Patterico's Pontifications

4/24/2009

How about a “You can’t handle the truth!” Commission?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 9:34 am



[Posted by Karl]

Pres. Obama does not want a “truth commission” looking into the Bush Administration’s harsh interrogation of high-value enemy combatants.  People may think his flip-flop on having the Justice Dept. look into the matter is a cave to hysterical, Sullivan-esque self-soilers,  but that is only half-accurate.  The point of fobbing this issue off on Holder & Co. is precisely to try to remove everyone else from the equation, including the media.  This was a common tactic of the Clinton Administration: “Sorry, as you know, this matter is under investigation, so I am not at liberty to comment.”

Sen. Majority Ldr. Harry Reid (D-NV) concurred with Obama, leaving House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) carrying the banner for a “truth commission.”  No doubt her constituents in San Francisco would favor it as well.  But privately, she — like most Democrats — probably recognize that it would not only distract them from their ginormous left-wing policy agenda, but also provoke a “scorched earth” resistance to that agenda from the GOP. 

Indeed, the smarter ones likely realize that criminal charges against the lawyers who drafted the interrogation memos is exceedingly unlikely.  The case for pursuing war crimes charges is only marginally better.  The waterboarding that went on here is not the “water cure” administered by US soldiers in the Philippines, or the Asano war crimes case, both of which involved pouring water directly into the mouths and noses of subjects, which is considerably more harsh and dangerous.   

The Democrats know as much as anyone that this issue already polls badly with likely voters.  Trying to pretend that the Bush Administration was like the Third Reich simply would not play with anyone less unhinged than the Andrew Sullivans of the world (who would likely end up disappointed with the outcome).  If Congressional Democrats pursue this, it will most likely be with the expectation that the GOP would rise to prevent any sort of bipartisan effort, allowing the Dems to retreat, while blaming the GOP.

Finally, despite the feistiness of former VPOTUS Dick Cheney, the GOP would gain little from a “truth commission.” Sure, it would be fun to expose the hypocrisy of the Congressional Democrats who knew and repeatedly approved the program.  But every day spent dwelling on the Bush Administration is a day not spent moving forward, which Republicans ought to want to do as much as Obama does.  The GOP is wildly unpopular; wallowing in these show trials, even if cathartic to those who would get the chance to defend themselves, would simply play into the DNC strategy of painting the Republicans as mired in the past.

In short, a “truth commission” ultimately serves almost no one’s political interest.  It is an idea pushed forward by the screeching rage of a vocal minority.  It will likely suffer the same fate as the AIG bonus taxes — once the story leaves the headlines, it will die in the shadows.

Update: As an aside, the above link to the Asano case is a purported debunking of a claim made by Paul Begala.  Today, Begala claims he was not referring to the Asano case, but to the Tokyo Trials, officially known as the International Military Tribunal for the Far East.  The problem with that is that those cases are just as distinguishable, unless one assumes that dumping buckets of water through a towel, filling up the mouth and nostrils with water, is the same as pouring water on KSMs head wrapped in cellophane for less than a minute at a time.

Update x2: Mark Hemingway responds to Begala, noting not only the difference between cellophane and a cloth towel as protection, but also that at the Tokyo Trials, only seven Japanese war criminals were executed, all of whom were convicted of either being complicit in or directly comitting atrocities and murder on a grand scale.

–Karl

87 Responses to “How about a “You can’t handle the truth!” Commission?”

  1. I actually id a post on this last week:

    http://valley-of-the-shadow.blogspot.com/2009/04/this-way-lies-romulus-augustulus-that.html

    There is no American precedent but go back 2000+ years, and the precedent occured between Cato, Pompey and Caeser.

    The Democrats want to go down the path towards Empire. After all no Democrat who is imterested in prosecuting President Bush cannot answer one question:

    What do you think the rank and file Republicans and Conservatives will do if this goes forward?

    JSF (9d1bb3)

  2. Remember what happened to Elliot Spitzer when he started playing in the wrong sandbox?

    I think the leaked Sen. Harmon conversations were a warning. Not that she’s involved with this torture witch hunt, though. Just a small demonstration of the power of Lord Cheney’s Death Star.

    Bwaaaaaaaaa! (evil laugh).

    TakeFive (7c6fd5)

  3. It’s to the point that about all we can do now to make terrorists talk is make them watch videos of Dora The Explorer or Barney the dinosaur.

