Patterico's Pontifications

9/22/2006

Not Really a Tough Weighing Process

Filed under: General,Scum,Terrorism — Patterico @ 9:01 pm



See Dubya weighs Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s two minutes of terror during his waterboarding session against the many lifetimes of misery we averted by saving the Library Tower in Los Angeles.

18 Responses to “Not Really a Tough Weighing Process”

  1. Pat,

    Please explain to us how a plot in 2002 was foiled or thwarted by waterboarding KSM sometime after his capture in March of 2003?

    The LA Tower story is old news.

    KSM told them there was a second wave plot that included LA and also told them Zacarias Moussaoui was to take part in the second wave attacks.

    If you believe KSM, I guess you’re arguing to overturn ZM’s conviction for involvement in 9/11. As for his interrogators, they are reported to have cautioned in their reports regarding KSM that he is known to “deliberately mislead.”

    What’s more, the Bushies, though challenged to do so, have never provided a shread of evidence that the plot was “foiled,” as opposed to being 86’d long before KSM was captured or not being anything more than a grand pipe dream of KSM (in either case, no life saving info was gained from KSM’s torture as Pat wrongly asserts). In fact, if I remember right, after Bush mentioned the LA Tower plot in a speech some time ago, the administration had to admit the plot was never operational.

    Brian Ross (not David as See Dubya states) is evidently being spun by anonymous CIA sources and, oh, what a coincidence, it was CIA head Hayden pushing hardest for the new torture bill.

    Macswain (2aadc0)

  2. Shorter Patterico: Despite my legal background, I am not aware of the President’s power to pardon, nor its traditional usage to deal with extreme and unusual cases.

    Kimmitt (80218d)

  3. the term ‘slippery slope’ comes to mind. If waterboarding is a successful technique, why not go further? when should we start breaking fingers? staunches? hot iron to the feet? redefining torture and legalizing certain techniques is just setting the stage for worse later on.

    dksuddeth (ac44fb)

  4. I agree with #3, we could opt for more efficient methods, but let’s not sink to the level of our enemies. What say we hold on to the moral high ground here and stop short of cutting heads off with rusty hand saws, and no hanging cadavers from bridges.

    You know, it occurs to me that a quick look around museums with exhibits of the “equipment of inquiry” used during the Spanish Inquisition might provide some useful insights, and keep us on the right track. No sense in trying to reinvent the rack.

    Black Jack (507b6e)

  5. Shorter Kimmitt: Although I am cryptic about it, I agree with the waterboarding of KSM.

    Patterico (de0616)

  6. 1) I do not have any information which would allow me to make a decision re: the waterboarding of KSM. I am unhappily reconciled with the idea that once in a very long while, our government will do some bad things to a very few very bad people as a possible “compromise” on the issue.

    2) What I am doing is disputing any relationship between any action taken against a handful of targets and the necessity of formally legalizing torture as US policy. There is none, as there already exists an option for handling extreme and/or unusual cases, one which preserves some measure of accountability.

    Kimmitt (80218d)

  7. And in the post, I advocated formally legalizing torture as US policy . . . where?

    Patterico (de0616)

  8. […] Now, via Patterico comes the Junk Yard Blog: Those (al Qaeda) leaders who were waterboarded did so for thirty or forty five seconds before they broke–not hours. (Khalid Sheikh Muhammad) himself lasted a respectable two minutes under the treatment. […]

    Common Sense Political Thought » Blog Archives » The morality of harsh interrogation (819604)

  9. You said, “the fact that Bush seems pleased is a good sign.” Since Bush is only pleased by legalization of torture, the implication is that the legalization of torture is a good thing.

    In addition, there simply is no reason to discuss waterboarding of KSM in any context other than the legalization of torture. The act of bringing up the discussion for any reason other than to dismiss its utility for a larger discussion is such an endorsement.

    Kimmitt (80218d)

  10. You said, “the fact that Bush seems pleased is a good sign.” Since Bush is only pleased by legalization of torture, the implication is that the legalization of torture is a good thing.

    In addition, there simply is no reason to discuss waterboarding of KSM in any context other than the legalization of torture. The act of bringing up the discussion for any reason other than to dismiss its utility for a larger discussion is such an endorsement.

    That’s why I was interested to see you discuss the waterboarding of KSM as an implied support of the legalization of torture, which is further than I have gone.

    Patterico (de0616)

  11. Again, given the current state of the debate, any discussion of the waterboarding of KSM, except to say, “A discussion of the waterboarding of KSM is irrelevant to the discussion of torture as US policy” is an inherent endorsement of torture as US policy.

    Since you have endorsed torture as US policy in other threads by declaring support for the President’s priorities, I did, in fact, put 2 and 2 together.

    To put it another way, in order to be happy, the President must enshrine torture as official US policy. If your criterion on any deal is that the President should be happy, your criterion is that torture should be official US policy.

    Also, when discussing my position, please note that position (1) is my official position on short term usage of brutality when dealing with extreme and unusual cases. I am completely opposed to enshrining torture, especially prolonged torture for the purpose of breaking the spirits of our prisoners, as US policy in any way, shape, or form.

    Kimmitt (80218d)

  12. Since Bush is only pleased by legalization of torture, the implication is that the legalization of torture is a good thing.

