Patterico's Pontifications

4/26/2009

Addressing More Lazy Assumptions About Waterboarding and Other Harsh Questioning Techniques

Filed under: General,Judiciary — Patterico @ 11:21 am



Stuart Taylor has a typically thoughtful column on the issue of harsh questioning. Because Taylor’s columns have no permanent links, I’ll quote extensively:

“A democracy as resilient as ours must reject the false choice between our security and our ideals,” President Obama said on April 16, “and that is why these methods of interrogation are already a thing of the past.”

But is it really a false choice? It’s certainly tempting to think so. The fashionable assumption that coercive interrogation (up to and including torture) never saved a single life makes it easy to resolve what otherwise would be an agonizing moral quandary.

The same assumption makes it even easier for congressional Democrats, human-rights activists, and George W. Bush-hating avengers to call for prosecuting and imprisoning the former president and his entire national security team, including their lawyers. . . .

But there is a body of evidence suggesting that brutal interrogation methods may indeed have saved lives, perhaps a great many lives — and that renouncing those methods may someday end up costing many, many more.

To be sure, the evidence in the public record is not conclusive. It comes mainly from Bush appointees and Central Intelligence Agency officials with records to defend and axes to grind. There is plenty of countervailing evidence coming from critics who have less access to the classified information that tells much of the story and have their own axes to grind. There are also plausible arguments for renouncing coercive interrogation even if it does save some lives.

But it would be an abdication for the president to proceed on the facile assumption that his no-coercion executive order is cost-free.

Those on the left have been pointing to an op-ed by Ali Soufan in the New York Times from Wednesday, in which Soufan says: “There was no actionable intelligence gained from using enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Zubaydah that wasn’t, or couldn’t have been, gained from regular tactics.” But as Tom Maguire points out, during the period of time that Zubaydah was questioned using “regular tactics,” he was “stripped, held in an icy room and jarred by earsplittingly loud music,” according to the New York Times.

Maguire concludes: “Harsher techniques were introduced in August, but the techniques before then were surely harsh.” In any event, the real debate about waterboarding centers around revelations in recent memos regarding details revealed by a different detainee, KSM, about a plot that would have killed thousands if executed: the Library Tower plot in Los Angeles (discussed in my post here). Soufan knows nothing about that, and KSM and Zubaydah are obviously different people who may have required different tactics.

Back to Taylor:

I see no reason at all to doubt the sincerity of Dennis Blair, Obama’s own national intelligence director, who said in an April 16 memo to his staff that “high value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding” of Al Qaeda.

Blair later qualified this by adding, “There is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means.” But a reasonable person might imagine that it would take more than sweet talk, mind games, and lollipops to get hardened terrorists to sing.

Blair argues that the style of interrogation we have pursued has hurt our standing in the world, to which Taylor responds:

He may be right (or wrong) about that. But even if he is right, does it make sense not only to ban the brutal Bush-Cheney brand of interrogation but also to lurch to the opposite extreme by ordering the CIA not to “threaten or coerce” any detainee in any way?

No yelling? No restricting a detainee to nutritious but unappetizing cold food until he talks? No threats of long-term incarceration, even though such are used routinely and quite legally by police all over America? Should people suspected of plotting mass death really be treated more punctiliously than people suspected of burglary?

The people who agree with the Obama approach don’t care about the evidence. They will lazily accept the premise that the timing of the KSM arrest doesn’t square with the breakup of the Library Tower plot, even though I have explained how it does. They simply have their own smug and self-righteous view about torture. That view may get us killed.

304 Responses to “Addressing More Lazy Assumptions About Waterboarding and Other Harsh Questioning Techniques”

  1. “That view may get us killed.”

    Yeah, but as our resident lefties will tell you, it’s a dry kill.

    danebramage (700c93)

  2. To be sure, the evidence in the public record is not conclusive. It comes mainly from Bush appointees and Central Intelligence Agency officials with records to defend and axes to grind. There is plenty of countervailing evidence coming from critics who have less access to the classified information that tells much of the story and have their own axes to grind. There are also plausible arguments for renouncing coercive interrogation even if it does save some lives.

    Thanks for the link. Taylor is indeed thoughtful and well worth reading.

    Tim McGarry (9fe080)

  3. “Blair argues that the style of interrogation we have pursued has hurt our standing in the world”

    Yeah, right. Back in the good old days when everyone (supposedly) loved us 600,000 Americans died fighting against our fervent admirers in Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Red China and Vietnam.

    During/after Vietnam everyone (supposedly) started hating us, but, strangely enough, a lot less Americans are getting killed by all these folks overseas that (supposedly) used to love us.

    Personally, I’d rather be hated. It seems to save a lot of American lives.

    Dave Surls (a3d8ea)

  4. The evidence in the public record also comes from such experts as Nancy Pelosi who was briefed on the entire interrogation program and who is quoted at the time as saying was it harsh enough? Now, of course, she denies “understanding what she was told” but the wind has shifted and Nancy shifts with the wind.

    Obama has, like Frank Church another do-gooder lefty, dealt a blow to the CIA that it will not soon recover from. Those interested in history might recall that the Church hearings were in 1975-76, another period of triumph of leftist politics in the US, and were followed in three years by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the overthrow of the Shah, and the Iran Embassy hostage crisis.

    If you are interested in what these feckless actions did to the CIA, read Guests of the Ayatollah and learn that the CIA had no Farsi speakers in the embassy. Then read Bob Baer’s See No Evil and learn that he was the only CIA agent who spoke the languages of Afghanistan prior to 9/11. When he was due to retire, he asked for a Dari or Pashtu speaker to replace him and the CIA instead sent him a sexual harassment investigation team. His replacement dropped his best agent, a Russian general, because he was an alcoholic.

    The era of Obama will see the US a pitiful helpless giant (until the economy collapses under the debt load and interest rates) that will be beset by pygmies set loose by Obama’s feckless foreign policy. There are times when I wonder if he really cares if the US survives a free nation. The kids who elected him will be punished by having to live with the results.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  5. If all these harsh interrogation techniques don’t work, why did the Clinton Administration set up a rendition program just for that purpose? Can any of the liberals here answer that question for the board?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  6. Taylor offers a concise, analytical view.

    If Obama told the CIA “not to threaten or coerce any detainee in any way” he was ordering agents to conform to explicit Army Field Manual language. It had undergone a revision in 2006.

    Bush’s DoD published a directive in late 2005 ordering that dogs “shall not be used as part of an interrogation approach or to harass, intimidate threaten or coerce a detainee for interrogation purposes.”

    steve (cae0bd)

  7. #3, Dave Surls wrote: “Personally, I’d rather be hated. It seems to save a lot of American lives.”

    Blair has a point, I think. I don’t know if it’s the one he’s trying to make or not, but: it’s one thing to be hated by evil people and another to be hated by good people. The problem the use of torture presents is that it degrades our image as an upright and moral nation. Whether or not that’s a justified opinion on the part of other nations is a little bit beside the point given the difficulty of defining torture with any precision. I think we have to take appearances into consideration when judging whether to allow torture (or the appearance of torture) to take place. Maybe in the end safety considerations will override the P.R. concerns, but I don’t think it’s smart to just categorically ignore them at the outset.

    danebramage (700c93)

  8. “Blair has a point, I think.”

    I don’t. Our “standing” in the world is exactly the same as it was in 2000, before we unleashed a can of whupass on Afghanistan and Iraq.

    No one has declared war on us, no one has broken off relations with us, no one has slapped an embargo on us, and we still have the same (totally worthless) alliances that we had in 2000.

    Nothing has changed.

    Dave Surls (a3d8ea)

  9. If Obama told the CIA “not to threaten or coerce any detainee in any way” he was ordering agents to conform to explicit Army Field Manual language. It had undergone a revision in 2006.

    The CIA is not the Army, and is bound by a different set of rules.

    Steverino (69d941)

  10. I find it very amusing that we are to “make nice” in dealing with terror suspects, extending to them the rights that law enforcement must extend to criminal suspects, and that this will elevate the image of the U.S. held by the world-at-large – a world, that for the most part, uses very harsh interrogation techniques in dealing with criminal suspects, and “God Only Knows” what type of interrogation techniques in dealing with “enemies of the state”!
    We are being led by Morons, for Morons!

    AD (9999da)

  11. Obama’s new Marquis du Queensbury rules of engagement have already won the respect and undying admiration of the Western world – why, look at what he’s accomplished just in the first 100 days:

    – being ridiculed by Sarko behind his back, after being told bluntly that his economic plan has already been tried and judged to be wholly inept;

    – Merkel and her gov’t in Germany also mocked his economic plan;

    – not one European leader pledged to send any additional troops to Afghanistan.

    – Iran and NK really like what they’re hearing so far…but no thanks, you can still suck it.

    A roaring success so far, no question.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  12. “That view may get us killed.”

    – Patterico

    Omigosh, Patterico… are we gonna die?

    Hold me.

    Leviticus (a02392)

  13. I thought better of you, Leviticus. There are some nasty people out there, who did manage to kill quite a few people, as you know very well. And they aren’t now raising daffodils.

    I think you have been watching too much Jon Stewart. The whole ironic pose can lead you into some pretty indefensible places.

    But hey, you have a right to your opinion.

    Eric Blair (33cc23)

  14. Mr Taylor asked:

    Should people suspected of plotting mass death really be treated more punctiliously than people suspected of burglary?

    Well, yes, of course our friends on the left believe that, because, deep down in their hearts, they don’t believe that there are terrorists out there who really do want to kill us. They simply believe that if we just do the right thing — stop supporting the Zionist aggressors, treat the Muslims with respect, and just generally be liberal milquetoasts nice guys, why no one could actually wish us harm.

    Our friends on the left have a huge problem with ego-centrism, a rather odd thing for those who support multi-culturalism. They see the value in other cultures, they respect people with beliefs different from ours, but somehow, some way, they can never get their minds around the odd notion that people from other cultures really might not think like they do, really might not react the way they do.

    Add to that the fact that they feel vaguely guilty about living in a wealthy country — our great wealth must be stolen from the poor abroad, dontcha know? — and they can never see the behavior of the Islamists as the fault of anyone other than we wicked wealthy white Christians.

    In a strange way, it shows how much (unrecognized) contempt they have for Muslims. They really can’t picture the Muslims as having an independent thought in their heads, but only reactions to what we do.

    The Dana who knows leftists, but isn't one of them. (474dfc)

  15. Leviticus wrote:

    Omigosh, Patterico… are we gonna die?

    Hold me.

    Like Khalid Sheikh Muhammed held Daniel Pearl?

    Three thousand people went to work on September 11, 2001, never expecting that they weren’t going to make it home for supper. I guess because President Bush’s anti-terrorism plans were so effective that the Islamists were unable to strike again in the United States, you’ve forgotten that they’d still like to, and think, heck, nothing is going to happen to me!

    Unfortunately, President Obama has taken a plan which worked, and fixed it. We’ve already heard that the CIA field operatives, the people who have to try to get us the information to keep us safe, no longer believe that they have any “cover” for their actions. Even programs which were successful, such as getting KSM to talk, are condemned, so no agent can reasonably believe that, as long as he’s successful, he’s covered.

    Maybe you won’t die, personally, from a terrorist attack; after all, even the vast majority of people in the World Trade Center that day didn’t die. But one of us wonders if it will take another event like that to pound some common sense into our friends on the left.

    The Dana who lives in the real world (474dfc)

  16. I, too, had expected better than that out of Leviticus.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  17. Leviticus says:

    Omigosh, Patterico… are we gonna die?

    Hold me.

    With all due respect to Leviticus, whom I like, this quote is a perfect illustration of the unserious mentality of mindset of the left as regards terrorism.

    There are evil people in this world, Leviticus. Killers who would slit your throat without a second thought. On 9-11-01, they killed 3000 of our fellow citizens. Their compatriots have been trying to do something more deadly ever since.

    When people like you mock those of us who take this threat seriously; when Glenn Greenwald speaks of The Terrorists with ironic capital letters; when leftists belittle the terror threat — when you do these things, you show that you and your ideological soulmates cannot and should not be trusted with the security of the American people.

    In order to deal with a threat, you must first recognize it and take it seriously. You don’t. And that is the problem.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  18. Patterico, it is due to an excess of irony in their media diet. That is all they see, so it is all they believe. It’s all about being cool, you see.

    The trouble is God is an iron, to quote Spider Robinson. He commits irony far more effectively than Jon Stewart and his sneering pals.

    And I really, truly hope that The Ironicists are correct. Sure, it’s annoying. But when they are wrong, people die needlessly.

    Eric Blair (57b266)

  19. The left cannot, without hesitation say who the enemy is. Far too many are inclined to say the enemy is United States and the rest of the world at it’s mercy. Terrorists and those who saw off the heads of citizens have somehow morphed into a twisted state of victimhood – by the left. This is the pathology of the left.

    If you cannot even define the enemy, name it, and face it, then pretty much it’s a losing battle.

    And this is a fearful matter.

    Dana (d08a3a)

  20. Dana, there is a poem I read, many years ago, that I cannot find. But it had this line:


    “…I hunger for your blame…”

    And that is the current view of the American Left regarding the rest of the world. Or it seems to be.

    Oh, and it is the solely the fault of Rethuglicans. I left that out.

    Eric Blair (57b266)

  21. “The left cannot, without hesitation say who the enemy is.”

    Sure they can. To the left anyone who threatens to take away their welfare state is the enemy. Those who don’t aren’t.

    Republicans are the enemy. Al Qaida isn’t.

    Dave Surls (a3d8ea)

  22. “I think you have been watching too much Jon Stewart.”

    – Eric Blair

    Actually, I don’t have cable.

    “this quote is a perfect illustration of the unserious mentality of mindset of the left as regards terrorism.”

