What Shepard Smith Said

23 Apr

What other laws shall we ignore because it allegedly “works”?

Robbing a bank “works” as a means to enrich yourself, and murdering a witness “works” as a means to beat a criminal charge.

The right has, for years, accused the left of being anti-American socialist idiots, but I’ve heard more anti-American bile get spewed by the right in the last 3 months than I’ve heard from any other mainstream political grouping. Secession? Armed rebellion? Torture is fine? At least one Alabama congressman trying to pull a McCarthy lite?

No wonder the right can’t get elected and can’t get its shit together.

108 Responses to “What Shepard Smith Said”

  1. The Insider April 23, 2009 at 6:59 am #

    I wonder if the right wing neo-cons will be more at at him for dropping an F bomb or saying that torture is wrong!

  2. Russell April 23, 2009 at 7:05 am #

    Settle down with the hyperbole. The right also won elections while most of these things were going on or being discussed.

    You, so many in the media and numerous people on the left have improperly couched this argument. I’ve even fallen into this trap myself numerous times on this site. The debate is not about whether torture is legal or not. It’s actually over what techniques constitute torture. As I said on the other thread, there is no black and white clear cut definition or set of standards for that. As an attorney, you should understand this better than most of us, I’m just not sure why you choose to misrepresent it.

    One of your own arguments has been that torture does not work because it does not produce credible, reliable information. Therefore, you and others have opined that that is one of the reasons these techniques should not be an option. Now that it has been shown that the techniques being questioned as torture have produced credible, reliable, valuable intelligence, that line of reasoning has been debunked. So now you resort to mocking that line of discussion, even though you presented it yourself. Accept that you’re wrong and that line is not valid. That’s part of the point of discussing the success. Or perhaps we could follow your logic differently. Maybe we could say that if torture only produces bad, unreliable information, but these techniques produced good, valuable information, then obviously these techniques are not torture after all. Either way, you’ve been proven wrong.

  3. Byron April 23, 2009 at 7:15 am #

    If torture proponents like Russy want to debate whether waterboarding, extended sleep deprivation, etc. constitute torture, they’ll lose. But by all means, if we’re going to engage in these practices let’s discuss them openly.

  4. psych April 23, 2009 at 7:42 am #

    How do you know the information gleaned through torture couldn’t have been gleaned through legal means that weren’t physically coercive?

    As has been mentioned before, you can’t study this stuff, Russell, because it would be unethical and impossible to do so.

    And yes, waterboarding is torture. I like that Russell supports the US government resorting to war crimes that the Khmer Rouge engaged in. Republicans are now the party of Pol Pot.

    Since confessions and information are gleaned every day through means that don’t involve torture, why resort to it? What purpose does it serve?

    Frankly, from what I’ve seen, the rationale behind using torture (hey, it could work!) is false because other methods of interrogation are effective, too. Russell – why don’t we just waterboard every suspect in every crime or military situation? Right? I mean, if it’s not torture, as you argue, then it should be used all the time, everywhere. That’s what you’re left advocating.

    Instead, I find that the Republican defense of torture is based on one of two things – vengeance and sadism. Possibly both.

  5. mike April 23, 2009 at 8:11 am #

    let me get this straight. the side that hates america and tries to give our sovereignty away to the UN every chance it gets is using the “we are america” argument? guess that’s what happens when your “doesn’t produce credible information” argument gets blown out of the water. resort to scream and yell the f bomb. no wonder nobody takes these clowns seriously.

  6. Ike April 23, 2009 at 8:12 am #

    I agree… armed rebellion and talk of secession betrays the very principals our nation was founded on!

    George Washington would be rolling over in his grave if he knew that citizens were contemplating some kind of “revolutionary” “war”

  7. Ben McD April 23, 2009 at 8:15 am #

    People seem to be missing Russell’s point. He simply stated that one of the criteria that opponents used to oppose torture has been debunked. When that fact is entered into the debate, the opponents of torture then criticize anyone who brings it up at all.

    I think it is a good observation. Russell brings up two good questions. If a condition for the proper use of torture is reliable information, as has been stated in previous discussions, and that condition has been met, which it appears to have been, is it a justification for torture? Also, if a condition for labeling something torture is that it does not produce reliable information, then can something that produces reliable information be considered torture?

  8. Byron April 23, 2009 at 8:20 am #

    Ike: wrong thread, stupid analogy. Other than that, great post!

  9. KevinP April 23, 2009 at 9:04 am #

    I think Shep is about to be visited by:

    1 – Rupert Murdoch
    2 – The FCC

    May want to stay out of the office for a couple days until things blow over, Shep.

  10. STEEL April 23, 2009 at 9:15 am #

    If torture works so well why don’t we step it up a bit. Why not hold the detainee’s family hostage as an information gathering tool. Why not cut off ears and limbs. How about pouring hot acid on skin. If the justification is that it works and stops terrorism then there is no reason not to torture to the extreme.

    The fact is that the right wing does not really believe in the core American principles. They admitted such openly when they so jubilantly proclaimed that the expected a permanent republican majority. Can you imagine celebrating one party rule in America. And now they celebrate torture as an American value. The most right wing state, Texas threatens secession? Bushes cronies write memos stating that the president has no restrictions on his power! Yikes!

  11. Russell April 23, 2009 at 9:41 am #

    Thanks, Ben. As you can see, most of the people on here prefer to resort to extremism and absurdities rather than actually understand and debate logically.

    STEEL & psych, no single technique is absolute. No technique will work in all situations or on all people. No one is suggesting anything at all like the two of you are discussing, but as you keep showing, you cannot debate the realities at hand so you resort to the ridiculous as the only way to support your view.

    Obama’s Director of National Intelligence stated that there is no way of knowing if other techniques would have worked, but psych seems to know better than him. For those of you keeping score at home, so far psych has stated that he knows more than the former Director of the CIA and the current Director of National Intelligence.

  12. Mike Walsh April 23, 2009 at 9:56 am #

    I can’t believe how ignorantly partisan you progressives are on this issue. If any of you would bother to check the facts you would know that torture has been used extensively by this nation since the cold war and vetted by both parties.

  13. Byron April 23, 2009 at 10:02 am #

    I can’t believe how ignorant Freeners are about – pretty much everything.

  14. Mike Walsh April 23, 2009 at 10:11 am #

    @Byron:

    “I can’t believe how ignorant Freeners are about – pretty much everything.”

    So then why don’t you refute my last comment and back it up with facts.

  15. Byron April 23, 2009 at 10:19 am #

    Does the fact that it’s been done in the past – or for that matter, the fact that some people (not all) think that it’s effective some of the time (not always) make it (1) legal, or (2) right? No? then STFU.