    Stan Switek (9716a0)

  4. Well said Great information, keep up the great work!

    Jamie Holts (322264)

  5. Setting Excitable Andy as the bar for unhinged lunacy is setting a very low standard indeed. On the Sheehan scale he is at about 8.3. Like the Richter scale the Sheehan lunacy scale is logarithmic. Andy is to lunacy what the Big One that pushes LA into the ocean is to earthquakes.

    Mark L (cfcb76)

  6. That poll you suggesting that such a commission is unpopular to is a funny contrast with the Gallup poll on Sullivan’s site showing a two-thirds majority in favor of either criminal or civil investigations.

    It’s not particularly intellectually honest of you to splash one of these and downplay the other.

    glasnost (af3e29)

  7. Glasnost, Andy Sullivan is nuts. A close look at the poll shows skewed and leading questions and a reviewer who misconstrue the answers.

    For that matter, you are nuts and not reliable for the truth either.

    PCD (02f8c1)

  8. The parallels with the fall of the Roman Republic are getting rather obvious. The complete lack of adults in the Democratic party is now a threat to the safety of every person in the US.

    SPQR (72771e)

  9. glasnost,

    The Gallup poll is not a poll of likely voters, which is who politicians care about. It’s also two months old, not reflecting current information. But Andy is fond of cherry-picking whatever feeds his delusions.

    Karl (983a67)

  10. I would be fine with a “Truth Commission”, though that sounds completely Orwellian. I would love to see SanFranNan and Rockefeller under oath.

    JD (788853)

  11. glasnost,

    PS: Could you cut and paste from the e-mail you sent Sullivan to complain about his avoidance of the more recent, more relevant Rasmussen poll? Thanks.

    Karl (983a67)

  12. PS: Could you cut and paste from the e-mail you sent Sullivan to complain about his avoidance of the more recent, more relevant Rasmussen poll? Thanks.

    I see. So if I pay more attention to your intellectual problems than Andy Sullivan’s, that poll you posted magically becomes an accurate representation of the available evidence regarding US public opinion on this topic!

    The time-honored “my critics aren’t fair, therefore my behavior is somehow appropriate defense.”

    Anytime you’re ready to perform a comprehensive investigation of the polling on this issue, and post the results without selecting your sample in a way that makes your conclusions look more accurate than the evidence would suggest, I’m ready to stop pointing out your manipulations and commence the high-fives.

    glasnost (af3e29)

  13. You forgot another benefit for a “Truth Commission.” It gives Obama political cover so he doesn’t have to take the heat for actually making a decision.

    I didn’t think it would be possible for him to continue voting “President” while the chief executive. Clearly, I underestimated his abilities, if you can call it that.

    Sean P (e57269)

  14. You forgot another benefit for a “Truth Commission.” It gives Obama political cover so he doesn’t have to take the heat for actually making a decision.

    I didn’t think it would be possible for him to continue voting “President” while the chief executive. Clearly, I underestimated his abilities, if you can call it that.

    Sean P (e57269)

  15. Swizz sent me to you. So glad she did. Great post. I have a similar one going today as well – the “Mommy Blogger” version, if you will, but I try to keep the blood flowing to the brain as much as possible.

    Peace. Em

    Em (b2bb53)

  16. As pointed out, the Rassmussen poll is more recent, and so more accurately reflects todays attitude toward the issue.

    Do you have anything that refutes the Rassmussen poll as inaccurate?

    If not, why did you cite a 2-month old poll while at the same time decrying the intellectual dishonesty of others?

    Steverino (69d941)

  17. Glasnost is exceptionally mendoucheous today.

    JD (788853)

  18. The Democrats as arbitrators of war crimes and torture is the height of hypocrisy.Ranking Dem leaders knew in advance of tactics used to gleem info from murdering scum.Should a “Truth Commission ” be esablished ex-post facto for any partianship political gains sought by Dems and obsequious press?The elections are near-what better way to get Bush,Cheney and Republicans tarred as violators of our sacred values while the economy and President 44problems are lost in translation via The New York Times ad nauseum..The Party of Scoop Jackson has lost its mind.

    mike191 (5baa45)

  19. The Democrats as arbitrators of war crimes and torture is the height of hypocrisy.Ranking Dem leaders knew in advance of tactics used to gleem info from murdering scum.Should a “Truth Commission ” be esablished ex-post facto for any partianship political gains sought by Dems and obsequious press?The elections are near-what better way to get Bush,Cheney and Republicans tarred as violators of our sacred values while the economy and President 44problems are lost in translation via The New York Times ad nauseum..The Party of Scoop Jackson has lost its mind.

    mike191 (5baa45)

  20. He’s been over infecting Michael Totten’s blog comments posing as a serious student of geopolitics. The lunatic opinions keep showing through, though.