    – Patterico

    No, “this quote” is a perfect illustration of someone who disagrees (sarcastically – sorry about that) with your assertion (in the last paragraph) that refusing to waterboard on moral grounds is some sort of self-righteous negligence. That’s an unfair accusation – there are plenty of honest, grounded individuals in this country who have rationally weighed the potential pros and cons of waterboarding, and found that they would rather risk an unlikely death at the hands of terrorists than live with the shame of taking the first step onto what we all know is a slippery slope (i.e. “harsh interrogation” techniques).

    My position on waterboarding (as I’ve said before) is this: make it illegal. If an interrogator is so sure of the susceptibility of the suspect to the technique, and so sure of the existence of extractable information, and has pure motives (i.e. the protection of innocent lives), than he’ll use the technique anyway, despite its illegality. When it comes to something like waterboarding, an American – someone who ascribes to the values we have in this country – ought to be willing to risk personal punishment for the greater good.

    And besides, who’s really going to prosecute that interrogator anyway?

    But you are right about me in one sense, Patterico – I’m not worried about dying at the hands of a terrorist. Because if I am worried… well. You know how that one goes.

    You say that “you and your ideological soulmates cannot and should not be trusted with the security of the American people.” What you fail to realize is that there is a large segment of the American population that doesn’t want the brand of “security” that you and your “ideological soulmates” are selling.

    Leviticus (7e1b4b)

  23. Dave, much of this reminds me of the 1980s. Many folks on the Left kept saying how Reagan was a warmonger, a senile religious fool, ready to bring the apocalypse.

    But they seemed completely unconcerned with the current and past actions of the Soviet Union. I heard more than one of these intellectual ninnies actually tell me that the US is every bit as bad as the USSR—or worse. Truly.

    I couldn’t understand this, since the records are very clear cut.

    What it was, again, was the triumph of feelings over facts. They wanted to believe that the Soviets meant well and they had no understanding of points of view different from their own. Heck, they didn’t understand how Republicans thought, which is why they portrayed that philosophy so oddly, with childish insults and outright lies. They were good people, you see, and if someone disagreed with them, those must be bad people.

    Add to it a weird “daddy hatred” toward their own country, and you got these bizarre editorials describing how Andropov loved jazz music and scotch, and we could work with that man. How “the Russians love their children, too” (despite the record in WWII).

    So a microscope was applied to their own country, and a flippant Mr. Magoo like myopia to everything else.

    I would understand being negative about all government, or giving everyone a chance. It was the asymmetry that gave me headaches.

    Also, you were ever so much cooler if you disagreed with Republicans. Even if Republicans were saying things that Democrats also said.

    Eric Blair (57b266)

  24. Back away from the keyboard, Leviticus. You can pretty up the verbiage with waterboarding (and by the way, precisely how many people were waterboarded?), but you were making light of fears regarding terrorist attacks, in a snarky fashion that is beneath you.

    And frankly, you never can tell who might have lost a friend or loved one during that period.

    If I tried the your ironic approach regarding wiretapping, would you just shrug that off? I haven’t searched the archives, but I am betting you take that quite seriously—even though the chances of you or your loved ones getting wiretapped are extremely low (though higher now, apparently, than under GWB).

    I think you let your irony fill your heart, to say something thoughtless for a quick chuckle among people with whom you share a world view—not thinking of anyone else. And from what I have seen, you have far too much of a good soul for that.

    Eric Blair (57b266)

  25. Leviticus,

    What I’m attacking in the last paragraph is the midset that rejects all evidence of what we gain from waterboarding (see, e.g., my latest post re Noah, Sullivan, et al.).

    And if you accept the idea that waterboarding KSM — who definitely had plots in motion and wouldn’t talk about them other than to say “Soon you will see” — gained us valuable information to stop those plots and saved thousands of lives, then I don’t see how you can balk at pouring water on a mass murderer’s face.

    The only room for argument, I think, is to a) argue that the evidence is not conclusive, which is a tough argument to make given what we know; or (more bizarrely) b) claim that pouring water on a mass murderer’s face under controlled conditions is always so evil that it’s not worth it even to save thousands of lives.

    Either way, we can do without the flippant attitude, which is exactly what leads conservatives to believe y’all aren’t serious about these issues.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  26. Irony is a big component of the Leftist diet these days.

    Along with the “clown nose on”/”clown nose off” dichotomy.

    Eric Blair (57b266)

  27. My position on waterboarding (as I’ve said before) is this: make it illegal. If an interrogator is so sure of the susceptibility of the suspect to the technique, and so sure of the existence of extractable information, and has pure motives (i.e. the protection of innocent lives), than he’ll use the technique anyway, despite its illegality. When it comes to something like waterboarding, an American – someone who ascribes to the values we have in this country – ought to be willing to risk personal punishment for the greater good.

    This is moral cowardice Sir. You are saying you want to take the self righteous position that you would rather you and your loved ones should die rather than have a terrorist waterboarded while expecting someone with more moral courage to do the dirty work on his own and trust the left not to be hypocrites. “And besides, who’s really going to prosecute that interrogator anyway? ” The same people who are now calling for prosecution of those who kept us safe the last eight years.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  28. EB, true. It’s just unbelievably Orwellian. All of it. That the American left is in an outrage over waterboarding yet virtually unheard from when Daniel Pearl and Nicholas Berg were beheaded is beyond my comprehension.

    I just got off the phone with my dad who served in Korea with the USMC. He is in disbelief that our country (or those who control the media, anyway) believes waterboarding to be a heinous practice, even torture. He rarely has spoken of what he experienced in Korea and we’ve never pressed him. What he told me today though was that when one faced the enemy that he faced, one made sure they fought to the death if captured rather than be taken alive. If captured, one would endure real torture: body parts lobbed off; bamboo shoved under their fingernails and being set on fire one finger at a time; digits chopped off or worse, sawed off, one at a time; having crude electrical devices hooked up to their genitals (and various other implements) at such strength and force that death could not come soon enough. These were the things he said he could say aloud. I dont’ want to know what can’t be spoken of. The important thing too is that these tortures were frequently not done to secure information but rather for sadistic pleasure at the hands of a ruthless enemy that did not value humanity and life. It was an enemy that was determined to indiscriminately kill any who stood in their way. No holds barred and no human rights commissions or panels to answer to. He concluded that he’s very thankful that our country is not facing WWII or Korea again because our current inability to accept the enemy as an evil would be our demise.

    He also said, ‘But what the hell do I know, I’m just an old soldier who served his country and lived through hell. These people in Washington seem to think they know better.’

    Heh.

    Dana (d08a3a)

  29. Leviticus wants Jack Bauer to risk his life and career to save us. Doesn’t seem like a very realistic approach to me, especially since his political cohorts want Jack buried up to his neck in red tape. And prosecuted for prior successes.

    carlitos (f022c4)

  30. I would also like to point out that driving interrogation underground is hardly the way to make a line we should not cross. The procedure was carefully controlled to avoid damage, risk, or excess harshness. If you force an agent to risk his freedom to get results illegally do you really think he will be so fastidious about the subject’s welfare?

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  31. I have always hated shows like 24 or NYPD Blue that glorify beating or torturing people to get information or confessions. I am absolutely against such measures. One of my objections to calling waterboarding or lack of AC or harsh language torture is that when reasonable methods are branded torture then true torture gains cover and legitimacy.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  32. Ah, but you see, Machinist, when you force “enhanced interrogation” underground, you don’t have to look at it, and can claim to be blameless.

    It’s all about feeling good about oneself.

    To bad that the world doesn’t have the same philosophy.

    Eric Blair (57b266)

  33. Dana, I’m sure that our society is like some weird novel to your father. He is quite correct.

    But you know perfectly well that it would take about fifteen seconds, if your father were discussing this on a college campus, to see him accused of racism for his comments.

    The facts don’t matter.

    Give him my regards, and tell him I am thankful for his sacrifices. I doubt he hears that enough, except from family.

    Eric Blair (57b266)

  34. “Many folks on the Left kept saying how Reagan was a warmonger”

    We’ve fought four major wars in the last 100 years, and the liberal Democrats got us into all four of them. No Republican has EVER gotten the United States into a major war. Not even once. They’ve gotten us into a couple of little bitty ones…but nothing big.

    So, obviously lefties don’t support the liberal Democrats (and don’t oppose the Republicans) for that reason.

    Must be for some other reason.

    Hint: It’s because lefties want a nanny-state to take care of them…and that’s what the Democrats promise, and that’s what Republicans often rail against.

    And, lefties don’t care how many wars there are, or how many people get killed as long as the welfare checks flow.

    Dave Surls (a3d8ea)

  35. I am trying to tread carefully here. As one who has put his own code ahead of the law when he felt it was justified I don’t want to trip into hypocrisy but I think too many people are assuming they can count on “those people” to do what is needed without giving them any support or backing and this is outrageous and cowardly. If they truly believe these methods should never be used and have no effectiveness they should stand on that position, not expect someone else to do it and trust their fairness. I am reminded that some in the LA city government wanted to prosecute the gun dealer who gave rifles to the police during the LA shootout because he didn’t make them wait ten days to pick them up. Please don’t say it is reasonable to expect people to trust the left.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  36. You know, Eric Blair, dad is currently back on campus teaching (at 75!), and because it is for pleasure and he no longer has a family depending on him, he quite freely speaks his mind as matters arise. Not that he was ever without opinions but as you are well aware, it does make a difference when a family is relying upon you. Discretion and self-control as well as being forthright and honest can be a fine balancing act. These days, if his political incorrectness costs him his position, it won’t make much difference to him. It’s good to be in a position where you are needed more

    Dana (d08a3a)

  37. Machinist, we need to all own the complexities of the real world. It’s not all soft and fuzzy and pretty.

    You are just saying that we need to own our actions, and understand the necessities of the situation we face. I agree.

    Pushing things “underground” helps nothing.

    Thank you for posting what you did.

    And Dave? I’m sure you are onto something there. It gives me no joy to write that.

    Eric Blair (57b266)

  38. I think your father and I teach in the same business. Give him my regards. I hope that I will be teaching at his age, as well!

    Eric Blair (57b266)

  39. Oh, and that last post was for Dana.

    Eric Blair (57b266)

  40. After years of attacking us every 14 months or so, one of the attacks came to fruition in the first year of Bush’s administration. After their greatest triumph, with so much of the Arab world cheering them on, there has not been a successful strike in the US in over eight years.

    We are repeatedly told by Democratic leaders and leftists that George Bush made us less safe but it seems to me he either earned the love and respect of the Muslim world or did one Hell of a job of keeping us safe. Obviously any future attack will be Bush’s fault.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  41. “That the American left is in an outrage over waterboarding yet virtually unheard from when Daniel Pearl and Nicholas Berg were beheaded is beyond my comprehension.”

    Like I said. The Left sees the Republicans as a threat to their nanny-state. Al Qaida isn’t a threat to their nanny-state.

    The Left’s hatred of the Republicans has nothing to do with warmaking, atrocities or how bad the atrocities are, or anything like that.

    It’s all about keeping that welfare state alive…and of course, about making it get bigger (enter the New Messiah, stage left).

    Dave Surls (a3d8ea)

  42. and found that they would rather risk an unlikely death at the hands of terrorists

    If Pakistan falls, the odds of your imminent death at the hands of AQ will have increased exponentially.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  43. I am reminded of a passage speaking of going to war, and enduring the inhumanities inherent there, and then, upon the ceasation of hostilities, the return to civilian life and the leaving behind, in an unspoken of compartment of the mind, the brutalities and horrors endured and engaged in:
    Something to the effect that the terrible things one is forced to do to save your world may endanger your soul; but, through hard work, and a righteous life, one may regain that soul once it has been lost. The world we enjoy will be much more difficult to regain, if it is lost.
    Pvt. Ryan walked through Hell in that short time from D-Day until he was yanked out of combat,
    killing unmercifully so as to remain alive;
    and, in the end, he turns to his wife asking if he is a “good man” –
    a question that is completely beyond her experience to understand, fore she only knows the good that sought redemption, and never experienced what went before.

    AD (9999da)

  44. Leviticus wrote:

    No, “this quote” is a perfect illustration of someone who disagrees (sarcastically – sorry about that) with your assertion (in the last paragraph) that refusing to waterboard on moral grounds is some sort of self-righteous negligence. That’s an unfair accusation – there are plenty of honest, grounded individuals in this country who have rationally weighed the potential pros and cons of waterboarding, and found that they would rather risk an unlikely death at the hands of terrorists than live with the shame of taking the first step onto what we all know is a slippery slope (i.e. “harsh interrogation” techniques).

    Shall we call that the unquantified version of a cost-benefit analysis?

    I assume here that Leviticus, personally, would rather die at the hands of an al Qaeda terrorist than to agree to the notion of harsh, but still non-lethal interrogation of captured terrorist leaders. Fine, that’s his choice.

    But unless the said al Qaeda terrorist comes in the guise of a Philadelphia street gang member, and kills only Leviticus, then Leviticus’ personal policy preference subjects other citizens to the same fate. Given that terrorist attacks are normally meant to be mass murder rather than single, targeted killings, it would seem that a terrorist attack which was successful is likely to kill more than just Leviticus.

    Leviticus speaks for himself, as he should. But the policy prescriptions he advocates include greater risks for people other than himself. If to the Third Book of Moses, the sacrifice of one life — his — is not such a great loss that saving it should justify harsh interrogations, the question necessarily arises: saving how many lives does it take to make harsh interrogations reasonable and worthwhile? Does it take but two, the second person not having agrees with Leviticus? How about ten? A hundred or a thousand? (Someone familiar with the First Book of Moses might recall Abraham negotiating with God concerning the number of righteous people in Sodom to be saved.)

    At some point, a commenter living in the real world should have an idea: what is the number of lives which outweighs the ethical consideration against waterboarding?

    The serious Dana (474dfc)

  45. Leviticus wrote:

    But you are right about me in one sense, Patterico – I’m not worried about dying at the hands of a terrorist.