  16. The Humanist April 23, 2009 at 10:21 am #

    Today’s GOP – the Party of Torture.

    There is no debate about torture because it is illegal. There is no debate about waterboarding because it is defined as torture. As are a number of other techniques employed by the Bush Administration to further its political aims at the cost of obeying the law.

    Russell and the other torture apologists can spew all the bullshit they want – they have already revealed themselves to be apologists for torture and law-breaking.

  17. Byron April 23, 2009 at 10:23 am #

    As a side note: how much do you think liberals care that members of a feckless reactionary cult think that liberals are “ignorant”? I’d be more concerned if one of you clowns thought I was on the right track.

  18. Byron April 23, 2009 at 10:44 am #

    Lifted from a TPM reader:

    “Last week, conservatives were complaining Obama was establishing a socialistic fascist dictatorship.

    This week, conservatives are complaining Obama does not want to torture his opponents.”

    It’s a waste of time even trying to figure out what modern Republicans are talking about.

  19. Mike Walsh April 23, 2009 at 11:02 am #

    Today’s GOP – the Party of Torture.

    There is no debate about torture because it is illegal. There is no debate about waterboarding because it is defined as torture. As are a number of other techniques employed by the Bush Administration to further its political aims at the cost of obeying the law.

    Russell and the other torture apologists can spew all the bullshit they want – they have already revealed themselves to be apologists for torture and law-breaking.”

    Talk about bullshit. You know nothing of the history of torture and interrogation techniques employed by our government.

  20. Kris April 23, 2009 at 11:02 am #

    And when the next american soldier is captured…

  21. STEEL April 23, 2009 at 11:05 am #

    So Russel,

    The fact that something disgusting has been done in this country in the past makes it right??? Huh? Should we start slavery up again? Maybe we could use Aaayrabs instead this time.

    Also, Who is the moderator determining when we are using good American “enhanced interrogation versus bad evil enhanced interrogation?

    It is so odd that the right wing rails against the government as their core belief and yet are so willing to give their rights over to that very same government so easily. Torture is wrong and America should not be involved with it.

    When is Hannity’s waterborading going to be by the way?

  22. Russell April 23, 2009 at 11:06 am #

    Byron, the fact that it’s been done before in the past by this country shows that 1. it’s not unique to the right wing, 2. it’s not unique to this period, and 3. it’s not something this country does not and has not ever done; among other things.

    Humanist, there has been a debate in this country and it is still ongoing, not just on waterboarding, but many other techniques and they are not solely unique to the Bush administration.

  23. Mike Walsh April 23, 2009 at 11:09 am #

    “Does the fact that it’s been done in the past – or for that matter, the fact that some people (not all) think that it’s effective some of the time (not always) make it (1) legal, or (2) right? No? then STFU.”

    You’re blaming one guy for a system that has been in place for a long time.

  24. Byron April 23, 2009 at 11:10 am #

    Remember when Russy got all shirty because Obama supporters (allegedly) kept bringing up what Bush did rather than defending what Obama was doing?

    Yeah, me too.

  25. Byron April 23, 2009 at 11:19 am #

    Oh and if any of you have evidence or proof that Pres. Clinton (for example) or high ranking officials in his administration ordered the widespread use of torture, let’s hear it. As I said, discuss it openly if you’re confident in your case.

  26. Russell April 23, 2009 at 11:58 am #

    STEEL, can you have one post on this topic without an absurdity?

    Are you an idiot? You don’t think leaders in the Intelligence Community and members of the Intelligence Committees in Congress discuss and determine what are accept techniques and what are not?

    What does this have to do with giving over rights to the government?

    Torture may be wrong, but not all techniques are torture, even the ones you would class as disgusting.

  27. Mike Walsh April 23, 2009 at 12:13 pm #

    “Oh and if any of you have evidence or proof that Pres. Clinton (for example) or high ranking officials in his administration ordered the widespread use of torture, let’s hear it. As I said, discuss it openly if you’re confident in your case.”

    Start with the rendition program under Clinton.

  28. Mike Walsh April 23, 2009 at 12:18 pm #

    “You don’t think leaders in the Intelligence Community and members of the Intelligence Committees in Congress discuss and determine what are accept techniques and what are not?”

    Exactly. These guys don’t seem to understand that decisions are not made in a vacuum. There’s also a small army of lawyers all over this before anything happens.

  29. Mike Walsh April 23, 2009 at 12:24 pm #

    At the risk of being pounded for being a part of the lunatic fringe, again, I point out that this is just another example of big government blundering.

    If they can’t even torture terrorists without all hell breaking loose how can you have faith in them to “fix” the economy? Or run anything else?…..

  30. sbrof April 23, 2009 at 12:32 pm #

    It isn’t absurdity.. it the slippery slope. If water boarding can be taken off the torture list and used at the discression of the military.. then why not the many other forms of torture.

    We are not supposed to remember the past as justification for our current actions we are supposed to learn from it. We deemed torture an immoral action.. Period. Same as we deemed slavery an immoral act.. period.

    This is about law and civility. If we are going to continue to be the world leader that we have been. We need to act selflessly. Jesus said turn another cheek… not torture the a-hole until he tell you where his friends are hiding. No one is saying that these are good people… but they are people, they have human rights. Rights that we revolted and fought and died to protect for generations.

    The other option is to give up that moral authority and just be the bully of the world. Twisting arms and water boarding until we get what we want.

  31. Byron April 23, 2009 at 12:37 pm #

    “Start with the rendition program under Clinton” – that’s it? That’s the basis for your broad claim about ignorant progressives? Pfft.

  32. Russell April 23, 2009 at 12:59 pm #

    Jesus was not a foreign policy expert.

  33. Mike In WNY April 23, 2009 at 1:02 pm #

    I don’t think the FCC will give a rats’ ass about the F-bomb. If I’m not mistaken, this video was strictly broadcast on the Fox web site. It was live during the same period Obama was live on Fox TV.

    Shepherd Smith’s adverb of choice was tailored perfectly to the topic at hand.

  34. STEEL April 23, 2009 at 1:20 pm #

    Russel,

    1. It is not absurd at all. If the whole defense of so called “enhanced interrogation” is that it produces critically important information why not take it to the next level? Why stop at anything? Cut the guys legs off if it produces needed information. If it saves Americans as you say it does then anything is justified, isn’t it? How is that absurd? It is just an extension of your argument.

    2. No I am not an idiot. I do know that the same members of intelligence committees and agencies are the people who cooked up a phony war in Iraq. So now I am supposed to trust what they say?

    3. Allowing torture has everything to do with our rights especially under Bush who claimed that the president’s power had no limits in war time!

    4. Torture IS wrong. There is no “may” in that statement. The techniques described by Bush officials have been deemed to be torture by the American government and by the rest of the civilized world.

