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BS: Obama and torture

Peter T. 21 Apr 09 - 06:51 AM
Donuel 21 Apr 09 - 03:49 PM
Rapparee 21 Apr 09 - 04:00 PM
Donuel 21 Apr 09 - 04:07 PM
Rapparee 21 Apr 09 - 04:22 PM
Donuel 21 Apr 09 - 04:36 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 21 Apr 09 - 04:41 PM
Donuel 21 Apr 09 - 04:46 PM
Rapparee 21 Apr 09 - 05:12 PM
Donuel 21 Apr 09 - 05:18 PM
Peter T. 21 Apr 09 - 05:38 PM
GUEST,Slag 21 Apr 09 - 05:46 PM
Amos 21 Apr 09 - 05:50 PM
Rapparee 21 Apr 09 - 05:53 PM
beardedbruce 21 Apr 09 - 05:58 PM
artbrooks 21 Apr 09 - 06:21 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Apr 09 - 07:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Apr 09 - 08:31 PM
GUEST,Slag 22 Apr 09 - 01:56 AM
akenaton 22 Apr 09 - 02:49 AM
JohnInKansas 22 Apr 09 - 02:19 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Apr 09 - 03:03 PM
Donuel 22 Apr 09 - 03:19 PM
Little Hawk 22 Apr 09 - 03:23 PM
Amos 22 Apr 09 - 03:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Apr 09 - 03:35 PM
Donuel 22 Apr 09 - 04:00 PM
Amos 22 Apr 09 - 04:03 PM
Donuel 22 Apr 09 - 04:10 PM
dick greenhaus 22 Apr 09 - 04:11 PM
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Don(Wyziwyg)T 22 Apr 09 - 06:13 PM
Barry Finn 22 Apr 09 - 06:42 PM
artbrooks 22 Apr 09 - 07:47 PM
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Little Hawk 23 Apr 09 - 12:32 AM
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Peter T. 23 Apr 09 - 02:56 PM
Donuel 23 Apr 09 - 03:02 PM
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akenaton 24 Apr 09 - 03:30 AM
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Amos 24 Apr 09 - 10:45 AM
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Stringsinger 24 Apr 09 - 02:46 PM
gnu 24 Apr 09 - 03:48 PM
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Stringsinger 26 Apr 09 - 10:37 AM
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CarolC 26 Apr 09 - 12:56 PM
Peter T. 26 Apr 09 - 12:58 PM
Charley Noble 26 Apr 09 - 01:01 PM
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beardedbruce 27 Apr 09 - 08:00 AM
Greg F. 27 Apr 09 - 09:01 AM
artbrooks 27 Apr 09 - 09:13 AM
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Peter T. 27 Apr 09 - 11:09 AM
pdq 27 Apr 09 - 11:34 AM
Amos 27 Apr 09 - 12:14 PM
CarolC 27 Apr 09 - 12:29 PM
Little Hawk 27 Apr 09 - 01:10 PM
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Peter T. 27 Apr 09 - 03:29 PM
Little Hawk 27 Apr 09 - 03:44 PM
Riginslinger 27 Apr 09 - 09:34 PM
pdq 27 Apr 09 - 09:53 PM
artbrooks 27 Apr 09 - 10:45 PM
Donuel 27 Apr 09 - 10:46 PM
Peter T. 27 Apr 09 - 10:56 PM
Donuel 27 Apr 09 - 11:00 PM
Riginslinger 28 Apr 09 - 10:18 AM
Peter T. 28 Apr 09 - 10:36 AM
Peter T. 28 Apr 09 - 05:29 PM
Peter T. 29 Apr 09 - 09:47 AM
Donuel 29 Apr 09 - 09:57 AM
Donuel 29 Apr 09 - 10:03 AM
Peter T. 29 Apr 09 - 12:01 PM
CarolC 29 Apr 09 - 01:29 PM
Amos 29 Apr 09 - 01:48 PM
Little Hawk 29 Apr 09 - 09:21 PM
TIA 29 Apr 09 - 09:58 PM
Donuel 29 Apr 09 - 10:25 PM
Donuel 29 Apr 09 - 10:30 PM
akenaton 30 Apr 09 - 02:45 AM
GUEST,CrazyEddie 30 Apr 09 - 05:11 AM
Peter T. 30 Apr 09 - 07:33 AM
Peter T. 30 Apr 09 - 07:49 AM
Riginslinger 30 Apr 09 - 10:11 AM
akenaton 30 Apr 09 - 04:52 PM
Teribus 30 Apr 09 - 06:36 PM
artbrooks 30 Apr 09 - 07:46 PM
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dick greenhaus 30 Apr 09 - 09:09 PM
robomatic 30 Apr 09 - 09:50 PM
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Teribus 01 May 09 - 04:10 AM
artbrooks 01 May 09 - 08:28 AM
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CarolC 01 May 09 - 10:44 AM
Teribus 01 May 09 - 10:53 AM
artbrooks 01 May 09 - 11:37 AM
CarolC 01 May 09 - 11:45 AM
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robomatic 01 May 09 - 01:45 PM
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Little Hawk 02 May 09 - 01:03 AM
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Riginslinger 02 May 09 - 09:26 AM
number 6 02 May 09 - 09:50 AM
Peter T. 02 May 09 - 10:33 AM
number 6 02 May 09 - 10:49 AM
CarolC 02 May 09 - 11:01 AM
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CarolC 02 May 09 - 11:55 AM
Little Hawk 02 May 09 - 12:11 PM
Peter T. 02 May 09 - 12:43 PM
Little Hawk 02 May 09 - 02:04 PM
CarolC 02 May 09 - 03:12 PM
number 6 02 May 09 - 03:48 PM
CarolC 02 May 09 - 05:01 PM
Peter T. 02 May 09 - 06:15 PM
Peter T. 02 May 09 - 06:16 PM
number 6 02 May 09 - 08:10 PM
Riginslinger 02 May 09 - 08:57 PM
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Little Hawk 02 May 09 - 09:48 PM
number 6 02 May 09 - 10:54 PM
number 6 02 May 09 - 11:09 PM
Little Hawk 02 May 09 - 11:45 PM
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number 6 03 May 09 - 12:11 AM
CarolC 03 May 09 - 12:16 AM
number 6 03 May 09 - 12:31 AM
Little Hawk 03 May 09 - 12:51 AM
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CarolC 03 May 09 - 02:21 AM
CarolC 03 May 09 - 02:23 AM
number 6 03 May 09 - 02:37 AM
Teribus 03 May 09 - 08:06 AM
number 6 03 May 09 - 08:27 AM
Riginslinger 03 May 09 - 10:06 AM
Peter T. 03 May 09 - 10:32 AM
Donuel 03 May 09 - 10:49 AM
Riginslinger 03 May 09 - 11:53 AM
Peter T. 03 May 09 - 12:41 PM
CarolC 03 May 09 - 12:53 PM
Greg F. 03 May 09 - 04:45 PM
number 6 03 May 09 - 05:03 PM
CarolC 03 May 09 - 06:26 PM
Riginslinger 03 May 09 - 07:28 PM
Greg F. 03 May 09 - 10:01 PM
Little Hawk 03 May 09 - 10:12 PM
Riginslinger 03 May 09 - 11:26 PM
CarolC 04 May 09 - 12:01 AM
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Greg F. 04 May 09 - 08:00 AM
Riginslinger 04 May 09 - 08:58 AM
Peter T. 04 May 09 - 09:46 AM
Teribus 04 May 09 - 10:07 AM
Riginslinger 04 May 09 - 10:17 AM
Wesley S 04 May 09 - 11:00 AM
CarolC 04 May 09 - 12:02 PM
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Wolfgang 04 May 09 - 12:54 PM
CarolC 04 May 09 - 01:14 PM
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Peter T. 04 May 09 - 04:30 PM
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Riginslinger 04 May 09 - 10:18 PM
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beardedbruce 12 May 09 - 03:09 PM
CarolC 12 May 09 - 03:26 PM
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CarolC 12 May 09 - 03:43 PM
Peter T. 13 May 09 - 03:09 PM
Riginslinger 13 May 09 - 04:52 PM
robomatic 13 May 09 - 08:41 PM
Riginslinger 13 May 09 - 10:04 PM
CarolC 13 May 09 - 10:08 PM
Janie 13 May 09 - 11:28 PM
GUEST,beardedbruce 14 May 09 - 07:51 AM
Peter T. 14 May 09 - 10:30 AM
Greg F. 14 May 09 - 10:34 AM
beardedbruce 14 May 09 - 11:02 AM
CarolC 14 May 09 - 12:14 PM
Greg F. 14 May 09 - 04:23 PM
beardedbruce 14 May 09 - 04:28 PM
Riginslinger 14 May 09 - 07:29 PM
Bobert 14 May 09 - 07:43 PM
McGrath of Harlow 14 May 09 - 08:18 PM
Riginslinger 14 May 09 - 10:13 PM
Janie 14 May 09 - 11:01 PM
Bill D 14 May 09 - 11:27 PM
CarolC 14 May 09 - 11:40 PM
beardedbruce 15 May 09 - 07:23 AM
Bobert 15 May 09 - 07:46 AM
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Peter T. 15 May 09 - 08:17 AM
beardedbruce 15 May 09 - 08:41 AM
beardedbruce 15 May 09 - 08:54 AM
Bill D 15 May 09 - 11:52 AM
Peter T. 15 May 09 - 12:16 PM
pdq 15 May 09 - 12:28 PM
Charley Noble 15 May 09 - 12:32 PM
GUEST,Al 15 May 09 - 01:12 PM
CarolC 15 May 09 - 01:21 PM
Bill D 15 May 09 - 04:50 PM
Bobert 15 May 09 - 09:05 PM
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Riginslinger 15 May 09 - 10:56 PM
Charley Noble 15 May 09 - 11:36 PM
Bobert 16 May 09 - 08:26 AM
Peter T. 16 May 09 - 11:21 AM
Stringsinger 16 May 09 - 01:56 PM
Riginslinger 16 May 09 - 04:27 PM
Peter T. 16 May 09 - 06:48 PM
CarolC 16 May 09 - 06:59 PM
Riginslinger 16 May 09 - 09:25 PM
Peter T. 16 May 09 - 11:42 PM
CarolC 17 May 09 - 03:17 AM
Riginslinger 17 May 09 - 08:33 AM
Bobert 17 May 09 - 09:28 AM
Peter T. 17 May 09 - 01:16 PM
Riginslinger 17 May 09 - 02:12 PM
Peter T. 17 May 09 - 03:49 PM
CarolC 17 May 09 - 03:54 PM
CarolC 17 May 09 - 04:02 PM
Bobert 17 May 09 - 05:11 PM
Riginslinger 17 May 09 - 10:05 PM
Bobert 18 May 09 - 07:23 AM
Riginslinger 18 May 09 - 10:21 AM
CarolC 18 May 09 - 11:33 AM
Peter T. 18 May 09 - 11:49 AM
dick greenhaus 18 May 09 - 02:40 PM
Bobert 18 May 09 - 07:40 PM
Richard Bridge 18 May 09 - 08:04 PM
Richard Bridge 18 May 09 - 08:08 PM
Bobert 18 May 09 - 08:15 PM
Riginslinger 18 May 09 - 10:00 PM
CarolC 18 May 09 - 10:05 PM
Riginslinger 18 May 09 - 10:24 PM
CarolC 18 May 09 - 10:39 PM
Riginslinger 18 May 09 - 11:56 PM
CarolC 19 May 09 - 12:51 AM
Teribus 19 May 09 - 01:23 AM
CarolC 19 May 09 - 03:11 AM
Richard Bridge 19 May 09 - 03:37 AM
Riginslinger 19 May 09 - 08:14 AM
Peter T. 19 May 09 - 10:53 AM
CarolC 19 May 09 - 11:15 AM
Riginslinger 19 May 09 - 12:40 PM
beardedbruce 19 May 09 - 01:02 PM
Richard Bridge 19 May 09 - 01:09 PM
Riginslinger 19 May 09 - 01:19 PM
Peter T. 19 May 09 - 03:05 PM
Donuel 19 May 09 - 03:47 PM
Riginslinger 19 May 09 - 04:01 PM
beardedbruce 19 May 09 - 04:21 PM
CarolC 19 May 09 - 04:46 PM
CarolC 19 May 09 - 04:54 PM
dick greenhaus 19 May 09 - 07:52 PM
Riginslinger 19 May 09 - 09:20 PM
Peter T. 19 May 09 - 09:32 PM
Bobert 19 May 09 - 10:30 PM
Riginslinger 19 May 09 - 11:42 PM
Teribus 20 May 09 - 01:06 AM
CarolC 20 May 09 - 02:13 AM
Bobert 20 May 09 - 07:51 AM
beardedbruce 20 May 09 - 07:52 AM
CarolC 20 May 09 - 10:39 AM
pdq 20 May 09 - 11:12 AM
Peter T. 20 May 09 - 11:28 AM
CarolC 20 May 09 - 11:48 AM
Riginslinger 20 May 09 - 12:16 PM
CarolC 20 May 09 - 12:36 PM
pdq 20 May 09 - 12:56 PM
dick greenhaus 20 May 09 - 01:25 PM
Bobert 20 May 09 - 06:34 PM
Riginslinger 21 May 09 - 10:03 PM
CarolC 22 May 09 - 12:03 AM
Bobert 22 May 09 - 07:42 AM
Riginslinger 22 May 09 - 07:59 AM
Amos 22 May 09 - 10:27 AM
Peter T. 22 May 09 - 03:55 PM
Riginslinger 22 May 09 - 04:48 PM
GUEST 26 May 09 - 01:00 PM
CarolC 26 May 09 - 01:07 PM
ard mhacha 26 May 09 - 01:14 PM
Bobert 26 May 09 - 06:24 PM
dick greenhaus 26 May 09 - 08:54 PM
Bobert 26 May 09 - 09:17 PM
Riginslinger 27 May 09 - 12:08 PM
ard mhacha 27 May 09 - 01:11 PM
CarolC 27 May 09 - 01:30 PM
Bobert 27 May 09 - 05:38 PM
Riginslinger 27 May 09 - 06:18 PM
CarolC 27 May 09 - 06:59 PM
Amos 04 Jun 09 - 12:01 PM
dick greenhaus 04 Jun 09 - 12:24 PM
Riginslinger 04 Jun 09 - 12:38 PM
dick greenhaus 04 Jun 09 - 06:13 PM
Riginslinger 04 Jun 09 - 10:04 PM
CarolC 04 Jun 09 - 11:32 PM
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Subject: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 21 Apr 09 - 06:51 AM

"I'm sure that sometimes it seems as if that means we're operating with one hand tied behind our back, or that those who would argue for a higher standard are naive. What makes the United States special, and what makes you special, is precisely the fact that we are willing to uphold our values and our ideals even when it's hard, not just when it's easy; even when we are afraid and under threat, not just when it's expedient to do so. That's what makes us different. So yes, you've got a harder job and so do I. And that's OK."
                                        - Obama at the CIA.

Well, at last someone who understands what the ethical issues are, and the way democracies are supposed to work. I completely disagree with the refusal to prosecute the people (especially the lawyers and Dick Cheney in particular) but at least Obama gets the main idea, which is a relief after the monsters who have had the notion that they were the stars of "24".

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Donuel
Date: 21 Apr 09 - 03:49 PM

Due to making a number of threads with the #1 following the title, I'll respond...


Rush LImbaugh and Cheney say that this claim by Mr. Obama (greeted at the CIA like a Rockstar) is delusional, disloyal and a desperate surrender to our enemies by disclosing our torture techniques.

Maybe their next talking point will be

Support TORTURE
or be TORTURED


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Rapparee
Date: 21 Apr 09 - 04:00 PM

I think that they should all be strappadoed, booted, racked, and then eaten alive by ants.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Donuel
Date: 21 Apr 09 - 04:07 PM

ants glorious ants,red crisp and delicious

There are huge numbers of RUsh listeners who if they could volunteer to torture for the USA would love to have the opportunity to torture.

I SUGGEST we make a website for them to respond to and offer their services. Once they fill out the form, we can contact their employer and friends that "Jack" has an overwheming need to TORTURE someone or something.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Rapparee
Date: 21 Apr 09 - 04:22 PM

Peine forte et dure is too good for 'em. Put 'em in the Little Close.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Donuel
Date: 21 Apr 09 - 04:36 PM

or the pear of pain.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 21 Apr 09 - 04:41 PM

Someone needs to inform Messrs Limbaugh and Cheney that there's no need to disclose our torture techniques to our enemies. They're the same techniques our enemies already use.

We had no torture techniques prior to the "War on Terror". All we had were training programs which exposed military personnel to torture techniques thought to be used by our enemies. When The Decider and his crew decided to authorize torture, they just ripped off the bad guys' torture playbook whole-cloth.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Donuel
Date: 21 Apr 09 - 04:46 PM

We don't terrorize families by showing the beheading of their father on TV.

We video the bomb exploding in the midst of a wedding from 20,000 feet instead. While more tastful, it is hardly looks shocking or awesome at that distance.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Rapparee
Date: 21 Apr 09 - 05:12 PM

Neither, however, is torture of the victims.

Let's drill out their teeth without anesthesia and fill the holes with salt, and then, if their male, shove a thin glass tube up their urethera and then smack their penis with a rubber mallet.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Donuel
Date: 21 Apr 09 - 05:18 PM

26,000 people have been waterboarded by the USA.

They were US troops trained to escape and withstand torture.

Bush lawyers contend that since torture is defined as giving long lasting mental distress and since our own troops are not distressed, its OK

One difference I see is that the prisoners we waterboarded did not have the priviledge of knowing training would end soon and they would be going on leave.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 21 Apr 09 - 05:38 PM

It appears today that Mr. Obama has opened the door to some prosecutions.

I believe that the main reason Dick Cheney and Co are going on like this is so that when the next terrorist attack occurs, they can stand up and say we warned you, and Democrats are traitors. It has nothing to do with stopping terrorism.   They are secretly wishing for one with great ardor.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: GUEST,Slag
Date: 21 Apr 09 - 05:46 PM

Yes, we need to stop the wholesale, widespread, indiscriminate use of torture against political enemies. Impeach Obama.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Amos
Date: 21 Apr 09 - 05:50 PM

Slag, you are writing as though an absolute ass. Your last post is hot wind with no contact with the ground whatsoever.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Rapparee
Date: 21 Apr 09 - 05:53 PM

Tie 'em all down and put a rat on their stomach. Put the rat under a brass bowl and put hot coals on the bottom of the bowl.

Torture needn't take long; it just seems like it goes on forever.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: beardedbruce
Date: 21 Apr 09 - 05:58 PM

Sorry, R.

Not allowed- if you heat a brass bowl, the edge might get hot and burn the person- and that would just not do.

Just leave the rat in, without food, for several days. That way, there would not be any burns.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: artbrooks
Date: 21 Apr 09 - 06:21 PM

What! Starve the poor widdle wat? Get the SPCA out after you!


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Apr 09 - 07:46 PM

So far, Obama has played it well. The memos exposed the practice and the public was made aware of its extent.
Prosecutions may come, but Obama has got the lower level CIA agents and military average Joes on his side by not calling for their prosecution; they were following orders that seem to be tracable to Cheney and his advisors. That is the level where action should be taken (but in three months, I think all will be forgotten).


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Apr 09 - 08:31 PM

Not punishing the latter day Gestapo clones who had no problems in "just obeying orders" in the cause of building company careers, has the side effect of punishing any of their colleagues who might have stayed loyal to the kind of principles Obama was talking about there when he said "What makes the United States special, and what makes you special, is precisely the fact that we are willing to uphold our values and our ideals even when it's hard, not just when it's easy; even when we are afraid and under threat" - and who would have screwed their careers in the process.

Or does that quote (particularly perhaps "and what makes you special") imply that that kind of thing is going to be set right, and that even if the torturers are going to escape prosecution, they are going to be pay in other ways for letting their country and their agency down so badly?


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: GUEST,Slag
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 01:56 AM

Orders! I vas yust following ORDERS! Nothing! I know NOTHING! Bring on those hot pinchers. We'll find out if you know nothing.

Why do the police go about armed? They need fear nothing from me. I obey the laws as well as I can. If I am stopped for going over the posted speed limit a little, am I going to draw down on the officer of the law? No way! so why do they have to be armed? You all know the answer to that, don't you? It's not you or I they are armed against. It is against those who operate OUTSIDE the law, who carry guns and intend harm against the citizens and against law enforcement.

And if these enemies of the law and civilization up the ante and make or find automatic weapons what are the police going to do? Stick to using peashooters against full auto fire? I think not. These days law enforcement has to have parity with what ever the criminals may pull out of their evil bag of tricks.

Elevate that to the national level. Our armies seek to have parity to match whatever a hostile nation might throw our way...or even superiority to deter a hostile nation from even attempting to come at us. We expect our chosen leaders to be able to defend its citizenry. This is not unreasonable.

How do we know what weaponry and design our potential enemies have? Well, that's where our intelligence community comes in, a network of free democracies sharing information gathered and verified from a myriad of sources. The level of conflict and the proven ability of an enemy determines the importance and urgency of the needed information. An enemy that has indiscriminately attacked our citizens and infrastructure of this nation has proven it's intent and information is critical to halt any future attacks.

The degrees of escalation, regardless of that enemy's perceived provocation (or propaganda) is based upon threat level.

As with the officers' of the law, the idea is to meet fire with fire, otherwise we lose...everything.

Our enemies of the past, most notably Germany and Japan, used torture with abandon and I have no doubt that our side also used some techniques that meek and mild would have disapproved of. Our enemies of today also use torture and gruesome murder to inflict terror upon us. Aren't there some occasions where we ought to apply the same or at least the THREAT of the same to counter the plans and ambitions of our enemies?

If we could prevail without such practices I would wholeheartedly agree that we abstain from torture or the threst of torture. If we had good cause, good information that an imminent threat to American or Allied lives existed I think pouring water on somebody's mouth and nose for 40 seconds or telling them there are poisonous bugs in their cell or playing some godawful rock n' roll records non-stop, all without actual harm to the enemy combatant, would not bother me overly much. Sorry if you don't agree but that's your right under this current form of government we have. It is also my right to hold my opinion...currently.

Which brings me to Comrade Obama. Currently. At the rate of his ass-kissing and apologies to the world's dictators and socialist governments is going, at the rate the economy is going, at the rate our freedoms are going, going, going...,why I may have to change my opinion...if I want to live.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: akenaton
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 02:49 AM

Mr Obama still refuses to end "special rendition"......In essence this means that we continue to get other countries to do our torturing for us.
No change there then.

Torturers and CIA leaders who authorised torture will escape punishment.

I think the system seems pretty safe.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 02:19 PM

Memo 1: http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/090416_Torture_Memo1.pdf

Memo 2: http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/090416_Torture_Memo2.pdf

Memo 3: http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/090416_Torture_Memo3.pdf

Memo 4: http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/090416_Torture_Memo4.pdf

An email in circulation alleges that in a classroom discussion an 8 year old kid asked: "If it's so effeective, why did they have to do it to the same guy 83 times?

Good question - even if apocryphal.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 03:03 PM

Ah, the nobility of honourable people who force themselves to degrade themselves in this way, once they have been told to do so by their superiors.

Heinrich Himmler understood this so well when in 1943 he told SS butchers "To have gone through this, and at the same time, apart from exceptions caused by human weaknesses, to have remained decent, that has made us hard. This is a chapter of glory in our history which has never been written, and which never shall be written.

It could have been Dick Cheney talking...


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Donuel
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 03:19 PM

The wisdom of Cheney...

Kill or be killed

Shoot or be shot

Torture or be tortured

Defraud or be defrauded

Pollute or be polluted

Lie or be lied to

Tell Senator Leahey to go f himself or get f'd

Create a Pearl Harbor or be truely surprised by an attack

Steal or be ripped off

-----------------------


As you see his premise of reality does not hold water
The man is ill.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 03:23 PM

Aside from the fact that torture is morally repugnant and a tool of tyrants, here's a practical problem that arises with it:

It very often results in the extraction of totally false confessions and disinformation.