    Nor am I, because I live in a small town very unlikely to be a terrorist target; we’re just not spectacular enough up here in the Poconos.

    However, I do worry about other Americans dying in a terrorist attack. They might not be my family, might not be anyone known to me, but they are Americans still.

    The concerned Dana (474dfc)

  46. First things first, let me make something perfectly clear that I thought I made reasonably clear before: if I were an interrogator, and I thought Terrorist Suspect A had extractable information that would save any number of innocent lives, then I would waterboard Terrorist Suspect A without a moments hesitation, even if I thought I might face adverse consequences for doing so. Or, put a different way, if I had custody of an individual who I thought had kidnapped my family, I would beat the ever-loving hell out of that individual to find out where they were… and if that didn’t work, I start taking off fingers and toes. And I would have absolutely no qualms about going to jail for doing so. Because doing what’s right trumps doing what’s legal (which makes me wonder why everyone’s focusing on the legality of waterboarding in the first place).

    This isn’t about me not wanting to face the ugly reality of having to do terrible things to protect the innocent, or to protect the people you love. It’s to make sure that those are pretty much the only reasons people do such things.

    That said…

    “If I tried the your ironic approach regarding wiretapping, would you just shrug that off?”

    – Eric Blair

    What do you mean, “if”? I’ve watched conservatives on this site take “[my] ironic approach to wiretapping” time and time again, whenever some clown from DailyKos dropped by to declare that Bush was wiretapping every third person in the United States, and yes: I shrugged that off. Because the accusation was alarmist and ridiculous. So what do you want from me? Some things merit ironic responses; some don’t. In my opinion, the idea that an opposition to waterboarding on general principles “may get us killed” did (and does).

    “You are saying you want to take the self righteous position that you would rather you and your loved ones should die rather than have a terrorist waterboarded…”

    – Machinist

    Ummm… no. That’s not what I’m saying at all. So fuck you for declaring my stance to be “moral cowardice” when you can’t even understand it in the first place.

    “Leviticus wants Jack Bauer to risk his life and career to save us.”

    – carlitos

    Again, no: I want Jack Bauer to do what he thinks is right and necessary, in the face of adverse consequences. It’s a litmus test. It makes sure Jack Bauer is actually examining the morality of his respective choices.

    And finally, Patterico:

    “If you accept the idea that waterboarding KSM — who definitely had plots in motion and wouldn’t talk about them other than to say “Soon you will see” — gained us valuable information to stop those plots and saved thousands of lives, then I don’t see how you can balk at pouring water on a mass murderer’s face.”

    I never did balk at “pouring water on a mass murderer’s face” (although while we’re talking about flippancy, that characterization of waterboarding is bullshit. Think about that before you get on the Flippancy High-Horse). I said that waterboarding should be illegal, in order to assure that it was only used in the most serious circumstances. And as I just explained (and as I’ve explained before), I would not hesitate to waterboard an individual if I thought that doing so would save innocent lives. So I think that you too fail to understand where I’m coming from (although I spared you the witty repartee I gave to Machinist, because I know you to be an intelligent and intellectually honest individual).

    Leviticus (9a014d)

  47. I will say that for a bunch of Libertarians and Neoclassical Liberals, you all seem to have an inordinate amount of trust in the government to only waterboard terrorists once you give them the power to waterboard people legally.

    Leviticus (9a014d)

  48. I am not a Libertarian and I have no idea what a “Neoclassical Liberal” is, but I have very little faith or confidence in government unless the practices are open to scrutiny, oversight and accountability. It is you who has called for these things to be done in the dark, with no regulation or supervision.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  49. It should not be forgotten that this procedure was not used on criminal suspects or POWs. It was used on criminal enemy combatants. It was not an alternative to due process in the criminal justice system but an alternative to a military tribunal and a firing squad. If we are not able to get information from these terrorists, because of squeamishness or because our liberal friends are right and it is unproductive, then we should go back to shooting them after a military tribunal. Why risk their return to killing Americans if they have nothing to offer.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  50. I am no lawyer so I would welcome correction from those more qualified if I have this wrong.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  51. These are the same liberal and progressive overlords who want to release photographs of enhanced interrogations to the world and decry the lack of videotape from the actual interrogation session. For what purpose? The are the same folks who claim that after the military was already investigating and punishing those responsible for the abuses at Abu Ghraib, the splashing of those photographs all over the media created more terrorists and hatred against the USA. Now they want to release more potentially inflammatory photographs? Why?

    Apart from partisan self-interest, I think prurient, sado-masochistic gratification seems to be a motivator, judging by some of the commenters here.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  52. As unlawful combatants, they have no rights, except the right to summary execution upon capture, in circumstances in violation of the Rules of War.

    AD (9999da)

  53. Indeed, daleyrocks, Obama has shown over the last two weeks that for pure partisanship and self-interest, he’ll happily cripple our intelligence services with the fear of witchhunting.

    There are no adults in the Democratic party.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  54. “You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out.”

    “I confess, without shame, that I am sick and tired of fighting — its glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies, with the anguish and lamentations of distant families, appealing to me for sons, husbands, and fathers … it is only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated … that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation.”

    — William Tecumseh Sherman

    nk (4b5c8a)

  55. Yep, nk, and yet Sherman knew what it took to finish a war.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  56. I think that lawyers should have stayed out of the war on terror to begin with. FBI agents and maybe CIA agents, too. We have the finest military in the world and we should have let them do the job their way.

    nk (4b5c8a)

  57. Omigosh, Patterico… are we gonna die?

    Comment by Leviticus — 4/26/2009 @ 2:55 pm

    Don’t worry, honey, it will have almost no affect on your brain activity.

    But you are right about me in one sense, Patterico – I’m not worried about dying at the hands of a terrorist.

    Comment by Leviticus — 4/26/2009 @ 4:29 pm

    Neither were the people who went to work at the World Trade Center on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  58. They simply have their own smug and self-righteous view about torture. That view may get us killed.

    That’s the thing, Patterico. The mindless left think the Islamists will only kill us conservatives, who deserve death. They’ll let the left — the gay community, the feminists, etc. — live. Because, you know, they hate Bush and stuff, too. And hold flowers. And are stupid.

    Jim Lakely (3f31e9)

  59. “Don’t worry, honey, it will have almost no affect on your brain activity.”

    – Jim Treacher

    I think this is where people my age write “lol”.

    Leviticus (033840)

  60. As in, “gimme a fucking break.”

    Leviticus (033840)

  61. I never did balk at “pouring water on a mass murderer’s face” (although while we’re talking about flippancy, that characterization of waterboarding is bullshit. Think about that before you get on the Flippancy High-Horse).

    That’s what it is. KSM is a mass-murderer, and when he was waterboarded, agents poured water on his face.

    Boo-hoo.

    I said that waterboarding should be illegal, in order to assure that it was only used in the most serious circumstances.

    I don’t agree with that. Making it illegal may prevent good men from doing it, in circumstances where it may be necessary.

    KSM’s waterboarding provides a good example. It may not have been a real ticking time bomb scenario, where we KNEW a bomb was set, and KNEW he knew where it was, and had hours or days to deal with it.

    But we knew this guy masterminded 9-11 and probably had more plots in the works. He told us fuck you, you’ll find out when they happen. And so agents, proceeding on the assumption that they had good reason to believe he knew about ongoing plots and wouldn’t give up the info without harsh questioning, did what they needed to do. In part because they believed it legal.

    And thank God for that.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  62. The people who agree with the Obama approach don’t care about the evidence.

    The most disgusting aspect of a certain number of those on the left is their being more bothered by George Bush, his legal advisors — and the First-World/Western-World conservatism they represent — than the brutality and terror originating from the Third World/Middle East/Islamism. Such people are the flip side of that clique of rightists who can be categorized as we-can-do-no-wrong American chauvinists.

    However, based on the “Mr Rogers’ Neighborhood” sentiments (aka United Nations-ism and Globalism gone berserk) that have become increasingly fashionable throughout the West, I’d say far more of the left is guilty of the former than the number of those on the right are guilty of the latter.

    Mark (411533)

  63. Well, I guess I have seen how Leviticus thinks. First the business of making something illegal, so that it can be done in secret—as if the current news doesn’t suggest that such an approach would have, well, problems?

    Then tossing some insults at Machinist, who has repeatedly called for civility, and in fact is on record hoping for more Left of center commenters. Nice and tolerant of dissent, which is after all patriotic. Unless you don’t agree with the dissenters, apparently.

    Again, it is the asymmetry that concerns me. But it is hardly unique to Leviticus.

    Hope you had a had a good evening Patterico—to 11!

    Eric Blair (33cc23)

  64. Rationalzing torture is pure Cheney. Yes and the vice president is part of the legislative and the executive branches, too.

    The Cheneys are scared.

    Get the $15 million from a publisher and do the book, Scooter.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  65. Some have thought that there is seriousness on the Left. I find that commodity very rare, and not in evidence today.

    AD (9999da)

  66. $56- We have the finest military in the world and we should have let them do the job their way. Echoes of 1936 Germany and Japan there. If the American military made the decisions in the Cuban Missile Crisis of October, ’62, your bowl of Raisin Bran would still be glowing in the dark. That’s why Americans maintain civilian control.

    And by the way, that multi-trillion dollar ‘finest military in the world’ doesn’t forget it was outwitted by 19 guys with $500,000 doing more damage to the United States mainland than the Soviet Union or the Axis powers ever did.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  67. Eric Blair, I don’t use a term like “Moral cowardice” lightly and thought twice before committing it to print so his response does not surprise me and does not bother me. I have heard it before. When someone I respect says it I will give it a thought.

    Leviticus,
    I stand by my position and I can’t believe you would repeat and expand such an unwise road to tragedy and shame. Instead of hard rules to which any interrogator is bound and answerable you want any low level LEO or PFC without supervision or training to make the call on if harsh methods should be used, what is done, and how far it should be taken, and who is to be subjected to it. All this so you can smugly say “we don’t use harsh methods” without having to admit these methods are not only useful but matters of life and death.

    And you say we have too much trust in authority? I have not yet said if I think waterboarding is proper or justified but I sure as Hell don’t want it applied in the dark as you advocate.

    This is what you have said here and I still feel it is moral cowardice so drag out your vocabulary and impress us again if you please. I’ve heard much worse.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  68. That’s an unfair accusation – there are plenty of honest, grounded individuals in this country who have rationally weighed the potential pros and cons of waterboarding, and found that they would rather risk an unlikely death at the hands of terrorists than live with the shame of taking the first step onto what we all know is a slippery slope (i.e. “harsh interrogation” techniques).

    I don’t see how I have mischaracterized your position, given this statement. Your clarification seems to be at odds with this unless you mean to say you disagree with these people and think we should do whatever we think is right.

    Our founders went to some length to establish rule by law instead of rule by men. Are you sure they were wrong?

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  69. Comment by DCSCA — 4/27/2009 @ 1:04 am

    Apples and oranges. The military has discipline, chain of command to civilian Secretaries and the President, tradition, and the UCMJ. It did not need political appointees at DOJ to re-write the manual for them.

    I have a friend who had to leave the Reserves when he joined the FBI. Then he was sent to Iraq! Yikes!

    nk (4b5c8a)

  70. In the Third Book of oses, it was written:

    My position on waterboarding (as I’ve said before) is this: make it illegal. If an interrogator is so sure of the susceptibility of the suspect to the technique, and so sure of the existence of extractable information, and has pure motives (i.e. the protection of innocent lives), than he’ll use the technique anyway, despite its illegality. When it comes to something like waterboarding, an American – someone who ascribes to the values we have in this country – ought to be willing to risk personal punishment for the greater good.

    And besides, who’s really going to prosecute that interrogator anyway?

    This is just hugely wrong. You have said that waterboarding can be justifiable based on individual circumstances, but that an interrogator has to be willing to break the law to do it in those justifiable circumstances. Further, he had better be right: if he was wrong about the information the captive possessed, or about his ability to extract the information, he’s fornicated. And even if he does guess right, he could still be prosecuted if the wrong man was taking the decisions.

    You have essentially conceded our arguments, but are saying that the United States should lie about it. How does that make any sense at all?

    The realistic Dana (3e4784)

  71. I’d also point out here that lower level soldiers taking things into their own hands is why Lynndie England spent ½ years in prison and another 1½ years on probation, and was then dishonorably discharged from the United States Army. John Hitchcock’s daughter spent 15 months in Iraq guarding prisoners, though much later than the Abu Ghraib incidents. I wonder how much the argument that such actions should be illegal, but understandable if committed in good faith with a real expectation of a positive return existed would impress Mr Hitchcock. I have one daughter in the Army — though not an MP — and another who wants to join; I’m not real thrilled with the idea of having wink-and-nod policies where we’d let the personnel in the field be exposed to having to take choices like that, on their own, and have no cover if the results produced were not good enough.

    The proud daddy Dana (3e4784)

  72. As a certain commenter seems committed to proving right the observation of one Vladimir Lenin, repeating a lie often enough that it becomes true, I’d like to observe the following. Hillary Clinton’s blockbuster book deal came with an advance of … $8 Million. Hero of the feminist left, role model for millions, world famous first lady and politician. No one has ever heard of Scooter Libby, and his book deal would net him $1-2 million tops. He would receive favorable promotion if he ripped Cheney, but even then he wouldn’t sell more units than Bob Woodward’s State of Denial or the like. And Woodward had the full-on Simon & Schuster, CBS News fellatio treatment.