  35. Jon Splett April 23, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

    Just a quick question for the conservatives….if water boarding falls into the category of cruel shit we can do that isn’t considered torture, why did we hang Japanese for doing it during World War 2?

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/29/politics/main3554687.shtml

  36. Byron April 23, 2009 at 1:49 pm #

    Another recently released nugget:

    “One of the worst consequences of the use of these harsh techniques was that it reintroduced the so-called Chinese wall between the C.I.A. and F.B.I.*, similar to the communications obstacles that prevented us from working together to stop the 9/11 attacks. Because the bureau would not employ these problematic techniques, our agents who knew the most about the terrorists could have no part in the investigation. An F.B.I. colleague of mine who knew more about Khalid Shaikh Mohammed than anyone in the government was not allowed to speak to him.”

    Here.

    * You remember – this is the Chinese wall that neocons tried to use to blame 9/11 on Jamie Gorelick rather than “OK you covered your ass” George Bush?

  37. Russell April 23, 2009 at 2:05 pm #

    1. Yes, that is absurd. Think of this analogy, STEEL. An off-duty police office killed a man breaking into his home yesterday. He is not being charged with anything and was not even taken into custody. That’s because we understand the moral and legal justifications for it. That does not mean that he’s not free to go on a shooting spree and kill anyone he wants. It also does not mean that we would have had no problem with him cutting that man’s legs off and mutilating his body.

    2. If you know, then why did you ask? And are you saying now that it’s not just about the torture question, but you want the entire Intelligence infrastructure dismantled?

    3. No, it doesn’t. We ceded the right to make these decisions to the government ages ago. And this does not affect your rights in anyway. If you think otherwise, please let me know how.

    4. No they haven’t.

  38. Michael April 23, 2009 at 2:08 pm #

    The Third Geneva Convention, Part III, Section 1, Articles 17: “No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.”

    This seems pretty clear cut to me.

    Wait. You say they’re terrorists and not prisoners of war?

    1958 ICRC ruling: Every person in enemy hands must be either a prisoner of war and, as such, be covered by the Third Convention; or a civilian covered by the Fourth Convention. Furthermore, “There is no intermediate status; nobody in enemy hands can be outside the law,”

    The Fourth Geneva Convention Commentary: “Every person in enemy hands must have some status under international law: he is either a prisoner of war and, as such, covered by the Third Convention, a civilian covered by the Fourth Convention, or again, a member of the medical personnel of the armed forces who is covered by the First Convention. There is no intermediate status; nobody in enemy hands can be outside the law. We feel that this is a satisfactory solution – not only satisfying to the mind, but also, and above all, satisfactory from the humanitarian point of view.”

    Wait. I’m missing the point. The argument isn’t about torture, but whether or not inflicting certain techniques should be considered torture. See again: “…nor any other form of coercion…”

    It’s been happening for a long time, so why should we care now? Past precedent exempts current behavior, right? Someone made the slavery analogy, so what about something else, like credit default swaps? Those “worked” in the past and should be an acceptable tool for continued use. Where’s the harm? There’s no reason to grow, adapt, learn or change.

    Oh, no. I’m sorry. The point is, we’re justified in our behavior because it’s in our best interests. My mistake. And, as a world leader it’s cool for the rest of the world to follow our example, right? No one on either side of the argument has a problem with foreign powers treating Americans the same way America treats foreign nationals. Goose and Gander, right?

    Fuck. I’m still missing the point aren’t I? It’s “America! Love it or leave it, pal!” My bad.

    America is the Good Guys and Americans will do whatever’s necessary and sink to any level, even if that means using the Villain’s methods against them (or others) because we’re the Good Guys and that’s what America is! Wow. It really is easier to follow the logic when it goes in a circle.

    What separates the heroic from the villainous is the use, and abuse, of power.

  39. Hap Klein April 23, 2009 at 2:13 pm #

    This discussion is over simplifying the subject of torture as adopted by the CIA and developed from 2002. The most accurate description in yesterday’s NY Times is that it was a deeply flawed process and by patchwork supervision never was a result of defined national policy. It certainly has the appearance of a Frankenstein construction with widely disparate and fragmented coordination of the parts.
    Results oriented folks just kept jumping on a bandwagon, the character of which few even tried to analyze, and appear to have been justified by the Justice Department after-the –fact when it was already rolling down the road.
    First the CIA received the mandate but had never dealt with terrorists so they borrowed a program from the armed services that was based on the torture techniques allied pilots had experienced during the Korean War. This the SERE program and its main proponent actually had conducted only mock interrogations and had, in fact never conducted an actual interrogation. At this point most of the wheels came off the wagon and one of the first victims of the new torture policy spilled all sorts of information that later proved to be what the experts had warned. He would tell you anything you wanted to hear if you stopped torturing, but nearly everything he revealed was fiction.
    Another torture victory sits in Gitmo since the evidence against him is not admissible in court since it was derived by torture.
    Altogether any evidence produced by torture since 2002 is thought to have been equally obtainable by traditional inelligence research.
    I can’t see we can defend a program that we ourselves charged was criminal when we prosecuted the Japanese for similar tactics sixty years ago. True we had blood on the deck and were squishing about trying to stop the next catastrophe but there is one big bad entity here.
    If Congress had really paid attention to its oversight responsibility somehow somewhere in the review process the misfit of torture to the American way would or should have been rejected. But Senators Bob Graham (Fl) Robert Shelby (Al) and Representatives Porter Goss (Fl) and Nancy Pelosi (Ca) were in the drivers seat and acted as passive witnesses to the Bush/ Cheney desperate maneuvers to avoid a second 9/11.
    We have witnessed a sad and shameful episode a good part of it because of partisan gotcha politics. They had better learn from this especially if the Taliban takes Pakistan.

  40. Byron April 23, 2009 at 2:16 pm #

    Russy calls STEEL “absurd” and an “idiot”, then proceeds to analogize what was done at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib to a cop shooting someone breaking into his home.

    Please refer to the last line of BP’s post, above.

  41. Mike Walsh April 23, 2009 at 2:27 pm #

    @ Byron:

    “Start with the rendition program under Clinton” – that’s it? That’s the basis for your broad claim about ignorant progressives? Pfft.

    You want the whole history? Look it up. There’s not enough room here.

    Byron, what I’m trying to point out is that this is not solely a “republican” policy. These tactics have been used for years under many different administrations of both parties.

    I agree with you, Humanist and others here who think this practice should be ended. A witch hunt to place blame on anyone would be pointless. Obama seems to be thinking the same way.

    All this shock and disgust(‘we don’t fucking torture”) is just ignorance because the historical record shows we have tortured people. We’ve done it for a long time. We’ve also done a lot of other bad things. Neither the democrats or the republicans have clean hands in any of this.