Why? Well, when most people are being tortured and are absolutely desperate to get the torture to end, they will admit to anything the torturers prompt them to admit to.

The torturers will get what they want every time: an admission of guilt. Often as not, that admission is coming from an innocent person, a wrongfully accused person, who simply wants the pain to end.

Thus, millions of helpless people over the course of history have been tortured by tyrannical regimes into admitting to witchcraft and a host of political and religious and other crimes of the day. Then most of them were executed in horrible ways. Innocent people!

If you allow torture at all, that's what you open the door to.

As Joan of Arc informed her jailors who threatened her with torture to get her to admit to heresy: "It would not be me who was talking if you got that admission from me under torture. It would be the torture that was talking."

If the torturers themselves were subjected to the same treatment they meted out to others in the name of church and state, they also would have admitted to the same heresies and crimes. That's what's so damned hypocritical about the entire process of torture, and anyone who condones its use is unwittingly opening the door to one of the most despicable abuses of human rights that can possibly be imagined. If you wish to act like a barbarian in the name of "freedom", then you don't really know what freedom means at all...you just are living in fear, that's all...and you have allowed fear to corrupt your better nature.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Amos
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 03:33 PM

Slag:

If you cannot differentiate between ordinary manners and diplomacy as distinguished from ass-kissing you have no business commenting on international relations. So far Obama has made no wrong moves in the international theater.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 03:35 PM

Maybe the term "unamerican" could be rehabiitated to describe the torturos and their masters.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Donuel
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 04:00 PM

Amos, you must mean the diplomacy of bowing to the Saudi King or shaking hands with a Latin American President or speaking to a diplomat. If retold with Limbaugh spin these events sould be viewed by the unwashed public as heinous acts. The pudgy pimp for FOX Glen Beck is even more insidious with his schtick of his pretense of truth over bipartisanship. He is trying to do a serious double reverse Colbert routine with no humor or grace but only hate and derision.



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I will tell you something that will shock you unless you are in the field of psychology. 51% of all people will torture another person as long as there is an authority figure there to urge them to torture or even kill. This has been known for 50 years as a scientific behavior studies revealed.

The mudcat population is a bit skewed but none the less, even here, there are probably 1/3 of posters that would torture when put in a structured scenario of torture.

That is simply where we are as a herd mammal. I have known people who torture. Not the mental aggravation kind or torture but with powerful cattle prods on a defenseless girl. While they regretted it later it did not prevent them from doing so.

Our ideas of our species being overwhelmingly loving and kind are far loftier than the facts show.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Amos
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 04:03 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama was criticized harshly on Wednesday for leaving the door open to the prosecution of former Bush administration officials who authorized severe CIA interrogation procedures.

Obama's decision to release classified memos last Thursday that detailed aggressive techniques on terrorism suspects that included waterboarding, sleep deprivation and forced nudity has triggered a political firestorm in Washington.

Politicians on the left are eager to launch investigations into the Bush-era policies that were part of the effort to prevent a repeat of the September 11 attacks, while those on the right said Obama seems to be breaking a pledge to look forward, not review the past.

Karl Rove, who was a top aide to former President George W. Bush, accused Obama of seeking to conduct "show trials" a day after the president left open the possibility of prosecuting officials who provided legal analysis of interrogation procedures.

Rove told Reuters: "If the Obama administration insists on criminalizing policy disagreements, how can they place any limits on who they prosecute?"

"Everyone in the interrogation process would have to be treated the same," he said, including the CIA agents, the physicians who monitored interrogation sessions, and the lawyers who researched and wrote the memos.

The chain could reach "to the leadership of the intelligence community to the legislators in both parties and the Bush administration officials who were briefed on these memos and agreed to them," he said.

"It is now clear that the Obama White House didn't think before it tried to appease the hard left of the Democratic Party," Rove said.

"NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW"

Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department will follow the law wherever it leads in probing U.S. officials behind CIA interrogation policies.

"No one is above the law," he said, reiterating that the department had no intention of prosecuting CIA interrogators who acted "in good faith" to follow official legal guidance.

The controversy threatened to become a distraction for Obama as he seeks to keep Americans' attention on his efforts to rebuild the U.S. economy.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters that Obama believes the memos and their release should be a moment for reflection, not a moment for retribution.

Any decision to prosecute anyone, he said, would be made by the Justice Department, not the president or the White House. "I think that the lawyers that are involved are plenty capable of determining whether any law has been broken," he said.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Donuel
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 04:10 PM

John from Kansas

It is alledged that one detainee was waterboarded 183 times, not 83



The most disturbing art ai have done in the last 10 years were the numerous pictures I did of the Bush era torture.

will anyone dare me to reshow these?


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 04:11 PM

There's some sort of disconnect when one claims that warning baddies about torture techniques will enable them to resist those techniques and then waterboarding a alleged baddie over six times a day for a month. One might think that he'd have learned what to expect after, say, the first 10 treatments.

As I recall, we executed som Japanese for war crimes after they had waterboarded US troops in WWII.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 05:40 PM

The decision whether or not to prosecute people accused of crimes is surely not a normal part of the responsibility of a President?


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Amos
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 05:55 PM

It is the prerogative of an Attorney General to initiate prosecution based on evidence under the law.


Kevin's point is well made. We had quite enough of a subordinated Justice department under Karl Rove's administration.



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 06:13 PM

Obama has more than enough to handle, without getting involved in what would seem to be the responsibility of the Attorney General, and the Judiciary.

Since the AG has indicated that investigations WILL take place, and the law WILL be enforced where necessary, why would anybody expect Obama to concern himself with that process?

Seems like another desperate attempt to find anything that might be used to smear the new President, since he has so far failed dismally in giving any genuine cause for criticism.

So, hard luck Slag, he's just not going to be got rid of so easily.

Leaving aside the internal politics of the USA, it would seem that Barack Obama has achieved, in a very short time, the position of World's most popular national leader.

Must be doing SOMETHING right, wouldn't you say?

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Barry Finn
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 06:42 PM

A quote I read a long time ago that stuck in my throat & can't remember where went something like: "No nation that has lasted has ever used torture that hasn't eventually turned & used it on & against it's own citizen's"

Barry


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: artbrooks
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 07:47 PM

Barry, parse that sentence, would you? I can't figure out what it really means.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: GUEST,Slag
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 07:53 PM

Thank goodness I stepped in with a different point of view or this thread would have bogged down and gone no where.

Amos, I didn't see any quote marks around the sayings which you attributed to Mr. Cheney. Nor could I find them anywhere on the net. Perhaps you should cite your source(s).

LH you are absolutely correct about the product torture illicits. You can make just about anybody say anything you want by applying torture. At best it would be used to confirm information already known or flesh out what is already known. It might also be used as an indirect method of getting information by not asking the direct questions. I would be most interested to learn, as Cheney has indicated, exactly what was extracted from those prisoners and how it helped to protect us from further attacks.

As a personal note, I do not believe that I could ever knowingly torture anyone. Who would want to live their life with a constant memory of having done something like that? By the same token I could not live with myself if I decided to blow up a building and kill a lot of innocent folks because of their race or choice of religion. I would, however, use whatever force is necessary and sufficient to protect the innocent and the freedoms that are our human rights.

So many here on the Mudcat appear to subscribe to the ethic that the situation determines what action (if any)should be taken in response to a given condition: situation ethics. But when something like the question of torture comes up suddenly everybody has a deontological point of view. What? There are absolutes?

I would prefer that our nation NEVER resort to torture. That we could always take the high road but showing all your cards is quite a handicap in a game where human lives are at stake. This is exactly what our enemies want, division and moral quandaries as they believe this will weaken and divide their enemy (us). They have little or no moral compunction about the acts of terror they are willing to perpetrate. What's your answer to defending this nation or any free people or democracy? Give up? Surrender? If we all became Muslims do you think that would deter these haters? They are killing their own, enslaving women, torturing and beheading anyone who disagrees with them. They make the Nazis look like pikers as far as their vehemence goes, and their global ambitions. I have not personally reached a pat conclusion on this question of torture but I hope and believe that those whose duty it is to know and protect the citizenry are acting with whatever degree of moral restraint is possible and still be effective in that duty.

Barry, no nation has lasted. Period.

Amos, no one is above the law? Just by way of example, California citizens have asserted in a couple of elections now that marriage is traditionally and legally only between a man and a woman. This was a matter of the state's constitution. This is a democracy and the will of the people must prevail and yet three justices of the State Supreme court rose above the law and overturned the will of the people. You may or may not agree with that law but it was and is the will of the people. I could go on to other example such as Second Amendment rights, etc. but I hope you get my point.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Amos
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 08:19 PM

Slag:

The last entry I posted about Cheney clearly says "Reuters" in its header. Reuters, as you may know, is a news wire service.

Let me point out further that you have somewhat shorthanded the issue in your examples. First, the Supreme Court of California asserted the legality of same-sex marriage; then there was a referendum, which was heavily influenced by out-of-state campaigns, and which passed marginally; it however is still under review on the grounds that it is not legal to modify the Constitution of California by referendum only. In other words, even a mob is not above the law. The justices were not rising above the law; they were requiring the law be applied. That is their job.

But far more important, the phrase "No-one is above the law" does not mean "no-one may protest the law". So your point escapes me. It means no-one may violate the law without being subject to prosecution.

If I were to go around declaring people legally married in California who had had that right temporarily denied them by this referendum, I suppose I could be arrested for legal fraud. But if I simply voice my deep and everlasting objection to the discrimination inherent in such a biased law, why I am merely exercising my rights as a citizen with no pretensions of being above any law.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: GUEST,Slag
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 09:25 PM

"Reuters" in your post of this day, 3:19 PM? Afraid not.

Of course you may protest any law, except perhaps, some future law which denies you the freedom of speech.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: artbrooks
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 09:36 PM

I believe, Slag, that you may be referring to a post by Donuel at 3:19 pm.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Amos
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 10:27 PM

Slag:

Donuel was offering his own home-spun aphorisms on the attitudes evident in Cheny's remarks; it was not my post.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 12:32 AM

I understand your concerns about national security, Slag. But what concerns me is what a government decides to do as an official matter of policy. I do not believe that governments should ever be allowed to make torture an official policy...not for their police or their military or their security agencies.

Unique situations can and do arise where people will take some desperate actions based on desperate circumstances...and those situations are unpredictable. No law or official policy can prepare for all of them.

For instance, if I had someone in custody who I felt definitely knew where an atomic bomb had been planted in a city, a bomb that was going to go off in three hours, would I break the normal rules...(the Geneva Conventions)...and use force or torture to get him to say where it was hidden? Sure I would. Definitely. The stakes in human terms would simply be too high not to in that case!

And then I'd face the legal repercussions later, if necessary. That is a judgement call that has to be made on the spot by whoever's in command when a crisis arises, and he must make it himself...not on the basis of an official policy, but on the basis of absolute necessity.

Like I said, no law or official policy can prepare for every eventuality that may arise. We have brains so we can form our own judgements and deal with such situations...regardless of what the official policy is.

However, I think it is a very bad idea to have in place a law or official policy in any nation which legitimizes the practice of torture of prisoners as a normally allowable procedure. As soon as you've done that you don't really have a free or a just society anymore, you have the beginnings of a dictatorship. That's why I oppose such policies on principle, and that would be my argument with the past administration.

It is not that I oppose it in every single case that might conceivably arise. It is that I oppose it being established as a legal policy. Governments should not be given such official powers. It's far too dangerous, and it usually results in major hurt to a lot of innocent people in the end.

There is something that is higher than the law, and that is having the heart and the strength to deal with some extraordinary situation on the basis of your own conscience when the law itself has proven utterly inadequate to properly address that situation. Can we make written rules to cover all circumstances? No...we can't, although we certainly try to. We can't do it because life is simply too complicated for us to make any set of written rules which will properly address everything.

Don't tell that to a lawyer, though. ;-) They seem to feel that the written law is "God". I don't think so.

Human laws are not the ultimate authority in this life, they are simply an imperfect attempt by government to deal with various situations as best we can manage, based on our past experience. The ultimate authority for any one human being, however, is the voice of his or her own conscience. And people know that in their hearts. That's why "the law is sometimes an ass". That's why it is sometimes better to break or ignore a specific law...under certain circumstances.

But for gosh sakes don't make a law that legalizes torture! If you do, you have opened Pandora's Box and some very nasty stuff is liable to come out of it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 12:44 AM

LOL

If Bush, Cheney, and the other lords of darkness didn't want the enemy to know what our torture methods were, they shouldn't have shown them how we do it.


lololol...


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 12:48 AM

How on earth can anyone suggest that we have fewer freedoms under Obama than we had under Bush and Cheney? I wonder how many innocent people have been put on terrorist watch lists and no-fly lists under Obama as compared to Bush and Cheney.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 01:01 AM

Say, I looked at a pie chart today in the newspaper, and it showed proportionate military expenditures in the world.

The USA spends 45% of the world's military expenditures as of this year!!!

China is next at 10%.

Then Russia at 5%.

All the other countries in the world combined spend the remaining 40%.

Now, Slag, you think the Islamic peoples of the world are a serious threat to the country that spends 45% of all the military spending in the world, and whose nearest rivals (Russia and China) spend between them only another 15% of it?

Good lord, man, that is like thinking that Pepe in his little shack with his wife, 2 kids, and a burro is a major threat to the owner of the biggest cattle ranch in Texas, who has 150 well-armed cowboys riding for him and a million dollars in the local bank!

Get real. The Islamic people are little threat to America. America is a simply gigantic threat to them, and that's why it's occupying two of their countries right now, and making various veiled threats against others. And why? For oil, that's why. Thousands of Islamic people have died for every American that died in these recent wars, and it is their land which is devastated. Just like Vietnam. Thousands of Vietnamese died for every American that fell too...still they won in the end, because it was their country, not yours, and you didn't belong there.

There's a lesson in that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 01:27 AM

Somewhat tangentially related...


So if I understand this correctly -- and I'm pretty sure I do -- when the U.S. Government eavesdropped for years on American citizens with no warrants and in violation of the law, that was "both legal and necessary" as well as "essential to U.S. national security," and it was the "despicable" whistle-blowers (such as Thomas Tamm) who disclosed that crime and the newspapers which reported it who should have been criminally investigated, but not the lawbreaking government officials. But when the U.S. Government legally and with warrants eavesdrops on Jane Harman, that is an outrageous invasion of privacy and a violent assault on her rights as an American citizen, and full-scale investigations must be commenced immediately to get to the bottom of this abuse of power. Behold Jane Harman's overnight transformation from Very Serious Champion of the Lawless Surveillance State to shrill civil liberties extremist.

But I'm really wondering: as serious as it is when a member of Congress is the target of government eavesdropping, can we really afford to investigate this? After all, we have so many very important things to do. It really seems like we need to be looking forward, not backwards. The Bush administration is gone. This all happened in 2005 -- years ago. Is this really a time to be pursuing grudges, to be re-litigating old disputes? What kind of partisan witch hunt is Harman after? We can, and surely should, reflect on what happened to her -- in fact, let us now pause together for a moment of quiet reflection on what was done to Jane Harman -- but this is not a time for retribution or looking back. "Most Americans" want the people's business done, not "abuse of power" investigations.

Besides, if Jane Harman didn't do anything wrong -- as she claims -- then what does she have to hide? Only Terrorists and criminals would mind the Government listening in. We all know that government officials have better things to do than worry about what innocent Americans are saying. If she did nothing wrong -- if all she was doing was talking to her nice constituents and AIPAC supporters about how she could be of service -- then Bush officials obviously weren't interested in what she had to say.

Beyond that, even if there were "illegal" acts committed here, surely we should be rushing to retroactively immunize those responsible, just as Harman eagerly advocated and engineered and then voted for when it came to the telecoms who broke our laws and enabled illegal spying on American citizens. That was when she voted to gut FISA protections and massively expand the Government's power to eavesdrop on Americans with no warrants as part of the Cheney/Rockefeller/Hoyer Surveillance State celebration known as the "FISA Amendments Act of 2008."

Ultimately, even if a few so-called "laws" were "broken," surely the people who did it were acting to protect us from possible foreign espionage. Are we now going to start subjecting the good men and women working to keep us safe to harassing, expensive investigations every time some member of Congress pipes up and claims they were victimized by "illegal" acts? Think how overly cautious our intelligence community will become, what that will do to morale, how much it will handcuff us in our Wars. And if, at the end of the day, all of this doesn't convice the "Rule of Law" purists among us to let bygones be bygones, I'm sure all reasonable and decent people can at least agree that the methods our government uses to eavesdrop on us are among the most sacred State Secrets that exist, and thus simply cannot and must not be reviewed by any tribunal for legality and propriety lest we all become deeply vulnerable to the Terrorists.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/04/21/harman/index.html


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: GUEST,Slag
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 02:20 AM

That Jane Harman is one heck of a poker player, I have to admit.

Thank you Amos. Of course you are correct. 'Twas Donuel posting at that time. My apologies. And yes, I did read the Reuters piece.

Little Hawk, as per your first response, you draw your line at the possible use of atomic weapons? So you would feel compelled to use "harsh interrogation methods" when the threat reached a certain quantity in terms of human lives and property? Can you give me a number? Or perhaps a certain quality? The "best and the brightest" perhaps? What's the threshold? The Brooklyn Bridge? The Library Building in downtown Los Angeles? Actually, I agree with you. There are situations and conditions where the threat is so enormous that extreme measures might be the only option. Stop the threat first and then sort out the lesser questions of ethics later. There are times one must do what is best for the whole regardless of the personal cost. It's too bad we are such imperfect beings that we cannot always know what the threshold is or if the present information is true.

As for your last entry, you make a good point. The US has superior military might in terms of conventional warfare. We are probably able to meet and best any other nation on the planet as things stand today. Maybe any two nations! But on the other hand look at the devastation just a small handful of dedicated enemies was able to wreak on the "most powerful nation"! Military expenditures is not the complete picture. A house is thousands of times larger than the tiny termite. Wave after wave will eventually erode the rock mountain and finally reduce it to sand (sorry about my mixed metaphors there).

There are really no easy answers to these questions unless you DO adopt a deontological point of view and then you run the risk of coming to some absurd conclusions such as Emmanuel Kant did in his Critique of Pure Reason. Absolutes are tricky things.

The reason I raised my own concerns and questions about what to do, is that this nation and others HAVE been attacked effectively by low tech means and small numbers. It exposes a vulnerability that has always been there. No other enemy has sought to exploit it. And, no one is exempt from such action! If it can happen here it can happen anywhere and it can be perpetrated by anyone who has the determination to do so. Another example would be Timothy McVeigh.

I'm not going to rush to judgement. Until ALL the evidence is in, I can't knot the rope. There is a certain element in this forum that is rabid to hang Misters Bush and Cheney and their lackeys and that is wrong. It smacks of extreme partisanship and reminds me of the Brown Shirts and other such.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 03:46 AM

The best way for us to protect ourselves from those kinds of attacks is to stop f*cking with other peoples' countries. The more we do it, the more we make ourselves vulnerable to attack. There is no way for any imperialist power, no matter how well armed, and no matter how many people it tortures, kills, or maims, to completely protect itself from people who don't like imperialist bullies (and those are the kind of people who have made those kinds of low tech attacks against us). So the best way to protect ourselves from those people is to simply stop being an imperialist bully.

Think about it this way... possibly an interrogator might be able to find out where the ticking suitcase nuke is planted using torture. But only if they have someone in their custody who has that information. If they don't, it doesn't matter how many people they torture, they're not going to get the information. So the better way to guarantee our national safety is to simply not create so many reasons for people to hate us.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Amos
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 09:26 AM

An interesting falsification of Cheney's claims on effectiveness.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 12:56 PM

I think this part of the article in the above posted link deserves to be posted to the thread...

"One of the most striking parts of the memos is the false premises on which they are based. The first, dated August 2002, grants authorization to use harsh interrogation techniques on a high-ranking terrorist, Abu Zubaydah, on the grounds that previous methods hadn't been working. The next three memos cite the successes of those methods as a justification for their continued use.

It is inaccurate, however, to say that Abu Zubaydah had been uncooperative. Along with another F.B.I. agent, and with several C.I.A. officers present, I questioned him from March to June 2002, before the harsh techniques were introduced later in August. Under traditional interrogation methods, he provided us with important actionable intelligence.

We discovered, for example, that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Abu Zubaydah also told us about Jose Padilla, the so-called dirty bomber. This experience fit what I had found throughout my counterterrorism career: traditional interrogation techniques are successful in identifying operatives, uncovering plots and saving lives.

There was no actionable intelligence gained from using enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Zubaydah that wasn't, or couldn't have been, gained from regular tactics. In addition, I saw that using these alternative methods on other terrorists backfired on more than a few occasions — all of which are still classified. The short sightedness behind the use of these techniques ignored the unreliability of the methods, the nature of the threat, the mentality and modus operandi of the terrorists, and due process.

Defenders of these techniques have claimed that they got Abu Zubaydah to give up information leading to the capture of Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a top aide to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and Mr. Padilla. This is false. The information that led to Mr. Shibh's capture came primarily from a different terrorist operative who was interviewed using traditional methods. As for Mr. Padilla, the dates just don't add up: the harsh techniques were approved in the memo of August 2002, Mr. Padilla had been arrested that May.

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."


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 01:06 PM

Carol has made my point for me in her last post, Slag.

That is essentially what Ron Paul said too, in his campaign for the presidency...that the real reason various little groups of people like Al Queda attack America is because America has been running an imperial policy for the last 50 years and messing around in their countries.

They don't attack us because we have "democracy" or "freedom". They don't attack us because our women wear short skirts. They don't attack us because of our Rap music or our reality TV shows or our Kool-Whip or anything else we have here (though they may indeed despise much of it, and with some justification). They don't attack us because we are not Muslims.

They attack us because our military forces, the CIA, and our major corporations have been pursuing imperial policies ever since the 1950s on their land, overthrowing their governments, invading their homeland, putting our military forces and our companies on their soil, and generally messing around in their societies for our own financial gain.

And they don't like it!

There is no way to seamlessly defend a large and over-extended world empire against the attacks of scattered small groups and individuals who are very angry about what that empire is doing. The only way to end the attacks is to end the imperial policy that spurs them on.

That is what Ron Paul recommended...ending the imperial policy. The other Republican candidates on the platform would laugh nervously when he said so, and refuse to even discuss it, because they are all committed 100% to maintaining the great overseas Empire of the USA (and so are the Democrats, aside from Dennis Kucinich).

When your founding fathers created the United States of America, they did not envision it as a future imperial power that would reach out across the world like a new Rome or a new British Empire, but that is exactly what it has become. It has become what it once fought against. I don't think Washington and Jefferson would be at all pleased that that has happened.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 01:27 PM

Correction: Carol has made my point for me in her second to last post, Slag.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Donuel
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 02:17 PM

Thats right Amos. The aphorisms as you put it are lazy attempts at editorial cartooning without the work of actually drawing the thing.

Like my imagined cartoon of Rush Limbaugh Glen Beck and Michelle Bachman dressed as pirates in an outboard chasing the USS Obama with grappling hooks bouncing off and labeled "facist" "socialist" "communist" etc.

I'm too lazy to make them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 02:56 PM

The question of whether torture works or not misses the critical point: even if it works, it is no good.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Donuel
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 03:02 PM

Pardoning the people who just followed orders does nothing to change the culture of obeying evil authority without question.

If you are not even going to punish the people who did the torturing
at least its time to elevate those people who did rise above just taking orders and had the courage to say no.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: GUEST,jj
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 05:11 PM

Sitting in your safe chair, feeling no fear, you say torture is evil. But, is war honorable, war is hell and torture is one little part of hell. If you are sickened by torture, then don't dare fight (violence) back. Sit and wait.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 06:43 PM

And who says that fighting back must include torture?

