Patterico's Pontifications

5/3/2011

Leon Panetta: Okay, I Admit it. Waterboarding Gave Us Some of the Information That Led to the Killing of bin Laden (Video Added)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 9:48 pm



[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

That’s not a quote, obviously, but well, how else do you interpret this?

CIA Director Leon Panetta stomped on the White House’s political script when he told Tuesday night’s broadcast of NBC Nightly News that the waterboarding of jihadi detainees contributed information that led to the location and killing of Osama bin Laden.

“We had multiple series of sources that provided information with regards to this situation… clearly some of it came from detainees [and] they used these enhanced interrogation techniques against some of those detainees,” he told NBC anchor Brian Williams.

When asked by Williams if water-boarding was part of the “enhanced interrogation techniques,” Panetta simply said “that’s correct.”

Update: You can view video of this exchange by clicking on this image:

So, um, can we stop claiming that waterboarding  doesn’t work?

I mean let’s back up a little.  Just about everyone opposes hard-core torture, like ripping out fingernails and electroshock (except maybe in a ticking bomb scenario).  And only a few loons want us to limit our interrogation to name, rank and serial number.  The question is when does interrogation become torture, and one thing you can say for certain is that waterboarding is close to the line.  It might be barely over it, or barely under it, but it’s clearly a close call.  So I completely respect anyone who says it is torture even if I disagree.

But the most ridiculous claim is that it supposedly doesn’t work.  Now of course pressuring anyone in any way to get a mere confession is of dubious value.  Torturing a guy to say “I did it,” is unreliable.  But if they are telling the truth, they can tell you things that are objectively verifiable.  Consider, for instance, this classic scene from Dirty Harry:

The context of the clip is this.  The psychopath had buried a girl alive and claimed he would give the location of the girl (giving them the chance to save her) if they paid a ransom.  They paid, with Eastwood delivering it, but the man refused to give the location, and so the torture in that scene followed.  So it was a “ticking bomb” scenario.  Also, alluded to and not shown, they find the girl where the psycho said, but she was already dead.  If memory serves she never had a chance of being saved in time.

Now if that hypothetical went to trial, the confession would be excluded from evidence (and in theory the body might be, too).  Why?  Not because it was unreliable.  Even in isolation the mere fact he knew where the girl was buried was highly incriminating.  But instead all of it, including the fact he knew where the body was, would be excluded on the theory that even then torture is not justified, and thus they wanted to remove an important incentive to police to engage in such conduct.

So let’s please stop the childish claim that waterboarding—hell, even torture—cannot be effective.  And let’s instead have the adult conversation about whether we as a people believe it is morally justified and if so, when.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

177 Responses to “Leon Panetta: Okay, I Admit it. Waterboarding Gave Us Some of the Information That Led to the Killing of bin Laden (Video Added)”

  1. Still trying to marginalize one of the if not the greatest special ops achievement in the history of the world?

    Too funny. Keep right on bringing it on. Let’s say til November 2012?

    Great work President Obama. That took guts and brains and hard work. The whole world is in awe.

    And good for you for sticking it to the right wing America haters. I could not be happier for you or for our great country.

    jharp (f8a6a3)

  2. ‘Enhance Interrogation Techniques’ are NOT so much about developing intel, they are MUCH more about about breaking a subject’s psychological will-to-resist.

    Once a subject is ‘broken’ and actively cooperating is when the most important, and most reliable, information is revealed.

    When the subject’s will-to-resist is overcome once, it is easy to overcome it again, and again, and again without so much as raising your voice.

    That is why waterboarding, et al…’works’…once the will-to-resist is ‘broke’ by those techniques, it tends to stay ‘broken’…not out of fear of a repeat, but out of resignation and acceptance of one’s circumstance and prior admissions.

    By that phenomenon, everything that follows after enhanced interrogation techniques are employed come as a direct consequence of those methods being used.

    MJN1957 (6e1275)

  3. mjn

    very good point, and yes, an important wrinkle in that discussion.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  4. “Just about everyone opposes hard-core torture, like ripping out fingernails and electroshock…”

    Don’t knock it ’til you try it.

    If it was up to me, Khalid et al would’ve been skinned alive a long time ago. It’s amazing how much people will tell you when they’re being dissected without an anesthetic.

    Dave Surls (26e75f)

  5. Yep–that scene from Dirty Harry is a perfect illustration of a situation where torture is not only morally justifiable–it’s a moral *imperative* if you don’t have any other leads to possibly avoid the disaster in question (since the potential torturee is both the confessed perpetrator and the only one who has the information needed, and refuses to talk under any other conditions). Unfortunately, it is also a perfect illustration of the fact that even going that far might not get you what you want, leaving you with the consequences of having tortured the person without prevented the disaster.

    M. Scott Eiland (43e415)

  6. Panetta is a xenohpobe………..oh I forgot a lefty appointed him.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  7. Even if we did find the waterboarders, do you think they’d be going to prison? We both know that the arresting officer will “forget” to read the perps their Miranda rights, the police will “neglect” to cease questioning after they ask for a lawyer, they will “forget” to get a warrant prior to searching the suspects’ homes, etc.

    Michael Ejercito (64388b)

  8. Leon, don’t tell this to DiFi, her head will implode.

    AD-RtR/OS! (dcdc24)

  9. “So, um, can we stop claiming that waterboarding doesn’t work?”

    It works o.k.

    A blowtorch is better, though.

    Dave Surls (26e75f)

  10. Just about everyone opposes hard-core torture, like ripping out fingernails and electroshock (except maybe in a ticking bomb scenario).

    Ahem…

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  11. “Just about everyone opposes hard-core torture, like ripping out fingernails and electroshock…”

    Dave Surls – Yup, some people pay good money for stuff like that. Does that make it wrong? I try not to judge them on what they like as long as it doesn’t involve children.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  12. I wonder to what degree the prospect of obtaining information that would lead to the tracking of bin Laden contributed to Obama’s decision to go back on his promise to close Guantanamo. It always seemed to me that something didn’t add up there. Obama and Holder are far too ideological and far too arrogant to defer to the judgment of senior commanders in the field, unless the commanders were tantalizing them with the prospect of obtaining intelligence that would lead to the capture of bin Laden. I know that we were supposedly long done with using enhanced interrogation techniques on KSM, so it isn’t likely that new information came from him, but perhaps there was some terrorist in Gitmo (or even in custody in Eastern Europe) who gave us the final piece of the puzzle and allowed us to claim this big victory.

    I wonder too if I will live long enough to see all the relevant information declassified so that we can learn more about what promises to be a fascinating story. I am guessing it might be 50 years down the road, so odds are that I won’t make it.

    JVW (db2114)

  13. Lieutenant Colonel and now Congressman Allen West.

    jim2 (151868)

  14. Yes, but Holder sent a special prosecutor, John Durham, the one who went after Whitey Bulger, a two bit thug, after these interrogators for the better
    part of a year,

    narciso (79ddc3)

  15. Panetta merely said waterboarding is an enhanced interrogation technique. He didn’t say it was used to get information in this case.
    Why not limit the discussion to what we actually know? For example, whatever techniques the Cheney-Bush team authorized and ordered, they were obviously NOT EFFECTIVE ENOUGH to compel anyone to give up bin Laden or anyone close enough to him to lead to his capture or kill.
    More importantly, we know that MUCH of the information obtained was unearthed without the use of torture. In fact, it seems clear that the breakthrough that led to bin Laden’s demise came not from a single piece of information — be it obtained by torture or otherwise — but from the analysis of that information.
    We could never say with certainty whether any information obtained by torture could have been obtained by other means. Practice seems to suggest that it is very possible to obtain equally important information from enemy combatants without resorting to torture. Logic and practice show that information obtained by other means is far more reliable than information obtained by torture.
    If we stick to drawing conclusions from what we do know about bin Laden’s demise rather than what we don’t, we also see that one reason Cheney-Bush failed to get bin Laden is that torture produced a lot of false leads. Accounts of how bin Laden was finally located make clear that the the lead obtained at Gitmo was in hand since 2004. Trouble is, other false information rendered under torture muddied the picture. It wasn’t until analysts detected a pattern (suspects kept trying to take investigators away from the courier), that they were able to make any use of the clue.
    If torture worked, we’d use it in every single rape or murder or serious crime case, wouldn’t we?

    Big Median (0347f6)

  16. big media

    hahahahahahahahahahahaha

    willful blindness on display.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  17. narc

    thank god the NYT erected its firewall of sanity to save us from their crap.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  18. Sigh Big Median’s posts are like blog waterboardings

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  19. This is almost too easy . . . but I’m bored, so:
    Comment by Big Median — 5/4/2011 @ 5:14 am
    15. Panetta merely said waterboarding is an enhanced interrogation technique. He didn’t say it was used to get information in this case.
    — What he actually said is that some of the intel was received from prisoners that had been subjected to those techniques, but that he does not know the timeline of when they revealed the pertinent info, and neither do you.

    Why not limit the discussion to what we actually know?
    — How about you stop trying to control Teh Narrative?

    For example, whatever techniques the Cheney-Bush team authorized and ordered, they were obviously NOT EFFECTIVE ENOUGH to compel anyone to give up bin Laden or anyone close enough to him to lead to his capture or kill.
    — 1) Again, you do not know this to be true. 2) There’s absolutely no reason for you to imply that this was the only info being sought by the interrogators, since “obviously” they were seeking any and all usable info that they could get. 3) As far as you know, no single individual had that information. ‘Gathering intel’ means collecting bits and pieces of info, and then putting the pieces together to form the bigger picture.