    Sorry, but for some reason, these fantasies bug me when they are repeated so often in every topic.

    carlitos (f022c4)

  73. I think this is where people my age write “lol”.

    Comment by Leviticus — 4/26/2009 @ 9:35 pm

    People your age are usually toilet-trained. But keep practicing.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  74. Leviticus has become positively Orwellian over this issue – if he’s the true indicator of what we hope to be the “serious Left” in this country, we’re in for even more trouble than I previously thought. The Obama administration has opened an Pandora’s box of immense proportions, and nothing they can do now will keep it from exploding in their faces (and ours). We’re going to have a national (and worldwide) discussion of what truly constitutes torture as pertaining to our interrogations of terrorist suspects, and the Left is already deathly afraid of that occurring, because they know damn well what the outcome will be – but it’s too late, and we’re all going to be seriously damaged as a result. Childish, narcissistic and supremely self – important, they’ve done irreparable harm to our country.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  75. Dmac,
    We’ve long needed that national discussion about what constitutes torture, and whether it is ever acceptable. I reluctantly agree torture can in extreme cases be justified to foil terrorist attacks. But let’s be honest and not use euphemistic words such as “enhanced interrogation” to disguise ugly methods.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  76. Just because a method is ugly doesn’t mean it’s torture. The word “torture” is being redefined to encompass everything from being flayed alive to having water splashed on your face. It’s like how people put crack cocaine and marijuana under the same category of “drugs.” It’s just a way of trying to stifle debate.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  77. I think the Left should be very careful about this discussion of what constitutes torture. Unless, of course, they manage to limit the discussion to only what Americans do, which is their goal.

    Eric Blair (33cc23)

  78. Jim Treacher,
    I’m not trying to stifle debate, just being clear about what we’re talking about. Waterboarding is considerably more than just “having water splashed on your face,” a trivializing euphemism if there ever was one.

    Yes, there are degrees of torture, and waterboarding is on the mild end of the spectrum. But the idea behind all types of interrogatory torture is to physically break the will of the subject with extreme physical duress. I think such extreme measures can only be justified in the case of an extreme threat to society, and the mildest measures required to stop the threat should be used. In some cases, nothing short of torture will yield the information to stop the threat, as we’ve seen with KSM.

    It is easy to dismiss the idea of torture by claiming it doesn’t work, or by redefining the term to exclude stuff we want to do. It’s a lot harder to meet the subject head on, without evasions or euphemisms.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  79. Waterboarding is considerably more than just “having water splashed on your face,” a trivializing euphemism if there ever was one.

    What is it, then, battery acid? Waterboarding is having water splashed on your face.

    Yes, there are degrees of torture, and waterboarding is on the mild end of the spectrum.

    Waterboarding is not torture, in much the same sense that KSM was not kidnapped.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  80. Proud daddy Dana: What Leviticus is advocating is possibly worse than you laid out. You said your daughter is not an MP after talking about the duties my daughter had. My daughter is not an MP either. She’s chemical corps, which isn’t exactly the training necessary to interrogate people.

    So, Leviticus is advocating the use of illegal methods by wholly untrained people to have a show of clean hands. Make it illegal, move it underground, let 19 or 20-year-old kids risk going to jail, losing the right to bear arms, losing the right to vote, so Leviticus can feel comfortable.

    With friends like Leviticus, who needs enemies?

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  81. I remember the case being made that capital punishment was “cruel and unusual punishment,” as forbidden in the Constitution.

    Of course, the Founders were familiar with things like being broken on the wheel, being drawn and quartered, and so forth.

    Asymmetrical analysis, and all with a political agenda, I fear.

    Eric Blair (33cc23)

  82. John, the point is that Leviticus‘ hands are clean. That is the point, I think.

    Eric Blair (33cc23)

  83. I agree, Bradley – but in order to have a free and completely open discussion about this issue, let’s have the full release of all of the memos, detailing what methods were used, information extracted from same, and the terrorist plots that were foiled by those extractions (or not). Also – we must have the complete record of the Congressional meetings that were held between the Judicial Dept. and also the CIA, replete with a full list of attendess and their reactions and resultant decisions made after those meetings. I think the reason why Pelosi and Reid are now suddenly running as fast in the opposite direction as possible is the reality that they’re likely on the record as having not only approved of these techniques, but in fact asked if there were more strenuous avenues available.

    Let’s get all of the hypocricy out in the open, and let the chips fall where they may. If the Obama folks wish to go down the road of criminalization, then we also must go after all of the congressional members who approved of these procedures in the first place – no party identification is allowed to skirt the issue. Let the Grand Inquisition begin in earnest – and let those who wished to punish the opposing party reap what they’ve sowed. They cannot have it both ways on this issue any longer – either they put up or shut up, period.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  84. BTW, people can say all they want about Cheney being the evil mastermind, etc. – but being stupid is not one of those characterizations. The reason he’s called for the full release of all of the memos is that he knows exactly what went down over the past 8 years, and that those screeching the most today about the awfulness of our methods are as culpable as anyone else. So let’s have it -all of it, right now.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  85. What is it, then, battery acid? Waterboarding is having water splashed on your face.

    I don’t think so. It is what is called dry drowning. Cold water at the back of the throat creates a sympathetic response which stops breathing and sometimes the heart without water ever going into the lungs. It has happened to people who have fallen suddenly into the water off a bridge or a boat or a diving board.

    nk (4b5c8a)

  86. It has happened to people who have fallen suddenly into the water off a bridge or a boat or a diving board.

    So those are torture too, I suppose.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  87. Somebody bring up little Billy Jacobson on torture charges for pushing me into the pool in 4th grade.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  88. We could save a lot of water by just putting a plastic bag over the victim’s face and duct-taping it air-tight around his neck for pretty much the same effect. But it’s an old and boring thing (the SAVAK were really good at it) and novelty is important to us freaks who can bring ourselves to hurt helpless human beings.

    nk (4b5c8a)

  89. Oooh, helpless human beings! You mean like the ones hanging out the windows of the WTC?

    Cry me a river.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  90. How about this: The means of making a terrorist very, very uncomfortable without causing him any harm justify the ends of saving potentially thousands of lives. Guess I’m just a heartless freak that way.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  91. Oh, we’re all so impressed with Internet Tough Guy nk…………..

    Techie (9c008e)

  92. nk, all except for the part where it is not the same effect.

    SPQR (72771e)

  93. This just in – Pelosi is a liar:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0409/21724.html

    And it’s only the beginning…

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  94. Somebody bring up little Billy Jacobson on torture charges for pushing me into the pool in 4th grade.

    Comment by Jim Treacher — 4/27/2009 @ 8:20 am

    If you were my kid, I would have, at the very least, gone over to have a talk with Billy’s daddy. 😉

    nk (4b5c8a)

  95. Comment by nk — 4/27/2009 @ 8:37 am

    “Torture is whatever I say it is, LOL LOL 😉 ;)”

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  96. I cannot say it better than Sherman did. But let’s not add hypocrisy to our sins.

    nk (4b5c8a)

  97. I figured it out! First, we make everything illegal. Then we set up a training program and a hierarchy of highly trained people and a long list of guidelines to prevent unwanted results, like victim death. Next, we set up a system to eliminate our victims so they can never let anyone know we were breaking our own laws.

    And the people we have trained for this procedure that we made illegal before training them? We keep them isolated from everyone else, essentially imprisoning them, so none of them can leak information to the media. And once their time of service is done, we either jail them for their crimes or we give them cabinet positions to further enhance the criminal activity.

    So we will have a regimented structure set up to do the activities we deem illegal and a regimented structure set up to eliminate any possible leaks. Our hands will be clean and our devoted, patriotic people can be jailed.

    /biting sarc

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  98. I cannot say it better than Sherman did.

    Comment by nk — 4/27/2009 @ 8:42 am

    You cannot say it at all.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  99. Dmac,
    Let’s get all of the hypocricy out in the open, and let the chips fall where they may.

    I totally agree.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (125303)

  100. Jim Treacher,
    What is it, then, battery acid? Waterboarding is having water splashed on your face..

    I’m interested in serious discussion on this issue, not snark.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (125303)

  101. “Make it illegal, move it underground, let 19 or 20-year-old kids risk going to jail, losing the right to bear arms, losing the right to vote, so Leviticus can feel comfortable.”

    – John Hitchcock

    I’ve already explained that that’s not what I’m trying to say… but you guys don’t seem willing to take off your Moral Superiority Glasses and see my actual point.

    Except Patterico, who addressed the real crux of the issue in #61.

    Patterico – you say that making waterboarding illegal might prevent good men from doing it when their conscience told them it would save innocent lives. I disagree. I think good men are willing to risk their careers and their livelihood to do what is right.

    Leviticus (35fbde)

  102. I’m interested in serious discussion on this issue, not snark.

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., — 4/27/2009 @ 8:54 am

    If that were true, I wouldn’t have to snark. Redefining terms in the middle of the debate and then complaining about it is dishonest. And unserious.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  103. JT,
    I didn’t “redefine” anything; I just gave my own definition. Since you’re accused me of dishonesty, that’s even more evidence you’re not interested in serious discussion with people whose views differ from yours.

    Great way to change minds, sir.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (125303)

  104. No offense to Bradley, but I’d like some more snark. I can use the laughs.

    On a serious note, what seems to trouble many people is whether those being made “very uncomfortable without doing any harm” are actually terrorists. i.e., how did we get these people in the first place? That’s why they seem to want criminal trials – they do not believe that we are at war, nor that the non-state actors fighting against us are unlawful combatants. What we do with them cannot be agreed upon until we define who / what they really are. To the satisfaction of the irrational left.

    Because really, as JD noted, if we followed the Geneva Convention, we should summarily execute all of these vermin as spies. No waterboarding needed.

    carlitos (f022c4)

  105. Patterico – you say that making waterboarding illegal might prevent good men from doing it when their conscience told them it would save innocent lives. I disagree. I think good men are willing to risk their careers and their livelihood to do what is right.

    The problem with your approach is that you’re forcing good men to consider risking their careers, their livelihoods, and their families’ futures at a time when they shouldn’t be.

    Steverino (69d941)

  106. Carlitos,
    No offense taken, bro. I don’t mind humorous snark, like Mark Steyn specializes in. He is hilarious.

    Bitter and unprovoked snark, however, I can do without.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (125303)

  107. I didn’t “redefine” anything; I just gave my own definition.

    Wow, redefining the word “redefining.”

    Since you’re accused me of dishonesty, that’s even more evidence you’re not interested in serious discussion with people whose views differ from yours.

    Great way to change minds, sir.

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., — 4/27/2009 @ 9:00 am

    Don’t forget your ball.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  108. Leviticus,
    Good men don’t put other good people in that position for their sakes. These young people would not do this for their own protection but for yours, so that you or your fellow liberals could condemn them and ruin their lives.

    How do you control this if it’s illegal? Don’t you think the people most likely to use these measures are likely to be the last ones that should? Do you also advocate vigilantism to protect our neighborhoods? Where is the difference?

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  109. Good people work to get rid of bad laws. They don’t work to write bad laws so other good people have to decide whether to become criminals. The UCMJ states that those in the military are required to follow the lawful orders of their superiors, not the illegal orders of their superiors.

    “I was following orders” got “Tod durch den strang” in the late 1940s.

    And how dare you demand that we set up a system of evil laws that good people have to violate just to keep your cowardly arse alive! How dare you demand that we set up a system that could get my daughter years of prison just to please your poisonous mind!

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  110. Leviticus, in all seriousness, you should consider the words of John Adams – The very definition of a Republic is an empire of laws, and not of men. If we want good men to do what is right, we should reward them for doing so, not make those actions illegal.

    carlitos (f022c4)

  111. You are just trying to justify your neocon bloodlust, carlitos.

    Hope you are well.

    Absent a concrete definition of what torture is, this debate is useless. The usual suspects will continue to squawk about aggressive interrogation, trot out the standard canards, and otherwise obfuscate the issue.

    JD (e66bfa)

  112. Bitter and unprovoked snark, however, I can do without.

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., — 4/27/2009 @ 9:05 am

    And the redefinition of terms continues.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  113. Since I’m quoting, try this one, still valid after 2000 years.

    The strictest law often causes the most serious wrong
    –Cicero

    carlitos (f022c4)

  114. JD,
    Absent a concrete definition of what torture is, this debate is useless.

    Very well said. So who can supply a concrete definition of torture all can accept? I’ve given mine – what do you think?

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (125303)

  115. I’ve given mine – what do you think?

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., — 4/27/2009 @ 9:09 am

    I told you what I think and all you’ve done is complain about it.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  116. We want people to defend us, but we will set up a system of laws that will make a tool they may use in special circumstances illegal, making people break the law to defend the people that are criminalizing the very actions taken to ensure their safety?

    JD (e66bfa)

  117. Bradley – I would define it as serious and lasting physical damage.

    JD (e66bfa)

  118. JD,
    Serious and lasting physical damage certainly constitutes torture. But what about causing extreme pain that doesn’t leave any lasting physical damage? (Rubber hose, electrodes, etc). Or depriving a person of food, water, or air

    If these are not torture, then what best describes them?

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (125303)

  119. Don’t forget your ball.

    Comment by Jim Treacher — 4/27/2009 @ 9:05 am

    Is that anything like “Blow me, Jim”?

    nk (4b5c8a)

  120. Bradley J. Fikes doesn’t think depriving a person of food, water, or air can cause lasting physical damage. And yet I’m the silly goose.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  121. Is that anything like “Blow me, Jim”?

    Comment by nk — 4/27/2009 @ 9:17 am

    No.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  122. JD, I must respectfully disagree. It seems to me that would leave electric shock and other extremely painful and traumatic methods outside your definition, and I think they are most certainly torture. Using a Taser on someone to coerce obedience or punish impudence is torture in my mind, yet would fall outside your definition.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  123. As a high school student, I took part in a “planned famine” with my church youth group. 30 high school students going 30 hours without food. Torture?

    Muslims are supposed to spend an entire month without food while the sun is up. Torture?

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  124. Machinist knows what I was getting at.
    Here is a definition from a very old dictionary, even older than me, Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition:

    1. Act or process of inflicting severe pain, esp. as punishment, in order to extort confession or revenge; specif., act of inflicting such pain under judicial or other authoritative order, as by water or fire, by the boot or thumbscrew, by the rack or wheel, etc. . . .