    Unfounded assumption and one I believe is incorrect. Please show me anywhere the President has said he is pleased with torture. As usual, you make extreme assumptions and attempt to argue those assumptions as facts. BDS is curable, seek help.

    Stashiu3 (404f9e)

  13. Shorter Kimmitt: Damn the facts, Bush is Hitler!

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  14. Stashiu3 wrote:

    BDS is curable, seek help.

    I’d actually be interested in seeing some examples of people who have been cured of BDS. It appears to be an extremely virulent disease, utterly consuming its victims, leaving virtually nothing of value left to save. It saps the brain, and strips virtually all ability to reason from its victims; I’m surprised that we still allow them to drive.

    Dana (1d5902)

  15. Kimmett said:

    Since Bush is only pleased by legalization of torture, the implication is that the legalization of torture is a good thing.

    No, what President Bush is interested in is securing the intelligence information to stymie our enemies and terrorist attacks.

    I note that Macswain above has taken the position that the capture and harsh interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad has not provably prevented a terrorist attack, and that’s true: we cannot prove that something didn’t happen due to such. Of course, had Britain and France marched in and hung Adolf Hitler in 1936, when the Germans violated the Treaty of Versailles by remilitarizing the Rhineland, we’d never have known what was prevented, would we? Heck, had President Clinton accepted custody of Osama bin Laden, when so offered on a silver platter in 1996, and sent him to his seventy-two white grapes, the World Trade Center would still be standing, we’d never have gone to war in Afghanistan or Iraq — and we’d have no way of knowing what was prevented, and people wiould be criticizing the former President for his uncivilized and illegal action.

    We have many examples, including the capture of the number two man of al Qaeda in Iraq, who quickly yielded eleven names, seven of whom were top people in that fetid organization, and their capture or killing.

    The uncomfortable for our liberal friends fact is that harsh interrogation works, and has worked to prevent death and destruction. It is only by denying that reality that their offended sensibilities about “torture” make any sense.

    Dana (1d5902)

  16. “No, what President Bush is interested in is securing the intelligence information to stymie our enemies and terrorist attacks.”

    But, of course, Clinton was a patsy to the America-hating ACLU and mainly interested in bagging interns, right?

    Here’s a hint: When the President of the United States expresses disinterest in capturing the mastermind of a terrorist attack which murders thousands of Americans, that means he has other priorities. When the same man has a history of mocking condemned prisoners and threatens the second veto of his entire career on any bill which does not legalize torture, sane people draw sane conclusions.

    Kimmitt (80218d)

  17. Kimmett wrote:

    “No, what President Bush is interested in is securing the intelligence information to stymie our enemies and terrorist attacks.”

    But, of course, Clinton was a patsy to the America-hating ACLU and mainly interested in bagging interns, right?

    No. President Clinton’s policy of combatting terrorism via a law enforcement methodology was ineffective, but it was probably the only one available to him, and to President Bush after Mr Clinton, until September 11th. There would have been no political or popular support for President Clinton to have sent troops into Afghanistan in 1998 to pursue the mastermind of the embassy bombings; it isn’t all that different from the problems President Roosevelt faced in supporting the Allies before Pearl Harbor.

    When the same man has a history of mocking condemned prisoners and threatens the second veto of his entire career on any bill which does not legalize torture, sane people draw sane conclusions.

    Would that you were demonstrably sane, then. Such is not a reasonable conclusion.

    Even if your views about President Bush were right on target, President Bush doesn’t engage in any action himself: his subordinates do the work for him. And if aggressive questioning weren’t providing useful information, it’s clear that the squabble over “torture” would not be worth whatever sadistic pleasure you seem to think the President obtains from having prisoners subjected to the Red Hot Chili Peppers; such is a loser politically, and his advisors would be informing him of that, in no uncertain terms.

    Do you think that Karl Rove and Dick Cheney and Condoleeza Rice and a whole bunch of other people wouldn’t have told him, many times, that supporting a policy with such a huge downside and what you seem to think is no positive return is a sure loser in the upcoming elections?

    Dana (1d5902)

  18. Kimmett,

    When the same man has a history of mocking condemned prisoners and threatens the second veto of his entire career on any bill which does not legalize torture, sane people draw sane conclusions.

    And stupid people draw stupid conclusions. He didn’t make any such threat and you know it. President Bush is just as much against torture as you or I. Calling the interrogation techniques he wants allowed “torture” cheapens the word and is misleading at best. Aggressive interrogation is not torture… and shouldn’t be since we know torture will usually get unreliable intelligence. Slapping someone in the belly and making them listen to RHCP is not torture. Waterboarding (done properly) is not torture. Grabbing a shirt is not torture. Is that so hard to understand? Chopping off fingers one knuckle at a time, branding with hot iron, electricity applied to genitals or major muscles, flogging, etc…. those things are torture and are used against us no matter how we interrogate prisoners. It doesn’t mean that we need to stoop to their level, but it does mean that we need to recognize the reality here.

    These people want to kill you, your family, your neighbor and his family, and anyone else who doesn’t believe that the Muslim way is the only way. Since you refuse to understand this, at least have the courtesy to tell the truth and not misrepresent what the President has said and done. I don’t hold out much hope that you will, but I’ve been wrong before.

    Stashiu3 (168d43)


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