    MIke K (8df289)

  21. All right, glasnost, let’s see if they bring it on. That will be the pudding-proof test of whether or not this is a popular idea. Because you know they want to. They sure will if two-thirds of the people want them to. And I hope they do. But they won’t. Because that poll is garbage and anybody with half an ear on the public pulse knows it.

    rrpjr (adf66b)

  22. Glasnost is exceptionally mendoucheous today.

    No, this is just an average day for him. Several times over at QandO, I caught him posting a link that didn’t say what he said it did.

    Compared to most mendicants, he is exceptional. But his performance today is well within his statistical norms.

    Steverino (69d941)

  23. Ooops, used the wrong word there. (This is what I get for trying to be fancy.) “Mendicant” means “beggar”. I’ll go with the simple noun “liar”, rather than try to dress it up in fancy prose.

    Steverino (69d941)

  24. glasnost cracks me up. It’s like comment #11 doesn’t exist if he pretends it doesn’t. Most people grow out of that thinking at around age five.

    Karl (983a67)

  25. Does pendicant mean mendoucheous pedant ?

    JD (788853)

  26. Ranking Dem leaders knew in advance of tactics used to gleem info from murdering scum.

    Whoa. We’ve been using decades old toothpaste on terrorism suspects? It sounds like a dubious method of interrogation, but at least it’s not torture!

    Internet Tough Guy (22501b)

  27. Does mendicant mean mendouceous pedant?

    JD (788853)

  28. Karl, you’re talking valid polls and you throw an internet poll from Scotty in there? Gee, “two months old” versus “self-selecting poll which is never accurate.”

    Dear Lord, Scotty’s the one who tells Obama is at a 50% approval rating, damn every other poll in the universe.

    In the end, the American people would like a Truth Commission just fine, just like y’all predicted we’d hate the 9/11 Commission. But, there is no doubt the President doesn’t want to spend any political capital on it and the Jane Harmon’s and John Rockerfellers are too scared.

    It will be a lesson in the history books, like Dred Scott or the Haymarket riots or Wounded Knee or the Japanese Internment, where kids will shake their heads and wonder how people in a democracy let that happen.

    If America’s lucky the kids will be shocked that there was an entire party who defended it, much like I remember being surprised there were jackasses who supported Nixon.

    timb (a83d56)

  29. Feisty Dick is so looking forward to those reams of Polaroids due to be released on May 28, too. No doubt they have a few rare image of Darth smiling as the sad collection depicts more Bush Administration sanctioned abuses by use military personnel on prisoners. The fish stinks from the head down. Turd blossoms in bloom soon, Dubya.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  30. DCSCA, dude, find a pharmacy with a more reliable wholesaler.

    SPQR (72771e)

  31. “The Democrats as arbitrators of war crimes and torture is the height of hypocrisy.”

    No doubt, since the Democrats have committed far more war crimes over the last few decades than the Republicans ever have.

    Leaning on terrorist murderers is one thing, deliberately poisoning the crops of Vietnamese peasants is a whole lot worse…and that’s exactly what the Kennedy Administration did.

    It might be illegal to waterboard terrorists, but it’s definitely illegal to launch an unprovoked attack against Yugoslavia which results in the deaths of hundreds of Serbian civlians…and that’s exactly what the Clinton administration did.

    If the Dems have a “Truth Commission”, they had best make sure that the scope of the commission is limited only to acts carried out by the American government between Jan 2001, and Jan 2009…otherwise a whole lot of Democrats are going to go to jail, for a long, long time.

    Or to put it another way, the last thing the Dems want is for the WHOLE truth to come out.

    Dave Surls (03a6c1)

  32. With apologies to Toody & Muldoon, sing along:

    There’s a car bomb in Tikrit;
    Baghdad’s broken out in fights;
    There are prison abuse photos that are hidden out of sight;
    The Afghan war is stale;
    All your pals may all go to jail;
    George W. Bush where areeeeeeee youuuu?

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  33. Where’s the link to your posted vid showing the man and his 2-year-old kid (who should be in school) calling Obama a fascist?

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  34. Sullivan’s site showing a two-thirds majority in favor of either criminal or civil investigations

    …and I have conducted a “poll” that shows voters prefer me to anyone else in Congress at the moment, and that if I ran for Supreme Ruler of the Universe, I’d win in a landslide! Ha ha! Eleventy!

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  35. ASPCA is a voyeur? SHOCKA.

    There was Bush sanctioned abuse at Abu Ghraib? Link please. I seem to recall court martials and jail time.