    There is plenty more, but this is the first definition given.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (125303)

  125. John Hitchcock,
    Muslims are supposed to spend an entire month without food while the sun is up. Torture?.

    Torture is involuntary, it’s something that’s done to you without your consent.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (125303)

  126. Torture is involuntary, it’s something that’s done to you without your consent.

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., — 4/27/2009 @ 9:30 am

    So is imprisonment. Does that mean we kidnapped KSM?

    So is getting a bullet in the head. Does that mean we murdered those 3 pirates?

    Oh, sorry, is that “snark”? Be advised, everyone, any question Bradley J. Fikes is not prepared to answer is “snark.”

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  127. I agree my definitiom was less than precise. I would certainly consider the instances of severe pain as described above as torture. I guess my point was that I was trying to impart was that I do not think mental discomfort should be a component.

    JD (e66bfa)

  128. Brother Bradley,
    I am not sure that waterboarding as we are discussing it is “torture”. If it is then I feel we need to discuss not if we will use torture but what means, how, and on whom we will use it. I am not comfortable with this but that is determined by it’s classification and unfortunately a reasonable and frank discussion is difficult or impossible now because of partisan manipulation. I certainly don’t want these matters dumped on lower level military or intel people because the so called leaders lack the courage or integrity to deal with it honestly.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  129. Torture can be physical and psychological. But too many people want the bar set ridiculously low.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  130. I am on my Blackberry, which makes it difficult to write more in-depth, but the deliniation I would like to see is that embarassment, humiliation, making someone uncomfortable, etc … while they may be distasteful, do not rise to the level of torture. Too many things have been lumped into the word torture that have never before considered same.

    JD (e66bfa)

  131. Waterboarding in 1943 Japan is not waterboarding in 2003 US.

    A Model-T is not a corvette. Both are cars and there are other similarities. But they are massively different.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  132. JD, I agree with that. We need reasonable discussion to set these limits. As we can see here that is going to be difficult.

    Jim Treacher,
    Is this really productive? Bradley Fikes is debating in good faith. Will you join in? Your input is wanted and valued.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  133. I guess my point was that I was trying to impart was that I do not think mental discomfort should be a component.

    Understood. But waterboarding causes acute physical discomfort. Anything that threatns to interfere with breathing causes dire reactions. It’s hard-wired into our bodies.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (125303)

  134. I guess my point was that I was trying to impart was that I do not think mental discomfort should be a component.

    Understood. But waterboarding causes acute physical discomfort. Anything that threatens to interfere with breathing causes dire reactions. It’s hard-wired into our bodies.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (125303)

  135. So is getting a bullet in the head. Does that mean we murdered those 3 pirates?

    Depends. It was not a fair fight, man to man. It was by stealth. With premeditation. What is the justification?

    nk (4b5c8a)

  136. Is this really productive? Bradley Fikes is debating in good faith. Will you join in? Your input is wanted and valued.

    Comment by Machinist — 4/27/2009 @ 9:46 am

    I have been. It’s not my fault it doesn’t take the form you prefer.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  137. What is the justification?

    Comment by nk — 4/27/2009 @ 9:48 am

    See? Not tough at all.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  138. Sorry for the double posts, and Machinist, thank you.

    John Hitchcock’s point about waterboarding by America today and by the Japanese in WWII is also well taken. And I’ll grant you the line between torture and extremely harsh interrogation is hard to draw.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (125303)

  139. Anything that threatns to interfere with breathing causes dire reactions.

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., — 4/27/2009 @ 9:46 am

    Such as, say, smoke pouring from a skyscraper that’s been hit by a plane, as planned by the guy whose physical and mental comfort you seem to be so worried about.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  140. #136,
    As you will, Sir.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  141. Jim Treacher,
    Bradley Fikes has said these methods are torture. I do not think he has said they should never be used. Have I missed something? Brother Bradley?

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  142. Bradley Fikes has said these methods are torture. I do not think he has said they should never be used. Have I missed something? Brother Bradley?

    Comment by Machinist — 4/27/2009 @ 10:01 am

    I’m saying waterboarding isn’t torture, and I have no problem with it being used under the circumstances. And I’m saying it without trying to shift around the definitions of any of the terms.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  143. Brother Bradley – It is my understanding that waterboarding as practiced today by the US, not the kind previously practiced and often referenced, does not cause acute physical pain, it causes acute fear of a potential physical outcome. We are not almost drowning these vermin, we are producing a sympathetic response that gives rise to the fear of drowning. To me, there is a marked difference. It is not like we are dunking their head in a bathtub until their lungs fill with H20.

    Personally, I like the fact that reasonable people can dsicuss this without all of the moral preening, and ridiculous claims that we have seen over the last week.

    Regardless of how this plays out, Barcky was wrong to release the self-serving and selected information that he did, the LA Times is still aggressively dishonest, and I still want to see Pelosi and Rockefeller under oath.

    JD (7642d2)

  144. Machinist,
    You are right — I said that in extreme cases, torture may be justified, such as to get info to stop terrorist attacks. My concern was to be clear what we’re doing, and why. Patterico made some very good arguments about KSM revealing a terrorist plot through waterboarding, and one has to respect facts.

    And thank you for your concern; I am not about to be so obviously provoked into a flame war.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (125303)

  145. Torture is an elusive term to define. And, even if we could agree on a definition of torture, that still doesn’t mean we can say what is torture.

    Pretty is an elusive term to define. And, even if we could agree on a definition of pretty, that still doesn’t mean we can say what is pretty.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  146. “Do you also advocate vigilantism to protect our neighborhoods? Where is the difference?”

    – Machinist

    First of all, let me apologize for swearing at you earlier. That’s no kind of witness on my part; I need to learn to control my temper.

    Second of all, it’s interesting that you mention that example; I was thinking about that analogy this morning and an interesting angle on the whole issue occurred to me, one which might make my position a little more clear:

    I don’t want to generally endorse citizens taking the law into their own hands, even though I recognize that it is the right thing to do in certain select circumstances; in the same vein, I don’t want to legalize waterboarding, even though I recognize that it is the right thing to do in certain select circumstances.

    I recognize that this may seem somewhat dissonant (as Machinist pointed out) in that my position on waterboarding essentially forces interrogators to take the law into their own hands, but that’s the whole point – it prevents the frivolous use of the technique. Rational private citizens don’t take the law into their own hands over minor offenses, but only in the most serious circumstances, because they know there will be consequences for their actions. Similarly, rational interrogators wouldn’t waterboard detainess for minor revelations, but only in the most serious circumstances.

    I find vesting powers of enforcement in the citizenry rife for abuse, and I find vesting powers of physical and mental coercion in the government/military rife for abuse. I don’t think that’s “moral cowardice”. I think that’s pragmatism. I think that’s a reasonable way to reconcile a respect for the values this country was founded upon with a recognition of the existence of serious threats to this country in the form of terrorists.

    Leviticus (35fbde)

  147. Jim Treacher,
    I don’t see Bradley shifting definitions. I see a disagreement about that definition.

    For myself I always have a problem with such methods. That does not mean I don’t want them used and legal. It means I want the conditions of their use tightly defined and controlled. However I might feel about Bush’s approval of the methods I strongly commend him for researching this and seeking such control. If subsequent administrations disagree they are free to change that but demonizing it and trying to criminalize it is iniquitous and shameful.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  148. If subsequent administrations disagree they are free to change that but demonizing it and trying to criminalize it is iniquitous and shameful.

    That is especially so when many of those calling it criminal were informed of what was done, and made no protest at the time.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (125303)

  149. Leviticus,
    Accepted and forgotten if you please.

    How do you control who decides when to apply these methods? You seem to assume that it will be good and qualified people, unless I’m missing something. I think history has shown us that this is rarely the case. The worse sorts are the first to embrace abuse.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  150. Leviticus – Does not your construct assume that we have or would use it frivolously? Given the hoops that were jiumped through and legal opinions written in re. just these 3 instances, it suggests quite the opposite.

    JD (7642d2)

  151. And thank you for your concern; I am not about to be so obviously provoked into a flame war.

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., — 4/27/2009 @ 10:09 am

    Oh my goodness, Bradley J. Fikes is being provoked. With logical questions about his assumptions.

    Well, at least he’s admitting that having the architect of 9/11 in custody, and trying to get him to be more specific than “Oh, you’ll find out, infidels,” might count as unusual circumstances.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  152. “If we want good men to do what is right, we should reward them for doing so, not make those actions illegal.”

    – carlitos

    While I understand your point (as regards Adams and the rule of law), I would respectfully direct your attention to Plato, who argued in The Republic that the true “moral good” was something good for its own sake and not for the sake of its effects.

    carlitos, Steverino, Machinist: I understand your objections to my position. I agree that it is unfortunate that men and women with good intentions should have to suffer consequences for doing the right thing. For what it’s worth as regards the families of those men and women, I think that the families of anyone who serves in the military should be taken care of for as long as they live. But, as shitty as it is, of the three potential evils in this situation – sacrificing the security of innocents, discarding a traditional set of moral values and standards as regards the treatment of human beings, and allowing good men and women to suffer punishment for noble actions that nevertheless violate the aforementioned moral values and standards – I choose the last of these three.

    Leviticus (35fbde)

  153. Jim, you have strayed from logic repeatedly.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  154. Jim, you have strayed from logic repeatedly.

    Comment by John Hitchcock — 4/27/2009 @ 10:24 am

    Citation needed.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  155. John Hitchcock,
    Thank you for the noble gesture, but I fear it is futile. Anyway, I’m in too good a mood today to worry about it.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (125303)

  156. Jim Treacher,

    Your comments about Bradley are unwarranted and unjustified.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  157. Somebody bring up little Billy Jacobson on torture charges for pushing me into the pool in 4th grade.

    Comment by Jim Treacher — 4/27/2009 @ 8:20 am

    Oooh, helpless human beings! You mean like the ones hanging out the windows of the WTC?

    Cry me a river.

    Comment by Jim Treacher — 4/27/2009 @ 8:24 am

    “Torture is whatever I say it is, LOL LOL 😉 ;)”

    Comment by Jim Treacher — 4/27/2009 @ 8:40 am

    You cannot say it at all.

    Comment by Jim Treacher — 4/27/2009 @ 8:46 am

    If that were true, I wouldn’t have to snark.

    Comment by Jim Treacher — 4/27/2009 @ 8:57 am

    Don’t forget your ball.

    Comment by Jim Treacher — 4/27/2009 @ 9:05 am

    Oh, sorry, is that “snark”? Be advised, everyone, any question Bradley J. Fikes is not prepared to answer is “snark.”

    Comment by Jim Treacher — 4/27/2009 @ 9:34 am

    Is this really productive? Bradley Fikes is debating in good faith. Will you join in? Your input is wanted and valued.

    Comment by Machinist — 4/27/2009 @ 9:46 am

    I have been. It’s not my fault it doesn’t take the form you prefer.

    Comment by Jim Treacher — 4/27/2009 @ 9:54 am

    Enough citations?

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  158. “How about this: The means of making a terrorist very, very uncomfortable without causing him any harm justify the ends of saving potentially thousands of lives. Guess I’m just a heartless freak that way.”–JT

    I’d rather just line the bastards up against a wall, and shoot them (after a very brief trial carried out by a military tribunal…and with no interference from the civil courts, just like we did in WWII).

    After we’ve executed a few thousand terrorists/freedom fighters, whatever you want to call them, they’ll get the idea. If the government wants to interrogate them first, fine. But, after that, they ought to be executed.

    Take any part in terrorist actions…you’re dead. Get caught fighting out of uniform…you’re dead. That’s what our policy should be.

    We should also have total press censorship in the war zones, and at any military installations not in the war zones. That will prevent the jackals in the press from leaking any information that will prove of value to our enemies, be it information that has pure military value, or information that has propaganda value. Any kind of atrocity carried out by our forces should be covered up, and we shouldn’t waste time prosecuting our guys, unless the military thinks it’s warranted…also, just like we did in WWII.

    Example:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dachau_massacre

    Atrocities like this were kept out of the papers, and no one was tried…and that’s the way it should be. The liberal Democrats of that day didn’t waste time trying our guys for war crimes, they concentrated all their efforts on defeating the enemy.

    Furthermore, people who release any information whatsoever about our intelligence gathering or COIN warfare techniques should be charged with espionage and treason, and dealt with accordingly.

    This would apply to people like the staff at the N.Y. Times, Joe and Valerie Wilson, and numerous Democrat Party politicians, including the worthless prick currently residing in the White House.

    That’s the way we ought to be fighting this war, and that’s the way we should be dealing with Liberal/Democrat traitors who try to undermine the war effort by releasing information that ought to be classified, in order to further their own political careers or personal agendas.

    And, the last thing we should do is make any more information about our intel ops public. That will only help the people we’re fighting against.

    Dave Surls (da5013)

  159. that’s the whole point – it prevents the frivolous use of the technique.

    As JD just pointed out, Leviticus has presented us with solution that is in search of a problem.

    Phil Smith (1cf25d)

  160. I’m going back to reading Robert E. Howard. I’ve finished all the Conan and Solomon Kane stories and now I’m reading the Bran Mak Morn and Thull ones. It’s more fun than you guys.

    nk (4b5c8a)

  161. I think the discussion to day demonstrates the dichotomy between the Left and the Right quite nicely. To the Left, this issue is nothing but pure partisan politics, their chance to chant thinkgs like bloodlust, sadist, torture lover, and WAR CRIMINAL, with Leviticus being an exception, rather than the rule (even if he is wrong ;-)) There is a reasonable debate to have over these tactics.

    JD (6ef9a2)

  162. I wish Dave Surls would just say what he really means. 😉

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (125303)

  163. Leviticus, if I understand you correctly, you feel that the use of waterboarding (any current definition – from ‘real pain’ to ‘perceived’ JD #143) should be out-lawed; but that in ‘special circumstances’, ‘good people’ will use it because they know it is necessary and will employ it knowing they may face consequences. And you feel this is the best way to halt the ‘frivolous’ use of the practice (if the usage was permitted in some law).