Wars are won not by torturing people, but by defeating them in 2 crucial places:

1. the field of battle
2. and the field of ideas!

Torture enshrined as an official policy is a despicable idea, but it's one that has been commonly embraced by tyrants, sadists, moral cowards, and fanatics throughout the ages.

I prefer not being led by tyrants, sadists, moral cowards, and fanatics.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Janie
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 08:17 PM

On this topic, "All Things Considered" interviewed Co. Stephen Kleinman, an AirForce reservist and expert on interogation today who opposed the interrogation methods being used in Iraq when he was sent there.

Here is the link.

These are the observations and opinions of a very informed person on these issues, and he addresses not only the violation of our values, but also the ineffectiveness of these methods.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Amos
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 08:26 PM

Oh, hear, hear, Little Hawk. What a pity you were not born an American citizen.



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Janie
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 08:46 PM

I believe we have ourselves a world class president who fully understands that the ends do not, indeed, always justify the means. We have lost much of our power in the world by so obviously talking the talk, but not walking the walk.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: artbrooks
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 09:27 PM

"Just following orders" isn't really the issue here. People in the US military are very well trained (say "indoctrinated" if you prefer) in the basic concept that they are obligated to disobey an illegal order. However, when the nation's highest legal authority tells them that these techniques are within the letter of the law, what are they to do? IMHO, releasing those who actually carried out these interrogations from possible punishment is entirely appropriate. The people who ruled that torture was legal - and those who "encouraged" the senior lawyers to come to that conclusion - are the ones who need to be brought to trial.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 09:46 PM

Others who may be brought to trial are those who went beyond what they were told was legal. There appear to be some people who did that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 23 Apr 09 - 10:29 PM

It may be that one might sympathize with the dilemma underlings face, but the United States is on record for having prosecuted people who said they were just following legal orders.   The basis for the trials was the belief that there are basic human rights that cannot be violated, and that those who do violate them are subject to punishment. You might not agree with the scope of this, but the fact is that the United States did prosecute such people, and has signed international treaties to this effect. Obama has no standing to argue that those who were following orders are not to be prosecuted. Political convenience is no excuse.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: akenaton
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 03:30 AM

"I believe we have ourselves a world class president who fully understands that the ends do not, indeed, always justify the means. We have lost much of our power in the world by so obviously talking the talk, but not walking the walk."(Janie)

If that is the case, why does he not ban the practice of "special rendition"
To send your prisoners out of the country to be tortured is even worse than committing the act yourselves. God knows what horrors these people face!


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: artbrooks
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 08:04 AM

It is very true that President Obama hasn't specifically banned "special rendition". He also hasn't specifically banned sodomy involving sheep. He signed an Executive Order on Interrogation and Detention policy January 22nd that requires that all interrogations of detainees in armed conflict, by any government agency, follow the Army Field Manual interrogation guidelines. It also establishes a "task force" to look at rendition and other policies for transferring individuals to third countries to be sure that our policies and practices comply with all obligations and are sufficient to ensure that individuals do not face torture and cruel treatment if transferred.

Can you provide any information to indicate that any indiviual has been subject to "special rendition" since he took office?


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 10:18 AM

"Torture anywhere is an affront to human dignity everywhere... 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."

-- George W. Bush, June 2003


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Amos
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 10:45 AM

Sean Hannity, a vociferous defendant of right wing party lines and supporter of "enhanced interrogation", has volunteered to be waterboarded for charity. LEt us hope they televise the event, and may he crap himself.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Amos
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 10:47 AM

NEW YORK - In a letter addressed to a federal court today, the Department of Defense announced that it will make public by May 28 a "substantial number" of photos depicting the abuse of prisoners by U.S. personnel. The photos, which are being released in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2004, include images from prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan at locations other than Abu Ghraib.

"These photographs provide visual proof that prisoner abuse by U.S. personnel was not aberrational but widespread, reaching far beyond the walls of Abu Ghraib," said Amrit Singh, staff attorney with the ACLU. "Their disclosure is critical for helping the public understand the scope and scale of prisoner abuse as well as for holding senior officials accountable for authorizing or permitting such abuse."

The letter follows a September 2008 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit requiring disclosure of the photos and the court's subsequent refusal in March 2009 to rehear the case. The Defense Department has indicated that it will not ask the Supreme Court to review the Second Circuit's ruling.

Since the ACLU's FOIA request in 2003, the Bush administration had refused to disclose these images by attempting to radically expand the exemptions allowed under the FOIA for withholding records. The administration claimed that the public disclosure of such evidence would generate outrage and would violate U.S. obligations towards detainees under the Geneva Conventions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: GUEST,CrazyEddie
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 10:59 AM

"The administration claimed that the public disclosure of such evidence would generate outrage and would violate U.S. obligations towards detainees under the Geneva Conventions."

Are they saying that the actual activities shown in the photos would NOT "generate outrage and violate U.S. obligations towards detainees under the Geneva Conventions."


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Amos
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 11:12 AM

That was the Bush line, Eddie, not the present administration. Their capacity for twists of logic and Wonderland reasoning rivals thatof Sean Hannity.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 11:18 AM

I believe there are privacy issues, including exploitation of prisoners' dignity, that are forbidden by the Geneva Conventions (I can't locate the precise clauses).

Of course the whole thing is a totally absurd use of the Conventions.   

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Stringsinger
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 02:46 PM

This issue is not going away because it goes to the heart of what we call American
democracy. If nothing is done to indict the torturers, this will undermine everything
Obama does for his agenda. Moving forward is not sweeping dirt under the rug.

If Holder does take action, this would be a step in the right direction. As indicated by
Madow and Olbermann, torture was used to extract a false confession linking Saddam
to 911. It didn't work when it was proposed and it didn't work under 183 or 80 waterboardings.

This torture did not quash any conspiratorial attempts at blowing up the Library Building in L.A.   That was a manufactured plot. It happened reputedly in February and the torture
was allowed in August after this canard.

Obama better be nice to other world leaders such as Chavez because our country is in danger of being compromised on this issue. No decent civilized country will take our country seriously as long as torture is not prosecuted.

Torture will be up for grabs by any country in the world.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: gnu
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 03:48 PM

See The Daily Show with John Stewart? Oh my! Check it out.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 10:37 PM

Obama's handlers are not going to let him go through with investigating members of the Bush Administration.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 11:20 PM

The trouble is, to attempt to prosecute all those who committed torture and those who gave the orders would set in motion a huge and viciously partisan firestorm that would consume the energies of the administration probably for the next four years, and with what result? Meanwhile, there's a lot of other stuff that vitally needs to be attended to in the real world.

That makes it a very tough choice to decide what to do, seems to me. I think Mr Obama would probably rather not get involved in a lengthy period of partisan vendettas comparable to the Bill Clinton brouhaha or the Watergate affair.

I think he'd rather deal with the future than the past.

What do you think?


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Janie
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 11:36 PM

I agree, LH, and I think it is the wise course to follow.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 11:51 PM

Has enforcing the laws of this country and also international law and the Geneva convention become somehow, "political vendettas"?

That's very strange, because I had always thought enforcing the law was enforcing the law.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 11:52 PM

Excuse me: "partisan vendettas".


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Amos
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 12:54 AM

It would be characterized as one, no matter how carefully it proceeded. It goes without saying that the rabid rumormongers of the far right would make up, stir up, throw up, and put up any and every possible kind of defamation about it.

That does not mean it should not be done. I can understand Obama wanting to focus on positive accomplishment, but the Attorneys General could move in the right direction without his prompting, no?



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Amos
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 12:56 AM

WHich raises a tangential question. I know there were large rewards proposed by the US government for Osama bin Laden's capture of corpse, but have there been any formal prosecutions lodged against him in absentia by American courts or the Hague? Is he legally wanted for crimes against humanity? Are his lieutenants and agents?





A


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Janie
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 03:19 AM

Not sure how well I can express this, but will try. I guess what I am putting out here are simply ideas to ponder.

In my view, there is a difference between expediency and effectiveness, but the two are easily confused, and the differences can be subtle.

Rigid enforcement of laws is not always effective. Neither is scapegoating.

Retribution has it's place.

Forgiveness has it's place.

Some combination of the two are probably necessary for reconciliation.

There is no such thing as moral perfection, and certainly no agreement on what is moral.

However, in the western world there is some significant, though quite generalized, agreement about our stated values with respect to what we in the West view as inalienable human rights.

The pursuit of individual justice sometimes enhances, and sometimes impedes the promotion or expression of those values at a societal level. Ditto the reverse.

Finding synthesis is both nuanced and subjective. Failure to acknowledge all of the above is ultimately ineffective in either expressing or actualizing those values.

Absolutism is ineffective, illogical, and ultimately, arrogant. No one has a corner on the market on truth. Values are not fact or truth. They are values. Most of us are very selective when it comes to our notions of absolutism and the law. If we are both in full agreement with the values expressed by the law, and are also not personally injured or negatively affected by application of the law, then we are likely to be very strongly in favor of strict application of the law.

And visa versa.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Greg F.
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 10:54 AM

Watergate a "partisan vendetta"? Jaysus, someone needs to read some real history.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Amos
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 02:22 PM

Greg:

Well, the initial breakin was certainly partisan, no?



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 02:37 PM

Well said, Janie. Those were the points I had in mind.

Much of the impulse behind some people's zeal to prosecute a whole lot of people from the past Bush administration is driven as much by a desire for vengeance as anything else. To seek justice is wise. To seek vengeance is, in my opinion, exceedingly unwise.

If Obama is wise, he won't involve himself much in taking vengeance on the past administration, he'll get on with whatever needs to be done now.

I understand that as a matter of legal principle it is important to take some action over illegal acts committed by a previous administration, if only establish a precedent against some future repetition of such illegal acts. Fine. Leave it to the courts and lawyers then, but don't let it become a political football for the new administration to kick around, because I think it will waste their energy and bring them a lot of trouble they don't need.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 02:52 PM

Many people in the Republican Party did view Watergate as a partisan matter, and they went after Bill Clinton in the 90's with that in mind, hoping to exact a similar retribution on the Democrats.

They were driven by the desire for vengeance (and the desire to damage their competition) far more than by the zeal for justice, in my opinion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 04:59 PM

No, no, no. The three foundational principles of a democracy have to be (1) the rule of law; (2) the dignity of the human -- everyone is worthy of dignity; (3) innocent until proven guilty.

Not one person, not one, has been brought to a fair trial. Therefore they were innocent when they were tortured. They were tortured on the say so of the people who tortured them.

The United States has signed -- Ronald Reagan signed -- an International Treaty against Torture. It violated that treaty (as far as I can tell). This makes it a nation whose promises and signed oaths and legislative laws mean nothing.

Do these things mean nothing to you? If they mean nothing to you, then it means that the government of the United States is allowed to do what it wishes with its own citizens, who have no recourse in a lawless state (this is before we even get into illegal wiretapping. That is what it means.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 09:18 PM

Well, in that case, why do we even bother to have a law against torture?

We executed people in the past for doing the same things we ourselves have now done. Where was our forgiveness then? I think if we are only willing to enforce laws on other people, while "forgiving" ourselves for doing the same things, that makes us far worse than hypocrites. And it compounds the criminality of what we have done.

If our government prosecutes people who are responsible for torture, it's not something we are doing to others. It is our country taking responsibility for our transgressions against others. If we say, "Oops. Sorry. Get over it." We are sending the rest of the world the message that we really don't give a goddamn shit about anyone but ourselves.

Now, I realize this is a stance that this country has taken for a very long time, but I thought we had decided that we were going to do better than that now. Perhaps I was mistaken.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 09:19 PM

My post was not in response to the one immediately before it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 09:31 PM

I think it needs to be remembered that when we committed torture. And I say "we" because it was the government of this country that did it to people of other countries. When we committed torture, we were not the victims of that crime. If we prosecute the people who were directly responsible, we aren't taking revenge on people who harmed us. We are taking responsibility for the harm we did to others.

And if we don't do it, I hope like hell that other governments will. Because this sort of thing can't be allowed to happen in the "civilized West" without the people responsible being brought to justice. Otherwise, we're no different than Saddam. Oops. I guess we would be different then, because HE was brought to justice for his war crimes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 09:46 PM

As long as all of this was done for the benefit of Israel, Obama's handlers won't have a problem with it, any of it!


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Janie
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 11:30 PM

Peter, I am not saying that no one should be prosecuted or that national or international law should be ignored. As I understand Little Hawk, that is not what he is suggesting either.

Obama, as he already knows, made a significant mistep in making statements regarding prosecution or pardon prematurely. As LH noted, the appropriate branch of government to address and speak to these issues is the justice system.

It is going to be a difficult business within our nation to address that our government sanctioned policies that endorsed torture, and to right those wrongs through a process that ultimately leads a significant number of our population to the conclusion that prosecutions are in pursuit of justice and not more political throat-cutting.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: GUEST,Janie
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 12:02 AM

Had to switch computers so my son could go to bed.

To say it will be a difficult and tricky process is not to say it can not, should not, or will not be done. To howl for immediate blood, however, certainly gives the appearance of vengeance rather than justice being the primary motive. And we all know that in the public arena, appearance matters.

I also think it very naive to believe, as apparently many people in this country do, that the Bush administration is the first ever in the history of the USA to condone the use of torture. It is ironic that the Bush administration's efforts to provide a legal basis for allowing torture resulted in public disclosure of the practice of torture by agents of the US government that have likely gone on since we first became a nation - only it was "off the books" or "under the table."

Maybe we should thank them for bringing these practices into the public domain in such a way that we average citizens can no longer turn a blind eye.    I imagine that in previous administrations, these activities were of the sort that most presidents took the position of "I won't ask, and don't you tell me."

I should say I certainly have no evidence or knowledge that US agents have used torture in the past in a systemic, albeit covert, way.   But I have no reason to suppose otherwise, based on our history of other covert operations that run contrary to our values (i.e. arranging for assassinations, covert funding of rebellions that were politically expedient, or overt support for oppressive regimes when it was in our material interests - The Shah of Iran, for example, or any number of dirty little Central American operations).


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 01:11 AM

All kinds of heinous things were done in Vietnam by the USA and allied forces...summary execution of soldiers and civilians, torture, throwing live people out of helicopters, massacring villages...

Yes, many of these war crimes have happened before.

During the Reagan administration the USA funded paramilitary forces who, with CIA and American assistance, tortured and murdered thousands of people in Latin American countries.

During the occupation of the Phillipines after the Spanish-American War, the USA occupying forces waged a brutal war against the Filipinos (who wanted independence). Many thousands of Filipinos died.

It's not that unusual, it just doesn't get talked about much in the American media, that's all, and they don't teach it to the schoolkids. Bush and his cronies were a little more blatant about it...maybe because they were a lot prouder of themselves...as can happen with ideological zealots. Maybe, as Janie say, it's a good thing they were so arrogant, because now it's been brought out into the open.

Yes, as Janie is saying, it's a matter for the US Justice system to deal with...or the World Court (which the USA simple ignores when it says something against the wishe of the USA). Obama would be wise, I think, to leave it to the US Justice system and apply his own energies elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 01:24 AM

Well, it seems to me that it's about time we started prosecuting all of our war crimes and that we stop committing any more.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 01:35 AM

Yup, I'd certainly agree with that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Janie
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 01:40 AM

I also do not happen to think it is simple, in the real world, to sort out what is for "the greater good."   I am always suspicious of "either/or" thinking..

Now, my own values are that torture is never "for the greater good." The United States has had an official policy for the past several years that allowed torture. That has to stop immediately, and apparently it has. Should halting the practice of torture be up at the top of list? In my view, yes. Once that practice has been stopped, however, I am not convinced that a huge fight over to what extent past transgressions should be punished should remain at the very top of the list given the number of pressing and difficult issues we face as a country, and as a world.

Others may choose to interpret the above paragraph as saying no prosecutions should occur, or that the whole issue should then be swept under the rug and forgotten about until the next time. It is likely that some will choose to interpret what I wrote in that manner. However, that would be others' interpretations, and not at all what I wrote or implied.

The thing is, we all interpret. We all read into the statements of others much that is not actually said, or even implied. We make assumptions. We react emotionally. We distort. We filter. And we fail to examine this tendency within ourselves.

In my opinion -and it is only an opinion - informed, influenced and distorted by my own values, priorities, experiences and personal needs and concerns for myself and my family, is that what should come next, once the torture is stopped, should not be front and center, or the number one priority of national debate or partisan politics.   I don't think it is for the "greater good."   Tending to the immediate needs of people out of work, health care and environmental issues are all much, much, more important issues to me, and more in the interest of the greater good, than is fighting about who/whether/etc. should be punished for creating or implementing an official policy that said torture is OK, given that said policy has been terminated.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 01:48 AM

Again, very well said. You are mirroring my own thinking on this matter, Janie.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 02:28 AM

I don't think we frame our discussions about whether or not to prosecute people for murder, for instance, using some of the language in some of the above posts. We don't say, for instance, oh, we wouldn't want anyone to think we're scapegoating or seeking vengance if we prosecute you for murder, so you just go on ahead and get on with your life, and we'll just pretend it never happened.

Why is it that only the little crimes get punished?

This is the main problem with our society. If we held the people who commit the most heinous crimes responsible (like the people who have gotten us into the mess we're in now, including the ones who took us to war, killed hundreds of thousands of people, and kidnapped and tortured a lot of innocent people), maybe people wouldn't think they could do whatever they want with impunity. And maybe they wouldn't do those things.

Because that is the message we're sending. We're saying that certain people in this country can pretty much do whatever they want, and if they do it big enough and cause enough mayhem and harm enough people, nobody's going to bother to hold them responsible for any of it, because we wouldn't want people to think we're looking for vengeance. There is no way out of that mess. We might just as well give up trying to make the world a better place, because with that kind of double standard, it just ain't going to happen.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 08:34 AM

I respectfully disagree Janie (and I mean respectfully). The whole enterprise of the last eight years has been about force and power, and to hell with the "collateral damage". There is a kind of carelessness and hardening of hearts that goes along with that that is supremely dangerous (the Bible goes on about it at great length as essentially the only succour the poor have, i.e., eventually the rich become stupid with their power). Without the rule of law nothing else matters. I have been in third world countries where the judiciary is completely corrupt, and nothing means anything: not health care, not education, nothing. People are forced to live their lives for themselves, and corruption is the only protection against raw power.

The United States has been way down on that slide. It is a military empire, and this sort of thing begins by corrupting abroad, and then corrupting at home. The only thing that has kept it from turning into a tyranny has been the last election. It is absolutely crucial that the legal system be reinstated. The only reason why it appears to be "partisan" is that the rot had spread so far that almost all of Washington was complicit in the slide towards tyranny. I'm not speaking as a crazy (or not much): I think that is a sober assessment of where it was going. Everything depends on turning it back.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Stringsinger
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 10:37 AM

Going forward is not sweeping dirt under the rug.

The black mark on US history has already been set.

Psychiatrists and medical doctors were employed in the use of torture.

Those who did it were "only following orders".

Does this sound familiar?

This is not going away any time soon.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Amos
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 10:54 AM

The problem in part comes from the fact that the people of Rome see themselves in Caesar's face, and their will in his acts, even when Caesar goes mad.

Bush and Company and the heinous crimes done under the stresses of their time are, sadly, our own; we elected them, on the whole, and gave them our highest titles to borrow and use.

That's why all this rationalization occurs, where for an individual committing a crime against society there would be no question.

Personally, I think we should do as Germany did: pay the price, stand up to the trial, and then rebuild with strength.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Janie
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 10:57 AM

Peter, I think we actually disagree very little. Holding those who formulated these policies should be dealt with and addressed primarily by the justice system. Obama has essentially backed up and said that.

For the legal system to be reinstated, it seems to me that not only must the justice system be empowered to operate independent from political pressures to foster "power" agendas, but the population must also believe the system is operating independently and impartially.

It seems to me that the most effective use of the "Bully Pulpit" is not to make statements about who will or will not prosecuted, but to advocate in words, and to practice, by transparent deed, policies that foster an independent judiciary and that allow the justice department the independence to fully explore and then follow the appropriate course of action based on our laws and constitution.

I am not worried that this administration will attempt to sweep this under the rug. And I think it clear that national debate and discussion will continue. However, this is not the only important issue pertaining to social justice that needs rectified. What has happened with the financial system, the gutting of worker rights, the lack of universal health care are all important social justice issues where the rights and needs of people have been strongly eroded, and not just during the last 8 years.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Janie
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 11:08 AM

Frank, it shouldn't just go away, and I have written nothing to suggest that I think it should.

I also think there is other very important business to which attention needs paid.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 11:35 AM

My point was a little different. it was that none of these other things you want will be secure unless the fundamentals are restored. It is the complacency of living in a supposedly law abiding society that blinds one to this. So here's an example:

Tomorrow morning, your best friend since high school, an American citizen, Abdul, for some unknown reason simply goes mad and takes a gun and somehow finds his way to a place where he kills Barack Obama.   This is a national emergency. You are taken into custody as a known associate. You are completely innocent, but there are precedents now for torture under extraordinary circumstances, "no torture and the rule of law" was just a declaration by a President who is now dead -- it is a Presidential directive which can be overturned by another Presidential directive -- and anyway, lots of people thought it was ok as long as it yielded results. So you now have no rights. You are a citizen of a lawless state. (If you are a citizen of a foreign country resident in America, you are in even more trouble, if that is possible). Every email or letter you have ever written, all your tax returns, every affair you have ever had, all your personal details, all are subject to viewing and investigating and subjected to the darkest of interpretations by authorities who you know nothing about, and over whom you have no say, and no recourse, and no right of complaint. It is a national emergency, which justifies everything they want to do to you. Laws don't matter, because flushing out the conspiracy to which you are a party -- that is what the new President says, Joe Biden, the people's friend, says -- and he must be obeyed because he is the President and can do no wrong -- finding out what your role in the conspiracy is, is all important.   Your torture continues for days or weeks until they are bored with you, and you have told them anything to get them to stop, and you are permanently crippled in body and mind.

But the government that did this needs to carry on doing its other important work. Janie will understand that it was done with the best intentions, and we had other important priorities, like health care to deal with.

Without the rule of law nailed down hard and tight, this is what is not just a fantasy, but absolutely possible -- every single aspect of it has happened, and (god forbid) could happen tomorrow. Until you are safe in your person, the rest is less important. I think.


yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Janie
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 11:59 AM

Peter,

Again, I agree with you.

Janie


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Janie
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 12:34 PM

It would be more accurate for me to say that there are nuanced differences in our perspectives. I think your perspective is valid. However, so is mine.

It is vitally important that some voices insist, as do you, that the first priority must be to insure the USA be held accountable to the world, and that our political leaders must be held accountable to the people, even if that means everything else of importance is allowed to sit on the sidelines.   Otherwise, it is likely the whole thing would indeed be swept under the rug.

I think it also vitally important that some voices insist, as do I, that the nation and our political leaders continue to press on and prioritize addressing these other issues. Otherwise, we come to an empasse and the nation enables the politicos and power brokers on both sides of the political spectrum to use us as pawns.

As always, there is a dialectic out of which it is my belief that a synthesis will arise.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Amos
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 12:43 PM

There are many mansions in the house of Washington. There is no reason a special investigator in the Justice Department could not press forward while th emain business of the Senate, Congress and Executive branches continues to be reconstructing a viable economy, etc.

Peter, your chilling hypothetical narrative was very persuasive.



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 12:56 PM

I have not seen anyone suggest that priorities like health care should not be addressed at the same time that people are being held responsible for the crimes they have committed. I can't imagine where anyone would have gotten the idea that such a thing was even being considered. I think the idea that all of them can't be addressed at the same time is no more than an excuse for not dealing with bringing criminals to justice.