    More importantly, we know that MUCH of the information obtained was unearthed without the use of torture.
    — And this in itself somehow ‘proves’ that so-called “torture” unearths nothing?

    In fact, it seems clear that the breakthrough that led to bin Laden’s demise came not from a single piece of information — be it obtained by torture or otherwise — but from the analysis of that information.
    — Well, duh! Thanks for acknowledging my deconstruction of your previous comment within this same post.

    We could never say with certainty whether any information obtained by torture could have been obtained by other means.
    — True, but asking “pretty please” tends to have a low rate of return.

    Practice seems to suggest that it is very possible to obtain equally important information from enemy combatants without resorting to torture.
    — Ever heard the phrase “We’re not ruling out any measure?” Limiting one’s options brings about the very real possibility of limiting results.

    Logic and practice show that information obtained by other means is far more reliable than information obtained by torture.
    — Yes, that HAS been the meme ever since . . . well, ever since the use of advanced interrogation techniques was publicly revealed. What a coincidence!

    If we stick to drawing conclusions from what we do know about bin Laden’s demise rather than what we don’t, we also see that one reason Cheney-Bush failed to get bin Laden is that torture produced a lot of false leads.
    — Assertions can be just as false as leads. You have absolutely no proof whatsoever that what you wrote above is true; just your personal “conclusions”.

    Accounts of how bin Laden was finally located make clear that the the lead obtained at Gitmo was in hand since 2004. Trouble is, other false information rendered under torture muddied the picture.
    — Trouble is, you’re making this up as you go along.

    It wasn’t until analysts detected a pattern (suspects kept trying to take investigators away from the courier), that they were able to make any use of the clue.
    — Good job, Big Sherlock!

    If torture worked, we’d use it in every single rape or murder or serious crime case, wouldn’t we?
    — And the liberal idiocy of ABSOLUTISM, within the framework of apples to oranges comparisons, continues! Hint: most murderers don’t cause the deaths of 3,000+ people, idjit!

    Icy Texan (c28ab5)

  20. “Why not limit the discussion to what we actually know?”

    Big Median – Don’t propose that and then immediately violate your rule.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  21. If the Big Comedian limited the discussion to what he actually knows, his posts would be A LOT shorter.

    Icy Texan (c28ab5)

  22. Liberals[Hijacked word] Are hypocritical idiots.

    So are the paultards as well.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  23. You know, this post was in the mainstream media, written by somebody else, and you clicked on the video and it took you to a site with the headline:

    “Panetta: ‘Open Question’ If Waterboarding Helped Find Bin Laden”

    …you would say there is a huge discrepancy between the headline HERE and the headline THERE.

    Big Median’s analysis is right. But I think the honest people here were able to spot the lies in AW’s headline even before Big Median weighed in.

    Kman (5576bf)

  24. Thanks Icy, this is classic.

    Liberal asks: “Why not limit the discussion to what we actually know?”

    Wingnut answers: “How about you stop trying to control Teh Narrative?”

    That pretty much sums up what wingnuts are all about.

    Big Median (0347f6)

  25. Kman

    Yeah, i take the same data and interpret it differently.

    Btw, notice that you are not disputing the point of this, that waterboarding worked.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  26. I concur with commenter #1 completely.

    As a veteran of SERE training (mandatory for Naval aviators) I personally believe that the techniques we expose our warrior to should be good enough for our enemies as well; especially for high value prisoners, whether it be a “ticking time bomb” situation or not.

    I don’t think that “torture” as a matter of policy is advisable or proper. But assymetrical warfare and terrorism do not fall under the constructs of the Geneva convention, so in those cases, for those prisoners, it’s all good.

    After all, it’s not like we’re going to be trying any of these scumbags in civilian court :)

    Bob Reed (5f2db5)

  27. Doh

    > So are the paultards as well.

    I forgot. Are the Paultards what we call the people who follow Ron Paul, or the ones who follow Paul Krugman?

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  28. Consider now the possibility of a release of a UBL “death” photo.

    It has all the same procrastinating and indecision that were part of the original mission. I have to wonder if they think they can continue the “glow” by dragging it out with a promised “photo” that appears to always be “over the horizon” (like communism). They did exactly that with the “birthers,” so why not do a repeat ?

    As for the sensitivities, doesn’t anybody think that killing him was insensitive enough. After screwing with the narrative, they now even have it looking like they shot down a defenseless UBL … like a mad dog. I don’t think the “he may have had a bomb under his clothes” story line is going to cut it.

    If they really want UBL to be forgotten, let him go. Release the “death photo,” convincing those who can be convinced that UBL is dead, and close the bloody thing out. Instead, they have made a political calculation that they can bask in the glow of a killing, like a KKK mob after a lynching, and somehow show that they are “sensitive” by not releasing the bloody “photo.” Oh, please.

    Neo (03e5c2)

  29. Yeah, i take the same data and interpret it differently.

    Fine. But don’t put YOUR conclusions in Pinetta’s mouth. He doesn’t “admit it”.

    Or do you need him to give your conclusion imprimatur?

    Btw, notice that you are not disputing the point of this, that waterboarding worked.

    Nice reading comprehension there. I AM disputing the point, for the same reasons as Big Median.

    Kman (5576bf)

  30. Big Median sez

    If we stick to drawing conclusions from what we do know about bin Laden’s demise rather than what we don’t, we also see that one reason Cheney-Bush failed to get bin Laden is that torture produced a lot of false leads.

    To which I’m inclined to point out that a more important reason that individual interrogations failed to lead directly to bin Laden was due to the distributed-cell type network organization that Al Queda used.

    Most likely, only the couriers knew where ObL was at any time; although ObL most certainly knew where the individual cell leaders were.

    That’s how that type of organization is intended to work, my man. So that if any one cell is compromised, their ignorance of the activities, personnel, or location of the other cells doesn’t compromise the entire organization.

    And it’s what may be the most valuable among any intel seized during the SEAL team raid.

    Bob Reed (5f2db5)

  31. Kman

    > He doesn’t “admit it”.

    Yes, he does.

    > I AM disputing the point, for the same reasons as Big Median.

    Then same response. bwahahahahahahahaha

    You should tell him about your blog. He would love it. You’re made for each other.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  32. Good point, Bob. And yet another reason the enormous costs of torture can’t possibly be worth whatever benefits would come from it. That is also a key difference between combating terrorism and fighting a conventional war or insurgency.

    Big Median (0347f6)

  33. > He doesn’t “admit it”.

    Yes, he does.

    You think that because you aren’t comprehending what he said. He never said that the waterboarding technique provided information which led to the killing of bin Laden.

    Kman (5576bf)

  34. Say, does Kman actually have a blog? Why does he never respond when you bring this up? Could it be Kman has written some things there that would make him look silly here? I’m just asking questions….

    Simon Jester (019b2d)

  35. Kman

    Obviously you didn’t watch the video. He says it as clearly as a person could.

    He says it clearly. The cognitive dissonance on display is truly amazing.

    Why can’t you just make the adult argument that it is immoral, instead of pretending like a child it doesn’t work when we all know it does.

    Big Median

    Yeah, you know, asking nicely will never produce a false lead, right?

    And did you seriously argue that torture doesn’t work on them because they don’t know anything?

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  36. Piss off Big marxist.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  37. No Aaron, Panetta doesn’t *admit” waterboarding worked. He alludes to its inclusion in enhanced techniques and in the context of other information that shows the information gleaned from KSM via waterboarding actually SLOWED DOWN bin Laden’s demise. You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.
    Bob: why would it be ok to use waterboarding on some types of prisoners but not on others? Do we adjust jurisprudence to the nature of the crime? Do murder suspects have fewer rights than embezzlement defendants? I wonder if you’ve thought that through. The record shows torture doesn’t work. Even if it yields useful information in some specific cases, it throws up too much bad information overall, which is EXACTLY what happened in the bin Laden case.
    More important, torture destroys the moral will of those required to implement torture. Bob suggests that terror suspects are in a special category for which torture could be allowed. But which terror suspects? What is a “high-value” suspect? A courier? A chauffeur? A son of a suspect? A cousin? A hotelier who rented a room to a terrorist? When you give government the power to make that kind of decision in complete secrecy with zero jurisprudence, you blow a hole in democracy big enough to drive totalitarianism right in…

    Big Median (0347f6)

  38. WILLIAMS: Turned around the other way, are you denying that waterboarding was in part among the tactics used to extract the intelligence that led to this successful mission?

    PANETTA: No, I think some of the detainees clearly were, you know, they used these enhanced interrogation techniques against some of these detainees.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  39. The binary logic fail award goes to: Aaron!!!

    “asking nicely will never produce a false lead, right?”

    Whatever the success of *asking nicely* is would have no bearing whatsoever on the question of whether torture works. The fact that you don’t understand way explains just about everything about why you hold the views you hold.

    Big Median (0347f6)

  40. Liberal[hijacked term]-Your worse than hitler you jooooooooo

    Conservative-Stop violating Godwin’s law.

    Liberal and his friend-You nazis cannot refute what I said so stfu if you know what’s good for you.

    No Aaron he thinks torture does not work because he is pro-jihadist.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  41. Big Median and Kman – #38 would be called an admission.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  42. Oh, good Allah. Big MFM median and kmart are more predictable than the sun rising in the East.

    JD (306f5d)

  43. The dishonesty rampant in Big Median’s and Kman’s comments is almost astonishing, were not their behavior already so familiar.

    Big Median claims others are not entitled to “their own facts” even as he invents his own. And the argument that “other” interrogation techniques also led to information is hilarious since Democrats purportedly opposed even those, pushing to close Gitmo and other detainee facilities where there “other” interrogation techniques were employed.