    I agree. Too often and for too long, we have been allowing ‘the few’ to determine, legislate, interprete, and judge ‘the many’. A huge portion of our energy is spent on far too many laws, rules, and orders. And far too little is focused on Personal Responsibility and Common Sense.

    Common Sense would tell us the use of ‘harsh’ interrogation techniques were required in these situations. Personal Responsibility would oblige the individual to perform said tactics.

    Corwin (ea9428)

  164. I think good men are willing to risk their careers and their livelihood to do what is right.

    Given this set of parameters, the armed services will have a more difficult time recruiting these “good men,” if not impossible.

    I don’t see Bradley shifting definitions. I see a disagreement about that definition.

    Agreed – and you know what, I’ll state specifically what I consider not to be torture, under any circumstances:

    – having two German Shepherds snarl and bark at you in close quarters (under restrained leashes, btw). Jeebus, I had two nasty Shepherds chase me home from school most days for at least 4 blocks when I was quite young. But I still love dogs, and I don’t harbor emotional difficulties because of it. Which means this is a joke, right?

    – being forced to stand for long periods -you’ve got to be kidding me, I did this kind of crap when trying to become an Eagle Scout. Epic NO.

    – having a hood over my head (no).

    – being stripped naked and forced to lie on the ground. Humiliation, yes – but torture? No.

    – having a Koran flushed down a toilet (which never happened) – after what we’ve witnessed being done to everyday Bibles in this country over the past 50 years, WTF?

    – being forced to view pictures of attractive and naked nubile young women – do we even need to address the validity of this one? Oh, the horrors!

    – being forced to stay awake for 36 hours – oh yeah, we’re definitely the reincarnation of Marquis De Sade’, aren’t we?

    If we can agree on what doesn’t constitute torture, at least we won’t be debating the idiotic examples put forward by the Left these days.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  165. Corwin hints at my problem with the defintion of torture being allowed to inlcude things like embarassment, humiliation, etc … If we allow our actions to be predicated on the dishonest perceptions of the person being questioned, the adversarial media, or a political class out to score points, then perception, as we well know, will take the place of actual facts. Though I like corwin’s construct, I would be more than a little reticent to require low-level individuals to have to choose to break the law in these circumstances.

    JD (6ef9a2)

  166. Corwin,

    So you don’t want rule of law? Everyone just does their thing and we will decide later if they get a medal or prison time, depending on who’s in charge?

    This can’t be real.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  167. Dmac – Ana muafek.

    JD (6ef9a2)

  168. “How do you control who decides when to apply these methods? You seem to assume that it will be good and qualified people, unless I’m missing something. I think history has shown us that this is rarely the case. The worse sorts are the first to embrace abuse.”

    – Machinist

    “Leviticus – Does not your construct assume that we have or would use it frivolously? Given the hoops that were jiumped through and legal opinions written in re. just these 3 instances, it suggests quite the opposite.”

    – JD

    Machinist – it’s for these reasons that I don’t want to legalize the technique in the first place. I think that requiring people to risk their careers to waterboard a detainee is a better assurance of the purity of their motives than pretty much anything else, and I think that legalization of the technique – bringing it into the mainstream, as it were – risks the embrace of abuse by people who have no reason to fear rebuke.

    JD – Yes. Perhaps there is no instance where we have used waterboarding frivolously (I don’t know), but I feel fairly confident in saying that there would be abuses of the technique were it legitimized as a form of extracting information. The hoops that were jumped through and the legal opinions written in regard to these three cases were a product of the questionable legality and unquestionable controversy of the technique – were it legalized, I worry that these parchment barriers would disappear.

    Leviticus (35fbde)

  169. Dmac,
    That’s a pretty good list, save for the sleep one. We have a physiological need for sleep. Like the need to breathe and the gag reflex, this is hard-wired into us. It’s not just playing a mental mind-game.

    Also, there is a significant difference between doing something voluntarily and being compelled to do it.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (125303)

  170. we will decide later if they get a medal or prison time, depending on who’s in charge?

    Machinist – That is practically the perfect concise way to describe the absurdity of this situation.

    JD (6ef9a2)

  171. Corwin #163,

    Yes. That’s precisely what I’m saying.

    Leviticus (35fbde)

  172. Bradley – hey, at least we’re whittling down the list to a manageable few, and that’s what I’m trying to get at here. The profound lack of seriousness about this from the Left and their media enablers has evolved into a framework of denying someone their regularly – scheduled meals as evidence of widespread torture. Either they’re not being serious about it, or else they’re truly idiots.

    I think that requiring people to risk their careers to waterboard a detainee is a better assurance of the purity of their motives than pretty much anything else,

    Good luck with that new recruiting drive – you’re going to need it with those blinders on. Honestly, what kind of fantasy world wish – list does this encompass?

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  173. Also, there is a significant difference between doing something voluntarily and being compelled to do it.

    Agreed – but in that case, we must also bring into the discussion the SERE training that our people undergo, and study whether or not they’ve suffered any long – lasting effects from that training. Again, this reality is being ignored by most in the media at this point.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  174. Absent the frivolous use, where is the problem? It is painfully clear that the choice to authorize these 3 instances were not the norm, and were not intended to be the norm. In fact, the myriad of steps taken prior to implementation suggest that it was viewed as being a very special circumstance.

    My biggest problem with this is the political opportunism, and after the fact criminalization. Frankly, should Congress have the stones to ban this procedure, that would be a far more preferable outcome than making good men and women guess as to whether or not they should do something that they believe to be right.

    Politics mucks up enough things. Now we are inserting partisan political witch-hunts into the process where good men and women are trying to protect us all , in good faith. Criminalizing this after the fact will, at best, chip away at their ability or even desire to do so.

    JD (6ef9a2)

  175. Under Shariah, all of your concerns will be answered!

    AD (087ff1)

  176. Brother Bradley – How much sleep would you require that they get?

    JD (6ef9a2)

  177. The very thing that prevents the US military from performing a coup d’etat will prevent the US military from condoning law-breaking within its ranks.

    You do realize, Leviticus, that the 5th amendment does not apply in courts martial? And do you realize that any official complaint against a member of the military goes into that person’s permanent file? An official complaint where it is determined the accused is wholly innocent can be enough cause to prevent promotions.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  178. “Now we are inserting partisan political witch-hunts into the process where good men and women are trying to protect us all , in good faith.”

    – JD

    Yes, because the prosecution of a discerning interrogator who saves innocent lives from terrorists will win so many votes come election time…

    Leviticus (86f88b)

  179. How would someone such as Leviticus, who take every opportunity to insulate themselves from the realities of National Security, have any idea how the rules apply to members of that institution?
    To do that would require a degree of seriousness that has not been appearant.

    AD (087ff1)

  180. Dmac,
    Yes, the media coverage has been extremely superficial. Inconvenient truths are simply ignored, or just lied about. It is very simple to say there wasn’t a threat and torture doesn’t work anyway; simple and also factually disproven by events.

    Regarding the SERE training, voluntarily undergoing waterboarding is just a taste of what it’s like. What was done to KSM was the real thing.

    I agree it was justified, considering the gravity of the threat. And I understand that waterboarding is mild compared to what AQ does to its captives, and we do it to stop people bent on killing us, not because we enjoy hurting “unbelievers”. That is the essential moral difference between us and AQ.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (125303)

  181. Enough citations?

    Comment by John Hitchcock — 4/27/2009 @ 10:38 am

    Impatience with sloppy thinking is not, in and of itself, sloppy thinking. And hurting somebody’s feelings does not necessarily make one illogical. But please continue, if it satisfies some emotional need.

    Jim Treacher (671d28)

  182. Brother Bradley – How much sleep would you require that they get?

    I can’t give you a precise answer. The person’s overall medical condition would have to be evaluated.

    Although we can agree, I think, that if the captive gets less sleep than Patterico, it’s definitely torture.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (125303)

  183. And yet, the hue-and-cry from the Left is that only by proscribing “harsh interrogation” techniques can we protect possible American detainees from the wrath of their AQ captors, who have in the past been seen to be oh so sensitive to the concerns of the World Media/Intelligentsia.

    AD (087ff1)

  184. That is the essential moral difference between us and AQ.

    If only your fellow ink – stained wretches in the MSM would acknowledge this simple fact, Bradley. But to do so would undermine their entire meme from the last 8 years, and we can’t have that.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  185. Oh no! Jim Treacher just stamped his feet and exclaimed “I’m not being childish!!!” That sure showed me.

    😛

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  186. Y

    es, because the prosecution of a discerning interrogator who saves innocent lives from terrorists will win so many votes come election time…

    Oh, Barcky does not have the stones to prosecute the actual people involved, nor do the Congressional Dems. They are instead going after their ideological foes. If this will not cripple action in the future, I do not know what will.

    JD (6ef9a2)

  187. – Machinist #165

    I realize my ‘What-I-wish-the-world-would-look-like’ is far from reality – and perhaps far (or impossible) to reach. But that doesn’t stop me from desiring it.

    I would much prefer to rely on Common Sense and Personal Responsibility; instead of relying on others (lawyers) to decide, write, interprete and judge. Especially given how judgement is based on media whims and the prevailing political breeze. When laws are later reviewed, and individuals are punished based on lousy laws – what good are those laws? What can an individual expect when they work within a law – and are later punished after others deem the law unjust?

    If our system of laws were written with common sense and personal responsiblity in mind, then by all means, I would be fully behind the rule of law. And quite frankly, I would prefer that. But our laws are poorly written, loosely enforced, often overturned or amended, and rarely directly address the issue prompting their writing.

    I hope to see a return to individuals acting responsibly, not because of a written law, but because its the right thing to do.

    I know, it’s Polyanna of me. :-)

    Corwin (ea9428)

  188. Dmac,
    I have little no hope for the hardcore MSM journosaurs. They will go down cursing that asteroid. They are invested in the way things were, a mixture of self-interest and mummified thought patterns. They can’t think the heretical thought that their world view was based on a fallacy.

    But others in the MSM will be more quick to adapt, particularly younger journos who intuitively understand how out of touch their erstwhile superiors are with the world.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (125303)

  189. Comment by John Hitchcock — 4/27/2009 @ 12:12 pm

    This, presumably, is the sort of “logic” I am to emulate.

    Jim Treacher (671d28)

  190. …or at least if they’re not being trained over at MSNBC.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  191. No, Jim, I just sank to your level so maybe you could understand me. And you half did.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  192. John Hitchcock,
    Sorry, but I told you so . . . 😉

    Someone sure woke up on the wrong side of bed, and is determined to have an Argument Clinic. We, however, don’t have to play.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (125303)

  193. I hope to see a return to individuals acting responsibly, not because of a written law, but because its the right thing to do.

    Corwin,
    This has never happened in human history. Any time anarchy has prevailed we have seen the strongest and most ruthless take power and the prevailing ethic has been “Might makes right”. This is what has made civilized man turn to government by law. If we embrace your philosophy it would seem that if Obama feels the country needs his guidance then he should use the military to seize absolute power for life. Our government is based on the constitution, the supreme law of the land. If we are not to be ruled by law than this is meaningless and all bets are off. Are you that well armed?

    If laws are bad, change them.

    If lawmakers are bad, change THEM.

    The means are there to do these things, in the law.

    If you give up the law, what will protect you in the storm that follows?

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  194. Comment by John Hitchcock — 4/27/2009 @ 12:49 pm

    If you and Bradley J. Fikes are done with the passive-aggressive act, maybe you can explain where I’m wrong to think waterboarding isn’t torture, and in any case was not out of line to use on KSM. Or if you don’t want to do so, that’s fine too.

    Jim Treacher (671d28)

  195. This is where I tell you, Jim, to provide evidence. Go through all the different topics here, go through other places on the internet. Find all the places where I said what you’re claiming I said. Then come back and provide all that evidence.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  196. Well said, Machinist. I can’t really believe that Leviticus is arguing what he’s arguing.

    I don’t want to generally endorse citizens taking the law into their own hands, even though I recognize that it is the right thing to do in certain select circumstances; in the same vein, I don’t want to legalize waterboarding, even though I recognize that it is the right thing to do in certain select circumstances.

    Leviticus, if it’s the right thing to do in certain select circumstances, then define those circumstances, write legal opinions about them, and allow it in those circumstances. Kind of like we did under the Bush administration. Have you no concept of reward systems and human nature? Make something illegal and you make it far less likely that good people with pure motives will engage in that activity. They want to avoid punishment.

    To illustrate, here is an armed forces example, borrowed from B. Steven Kerr’s excellent “On the Folly of Hoping for A, but Rewarding B:”

    Q: When did gramps get to come home from WWII?
    A: When we beat the Nazis and / or Japs.
    Result: Gramps beat the Nazis and / or Japs.

    Q: When did soldiers get to come home from Vietnam?
    A: When their tour was up.
    Result: Terms like “Search and Evade” were coined to illustrate how soldiers avoided enemy contact.

    I do not mean to denigrate anyone’s service, but we must agree that the reward system dictates the action. Much like tax law, people do what is in their own self-interest. Making waterboarding illegal and praying that good men do the right thing when it’s really really necessary is folly of the highest order.

    carlitos (f022c4)

  197. Comment by John Hitchcock — 4/27/2009 @ 1:19 pm

    I was under the impression you somehow disagreed with me, but if not, I won’t ask you to admit it.

    Jim Treacher (671d28)

  198. I wonder if Leviticus would advocate outlawing all abortion, reasoning that principled Doctors would go ahead and do them anyway where they are justified, and accept the risk or penalties.

    Does he really want the interrogator equivalence of a back alley abortionist?

    People in the last stages of terminal cancer are often made to suffer needlessly because Doctors are afraid to prescribe enough pain meds lest some bureaucrat charge him with getting the patient hooked.