    JD (788853)

  36. ASPCAS and glasnost might try getting their meds mixed at that Ocala Fla. pharmacy that made the illegal formula for the 21 Venezuelan polo ponies that died at the Palm Beach polo championships. Seriously, what kind of kool-aide do these Duh-1 apologists drink? Are liberals more racially sensitive because they yearn to have sex with the mixed breed, intellectually challenged POTUS? Don’t tell me how smart he is if he won’t release his grades. Like Kerry’s secret military service discharge papers.

    aoibhneas (0c6cfc)

  37. Two thoughts about that poll by CNN that states Republicans are less popluar than Venezuela:

    1. My, they sure are sure taking the dressing down Susan Roesgen received personally, aren’t they?
    2. Suppose that CNN poll accurately reflects public opinion of the GOP. If it does, how come the alleged overtly-Republican Fox News has more than double the average daily ratings than the network that issued the poll does?
    3. Furthermore, shouldn’t it be easier to haul Bushco officials in front of Congress for a show trial if the GOP is so unpopular? After all, who’s going to defend them?

    The arrogance from the Dems and their media is becoming more breathtaking every day, and they’re not going to be able to see when they run straight into the brick wall.

    Brad S (5709e3)

  38. Speaking of show trials (Warning-thread violation coming), the Democrats don’t have much confidence in Al Gore to defend his expertise. Maybe it’s something to do with his flunking out of divinity school.

    By the way, how do you flunk divinity school ? It sounds like it might be fun.

    Mike K (8df289)

  39. By the way, how do you flunk divinity school ?

    By forgetting to add walnuts?

    allan (fd2a75)

  40. Bravo, allan. I won’t make comments on the use of candy thermometers and double boilers, I can assure you.

    Eric Blair (33cc23)

  41. I prefer sea foam over divinity and skip the walnuts.

    EB, you can comment about that stuff, JB is still banished from the kitchen.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  42. If Republicans are so unpopular, why does Rasmussen have the generic Congressional ballot as even?

    Answer? The CNN (and Gallup and etc) polls on Obama and politics in general are almost all of “adults.” Not registered voters, and certainly not likely voters as Rasmussen polls.

    If Rasmussen is to be believed, then (and their polls are consistent week after week), it’s clear that people who are NOT registered to vote lean heavily towards Obama and the rest of us are more evenly split.

    So treat those polls of all adults with a grain of salt; they do not represent what might happen in a real election.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  43. As for Truth Commissions, how about one on the mortgage crash? After all, it was all Bush’s fault, right?

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  44. There are all sorts of subjects for truth commissions. One example is stealing elections.

    Well, he’ll fit in well at HUD. Stealing is their specialty.

    MIke K (2cf494)

  45. Still waiting for DCSCA to:

    1. Provide the video showing the man and his two-year-old son chanting “fascist”

    2. Provide some kind of evidence that two-year-olds are required to be in school

    3. Provide proof of his claim that waterboarding has been illegal in the US for 100 years

    4. Provide proof of his claim that Hawaii was not a US Territory in 1941

    That’s quite a bit of work for one weekend, DCSCA. Are you up to it?

    Steverino (1b3695)

  46. I want documentation proving DCSCA was a CIA agent working for CBS while on an Enron oil rig off the coast of Libya building rockets for NASA.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  47. Re the Begala claim that “the United States executed Japanese war criminals for waterboarding” – Ibelieve that can be rebutted, and Begala’s “proof” does not make the case.

    Begala cites a McCain claim judged accurate by Politifact, namely:

    “”I forgot to mention last night that following World War II war crime trials were convened. The Japanese were tried and convicted and hung for war crimes committed against American POWs. Among those charges for which they were convicted was waterboarding,” he told reporters at a campaign event.”

    Obviously, a case where someone is executed for heinous crimes including waterboarding is different from a person executed primarily for waterboarding.

    The source cited by Politifact does not offer any examples of the latter, whch would be necessary for Begala’s claim to be accurate.

    Obviously, if you are arguing that your side didn’t commit capital crimes, just crimes meriting decades of hard labor, you are losing the argument.

    Stiil I think Begala is wrong.

    Tom Maguire (b338c4)

  48. There is, of course, another difference between the crimes cited by Begala and our trolls as committed by the Japanese and what was done to the three Al Quaeda terrorists.

    The Americans captured and abused by the Japanese were lawful military combatants, fighting in uniform, and hence covered as prisoners of war and entitled to the protections afforded POWs. The terrorists captured were not lawful military combatants and hence not entitled to said protections.