    There still are no adults in the Democrat party evidently, even though they’ve abandoned all the high moralizing they engaged in during the Bush admin. Nothing outlines their intentional undermining of the war on terror more than this hypocrisy.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  44. Panetta doesn’t deny that waterboarding “was in part among the tactics” on “SOME” of the detainees.

    Sorry, but that’s no admission and anyone can see why. William opens huge holes by saying: *in part* and *among*. Why wouldn’t he just ask; *Was waterboarding used?* And why didn’t Panetta just say; Yes, we got some of the information by waterboarding suspects.

    The answer is obvious to anyone who listens to the tape. Panetta is painstakingly avoiding making a claim that no one had been waterboarding, because everyone now knows that some suspects were waterboarded. And he is responding to a cross-examination by someone who is clearly ill-prepared and/or unwilling to speak simply and directly and who, apparently, believes he can somehow succeed in tripping Pannetta up…

    Big Median (0347f6)

  45. I luv how big MFM median talks about sticking to what we know, and not being entitled to make up facts, and then proceeds to do just that.

    JD (d48c3b)

  46. C’mon folks. Imagine what life is like for Kman and BM. They hated everything GWB did in foreign policy. Voted Hope and Change. Got More of the Same. Since their egos won’t permit them to admit they got played by a Chicago pol, they have twist themselves up into some pretty silly knots.

    Simon Jester (019b2d)

  47. It’s horrible how the evil Bushitler has corrupted the saintly Obama administration.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (c30fbb)

  48. Kman: “Big Median’s analysis is right.”

    — Gooney birds of a feather . . .

    Icy Texan (c28ab5)

  49. Yeah, JD. It depends on the definition of “is.”

    Simon Jester (019b2d)

  50. big median

    no the logic fail is your selective realism. you catalog all the alleged shortcomings of waterboarding or torture as a source of info. and then you completely ignore that the other options are worse.

    and panetta clearly admitted in ordinary language that some of the intel came from waterboarding. see, e.g. #38. i know in liberal land, where they think it is appropriate to say, it depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is, that might not be specific enough, but panetta knew exactly what he was communicating to williams and his audience. that waterboarding was part of the info.

    Now can you make the more adult case that its immoral?

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  51. I’m seeing some weird stuff on the basic decision. One set of reporting is that it took 16 hours for Obama to make the decision to go once things were set up. Another set implies that the operation was only conducted (after months of preparation) because of information buried in last weeks Wikileaks release.

    Of course, this is all assuming that Obama was actually in charge at all.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  52. Big Median:

    Bob: why would it be ok to use waterboarding on some types of prisoners but not on others? Do we adjust jurisprudence to the nature of the crime?

    When dealing with assymetric warfare combatants, whom the Geneva convention does not cover, I think that all the same techniques that you train your own personnel to resist should be on the table.

    And I disagree that it is somehow “adjusting jurisprudence”. These are not legitimate POWs, nor were they subject to arrest by law enforcement. They are un-uniformed operators, and, at best, they are the equivalent of spies…

    And, while the Geneva Convention maintains that spies and terrorists may be subject to civilian or military laws, in practice they may also be subjected to enhanced interrogations or even executed. You do realize that it used to be common practice to execute spies and un-uniformed combatants in the field, don’t you?

    In any case, the Geneva Convention neither approve nor disapproves these measures because by definition they fall outside the scope of the agreement…

    And who’s a “high value target”? Well, that depends on the structure of the organization and the situation at hand. But this:

    When you give government the power to make that kind of decision in complete secrecy with zero jurisprudence, you blow a hole in democracy big enough to drive totalitarianism right in…

    doesn’t apply to this discussion, as we’re not talking about law enforcement officers being granted the power to do such things to American citizens, but to our military intelligence/CIA community for use on foreign agents overseas.

    It’s apples/oranges really, and not a “law enforcement” discussion.

    Bob Reed (5f2db5)

  53. Big Mediocre:
    Liberal asks: “Why not limit the discussion to what we actually know?”
    Wingnut answers: “How about you stop trying to control Teh Narrative?”

    — The point (Geez! Do you really need to use /sarc tags like training wheels?) is that, A) you yourself are NOT limiting the discussion to what you actually know; in fact, you are (pathetically) attempting to limit it to what you want it to be . . . aka, Teh Narrative. B) There is nothing wrong with speculating on a given issue, as long as you are speculating INTELLIGENTLY and not ideologically.

    Icy Texan (c28ab5)

  54. Big Median – What is your native language?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  55. Big Median and Kman – #38 would be called an admission.

    Who here understands the difference between:

    (a) Enhanced interrogation techniques were used on detainees who also gave information about bin Laden’s courier

    and

    (b) Enhanced interrogation techniques caused detainees to give information about bin Laden’s courier

    For example, KSM received 134 does of enhanced interrogation techniques, but he didn’t give information about the courier until months after the torture stopped. (In fact, the information he gave re: the courier under torture was false).

    That’s not a success story for torture.

    Kman (5576bf)

  56. Bob: If torture isn’t immoral in and of itself, why don’t we use it on serial killer suspects, or serial rape suspects or politicians suspected of treason?
    The Geneva Convention doesn’t cover rape suspects, either, so, by your logic, there is no reason not to torture them.

    Big Median (0347f6)

  57. kman

    see the very first comment. duh

    Big median

    > If torture worked, we’d use it in every single rape or murder or serious crime case, wouldn’t we?

    Wow, missed this. So apparently you didn’t read the post at all, did you?

    You do know about a little thing called the exclusion rule, right?

    > Do we adjust jurisprudence to the nature of the crime?

    You do know 9-11 was an act of war, right?

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  58. big median

    > If torture isn’t immoral in and of itself, why don’t we use it on serial killer suspects, or serial rape suspects or politicians suspected of treason?
    The Geneva Convention doesn’t cover rape suspects, either, so, by your logic, there is no reason not to torture them.

    bwhahahahahahahah never heard of the exclusion rule.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  59. And, if waterboarding isn’t torture and the fact that SEALS do it demonstrates it as benign, why not deploy it in everyday crime solving?

    Big Median (0347f6)

  60. Big Median, logic fail. We’ve long distinguished between war and crime. An immense part of the failed thinking of the Left is that they wish to conflate the two to deny the reality of the world.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  61. Aaron: Thanks for making my point for me. The exclusion rule spells out in precise language WHY and HOW torture won’t do in a fair trial.
    But if torture produces reliable information without giving the state dangerous powers, why would the exclusion rule prohibit it?

    Big Median (0347f6)

  62. SPQR: You obviously haven’t read the comments and/or aren’t familiar with the arguments. Bob is suggesting that the rules of war don’t apply to terror suspects. One of the *distinctions* we make between prisoners of war and criminals, is that prisoners of war are not held pending justice, but pending the conclusion of war. In the case of terror suspects, there is, and should be, every intention of imposing justice on them.
    It doesn’t surprise me in the least that you haven’t thought that through…

    Big Median (0347f6)

  63. Big Median, obviously? Odd that such false claims are “obvious” to you.

    That the rules of war on the treatment of combatants do not apply to terrorists does not mean that what they are doing is not “war” versus “crime”.

    This logic thing really does not work for you, does it?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  64. Big Median

    Bob: If torture isn’t immoral in and of itself, why don’t we use it on serial killer suspects, or serial rape suspects or politicians suspected of treason?
    The Geneva Convention doesn’t cover rape suspects, either, so, by your logic, there is no reason not to torture them.

    Once again, that’s an apples and oranges conflation. All of the examples you gave are civilian criminals, who’s acts would be covered by criminal code. The Geneva Convention doesn’t apply to civilians, but to military combatants…

    Bob Reed (5f2db5)

  65. STFU big marxist.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  66. Bob, Big Median thinks that the most brilliant argument he can come up with is that people not protected by the Geneva Convention must therefore be criminals.

    This is why logic is not his forte.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  67. SPRQ: the relevant distinction is between people being held pending justice and those being held pending the conclusion of war. Again, no surprise you don’t understand that. If you are holding someone pending justice, you need a system for administering justice — whether you are talking about war criminals or people accused of crimes against humanity, terror suspects or serial murder suspects. And that system has to be fair. If it isn’t fair, it isn’t justice. Torture, as the exclusion rule explains, isn’t fair.
    Why didn’t we torture Saddam? The architects of the holocaust? Milosovic??

    Big Median (0347f6)

  68. Big Median

    Bob is suggesting that the rules of war don’t apply to terror suspects.

    I’m not just suggesting this, the Geneva Convention says this. More to the point, as I said upthread, they stipulate that un-uniformed combatants, terrorists, and spies may be prosecuted under civilian or military codes, however, practically, and historically I might add, these same operators have been subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques or simply executed in the field.

    And such treatment is neiter condoned of condmned within the Convention’s constructs since by definition they fall ouside of the scope of the agreement…

    Bob Reed (5f2db5)

  69. Bob writes: “The Geneva Convention doesn’t apply to civilians, but to military combatants.“
    Why, then, do you believe the Geneva Convention is relevant? If it doesn’t apply, it doesn’t matter what it does or does not prohibit. You seem to be mixing up your talking points.

    Big Median (0347f6)

  70. Big median

    > Aaron: But if torture produces reliable information without giving the state dangerous powers, why would the exclusion rule prohibit it?

    Asked and answered in the post, you idiot.