    Decide what is right, make it legal, and prevent other use. Should some bigot be allowed to beat a confession out of someone because he’s just sure that colored person is guilty? Until Leviticus can explain how his system prevents this then I can’t take it seriously.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  199. John Treacher,
    I’ve heard no complaints here today about your opinions or positions, only your manner and conduct, which have been contemptible. Why should anyone have to “admit” anything? You were too busy making an ass of yourself to notice what anyone was saying. Several people have tried to call this to your attention.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  200. Carlitos,
    Thank you Sir.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  201. “Contemptible”! My goodness, that is bad. Anyway, sounds like we agree, so at least I’ve got that to console me.

    Jim Treacher (671d28)

  202. John Treacher,

    We may fight like we’re married, but I assure you, Machinist, we’re not.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  203. John Hitchcock,
    Understood Sir. NTTATWWT 😉

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  204. Remember, we all think in lockstep with Rush, Fox, Cheney, etc … We never disagree on anything.

    JD (4f5e05)

  205. Jim’s just in a bad mood. Someone must have taped over his Aldo Nova / Gino Vanelli cassettes, and now he has no music for the IROC.

    carlitos (f022c4)

  206. Well, that too. I’m also sick of the righteous indignation over something that wouldn’t be torture even if it didn’t save American lives, but of course that’s secondary.

    Jim Treacher (671d28)

  207. That reminds me, gotta download Rush for the drive home.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (125303)

  208. Brad, Rush are Canadian. What, you driving an import, too?

    carlitos (f022c4)

  209. carlitos,
    Not that Rush, this Rush! And I drive a Ford Focus.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (125303)

  210. The passive-aggressive insults are much preferable to the direct variety, yes.

    Jim Treacher (671d28)

  211. Boobies! Torture!!!!!

    JD (a71690)

  212. “Should some bigot be allowed to beat a confession out of someone because he’s just sure that colored person is guilty? Until Leviticus can explain how his system prevents this then I can’t take it seriously.”

    – Machinist

    My system prevents that situation the same way our current system prevents that situation: by making it illegal for people to beat up other people, except in self-defense. If Person A can show that he only beat up Person B in self-defense, he’ll probably walk (right?).

    Similarly, my system prevents some interrogator from waterboarding a confession out of someone because he’s just sure that detainee is guilty by making it illegal for interrogators to waterboard detainees, except in cases where life-saving knowledge is hypothesized and secured. If the interrogator can show that he only waterboarded the detainee to protect innocent lives, he’ll probably walk (right?).

    Actually, I’m curious as to how your system prevents the scenario you layed out: one person harming another person because he’s sure of the other person’s guilt (or, in ignoble circumstances, because he doesn’t like the other person).

    I think we’re almost arguing the same thing: we both want to prevent the abuse of the technique by under-regulating it. I just happen to think that, in this particular case, individual regulation (based on personal moral judgments in the face of adverse consequences due to the illegality of waterboarding) will be more effective at securing desirable outcomes than government “regulation” (legalization of waterboarding) which greenlights the technique as an acceptable means of extracting information from detainees. Assuming that people are rational, the latter scenario seems more prone to abuse to me.

    Leviticus (35fbde)

  213. An American journalist has been arrested in Iran. I suppose that if she confesses to being an American spy after being waterboarded you will believe her?

    VietnamEraVet (04b9ee)

  214. VietnamEraVet, that’s the kind of dishonest comment we’ve come to expect from you.

    SPQR (72771e)

  215. Hey lets take a vote., I say Bush and Cheney lied us into this war but maybe I am wrong. Who here wants to petition congress to waterboard them both to get the real truth?

    VietnamEraVet (04b9ee)

  216. VietnamEraVet, more dishonesty from you. Not least because every time you have repeated the same claim, and had it debunked repeatedly, you’ve ignored it.

    SPQR (72771e)

  217. SPQR cannot answer the question and so I have come to expect you to avoid the question and make a comment like that. Dishonest to ask a question that you cannot answer? Ha ha!

    VietnamEraVet (04b9ee)

  218. “I say Bush and Cheney lied us into this war but maybe I am wrong.”

    There ain’t no maybe about it.

    Dave Surls (da5013)

  219. VietnamEraVet, your “question” is dishonest because no one has claimed that waterboarding is appropriate for criminal procedure.

    If you don’t realize the difference, it is because you are simply intentional in your ignorance. Of a kind with all the rest of the reality you intentionally ignore to retain your bizarre fantasies.

    SPQR (72771e)

  220. Leviticus, I think the problem is the thing I posed back at 9:00AM. These guys are all captured unlawful enemy combatants. In the history of human conflict, they would normally be summarily executed.

    It’s not up to the interrogator to “be sure he’s guilty.” They are all guilty of being unlawful enemy combatants. Seriously, what’s the difference if they get roughed up a little before they are shot?

    Also, no comments at all on “nation of laws, not of men?” The history buffs here sure get what I mean.

    carlitos (f022c4)

  221. Too much Agent Orange makes the mind go all paranoid.

    But Life is Just a Fantasy anyway (h/t Aldo Nova).

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  222. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again.

    Confession != Information

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  223. In the history of human conflict, they would normally be summarily executed.

    As we’ve speculated before, the sum total of this inanity will be the cessation of any on – field interrogations and later imprisonment, to be usurped by executions instead. Why take the risk if you’re a soldier involved in combat action? The law of unintended consequences strikes again.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  224. SPQR the issue is whether or not torture is a good method of getting the truth. That is the issue and nothing else..

    VietnamEraVet (04b9ee)

  225. Dmac can you elaborate on your remarks about agent Orange?

    VietnamEraVet (04b9ee)

  226. No, VEV, that is not the issue. Nobody was tortured at GTMO.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  227. There was such a nice discussion until the blithering imbecile started puking all over the place.

    JD (a71690)

  228. DMac, if you haven’t seen it, read that Kerr article I referenced. It nicely deals with the law of unintended consequences.

    carlitos (f022c4)

  229. VietnamEraVet, nope that’s not what’s being discussed and in fact, that’s not the issue that you raised. You raised a strawman in your usual incoherent dishonest manner.

    SPQR (72771e)

  230. 200+ comments and the VeV tries to change the terms of the discussion by asking an inane question that is based on at least 2 flawed assumptions – 1) that we tortured, and 2) that if we did torture, it did not yield positive results.

    #1 is subject to debate amongst sentient people, and #2 is demonstrably false given what we know of KSM.

    JD (a71690)

  231. Agent Orange Rocks. And they are an American band, not like Rush. :)

    carlitos (f022c4)

  232. I prefer barenaked ladies, I don’t care their nationality.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  233. I liked the Beat Farmers a lot, back in my youthful days . . . sigh.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (a813c8)

  234. I am not going to spend the entire evening with people that obviously dont want to keep the issue on track

    The facts are that the Bush administration denied torturing prisoner and actually did. When caught the administration referred to those that did these things as “a few bad apples” but in fact the direction came from the top. So much for supporting the troops!

    Finally this criminal administration brought people to GITMO and never allowed them to defend themselves in a trial. We know that many were turned in by rival tribes for completely false reasons. not that you loose sleep over that.

    When some committed suicide the commanding General said it was just an effort to gain publicity!! You have no idea what went on at GITMO and who was or was not a real terrorist.

    We know Bush and Cheney are liars and that the war was started for false reasons. Who can believe anything they say?

    My original post was disputing the effectiveness of our using techniques that produce questionable results and put us in the same category as every other dictatorship in history.

    But you dont get that, do you? To you lying. torture and invading other countries for false reasons are fine and ok!

    You think that makes you safe. You cowardly fascists that dont believe in American values.. like the scum that told me that putting women and children in a pit and gunning them to death was ok at Me lai..
    At that time many felt that such actions did not represent the true face of America but many others said “Kill the gooks!”
    Guess I know where some of you stand..all you can do is name call…

    VietnamEraVet (04b9ee)

  235. When i consider the people that support Bush and how easily they abandon any sense of moral values and are so easily manipulated,. I now understand how Hitler took power.. Fear and ignorance and hate..
    Enough for today..

    VietnamEraVet (04b9ee)

  236. No refuting VeV’s ironclad logic:
    “You cowardly fascists that dont believe in American values.. like the scum that told me that putting women and children in a pit and gunning them to death was ok at Me lai … all you can do is name call…

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (a813c8)

  237. How many minutes to Godwin today?

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  238. So now, this VeV is conflating Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, and KSM, and whining that we refuse to stay on its topic?

    I guess we should be glad that there was a reasonable discussion for the better part of a day before one of the moral preeners dropped by to spit out its standard Leftist boilerplate of lies, conflation, distraction, and threadjacking.

    JD (a71690)

  239. VietnamEraVet, first of all, you seem to have absolutely no clue about events, including the fact that the administration told Congressional leaders about the waterboarding at the time. They were not hiding it from Congress. Secondly, your wild claims about Iraq have been shown to be false in a hundred previous threads but you keep repeating them because you are incoherent. As for My Lai, now you are into complete fabrications.

    SPQR (72771e)

  240. Leviticus – Waterboarding was essentially legalized or approved in the early years of the Bush Administration until they decided to ban the procedure. Congress refused to make it illegal. Was it or the other enhanced interrorogation techniques abused as you seem to be so concerned?

    I contend no because of the layers and layers of approval required to obtain permission to proceed. Your strawman of legalization putting the decisions in the hands of every soldier does not seem to be a situation that was or is contemplated.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  241. And it went all Godwin on us while I was typing that. Zero to meltdown in no time at all.

    JD (a71690)

  242. “Dmac can you elaborate on your remarks about agent Orange?”

    I prefer Mountain Dew myself.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  243. If VEV claims the issue is all about getting the truth, how can she write absolute crap like that in a comment?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  244. “Finally this criminal administration brought people to GITMO and never allowed them to defend themselves in a trial.”

    Yeah, sorta like the zillions of prisoners we took in WWII.

    Dave Surls (dd61e6)

  245. “how can she write absolute crap like that in a comment?”

    PTSD?

    PMS?

    Too much LSD?

    Dave Surls (dd61e6)

  246. Because it’s insane, Daley.

    i>… like the scum that told me that putting women and children in a pit and gunning them to death was ok at Me lai..

    Didn’t this person serve in the Philippines during Vietnam? Does that give it the right to slime our troops (yet again)? And yet it posts under the moniker of Vietnam Vet. I’d ask it to look up cognitive dissonance, but I believe that’s above it’s pay grade.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  247. Well, If Vev gunned down women and children in a pit, that makes 2 lefty commenters here that have admitted in writing on this site that they were party to murder (along with DCSCA). I guess they are liars truth tellers who have no fear due to their being on the ‘right’ side of the argument.

    With these kind of people making the argument, it kind of gives the moralizing sermons some perspective, non?

    carlitos (23eb68)

  248. si

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  249. First, I nominate Jim Treacher for “Most Enigmatic Commenter”.

    Second, water boarding is torture. Tough titty, camel-molester. You brought this war to our country, you get what’s coming to you. I’ll look after my children and discuss the stain on my soul with my Judge. But I will not lie to Him.

    nk (4b5c8a)

  250. “You cowardly fascists that dont believe in American values…”

    This cowardly fascist believes that terrorists who murder American children deserve to be slapped around, subjected to loud noises, dunked in water…and then shot.

    Dave Surls (dd61e6)

  251. http://veteranstoday.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=6072

    This is a pretty interesting article. I had never seen that the terrorist vermin were informed in advance that they would not be killed.

    JD (6ef9a2)

  252. First, I nominate Jim Treacher for “Most Enigmatic Commenter”.

    Or… is he?

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  253. I had never seen that the terrorist vermin were informed in advance that they would not be killed.

    Comment by JD — 4/27/2009 @ 5:16 pm

    Yep. For the precise reason that letting them think they would die would make it… what’s that word? Oh, I forget. Torpedo? Something like that.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  254. “Also, no comments at all on “nation of laws, not of men?” The history buffs here sure get what I mean.”

    – carlitos

    I saw your Adams and raised you a Plato (#152)? What more do you want? /sarc

    Seriously, though, I believe there are moral hierarchies, and that obeying the rule of law is at best fourth or fifth amongst them, after honoring God, protecting my family, protecting innocents in general, and obeying the dictates of common sense. I understand the importance of the rule of law, certainly, and will accept any consequences meted out in accordance with the law when my actions in pursuit of any of the aforementioned moral priorities conflict with the dictates of a sovereign people, but that doesn’t change the fact that I believe there are more important codes to be followed.

    Leviticus (35fbde)

  255. Treach – One of the arguments people use against it is that when our men and women are waterboarded in training, is that they know their fellow service members will not kill them, so it becomes something they simply must endure (yet is still almost 100% effective in training). Knowing in advance that you will not be killed really does change how it would effect someone.

    JD (6ef9a2)

  256. Yet you would have someone working to protect innocents risk having to avail themselves of a system of laws subject to the whims of a political class ? That makes not a lick of sense to me.

    JD (6ef9a2)

  257. Knowing in advance that you will not be killed really does change how it would effect someone.

    Comment by JD — 4/27/2009 @ 5:21 pm

    Yep. But we told him otherwise anyway.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  258. Told him he would not die, I mean.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  259. Yeah, I know. To this bloodthirsty warmongering Islamophobe, that pushes it even further off the torture continuum.

    JD (6ef9a2)

  260. Exactly, Treach. I was not clear. I was pointing out that with the terrorists, they knew they were not going to be killed, and they did not think we had the resolve to get tough with them, so waterboarding was simply something to endure at that point, since we had informed them that it would not threaten their life.

    JD (6ef9a2)

  261. I see that VEVian is back puking all over the site.
    But, I have to disagree that she’s suffering from a close association with Agent Orange; the closest that spittle-flecking coward has ever gotten to A-O is the color orange in a Home Depot sign, after he deserted to Canada.