We have different agencies for dealing with addressing all of these different concerns, and there is no reason why we can't do all of it all at the same time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 12:58 PM

I agree. Other things should still go ahead, of course.   One is just desperate for the days when justice will be as unnoticed as air, that is all. As the Taoists say.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Charley Noble
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 01:01 PM

Peter-

That is a chilling reality to ponder, and not that much of a stretch in my opinion.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 02:04 PM

It's precisely those concerns you mention, Peter, that persuaded me not to visit the USA during the 8 years of the Bush administration, and I am still rather reluctant to visit there now, because I feel pretty much like I'm living next door to Germany, circa 1938 or something along that line...potentially. I feel there is that risk.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: beardedbruce
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 08:00 AM

Lines on a Slippery Slope

By Michael Gerson
Monday, April 27, 2009

By releasing the Justice Department memos on coercive interrogations, the Obama administration has produced an unintended effect: Revealing the context and care of these decisions has made them more understandable, not less.

I had come to view harsh interrogations as a clear mistake. The war on terror is as much an ideological conflict as a military one, and the combination of Abu Ghraib and revelations about waterboarding had the practical effect of a battle lost. I worried also that these techniques might lead to a dehumanized view of the enemy -- always a risk in a time of war -- thus greasing a slippery slope toward abuse.

But the Justice Department memos disclose a different sort of deliberation -- a government struggling with similar worries even after immense provocation; a government convinced that new attacks were imminent but still weighing the rights of captured murderers, drawing boundaries to prevent permanent injury during questioning, well aware of the laws regarding torture and determined not to violate them.

Historically, did America ever give such exhaustive consideration to the consequences of its actions in safeguarding the homeland? To the rights of children incinerated during the firebombing of Dresden? To the long-term mental and physical health of the elderly of Hiroshima? Even the most questionable techniques employed in the war on terror bear no comparison to methods common in past American wars.

The Justice Department memos raise a question: Can coercive interrogation ever be justified? Few Americans would object to the slapping of a terrorist during questioning, for example, if this yielded important intelligence. The coercion would be minimal; the goal of saving lives, overriding. Few Americans, on the other hand, would support pressuring a terrorist by torturing his child. Such a heinous act could not be justified in pursuit of an inherently uncertain outcome -- securing information that may or may not prevent greater loss of life.

So the use of coercion in interrogations lies on a continuum of ethics and risk. Lines must somehow be drawn on the slippery slope -- the difficult task that Justice Department lawyers were given. On which side of the line should waterboarding lie? It is the hardest case. The practice remains deeply troubling to me, and it was discontinued by the CIA in 2003 after being used on three terrorists. But some members of Congress, it is now apparent, knew of the technique and funded it. The decision was not easy or obvious for them. It was just as difficult for intelligence and Justice Department officials in the months of uncertainty following Sept. 11.

I respect many of those who say "never" in regard to coercive interrogation -- just as I respect pacifists who believe that the use of violence and coercion by government is always wrong. This can be a position of admirable moral consistency, and some have willingly sacrificed for its sake. But holding this view is not an option for those in government, charged with the protection of citizens who share this position and those who do not. Adherence to this principle could involve unwilling sacrifice for many others.

Some have dismissed this argument as "moral relativism" or the assertion that the ends justify the means. But this betrays a misunderstanding of ethics itself. The most difficult moral decisions in government are required when two moral goods come into conflict. Most of us believe in the dignity of the human person, a principle that covers even those who commit grave evils. Most of us believe in the responsibility of government to protect the innocent from death and harm. Government officials pursue both moral goods in a complicated world. In retrospect, they may sometimes get the balance wrong. But national security decisions are not made in retrospect.

I suspect that most Americans, in considering these matters, would come to certain conclusions: There should be a broad presumption against harsh interrogations by our government. An atmosphere of permission can result in discrediting crimes such as Abu Ghraib. But perhaps in the most extreme cases -- when the threat of a terrorist attack is clear and serious -- American officials may need to employ harsh questioning, while protecting terrorists from permanent injury. In broad outlines, this approach is consistent with the Justice Department memos.

I remain ambivalent about these issues. There may be other, equally effective ways to get information from terrorists -- I don't know enough about such techniques to be certain. Elements of the interrogation program may have been mistaken. But these were not clear or obvious calls -- and they deserve more than facile, retrospective judgments.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Greg F.
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 09:01 AM

Ah, yes- Mike Gerson, George Dumbya's speech writer....


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: artbrooks
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 09:13 AM

An article like that, which is otherwise full of interesting points, goes immediately into my mental trashcan when it contains even one significant factual error. In this case, it says historically, did America ever give such exhaustive consideration to the consequences of its actions in safeguarding the homeland? To the rights of children incinerated during the firebombing of Dresden? The Dresden firebombing was the result of a bombing raid by the Royal Air Force.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 09:30 AM

It is now reasonably clear that the most important reason for continued torturing was so that the Bush administration could find evidence linking Al-Qaeda and Iraq. It had little to do with what Gerson is talking about -- "clear and serious" evidence of terrorism. He also says "captured murderers". How does he know they are murderers? By what evidence: forced confessions?

There is also no evidence brought forward so far that there was any agonizing at the higher echelons at all: everyone seems to have signed on quite blithely.   Where is the deliberative agony? The only agony seems to be among the military lawyers and others who protested at the risk of their careers.

This piece does not even rise to the level of an argument.


yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: beardedbruce
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 10:17 AM

Greg F.

I will remember, the next time someone quotes any member of the Obama administration, that they are wrong by definition.





Ad Hominem (Argument To The Man):
attacking the person instead of attacking his argument. For example, "Von Daniken's books about ancient astronauts are worthless because he is a convicted forger and embezzler." (Which is true, but that's not why they're worthless.)
Another example is this syllogism, which alludes to Alan Turing's homosexuality:

Turing thinks machines think.
Turing lies with men.
Therefore, machines don't think.
(Note the equivocation in the use of the word "lies".)

A common form is an attack on sincerity. For example, "How can you argue for vegetarianism when you wear leather shoes?" The two wrongs make a right fallacy is related.

A variation (related to Argument By Generalization) is to attack a whole class of people. For example, "Evolutionary biology is a sinister tool of the materialistic, atheistic religion of Secular Humanism." Similarly, one notorious net.kook waved away a whole category of evidence by announcing "All the scientists were drunk."

Another variation is attack by innuendo: "Why don't scientists tell us what they really know; are they afraid of public panic?"

There may be a pretense that the attack isn't happening: "In order to maintain a civil debate, I will not mention my opponent's drinking problem." Or "I don't care if other people say you're [opinionated/boring/overbearing]."

Attacks don't have to be strong or direct. You can merely show disrespect, or cut down his stature by saying that he seems to be sweating a lot, or that he has forgotten what he said last week. Some examples: "I used to think that way when I was your age." "You're new here, aren't you?" "You weren't breast fed as a child, were you?" "What drives you to make such a statement?" "If you'd just listen.." "You seem very emotional." (This last works well if you have been hogging the microphone, so that they have had to yell to be heard.)

Sometimes the attack is on the other person's intelligence. For example, "If you weren't so stupid you would have no problem seeing my point of view." Or, "Even you should understand my next point."


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 11:09 AM

You need to brush up on your rhetoric. It is not an ad hominem if you cast doubt on someone's argument in defence of their previous boss, and not alone their previous boss, but as someone who wrote words that defended their actions at the time and is doing the same now.   He is being questioned based on his position, and not his person.   This seems to be absolutely fair.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: pdq
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 11:34 AM

I don't like quoting Wikipedia as a rule, but Wiki sez:


"The Bombing of Dresden by the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and United States Army Air Force (USAAF) between 13 February and 15 February 1945, twelve weeks before the surrender of the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) of Nazi Germany, remains one of the most controversial Allied actions of the Second World War. The raids saw 1,300 heavy bombers drop over 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices in four raids, destroying 13 square miles (34 km2) of the city, the baroque capital of the German state of Saxony, and causing a firestorm that consumed the city centre. Estimates of civilian casualties vary greatly, but recent publications place the figure between 24,000 and 40,000."


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Amos
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 12:14 PM

Arguments which are ad hominem against a leading personage in political affairs,such as Bush, have a certain amount of merit in that a moronic player is likely to play a moronic game; it is better by far, though, to argue against his moronic deeds and hismoronic logic in making moronic decisions, if you can find what it was.



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 12:29 PM

It's true that the US government has committed many crimes against humanity in the past. However, we can't use that as an excuse to continue committing crimes against humanity. And the only thing that will stop us from continuing to do that is for us to start holding responsible the people in our government who commit those crimes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 01:10 PM

BB - "Can coercive interrogation ever be justified?"

Well, sure it can...under certain desperate circumstances, and we all know that (if we are prepared to be honest about it). Every police force in the world has at one time or another used "coercive interrogation" on a suspect (whether or not they were technically allowed to do so by the letter of the official rules they serve under)

My argument all along, however, has been this, BB: Such forms of coercive interrogation, meaning torture, should NEVER be sanctioned and legitimized by making them an officially legal policy of a government or a police force. The Bush administration did sanction them and did make it an official policy, and that was what scared me about the Bush administration.

I already know perfectly well that there have been and will continue to be some instances of coercive interrogation under virtually all governments at certain times...but it should never be sanctioned and made a legal (and therefore presumably justifiable) policy. If it is, you have right there the establishment of a fascist state, in my opinion. You have opened the door to massive abuses by the state, because the state has made the policy legal and there is therefore no redress against it, and no protection for prisoners at all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Amos
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 01:13 PM

New Evidence of Torture Prison in Poland

By John Goetz and Britta Sandberg

The current debate in the US on the "special interrogation methods" sanctioned by the Bush administration could soon reach Europe. It has long been clear that the CIA used the Szymany military airbase in Poland for extraordinary renditions. Now there is evidence of a secret prison nearby.

Only a smattering of clouds dotted the sky over Szymany on March 7, 2003, and visibility was good. A light breeze blew from the southeast as a plane approached the small military airfield in northeastern Poland, and the temperature outside was 2 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit). At around 4:00 p.m., the Gulfstream N379P -- known among investigators as the "torture taxi" -- touched down on the landing strip.

On board was the most important prisoner the US had been able to produce in the war on terror: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the architect of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, also known as "the brains" behind al-Qaida. This was the man who had presented Osama bin Laden with plans to attack the US with commercial jets. He personally selected the pilots and supervised preparations for the attacks. Eighteen months later, on March 1, 2003, Sheikh Mohammed was captured in Rawalpindi, Pakistan by US Special Forces and brought to Afghanistan two days later. Now the CIA was flying him to a remote area in Poland's Masuria region. The prisoner slept during the flight from Kabul to Szymany, for the first time in days, as he later recounted:

FROM THE MAGAZINE
Find out how you can reprint this DER SPIEGEL article in your publication.
"My eyes were covered with a cloth tied around my head. A cloth bag was then pulled over my head. … I fell asleep. ... I therefore don't know how long the journey lasted."

Jerry M., age 56 at the time, probably sat at the controls of the plane chartered by the CIA. The trained airplane and helicopter pilot had been hired by Aero Contractors, a company that transferred prisoners around the world for US intelligence agencies. According to documents from the European aviation safety agency Eurocontrol, Jerry M. had taken off from Kabul at 8:51 a.m. that morning. Only hours after landing in Poland, at 7:16 p.m., he took off again, headed for Washington.

A large number of Polish and American intelligence operatives have since gone on record that the CIA maintained a prison in northeastern Poland. Independent of these sources, Polish government officials from the Justice and Defense Ministry have also reported that the Americans had a secret base near Szymany airport. And so began on March 7, 2003 one of the darkest chapters of recent American -- and European -- history. ... (Der Spiegel)


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 03:29 PM

More evidence, if needed, that the release of this information is not exactly going to reveal any secrets to our enemies.

I agree with the argument about a certain amount of hypocrisy in government up to a point. But there are issues and repercussions. Two completely different examples (for those who are weary of talking about torture, how torturous a discussion......): prostitution and drugs. The main claim for many years has been that prostitution shouldn't be legalised for the "certain amount of hypocrisy" argument: governments shouldn't agree to the prostitution of people. But the levels of prostitution are so high, it now seems to me to be useless, and troublesome. Far better for it to be legalized (as it is in Canada, shock, horror). The same is true for drugs. The levels of drug use are now so high, and the costs so great, that it would be much better for them to be legalized.   It is the management of these pervasive social facts that is complicated by a lack of legalization.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 03:44 PM

Indubitably. (as Holmes might have said to Watson)


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 09:34 PM

Most singular, my dear Little Hawk, and very perplexing. But I think Obama is on the right track on a number of fronts in correcting some of the major problems. I think it would be a mistake for him to get bogged down in trying to press charges against members of the previous administration, and most of them would be dead and gone before anyone reached any kind of conclusion, if they ever did.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: pdq
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 09:53 PM

in case artbrooks needs more testimony concerning his mistaken beliefs...


Air Attack on Dresden


(13-15 February 1945)

Allied strategic bombing raid against the German city of Dresden. This operation, conducted 13-15 February 1945, has become the most commonly evoked image to illustrate the excesses and horror of conventional bombing of cities. The firestorm caused by Royal Air Force (RAF) Bomber Command on the night of 13 February rivaled that of the raid on Hamburg of 27 July 1943. The immediate controversy about the raid contributed to the end of Allied strategic bombing. Cold War rhetoric and sensationalist presentations in history books and movies have clouded the facts ever since.

At the Yalta Conference on 4 February 1945, the Soviets asked for Allied air attacks on communication centers to prevent the shifting of German troops to the Eastern Front. They specifically mentioned Berlin and Leipzig, but Allied planners also identified Dresden and Chemnitz as appropriate objectives to meet Soviet needs. On 8 February, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF) instructed RAF Bomber Command and the U.S. Strategic Air Forces to prepare an attack on Dresden because of its importance in relation to movements of military forces to the Eastern Front. Contrary to later reports, Dresden did contain many important industrial and transportation targets, and it was defended, although many of its guns had been sent east to fight the Soviets. The allocation of effort was also shaped by the prodding of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, although he later tried to distance himself from the operation and the atmosphere engendered by the pursuit of Operation THUNDERCLAP. The latter was a British plan to break German morale with a massive Allied assault on the German capital, Berlin, and refugee centers. The attack on Berlin was conducted on 3 February over the protests of U.S. Eighth Air Force Commander James Doolittle. Other Americans in the U.S. Strategic Air Forces headquarters and in Washington were also uneasy over concentrating on cities such as Dresden, but that did not stop the operation.

The operation opened on the night of 13 February with two separate British raids. The first blow was delivered by 244 Lancasters dropping more than 800 tons of bombs. This attack was moderately successful. The inhabitants of the city were surprised with a second attack three hours later, this time by 529 Lancasters delivering a further 1,800 tons of bombs. The concentrated accuracy of the bombing against so many wooden structures and during ideal weather conditions produced a terrible conflagration. The smoke and flames made aiming very difficult the next day for the more than 300 American B-17s attempting to drop another 700 tons of bombs on the city's marshaling yards. Obscuration of the target area was even worse for a similar attack on 15 February.

When news of the destruction of Dresden reached Britain, there was considerable public outcry over the destruction of such a beautiful city when the war seemed to be virtually won. American air leaders were worried by similar reactions in the United States, especially after careless remarks by a SHAEF briefing officer inspired such nationwide newspaper headlines as "Terror Bombing Gets Allied Approval as Step to Speed Victory." Secretary of War Henry Stimson ordered an investigation of the "unnecessary" destruction but was satisfied by the resulting report explaining the background of the operation. Public reaction in the United States was muted. The controversy contributed to the Allied decision to suspend strategic bombing in April.

The casualty figures reported by German fire and police services ranged between 25,000 and 35,000 dead. However, thousands more were missing, and there were many unidentified refugees in the city. It is probable that the death total approached the 45,000 killed in the bombing of Hamburg in July-August 1943. Some careless historians, encouraged by Soviet and East German propaganda, promulgated figures as high as 250,000. Although David Irving later recanted his claim of 135,000 dead, one can still find that number cited in many history books.

Public impressions of the excesses of Dresden were reinforced by Kurt Vonnegut's novel Slaughterhouse Five and the movie it inspired. More than 50 years later, when critics of U.S. air operations against Iraq or Yugoslavia needed a metaphor to condemn conventional bombing attacks on cities, almost invariably they cited Dresden in 1945.

Conrad C. Crane


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: artbrooks
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 10:45 PM

Sorry, no.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Donuel
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 10:46 PM

Sen. John McCain: re torture investigations

"Let bygones be bygones, there is no need to even old political scores. Lets put this behind us and fight the wars we are in right now."

********************

You know what if he is right? What if what the country needs now is a little TLC. Forgiveness and amnesty for unknown people for unknown crimes might be the best policy. Since we don't torture, all those people between 14 and 86 years old that were given special treatment and advanced inquisitiveness and interrogation technique training have no reason to hold a grudge.

Afterall, looking into these matters would only be distasteful.
Sure we spent $56 million dollars on the whitewater and Starr Reports but be honest...they were fun. All those salient facts and titillating stimulous packages of cigars were enetertaining. Whitewater investigations aka (operation POTUS sperm) kept us all in stitches.

Even a dollars worth of investigating torture would simply be a downer and a real buzz kill. (start to break into song) These kind of investigations lead to regurgitations. So don't worry, be happy. Be happy.

Don't investigate like White water and Water Gate's illegal missions.
Let it go like the Warren report and the 9-11 Commissions.
don't worry, be happy

as the Madgascar Penguin Skipper says "You didn't see a thiing"


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 10:56 PM

And that idiot was nearly President.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Donuel
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 11:00 PM

Mc Cain sings:


What we all
need now
is T L C
Not some torture files
but to all
be glad again

You know it hurts
to be tortured
so stop all these torture investigations
stop all these nations
who want to sue
want to do
us harm...

What we all
need now
is T L C
Not some torture files
but to all
be glad again


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 10:18 AM

In my opinion:
1. Water Gate         - mildly important
2. Whitewater         - not important at all
3. Warren commission - extremely important
4. Torture issue      - not very important


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 10:36 AM

Meanwhile, back on earth, those crazy, wacky British have just concluded a jury trial of those associated with the 7/7 attacks, and after some agonizing have sifted through the evidence and come up with what seem like reasonable verdicts for and against people who (on the face of it) were associated with the original bombers. Police work.

For some mysterious reason, in spite of this, Britain seems to still be functioning today like a reasonable country.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 05:29 PM

This afternoon the appellate court threw out the Obama Justice Department's attempt to support the Bush administration's sweeping argument that state secrecy should be extended to cover all court cases (not just over foreigners, but over Americans as well) in the Jeppensen case. Glenn Greenwald (at Salon.com) goes on to say:

"Critically, the court went on to note that the Government's interests in maintaining secrecy "is not the only weighty constitutional values at stake." Quoting the Supreme Court's language in Boumediene -- which in 2008 declared unconstitutional the Military Commission Act's attempt to abolish habeas corpus -- the court today noted that equally imperative for the court is to preserve "freedom's first principles [including] freedom from arbitrary and unlawful restraint and the personal liberty that is secured by adherence to the separation of powers."

It was completely bizarre and against everything that Obama said during the election, but typical of executive encroachment. If they were decent, they would stop, but it will likely be appealed. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance, even against such a nice photogenic guy.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 09:47 AM

Tom Friedman, apologist for the war in Iraq (still at it) has an interesting column in today's New York Times making the best argument for the torture machinery that went into action after 9/11. He argues that Al-Qaeda is a bizarre aberration, and that the legal apparatus is not designed for suicide bombers and those essentially willing to kill anyone in their path. I disagree with the position, but it is worth considering.

He also makes the point -- for the first time in a serious American newspaper -- that if there were serious investigations, they would have to bring George W. and Dick Cheney and the whole bunch of them to trial.   This worries him -- it would "tear the country apart".   

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Donuel
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 09:57 AM

The Republican lawyers for the military industrial complex are trying to argue that the 3rd branch of goverment, The Judiciary, should not be able to have any say over what laws are broken or not obeyed when it comes to defense policies and National Security. It is an old argument but to ever argue it in court seems to me to be the epitomy of irony.


TO PUT IT IN CLEAR AND SIMPLE LANGUAGE...

Peter, Now the Obama administration can say,

"we tried to hide what you did, just like you did, but the court says we gotta prosecute wrong doers and evil doers even if they are powerful neocons just like the grunts and a few bad apples that you guys prosecuted for doing what you told them to do."


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Donuel
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 10:03 AM

Imagine if both Bush and Cheney are found guilty. Then pardoned by Obama at the end of his term. While it would not be in the cowardly character of George's and Dick's nature, what if they refused the pardon? Can they refuse a Pardon? What if they martyred themselves in white collar prisons to unify thier base?   nah


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 12:01 PM

The great, long-standing issue, which was identified way back by the Greeks, was the fact that the executive branch always gains power during wartime. This was why the Framers of the US Constitution and others made declaring war a legislative function, strengthened the judiciary, etc. They knew that the executive is always bent on this kind of thing, because it gets the glory, and does the deeds, and so on.   They didn't really consider what happens when you have war all the time (the Cold War was an example of the need for constant readiness -- there was only a short demobilization time after WWII), although Orwell pegged it pretty nearly in 1984 -- you have to have a constant enemy. The bad luck was that, just as the Cold War necessity folded, and there was this chance of pulling back on the executive, Osama Bin Laden arrived. And now there is the "war on terrorism" which is endless (I note that for the moment, the Obama team has dropped the term, which is interesting).

The legal fight would open up the power of the executive to more scrutiny than anyone seems to be prepared for, so long has the executive appeared to be necessary and godlike. It is hard to imagine Obama going after his own throat like that. He might try it for a little while, but he's an executive branch leader now -- it is unsustainable by him, it has to be generated elsewhere -- which is why public revulsion is so important.

The astonishing thing is that Republicans, supposedly the big libertarians, have no interest in this. Their drift to fascism has been going on so long, they have forgotten libertarianism.

yours,

PEter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 01:29 PM

Al Qaeda formed as a response to Western imperialism. It is hardly unique, or even an aberration. It's a perfectly normal and predictable response. The solution to the problem of Al Qaeda is to end Western imperialism, not to eliminate freedom in Western Countries. Tom Friedman is an idiot.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Amos
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 01:48 PM

...(T)he appellate court threw out the Obama Justice Department's attempt to support the Bush administration's sweeping argument that state secrecy should be extended to cover all court cases (not just over foreigners, but over Americans as well) in the Jeppensen case.

I am very proud of the Court for this. Of the OJD, not so much.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 09:21 PM

Well and succinctly put, Carol.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: TIA
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 09:58 PM

Tom Friedman IS a f***king idiot. An investigation of George Bush would tear the country apart??????????????? The actions of George Bush are what tore the coutnry apart!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Donuel
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 10:25 PM

Of course the torture is more a Cheney and Rumsfeld perversion of American values but Bush was the perfect candidate to accept torture techniques as a powerful tool. So would a 15 year old.

Republicans say "Now you've ruined our best surprise tortures"

not so fast. The memos and files did not include some that even frightened Bush.
note:the blade is not only disposable, its been used 200 times...
a totrure that even scared Bush


PS I'm not sure but shaving the beard off a muslim might be some sort of sin in Islam.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Donuel
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 10:30 PM

"The astonishing thing is that Republicans, supposedly the big libertarians, have no interest in this. Their drift to fascism has been going on so long, they have forgotten libertarianism."

Lately they are calling this drift "purifying" the party especailly when moderates flee the party. I think Rush called it boiling down the party to its true essence.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: akenaton
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 02:45 AM

I'm afraid you are wrong about British justice Peter.

Three friends of the 7/7 London bombers have recentely been on trail.
They were found innocent of any complicity in the bombings, but were given 7 years in jail for "planning" to attend training camps in Pakistan to fight against the US presence in Iraq.....essentially a "thought crime"
The "reasonable" judge ruled that they would have attended these camps if it was not for their "apprehension"...(they were too scared)

British justice at its best here


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: GUEST,CrazyEddie
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 05:11 AM

Excerpt from the link to which akenaton refers:
"Your intention, but for your apprehension, was to attend a real camp and to use real guns in training at that camp..."

I would read this "but for your apprehension," as "but for the fact that you were apprehended (caught)".