    Indeed, there is a related doctrine I alluded to called “fruit of the poisonous tree” which says that if you torture a man to get physical evidence, then the physical evidence is excluded. That is why in the clint eastwood hypothetical evidence, even the body of the girl would be excluded. Are you telling me THAT isn’t reliable evidence?

    Seriously, are you a sock puppet for Kman?

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  71. Big Median – We want “torture” to be safe, legal and rare.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  72. Big Median,

    People such as terrorists, un-uniformed combatants, and spies, are not by definition civilians simply because they aren’t covered by the rules of war. And though it says they may be prosecuted under civil and military codes it doesn’t compel that treatmemt.

    War on terror prisoner can expect to be held until the war is over. The notion of serving them “justice” in a civilian manner is a construct that arose simply to placate irrational individuals that didn’t understand the rules of war, the complexity to that added by the assymetrical nature of trans-national terrorist organizations like Al Queda, and were arguing in a contrarian fashion to simply score cheap political points.

    To wit: Many of the same people in the media, the punditocracy, and the cognoscenti who were perpetually outraged over what they then characterized as, “Bush/Cheney ASSASINATION SQUADS!11!1!”, today have absolutely no problem with Sunday’s action; just as they are suddenly silent about the GTMO detainees, or the dramatic increase by Mr. Obama of drone strikes in Pakistan…

    In my humble opinion, many of these “prisoners” got better than they deserved by being essentially incarcerated for life at GTMO. They deserved the classic treatment meted out to spies and saboteurs.

    Bob Reed (5f2db5)

  73. I really admire you guys for giving big MFM median the benefit of the doubt, in assuming it is arguing in good faith. it is not only arguing in bad faith, he/she/it is a clumsy ignorant liar. It will not be long until it reaches for the RACIST card.

    JD (109425)

  74. Aaron: Maybe you don’t understand the question. I know what the exclusion rule says. The question is, why does it exist? Why is the tree *poisonous?* Why do we prohibit torture?
    Your argument so far is that we prohibit it because there is a law against it. Perhaps you are smart enough to see the tautology there, perhaps not…
    My argument is that we prohibit torture because it puts too much power in big government’s hands because it allows the government to, in secret and without recourse, remove all dignity from someone who hasn’t been proven to be a criminal. It is also prohibited because the inhumanity involved damages the torturer as well as the tortured. Only a psychopath could enjoy torturing someone and surely any normal person who engaged in it would be haunted by it, which is simply not a position government should be empowered to put a law-abiding citizens in. Torture is also outlawed because it doesn’t work…
    None of these reasons have any logical link whatsoever to the culpability or status of the suspect. They are based on moral principles, not legal codifications. It is no surprise at all that Bob and SPQR view the Constitution as embodying legal privileges to be granted at the government, or the military’s behest, rather than unalienable moral principles…

    Big Median (0347f6)

  75. Big Median:

    Bob writes: “The Geneva Convention doesn’t apply to civilians, but to military combatants.“
    Why, then, do you believe the Geneva Convention is relevant? If it doesn’t apply, it doesn’t matter what it does or does not prohibit. You seem to be mixing up your talking points.

    To begin with, I have thoughts and opinions, and rely on no one for “talking points”; and I’m offended by such an assertion when I believe I’ve been respectful to you during this discussion.

    The reason I cited the Geneva Convention at all is to refute allegations that the “torture” was “illegal” in some international sense; to simply point out that the closest applicable international code/agreement specifically doesn’t cover this matter.

    Bob Reed (5f2db5)

  76. Bob confesses: “They deserved the classic treatment meted out to spies and saboteurs.”

    Do you not know, or not care, that the vast majority of suspects held at Gitmo had ZERO involvement in terrorism and were subsequently released. Are you really so enthralled by totalitarianism that you think ordinary people — such as the many individuals turned into U.S. forces for financial rewards — DESERVE to be confined and treated badly?
    Either way, you have given your game away. For you, the question of torture turns on the identity of the person being tortured. You’ve confessed that you think there are no principles here that apply to all people, only ones that apply to whomever the government decides belongs in the protected categories. I have to wonder, were you out smoking PCP during high school civics class, or are you just so enthralled with totalitarianism you find yourself defying the most basic concepts underpinning freedom?

    Big Median (0347f6)

  77. Torture does not work it has never worked. It will never work. Big MFM median says so, therfore it is true. End of discussion, racists.

    JD (822109)

  78. Sorry Bob, I shouldn’t have tossed the *talking points* and PCP barbs. You have been civil here and it is my bad to have conflated your comments with those of the braying hyenas…

    Big Median (0347f6)

  79. Big MFM median is not fit to even speak to Señor Reed about this topic. Mr Reed is a thousand times the honorable man than big MFM median could ever dean of being. Ideas like honor and duty are things that Bob lives by, and to borrow a line from Jessup, to clowns like big MFM McKay, are punchlines to a joke at a cocktail party.

    JD (1417f3)

  80. For you, the question of torture turns on the identity of the person being tortured. You’ve confessed that you think there are no principles here that apply to all people, only ones that apply to whomever the government decides belongs in the protected categories.

    Look up Skorzeny’s Kommandos and get back to us.

    Michael Ejercito (64388b)

  81. Do you not know, or not care, that the vast majority of suspects held at Gitmo had ZERO involvement in terrorism and were subsequently released.

    I oboe it when people use actual talking points, leftist memes, while accusing others of doing so.

    JD (1417f3)

  82. Oboe? WTF. I love it.

    JD (1417f3)

  83. Big Median:

    My argument is that we prohibit torture because it puts too much power in big government’s hands because it allows the government to, in secret and without recourse, remove all dignity from someone who hasn’t been proven to be a criminal.

    Terrorists, un-uniformed combatants, and spies are worse than criminals; by their own intents and aims they are existential threats to the nation. Which “laws” govern the battlefield?

    It is also prohibited because the inhumanity involved damages the torturer as well as the tortured. Only a psychopath could enjoy torturing someone and surely any normal person who engaged in it would be haunted by it, which is simply not a position government should be empowered to put a law-abiding citizens in.

    These are opinions only, and not matters of fact. Did the government put me in a bad position when I was enforcing the no-fly zone in Iraq? Or conducting high-speed reconnaisance/BDA in the Balkans? People involved in national security generally accept the risks that come with the territory…

    It is no surprise at all that Bob and SPQR view the Constitution as embodying legal privileges to be granted at the government, or the military’s behest, rather than unalienable moral principles…

    This is a disturbing and incorrect assumption. Our laws and codes are built the enlightenment ideals held by the founders of this nation, and have been shaped by society’s mores and values over the years. The government enforces the laws and codes that the peoples representatives have established, and definitely not granted</b? rights and privileges in the manner of a benevolent tyrant.

    But those laws apply to our citizens, in our nation, and not on the battlefield or in foreign countries. And while our morals do dictate our behaviors on both a macro and individual level, extraordinary situations call for extraordinary measures sometimes.

    And I reject the notion that an enemy combatant bent on destroying our way of life, especially by engaging in sabotage and terror attacks inside our nation or our allies nations, should be treated the same as honorable soldiers or our citizens. It’s a false equivalence.

    Bob Reed (5f2db5)

  84. Oboe? WTF. I love it.

    Comment by JD

    You play a sad little oboe tune for all those innocent jihadists caught on the battlefield just sipping some sun tea with terrorists?

    I prefer clarinet for my jihad empathy exercises. Others prefer, ahem, the ukelele.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  85. You know Big median is a pro-jihadist he must be one of Chuckles’s henchmen.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  86. “They are based on moral principles, not legal codifications.”

    Big Median – Let me see if I understand your position. In the United States, we have laws against torture and legal rules against the introduction of evidence in criminal proceedings which was obtained by torture or coercion which have been codified into our legal system based our society’s collective morality, perhaps even Christian morality.

    The exigencies of war, terrorism or ticking time bomb type scenarios have led various presidents to depart from procedures which we would normally not countenance domestically in order to protect the nation, such as rendition, enhanced interrogation, and wireless surveillance. The primary objective of such measures is intelligence gathering rather than sadism or sexual gratification as imagined by those on the left. Even though repeatedly proven effective and not to be illegal, the left objects to such measures and prefers to hamstring the country’s ability to protect itself, because they are a bunch of pearl clutching, pillow biting, hypocritical multicultural moralists who politicize any decision for their own gain.

    I think I captured the essence of your position, don’t you agree?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  87. It is no surprise at all that Bob and SPQR view the Constitution as embodying legal privileges to be granted at the government, or the military’s behest, rather than unalienable moral principles…

    Actually, it is a surprise that Big Median will so brazenly lie about my views.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  88. Shy Guy on the hot air thread about Bin Laden’s Daughter-No the girl has a martyr but they killed her fartyr.

    😆 that was funny.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  89. Big Median:

    Do you not know, or not care, that the vast majority of suspects held at Gitmo had ZERO involvement in terrorism and were subsequently released. Are you really so enthralled by totalitarianism that you think ordinary people — such as the many individuals turned into U.S. forces for financial rewards — DESERVE to be confined and treated badly?

    I’ll admit that there probably are a few that have been incarcerated unfairly, as you allude to; but they were probably also bit players, “small potatoes”. And I’m pretty sure that those same folks didn’t undergo enhanced interrogations either, because, by and large that’s not SOP. Indeed, in light of the high rate of GTMO detainee recidivism it would be interesting to actually quantify the “unfairly incarcerated” versus the recidivists.

    Aside from the fundamental detention, though, the conditions at GTMO are generally better than the places these people came from; to wit, the Uighars that went to Bermuda following their release…

    For you, the question of torture turns on the identity of the person being tortured. You’ve confessed that you think there are no principles here that apply to all people, only ones that apply to whomever the government decides belongs in the protected categories.