    It is not lawful to execute (or torture, or “torture”) a prisoner of war. It is lawful to execute without a trial an enemy combatant captured fighting out of uniform, and the US certainly did so often during World War II.

    Civilis (56f1db)

  49. #10- The parallels with the fall of the Roman Republic are getting rather obvious. Yes, read ‘Barbarians At The Gate’ which lays out the excesses of Wall Street in the deregulated Reagan era just before the Crash of ’87.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  50. #48- Keep clucking Step-hen. Sooner of later you’ll do your own homework.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  51. #49- Always asking for ‘papers, please’, eh, psycho? Otto’s Dry Cleaners called; your brown shirts and leiterhosen are ready. Sieben marks, bitte schoen.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  52. Did someone say he was “waiting for DCSCA”? Shame on you.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  53. Karl – Thanks for that update. I didn’t realize Wallach ever published anything related to his work. The last draft I saw of his study of “torture” over the years had very problematic descriptions of the WWII prosecutions for war crimes. The charges were for a number of crimes, including waterboarding. In the WAPO article he claims that was the principal reason for the conviction. Again, in the most recent draft of his monograph which I saw, there was no such evidence presented and no online research available to lead to that conclusion. He’s stretching.

    Also, how is abuse by a Texas Sheriff under criminal statutes compararable to what is supposedly tried under the laws of war? I know liberals don’t consider the war on terror to be an actual war, but that’s taking the comparison a little far.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  54. So, all you’ve got is name-calling? You actually can’t produce anything to back up your claims.

    That’s all I need to know about you.

    Steverino (1b3695)

  55. your … leiterhosen are ready.
    Ladder pants? How fetching…

    Frau Jedöns (279358)

  56. glasnost cracks me up. It’s like comment #11 doesn’t exist if he pretends it doesn’t.

    I thought it was too stupid a point to bother refuting. Also, I left. The internet. To go do something else. Like I sometimes do.. for days at a time. You can feel free to interpret my failing to answer something you say as that you’ve just dunked on me if that gets you jollies, but odds are it’s fantasy.

    Now, what was the point here? oh yeah.

    It’s also two months old, not reflecting current information.

    I’d like to think you were joking, but I think the real answer is that you just don’t respect your audience. You know they’ll won’t call you on dumb sh*t like this – you get an automatic pass since you’re mocking all the right people – so you make arguments you’re too smart to think are any good.

    Which of these alternate realities are more likely, Karl?

    1) The fact that Rasmussen poll two months later than the Gallup shows a 30-point swing away from investigating detainee interrogation, reflects that the public mood has shifted heavily against investigation in the last two months. Thus, making your suggestion that the Rasmussen poll is somehow better or more accurate because it is more recent.. valid. at least a little.

    2) the difference between the two is made up of random statistical variance, Rasmussen’s Republican-friendly thumb on the scales, and the fact that “likely voters” lean old white Republicans. Both polls are equally uncertain. The two months between the polls is meaningless or close to it in explaining the variance.

    You could go with 1), but it would be ideological wish-fulfillment. Can you even come up with a rationale for why the 30-point opinion shift you theorize about in 1) would have occured?

    I doubt you believe your own spin. You just don’t care whether what you’re saying is realistic or not. You’re on a mission for your cause, or your career, or whatever it may be, and why concede to reality *before* someone tries to pin you to it? You can always backtrack later, and you know the difference between credibility-killing whoppers a la the Birth Certficate Theory, and just burying reasonable-sounding little tidbits of sh*t in your well-researched narratives.

    You’ve got the game figured out, though. That I give you. Just try not to think about how your success is a process of building ignorance.

    glasnost (af3e29)

  57. While I’m at it:

    Update: As an aside, the above link to the Asano case is a purported debunking of a claim made by Paul Begala. Today, Begala claims he was not referring to the Asano case, but to the Tokyo Trials, officially known as the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. The problem with that is that those cases are just as distinguishable, unless one assumes that dumping buckets of water through a towel, filling up the mouth and nostrils with water, is the same as pouring water on KSMs head wrapped in cellophane for less than a minute at a time.

    Not all arguments are created equal, and this one is really above average disgusting. You’ve found a variation in the text used to describe waterboarding in two different circumstances, and you think that you can spin this as some kind of profound difference. What does “too clever by half” mean to you? Also, “nauseating cynicism”.

    To gain some idea as to what the fuck you are talking about, please see Malcolm Nance from Small Wars Journal:

    http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2007/10/waterboarding-is-torture-perio/

    Even Ed Morrisey read this, at the time. Where were you? Since you can’t be trusted to read the link, I will quote.