It is common that if a criminal is apprehended during the planning of a crime that charges be brought. ie, that conspiacy to commit a crime, is in itself a crime.

Two caveats:
(1) I don't know what evidence there was, that these men planned to do something illegal.
(2) I am not a lawyer or paralegal of any sort.

I just think that the word "apprehension" may have been misunderstood.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 07:33 AM

Yes, I was deeply troubled by that "intention" aspect too. I wasn't for a moment saying that the British process was perfect -- what can you say about a country that is supposedly the great bastion of freedom, but they have security cameras everywhere? -- but there was at least a jury trial mostly out in the open.

The problem remains: do you live with the risk of being blown up or having lots of people blown up as one of the costs of giving everyone full rights up until the moment they blow you up.   There has to be some margin of safety, but I pull the margin much tighter than other people would.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 07:49 AM

Obama, Wednesday night's press conference:

"Q: Thank you, Mr. President. During the campaign, you criticized President Bush's use of the state secrets privilege, but U.S. attorneys have continued to argue the Bush position in three cases in court. How exactly does your view of state secrets differ from President Bush's? And do you believe presidents should be able to derail entire lawsuits about warrantless wiretapping or rendition if classified information is involved?
OBAMA: I actually think that the state secret doctrine should be modified. I think right now it's over broad.
But keep in mind what happens, is we come in to office. We're in for a week, and suddenly we've got a court filing that's coming up. And so we don't have the time to effectively think through, what exactly should an overarching reform of that doctrine take? We've got to respond to the immediate case in front of us.
There — I think it is appropriate to say that there are going to be cases in which national security interests are genuinely at stake and that you can't litigate without revealing covert activities or classified information that would genuinely compromise our safety.
But searching for ways to redact, to carve out certain cases, to see what can be done so that a judge in chambers can review information without it being in open court, you know, there should be some additional tools so that it's not such a blunt instrument.
And we're interested in pursuing that. I know that Eric Holder and Greg Craig, my White House counsel, and others are working on that as we speak."

Well, maybe. Nice he was confronted by it. But if you read the original filing, it is not exactly "well, here we are, what's going on?", it was definite, pure Bushism.   

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 10:11 AM

"PS: I'm not sure but shaving the beard off a muslim might be some sort of sin in Islam."


                   Well that's what they should have done, just give 'em a shave, and then if they don't tell you what you want to hear, shave 'em again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: akenaton
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 04:52 PM

I think you may be right Eddie.....I was quoting from the Guardian report, but later stories suggested that the accused were indeed apprehended leaving for Pakistan...these later reports may or may not be true, but as Peter says there is always the question of "intent"


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Teribus
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 06:36 PM

"The Dresden firebombing was the result of a bombing raid by the Royal Air Force." - Artbrooks

That is not correct it was a combined operation which was supposed to have intitiated by the US 8th Air Force between 13 February and 15 February 1945.

The Dresden attack was to have begun with a USAAF Eighth Air Force bombing raid on 13 February but bad weather over Europe prevented any USAAF operations, and it was left to RAF Bomber Command to carry out the first raid.

The RAF attacked two times on the night of the 13th/14th, on the morning of 14 February, 431 bombers of the 1st Bombardment Division of the United States VIII Bomber Command were scheduled to bomb Dresden at around midday. Targeting sequence was to be the centre of the built up area in Dresden if the weather was clear. If clouds obscured Dresden and if it was clear over Chemnitz, then Chemnitz was to be the target. If both were obscured then the centre of Dresden would be bombed using H2X radar.

316 B-17 Flying Fortresses bombed Dresden, dropping 771 tons of bombs. The 379th bombardment group started to bomb Dresden at 12:17 aiming at marshalling yards in the Friedrichstadt district west of the city centre as the area was not obscured by smoke and cloud. The 303rd group arrived over Dresden 2 minutes after the 379th found that the their view was obscured by clouds so they bombed Dresden using H2X radar to target this location. The groups that followed the 303rd, (92nd, 306th, 379th, 384th and 457th) also found Dresden obscured by clouds and they too used H2X to locate the target. H2X aiming caused the groups to bomb inaccurately with a wide dispersal over the Dresden area. The last group to bomb Dresden was the 306th and they had finished by 12:30.

On 15 February, bombers of the USAAF returned, the 1st Bombardment Division's primary target — the Böhlen synthetic oil plant near Leipzig — was obscured by cloud so the Division's groups diverted to their secondary target which was the city of Dresden. As Dresden was also obscured by clouds the groups targeted the city using H2X.

On the subject of Obama and torture, I read an interesting question that appeared as a comment in "The Times", it went something like:

As Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was tortured according to President Barack Obama's interpretation of the practice of waterboarding, any statement or admission made by KSM is inadmissable. Further as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed could not possibly receive a "fair" trial in the United States of America, when will President Barack Obama release Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: artbrooks
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 07:46 PM

I stand corrected. There was US participation in the Dresden bombing. However, many historical sources indicate that Bomber Harris was interested primarily in a terror raid, and the strategic targets assigned to the US were secondary to this goal. Churchill said "The destruction of Dresden remains a serious query against the conduct of Allied bombing. I am of the opinion that military objectives must henceforward be more strictly studied in our own interests than that of the enemy. The Foreign Secretary has spoken to me on this subject, and I feel the need for more precise concentration upon military objectives such as oil and communications behind the immediate battle-zone, rather than on mere acts of terror and wanton destruction, however impressive."


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 08:58 PM

Like torture, it is not clear whether the bombing campaign was worth the effort, or whether the consequences of stiffening the resolve of the enemy was a worse outcome. Like torture, it is an example of insufficient imagination -- a belief that the enemy is a lesser being, and not like us at all.

On the other hand, as my father used to say (he was a much decorated British bomber pilot who survived the catastropic odds), when the war began there was nothing much else to fight back with.



yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 09:08 PM

Seeing as how the US government executed Japanese military personnel during WWII for waterboarding US military personnel (calling it "torture"), it's hardly Obama's interpretation that waterboarding is torure. It's actual US law.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 09:09 PM

WE have laws against torture. We have signed treaties forbidding torture. A treaty that's not honored doesn't exist. A crime that doesn't get punished isn't a crime. Pretty simple.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: robomatic
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 09:50 PM

I think the main reason to resist performing torture is not so much what it does to the victim, but what it does to one as perpetrator. I think there are good arguments that torture doesn't benefit one's side practically, it can extract confessions from the innocent, bad as well as good information from the guilty, and it creates martyrs. I think the last reason is the weakest, because in the case of the folks we're fighting in the 'war on terror', they are quite capable of creating martyrs out of whole cloth. Some of their martyrs are pretty horrible people who blew themselves up.

If you are trying to get information as to where a bomb is going to go off, if you are holding someone who's a suicide bomber wannabe, what motivation do they have for doing other than leading you to a booby trap?

There is a certain element of the ridiculous at work (and at play) here. Just as Winston Smith (1984) found his critical weakness to be rats, it was well understood in the framework of Orwell's novel that Room 101 contained the interogatee's worst fear. A good interogator is going to seek these out. Suppose I'm brought to a room against my will and subjected to a sophisticated 3-D encounter with one of the most objectionable characters I can imagine? (Barney). It would very definitely be torture to me, but is it torture by definition? I think not, unless Barney goes all saurus and starts chowing down on moi-meme.

I've heard stories that just such techniques have been tried. Have they been rendered illegal? I think not. The one who controls the cage and the caged has resource to many a fertile and fervid imagination.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 10:14 PM

Here's the definition of torture according to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which the US is a signatory, which makes it a law of the land...

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

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.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 10:34 PM

This part should be noted:

For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental...


That bit about mental suffering would make the Winston Smith rat scenario torture under the legal definition of torture.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Amos
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 11:30 PM

Hell, it would make Bush's Presidency torture...



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Teribus
Date: 01 May 09 - 04:10 AM

Again Artbrooks you are in error with regard to Dresden and who ordered what and who wanted to do what. The raid was carried out at the insistance of Winston Churchill and was carried out most certainly against the wishes of Sir Arthur Harris who would have preferred either Berlin or Leipzig, the target furthest down HIS list of priorities was Dresden. The decision to hit that target was a political sop to the Russians to assist Koniev's Army Group (IIRC).

As to US daylight "precision" bombing versus RAF Bomber Commands area bombing, here's a little exercise you should go through, and when you do remember that the aircraft in USAAF Strategic Bomber formations during the Second World War did not bomb individually they dropped their bombs simultaneously on command of the their formations "Master Bomber". The exercise is this:

Mark out, to scale, on a piece of paper in plan view a typical US Bomber Group formation and remember many Groups would fly in formation to carry out a single raid. Take a good look at the "block" of sky that that formation covers - each formation within that group drops on command of the "Master Bomber". Think of the consequences on the ground, the target is a factory for arguments sake - It has to be a pretty massive complex doesn't it.

Now come back and tell me that what the USAAF was doing was not area bombing.

As to whether the Strategic Bombing of Germany was effective or not, I would say yes. Those who disagree point to German production figures relating to aircraft (principally fighter aircraft), etc. So if the strategic bomber offensive was a failure, where were all these German fighter aircraft on D-Day?? With the masses of radar directed night fighters where were they when, in the prelude to the landing, they could have wrecked havoc in the streams of transport aircraft ferrying the paratroopers over to their drop zones. In considering this it should be remembered that from March 1944 until August 1944, RAF Bomber Command were assigned to Eisenhower for operations in support of preparations for D-Day and the bulk of their raids were directed against targets in France and very few operations were mounted over Germany. So if the Germans had increased production of fighters, and Germany was not under attack, where were they?? Why did they not take a part in attacks against the allied invasion??

While we are on the Second World War:

"Seeing as how the US government executed Japanese military personnel during WWII for waterboarding US military personnel" - CarolC

Not strictly true CarolC, we are talking about one Japanese Officer here who did waterboard US military personnel but did a whole lot of other, much nastier, stuff to US military personnel besides. The waterboarding got a mention because the man he waterboarded survived to testify against him, the people he did the other stuff to could not testify because he killed them. So to try and claim he was executed solely for waterboarding US personnel is not correct and a willful misrepresentation of the facts and actual circumstances involved.

On the other matter, when will Obama order the release of Kahlid Sheikh Mohammed (waterboarded 183 times) and Abu Zubaydah (waterboarded 83 times)?? No jury would even be allowed to listen to what they told their interrogators let alone convict them - True??

Their claim for compensation against the US Government will be enormous.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: artbrooks
Date: 01 May 09 - 08:28 AM

Terebus, please feel free to maintain your opinion. I shall stick to the historical sources.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Donuel
Date: 01 May 09 - 10:05 AM

Obama would be in violation of the Geneva Convention should he not call for investigation of torturers for the US goverment.\\

The Geneva Convention states clearly that failure to investigate state torture is a crime. I do not think he will want to remain on the wrong side of international law for an extended period of time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Teribus
Date: 01 May 09 - 10:28 AM

Most certainly Art, I am more than happy to stick to recorded historical facts. What those facts tell me is that where the crews of RAF Bomber Command bombed individually on markers laid by the RAF's Pathfinder Force, US Bomber crews bombed en masse by group on command of their "Master Bomber". Those recorded historical facts also state that whereas US Bomber formations were guided to their targets by a "Master Navigator" RAF Bomber crews navigated their aircraft individually to their targets.

On the 15th of February 1945 when the USAAF arrived over Dresden around midday they found the city totally obscured by cloud. Using USAAF bombing tactics six groups each occupying one square mile of airspace bombed "blind" using H2X radar.

You may wrap yourself up in sources that quote the euphemism "precision daylight bombing" and fool yourself into believing it, which you obviously do otherwise this would never have appeared:

"The Dresden firebombing was the result of a bombing raid by the Royal Air Force."

After all the Americans would never, ever do a terrible thing like that would they?? But historical fact and extremely credible historical sources show that between 13th and 15th of February 1945 the RAF visited Dresden on two occasions, exactly the same number of times that the USAAF did. Oh yet another well documented historical fact, sources in the form of official records show that the composition of bomb loads for both RAF and USAAF aircraft were identical in proportion of HE bombs to incendiaries.

What they called their method of bombing is immaterial, the effect of it was no different to what was done by RAF Bomber Command, please don't try to pretent otherwise.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 01 May 09 - 10:44 AM

If waterboarding was included in the torture charges against the Japanese officer, then it was included in the definition of torture. To suggest otherwise is a willful misrepresentation of the facts and actual circumstances involved. However, here is some background on the subject of the US and waterboarding...


"After World War II, we convicted several Japanese soldiers for waterboarding American and Allied prisoners of war. At the trial of his captors, then-Lt. Chase J. Nielsen, one of the 1942 Army Air Forces officers who flew in the Doolittle Raid and was captured by the Japanese, testified: "I was given several types of torture. . . . I was given what they call the water cure." He was asked what he felt when the Japanese soldiers poured the water. "Well, I felt more or less like I was drowning," he replied, "just gasping between life and death."

Nielsen's experience was not unique. Nor was the prosecution of his captors. After Japan surrendered, the United States organized and participated in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, generally called the Tokyo War Crimes Trials. Leading members of Japan's military and government elite were charged, among their many other crimes, with torturing Allied military personnel and civilians. The principal proof upon which their torture convictions were based was conduct that we would now call waterboarding.

In this case from the tribunal's records, the victim was a prisoner in the Japanese-occupied Dutch East Indies: (see linked page for testimony of waterboarding)...

...As a result of such accounts, a number of Japanese prison-camp officers and guards were convicted of torture that clearly violated the laws of war. They were not the only defendants convicted in such cases. As far back as the U.S. occupation of the Philippines after the 1898 Spanish-American War, U.S. soldiers were court-martialed for using the "water cure" to question Filipino guerrillas.

More recently, waterboarding cases have appeared in U.S. district courts. One was a civil action brought by several Filipinos seeking damages against the estate of former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos. The plaintiffs claimed they had been subjected to torture, including water torture. The court awarded $766 million in damages, noting in its findings that "the plaintiffs experienced human rights violations including, but not limited to . . . the water cure, where a cloth was placed over the detainee's mouth and nose, and water producing a drowning sensation."

In 1983, federal prosecutors charged a Texas sheriff and three of his deputies with violating prisoners' civil rights by forcing confessions. The complaint alleged that the officers conspired to "subject prisoners to a suffocating water torture ordeal in order to coerce confessions. This generally included the placement of a towel over the nose and mouth of the prisoner and the pouring of water in the towel until the prisoner began to move, jerk, or otherwise indicate that he was suffocating and/or drowning."

The four defendants were convicted, and the sheriff was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

We know that U.S. military tribunals and U.S. judges have examined certain types of water-based interrogation and found that they constituted torture. That's a lesson worth learning. The study of law is, after all, largely the study of history. The law of war is no different. This history should be of value to those who seek to understand what the law is -- as well as what it ought to be."


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Teribus
Date: 01 May 09 - 10:53 AM

OK CarolC we agree waterboarding = torture = very bad thing.

So when will Obama order the release of Kahlid Sheikh Mohammed (waterboarded 183 times) and Abu Zubaydah (waterboarded 83 times)??


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: artbrooks
Date: 01 May 09 - 11:37 AM

Suit yourself.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 01 May 09 - 11:45 AM

I don't know when he will, but I hope he will do the right thing. At the very least, I hope the people who waterboarded Kahlid Sheikh Mohammed, and Abu Zubaydah will be brought to justice.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 01 May 09 - 12:16 PM

For a project awhile ago I read through the volumes of the Strategic Bombing Survey(done in Germany just after the war by such luminaries as JK Galbraith), and I think that while some damage was done, it was not clear that the effort was worth it except -- a big except -- for morale boosting among the Allies. The big question is the timing: the early bombings up till let's say 1943 were generally conceded to be pretty useless on balance; and the later ones were all entangled with the general deterioration in the German situation overall. So it has always been hard to single out the bombing.

This is in comparison with the Survey done in Japan, whose results were completely different. There, the embargo on incoming shipping created massive obvious, damage. The economy essentially ground to a halt. Indeed, a number of researchers have used the Japanese case as an example of the collapse of an economy.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: robomatic
Date: 01 May 09 - 01:45 PM

Re: Bombing. Japan lost the ability to defend herself against aerial bombing, the US established large airbases in the islands of the South Pacific and with large airplanes flying low rained down air raid after air raid upon Japan.

Their cities were simply pulverized. The only one that was exempted from bombing was Kyoto, for cultural reasons.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 01 May 09 - 02:17 PM

Again, the authoritative study showed that, while the bombing of Japanese cities was completely horrific (still under-acknowledged in the histories), the big problem was the tight embargo -- Japan was totally dependent on imports of a range of strategic materials (oil, particularly). Its manufacturing and transportation capacity dried up -- in the last few months of the war, people were reduced to bartering for food (many people left the cities for the countryside carrying valuables to sell or to live with relatives still in farming communities).

It is very, very arguable that there was no need to bomb Japan at all starting in 1945. The country was being reduced to virtual starvation anyway. All the Allies really had to do was wait. Whether the ensuing result would have been more humane than what happened is an interesting question.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 May 09 - 03:31 PM

I agree, Peter. No invasion was necessary. No 1945 bombings were necessary. Just wait. The Japanese were already sending out feelers to negotiate an end to the war and the only real sticking point was their fear of what might happen to the emperor if they were to surrender (given that he was considered a divine figure by the Japanese).

Japanese surrender was inevitable. All the Allies need hsve done was talk to them and discuss conditions instead of the usual lunacy of demanding "unconditional surrender". Who the hell needs unconditional surrender to end a war when the other side is desperately looking around for a way to end it? Nobody.

Unconditional surrender is a demand made by exceedingly arrogant and vain people with a grand sense of entitlement, and it stems from a desire to utterly humiliate and dominate the loser of a conflict. I don't find that noble or admirable in any way.

Wars were almost always negotiated to an end in prior centuries. When one side clearly could not win anymore, then they sent emissaries and discussed terms of surrender. This was a normal diplomatic measure taken to end most wars in Europe for many centuries. It's a pity that the custom has not held into modern times, because it is the sensible and rational way of ending most conflicts.

The Germans who attempted to assassinate Hitler were looking for the means to negotiate terms with the Allies. Supposing they had succeeded and killed Hitler, and taken over the Reich...they would have been willing at once to negotiate an end to the fighting on some kind of mutually agreeable terms.

But would the Allies have been equally willing to do so? I doubt it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 01 May 09 - 04:25 PM

I think the Allies had the experience of Germany after World War I on their minds (and the Americans, this time in charge, had the Civil War). They wanted the enemy to absolutely capitulate, rather than have anyone left standing to deny what had happened.

But getting rid of Hitler was always a good idea!!

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 01 May 09 - 10:01 PM

"But getting rid of Hitler was always a good idea!!"


                Then you must agree that getting rid of Saddam Hussein was a good idea, right?


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 01 May 09 - 10:13 PM

Saddam Hussein was a monster. The world is full of monsters. The Burmese government leaders, a chunk of the leaders of Africa, the leaders of China for their genocide of the Tibetan people, and so on.   One country doesn't have the right to decide which ones it will kill and which it won't.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 May 09 - 10:16 PM

There's no useful comparison. Hitler was in command of a major world power in 1939-45. Saddam was in command of a battered and helpless shell of a beaten country in 2003 that was incapable of militarily threatening any of its neighbours in any serious manner. To compare them is, in my opinion, illogical and unrealistic in the extreme, but self-serving if you want to justify an illegal attack on Iraq in 2003, of course.

There's basically been no one on the world scene whom you could accurately compare to Hitler since 1945...although there would have been if Bush and Cheney had staged a coup, taken over the USA government in 2008, and run the place under a Republican Party dictatorship AND then pre-emptively attacked several more countries. THEN you would have something on the scale of Hitler to deal with.

Fortunately, they did not.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 May 09 - 10:47 PM

Furthermore, countries cannot just "get rid of" every bad leader of some other country here and there around the world just because they don't like him. You have to have much more pressing reasons than that to go to war. If it was okay to just get rid of "bad" leaders in other countries, then every leader of every nation in the world would be in constant possible danger of his country being invaded or himself being assassinated by foreign agents...all on the sayso of someone in some other country who decided he was "bad". That would be a complete end to international law in the world. You might as well just make the world totally lawless and rule it by brute force.

And it would apply equally well to getting rid of presidents of the USA then, wouldn't it?

So the simple rule is: don't do it to others if you don't want someone to do it someday to you.

The "good guys" don't get to break international law just because they think they are the "good guys". Hitler thought he was, after all, therefore he could do what he wanted, and you see what happened to him in the end. The same can happen to others, no matter how militarily strong they are right now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 01 May 09 - 11:03 PM

The real reason we don't get rid of all of the bad leaders, though (because we do get rid of quite a few of them, one way or another), is because a lot of those bad leaders are working for us.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 02 May 09 - 01:03 AM

Ah, yes... (smile)

Realpolitik.

"He's a scoundrel...but he's OUR scoundrel." Therefore, we work with him most enthusiastically as long as we need him...

They needed Saddam as long as he could serve as a useful threat and nemesis to Iran. That ended when his 8-year war against Iran failed utterly. He was no longer considered useful to the West after that.

Manuel Noriega was once a good buddy and pal of the USA too. So were any number of other such scoundrels. The North American media convert them into "the next Hitler" as soon as the USA decides it's time to "take them out".

Right now it is primarily Mr Ahmadinejad who is occupying that media spot. After him it'll be someone else. Wait and see. It's as predictable as the Perils of Pauline. There always must be a boogeyman out there to empower the $ySStem. If there isn't a real one (and there usually isn't), they just invent one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 02 May 09 - 06:57 AM

I always loved the joke about Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek --

What we want from Chiang is more generalling and less issimoing.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 02 May 09 - 09:26 AM

If the Brits had simply made a deal with Hitler, America wouldn't have opposed him, and he would have been just like a lot of other leaders America deals with on a day to day basis. It's all subjective.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: number 6
Date: 02 May 09 - 09:50 AM

"The Japanese were already sending out feelers to negotiate an end to the war and the only real sticking point was their fear of what might happen to the emperor if they were to surrender (given that he was considered a divine figure by the Japanese)."

The fear of losing their devine emperor .... conditional or uncondtional they could have called the end to the carnage by just surrendering ... and there were those (in Japan) who just wanted to do just that ... and many who questioned the whole aura of the the emperor ... Hirohito was the individual who enthusiastically put the final stamp to go to war in the first place even after being advised that in most certainties they would lose the war in the long run.

The divine Hirohito was quite frankly nothing but war criminal.

IMHO unconditional or conditional surrender is completely irrevelant when being applied to the insanity of war.

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 02 May 09 - 10:33 AM

No, it's not.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: number 6
Date: 02 May 09 - 10:49 AM

yes, it is.

your,

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 02 May 09 - 11:01 AM

It's only irrelevant if one doesn't care how many people get killed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: number 6
Date: 02 May 09 - 11:28 AM

It is irrelevant since war is absolutely insane.

In the case of japan.

You had the allies bent on revenge wanting the kick the crap out of Japan into complete submission.

On the other side there is an emperor (and his warlords) not wanting to give in, continuing to sacrifice human lives (including his own people) while not giving so that his holy diviness could be preserved.

It's all absolute lunacy which can't be denied.

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 02 May 09 - 11:31 AM

Definitely. But if it can be stopped sooner and lives can be saved by allowing a conditional surrender, it seems worth it to me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: number 6
Date: 02 May 09 - 11:42 AM

yeah, I know what you mean carol and I can agree with that, but I feel wars are caused by bloated egos of the machines in power and are ended by the one who has the biggest ego which subsequently is aligned with having the most power.

The common people are always the victims regardless. Big egos never come to the defence of them.

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 02 May 09 - 11:55 AM

Yes, that's true.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 02 May 09 - 12:11 PM

You would not regard it as irrelevant if you were on the losing side in a war, Number 6.

Remember, people who start and fight wars are always under the impression that they are absolutely in the right and fully justified AND defending their nation. Not sometimes. Always.