    Confessed? Intersting choice of words…

    The “question” of “torture” does turn on the identity of the person, yes it does. Who should the US government be protecting? Can the government itself be “moral”, or simply reflect the morality of the citizenry?

    Should the US goverment give terrorists, un-uniformed combatants, and spies the same rights as her citizens. Absolutely not…

    In extraordinary cases should they be able to undergo enhanced inerrogations? Yes they should…
    And, this should be the exception and not the rule; as someone quipped upthread, “safe, legal, and rare”…

    And as far as “…whomever the government decides belongs in the protected categories”? Well, I think that fundamentally the US Constitution compels the government to first and foremost consider it’s citizens as belonging to a first-caste “protected category”.

    Bob Reed (5f2db5)

  90. Big Median

    > The question is, why does it exist? Why is the tree *poisonous?*

    Asked and answered.

    > Your argument so far is that we prohibit it because there is a law against it. Perhaps you are smart enough to see the tautology there, perhaps not…

    Well, first, obviously you are not smart enough to know that the exclusionary rule is not a law but a judicially created rule.

    Indeed, to my knowledge there is no statute that even endorses it, and indeed a few that tried to overrule it.

    Second you are also not smart enough to see where in fact I do believe that torture is immoral—if we are talking about torture. Waterboarding doesn’t count.

    > My argument is that we prohibit torture because it puts too much power in big government’s hands

    Which makes great sense in the domestic criminal context. On the other hand, when talking about foreign agents, it makes no sense. Our constitution is meant for our protection, not theirs.

    > Only a psychopath could enjoy torturing someone and surely any normal person who engaged in it would be haunted by it, which is simply not a position government should be empowered to put a law-abiding citizens in.

    So a little paternalism in protecting those law abiding citizens from themselves…

    And by the way, what part of that argument couldn’t be applied to all war, especially the killing part of it. Only a psychopath enjoys it and it is a documented fact that many of our soldiers are haunted even by fully justified killings. Hell, I bet the SEALS who carried out that operation are haunted by it.

    So there you go, we should outlaw war! *rolls eyes*

    See, truthfully, you are neither the careful reader nor the deep thinker you imagine yourself to be.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  91. I’m very interested about why big median would claim Gitmo prisoners were mistreated. If he’s right that we released a lot of people who were not guilty, that is a GOOD thing for justice, not an indictment on the process.

    We’re fighting a war, and doing our best to be kind to the innocent? And by innocent, we’re talking about people who were willing to be near terrorists, right? Frankly, if your society allows these people to live among you, expect consequences. These people have no constitutional rights, Big Median, simply because of what the constitution is. They have human rights, which by all means, we should do our best to observe. But this is war, and no one should hang out around America’s enemies in this war. It’s time to take the gloves off. Societies should be scared to death of harboring terrorists, partly because of the risk of being blown up by us.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  92. We’ve arrived at one of the fundamental divergences of world views that typifies the modern left: they do not recognise that war is different. From this basic flaw in their moral philosophy flow most of the consequences we see. Yes, war is different. The moral principles that apply in most situations do not apply in war; it has its own morality, that applies wholesale rather than retail. In war, we deal with nations, not individuals. Our moral compass is not fine-tuned; we go to war against entire nations, and all members of the enemy nation are the enemy. That is how war works, and the left simply cannot accept that.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  93. Aaron, BM is right about one thing: the exclusionary rule is not a moral principle, or even a fundamental legal principle. It’s a rule recently invented by USA courts, and there’s no reason it has to apply. The same courts that invented it yesterday may discard it tomorrow. The reasons we don’t torture criminal suspects, or at least we say we don’t, are not to be found in the exclusionary rule; they must be found elsewhere.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  94. Yes, war is different. The moral principles that apply in most situations do not apply in war; it has its own morality, that applies wholesale rather than retail.

    Exactly. And Big Median may think this proves we don’t care about human rights, or even his fantasy version of the law, but that’s not it at all. There’s a massive human cost to not fighting this war properly. There’s a massive human cost to why we went to war in the first place, too.

    There’s a big difference between being ruthlessly brutal, and steeling yourself to doing what must be done to best protect your people.

    I do think it’s good to have the debate about tactics and human rights, but big median isn’t even trying to do that. He’s just trying to insult people and argue against a fantasy.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  95. Seems to me as soon as you start using words like ‘moral’ and ‘ethical’, the discussion becomes impossible. Those relate to ideals, defined in various ways by various entities, and in essence war is the condition in which all such definitions are tossed.

    Of course we have recently tried to impose morality on war, because we could afford to, and it hasn’t worked well. The instant a war arises in which we can no longer afford morality, we will throw it out, pull out the nukes or whatever it takes, and fight to win.

    If there is a threat to my family, I will do whatever it takes to get information to protect them. If that means I suffer consequences later, so be it. Politicians who place their personal moral definitions higher than the safety of citizens are indulging in egotistical posturing, not doing their jobs, and should not run for public office if their morals interfere with doing the work. Government is practice, not theory.

    jodetoad (0e079d)

  96. As I understand it Abu Faraj al-Libi is the man who gave up the courier. He was captured based on intel provided by KSM. If you want to know if waterboarding lead directly to finding bin Laden then it seems right that you just need to know if KSM gave up al-Libi as a result of it.

    Makewi (0864f9)

  97. So, um, can we stop claiming that waterboarding doesn’t work?

    I can’t recall anyone claiming that torture would never ever produce actionable intelligence. Idiocy is unbounded in the world, so I’m sure some idiots did claim that, but they were rightfully generally ignored and not given any heed.

    The more reasonable claims were either:

    (a) torture generally works less well than other interrogation techniques

    or

    (b) even if torture works better than other interrogation techniques, it’s a moral stain that damages the interrogators, and is any extra effectiveness is not worth that cost.

    Eventually putting together and using the information years after the torture is a rather weak response to either of these arguments.

    Aaron (086800)

  98. No, it wasn’t “some idiots” who claimed it, it was the broad consensus. “Torture doesn’t work”, we were told from all sides. When asked how they knew this, how they were so sure of it, and what they would say if it should turn out not to be true, all we heard was mumbling. Aaron not-Worthing, either your memory is seriously faulty, or you’re making things up.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  99. As Milhouse states, the claim Aaron was that torture did not work at all. Which was a claim that was false on several levels, and demonstrated the utter ignorance of historical fact by those making it.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  100. The number of people who were sent to Guanatanamo and turned out to have no Al Queda/Taliban/etc. involvement has been greatly exaggerated. And those few were sorted out long ago.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  101. . Aaron not-Worthing, either your memory is seriously faulty, or you’re making things up.

    Comment by Milhouse

    Yep. My guess is the latter, though. Claiming many never said waterboarding wouldn’t help is a radical revision.

    SPQR has a point. We have released several from Gitmo, but for someone to claim that proves they were all allcaps-innocent is ridiculous. Some of those released went right back to terrorism.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  102. even if torture works better than other interrogation techniques, it’s a moral stain that damages the interrogators, and is any extra effectiveness is not worth that cost.

    Which is why torture should be left to third parties, as it was done in other cases.

    A series of spectacular covert operations followed from this secret pact. On September 13, 1995, U.S. agents helped kidnap Talaat Fouad Qassem, one of Egypt’s most wanted terrorists, in Croatia. Qassem had fled to Europe after being linked by Egypt to the assassination of Sadat; he had been sentenced to death in absentia. Croatian police seized Qassem in Zagreb and handed him over to U.S. agents, who interrogated him aboard a ship cruising the Adriatic Sea and then took him back to Egypt. Once there, Qassem disappeared. There is no record that he was put on trial. Hossam el-Hamalawy, an Egyptian journalist who covers human-rights issues, said, “We believe he was executed.”
    A more elaborate operation was staged in Tirana, Albania, in the summer of 1998. According to the Wall Street Journal, the C.I.A. provided the Albanian intelligence service with equipment to wiretap the phones of suspected Muslim militants. Tapes of the conversations were translated into English, and U.S. agents discovered that they contained lengthy discussions with Zawahiri, bin Laden’s deputy. The U.S. pressured Egypt for assistance; in June, Egypt issued an arrest warrant for Shawki Salama Attiya, one of the militants. Over the next few months, according to the Journal, Albanian security forces, working with U.S. agents, killed one suspect and captured Attiya and four others. These men were bound, blindfolded, and taken to an abandoned airbase, then flown by jet to Cairo for interrogation. Attiya later alleged that he suffered electrical shocks to his genitals, was hung from his limbs, and was kept in a cell in filthy water up to his knees. Two other suspects, who had been sentenced to death in absentia, were hanged.

    Michael Ejercito (64388b)

  103. Ah, I think I see.

    Yeah, people said “torture doesn’t work”. But the argument for torture is that it does better than interrogation without torture. In this context “torture doesn’t work” means that “torture doesn’t do better than interrogation without torture”. Generally, I try to read some charitable meaning into what people say, if they say something batshit-insane.

    If you read “torture doesn’t work” as an unqualified statement that no information ever comes out of torture, then I can see why you thought so many people were loony.

    Aaron (b4ec19)

  104. 1. Waterboarding is not torture. Those who believe it is are understandably wrong, but they are wrong nonetheless.

    2. To the best of my knowledge, NONE of the detainees at Camp Delta in Guantanamo were ever declared innocent… just no longer considered an imminent threat to the U.S. and/or our interests.

