarifying your position.”

    No. It is me trying to point you in the direction of coming up with a restatement of my argument yourself, rather than me restating it for you.

    It’s now clear to me that, no matter how many times I try to hint at my real point, you aren’t going to see it until I tell you. Which puts us back in an argumentative posture, because rather than internalizing the fact that this really was my argument, you will want to start justifying why you read it differently. And we’ll probably never get that moment I was shooting for: where you say: eureka! I see that you really didn’t mean to compare the two positions in frequency and influence.

    I admit, I’m disappointed. I don’t think you tried very hard to understand and articulate my position. You’ve been far too busy trying to score points.

    You are too difficult to communicate with, because you insist on giving my every statement the most uncharitable interpretation possible. I WAS NOT ARGUING WITH YOU but your uncharitable conclusion that I was — which, by the way, is an accusation of dishonesty, since I SAID I wasn’t — makes it clear that this will continue to be an exercise in frustration.

    So I’ll just tell you what my poiny was. You can predictably argue against it, just as witht the quotes you did EXACTLY what I predicted.

    My point was to say that what constitutes a due process violation depends upon a balancing test, the outcome of which depends on how you weigh different values. So I deliberately chose two extremely polar opposite positions to show how fringe people at either end of the political spectrum might have different values regarding terror, torture, and the need for information.

    Now you can get all defensive and tell me how this isn’t what I really said and how you and Doc Rampage read it the only reasonable way. I’m frankly sick of having everything I say read so uncharitably.

    Patterico (636b3f)

  80. The “why” of what I wrote is a way of saying “what was my point” — not a hidden point, but the point that a reasonable person would take from my language, if they were to take me at my word (as you did not) that my point was not to compare the two positions.

    Patterico (2e38fb)

  81. I had a disagreement like this with Xrlq once, btw, and it was impossible to resolve in written exchanges. We had to talk about it on the phone.

    I’m willing to do that with you, if you like. Write me if you’re interested. I just think we’ve reached the point where the written exchanges aren’t working. Doesn’t mean I don’t like you; I do. The episode with Xrlq showed me this frustration can happen even when you like someone.

    Patterico (3b8bf1)

  82. Okay so first here you call me dishonest
    Well, actually, the link doesn’t say they are against all the things you list, which is, I guess, why you didn’t do what I challenged you to do and provide a quote.
    I told you I thought that was calling me dishonest and you dismissed that out of hand. If someone knowingly provides a link that doesn’t say what they claim it says, that’s lying, pure and simple and you accused me of that. For a lawyer, you really don’t seem to understand that words have meanings.

    I didn’t pursue that and gave you the benefit of the doubt, because I respected you quite a bit before right now.

    As I said, I lost “a little” of that respect early on in this, you appeared to be going all Dan Rather “Do you know who I am? How dare you question my writing?”, but since I really respected you, I assumed it was in good faith (a courtesy you will not accord me).
    So I just warned you that I would not tolerate you calling me dishonest again. If you do accuse me of being dishonest again, I’m outta here.

    Now, you say this

    admit, I’m disappointed. I don’t think you tried very hard to understand and articulate my position. You’ve been far too busy trying to score points.
    Accusing me of bad faith.

    You really need to respond to what people write and not attack them personally.

    I understand you think I’m a dishonest asshole, but I thought, as I extensively explained I was playing by the rules you stated.
    To state the other’s person position in terms they agree with. I tried that, you kept getting into motives and why you hold that position, not what the position is.

    Now I have to wonder if you weren’t just jerking my chain the whole time.

    So, since you think I’m so fucking dishonest,
    Adios.
    Now, I am saying I won’t be back. I deserve a big apology from you, but since you obviously that I am a totally dishonest arguer-in-bad-faith asshole, I know that none will be forthcoming. I do not associate with people who attack me, I ignore trolls who don’t respond to what I’ve written but instead attack me.

    You are in both categories and therefore, not worth any of my time. you can go back to basking in the sycophantic praise from people like daleyrocks.

    Veeshir (5f9b87)

  83. Veeshir,

    I have sent you an e-mail that reads as follows:

    Veeshir,

    As I said in one of my comments, there are times when, for whatever reason, written communication just doesn’t work. I had the same experience once with Xrlq, who is my friend and who I had met. Despite knowing him and liking him, on one particular issue we had terrible
    problems communicating in writing. Each felt the other person was being crazy and completely unreasonable. I ended up phoning him. While we ended up agreeing to disagree on the underlying issue, we got past the feeling that the other person was acting crazy.

    That’s how I feel here: I feel like for whatever reason, we are
    *completely* failing to communicate in writing.
    Sometimes with written communication, misunderstandings pile up and
    fester. I’m sure you feel as though I have misunderstood much of what you have said, and I feel that way about you. A primary example: you clearly think I believe you’re a dishonest asshole, whereas I actually
    think you’re a long-time and valued commenter with whom I simply can’t seem to communicate effectively on this one particular issue in
    writing.

    But I feel confident that if we were to speak on the phone, it would
    be different. On the phone, misunderstandings can be cleared up immediately.

    By the way, I am certain that I am to blame for at least some of the
    misunderstandings. Your comments tend to come in just as I am about to begin work. I want to respond immediately, but I end up tapping out something on my Treo that is not my clearest response. Also, at times,
    I have let frustration and a touch of anger get to me, and have
    phrased things in a way I wouldn’t if I took more time to cool down,
    reflect, and read what I have written.

    My cell phone is [redacted in this comment but included in the e-mail]. I’d love to speak with you. Trust me, I don’t think you’re a dishonest asshole, and I think we can work through this effectively on the phone.

    Patrick Frey
    patterico.com

    If you don’t get the e-mail, then e-mail me.

    Patterico (9f030b)


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