It is only after the war is lost that their assumptions in that regard may come into question.

Had Hitler won his war, for instance (which was extremely unlikely in the long run), he would have been hailed worldwide as a great hero, it would have been Churchill and Stalin who were dead or in a war crimes trial, and the general public would never even have heard about the Nazi death camps. Not a peep would be heard about it.

Note: I am NOT saying Hitler was right or that his cause was right! He was dead wrong. His cause was dead wrong. But...I am saying that history is written by the winners, and the winners go to great lengths to whitewash their own sins.

It's absolutely stupid to hold an opposing side to an unconditional surrender when a conditional surrender is possible. It's asinine to do so. It only means that there will be a lot more fighting and death and destruction before it ends than there needs to be.

It was Ulysses S. Grant who most popularized the modern concept of "unconditional surrender" during the Civil War, so much so that he became known as "Unconditional Surrender Grant". He did the world no favor.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 02 May 09 - 12:43 PM

While I agree with the sentiment (I am an advocate of non-violence), I think there are questions: it is true that sometimes peoples just go mad or are in a system that is mad: unconditional surrender breaks that. You need to deligimate the whole enterprise: shock it.
I don't agree with this, but I can see its strength.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 02 May 09 - 02:04 PM

That is quite correct, Peter, in a few rare cases. Germany under Hitler's leadership would not have been willing to negotiate any kind of conditional surrender even if the Allies had offered to. Hitler himself was the problem in that case, and that's why some of his own people tried to kill him (on several occasions). Yes, when the leader is mad then the usual rules of engagement cannot be applied.

This was not the case at all in the case of Japan. They were not mad. They were proud, fatalistic, and motivated by national self-interest (as is everyone), but they were quite capable of rational thought and decision-making if it was required. They knew perfectly well that the war was unwinnable after the battles at Leyte Gulf in '44.

Hitler, I'm afraid, had pretty well lost all capacity for rational thought by 1945. He was moving phantom armies around on the map in his bunker and was totally unhinged.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 02 May 09 - 03:12 PM

I think the important question is whether or not people are willing to conditionally surrender. If they are, and if an acceptable agreement can be found, there is no valid reason to not accept a conditional surrender.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: number 6
Date: 02 May 09 - 03:48 PM

Great idea Carol ... but as loing as there are wars .... it could never happen.

``Hitler, I'm afraid, had pretty well lost all capacity for rational thought by 1945.

I don`t think Hitler ever had a rational thought.

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 02 May 09 - 05:01 PM

I don't think that can necessarily be said about Japan towards the end of that conflict. It looks like they were willing to conditionally surrender, but we didn't want to let them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 02 May 09 - 06:15 PM

My reading of the last week or so of the Japanese war was that it was a completely paralyzed system. That does not mean that a little patience on the part of the Allies might have paid off -- there were all sorts of crossed signals. And Russian entry into the war at the last minute didn't help.

It is of course the case that the Japanese appeared to be madmen -- after the kamikaze and the long fight up the Pacific Islands and then Iwo Jima, there was a pretty strong case to be made. I think the Allies couldn't fathom what would make the Japanese ever give up.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 02 May 09 - 06:16 PM

"might not have paid off"

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: number 6
Date: 02 May 09 - 08:10 PM

The Japanese knew they were finished by the end of February 1944. The reason that they did not surrender was the uncertainty of being allowed to keep the Imperial dynasty. Hirohito himself was the one to hold out (guess he didn't want to lose his job). He held out even when the bombing intensified and even after the first A-bomb was dropped. He encouraged and demanded that his subject sacrifice their lives for the Imperial Dynasty, first starting with the battle of Okinawa, then demand they do the same if the U.S. attacked the mainland.

There was no good guys, vs bad guys in this tragic debacle of conditional/unconditional surrender. It was all about personal preservation (Hirohito) and revenge (allies)

BTW ... as I previously mentioned the Japanese went to war quite well knowing that in the long run they would more than likely lose. Hirohito was very well aware of it.

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 02 May 09 - 08:57 PM

"The Japanese knew they were finished by the end of February 1944. The reason that they did not surrender was the uncertainty of being allowed to keep the Imperial dynasty..."


                  Once Lyndon Johnson knew he was finished in Vietnam, he simply refused to run for a second term so he wouldn't be the first American president to lose a war. No better than Hitler, in my opinion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Janie
Date: 02 May 09 - 09:04 PM

Oh, how to keep humans from acting like humans....

Not being cynical, just wondering.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 02 May 09 - 09:48 PM

Number 6, you are being emotionally overwrought and quite naive to say of Hitler "I don`t think Hitler ever had a rational thought." It's wishful thinking on your part, based on your extreme dislike of the man (needess to say).

Yes, I know you enjoy venting your spleen over Hitler, many do, but I am sure he had, like any other person, a great many rational thoughts, specially when things were going his way. He was a canny and very capable politician who bit off more than he could chew in the end...and that's when he experienced mental breakdown.

You should not allow sheer hatred of the man to cause you to compose convenient mythology just so you can enjoy your own anger.

Hitler was a clever and capable man in a number of ways. He would not have been successful in the first place if he was incapable of rational thought. He would have accomplised absolutely nothing, led no one, commanded no position, and would undoubtedly have been confined in a mental ward at an early age, rather than leading a political movement and a nation.

I say this not to defend Hitler in any way. I don't wish to defend him. I simply say it to remind you that grossly unrealistic hyperbole about people you hate remains grossly unrealistic hyperbole regardless of who those people are.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: number 6
Date: 02 May 09 - 10:54 PM

Hitler was successful .... ?!?!?!

I don't think he was a genius at all ... he was nothing but an egostistical bully with illusions of grandeur. The mistakes he made were horrendous and inexcusable.

"convenient mythology" ... what convenient mythology are you accusing me of?

He was also a mediocre artist BTW.

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: number 6
Date: 02 May 09 - 11:09 PM

Oh I forgot .... I guess his stroke of genius was building a highway.

Yes .... I guess he was successful.

Geeeeesh.

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 02 May 09 - 11:45 PM

I never said he was a "genius". You used that word. I said he was a clever and capable and successful politician.

He was phenomenally successful up until, as I said, he bit off more than he could chew. His fatal mistake was attacking Russia in 1941, and it was a decision that no one else in the German Wehrmact high command thought was a good idea at the time. They all felt that to get into a 2-front war was inadvisable, and they were right.

He had nothing but success after success, as a matter of fact astounding successes...from the building of the Nazi Party to the chancellorship of Germany to the reoccupation of the Rheinland to the re-armament of Germany to the revitalization of the economy to diplomatic coups that allowed him to gobble up Austria and Czechoslovakia, to his shockingly quick and decisive victories in western Europe over Poland, France, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Yugoslavia, and Greece....

Sheesh! You don't call that "success"???? Why do you think all those millions of loyal Germans had such confidence in him at the time?

The first notable reverse suffered by Hitler was the failure to win the air battle over Britain in 1940. It failed in its objective to break the back of the RAF. In military terms it was a draw...inconclusive.

Look, Number 6, no one is successful forever. People eventually die, even if nothing else brings an end to their "success", but you can't deny that Hitler was extraordinarily successful up until approximately the time of the Battle of Stalingrad which occured in the summer of 1942 through to the early months of 1943. That was the real turning point. That was when he began to lose the war.

Would you rate Julius Caesar as "successful"? I would. How about Lincoln? Gandhi? Successful! But...Caesar and Lincoln and Gandhi still died at the hands of assassins, didn't they? The fact that they eventually fell does not change the fact that they were for a long time very successful. This was true of Julius Caesar, it was true of Lincoln, it was true of Gandhi, it was true of Attila the Hun, and it was also true of Hitler. They were all successful...until their time ran out.

WE REMEMBER such people because they were successful! If they had been failures, people incapable of accomplishing anything, you'd never even have heard of them. The only reason you even know about Hitler at all is because he DID succeed in becoming the leader of a very strong and dangerous Germany between 1933 and 1945.

Success is always temporary, because we are mortal beings and we all face our own destruction eventually.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: number 6
Date: 02 May 09 - 11:58 PM

"Sheesh! You don't call that "success"???? Why do you think all those millions of loyal Germans had such confidence in him at the time?"

yeah ... George Bush had the whole country under his confidence after 9/11 and full approval by the people to go into Iraq.

Ceasar, Ghandi, Lincoln and even Atilla the Hun were successful even if their time ran out suddenly ... they certainly weren't total failures (far from it) at the time of their assinations. Hitler blew it from the start and at the time of his death by his own hand he was a pathetic, dismal loser.

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: number 6
Date: 03 May 09 - 12:11 AM

If Hitler had died in the summer of 1939 all he would have been remembered for his building of that highway .... nothing more.

Instead, he attacks and takes over some undefended Europian countries successfully and blows it completely once he meets resistance from the allies. If he was clever, he would have taken the advice form his generals ... who were clever. Instead every decision he made was a disaster.

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 03 May 09 - 12:16 AM

I don't think we really know that Japan wouldn't have agreed to a conditional surrender had they been given that option prior to getting nuked. They were not given that option until after getting nuked.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: number 6
Date: 03 May 09 - 12:31 AM

They were aware of it before being nuked.

Potsdam declarion

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 May 09 - 12:51 AM

Bill, I don't know where you get the idea that those countries were undefended. The German attacks in the West in 1940 could very well have failed, because:

They were outnumbered in fighting men.

They were outnumbered in tanks, and they were facing some markedly superior French and British tanks in 1940, as a matter of fact. The French Char 1 and the Somue were considerably tougher than the German Mark III and Mark IV tanks of the time. The British Matilda tank was also virtually impenetrable to the German tanks and anti-tank guns (only the 88MM Flak gun could knock it out).

The only area the Germans were superior in was the Luftwaffe, which somewhat outnumbered its Allied opposition over France, but was way better organized. Their tanks and troops generally were also way better organized.

Hitler had the good fortune to have some very innovative thinkers like Heinz Guderian on the General staff, and a very well-trained and highly motivated young army.

"blows it completely once he meets resistance from the allies"

Say what??? They won a lot of battles on both fronts against extremely resolute Allied resistance....and against greatly superior numbers of men and better equipment. When they invaded Russia in '41 they were grossly outnumbered in tanks and aircraft both, and the Russian tanks were far superior to the German tanks, but they still won astounding victories. It was the vicious Russian weather and the sheer size of the country that finally bogged them down short of Moscow (and this is in no way to downgrade the magnificent courage of the Russian troops, but the German troops showed equally magnificent courage).

Anyway, you are quite wrong to suggest that they failed as soon as they met significant Allied resistance. Not even close. They failed when they were overwhelmed by a flood of Allied men and equipment, because they were asked to do the impossible. Anyone on Earth would have failed, given the numbers, given the overwhelming odds they took on from the time they invaded Russia.

But all that's a side issue. Hitler was an enormously successful politician. Period. There's no line of argument you can come up with that will prove he wasn't. He was wrong, absolutely wrong...but he was successful up until late 1942. And why? Because he apparently had the ability to inspire most Germans at the time. That's about all any politician needs to be successful at the game of politics.

I can see you get some kind of personal satisfaction from denying that Hitler could possibly have had ANY kind of intelligence or ability at all...but why would you need to do that?

If he is your chosen "enemy", your ultimate symbol of evil, and I assume he is...what triumph would there be, Bill, in defeating an enemy who had absolutely nothing going for him? Wouldn't it be like beating up a mentally retarded person who doesn't even know how to fight? And why give anyone a medal for it then? Why call anyone a hero? What would be the big deal about winning that war....if Hitler was, as you say, completely lacking in any ability of any kind?

I should think it would mean a lot more to the winners of WWII if they had the honesty to admit that, "Hey, those Germans were a tough outfit, they fought like hell, they believed in what they were fighting for, and winning that war aganst them was no cakewalk."

And that's the truth. My father was there, driving a British tank, he fought against them, and it was no cakewalk. (He hated Hitler at least as much as you do...maybe more.)

You should not underestimate your enemies, Bill, just because you don't like them. It's unwise to underestimate your enemies.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: number 6
Date: 03 May 09 - 02:12 AM

Hey L.H. as I mentioned to you before my father was an officer in the Calgary Tanks and fought in N. Africa, Italy, France, Holland and germany and had a high regard for the german troops and their courage, and professionalism. This respect was earned not only in the line of battle but even after the immediate end of the war when he was involved in the weeding out of the SS from the regular surrendered troops. ... and as I mentioned to you in the thread up above The Weirmarch commanders were clever ... if Hitler didn't take control over military tactical decisions things might have been different ... he took these matters into his own hands made huge mistakes. He squandered his own troops. He was not a brilliant military leader and he was not a brilliant politician. He was an egotistical bully who took control of a country at a tiem when it was exhasted and weak.

Hitler was highly successful up until 1942 ... I think not. He blew the invasion of Britain when he had the English on the run. He lost the battle of Britain.

As to conquering these poorly undefended European countries ... it is a known fact german had built up it's armanents before the invasions to such extend they were the most superior army in the world at that time. Hell, the german Panzer dvision was attacking Polish calvary on horses. The Luftwaft was way advanced. They were the first to use airborne troops. Holland, Belgium, Denmark were no match to the German Army. France, and Britain were not prepared for the likes of the German army at that time.

Yes I despise Hitler (and all his henchmen) .... and have no respect or admiration of a man who was responsible for the loss of life of millions of human beings ... including the lives of his own countrymen who were led to slaughter to feed his own ego and illusions of grandeur. A man who in the end blamed the citizens of his own country for the war's loss. I never said I disliked the Germans.

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 03 May 09 - 02:21 AM

The Potsdam Declaration called for unconditional surrender. Had Truman allowed them to surrender conditionally, he might not have needed to drop any nukes. Even that Wikipedia page suggests that they would have agreed to a conditional surrender even prior to the nukes being used.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 03 May 09 - 02:23 AM

...and in the end, the Japanese got the very conditions they were demanding before the nukes were dropped, which sort of suggests to me that the use of the nuclear weapons was not for the purpose of ending the war.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: number 6
Date: 03 May 09 - 02:37 AM

I think the main fact in the use of those atomic bombs was to get a message across to the Soviets and if not the world that the U.S. now had the trump card of power.

IMHO in regards to beating the crap out of the Japanese ... if the U.S. had not used the bomb and invaded Japan, I'm sure there would have been a coup (by the Japanese People) within Japan that would have disposed of the Imperial Household and the warlords ... bringing an end to the whole damned war.

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Teribus
Date: 03 May 09 - 08:06 AM

"No 1945 bombings were necessary. Just wait. The Japanese were already sending out feelers to negotiate an end to the war and the only real sticking point was their fear of what might happen to the emperor if they were to surrender (given that he was considered a divine figure by the Japanese)."

So that was why they rejected outright the call for them to surrender issued from Potsdam?? They were sending out feelers to end the war – odd way to do it don't you think.

"Japanese surrender was inevitable. All the Allies need have done was talk to them and discuss conditions instead of the usual lunacy of demanding "unconditional surrender". Who the hell needs unconditional surrender to end a war when the other side is desperately looking around for a way to end it? Nobody."

Who the hell needs unconditional surrender?? Nobody says Little Hawk conveniently forgetting the millions killed and the lives and countries destroyed vicariously by those that Little Hawk says the Allies should have done a deal with, those who freely elected to go to war for no other reason than for their own gain. Unconditional surrender had nothing whatsoever to do with "revenge" and "kicking the crap" out of your former enemies because as things turned out that is not what the Allies did – remember that the "Marshall Plan's" first priorities centered on the reconstruction of the defeated Axis powers. Oh and by the bye it was on MacArthur's insistence that the Emperor of Japan remain as Head of State albeit as a constitutional monarch as opposed to a divine being – an enormous difference for the Japanese people. Unconditional surrender was the requirement agreed to by the allied powers from the outset as it left their former enemies in no doubt whatsoever that they had lost the wars that they had started, returning German troops after 1945 did not resume civilian life in Germany muttering about having been "stabbed-in-the-back" as their forefathers did in 1918, there would be no leadership or political system or thought left of the country that took the world to war, it all had to be done away with. As far as the allies were concerned, particularly Russia, had there been a "conditional" surrender it would have tantamount to agreeing – "Ah well until the next time then chaps" – After 72 million deaths such a prospect was totally unacceptable.

"Wars were almost always negotiated to an end in prior centuries. When one side clearly could not win anymore, then they sent emissaries and discussed terms of surrender. This was a normal diplomatic measure taken to end most wars in Europe for many centuries."

Yes Little Hawk and that is why wars kept reoccurring.

Oh and by the bye the Germans who attempted to assassinate Hitler were only trying to save what they could of their own old way of life, the condition of humanity didn't enter into the equation. And yes you are quite right the Allies would not have listened to what "conditions" the Germans would put forward, and the Allies would have been perfectly correct in not doing so.

"There's no useful comparison. Hitler was in command of a major world power in 1939-45. Saddam was in command of a battered and helpless shell of a beaten country in 2003 that was incapable of militarily threatening any of its neighbours in any serious manner. To compare them is, in my opinion, illogical and unrealistic in the extreme, but self-serving if you want to justify an illegal attack on Iraq in 2003, of course."

Being a bit selective here aren't we Little Hawk?? As to relevant comparisons between Hitler and Saddam they are legion, but all too uncomfortable for the anti-Bush anti-war crowd to highlight. Do you want to go through some of them??

1.        The German National Socialist party was the brainchild of Adolf Hitler. The Ba'athist Party in both Iraq and in Syria was modeled on Hitler's German National Socialist Party.
2.        How about this one Little Hawk – "Hitler was in command of a battered and helpless shell of a beaten country in 1933 that was incapable of militarily threatening any of its neighbours in any serious manner." – And guess what Little Hawk if the major League of Nations powers had confronted Hitler anytime between 1933 and 1936 about Germany's non-compliance with the Treaty of Versailles (secret re-armament and re-occupation of the Rhineland) there would not have been a Second World War. Instead Hitler was appeased as many on this forum would have had the world do with Saddam. In appeasing Hitler the "anti-war" mob of the 1930's brought about the deaths of 72 million people.
3.        Both Hitler and Saddam Hussein were opportunists, both ready and willing to pounce on what they perceived to be weakness in others.
4.        Hitler believed in the racial superiority of his "Aryan race" Saddam believed in the pan-Arabist supremacy invented by Gamal Abdul Nasser.


"It's absolutely stupid to hold an opposing side to an unconditional surrender when a conditional surrender is possible. It's asinine to do so. It only means that there will be a lot more fighting and death and destruction before it ends than there needs to be."

Entirely due to the "unconditional surrender" of Germany it is highly unlikely that there will ever be another European War. Just in the same way it is highly unlikely that there will ever be another "Civil War" in the United States of America.

"Bill, I don't know where you get the idea that those countries were undefended. The German attacks in the West in 1940 could very well have failed,"

Really Little Hawk?? Denmark, Norway, Holland and Belgium?? Which ones do you think could have withstood the German attack and defeated Germany?? What would they have done it with Little Hawk??

Oh by the bye had Hitler actually listened to Heinz Guderian instead of sacking him in November 1941, the Germans may well have won their war in the "East". The Russians superiority in tanks and infantry would have been to no avail, had Guderain's advice been followed.

"Hitler was an enormously successful politician. Period."

Absolutely not little Hawk, like Saddam Hussein, Hitler was a political thug and it was fear and terror that kept him in power. It was not by political astuteness that he gained power it was by murder, blackmail and coercion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: number 6
Date: 03 May 09 - 08:27 AM

Teribus / LH ... I should reword from undefended to inadequately defended.

Yes the Marshall plan did help Japan and Germany rebuild themselves ... now that was a truly brilliant move .... but first the allies had to kick the livin crap out of Japan and Germany to ensure they had total submission from the enemy. That cannot be denied ... they literally bombed Germany and Japan back into the dark ages.

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 03 May 09 - 10:06 AM

Hitler must have been a genius. His paintings bring more money each time they change hands.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 03 May 09 - 10:32 AM

Contrary to a current widespread delusion, Wikipedia is not authoritative.

No one had any idea what being "nuked" meant. Whether a demonstration somewhere other than a major city would have done the trick is also an open question. After Hiroshima, the Japanese still wandered around the issue of surrender.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Donuel
Date: 03 May 09 - 10:49 AM

For WW II officianados

The heinous torture and murder of German captives at Hanover is a dark chapter for the Allies that is nearly expurgated from discussion and many historical accounts of the final chapter of WW II.




As long as Obama has a torture truth commission he is legally off the hook for prosecution under the Geneva Convention.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 03 May 09 - 11:53 AM

Nobody is accusing Obama of torture, though every time he opens his mouth many of us think he should be.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 03 May 09 - 12:41 PM

Nor is there much discussion of the execution of surrendered Canadians by the Germans, for which the first of the Nuremberg Trials were held (my father was a judge at those trials).

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 03 May 09 - 12:53 PM

Well, at least they were discussed at the Nuremberg trials. We shouldn't sweep the atrocities committed by our own side under a carpet. Doing that assures that we will do such things again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Greg F.
Date: 03 May 09 - 04:45 PM

Contrary to a current widespread delusion, Wikipedia is not authoritative.

And that's being overly kind. Wikipedia is a blog - with all the failings of that sort of media.

Read a book.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: number 6
Date: 03 May 09 - 05:03 PM

The same information from the wiki link I posted can be found in ... "Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan" by Herbert P. Bix.

It's a book - with all the failings of that sort of media.

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 03 May 09 - 06:26 PM

Do people really think that information in book form is necessarily any more accurate than Wikipedia? If so, I have a really nice bridge I'd like to sell them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 03 May 09 - 07:28 PM

Less imaginative people do. Some believe every line in "Mein Kampf."


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Greg F.
Date: 03 May 09 - 10:01 PM

Do people really think that information posted on a blog by any idiots that come along with little or no training, education or qualifications of any sort is to be believed?

Relativism run amok.

Hey, its on the Internet! It MUST be true.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 May 09 - 10:12 PM

They do, Rig? How many? One millionth of a per cent of the present world population or something along that line? I don't think it's a major problem.

Teribus, I didn't read your post down there, so I don't know what you said in it.

Ever since a couple of years ago when you used some private stuff about my life that I spoke to you about in a PM I sent you (when I was attempting to establish some kind of reasonably friendly dialogue between us)...and you used it repeatedly to make personal attacks on me on this forum on various threads...and you never even replied to my PM....

Well, ever since then I generally (depending on the subject of the thread) don't even read your posts. Period. And I won't.

I just see your name in the list, and I scroll right past it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 03 May 09 - 11:26 PM

"They do, Rig? How many? One millionth of a per cent of the present world population or something along that line? I don't think it's a major problem."

                Probably more than that, and the percentage is growing--at least it seems that way to me. But you're right, a larger problem are people who believe everything they read in things like the Bible.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 04 May 09 - 12:01 AM

Well, people have actually done studies to determine how Wikipedia stacks up against books to see which one (if any) had more accurate information, and Wikipedia compared favorably with books in that regard.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 04 May 09 - 12:02 AM

This is not to say that Wikipedia is necessarily particularly accurate, it is more to say that books are not necessarily particularly accurate, either.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 04 May 09 - 02:48 AM

Wow. Taking personal information shared in a private message, and using it to make personal attacks on people in the open forum. It don't get much lower than that, does it? Seems to me someone like that could never be trusted with anything at all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Greg F.
Date: 04 May 09 - 08:00 AM

...studies to determine how Wikipedia stacks up against books...

Carol-

I'd be interested in taking a look at those studies- who they were conducted by, what evaluation criteria they used, what books were udsed for comparison.

Can you supply references to them so I can look them up?