    Take a peak under the hood of what Lyndon(Great Society) Johnson sanctioned in the sixties both abroad and at home. Besides torture, there were assassinations, coups, domestic surveillence and frame-ups. They even had schemes to blackmail and frame Martin Luther King.

  42. Mike Walsh April 23, 2009 at 2:35 pm #

    “If Congress had really paid attention to its oversight responsibility somehow somewhere in the review process the misfit of torture to the American way would or should have been rejected. But Senators Bob Graham (Fl) Robert Shelby (Al) and Representatives Porter Goss (Fl) and Nancy Pelosi (Ca) were in the drivers seat and acted as passive witnesses to the Bush/ Cheney desperate maneuvers to avoid a second 9/11.”

    Exactly. And that’s not the first or last time that Congress has failed to act in a responsible manor. That’s why this partisan blame game is completely ridiculous.

  43. sbrof April 23, 2009 at 2:43 pm #

    yes, you may shoot someone who breaks into your home and threatens your life… once that person is no longer a threat… AKA a prisoner… the rules change. You can’t torture, kill or treat them in an inhuman manor.

  44. Matt April 23, 2009 at 2:45 pm #

    Someone earlier in this thread stated: “If any of you would bother to check the facts you would know that torture has been used extensively by this nation since the cold war and vetted by both parties.”

    Care to provide a link to that?

    Also, we don’t really know that torture was an effective tool to generate actionable intelligence. Nor do we know what other methods could have been used to generate information and whether those would have been effective. Those who authorized and conducted torture are the ones who are defending it with those claims and filed reports internally to suggest it works. Those same people have proven to be liars in every single step of this public discussion and I don’t quite trust that there was “quality intelligence” generated by these documented liars. When you know you’re doing something that is unethical, you are inclined to be unethical in its justification. Let’s get a bipartisan panel of congresspeople and special investigators to review what happened, when it happened and what was gained. Until then, we’re all just making knee jerk partisan assumptions.

    Frankly, it doesn’t matter whether it’s “effective”, what matters is that we have prosecuted and sentenced to prison and death those who used the very methods we now employ. Also, there is an objective standard as to what torture is, it’s spelled out in Article 3 and in the Army Field Manual for Interrogation. After WWII, the world got together and defined what was acceeptable and what was not and what would happen to those who vilotaed that treaty. Now, because we want to do what we want to do, we are in violation of that treaty.

  45. Staff April 23, 2009 at 2:54 pm #

    I hope that Bush still agrees with his own statement!

    http://italy.usembassy.gov/viewer/article.asp?article=/file2003_06/alia/A3062613.htm

    Official proclamation, June 2003:

    THE WHITE HOUSE
    Office of the Press Secretary
    June 26, 2003

    STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
    United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

    Today, on the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the United States declares its strong solidarity with torture victims across the world. Torture anywhere is an affront to human dignity everywhere. We are committed to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law.

    Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right. The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, ratified by the United States and more than 130 other countries since 1984, forbids governments from deliberately inflicting severe physical or mental pain or suffering on those within their custody or control. Yet torture continues to be practiced around the world by rogue regimes whose cruel methods match their determination to crush the human spirit. Beating, burning, rape, and electric shock are some of the grisly tools such regimes use to terrorize their own citizens. These despicable crimes cannot be tolerated by a world committed to justice….

    The United States is committed to the world-wide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example. I call on all governments to join with the United States and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture and in undertaking to prevent other cruel and unusual punishment. I call on all nations to speak out against torture in all its forms and to make ending torture an essential part of their diplomacy. I further urge governments to join America and others in supporting torture victims’ treatment centers, contributing to the UN Fund for the Victims of Torture, and supporting the efforts of non-governmental organizations to end torture and assist its victims.

    No people, no matter where they reside, should have to live in fear of their own government. Nowhere should the midnight knock foreshadow a nightmare of state-commissioned crime. The suffering of torture victims must end, and the United States calls on all governments to assume this great mission.

  46. hank April 23, 2009 at 3:03 pm #

    If someone in your family was being held hostage by Johnny Jihad and friends, and we captured one of Johnny’s pals, would you think it just dandy to detain him and not try to get information that could get your family member released?

    Nah—fuck it–let the Haji’s cut your family members head off. That terrorist HAS RIGHTS.

    Eat more beans, libbies—perhaps you’ll develop enough gas pressure to blow your heads out of your asses.

    As Rome burns, you fiddle. Good on all y’all.

  47. Staff April 23, 2009 at 3:09 pm #

    We’re not animals Hank. Also, who here is claiming that we should simply detain suspects and not interrogate them? There is simply no need to resort to torture.

    As a guy on the reasononline.com website said today:

    “if effectiveness is the only gauge, why even debate whether these techniques fit the definition of torture? The problem with using “it worked” as an argument is that it justifies too much. By that rationale, we can justify subjecting enemy captives to every form of torture ever devised. We can even justify torturing and killing their spouses, siblings, parents, and children, right in front of them.”

    Which, Hank would sign up for in a heartbeat by all accounts.

  48. Russell April 23, 2009 at 3:11 pm #

    Now we’re finally getting to the point. I’m glad some of you are finally getting past the misrepresentation of this debate. Torture is wrong. Many people have said and we know it’s against Geneva and federal law. The problem is, although Michael thinks those statments are clear, they are not. Torture is not defined. Neither is coercion. If you actually read the memos to understand what is actually being discussed, you’d see that the opinions were that since great care was taken to protect the subject from physical harm, it was not actually torture.

    Byron, seriously? After all the absurd analogies STEEL has posted in the past couple days, that’s the only thing that has struck you as absurd? And I was not equating Guantamo to what happened yesterday. I guess I already realized so many of you lack logic skills, so I should have painted it in a way a third grader can comprehend. The point of that was to illustrate that just because we make allowances in law and morality for certain circumstances it does not me that we make absolute allowance for all circumstances. STEEL made absurd statements, generalizing and over-blowing acceptance. My analogy was to that, not the question of torture. I thought that was pretty clearly stated, but I must have given you too much credit. Ben more aptly discussed this line of questioning on his first post in the other thread.

    And I called STEEL an idiot because he asked: “Who is the moderator determining when we are using good American “enhanced interrogation versus bad evil enhanced interrogation?” when it’s pretty clear who and that has been at the crux of most of the discussions of the past few days on this. If you have to ask that question today, then you’re either an idiot or have been living in a hole.

  49. Russell April 23, 2009 at 3:17 pm #

    sbrof, why are you talking about prisoners? Jesus would never take prisoners. That is not a part of the “turn the other cheek” policy.

  50. Russell April 23, 2009 at 3:20 pm #

    Staff, read comment #7 above by Ben, and maybe my first post on this thread. We already addressed what you just posted.