    3. Of those released, the last public figures I saw estimated 17-18% of those released returned to the fight. That’s about 1 out of every 6. Personally, I believe the number is much, much higher… likely closer to 70%. That 17-18% only covers those who were re-captured or killed.

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  105. Expanding #1: If waterboarding was torture, there is no way it would be allowed in SERE training. Period.

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  106. It does seem obvious that there is a fundamental difference between waterboarding or electrocuting someone. There is a difference between making them wear a bra in a chilly room, and beating them to a bloody pulp.

    In fact, that difference is because we went out of our way to finding coercive, yet largely unharmful methods. There is still some harm in being waterboarded, just like there’s some harm in running 5 miles, but it’s fundamentally different.

    I think the solution is to define ‘unlawful torture’ instead of just outlawing any torture, which is so vague it could mean outlawing my wife’s cooking.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  107. Stashiu3, always nice to read your posts. But the folks calling waterboarding “torture” don’t really care about torture. They care about the idea of torture. And how they are better than all that and a bag of chips.

    And they are so crazily invested in this POTUS that they will do an amazing limbo.

    It’s just trolling. Except truly, they are trolling themselves.

    Simon Jester (8aa326)

  108. Simon, I think you’re on to something. It’s about how they are better. I don’t think it’s always trolling for someone to react. I think something about our society just causes people to overdo it on certain proxies for their self worth. Hybrid cars, facebook pals, progressive entitlements, and being better than whatever Hollywood told them war is all about.

    It’s a shortcut around a major decision. Yoo and others before him tried to develop some way to get information that we need to prevent something awful, without torture. Either as a legal concept, or at least, as something that is barbaric. Waterboarding is one of those results that is messy because it’s a bona fide earnest attempt to do the best thing in a bad situation.

    We’ve all seen people just rule it out, in absolute terms, and some of the people who do so are serious people who just accept the fallout as worth it. But I think a close look at the pros and cons makes it clear the fallout is not always an acceptable cost to protecting someone from the sensation of drowning.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  109. That something is farther than a person is willing to go (or allow their government to go), does not make it torture. Granted, I give carte blanche all the way up to waterboarding and summary execution when it comes to national security issues involving unlawful combatants. Anything involving lawful combatants would need to follow the GC.

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  110. If it were conceivable that we would have a policy of summary executions for unlawful combatants, I’d say that’s a workable policy.

    Because it’s not, what we wind up with is a messy limbo, and a tendency to apply all GC concepts to all combatants with a mumble about how ‘we’re better than that barbaric stuff‘.

    It’s similar to how you’d drive on a privately owned highway. The laws might not always apply, but there’s a push to follow them anyway.

    Now (next several years) is as good a time as any to clarify via treaty. Two sections: A simple procedure to identify an unlawful combatant on a battlefield, and a set of rules governing their treatment, which outlaws a new concept I’d call ‘banned torture’ which is the actual barbaric stuff, but not coercive interrogations that aren’t quite barbaric.

    Perhaps there’s a fear in some leaders that if we wade into this ‘there is no law governing how to treat them, so we can waterboard them’ that it could become a slippery slope. That’s not fair, but since we have a sensibility about what to do, why not just codify that in a functional way?

    Dustin (c16eca)

  111. “Waterboarding is not torture.”

    It is if you force water down their throats with a ballpeen hammer.

    Dave Surls (7faa54)

  112. Conservatives like to boast that they are prepared to sacrifice blood and treasure to protect freedom. Yet in any conflict between security and freedom, they always choose to sacrifice freedom. The question of torture poses exactly that dilemma.
    Will you sacrifice a cherished pillar of rule of law and justice for the extra measure of security you believe that sacrifice will provide?
    For the most part, wingnuts are either incapable of understanding that dilemma or in denial about and it and so, instead, spend their time with arguing in circles about how relevant it is that the Geneva Conventions are irrelevant and somesuch.

    We can set aside the question of whether Bob’s interpretation of the Geneva Convention is correct because it isn’t relevant to the question of whether torture works or whether its use is consistent with American values and moral standards. It isn’t even relevant to whether torture is legal in America.
    The United States ratified the Convention against Torture in October 1994 and the Convention entered into force for the United States on November 20, 1994. The convention makes torture illegal, regardless of what GC prohibits for POWs.

    Nor is it relevant whether we want to call the battle against terrorism a war or a public security threat. No. Article 2(2) of the Convention states that: “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

    Clearly, torture is illegal, which is exactly why the Bush administration hired John Yoo to identify any and all wiggle room for the purpose of skirting the Convention’s intent and, indeed, letter.

    Nor does the question of whether waterboarding is legally definable as torture help us assess whether it works or whether it should be used. The U.S. has considered waterboarding to be torture for a very long time and has tried and convicted war criminals as torturers because they used waterboarding. But I will readily concede that it is not the same kind of torture as, for example, disembowelment or bludgeoning. Strictly for the purpose of this discussion, then, I am willing to stipulate that waterboarding is NOT torture.
    If waterboarding is NOT torture, that only amplifies my point that we need to explain why it could not or should not be used to obtain information from rape and murder suspects, or from Dick Cheney in the Valerie Plame case, for that matter.
    Clearly, there is something about waterboarding we ALL find unacceptable. That something is that it strips the victim of his entire humanity, leaving him at the complete and total mercy of the waterboarder. In that regard, it is the same as torture, even though by quirk of biology, any permanent damage is psychological, rather than physical. That is why we would not even consider using it on Cheney to discover whether he committed treason.
    Instead, if we want to charge Cheney with treason, we get the evidence FIRST, then bring it on in a trial with a set of very specific rules intended to make the trial fair by imposing limits on the otherwise effectively limitless powers of the state versus the individual.
    The argument that terrorists have no right to a fair trial can only be made if we accept either that terrorists have no human rights, i.e. aren’t human, or that fair trials aren’t a human right, but, rather are a privilege granted by the government.
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
    The Declaration of Independence is unequivocal. Liberty is not a privilege granted to subjects of the state. It is the birthright of all, including, of course, people suspected of being involved in or knowing about terrorism.
    The most common wingnut argument against this is: “If we give terror suspects fair trials, it will be easier for them to escape conviction.” Indeed, this is true, but just as true for serial killers, rapists and Oliver North. If we can give serial rapists and murderers a fair trial, why not bin Laden’s chauffeur?
    I recognize the temptation to believe that giving government absolute power to dictate who gets fair trials and who doesn’t will make it easier to defeat terrorism. But the genius of our Constitution, Declaration of Independence and fundamental embrace of human freedom is the understanding that freedom can’t survive without the establishment and maintenance of institutions to protect it. Maintaining those institutions, such as a judicial system capable of administering justice as needed, requires sacrifices and if one of those sacrifices is that, on occasion, a guilty terrorist will go free, so be it, that is the cost of freedom…

    Big Median (066d74)

  113. If it were conceivable that we would have a policy of summary executions for unlawful combatants, I’d say that’s a workable policy.

    Thanks, Dustin, for confessing that you think waterboarding, and/or torture are a waste of time.

    Big Median (066d74)

  114. Of course, Jane Mayer, like Isikoff, and Scott Shane, have proven to have gotten the story so wrong, so often, that it’s dubious the value of their subsequent reporting,

    narciso (79ddc3)

  115. Metamucil makes me laugh. So self important and yet he travels so very light as he packs his intellectual lunch.

    Simon Jester (781a1f)

  116. Thanks for reading, Simon! Each of us contributes what we can to the discussion.

    Big Median (066d74)

  117. Thanks, Dustin, for confessing that you think waterboarding, and/or torture are a waste of time.

    Comment by Big Median

    I said no such thing. A workable policy is not necessarily a good one. Obviously executing someone before you get the information they know is not a good plan, regardless of your opinion on interrogation methods.

    I realize you have absolutely no intention of having a good faith discussion, so I’ll just ignore you from this point on. But I do hope intelligent people want to talk about this ethical issue.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  118. Actually, Metamucil, I recognize you for the silly troll you are. And so do others. By the way, you might read up on those wingnuts Woodrow Wilson and FDR and their approaches to justice. Like I wrote, you have a juicebox approach to politics and history.

    Just another troll who is starting to worry about all that hopenchange for which you voted.

    Simon Jester (8aa326)

  119. I love how people like the racist big MFM median argue with the voices in his head.

    JD (ae1280)

  120. Thanks nonetheless, Simon! I appreciate confirmation you’re paying attention to me. And, I’ll admit, your resort to hoary insults and oblique references to moldy talking points do make me feel superior to you, specifically…

    Big Median (066d74)

  121. “Conservatives like to boast that they are prepared to sacrifice blood and treasure to protect freedom. Yet in any conflict between security and freedom, they always choose to sacrifice freedom. The question of torture poses exactly that dilemma.”

    Big Median – Actually this is just the myth that progtards spread about conservatives. That you conveniently ignore the actual definitions of torture to lump waterboarding in there shows you have no intellectual integrity and your citations of prior U.S. prosecutions for completely different versions of waterboarding shows either your dishonesty or lack of research. Bring a better game if you hope to persuade people here, not merely old and busted talking points from the community based reality.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  122. Big Median

    Oh my, you have been in the fever swamps of leftward mythology for years apparently, with no one challenging your worldview with facts.

    You most basic problem is this. you want to apply criminal procedures and criminal rights, to the war on terror. Here’s a hint, slowpoke. War is the suspension of due process.