    Waterboarding is not a simulation. Unless you have been strapped down to the board, have endured the agonizing feeling of the water overpowering your gag reflex, and then feel your throat open and allow pint after pint of water to involuntarily fill your lungs, you will not know the meaning of the word.

    Waterboarding is a controlled drowning that, in the American model, occurs under the watch of a doctor, a psychologist, an interrogator and a trained strap-in/strap-out team. It does not simulate drowning, as the lungs are actually filling with water. There is no way to simulate that. The victim is drowning. How much the victim is to drown depends on the desired result (in the form of answers to questions shouted into the victim’s face) and the obstinacy of the subject. A team doctor watches the quantity of water that is ingested and for the physiological signs which show when the drowning effect goes from painful psychological experience, to horrific suffocating punishment to the final death spiral.

    Waterboarding is slow motion suffocation with enough time to contemplate the inevitability of black out and expiration –usually the person goes into hysterics on the board. For the uninitiated, it is horrifying to watch and if it goes wrong, it can lead straight to terminal hypoxia. When done right it is controlled death. Its lack of physical scarring allows the victim to recover and be threaten with its use again and again.

    Call it “Chinese Water Torture,” “the Barrel,” or “the Waterfall,” it is all the same. Whether the victim is allowed to comply or not is usually left up to the interrogator. Many waterboard team members, even in training, enjoy the sadistic power of making the victim suffer and often ask questions as an after thought. These people are dangerous and predictable and when left unshackled, unsupervised or undetected they bring us the murderous abuses seen at Abu Ghraieb, Baghram and Guantanamo. No doubt, to avoid human factors like fear and guilt someone has created a one-button version that probably looks like an MRI machine with high intensity waterjets.

    I suggest you read the whole thing. I really don’t want to bother looking up the quote from the Armed Services commitee report where it is helpfully explained that the point of the cloth over the mouth and nose is to assist in asphyxiation.

    glasnost (af3e29)

  58. “Consider this account from a Filipino waterboarding victim:”

    “Q: Was it painful?”

    “A: Not so painful, but one becomes unconscious. Like drowning in the water.”

    Yeah, that’s what we keep trying to tell the lefty nitwits. It isn’t especially painful and that’s why it isn’t torture.

    Neither is being stripped naked, slammed against a wall, having your sleep interrupted, etc. That stuff is a pain in the ass, but it’s hardly torture.

    Dave Surls (587595)

  59. I can’t believe what politicians call torture: waterboarding, being required to stand for long periods of time, listening to loud music, sleep deprivation. And Abu Graib (sp?) – that was just horrendous! Read some of the books out there on real torture (I just read ‘Ship of Ghosts’ – POW torture and murder by Japanese). The U.S seems to be only one that abides by any rules; Geneva Convention is a joke. I’m sure our enemies have a good laugh about all of this.
    If you really want to torture someone – make them watch videos of Al Gore speaking on Global Warming – or make the terrorists go on The View. Now that’s painful!
    U.S is being perceived as weak – and that makes us vulnerable for more attacks.
    P.S. – I am enjoying watching Pelosi trying to lie her way out of her latest pickle! Depends on what ‘is’ is. Will anyone be surprised if the ‘minutes’ from the briefings disappear? Where is Sandy Berger?

    Former Dem (cacef8)

  60. Oh, I forgot – best way to avoid waterboarding = speak up!

    Former Dem (cacef8)

  61. Am I the only one that wants these “Truth Commissions” just to see Pelosi and Rockefeller under oath?

    JD (e59ffa)

  62. Down on the bottom end – the average American in the street – the question comes down to whether the USA is a nation of rules – that respects and enforces the rules . If it is not then that opens the way for open revolt – just look at the lessons of the past where ruling elites have trampled over the laws and gotten away with it . You end up with either a state of anarchy or revolution . This is the real danger . All those guns start being aimed at specific targets within the elite as the people take the law into their own hands to try to restore it to it’s rightful place . Look at the history of France – the French revolution – for one example . And for another – states like Somalia where the law is ineffective .

    Kim (4bcef1)

  63. and just burying reasonable-sounding little tidbits of sh*t in your well-researched narratives

    After that coherent response, I’m certainly convinced of the merits of your arguments – anything else you’d like to add here?

    To gain some idea as to what the fuck you are talking about

    So we come to the thrilling conclusion, aptly stated. Well played, sir!

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  64. Kim,

    If we are a nation of Laws, why did a Democratic Party head of State find it OK to commit perjury under oath?

    If we are a nation of Laws, why did the Democrats on the Hill stand behind the President who find it OK to committ perjury?