  51. Byron April 23, 2009 at 3:37 pm #

    Russy, STEEL’s comments have been at worst a bit snarky; he has in general asked perfectly legitimate questions, which you have failed to answer. Because you can’t. And your explanation of the “cop” analogy is idiotic/absurd, if anything in this thread is. We absolutely should hold hearings and investigate what was done at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, but we already know enough to state that it was not legal, justifiable, excusable or any other adjective that fits your heroic cop. Or did you not read the part about waterboarding a prisoner 183 times in 30 days? Therefore STEEL’s question – if you refuse to condemn that, where DO you draw the line – was perfectly apt.

    And Walsh, if Pelosi, Reid or whoever knew about and approved this, they should be held accountable, and I don’t know any liberal who thinks otherwise. Do you? Did BP say any different? As long as Bush and Cheney and Rice are in the dock as well.

    Beyond that, thanks for the typical Freener two-step: you mock “ignorant liberals”; when asked what profound knowledge you have that liberals lack, your response is, Go look it up.

    i don’t want to hold yo up, I’m sure you want to go high-five your fellow cranks on how “the sheeple just don’t get it”. Godspeed.

  52. Larry Castellani April 23, 2009 at 4:20 pm #

    The point is that, de facto, we are not a nation under law. We could only be a nation under law if we were a nation grounded in the same cultural value system. And we are not. Unfortunately we end up instrumentalizing law ideologically in the name of a fundamental value system conflict that doesn’t get thematized as the real issue. Oddly enough, it is acknowledged as the real issue but gets played out as a legal issue. We need to solve the value differences not by law but by the political restructuring of the nation in terms of a real Federalism in which communities are given the freedom to politically and ethically work out how they want to live together. You can’t legislate values or morality. Why continue to delude ourselves that a nation so culturally diverse as to contain such as the Amish on the one hand and neo-Con, Christianist imperialists on the other can unify itself ethically or axiologically at the level of the State by legal means???

  53. Michael April 23, 2009 at 4:30 pm #

    Russell, those “statements” are the Geneva Conventions and they’re pretty clear. I’d also think that they superscede any memos purposefully, and solely, devised for undercutting said Geneva Conventions.

    See again: “…nor any other form of coercion…”

    Webster’s can give anyone definitions of torture and coercion if they need them.

    If America is going to live up to the standard that we set for ourselves as a leader and example to the world, then shouldn’t a part of that include not abiding the medieval and inhumane treatment of other men?

  54. Frankie April 23, 2009 at 4:54 pm #

    Russell said:
    As I said on the other thread, there is no black and white clear cut definition or set of standards for that.
    ————–

    And i refuted this in that thread, only to be met with total silence by you, in spite of the fact you responded to another of my points in the same post. I’ll reiterate: The black and white clear cut definition is – if we’ve ever prosecuted someone for war crimes for having done it, then it’s torture.

    And Ben said:
    If a condition for the proper use of torture is reliable information, as has been stated in previous discussions, and that condition has been met, which it appears to have been, is it a justification for torture? Also, if a condition for labeling something torture is that it does not produce reliable information, then can something that produces reliable information be considered torture?
    —————

    Just for giggles, let’s assume this is a fair point. The next question would then be, if gaining valid information is the only justification for torture, then wouldn’t that leave torture open to being considered torture in situations where no valid information was obtained?

  55. Mike Walsh April 23, 2009 at 5:09 pm #

    “And Walsh, if Pelosi, Reid or whoever knew about and approved this, they should be held accountable, and I don’t know any liberal who thinks otherwise.”

    Byron, how could they not know about it? The President doesn’t just wake up one morning with a bug up his ass and decide he’s gonna torture prisoners or invade a country. There’s a process involving many people and various agencies before anything is implemented. And, as I mentioned earlier, there’s a team of lawyers that are involved that make sure things pass legal muster. How do you hold all these people accountable? What would you do? Apparently, Obama doesn’t plan to do anything.

  56. Byron April 23, 2009 at 5:23 pm #

    Well I noticed that at least some Dems, including Pelosi I believe, are in favor of a truth commission. I don’t know of any Republicans who are. In fact, Republicans seem to be uniting behind the idea that this was all a great idea. Which is one reason why modern Republicans are pretty much all assholes.

  57. Frankie April 23, 2009 at 7:31 pm #

    Russell said:
    If you actually read the memos to understand what is actually being discussed, you’d see that the opinions were that since great care was taken to protect the subject from physical harm, it was not actually torture.
    —————

    Hmmmm, i wonder when this became the definition of torture. And i wonder if “death” qualifies as “physical harm”.

  58. Mike Walsh April 23, 2009 at 9:55 pm #

    Frankie, modern torture techniques take great care not to leave any physical marks on the victims. It’s not torture that we’ve all seen depicted in countless movies. They don’t pull fingernails off , drill a root of your tooth or inflict burns.

  59. STEEL April 23, 2009 at 10:35 pm #

    If non maiming torture works wouldn’t torture that leaves physical scare work even better? I don’t get why we don’t just go all the way on this.

    Please answer this question if you are in favor of “enhance interrogation”

  60. rastamick April 23, 2009 at 10:42 pm #

    Funny when the right was trying to nail Clinton for getting a hummer from that idiotic bimbo Monica, Ken Starr was conducting a legal investigation into matters of responsibility and accountability etc etc. But when it’s time for the other side to take their medicine it’s described as a witch hunt meant to place blame. For my recently tax cut dollar’s worth I say witch hunt away and blame the fuckers who drew up and issued the orders. We’ve all ready thrown dipshit chicken plucker turned Guard reservist Lindy England and her strapping Sociopathic buck Granger to the wolves, shitcanned a female general and said there, that about covers it. Now let’s just step it up the ladder a bit and show Rush what a real class envy war is about. It’s called taking responsibilty for your regrettable fucking leadership and going to jail for the damage you’ve done your country.

  61. Mike Walsh April 23, 2009 at 11:23 pm #

    “If non maiming torture works wouldn’t torture that leaves physical scare work even better? I don’t get why we don’t just go all the way on this.

    Please answer this question if you are in favor of “enhance interrogation”

    You don’t get it. If there are no physical signs of torture the perpetrators can claim the victims are telling wild stories.

  62. hank April 24, 2009 at 7:52 am #

    Why don’t we just jump out of a closet and fucking say “BOO” at them to get them to talk?

    Physical and Mental pressure to extract information from prisoners has gone on for thousands of years, in all cultures, including the Romans, Greeks and Spartans, the former two to have held their government to high standards, though the personal habits of the Senators were more akin to Bill Clinton and John Kennedy or John Edwards.