    Take a simple example. At Chancellorsville, confederate soldiers shot and killed Stonewall Jackson as it got dark. All the due process the man needed was for someone to shine a light on his face and he would have survived. But that’s not how war works. And bluntly the United States army has never been better. For about three months during the Afghan war, I did a count in my head and found that more Americans died of friendly fire than killed by the enemy. Our greatest enemy for those months was ourselves. No one thought this was a violation of anyone’s civil rights.

    I used to think everyone understood that, but how many people have been claiming that drone attacks are somehow a violation of human rights.

    But for some reason the liberal mind thinks the moment you capture someone it is appropriate to pretend this is just alike a criminal trial. Do you know how the concept of prisoners of war started? The idea was that since we had a right to arbitrarily kill you, we could arbitrarily capture you, too. so in the law of war, nations were allowed to hold people captive with exactly the same arbitrary power exercised in killing, and then treat them as though dead until the end of the war. This was done for two purposes: 1) to be humane and avoid needless killing, and 2) a bargaining chip/goodwill gesture waiting in the wings when the war is over. but that only works if you can treat them arbitrarily. If you have to give them long trials and criminal rights, not so much.

    Then later the genveva convention came along and they offered a special GC POW status. But you only get that if you are part of a military that wears uniforms and generally only targets military targets. Which eliminates our enemies. And to avoid confusion, the bush admin started calling non-GC POW’s “detainees.”

    Sorry to go on, but its important to understand these basics of the law of war.

    Now to your specific points.

    > Conservatives like to boast that they are prepared to sacrifice blood and treasure to protect freedom. Yet in any conflict between security and freedom, they always choose to sacrifice freedom. The question of torture poses exactly that dilemma.

    I am sorry, but what does even torture have to do with freedom? Isn’t it more like a human rights issue?

    > For the most part, wingnuts are either incapable of understanding that dilemma or in denial about and it

    Except of course leftwingnuts have been in denial about it for years. Every time they say “torture/waterboarding doesn’t work” they are pretending there is no dilemma. The point of the post was to try to get the left to finally talk about it.

    > Will you sacrifice a cherished pillar of rule of law and justice

    That’s a bit of a “when did you stop beating your wife” kind of question. I didn’t realize opposition to waterboarding is a cherished pillar, etc. What you are doing, then, is putting the cart before the horse. You are deciding for yourself it is torture, and then pretending it is swept into the general desire not to commit torture.

    Have you ever read the definition of torture? Here’s a key quote on that:

    > “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control

    So, what counts as “severe physical… pain or suffering”? I’ll grant you a person being waterboarded is suffering, but is it severe? How severe is “severe?”

    To be blunt, this law is in danger of being ruled void for vagueness.

    > regardless of what GC prohibits for POWs.

    See, above. The GC is irrelevant.

    > Nor does the question of whether waterboarding is legally definable as torture help us assess whether it works or whether it should be used

    Lol, so whether it actually IS torture doesn’t matter? You have spent several paragraph arguing torture is inherently bad without having to bother to figure out what is and isn’t torture?

    > The U.S. has considered waterboarding to be torture for a very long time and has tried and convicted war criminals as torturers because they used waterboarding.

    That’s a myth. No one has ever been convicted specifically of waterboarding, and the waterboarding committed by the Japanese was a different animal altogether. You really need to stop parroting lefty talking points.

    > Strictly for the purpose of this discussion, then, I am willing to stipulate that waterboarding is NOT torture.

    Then what was all that bleating about torture being against our values if you admit it isn’t even torture? Your logic seems… well… tortured.

    > If waterboarding is NOT torture, that only amplifies my point that we need to explain why it could not or should not be used to obtain information from rape and murder suspects,

    See what I mean about you not understanding the difference between war and criminal law? The germans at Normandy didn’t have a right to due process as we shot at them.

    > Clearly, there is something about waterboarding we ALL find unacceptable.

    In the sense that many of us actually think it is justified… weird concept of unacceptability where we accept it and approve of it.

    > That something is that it strips the victim of his entire humanity, leaving him at the complete and total mercy of the waterboarder.

    Can’t you say that of any prisoner? Any person being executed? Not to mention parents, school officials, etc. Its funny how your arguments over and over again apply well beyond the current situation to be clearly waaaaaaay too soft on the bad guys.

    > That is why we would not even consider using it on Cheney to discover whether he committed treason.

    By the way, you do know that Richard Armitage made the leak and Wilson’s actual column was a deliberate lie, right? So how come you keep insinuating that Cheney is the traitor?

    Seriously, what is your goal here? To convince people or to just demonstrate your moral superiority? Because this is not a place where demonstrating irrational hate of Cheney wins you any allies (besides Kman, and you’re welcome to him). And it certainly doesn’t bolster your sense of fairness or even command of the facts when you insinuate the man was a traitor while ignore the real traitor (Wilson) and the real leaker (Armitage).

    Yeah, I said it. Wilson was a f—ing traitor. He lied about the war, during a war. Its not actionable, but morally it is treason.

    > The argument that terrorists have no right to a fair trial can only be made if we accept either that terrorists have no human rights, i.e. aren’t human,

    Not at all. You merely have to accept that we are at war.

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  123. Racists.

    JD (85b089)

  124. Big Median spews pablum for progtards.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  125. Big median is hardly credible when it comes to squawking about lost freedoms.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  126. Aaron, that was a good post. But to trolls, the idea is to play word games and make the other people scurry about.

    At least until he needs a new juicebox from the fridge.

    Simon Jester (06a58e)

  127. Isn’t it rich that trolls like Kman love being surrounded by the rich communist elite bur whine about the richest 5% getting tax breaks.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  128. About the vagueness of the definition of torture: in international law, why can’t we rely on the practices of GC signing countries to determine what is torture? In other words, if the majority of GC signing countries are employing some degree of coercion akin to waterboarding, doesn’t that mean the legal term torture doesn’t include it?

    I suppose the real problem with this is that so many countries go far beyond waterboarding into actually harmful torture.

    The argument that terrorists have no right to a fair trial can only be made if we accept either that terrorists have no human rights, i.e. aren’t human,

    Are we talking about the laws of war, or our generalized morality? It’s ok to argue the latter, but not as a substitute for the former. Be precise. Of course, eventually, we must give these people some kind of fair hearing. Of course it doesn’t make sense to release our enemies back onto the battlefield until the conflict is over.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  129. According to Big Median’s style of reasoning, since progtards are against enhanced interrogation, they should also be against killing fetuses.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  130. It’s just a game, Daley. Think about how that hopenchange pains him.

    Simon Jester (781a1f)

  131. Aaron: Simple question: why do you oppose the use of torture in war?

    Big Median (066d74)

  132. Simple questions, big mfm median. Why do you hate honesty, and when did you quit molesting underage non-consensual goats?

    JD (d56362)

  133. Big Median – Why don’t we have the death penalty for parking tickets? Simple question.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  134. Big Median – Define torture. Simple question.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  135. Watch Big Median avoid the specific examples of the use of waterboarding – a discreet and select group of individuals – in favor of a broad brush approach of favoring or disfavoring or the use of torture. Don’t blame him too much though, because he’ll take a “win” over an honest argument any day.

    Makewi (0864f9)

  136. We should be thanking Panetta of all people. So when does Panetta go under Code Pink’s bus.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  137. Makewi: What is the process for selecting the “discrete” and “select” individuals for waterboarding? Can we waterboard Timothy McVeigh’s karate teacher? How about politicians suspected of treason? Who gets to decide who is “selected” and what is the process?

    Big Median (066d74)

  138. Those are interesting questions Big Median and since we know exactly who was waterboarded, that should make your job of finding out what you want to know all that much easier.

    I do appreciate your attempt to try to stick to the broadening technique, but if it’s all the same focus on the facts which can actually be obtained from the historical record.

    Makewi (0864f9)

  139. Big median is a lying disingenuous dishonest tawdry little hooer. And a bigoted racist.

    JD (d48c3b)

  140. He doesn’t seem to like to deal in specifics either.

    Makewi (0864f9)

  141. Andrew Sullivan claimed the social right back in the 80S likes to repress heterosexual sex……………….Says the guy who supports gay marriage.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  142. Big Median – Define torture.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  143. My Definition of torture is when I go to Hot Air and have to read links to Randy andy sullivan or listening to Big Idiot’s posts.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  144. The Emperor firmly supports waterboarding or any measure that would be necessary to extract vital information from a terrorist that might save the lives of innocents. By all means, do it! To be agaisnt it is criminal and irresponsible. Terrorist are not conventional soldiers. They are criminals. Murderers. The rules don’t apply to them. Where is Jack Bauer when you need him….

    The Emperor (357c91)

  145. daleyrocks: ever heard of a dictionary? that’s where you go when you don’t know what words mean. I would have thought you knew what torture is or at least would have known to consult a dictionary, rather than ask me to do it for you.

    n. – The inflicting of severe pain to force information or confession, get revenge, etc.
    Any method by which such pain is inflicted.
    Any severe physical or mental pain; agony; anguish.
    A cause of such pain or agony.
    A violent twisting, distortion, perversion, etc.
    vt. – To subject to torture.
    To cause extreme physical or mental pain to; agonize.
    To twist or distort (meaning, language, etc.).
    Related Forms – Torturer. Torturous. Torturously.

    Big Median (2f532a)

  146. median

    > Aaron: Simple question: why do you oppose the use of torture in war?

    Asked and answered. read the f–ing post if you are unclear on the concept.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  147. Big Median – Now provide the legal definition of torture.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  148. Big Median:

    The United States ratified the Convention against Torture in October 1994 and the Convention entered into force for the United States on November 20, 1994. The convention makes torture illegal, regardless of what GC prohibits for POWs.