    This “rule of Law,” re:Torture would carry weight if:

    A) If the Democratic Congressmen and women involved were caught up in this too and;

    B) The same people asking for President Bush’s head were not the same people asking for Bush’s head the last 8 years.

    This is just another version of the Two Minute Hate starring President Bush as Emmanuel Goldstein.

    Prove me wrong.

    JSF (9d1bb3)

  65. “the USA is a nation of rules – that respects and enforces the rules.”

    Sometimes we follow the rules, sometimes we don’t.

    Jack Kennedy wasn’t following the rules when he ordered a sneak attack against Cuba in 1961, and Bill Clinton wasn’t following the rules when he ordered our armed forces to bomb the FRY in 1999.

    Dembot, liberal clowns don’t mind breaking the rules (and killing folks while they’re doing it)…as long as it’s their boys that are doing the rule-breaking.

    Dave Surls (d105db)

  66. From Ted Rall:

    “I don’t care if torture works. I don’t give a damn if torture could reveal a plot that would cost millions of lives. I would rather die in a terrorist attack than live in a society that relies upon torture to protect itself.”

    There’s a spot waiting for him in the Obama Administration.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  67. “Today, Begala claims he was not referring to the Asano case, but to the Tokyo Trials, officially known as the International Military Tribunal for the Far East.”

    Yeah, and Begala is lying through his teeth.

    ‘My precise words were: “Our country executed Japanese soldiers who waterboarded American POWs. We executed them for the same crime we are now committing ourselves.”‘

    No, we didn’t, and no we aren’t.

    We didn’t execute Japanese war criminals for waterboarding people or for burning them with cigarettes. We executed them because they burned people with cigarettes and then chopped their heads off with their samurai swords. It’s the chopping off of heads part that merits the death penalty.

    And, if Americans had been doing the stuff that Al Qaida terrorists have done, we wouldn’t have made any fuss about the Japanese chopping their heads off either.

    Begala is a stone cold liar…like just about all Liberal Democrats.

    Dave Surls (d105db)

  68. I wonder what our allies really think about this.

    If we are unwilling to scare or demean a captured enemy into giving us information on a future attack — if we value the enemy’s comfort over the lives of 1000’s of our own citizens — what will we fail to do when it comes to defending an ally?

    If Obama’s people really think that it is more important to have clean hands than to save Americans, how can a Brit, German or Korean think they’d lift a finger for them?

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  69. “I wonder what our allies really think about this.”

    Who cares? Our “allies” aren’t going to lift a finger to help us anyway.

    Well, they might lift a finger…but, that’s about it.

    Just take a look at what’s going on in Afghanistan, or at the giant anti-American protests that take place in Europe every time we try to take on some dictator or their pet terrorists.

    Think the bastards in Europe would risk anything to help us?

    Our alliances are totally useless, and always have been.

    Dave Surls (d105db)

  70. where ruling elites have trampled over the laws and gotten away with it . You end up with either a state of anarchy or revolution .

    We could easily expanded on that to include Cuba, Russia, China, NoKo, selected Central and South American nations, and a bevy of AfriClan nations …ruling elites are ubiquitous, and seemingly ‘ubiquiting’ at an alarming rate. Point being one would have to add totalitarian reigns, dictatorships, and religious oligarchies to that list. Matter of fact, it would seem the law tramplers just enumerated would vastly outnumber and outgun the anarchists and revolutionaries at this point in history.

    allan (e9a00e)

  71. “I admit I feel hypocritical about that,” he said. “If one of our soldiers or CIA agents had been captured by Saddam [Hussein], waterboarded and put in box, and we found out who authorized it, we would insist on prosecuting that person for war crimes.”

    LOL. If an American national committed a terrorist act or was a member of a terrorist organization, and was arrested in a foreign nation and put to the question, we wouldn’t lift a finger to help them, or do anything to the officials of the government that arrested them and slapped them around, so apare me. Get a clue the guys that have been roughed up aren’t soldiers, they’re terrorists.

    We didn’t go to Singapore and arrest their officials when they did this…

    http://www.nytimes.com/1994/06/26/us/us-student-tells-of-pain-of-his-caning-in-singapore.html

    And, all that guy did was spraypaint some cars.

    Dave Surls (cde488)

  72. “Saltzburg and others said Americans would probably be inclined to bring war crimes charges against a former official who authorized the waterboarding of a U.S. agent.”

    Well, there’s tons of old Vietnamese commies still alive. Hop to it.