    When will you people ever get over your obsession of worry about what the rest of the world thinks of the USA? Nobody’s swimming to Havana for better health care, or locking themselves into containers to live under better human rights conditions in China, though the reverse happens frequently.

    We need to look to ourselves—getting our own oil out of the ground, feeding all the AMERICANS who go to bed hungry every night, give the kids who are getting a shitty, one sided education or quitting school no matter HOW MUCH MONEY THE LIBERALS THROW AT THE PROBLEM.

    It’s time for Americans to tell the rest of the world to kiss our asses while we fix our own problems. Let Israel nuke Iran. Let the Paki’s nuke the Taliban. Let the ROK deal with North Korea, they’re an ethnocentric bunch by nature.

    All you bleeding heart fucks—drive through Buffalo and then read the first 10 pages of 1984—that’s what your policies have wrought. It looks like London under ENGSOC.

  63. Russell April 24, 2009 at 7:57 am #

    STEEL’s questions are not legitimate because they are hyperbole and irrelevant. Debating whether or not these techniques are torture does not mean that obvious uses of torture are being discussed. They are clearly not what the debate is or ever was about.

    Frankie, that definition is not applicable here because of the points already discussed. These techniques went to great lengths to protect the subject from physical harm, unlike those cases we prosecuted. Intent to do harm is a major caveat.

    Michael, where in the Geneva Conventions is it stated that they defer to Webster for a definition of all listed terms? It’s not in there. That’s not the definition given and that is not how legal documents work. If it’s not clearly defined, as it is not, then it is open to interpretation, as is the case.

  64. Byron April 24, 2009 at 7:59 am #

    Russy and other torture cheerleaders might try answering Splett’s question at #35 above if they’re so confident in their position.

  65. Byron April 24, 2009 at 8:01 am #

    Russy, waterboarding is obviously torture. Are you seriously (to use your favorite word) arguing otherwise?

  66. STEEL April 24, 2009 at 8:07 am #

    Russel,

    Answer the question. If torture works why not go all the way?

    If maiming a guy saves American lives why not do it? That has been the justification. Now why don’t you stand behind your own argument?

  67. Larry Castellani April 24, 2009 at 8:43 am #

    In the spirit of finding the forest again, having got lost in the trees, note how well all this hullabaloo about torture serves us not finding out that the real purpose of the “interrogation program” was to extract confressions with ‘information’ proving a connection between Saddam and al Quaida after we all realized that Bush’s bullshit about WMD’s was exactly that: bullshit that the fanatical fringe swallowed hook, line and sinker. Brush those teeth well tonight!

  68. Russell April 24, 2009 at 9:16 am #

    Byron, I answered Splett’s question in my answer to Frankie just above yours. And it appears it is still being debated whether or not the form of waterboarding used was clearly torture and therefore illegal. We knowhundreds of instances of its use, but not one single person has been charged with any crime yet, let alone convicted. Once that happens, if it does, then we’ll clearly know whether it was illegal torture or not.

    STEEL, it’s still a stupid question. Just because something is good, or useful, or works, does not mean that overdoing it is as well. In these specific cases we see that these specific techniques worked. We cannot say that any other type of technique, even those whose legality is not debated, would have worked. To make a ridiculous analogy, which you seem to love so much; water is necessary to live. We’re told to drink 8 glasses a day to keep us healthy. If you do not have any for a long period of time, you can die. That does not mean that you should drink as much water as you could possibly drink down, and then some. That will not keep you healthy. That will kill you. Just because ‘A’ works does not mean that ‘A’ times 10 will work just as well or even better. You obviously lack logic if you really feel this is such a great question.

  69. The Humanist April 24, 2009 at 9:22 am #

    “And it appears it is still being debated whether or not the form of waterboarding used was clearly torture and therefore illegal”

    The only “debate” over waterboarding as torture is being ginned up by torture apologists, flailing to give some legitimacy to torture. Back in the real world, everyone else concurs that waterboarding is torture and, as such, is illegal.

  70. Byron April 24, 2009 at 9:29 am #

    It’s being debated by whom? Bush flunkies on one side and the civilized world on the other?

    The waterboarding technique that was used at Guantanamo is described in detail in the recently released OLC memos, which you can find here. Compare it to the description of the “water cure” used by the Japanese on American soldiers, in WWII, here, which was prosecuted as a war crime. It’s the same basic method. Waterboarding, as practiced at Guantanamo, constituted “torture” under the standards that America once applied to its enemies. It’s still torture. There is no debate.

  71. Ben McD April 24, 2009 at 9:53 am #

    So, the morality of an action is based on the action itself, and not the motivation behind its use. Is that what people are arguing? I just want to be clear.

  72. Michael April 24, 2009 at 10:06 am #

    What’s so difficult about complying with the international treaty we willingly signed that procribes BOTH the torture and coercion of prisoners? It’s clear cut. And all those who’re hair splitting on waterboarding and sleep deprivation and “stress positions” just gloss right over the word “coercion”. I’ll bite. So hanging someone upside down and forcing them to stay awake like that for 11 days isn’t torture. Fine, but it sure freaking qualifies as coercion.

    What about the blowback? By publicly setting this example, we’re greenlighing the behavior of any villians anywhere to torture and coerce American soldiers and citizens. We lose our footing for any moral argument.

    If this is supposed to be the Greatest Country on Earth then shouldn’t we lead by example, set a high standard, live up to that standard, foreswear expediency, and condemn evil instead of fingerbanging it?

    Matt 7:16:
    “You will (A)know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?”

    MacBeth, Act 1 Scene 7:
    “If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well
    It were done quickly. If th’ assassination
    Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
    With his surcease success: that but this blow
    Might be the be-all and the end-all, here,
    But here upon this bank and shoal of time,
    We’d jump the life to come. But in these cases
    We still have judgement here, that we but teach
    Bloody instructions which, being taught, return
    To plague th’inventor.”

    And from the recently and heavily touted 1984:
    “The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretense was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.”

  73. Russell April 24, 2009 at 12:26 pm #

    Ben, apparently I must answer all of their questions three times over, even the ridiculous, but they can ignore the uncomfortable ones they have no response to. Their silence is saying more than all the words they’ve spewed over this.

    Humanist and Byron, members of Obama’s own administration are debating it and have been. None of it is with anyone from Bush’s. We’ll see what the Attorney General decideds.

    Michael, so now not only is Jesus supposed to set our foreign policy, but Shakespeare and George Orwell should assist? Well, I prefer this quote from Orwell: “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” Sounds more fitting.

  74. Byron April 24, 2009 at 12:32 pm #

    The Obama administration is debating whether to establish a truth commission or the like, NOT whether waterboarding is torture – the issue about which, I opined, there was no real debate. Holder has stated definitively that waterboarding is torture. Surely you knew that?