    AD (087ff1)

  262. – Machinist #192

    You take a portion of what I wrote and bend it to the extreme. I said I prefer laws, only wishing they were written responsibly and with common sense. You’d have me ringing my house with barbed-wire, fortified with machine gun nests in the corners. :-)

    “If laws are bad, change them.
    If lawmakers are bad, change THEM.
    The means are there to do these things, in the law.
    If you give up the law, what will protect you in the storm that follows?”
    – Machinist

    One problem with our current system is that it’s really the same people writing and rewriting our laws as time goes by. We may vote in different people, different parties may have more or less ‘control’, but the same @#$% continues.

    The ‘means’, as you put it, is only to elect people into or out of a system that is too big, too bloated and too corrupt to change in the direction we really need… which is a drastically smaller Federal Government.

    But I digress.

    Waterboarding worked, and works. Our system of law, saying it’s ok now, not ok now; with law-makers saying “I didn’t know” or “I was told they might use it, but I didn’t know they did use it” or “we should have a truth commission”… This is the @#$% that our system perpetuates and gets us nowhere. Our system doesn’t work – and has been getting worse.

    I still will hope for some sanity when Common Sense and Personal Responsibility is the cornerstone, not laws created out of whims, media-fed backlash, or ignorance.

    Corwin (686fee)

  263. Just saw the cell-phone video of the NY fly-by, and I gotta think that when it comes to looking forward, this administration is severely handicapped.
    At least BillyJeff could see to the end of his middle extremity; Duh-1 seems to be more myopic.
    Whoever thought up this stunt needs to be fired –
    and if he’s publicly identified, there will be a price on his head in NYC.

    AD (087ff1)

  264. I haven’t read through all the comments, but this bit from the Taylor article seems to me exactly why we shouldn’t be having this conversation at the present moment:

    To be sure, the evidence in the public record is not conclusive. It comes mainly from Bush appointees and Central Intelligence Agency officials with records to defend and axes to grind. There is plenty of countervailing evidence coming from critics who have less access to the classified information that tells much of the story and have their own axes to grind. There are also plausible arguments for renouncing coercive interrogation even if it does save some lives.

    In the other posts about the Library Tower plot, Patrick, you’re putting a lot of interpretive pressure on extremely thin evidence. I think you’re doing the best you can with what you have, but if you handed Sherlock Holmes a watch and a bottle of whiskey, he’d only know when it’s time to get drunk.

    I don’t think we should be drawing conclusions from inconclusive evidence disseminated by interested parties–and this includes Cheney, who wants two particular memos released, which sounds more like someone who wants to build a narrative than someone who wants to present a robust picture of the moral complexities a pragmatic conversation about enhanced interrogation necessarily involves.

    SEK (072055)

  265. Corwin,
    The people who make our laws are elected. As sad as that fact makes me I think the answer is to try to educate voters to do a better job. What is your alternative to a representative Republic? What do you suggest for selecting our representatives?

    As far as smaller government, I’m right with you. I feel that a 90% reduction would not go far enough but it would be a start and would get us going in the right direction. The fact is today’s voters will not go for this. What do you suggest?

    We can see change. We have twice taken significant steps in the right direction in my lifetime. This happened when the public was offered honest and principled conservative reforms. They both petered out when the politicians where captured by the system and went back to offering no real alternative to business as usual. This is the direction we should work towards. I don’t know if it’s too late already but what is the alternative? Wishing will not do it.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  266. Heaven forbid the people that are being slimed try to defend themselves. Quelle horror.

    JD (1e04df)

  267. Comment by SEK — 4/27/2009 @ 6:16 pm

    So Cheney is the one who wants to build a narrative. By providing more information. Your grasp of reality rivals that of our Vietnam vet friend.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  268. I did not realize I was under the gun to create a new system – or to fix our current one. I was simply pointing out a major flaw (which we agree) being the size of our government.

    If, as you seem to suggest, we must accept this flawed system and attempt to fix it, within it’s construct (whereby the lawyers still make the laws) how can it ever be fixed? You’ve admitted that our past two attempts failed (and we’re ever the more bloated for it), what hope do we have working within this system?

    Alternatives? I don’t know… erase the board and start over? Pitchforks and torches? I’ll be honest, I have lost most of my hope for a good future. I see plenty of hardship and woe on the horizon. (and I haven’t even started drinking tonight).

    Corwin (686fee)

  269. Treach – Anything that distrupts Teh Narrative simply must be discredited, and dismissed out of hand. Surely, you must know that by now.

    JD (1e04df)

  270. I’m still waiting for DggCrpp to make another untimely appearance.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  271. Corwin,
    I certainly did not mean to put you “under the gun”. Perhaps I am not understanding you. It seemed to me initially that you were saying we should abandon laws as they don’t work and are made by bad people. You slapped me down as “bending” your position. It then seemed you wanted laws but didn’t think we should continue to create them with our current system. I asked you what you proposed instead and I’m obligating you to fix the whole system? Let’s try again.

    It seems that we agree that government is too big, yes?

    We agree it may be too late to fix it before it slides off the cliff and takes our Constitution with it, yes?

    I have dozens of guns, training in their use, and thousands of rounds of ammo but I certainly don’t want to live in the aftermath of a breakdown in law and order. If you are not much better prepared than I am it would seem that you should be working within the system to fix what we have before it is too late. If you don’t find this worthwhile than what are your plans? What should we do? Just sit and lament until things fall apart? Hope somebody else will fix things and then decide if we will jail them for it? Have you given up?

    I admit I am having trouble following you but I am slow witted. Let me know when you are going to start drinking and perhaps I will join you. I have laid in emergency supplies of 12 year old Scotch. My little slice of civilization.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  272. I have laid in emergency supplies of 12 year old Scotch.

    There are laws against that, you know.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  273. I think we are in agreement… although I have much less hope than you seem to have. I think there is way too much finger pointing (on all sides) for things to be righted. Call me a pessimist.

    I just don’t see how we can ever hope to legislate Responsibility or Common Sense. To the contrary, we’ve built entitlement programs to foster the exact opposite behavior.

    Too bad the house is dry. I picked the wrong week to get back in shape (no beer for me).

    Machinist, you are certainly not slow-witted.
    Break out the scotch – cheers!

    Corwin (686fee)

  274. Anyone who would outlaw good Scotch should be impeached! In the mean time I will work at getting rid of the contraband.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  275. Thank you Corwin. I may not be as optimistic as you think, but I prefer to go down fighting. I’ll do that within the system as long as possible and continue beyond that. It’s my plebeian stubbornness, perhaps. When I go over the cliff I keep shooting at the edge, just in case someone looks over to gloat.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  276. Sorry about no beer.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  277. So Cheney is the one who wants to build a narrative. By providing more information. Your grasp of reality rivals that of our Vietnam vet friend.

    I don’t know you from Adam, so I’m not going to judge, but if you think my saying that it’s too early for anyone to be drawing conclusions from inconclusive evidence disseminated by interested parties indicates that I’ve lost touch with reality, I’m not seeing much in the way of honest conversation happening.

    I added the bit about Cheney simply because he’s not a disinterested party either, so the even though he wants to “provid[e] more information,” I don’t think that information’s going to add much in the way of objective clarification. Were he to want all the information released so everyone could cull through it and decide for themselves, that’d be a different story.

    Put differently: the Obama administration released information that would point one way. The information Cheney wants released will point another. They’re playing politics by selectively releasing information. That’s what Obama did, that’s what Cheney wants to do. If you think otherwise, you’re letting your partisan blinders obstruct your common sense.

    SEK (072055)

  278. Because SEK’s partisan blinders are pure of intention. That is where the difference lies.

    JD (1e04df)

  279. Were he to want all the information released so everyone could cull through it and decide for themselves, that’d be a different story.

    So unless Cheney wants to release all classified information, he’s not being honest. Gotcha.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  280. The Obama administration released the tactics used, with the results redacted.

    Cheney wants the redacted results released.

    SEK admits the results of the tactics, which Obama redacted, will turn the issue around.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  281. SEK,
    I don’t know why you wouldn’t want this to be discussed, article or no article. Yes, there are interested parties all around. You take that into account when examining the evidence. But what do you make of the media’s downplaying of the second wave? How will such evidence be heard if not for those crab grass blogs like Patterico?

    The truth won’t just emerge on its own. The public has to demand it. And this is part of the public.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  282. The Left has no use for classified information. All information is simply subject to political expediency.

    JD (1e04df)

  283. “The Obama administration released the tactics used, with the results redacted.”

    They released the legal analysis of the tactics. Were there any tactics in there that we did not know about already?

    imdw (b4b619)

  284. “So unless Cheney wants to release all classified information, he’s not being honest. Gotcha.”

    The truth commission model could work. Or we could just let the adversarial process develop, either via disclosures or prosecutions.

    imdw (b4b619)

  285. So unless Cheney wants to release all classified information, he’s not being honest. Gotcha.

    That’s not what I said. Alright, that does seem to be what I said, but it’s not what I meant. What I meant was, “Cheney’s angling to have these particular memos released because it suits his purposes.” This seems to me a blindingly obvious statement.

    Because SEK’s partisan blinders are pure of intention. That is where the difference lies.

    I’m not the one drawing conclusions from inconclusive evidence disseminated by interested parties, JD, so no, I don’t think you can claim that I’m letting my loyalties blind me. (Unless those loyalties are to basic evidentiary principles.)

    The Left has no use for classified information. All information is simply subject to political expediency.

    JD, you’re obviously a bright guy, but god damn it, if you let your knee jerk like this too often, it’ll become a habit.

    I don’t know why you wouldn’t want this to be discussed, article or no article. Yes, there are interested parties all around. You take that into account when examining the evidence. But what do you make of the media’s downplaying of the second wave? How will such evidence be heard if not for those crab grass blogs like Patterico?

    First, as someone who mowed and weeded lawns in the South for the better part of a decade, I take offense at the notion that Patterico’s anything like crab grass. For shame!

    Second, I don’t think there’s enough evidence to start drawing conclusions from. I think Patrick’s handled the thin available evidence honestly, but I’m not taking issue with his handling of it: it’s the thinness that’s the problem.

    SEK (072055)

  286. I believe by the time this is all over, the Democrats will be wishing they had put Atomic Balm in their jockey shorts instead.

    And that medium warmth? ummmm… it is long lasting, anyway. O_O

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  287. SEK – I admit I overstated. I was speaking more of the trollish types seen round here recently, the likes of imdw above, who insist on waterboarding kittens. One would think that what has been released would be looked at it a more critical manner, as it is clearly selected and declassified to advance Barcky’s agenda. Sure, look at the documents that Cheney has called to be declassified with a critical eye, about the level of critical analysis that the Left has given the documents that supported Teh One’s policy goals.

    I cannot wait to see Pelosi and Rockefeller under oath.

    JD (1e04df)

  288. SEK, I think Patterico takes the “crab grass” phrase as a compliment, considering whence it was bestowed. Like the Dutch Sea Beggars, he is.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  289. Personally, I’d like to see both of them in the Iron Maiden.

    AD (087ff1)

  290. At the risk of being flippant, I’d like to see the new Iron Maiden film without Pelosi or Reid. I just can’t see them getting into it.

    carlitos (23eb68)

  291. Or Rockefeller, for that matter.

    carlitos (23eb68)

  292. That’s not what I said. Alright, that does seem to be what I said, but it’s not what I meant. What I meant was, “Cheney’s angling to have these particular memos released because it suits his purposes.”

    Sure.

    And if the memos support his position, releasing them will suit his purposes.

    I.e. the fact that release of the memos will suit his purposes doesn’t necessarily constitute a strike against him.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  293. Put differently: the Obama administration released information that would point one way. The information Cheney wants released will point another. They’re playing politics by selectively releasing information. That’s what Obama did, that’s what Cheney wants to do. If you think otherwise, you’re letting your partisan blinders obstruct your common sense.

    So it’s better to just let the one side play politics and give out deceptively edited information to the public, and the targets of it shouldn’t say anything about it. That’s totally bipartisan, and also no blinders and stuff. You’re a genius.

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  294. “I.e. the fact that release of the memos will suit his purposes doesn’t necessarily constitute a strike against him.”

    Patterico – It doesn’t count as a strike against him but it counts as a strike against the argument that the techniques were effective and that Obama is going to have to explain to the American people why he is discontinuing rarely used interrogation techniques which helped keep America safe over the past seven years. Cheney doesn’t matter. Obama does.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  295. Strike against the argument the techniques were NOT effective

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  296. I guess we should be grateful that SEK admitted that Barcky released that classified information for partisan political purposes.

    JD (1e04df)

  297. I guess that Obama releasing those memos didn’t help his position, either?

    If you are going to paint a politician as doing questionable things to support his or her political viability, be sure to use a mighty broad brush.

    Which is Patterico’s point, I know…

    Eric Blair (33cc23)

  298. But JD, that’s different! His motives are pure and bright and Biden-approved clean.

    Eric Blair (33cc23)

  299. Then again, the only arguments or evidence I’ve seen that the techniques are not effective are that the evidence is thin (very weak – SEK), I just don’t trust anything those fuckers from the Bush Administration say, and everybody involved is part of one giant conspiracy to say the same thing and cover their asses.

    Compelling!

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  300. “His motives are pure and bright and Biden-approved clean.”

    Articulate too, when his teleprompter works.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  301. imdw said:

    The truth commission model could work.

    Let that statement really soak in. Think about other “truth commissions” in the past.

    I think I know what the left wants, but I don’t think they know what it will become.

    Ag80 (b19e67)

  302. Ag – The history of that, to clowns like imdw, is a feature, not a bug.

    JD (1e04df)

  303. Alright, that does seem to be what I said, but it’s not what I meant

    It’s not what I meant to say, I mean, the meaning of what I meant to say obscures the real meaning of…

    Dmac (1ddf7e)


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