Thanks-

Greg


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 04 May 09 - 08:58 AM

If you look into something you know a great deal about, on Wikipedia, you can sometimes find bogus entries, but it's been my experience that those bogus entries don't last very long, because somebody has come in and corrected them.
             A lager problem that I've seen is, somebody will come in with some political bent or another, and enter something under a topic, someone else will correct it, and it's hard to know which is accurate.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 04 May 09 - 09:46 AM

Returning to the thread topic (!), today's New York Times (Monday) has a whole series of exculpatory interviews by people trying to weasel out of responsibility for who ordered what when -- most of it (of course) on "deep background".   It reads like the kind of thing you might imagine the interrogators at Nuremberg hearing: Oh, I was opposed all along, of course I passed the memo along, but I never approved it.   And yes of course we stopped it as soon as we could. Shocked, shocked, that gambling was going on.

So painfully obvious.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Teribus
Date: 04 May 09 - 10:07 AM

It is of little interest, or importance, to me whether or not you read my posts or not, but adopting the stance taken, (i.e. sticking fingers in both ears and chanting laa-laa-laa to anything counter to what you believe) is hardly the basis for any discussion. It will not prevent me from commenting when you post complete and utter tripe, which you seem to do often.

I have only ever received four PM's from you two in May 2006 and two in November 2007. If the content of your PM's were indeed an attempt by you to "establish some kind of reasonably friendly dialogue between us" then you have an extremely odd way of going about it. The language used was offensive and insulting in the extreme and hence were not considered to warrant the courtesy of any sort of response from me - Would you like me quote some of your remarks?? - Oh I forgot you won't read this.

As to the charge of me using "private stuff" contained in one of your PM's. That is absolute rubbish, you stated nothing in that mail that you hadn't previously mentioned on threads on this forum previously - you are talking here about going to school in the US and being bullied because of your views on the British being at odds with what was being taught. You have mentioned this before openly in threads by way of explanation on your views of the US and the UK. You introduced it into the public domain - Not me. You make personal attacks on me then expect to receive return fire in kind. I most certainly will not be told what I can and cannot do by the likes of yourself, not now, not ever, live with it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 04 May 09 - 10:17 AM

I can't believe anyone is still using the New York times as a source.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Wesley S
Date: 04 May 09 - 11:00 AM

I'd rather trust the New York Times than AM radio and the internet.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 04 May 09 - 12:02 PM

Here are some articles about studies done with regard to Wikipedia's accuracy...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4530930.stm

http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2006/11/8296.ars


Are some people really suggesting that just because a book is a book, that automatically gives it credibility for accuracy?


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 04 May 09 - 12:11 PM

I should point out here, that I consider much of what I read in Wikipedia (on subjects that are in dispute) to be inaccurate. But I also regard much of what I read in books on many subjects to be inaccurate as well.

Books can be written by anyone, just like Wikipedia entries. They can have an axe to grind, just like Wikipedia entries. They can be published by unscrupulous people, just like Wikipedia entries. Books as a category are no more credible as sources of accurate information than Wikipedia. The fact of information being printed on paper does not give it any more credibility than information that appears on the internet.

The criteria for whether or not an information source is credible really has nothing to do with whether that information appears in print form or on the internet. The criteria is whether or not the information has been properly researched and presented without bias or hidden agenda. Both books as well as the internet have no shortage of examples of information not living up to those criteria.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Wolfgang
Date: 04 May 09 - 12:54 PM

Wikipedia entries are fairly good on science topics.
To generalize from that finding to Wikipedia entries about politics is a bit careless.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 04 May 09 - 01:14 PM

I never said that Wikipedia is necessarily accurate. In fact, I said at least twice that I don't consider it necessarily accurate. What I have been saying is that books are not necessarily any more accurate than Wikipedia, simply for the fact that they are books. One cannot seriously say that in all cases, any book will be more accurate than any Wikipedia entry, as was suggested above by a poster. Each book and each Wikipedia entry has to be judged on its own merits.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: GUEST,number 6
Date: 04 May 09 - 01:46 PM

"Each book and each Wikipedia entry has to be judged on its own merits. "

true.

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 04 May 09 - 04:30 PM

I was probably overreacting. The fact is that all my students use Wikipedia as their authoritative source on all topics. I have no objection to anyone starting with Wikipedia (I use it all the time, and I think it is brilliant, and have contributed myself), but stopping there is the problem.

A real problem with Wikipedia is that there is no place for opinion, really (the argument areas are not all that friendly, I find).   They need to create some more safety valves, as opposed to the endless rewriting and watchdogging of so many areas. (They need a Mudcat BS zone).

I also agree that the science parts of Wikipedia are very, very good. At some point you can tell that some professor or her students went to work on the entries -- the physics and math ones are amazing. I am quite surprised at how poor some areas are: music, for example, by and large, is disappointing. Not pop music: endless stuff there, but classical music and jazz, etc.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 04 May 09 - 04:40 PM

Christopher Hitchens (no mindless liberal he!) has a nice peace on the British torture regime in World War II:

http://www.slate.com/id/2217583/

The lionization (I use the term carefully) of Churchill by Obama is an amusing piece of rhetorical table-turning, but I'm not sure Churchill is such a great source of ethics. His behaviour here and there in his career was not exactly stellar.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 04 May 09 - 10:18 PM

Any politician who has the nerve to stick his neck out is going to be attacked by somebody. Obama looks to Churchill and Lincoln. If he lives up to that standard, he would be unusual indeed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 12 May 09 - 02:39 PM

Once again, the Obama administration is threatening the British about the release of torture information.   In a recent letter, they have essentially said that the plaintiff in a British court should not be given access to material about his torture -- and the administration is threatening the mutual security pact if they continue to demand it.

This is absolutely illegal under international law. As usual, the online magazine Salon has the story today:

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/05/12/obama/

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: beardedbruce
Date: 12 May 09 - 03:09 PM

What if Cheney's Right?

By Richard Cohen
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Blogger Alert: I have written a column in defense of Dick Cheney. I know how upsetting this will be to some Cheney critics, and I count myself as one, who think -- in respectful paraphrase of what Mary McCarthy said about Lillian Hellman -- that everything he says is a lie, including the ands and the thes. Yet I have to wonder whether what he is saying now is the truth -- i.e., torture works.

In some sense, this is an arcane point since the United States insists it will not torture anymore -- not that, the Bush people quickly add, it ever did. Torture is a moral abomination, and President Obama is right to restate American opposition to it. But where I reserve a soupçon of doubt is over the question of whether "enhanced interrogation techniques" actually work. That they do not is a matter of absolute conviction among those on the political left, who seem to think that the CIA tortured suspected terrorists just for the hell of it.

Cheney, though, is adamant that the very measures that are now deemed illegal did work and that, furthermore, doing away with them has made the country less safe. Cheney said this most recently on Sunday, on CBS's "Face the Nation." "Those policies were responsible for saving lives," he told Bob Schieffer. In effect, Cheney poses a hard, hard question: Is it more immoral to torture than it is to fail to prevent the deaths of thousands?

Cheney is a one-man credibility gap. In the past, he has said, "We know they [the Iraqis] have biological and chemical weapons," when it turned out we knew nothing of the sort. He insisted that "the evidence is overwhelming" that al-Qaeda had been in high-level contact with Saddam Hussein's regime when the "evidence" was virtually nonexistent. And he repeatedly asserted that Iraq had a menacing nuclear weapons program. As a used-car dealer, he would have no return customers.

Still, every dog has his day, and Cheney is barking up a storm on the efficacy of what can colloquially be called torture. He says he knows of two CIA memos that support his contention that the harsh interrogation methods worked and that many lives were saved. "That's what's in those memos," he told Schieffer. They talk "specifically about different attack planning that was underway and how it was stopped."

Cheney says he once had the memos in his files and has since asked that they be released. He's got a point. After all, this is not merely some political catfight conducted by bloggers, although it is a bit of that, too. Inescapably, it is about life and death -- not ideology, but people hurling themselves from the burning World Trade Center. If Cheney is right, then let the debate begin: What to do about enhanced interrogation methods? Should they be banned across the board, always and forever? Can we talk about what is and not just what ought to be?

In a similar vein, can we also find out what Nancy Pelosi knew and when she knew it? If she did indeed know about waterboarding back in 2003, that would hardly make her a war criminal. But if she knew and insists otherwise, that would make her one of those people who will not acknowledge that the immediate post-Sept. 11 atmosphere allowed for methods that now seem abhorrent. Certain Democratic politicians remind me of what Oscar Levant supposedly said of Doris Day: "I knew [her] before she was a virgin." They have no memory of who they used to be.

Back in my college days, there was much late-night discussion about the "free man" -- not politically free, mind you, but free of bourgeois cultural restraints. (The once-important writer Jean Genet, a former petty criminal and prostitute, was often cited.) In political terms, Cheney has been a free man ever since he eschewed any presidential ambitions. He became the most impolitic of politicians and continues in that role, taking neither a vow of penitence nor a vow of silence in his vice presidential afterlife. He says the issues are too important for him to be, as is traditional, mum.

He is right about that. The run-up to the disastrous Iraq war was notable for its smothering lack of debate. That served us poorly then and it would serve us poorly now if people who know something about the utility, not to mention the morality, of enhanced interrogation techniques keep their mouths shut. The Obama administration ought to call Cheney's bluff, if it is that, and release the memos. If even a stopped clock is right twice a day, this could be Cheney's time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 12 May 09 - 03:26 PM

It has been reported that, according to the FBI and others, the people who were being tortured actually gave more information prior to their being tortured than after it commenced - that the suspects clammed up after the torture started, and then started cooperating again after it stopped.

It has also been reported that the Obama administration is thinking that, now that Cheney has demanded the release of all of the classified records, it might be a good idea to do just that. And some are saying that what is contained in the records that have not yet been released is even more damning than what is contained in the ones that have been released. The person reporting said that if those records are released, things are going to look even worse for Cheney than they do now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: beardedbruce
Date: 12 May 09 - 03:30 PM

It has been reported that Elvis is alive, and LGM were the ones to destroy the WTC....



"The run-up to the disastrous Iraq war was notable for its smothering lack of debate. That served us poorly then and it would serve us poorly now if people who know something about the utility, not to mention the morality, of enhanced interrogation techniques keep their mouths shut. The Obama administration ought to call Cheney's bluff, if it is that, and release the memos."


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 12 May 09 - 03:43 PM

Well, I guess we'll just see how it all unfolds, won't we?


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 13 May 09 - 03:09 PM

Hard to believe anything so stupid from a supposedly smart bunch of people. Obama is now proposing not to release the photographic record from Abu Ghraib, after he let it be known that he would. What does he think is now going to happen? Everyone is just going to nod and say, sure? No one is going to imagine the worst? This is the sort of monumentally stupid thing the Bush administration did, turning everything it did into toxic suspicion.   Executive branch toxicitiy strikes (as I have predicted since the start of all this).

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 13 May 09 - 04:52 PM

All they need to do is to show a picture of one of the prisoners sitting around calmly eating a ham sandwich, and all of the viewers will yawn, go to bed, and the issue will be over.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: robomatic
Date: 13 May 09 - 08:41 PM

I was listening to some of the issue today on the radio, and enjoyed the comment "people resort to torture because it's easier to hit them than to outsmart them."

In the literary vein, some of John Le Carre's earlier works contain some superb examples of nonviolent interrogation, particularly the series including Tinker Tailor and Smiley's People (and dramatized with Sir Alec Guinness in the 1980's).

As for ex Vice President Cheney, I enjoy his appearance on the talkies, because (a)he has every right to argue the efficacy of the methods being used by his version of government and (b) I think he is an excellent argument for the Democratic Party and the current administration smells better all the time by comparison to the previous, and Cheney sharpens this perception. Let him and Rush Limbaugh fight it out in the mud, one pig with another, and let us piously remember the likes of William F Buckley and Everett Dirksen.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 13 May 09 - 10:04 PM

I suspect all of us who read John Le Carre' realize he knows what he's talking about, but what he doesn't say is usually more compelling than what he is willing to say, and Cheney is verbalizing what Le Carre' doesn't say.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 13 May 09 - 10:08 PM

What really astonishes me is the number of people here in the US to refer to Jack Bauer and the television show 24 as a rationale for using torture, as if Jack Bauer and 24 weren't entirely fictional.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Janie
Date: 13 May 09 - 11:28 PM

It is a sad commentary that my most trusted op-ed sources are Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: GUEST,beardedbruce
Date: 14 May 09 - 07:51 AM

Congress and Waterboarding
Nancy Pelosi was an accomplice to 'torture.

By KARL ROVE
Someone important appears not to be telling the truth about her knowledge of the CIA's use of enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs). That someone is Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The political persecution of Bush administration officials she has been pushing may now ensnare her.

Here's what we know. On Sept. 4, 2002, less than a year after 9/11, the CIA briefed Rep. Porter Goss, then House Intelligence Committee chairman, and Mrs. Pelosi, then the committee's ranking Democrat, on EITs including waterboarding. They were the first members of Congress to be informed.

In December 2007, Mrs. Pelosi admitted that she attended the briefing, but she wouldn't comment for the record about precisely what she was told. At the time the Washington Post spoke with a "congressional source familiar with Pelosi's position on the matter" and summarized that person's comments this way: "The source said Pelosi recalls that techniques described by the CIA were still in the planning stage -- they had been designed and cleared with agency lawyers but not yet put in practice -- and acknowledged that Pelosi did not raise objections at the time."

When questions were raised last month about these statements, Mrs. Pelosi insisted at a news conference that "We were not -- I repeat -- were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used." Mrs. Pelosi also claimed that the CIA "did not tell us they were using that, flat out. And any, any contention to the contrary is simply not true." She had earlier said on TV, "I can say flat-out, they never told us that these enhanced interrogations were being used."

The Obama administration's CIA director, Leon Panetta, and Mr. Goss have both disputed Mrs. Pelosi's account.

In a report to Congress on May 5, Mr. Panetta described the CIA's 2002 meeting with Mrs. Pelosi as "Briefing on EITs including use of EITs on Abu Zubaydah, background on [legal] authorities, and a description of the particular EITs that had been employed." Note the past tense -- "had been employed."

Mr. Goss says he and Mrs. Pelosi were told at the 2002 briefing about the use of the EITs and "on a bipartisan basis, we asked if the CIA needed more support from Congress to carry out its mission." He is backed by CIA sources who say Mr. Goss and Mrs. Pelosi "questioned whether we were doing enough" to extract information.

We also know that Michael Sheehy, then Mrs. Pelosi's top aide on the Intelligence Committee and later her national security adviser, not only attended the September 2002 meeting but was also briefed by the CIA on EITs on Feb. 5, 2003, and told about a videotape of Zubaydah being waterboarded. Mr. Sheehy was almost certain to have told Mrs. Pelosi. He has not commented publicly about the 2002 or the 2003 meetings.

So is the speaker of the House lying about what she knew and when? And, if so, what will Democrats do about it?

If Mrs. Pelosi considers the enhanced interrogation techniques to be torture, didn't she have a responsibility to complain at the time, introduce legislation to end the practices, or attempt to deny funding for the CIA's use of them? If she knew what was going on and did nothing, does that make her an accessory to a crime of torture, as many Democrats are calling enhanced interrogation?

more


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 14 May 09 - 10:30 AM

Karl Rove was, of course, part of the original torture machine; but he's right. The Democrats were up to their necks in this, and lied.

And now, President Obama is lying about the content of the photos he won't release -- you can just hear him lying in old fashioned Karl Rove, George Bush speak. We have the first of his lies. All to cover up truths that will out sooner or later.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Greg F.
Date: 14 May 09 - 10:34 AM

An article by Karl Rove- the king of lies & bullshit.

What's next, BB? A piece by Ernst Zündel ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: beardedbruce
Date: 14 May 09 - 11:02 AM

Greg F,

Care to point out the lies in that article?


I thought not. You are saying that since you do not like the source, you will not consider that anything he says is true-

I will apply that to all the posts you make in the future.

Or you could look at the facts, and make a resonable judgement ABOUT THOSE FACTS.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 14 May 09 - 12:14 PM

I've never been a supporter of Pelosi, but I support her efforts to bring those responsible for the Bush administration's torture program to justice. Hopefully, whatever her own culpability is in that will not prevent her from continuing her efforts.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Greg F.
Date: 14 May 09 - 04:23 PM

An anonymous source. No transcript or record of this supposed "briefing". "almost certain to have told". Etc.

Lies, weasel-words and supposition.

Standard Rovian output. Worthy of the 'sainted' Joe McCarthy: "I have in my hand evidence....."

***

"The memories of men are too frail a thread to hang history from."
          - JOHN STILL


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: beardedbruce
Date: 14 May 09 - 04:28 PM

On Sept. 4, 2002, less than a year after 9/11, the CIA briefed Rep. Porter Goss, then House Intelligence Committee chairman, and Mrs. Pelosi, then the committee's ranking Democrat, on EITs including waterboarding. They were the first members of Congress to be informed.


True or false?



In December 2007, Mrs. Pelosi admitted that she attended the briefing, but she wouldn't comment for the record about precisely what she was told. At the time the Washington Post spoke with a "congressional source familiar with Pelosi's position on the matter" and summarized that person's comments this way: "The source said Pelosi recalls that techniques described by the CIA were still in the planning stage -- they had been designed and cleared with agency lawyers but not yet put in practice -- and acknowledged that Pelosi did not raise objections at the time."


True or false??



When questions were raised last month about these statements, Mrs. Pelosi insisted at a news conference that "We were not -- I repeat -- were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used." Mrs. Pelosi also claimed that the CIA "did not tell us they were using that, flat out. And any, any contention to the contrary is simply not true." She had earlier said on TV, "I can say flat-out, they never told us that these enhanced interrogations were being used."


True or false???




The Obama administration's CIA director, Leon Panetta, and Mr. Goss have both disputed Mrs. Pelosi's account.


True or false??




In a report to Congress on May 5, Mr. Panetta described the CIA's 2002 meeting with Mrs. Pelosi as "Briefing on EITs including use of EITs on Abu Zubaydah, background on [legal] authorities, and a description of the particular EITs that had been employed." Note the past tense -- "had been employed."


True or false?




Mr. Goss says he and Mrs. Pelosi were told at the 2002 briefing about the use of the EITs and "on a bipartisan basis, we asked if the CIA needed more support from Congress to carry out its mission." He is backed by CIA sources who say Mr. Goss and Mrs. Pelosi "questioned whether we were doing enough" to extract information.

True or false??




We also know that Michael Sheehy, then Mrs. Pelosi's top aide on the Intelligence Committee and later her national security adviser, not only attended the September 2002 meeting but was also briefed by the CIA on EITs on Feb. 5, 2003, and told about a videotape of Zubaydah being waterboarded.

True or false???


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 14 May 09 - 07:29 PM

Does anybody believe Nancy Pelosi was mislead about torture?


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Bobert
Date: 14 May 09 - 07:43 PM

Wow... If ya' listen to the Repubs it was Nancy Pelosi who ordered up all of this illegeal stuff??? Geeze, the Repubs must be right about the Dems...

Bad Dems for ordering up torture... Bad Dems!!!

(But, Boberdz, the Dems didn't order up the torture...)

Oh??? That ain't what the Repubs are sayin'...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 May 09 - 08:18 PM

If a source is evidently untrustworthy, on the basis of past experience, it is reasonable not to trust it. That doesn't mean that it may not be accurate on some matters. As the saying goes, a stopped clock tells the right time twice every day - but if you want to check the time you won't turn to a stopped clock to find out.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 14 May 09 - 10:13 PM

The key, my dear Watson, is to figure out when Pelosi's clock stopped.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Janie
Date: 14 May 09 - 11:01 PM

http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/05/14/iraq.u.s.detainees/index.html


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Bill D
Date: 14 May 09 - 11:27 PM

If you read and study ALL news sources, not just the ones you like, it will become apparent that there is much more to the story than what the conservatives are hoping can be shown about what Pelosi knew.

She has denied again that she 'knew' about waterboarding as a specific practice, and facts (the ones that can BE made public) are beginning to support her claims.

On the other hand, details from a number of sources are beginning to emerge that the impetus FOR waterboarding were not only political, but came from Cheney's office.

WITNESSES to 'enhanced interrogation' agree that 1)it did little good, and 2)it was strongly suggested & encouraged by Bush/Cheney officials in order to create a link between Al Quaida and Saddam's Iraq.

The evidence for this grows every day...and Cheney seems to be almost saying so.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 14 May 09 - 11:40 PM

I said way back when we first started hearing about torture being practiced by the US, that there is only one reason for torturing people, and that is to get them to confess to things that aren't true. And I said at the time that they were doing it to create justifications for their war.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: beardedbruce
Date: 15 May 09 - 07:23 AM

"If ya' listen to the Repubs it was Nancy Pelosi who ordered up all of this illegeal stuff??? "


Wring again, Bobert. Just that she KNEW and did not have any problem with it at the time. Even you should be able to understand the difference.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Bobert
Date: 15 May 09 - 07:46 AM

Geeze, I just hate being wring... lol..

BTW, bb, how do you know what she knew and whne she knew it???

The problem, as I see it, is that when Pelosi calls for a "Truth Commission" on torture the Repubs want that commission to look only at Pelosi... I say lets have a "Truth Cimission" and let the chips fall where they may even if it means that Cheney or Rumsfeld will have to testify ***under oath*** and be subject to criminal penalties...

Yeah, let 'er rip!!!

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: beardedbruce
Date: 15 May 09 - 07:52 AM

"BTW, bb, how do you know what she knew and whne she knew it???"

I never claimed to- I only point out that you are not telling the truth, again.

It should be investigated- and IF she was told I do not see that she has any excuse. Let them ALL be looked at- and start the impeachment procedings now against Obama, for when HE makes a tough decision that the next administration disagrees with.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 15 May 09 - 08:17 AM

And what was that tough decision that George Bush made? To torture people so that he could find a justification for a war that was unjustified?

And what is wrong about impeachment? Impeachment is to bring a president's actions under scrutiny. I seem to recall they did this about Clinton's sex life and the Republic still stands. As I recalll, impeachment is in the Constitution of the United States, and is there in order to provide a check against the executive branch engaging in "high crimes and misdemeanours". If Obama does that, he should be impeached.

He is not God or a king, although you wouldn't know it. He is a branch of government. A government of laws and not of men.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: beardedbruce
Date: 15 May 09 - 08:41 AM

"the contemptible hypocrisy of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is feigning outrage now about techniques that she knew about and did nothing to stop at the time.

My critics say: So what if Pelosi is a hypocrite? Her behavior doesn't change the truth about torture.

But it does. The fact that Pelosi (and her intelligence aide) and then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss and dozens of other members of Congress knew about the enhanced interrogation and said nothing, and did nothing to cut off the funding, tells us something very important.

Our jurisprudence has the "reasonable man" standard. A jury is asked to consider what a reasonable person would do under certain urgent circumstances.

On the morality of waterboarding and other "torture," Pelosi and other senior and expert members of Congress represented their colleagues, and indeed the entire American people, in rendering the reasonable person verdict. What did they do? They gave tacit approval. In fact, according to Goss, they offered encouragement. Given the circumstances, they clearly deemed the interrogations warranted.

Moreover, the circle of approval was wider than that. As Slate's Jacob Weisberg points out, those favoring harsh interrogation at the time included Alan Dershowitz, Mark Bowden and Newsweek's Jonathan Alter. In November 2001, Alter suggested we consider "transferring some suspects to our less squeamish allies" (i.e., those that torture). And, as Weisberg notes, these were just the liberals.

So what happened? The reason Pelosi raised no objection to waterboarding at the time, the reason the American people (who by 2004 knew what was going on) strongly reelected the man who ordered these interrogations, is not because she and the rest of the American people suffered a years-long moral psychosis from which they have just now awoken. It is because at that time they were aware of the existing conditions -- our blindness to al-Qaeda's plans, the urgency of the threat, the magnitude of the suffering that might be caused by a second 9/11, the likelihood that the interrogation would extract intelligence that President Obama's own director of national intelligence now tells us was indeed "high-value information" -- and concluded that on balance it was a reasonable response to a terrible threat.

And they were right. "

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/14/AR2009051403603.html?hpid=opinionsbox1


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: beardedbruce
Date: 15 May 09 - 08:54 AM

Yes. Peter T.