    What uncomfortable questions are torture opponents ignoring?

  75. Russell April 24, 2009 at 1:27 pm #

    Hundreds of confirmed cases and not one prosecution. Still debating whether or not to charge anyone. Yep, obviously illegal.

    Ben’s question. How was that not clear?

  76. Michael April 24, 2009 at 1:27 pm #

    Not foreign or military policy, but perhaps moral policy. There’s truth in all three of those quotes*.

    Rough men standing ready to do violence are a necessity to ward against evil and keep people safe. No argument. But they’re standing ready. We should be a nation that wants to be protected by Steve Rogers, not Jack Bauer.

    When Americans are being tortured, coerced, or “simply” waterboarded, should we expect no cries of “foul play” from those who support torture, coercion or waterboarding when it supposedly benefits American interests?

    *And this is getting away from the topic, but there are many on the Conservative Right (or however you wish to label them) that would be all too happy to lose any separation of Church and State and let whatever cherry-picked religious philosophy they subscribe to set foreign & domestic policy.

  77. STEEL April 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm #

    Russel,

    It is your side claiming that torture works not me. I don’t want any kind of torture. I am just trying to figure out how your side determines when it is good torture versus evil torture. If torture works why put limits on it? Are you now saying only some kinds of torture work? Are there studies on that? Or is it that you find some kinds of torture repugnant and so won’t put your seal of approval on it?

    Russel, you want it both ways. You want your torture as long as you are given the cover of “enhanced interrogation” If the torture leaves behind a few scars you are no longer for it no matter how many American lives it saves. That does not make sense.

  78. Byron April 24, 2009 at 5:00 pm #

    Ben’s question, which I didn’t take as directed at me, went a whole 2-1/2 hours without being answered, so Russy says it’s an “uncomfortable” question that “we have no response to”. LOL.

    Ben: I was focusing more on legality than morality, and I believe that what was done at Guantanamo was illegal regardless of the motivation. I hope the 5 hour delay in responding wasn’t as irksome to you as it was to Russy. I would also remind you that apparently one of the motivations behind the Gitmo torture was to establish a non-existent link between Al Qaeda and Iraq so as to justify the insanity of 2003 – hardly a laudable motivation. Further, who’s to say that the Japanese captors who administered the water cure didn’t have defensible motives? I wonder if they were even allowed to present evidence of their motives. When they were prosecuted for war crimes. For waterboarding.

    As for Russy, he is now down to “no one has been convicted yet so it was legal”. By this (il)logic, OJ Simpson and Adolf Hitler aren’t criminals either, but I guess when you’re defending torture you have to be creative.

  79. Frankie April 24, 2009 at 5:50 pm #

    Russell said:
    Frankie, that definition is not applicable here because of the points already discussed. These techniques went to great lengths to protect the subject from physical harm, unlike those cases we prosecuted. Intent to do harm is a major caveat.
    —————-

    Where do you get this stuff? You better hone up on your “because it worked” argument Russell. Pictures are coming out soon.

    And i guess those dead detainess weren’t “harmed”. Take that argument to a jury. Would love to see their reaction.

  80. Frankie April 24, 2009 at 8:14 pm #

    The UN definition of torture, signed by Ronald Reagan:

    1. For the purposes of this Convention, the term “torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

    Don’t see any caveats in there Russell, about “intent to do harm”, whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean in your world.

    And there’s this for the “it worked” crowd:

    2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political in stability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

    Seems pretty unambiguous – for those of us able to read.

    It’s all here:

    http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cat.htm

  81. Chris from OP April 24, 2009 at 9:48 pm #

    We are America and we don’t fucking torture (period)

  82. Chris from OP April 24, 2009 at 9:51 pm #

    In this thread I’ve seen the following referenced: The Geneva Conventions, Shakespeare and the Bible, but have we forgotten this little gem:

    “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

  83. Frankie April 25, 2009 at 7:44 am #

    Frankly, i can’t wait to see what argument the apologists come up with next. The ones so far have all been laughably inane. I expect them to only get more so.

  84. Byron April 25, 2009 at 7:58 am #

    “The military agency that provided advice on harsh interrogation techniques for use against terrorism suspects referred to the application of extreme duress as “torture” in a July 2002 document sent to the Pentagon’s chief lawyer and warned that it would produce “unreliable information.”

    “The unintended consequence of a U.S. policy that provides for the torture of prisoners is that it could be used by our adversaries as justification for the torture of captured U.S. personnel,” says the document.

    (WaPo)

  85. Byron April 25, 2009 at 10:43 am #

    Jon Stewart played a clip of Rove screaming that disclosure of the OLC memos meant that “these [torture] techniques are ruined!!”

    It gets more surreal every day.

  86. Russell April 27, 2009 at 7:34 am #

    Frankie, thank you. Your quote said it all. “For the purposes of this Convention, the term ‘torture’ means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person…”

    That clearly states that pain and suffering must be intentionally inflicted for it to be torture. There’s the major caveat, right there. I don’t know why it’s so hard for all of you to comprehend that. Perhaps it does not directly use the words “intent to do harm” but that’s the same idea as “intentionally inflicted”. Clearly, it’s not torture if pain and suffering are not intentionally inflicted. As the memos clearly state, great lengths were taken to protect the subject from pain and harm. Therefore, no intent to inflict pain means no torture. I concur, it’s unambiguous.

  87. Russell April 27, 2009 at 7:41 am #

    Byron, if an act is never punished and no one, even those everyone knows performed the act, is ever charged with a crime, then that act is indeed de facto legal, even if not de jure. I know those terms may be beyond your reading level, but that’s why we have those two terms meaning two entirely different things.

    This was a discussion about an act not individuals, so your analogy is not applicable.

  88. Byron April 27, 2009 at 7:58 am #

    There was no intent to inflict pain and suffering in forcing prisoners to endure stress positions, sleep deprivation and waterboarding? OK, I guess we’ll just have to disagree. I side with the torture opponents.

    And people were legally punished for the act of waterboarding, as has already been pointed out. It was prosecuted as a war crime. By the U.S.

  89. Russell April 27, 2009 at 9:32 am #

    If something has not been prosecuted for well over 50 years, even though it’s still going on, that still makes it de facto legal. However, I’m talking about these cases and this situation, not what was done in WWII. These techniques were different from what was used in the past. That’s the whole point.

    The memos outline the measures taken to aviod pain and suffering. That’s not just my opinion. Again, it’s the whole point of the real discussion.

  90. Byron April 27, 2009 at 10:00 am #

    How as the waterboarding applied 183 times in 30 days to KSM significantly different from what was done in WWII, and how did it not result in pain or suffering?

  91. Russell April 27, 2009 at 10:46 am #

    Read the memos.