    Does “Extraordinary Rendition” ring a bell for you? Mr. Clinton’s program, by the way…

    The argument that terrorists have no right to a fair trial can only be made if we accept either that terrorists have no human rights, i.e. aren’t human, or that fair trials aren’t a human right, but, rather are a privilege granted by the government.
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
    The Declaration of Independence is unequivocal. Liberty is not a privilege granted to subjects of the state. It is the birthright of all, including, of course, people suspected of being involved in or knowing about terrorism.

    So Big Median, what part of the social compact are you misunderstanding? It’s not a question of whether rights are extended by the government or even whether foreign citizens have “human right”.

    In all societies, organized national or the “world community”, so to speak, there is always a balance struck between the rights of the individual and the rights and interests of the greater society at large.

    For instance, societies universally don’t allow one person to rob another, so they all deal with this, in some fashion or another, internally as their society has come to see fit. Further, in societies we generally grant the state the monopoly on violence, in the form of law enforcement units, and in fact folks are often prosecuted who choose to engage in vigilantism.

    By extrapoliation, this can be analogized in the world, except that there is no over-arching authority that all of the nations surrender the monopoly on violence to; regardless of how much the “one world government” transnationalists would like to imagine it part of the UN’s mandate.

    Just as within nations an individuals “rights” may be curtailed or infringed upon by society as a whole in the interest of the nation as a whole, so too can that principle be extrapolated into the geopolitical realm.

    So in fact while, like all people, combatants, uniformed and otherwise, possess “human right”, just as within a nation a transgressor’s “rights” may be curtailed or infringed upon for the greater good, so too can high value combatants.

    Captured terrorists, while having “human rigts”, do not have the right to access the US justice system, by convention and precedent. Furthermore, if the threat is great enough then there “rights” may freely be infringed upon in order to counter any threat that they may be aware of.

    As always, there’s a fine line between the rights of the individual and the right of larger society.

    Enhanced interrogation techniques should be limited to Presidential authorization, in the most extreme and dire circumstances only. But just as progressives complain about the moral imperitive to never torture, I contend that it is wholly immoral to put the larger society at risk by choosing not to do whatever it takes to get what may possibly be actionable intelligence…

    Bob Reed (5f2db5)

  149. Big Median – How do you feel about targeted assassination?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  150. “Conservatives like to boast that they are prepared to sacrifice blood and treasure to protect freedom. Yet in any conflict between security and freedom, they always choose to sacrifice freedom.”

    Yeah like forcing people into the military against their will or rounding up innocent people and sending them to concentration camps.

    Oh, wait.

    That’s liberals that do that.

    Never mind.

    Dave Surls (3244a3)

  151. Oh wait that’s socialist chavez clones that do that.

    FIFY

    Liberal is an abused word.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  152. If it were conceivable that we would have a policy of summary executions for unlawful combatants, I’d say that’s a workable policy.

    We had that policy in the 1940’s.

    Conservatives like to boast that they are prepared to sacrifice blood and treasure to protect freedom.

    We protect freedom not by sacrificing our blood, but by sacrificing the blood of the enemies of freedom, like what was done last Yom HaShoah.

    Will you sacrifice a cherished pillar of rule of law and justice for the extra measure of security you believe that sacrifice will provide?

    No.

    The United States ratified the Convention against Torture in October 1994 and the Convention entered into force for the United States on November 20, 1994. The convention makes torture illegal, regardless of what GC prohibits for POWs.

    So why were not Aaron McKinney, Russel Henderson, and Vinson Filyaw prosecuted under this treaty?

    The most common wingnut argument against this is: “If we give terror suspects fair trials, it will be easier for them to escape conviction.” Indeed, this is true, but just as true for serial killers, rapists and Oliver North. If we can give serial rapists and murderers a fair trial, why not bin Laden’s chauffeur?

    Because bin Laden’s chaffeur was not entitled to due process protections.

    The Constitution of the United States is just that, not a world Constitution.

    So, what counts as “severe physical… pain or suffering”? I’ll grant you a person being waterboarded is suffering, but is it severe? How severe is “severe?”

    Not only that, the CIA was the agency accused of torture, and the CIA most definitely does not operate under the color of law.

    Michael Ejercito (64388b)

  153. “The United States ratified the Convention against Torture in October 1994 and the Convention entered into force for the United States on November 20, 1994. The convention makes torture illegal, regardless of what GC prohibits for POWs.”

    Big Median – The most common libtard argument against torture is to call things the U.S. does torture which do not meet the legal definition of torture, which you still have not provided. Just because a libtard calls something torture does not make it so.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  154. Listening to a retarded LIBTARD is TORTURE.

    Ban it.

    gus (694db4)

  155. Just to be clear: this is WRONG. as in FALSE, not factual, incorrect, a lie.

    Torture did not improve the intel that led to a guy that led to a clue that led to bin Laden. Torture failed to confirm the same information when applied to people who knew it better. Non-torture did produce useful information on the topics.

    Torture isn’t just a moral failure; it’s useless. Government officials who embrace torture aren’t just bad people who deserve to go to jail; they are bad leaders who hurt our capacity to defend the nation. People who slant their thinking toward defense or apology of torture aren’t just hypocrites and moral failures; they are actively damaging a core principle, a hard-earned and essential principle, of our values. This is not speculation or ‘argument’. It’s the law, black-letter law.

    Bad people.

    ice9

    ice9 (1c1e2e)

  156. Grow a pair you wimp. :roll:

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  157. Could you please cite that black letter law which refers to the drivel you just posted?

    JD (b98cae)

  158. ice9,

    Good thing waterboarding is not torture then.

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  159. So, if waterboarding is against the law, and illegal, do I have a case against the US Navy for all of the “atrocities” visited upon me in SERE training?

    Y’all are a bunch of lawyers; let me know something, it sounds like I could get rich off of uncle sugar!

    Bob Reed (5f2db5)

  160. Sure Bob have at it or not.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  161. Ice

    > not factual, incorrect, a lie.

    panetta is lying, then?

    please, come on, stop with this childishness.

    call waterboarding wrong if you are inclined. but let’s not engage in fantasy.

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  162. It might be worth noting the context in the Dirty Harry clip are not found only in fiction.
    Cf: the story linked here.

    Karl (1b8646)

  163. Panetta’s quote has been widely mis-characterized. The “that’s correct” quote was only in reference to the fact that ‘enhanced interrogation’ = waterboarding. ‘Waterboarding led us to Bin Laden’ is not what he is saying.

    bimplebean (dbd3a8)

  164. hush, drive-by.

    JD (306f5d)

  165. Bob Rede: was SERE training voluntary, or were you forced to undergo it? Could you stop it at any time?

    Aaron (b4ec19)

  166. Gotta love these drive-by absolutists. “Torture NEVER works.” “EVERY piece intel gained by waterboarding turned out to be false.” “It was ONLY when we treated them ‘humanely’ that they told us the truth.”

    More like, “There’s no truth to what I’m saying, but it feels good to say, so I will.”

    Icy Texan (c84ca9)

  167. “‘Waterboarding led us to Bin Laden’ is not what he is saying.

    Comment by bimplebean — 5/11/2011 @ 8:31 am ”

    And yet he can’t say it didn’t, and the reason is that we already know we got much of this info from KSM, which means waterboarding.

    You can’t win this one. You know why Obama was saying shutting down waterboarding would make protecting America harder? Secrets he knows about the data we got from waterboarding, to include this lead on OBL. That’s what Cheney dared the administration to share with the American people. We deserve to know what stones are being left unturned, and the kinds of things that are under them, as a price for coddling terrorists.

    Aaron, that argument doesn’t work at all. Lots of aspects of our prison system are not voluntary, but aren’t cruel and are similar to military life. Sharing a tiny shelter with a battle buddy, eating a cold MRE, waking up at 0430, all seem harsher than would be allowed by most prisons, even though they are voluntary.

    The fact is that we subject our own people to waterboarding because it doesn’t cause permanent damage to them.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  168. Hush, drive-by

    JD (306f5d)

  169. When I was awarded an unrequested top secret security clearance, I was greatful for the display of confidence, but I also made sure to inform the authorities that if caputred and tortured, I’d likely be unable to resist telling what I knew.

    They laughed, th

    ropelight (3ac26a)

  170. My laptop daemon is at it again. At #174 I intended to continue, “[th]en told me that everyone talks eventually, it’s only a matter of time.

    The only people torture doesn’t work on are the ones who don’t know anything. The others will tell you anything and everything they know in surprisingly short order. Count on it.

    ropelight (3ac26a)

  171. The only people torture doesn’t work on are the ones who don’t know anything.

    That’s why they rely on suicide if captured.

    And I think once people absorb that there is no world free of bloodshed or severe penalties for falling short against our enemies, waterboarding for a few extreme interrogations seems like the right call. It’s right to want to avoid being cruel barbarians, but our version of waterboarding is actually an attempt to avoid barbaric torture in a situation where the need for coercive interrogation is absolute.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  172. Waterboarding works because as you’re forced to the gates of unconsciousness, you can’t know for sure if you’re ever coming back. It induces a high order physical and psychological panic, but it takes time, requires a team, and the subject recovers his composure somewhat between applications.

    Repeated exposures reduce the individual’s will to resist and his ability to do so. Eventually, he talks.

    Of course, waterboarding isn’t nearly as effective as some of the more technological methods of extracting information from uncooperative subjects. Nor for that matter is it as effective as some of the more ancient methods.

    But, given our current political and social climate, waterboarding has the advantage of being partially effective and of leaving the subject without permanent physical disfigurement.

    ropelight (3ac26a)


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