    Dave Surls (cde488)

  73. Hey, Karl? Is that the sound of crickets I hear?

    Oh look! Another poll! At least a week more recent than yours! That makes it absolute truth, right?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/25/AR2009042503120.html

    glasnost (af3e29)

  74. Are you regularly breathing into a paper bag when you type these kinds of “spleen – vents?”

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  75. “Obama’s 63% first-quarter average matches the historical average of 63% for elected presidents’ first quarters since 1953. However, it is the fourth highest for a newly elected president since that time, and the highest since Jimmy Carter’s 69% in 1977.”–Gallup

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/117598/Obama-Averages-Approval-First-Quarter.aspx

    That tells you everything you need to know about the value of popularity polls, and the ability of the general public to assess competence.

    Dave Surls (a3d8ea)

  76. I believe the race of our president is a factor in the way he has conducted foreign policy and where he stands with regard to torture. In no way do I mean to offend, but I feel Obama views the world as I do. America has a role to play morally, our standards should be higher always. The black experience in America has been a history of sacrifice and struggle for a better future. We grow up feeling like were here to go through racism and oppression to assure a better future. Many white people have become cynical and weary of being tolerant. As a result, their world view is subjected to seeing American lives as more important then others. 100,000 Iraqis have died in this war and we feel nothing for them. Orphans and widows are the same regardless of where they may live or what they look like. I think America must treat the world how we want to be treated. It’s the only way to achieve world peace. I’m simply saying white people have had to change socially in such a way that always feels like a concession or new tolerance. This has dehumanized their world view as Americans. We have a racial hierarchy in our minds as criteria for how we institute our morals and values. This is our history and our ongoing affliction. As a result, it has become increasingly difficult for Americans in general and white Americans in particular to be citizens of the world. We are free to care about whomever we want to and we choose ourselves only. Persecution anywhere threatens freedom everywhere.

    Reginald Webb (bfac90)

  77. I knew this policy was RACIST !!!!

    JD (dc133d)

  78. Clever and original. You never stop surprising

    timb (8f04c0)

  79. 79- ah, yes…mikey was correct..Iraq was a garden of earthly delights under the beneficent guidance of Saddam, Uday and Qusay- children flying kites and love all around in the air. The gassing of the Kurds did not take place, women were not subject to rape rooms, people were not fed feet first into wood chippers, etc.
    Various officials of the Clinton admin., most world intelligence services and several governments did not agree that something had to be done about Saddam’s likely possession of WMDs. Ain’t revisionist history grand? The UN had how many resolutions demanding compliance from Iraq after the first Gulf war? How much money were officals of the UN, Germany, France and Russia making illegally on the Iraq-UN oil for food program?
    And the great black hope is only partially black. Seems he has more arab and white blood. Some of us don’t think his color should have had any bearing on Duh-1’s credentials for potus. Of course many of you libs felt otherwise and naturally blacks embraced their “champion”. Funny how Hillary could run as a lib carpetbagger and win US Senate, but a black conservative Alan Keyes didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell in Illinois against the crooked Chicago machine.
    Tell me about one competent liberal black elected official anywhere? And Robert Mugabe and the new leader of SA don’t qualify. Oh yeah, Marion Berry, Wilson Goode, David Dinkins, Deval Fitzpatrick, the guv of NY, William Jefferson, the mayor of Detroit, Alcee Hastings,the mayor of New Orleans and so on???? Which was or is a good leader? Yeah, I know plenty of crappy whiteys out there too, but saints like lib lion Kennedy are special people.
    Please enlighten us as to why libs are such pussies when it comes to dealing with despots besides the evil Bushitler??

    aoibhneas (0c6cfc)

  80. So we come to the thrilling conclusion, aptly stated. Well played, sir!

    Are you really in a position to imply that my occasional cursing and expressions of contempt disqualify my point of view? On THIS board? I *wish* I could get a standard like that applied around here. I’d give up my spot, and 85% of your thoughtful co-commenters could take a similar hike.

    Hey speaking of intellectual honesty, great work there failing to address the other 95% of the posts in question. I’m flattered that genuinely defending Karl’s approach to informing you doesn’t seem promising to you, or so it appears.

    glasnost (af3e29)

  81. timb – Be nice to Reginald Webb. He was being serious.

    JD (6ef9a2)

  82. Did I ban Ed from PA? Someone remind me. He’s trying to get comments in under another name.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  83. Yes, you banned EfP for his attacks on Stash.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  84. Reginald Webb,

    I’m an American and I don’t think I’m better or worth more than other people of the world. However, I do believe the American economic system (esp. capitalism and private property) and our republican form of government is better.

    Anon (b0f193)


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