  92. Byron April 27, 2009 at 10:55 am #

    I did, and I’ve read descriptions of the water cure used by the Japanese in WWII and prosecuted as a war crime. They’re the same basic technique, as I already posted earlier..

  93. Byron April 27, 2009 at 11:06 am #

    Let’s ask it another way: up until this controversy, did any reputable person or organization ever claim that waterboarding did NOT constitute torture?

  94. Byron April 27, 2009 at 11:54 am #

    By the way, it isn’t true that waterboarding “has not been prosecuted for well over 50 years”. Ronald Reagan’s Justice Department prosecuted a Texas sheriff and three deputies for waterboarding prisoners in 1983 to get confessions, and secured a 10-year sentence against the sheriff and four years in prison for the deputies.

  95. Russell April 27, 2009 at 11:54 am #

    It’s not just general waterboarding that we’re talking about. It’s specifically the methods and techniques used as part of the waterboarding utilized by the CIA and other intelligence units over the past 8+ years that people are saying did not constitute torture. If you read the memos, you’d already know that they draw a distinction that centers around that “intent” clause that Frankie so helpfully highlighted for us. So under that perspective, yes, numerous reputable people and organizations would have at least debated whether or not this particular technique, or the others employed during the period in question, would have constituted torture. And that debate is still ongoing. In fact, the very people that carried out these specific techniques have already been assured by our president that they will never be prosecuted or punished for it.

  96. Byron April 27, 2009 at 11:59 am #

    And you have yet to point to a single difference between waterboarding as practiced at Guantanamo and waterboarding as practiced by the Japanese in WWII and prosecuted as a war crime.

  97. Russell April 27, 2009 at 12:01 pm #

    Again, not a relevant analogy for a number of reasons. We are not talking about US citizens, domestic police forces, criminal rights guaranteed by the Constitution, etc. The cases are apples and oranges. The CIA operates under an entirely different set of rules, laws, and procedures than those of county sheriffs. Internationally, which is the case here, it has not been prosecuted by the US in well over 50 years. And it doesn’t look like it will be any time soon. Even if you can dig up even more recent cases, it doesn’t change the fact that no one has been prosecuted for these specific actions in question, and those that have actually performed the acts have already been assured they will never be.

  98. Russell April 27, 2009 at 12:27 pm #

    Here’s an article pointing out that Director Blair during his confirmation hearings refused to call waterboarding torture. He’s considered reputable and was confirmed.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSTRE50L63F20090122

    Here’s an article further illustrating why the Regan analogy does not apply:
    http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/04/24/gitmo.lawsuit/index.html?iref=newssearch

    As for the differences between what the Japanese were prosecuted for and the techniques the US used, I do not know the specifics about the Japanese techniques, but I do know that the memos outline precautions that were to be followed to minimize the risk of death, irreparable, long term mental harm among other things.

  99. Byron April 27, 2009 at 1:11 pm #

    Or in other words, the CIA has the legal right to do to prisoners that which, when done by the Japanese military to American soldiers was ruled to be a war crime, when done by the Marcos regime to its prisoners was held to be a compensable war crime; when done by a Texas sheriff was a federal crime – that which has been labeled “torture” by former CIA officials, war veterans, legal experts in a letter to the Attorney General, and retired JAGs.

    Gotcha – I have no more questions.

  100. Russell April 27, 2009 at 1:58 pm #

    Yep, you’re right. It’s that cut and dry. Obviously, the former Director of the CIA has no idea what he’s talking about. Neither does the current National Director of Intelligence nor, by extension, the current president, who nominated Blair, stood by him, and works with him everday. The same president who stated flat out that no one in the CIA who actually performed these actions will ever face prosecution. Yep, that’s it. Your faulty analogies and shaky logic matter much more than the people whose opinions actually matter. You sure got me on that one.

  101. Byron April 27, 2009 at 2:04 pm #

    Russy, the fact that they probably will not choose to prosecute obviously does not prove that what was done was legal. Even you can’t be stupid enough to make that argument. Prosecutors and the executive branch in general may choose not to prosecute criminal conduct for any number of reasons. Nixon wasn’t prosecuted either; I suppose he’s innocent as well?

  102. Byron April 27, 2009 at 2:08 pm #

    Oh and as I already said – Republicans were divided on immigration reform, divided on Bush’ spending, divided on NCLB. But on torturing prisoners – a completely unified front. What a pathetic, degenerate party.

  103. Russell April 27, 2009 at 3:07 pm #

    Sounds like some Democrats joined them.

    Nixon was pardoned. Everyone knew prosecution was forthcoming and the people that actually committed the acts were prosecuted, found guilty and imprisoned, so again, wrong analogy.

    No prosecution makes the acts, as I already stated, de facto legal. How you can state that something is horribly wrong, detestable, outrageously illegal and completely counter to everything we believe in, but at the sametime uncategorically state that no one who actually committed these horrendous acts will ever be punished, brought to justice, or even charged with any wrong doing whatsoever? Not even so much as a slap on the wrist. You really think that’s consistent? Sounds like acceptance and permissibility to me.

  104. Frankie April 27, 2009 at 4:41 pm #

    Byron, give it up. Russell would sit there and argue the sky was green if he had to and there’d be absolutely nothing you or i could say that would get him to admit it’s blue on clear days and white or gray on cloudy days. His whole argument has boiled down to, there was no intent to cause pain and suffering. Never mind, of course, that inflicting pain and suffering is the whole point of the practices undertaken. You know it, i know it, and he knows it. He’s just being a troll.

  105. Byron April 27, 2009 at 4:53 pm #

    Yes, from now on I think I’ll let Carmine DeFacto’s torture cheerleading speak for itself.

  106. Byron April 27, 2009 at 4:54 pm #

    Agreed; I won’t waste any more time on Carmine DeFacto the torture cheerleader.

  107. Russell April 28, 2009 at 11:02 am #

    If a scientist declared the sky is blue, you kids would ask what his party affiliation is before you decide whether or not to believe him.

    What I’m saying is in line with the former Director of the CIA and the current Director of National Intelligence. It’s coming straight from the recently released memos. What you’re saying is in line with grandstanding politicians, former lower level officers who have an axe to grind, and bleeding heart bloggers completely removed from the situation. Oh yes, I can’t forget, you have Jesus and William Shakespeare on your side, too. Good for you.

  108. Frankie April 28, 2009 at 7:38 pm #

    So you’re in line with someone who claims he didn’t commit war crimes, and someone whose mouth you’re putting words into.

    I’m in line with the attorney general, John McCain, and 71% of the American people. In addition to, of course, grandstanding politicians, former lower level officers who have an axe to grind, and bleeding heart bloggers.

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/04/waterboarding-is-torture.html

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