But the laws only apply to the OTHER side.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Bill D
Date: 15 May 09 - 11:52 AM

Lemmee see if I got this right.

Bush, Cheney & various attorneys & advisors took 9/11 as an excuse to pursue an invasion of Iraq, costing many billions and taking many more lives than 9/11, based on faulty intelligence and wishful thinking, and then tried to justify it....both BEFORE & AFTER the fact ....by the use of interrogation measures which experts told them didn't work and were not designed for such use.
They then tried to cover up their bad policies with bad logic ("it's not illegal if the president authorizes it") and misleading 'briefings' and 'classified' memos.
Now they and their supporters and those who are desperately trying to salvage any bit of 'face' for the Republican party are trying to distract us from the issue by saying, "Hey, no matter WHAT we did, Pelosi and others shoulda figgered out from those carefully done 'briefings' what was really happening in 'enhanced interrogation'!"

Have I got that about right?

The CIA 'briefers' were very careful in precisely what they told Congress. If you want to assert that Pelosi & others 'should have gotten the picture', I can't stop you, but *I* intend to wait until more facts are out to agree that Pelosi & Goss & others knew exactly what what was happening, and *I* intend to focus on the FACTS that the interrogation practices were illegal and immoral and were done on bad advice and for the wrong reasons and caused more problems than they fixed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 15 May 09 - 12:16 PM

I fail to see the point. The point is not that a reasonable man or a reasonable country panicked. It was not a reasonable response. And so far we have absolutely no evidence except the sayso of government officials who are deeply implicated in the whole mess that anything of "high value" was discovered that couldn't have been found without torture. And it doesn't matter anyway. The point is that it was WRONG AND ILLEGAL. The United States is a signatory to a convention (the blessed Ronald Reagan signed, so how could it be anything but written in gold letters in heaven) that makes it illegal.   People do wrong and illegal things: the Americans took away basic rights of the Japanese in World War II, and it took them forty years to be ashamed of it, and rectify it.   The British are using the court system to try and figure out what went wrong with their response to the war. The Americans will probably do the same, once they get going. If they don't, their ability to fight the wars that are supposed to stop Al-Qaeda in the future will be crippled, because of the moral guilt that attaches to them, and helps Al-Qaeda recruit people.



yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: pdq
Date: 15 May 09 - 12:28 PM

Nancy Pelsoi was briefed on September 4th, 2002. Note: that was before the Iraq war began in March 2003.

The document showing precicely what Pelosi was told was supplied by Leon Panetta, current CIA director and fellow California Democrat.

Panetta confims that contents of the breifing document were eplained to Pelosi in person and that she had not problems with any of the harsh interrogation practices.

Porter Goss was there in person and was briefed along with Pelosi.

The CIA agents who did the briefing, Leon Panetta and Porter Goss all tell the same story. Only Nancy Peolsi says differently.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 May 09 - 12:32 PM

Well, the tracks lead to Cheney's office when it came to requesting waterboarding and other extreme interrogation methods be used by those questioning Sadam's inner circle after the invasion of Iraq, in a desperate attempt to confirm a link with Al Quida or the location of weapons of mass destruction. The techniques produced little useful information (as had been predicted), compared with what interrogators harvested initially. These results did not discourage Cheney from requesting that the same methods be used on suspected Al Quida members when they were captured.

It would be wrong to recommend that similar measures be applied to Cheney and his staff to persuade them to come clean on what they knew and what they did.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: GUEST,Al
Date: 15 May 09 - 01:12 PM

All those that favoured this guy becoming president seem very quiet on this issue.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 15 May 09 - 01:21 PM

That's not true. Several of us who favored his becoming president have been very vocal on this issue.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Bill D
Date: 15 May 09 - 04:50 PM

If you turn on the news RIGHT NOW you will see that it is still not clear. It is still being debated who was told what and when...and in how definitive terms.

*IF* you believe Pelosi was either too dumb to hear the facts clearly, or that she is afraid to admit she heard & ignored facts about illegal stuff, it is still the case that illegal stuff was being DONE at the behest of Bush's administration!
No member of Congress should be PUT in the position of having to decide whether they have heard semi-illegal stuff and how to deal with it when the briefings were totally off-the-public-record and it was not yet clear what information was being gained to benefit the country. There should BE no illegal, immoral interrogation to report on!

As I say, I will wait till I see the transcript of the briefings to decide. I wasn't there...and none of YOU were either. But I'd be willing to bet a nickel that CIA briefers didn't take Pelosi & Goss & others into a room and say, "Hey...we're using torture on Zubeida, but it's ok...Cheney approved it and the SOB is talking!"
You know that whatever was said was couched in ambiguous terms in anticipation of this debate.
   Panetta says "it is not CIA policy to torture...".....right. Bush said the same thing, and meant "when we do it, we define it as "not torture."

   Boy, it sure is easy for some of you to figger it all out from vague remarks from 3-4 people, some of whom were not IN the room!


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Bobert
Date: 15 May 09 - 09:05 PM

Yo, bb...

Same ol' bb game... You say that Pelosi "KNEW" (SCREAMing again) and then I ask you how you knew that Pelosi knew and then you say that I am not telling the truth???

Like, huh???

You need to talk with yer shrink about these little problems you have with false accusations... And while yer at it, yer anti-social beahvior of thinking that if you SCREAM loud enough that it will make yer positions correct... Very bad behavior...

Now let me ask you again... How do you ***know*** what Pelsoi was told... Were you there??? Seem there are conflicting stories from folks who were there...

Yet you seem to think that you have the ***right*** story... What makes your story right??? Because you can SCREAM??? Ever been in a state mental hospital??? Lotta folks in there SCREAM, too... But they are in there for reasons aother that they were ***correct***...

I mean, I've been in meetings where bad stuff was so sugar-coated that everyone came away thinkin' that everything was fine... Is it not concievable that the CIA sugar coted their breifings to Congress??? This is, after all, a world in which folks "frame" positions...

For you to claim, well before any "Truth Commission", that you have the ***correct*** story makes you look to be very foolish...

And pleeeze spare all of the adults here yet another "Bobert is a liar" tirade... You are more intellegent than to walk that dead dog in public... Folks don't buy it here, bb...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Bill D
Date: 15 May 09 - 10:43 PM

And it seems former Senator Bob Graham was also briefed in the same general time frame as Pelosi, and HE says they never mentioned waterboarding.
   He asked the CIA what dates he was briefed,and they gave him 4 dates. He reports that HIS records indicate that on 3 of those dates, he was not even there! Sen. Graham keeps meticulous records, and the CIA had to back down!
   Further, during briefings, members of Congress being briefed are not allowed to take notes, while the CIA briefers are.... and no one is allowed to SEE the CIA's notes. What a system, huh? There seems to be no way to show whether YOUR memory of what you were told is correct - so Pelosi can't 'prove' her claims.

Further, the CIA routinely dissembles and misleads in other venues.... it is how they THINK on many topics. You think they wouldn't purposely be misleading or vague to a member of Congress if it suited their purpose: especially when their notes are by definition not subject to review?

sheesh!@


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 15 May 09 - 10:56 PM

Personally, I think Nancy Pelosi has more important things to do. I think she should get out of this and go on.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 May 09 - 11:36 PM

Rig-

Not a bad thought considering. It's unlikely that anyone can convict her as a principal agent of "torture policy."

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Bobert
Date: 16 May 09 - 08:26 AM

Correction: It is not "in"concievable that thr CIA sugar-coated their briefings to Congress...

BTW, I saw last night where Bob Graham has had a life long habit of carrying around little spriil notebooks and writing down everything that happens as it is happening... He even writes down what he has for breakfast... Now, if the CIA had said that it was using "water-boarding" then it is not too far of a stretch to think that Graham would have had that in his note book covering that briefing...

I mean, this whole think about Pelosi is just another Republican dirty trick, something that the Repubs have perfected over thge years and something that the American people are sick of and why the American people are increasingly quitting on the Republican Party...

Talk about backfires...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 16 May 09 - 11:21 AM

And now Obama is back to the military tribunals.   It appears the main reason (apart from pusillanimity on his part) is that the defendants couldn't now be tried in a regular court because they were tortured. Thus the stain continues to spread.   

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Stringsinger
Date: 16 May 09 - 01:56 PM

It's important to remember that the people who seem to interpret Osama bin Laden have never read his writings. His fanaticism is not extended to destroying America (he sees that as America doing it to itself) but he doesn't want ground troops in Islamic countries.

Torture used on Zubaydah undoubtably hardened him from responding with valid information.

A program developed by the army for future interrogations was made to elicit false information from the tortured who have been captured. This was one of the reasons
torture was used on the detainees at Gitmo but the stupidity of it was that it was shown
that resistance to torture could ensue and false information could be extracted.

If you wanted to go with the "ticking-time bomb" theory, a tortured detainee would be motivated to obscure true information until it was too late. That would be easy to do.

The CIA is not in business to be totally honest in it's dealing with the American public.
It's a spy unit and justifies all kinds of duplicity to make it's case.

Pelosi may well be telling the truth. Bob Graham backs her up with his copious notes.

She may have dodged the issue by not talking about it but she also may not have been briefed and is being vilified by Republicans for it for political purposes.

I suspect that the CIA is not in the business of informing anyone about it's secretive
activities. I think the Republican senators who are accusing her of dissembling are themselves capable of it as well as their self-righteous support of the CIA.

Whether Pelosi knew or not is of course obscured by the fact that she didn't raise a ruckus but who in congress who were briefed did? They are all culpable if they in fact knew of it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 16 May 09 - 04:27 PM

It seems to me like a Congress person is in a pretty tight spot. If he/she is a committee chariman or ranking member they have to be briefed. If they say anything about the briefing they'd really get raked over the coals.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 16 May 09 - 06:48 PM

I think it is all great -- if Congress has to save its ass, it may actually get off its ass and do something.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 16 May 09 - 06:59 PM

I was just watching an interview with a journalist named Richard Wolffe on this subject. He said members of the Bush administration told him a long time ago that they were giving useless bogus briefings to members of Congress in order to co-opt and compromise them just in case they would try to hold people responsible for torture, and so that they could then do exactly what Republicans and the CIA (with the help of Panetta, probably because he's working for Obama, who doesn't want the investigations to go forward) are now doing - trying to discredit the efforts to investigate the torture program by trying to discredit the investigators.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 16 May 09 - 09:25 PM

Okay, so Pelosi was probably briefed on a number of things the Bush Administration didn't go ahead with, and hidden in the mix was the briefing about torture. If she pushes it to the limit, the record will back Cheney. It seems to me she'd be better served to drop it and go on with something more constructive.
                  Obviously Obama has figured out that he has more important things to do.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 16 May 09 - 11:42 PM

Such as?

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 17 May 09 - 03:17 AM

I think history will be much kinder to Pelosi if she pushes forward with the investigations than it will be to Obama if she doesn't. Cheney's screwed either way (as he should be).


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 17 May 09 - 08:33 AM

If Cheney is right, and the evidence seems to indicate that he is, about the administrationi briefing Congress through committee chairs and ranking members, it looks to me like Pelosi is the one who is screwed.

            Personally, I don't have a dog in this fight. I think the US did what it had to do. Now that Obama has all the information in front of him, he can see that. If another 9/11 attack happened again, I think the US would do the same thing under an Obama administration.


"Such as?"

Healthcare
Banking regulation
Social Security
Medicare
Education
etc.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Bobert
Date: 17 May 09 - 09:28 AM

What "evidence", Rigs...


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 17 May 09 - 01:16 PM

The important people here are the people who were tortured and some of whom appear to have been killed in the name of America, without any recourse. The petty squabbling is, dare I say it, petty squabbling.

The most important thing a country does is uphold the laws and rights of its citizens. Without that, none of the rest matters. Without that, all the rest is destroyable -- from within, which is far worse than anything terrorists can do.
yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 17 May 09 - 02:12 PM

The most important thing a country does is to keep its citizens alive. Without that, none of the rest of it matters.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 17 May 09 - 03:49 PM

Tell that to the North Koreans.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 17 May 09 - 03:54 PM

Pelosi's not screwed even if she was briefed, if she continues her push to investigate, because a public official who allows those crimes to be committed, and then works to try to correct their mistake, comes out better in the long run than one who allows them (or who plans them and carries them out) and then tries to cover them up. Pelosi will look even more heroic if she potentially faces concequences herself but presses on anyway. The rest of them will look like cowards and slimeballs (which is what they will be).


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 17 May 09 - 04:02 PM

The US didn't do what it had to do. What it did didn't contribute to keeping its citizens alive or safe, and it has been shown that what it did cost the lives of quite a few US citizens, and at the same time undermined the mission of our military people in the "War on Terror". The Bush administration tortured people because it needed a justification to wage an elective war on a sovereign country for money. Torture has been proven to be counterproductive in the long run for keeping a nation safe, and no administration will allow its use unless it is trying to force people to say things that aren't true in order to support an agenda that has nothing to do with keeping the US safe.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Bobert
Date: 17 May 09 - 05:11 PM

So, Rigs, are ya' saying that torturing folks keeps the country safe???


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 17 May 09 - 10:05 PM

Yes! And anyone who thinks other political powers don't engage in torture is living in a dream world. My opinion, of course.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Bobert
Date: 18 May 09 - 07:23 AM

How about the many experts who claim that torture only gets you bad intllegence??? And what about decisions that are made based on bad intllegence??? Hmmmmmm???


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 18 May 09 - 10:21 AM

If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. One would think the CIA, FBI, NSA, etc., etc. would know. But once you go down the road of having politicians making military decisions--including intellegence, you're probably on your way to disaster in any event.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 18 May 09 - 11:33 AM

The experts say it doesn't work. This was shown by the fact that people who were tortured clammed up after the torture commenced, while they had been cooperating before that. It also puts the lives of our military people at much greater risk, because it creates a backlash.

The only reason people use torture is to get people to say things that aren't true. People will say anything to get the pain to stop. It does not produce reliable intelligence.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 18 May 09 - 11:49 AM

Actually, I think Riginslinger is right -- nations all over the world do torture. That is why it should be stopped -- and it should be stopped particularly in the nations that supposedly uphold and parade their committments to democracy and human rights -- especially since there are all kinds of nasty regimes that keep calling themselves democracies and have seats on Human Rights Tribunals and so on. Otherwise the whole thing is meaningless.

I think people do torture to get information. There are sadists, and they may all be sadists, but there are people trying to get information. The Nazis tried to get information from people by torture, and they succeeded. That was why the informal Resistance rule was 24 hours (so I have heard) -- you resist for 24 hours and then tell whatever.

The moral dilemma is not whether it works or not. The moral dilemma is whether you use it even though it works. I say no: I say it is (as Obama said before he turned tail and ran) part of the price.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 18 May 09 - 02:40 PM

Y'know, I suspect that, under sufficient enhanced interrogation, Cheney would admit to being the brains behind 9-11. Or even to plotting the crucifixion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Bobert
Date: 18 May 09 - 07:40 PM

Yeah, seems that even if it does work in certain circumsatnces who is to know exactly which certain circumstance is ***the*** certain circumstance??? So, you might get good or bad intellegence with torture... The problem is that when you plan field operations around "good or bad" intellegence you get a mixed bag of failure and success...

Folks who outsmart the folks they are trying to get information from get better intellegence because in outsmarting these folks what is told them is more accurate than torture... This has been stated by expert after expert...

Now we learn that much of the torture that has been carried out was done so after private contractors suggested these meathods??? Who exactly made private contarctors the authority on intellegence???

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 May 09 - 08:04 PM

I don't believe I'm reading this. Not at any time in the last 60 years do I believe that anyone could put up the arguments being put up here.

All you defenders of torture, just how many witches do you think actually used to exist, and how many of the women murdered for being witches actually were witches?

And what produced the evidence and confessions of being witches, the stories of the devil's icy cold member, the drinking of the blood of children, etc, etc, etc>

Oh yes. Torture.

It really helps to get at the truth, does torture...

More power to your elbow on this thread Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 May 09 - 08:08 PM

Oh, and that cheap racist crack about ham sandwiches is about on the par with some of the van der Merwe jokes that used to circulate in white South Africa. Or Lisa and Rastus jokes. Shame on you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Bobert
Date: 18 May 09 - 08:15 PM

Well, with the witches they would dunk the suspected witch under water... If the woman drowned then that was evidence that the woman was not a witch... If she lived then that was proof that the woman was a witch and therefore should be done away with???

What barbaric thinking...

Like you, Richard, I can't believe tghat we are having this discussion, some 60 years after the United States put Japanese people on trial for war crimes for doing what Dick Cheney has been running around the country saying is okay in his book...

And meanwhile??? Not one shread of evidence that torture saved so much as one life??? Let alone thousands...

I'm sniffin' another round of mushroom cloud lies from Cheney...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 18 May 09 - 10:00 PM

Richard - I'm pleased that someone finally got it, but it just goes to make the point: What's torture for one is not necessarily torture for all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 18 May 09 - 10:05 PM

The reason we are having this discussion is because as the world's biggest and most powerful superpower, we only believe in "might makes right" any more. We no longer believe in ethics or the rule of law (if we ever did, which I tend to doubt). Approaching it from the perspective of ethics and rule of law isn't going to work any more for the people in the US, because those who advocate torture don't give a shit about those things, and there isn't anyone in the world who can force the most powerful country in the world to start caring about those things. The only way to persuade them to stop doing it is to show them how it damages the US more than it helps the US. That's just the way it is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 18 May 09 - 10:24 PM

Well, Carol, that's one reason to have this discussion, but one of the by-products might be to arrive at some workable solution as to how to extract information for a prisoner without the use of torture.

                   Shaving the beards off of detainees, or making them eat ham sandwiches should be a good way to get information without the use of torture. After all, it's not the fault of the captor that the prisoner is addicted to some ancient superstition or another.

                   And for Richard to call it racism is totally out of line. People from every race all over the world will happily eat a ham sandwich. It's only the addicts that will not. At the end of the day, it would be no different than withholding heroin from a junkie.

                   They could have done that to get the information that they wanted. The reason they might not have is because so many of them were addicts themselves. On NPR today, there was a discussion about how Rumsfeld posted Biblical quotes to his intelligence briefings. I suppose he thought god was on his side, but...

                   If sober people could have been in charge, we might have known everything.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 18 May 09 - 10:39 PM

They already have methods other than torture that work better than torture, and that don't compromise our military people overseas. There is absolutely no reason to torture, except to force people to say things that aren't true.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 18 May 09 - 11:56 PM

So it's the voters' fault for electing addicts in the first place. There's no sense in going further. Obama, his administration, and the entire country will not be served by prosecuting fools for being stupid.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 19 May 09 - 12:51 AM

Addicts? We need to prosecute those responsible if we want to be a part of the world community instead of a rogue state.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Teribus
Date: 19 May 09 - 01:23 AM

Camberwick Green, or Trumpton, that's where I believe most of you live having read down through this thread.

Your views on "Torture" are based on comic book interpretations of torture for torture's sake.

The one thing that you are showing that you know nothing about whatsoever is interrogation of someone who has been trained to withstand it.

The other thing that you are pointedly ignoring are the circumstances under which interrogation is required.

"They already have methods other than torture that work better than torture, and that don't compromise our military people overseas. There is absolutely no reason to torture, except to force people to say things that aren't true." - CarolC

That is the most stupid remark that I think I've heard on the subject.

Ask anybody who has been through SERE training what they are advised to do if captured and interrogated. I take it that this training still goes on, which means that Obama will allow US Forces personnel to be "tortured" by US Instructors, but not the "enemies" of the USA - ludicrous.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 19 May 09 - 03:11 AM

Interestingly, it's precisely that SERE training that points up the fact that the Bush administration's torture program was explicitly for the purpose of getting people to say things that weren't true. The SERE program was instituted to train US military personnel to be able to resist the kinds of torture that people like the Chinese and North Vietnamese were using to force US military personnel to say things that weren't true, and use those statements from those US military personnel (obtained though torture) as propaganda.

The Bush administration used in its own torture program, the very same torture techniques that the SERE program was designed to help US military personnel resist. It used those torture techniques for precisely the same reason the Chinese and Vietnamese and other governments that used those techniques used them... to force people to say things that aren't true in order to use them as propaganda tools.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 May 09 - 03:37 AM

Rig, I suggest you ask the usually very restrained Rabbi-Sol here what he would call it if one were to threaten to force an orthodox Jew to eat a ham sandwich.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 19 May 09 - 08:14 AM

I wouldn't do it, of course, unless I thought he had information that I needed to protect the safety of civilians or people serving under me--or if I were in a military situation and I thought it would help me gain an advantage. At that point, the ham sandwiches would come out.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 19 May 09 - 10:53 AM

It is probably a weary thing to add to this discussion, but as far as I can see torture in the American "ticking bomb" scenarios would be an admission of terrible failure in at least two of the three basic threats of any seriousness. Biological warfare is not a mass threat to anyone, in spite of the hoo-ha about it. The only weapons of mass destruction that matter are nuclear weapons or dirty nuclear bombs. The three basic threats at the top end of the scale are: the disintegration of Pakistan to the point where one of the terrorist groups gets hold of a nuclear weapon; the whole entanglement of Israel, Iran, and Iraq to the point of a war; and three, the leaking of a nuclear weapon from the Russian stockpile. I don't see anything else on the apocalypse scale. Two of the three are resolvable with some decent politics to an extent that the threat would ease. The Russian case is different: that is why the Americans threw money at the containment. (They did the same with the Pakistanis who probably spent it on tanks to attack India).

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 19 May 09 - 11:15 AM

It doesn't look to me like the people advocating for the use of torture are necessarily talking about WMD. It looks to me like they're saying that torture is justified if any civilians or military personnel could be killed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 19 May 09 - 12:40 PM

Do we have a definition of torture. It sounds like some folks think torture is threatening somebody with a ham sandwich.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: beardedbruce
Date: 19 May 09 - 01:02 PM

"Biological warfare is not a mass threat to anyone"

Bull!!

Caribe Indians as a counterexample.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 May 09 - 01:09 PM

Rig, thus threatening someone to whom ham is religiously unclean, and joking about it, is rather vile racism.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 19 May 09 - 01:19 PM

Not really, Richard, the problems are all in their head. It looks to me like one would be doing the individual a favor.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 19 May 09 - 03:05 PM

Biological weapons such as they are require a closed space (Tokyo subway) and dissipate really easily. No one has thought of a plausible way of doing it. Giving indians blankets is not exactly 21st century.....

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Donuel
Date: 19 May 09 - 03:47 PM

The Chinese ham sandwich torture is simple....but insidious.


SOme of the arcane language the Bush lawyer stooges used to redefine torture is cruel and unusual.

"whereas the degree of pain shall not exceed that of fatal organ failure pain"


sheeesh


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 19 May 09 - 04:01 PM

"The Chinese ham sandwich torture is simple....but insidious."


                   It might be insidious, but think of the possibilities. First you have a subject that abhores the idea of eating a ham sandwich, but you keep coaxing and coaxing, and then, when he finally gets hungry enough, he takes a nibble. After a sandwich or two, he discovers he likes them.

                   After a while, the interrogation subject begins to feel he can't get through the day without a ham sandwich or two. His dependancy increases. Finally, you let him have all the ham sandwiches he wants, until one day you suggest that he might want to cut down on them.

                   In the end, you have the National Security Advisor develop a 12 step program to help break the addiction to ham sadwiches. The subject shows up at group therapy one day, and he tells you everything.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: beardedbruce
Date: 19 May 09 - 04:21 PM

"Biological weapons such as they are require a closed space (Tokyo subway) and dissipate really easily. No one has thought of a plausible way of doing it."

Sorry, but biological weapons would include ANY contagious disease. Since we have pandemics, naturally, I fail to see how you can dismiss the possibility of planned disease as a weapon.

Yes, it is probably easier to spread in inclosed spaces, such as aircraft, subways, and convention centers. But unless you prevent contact with other people, it can be spread easily. Worst case would be to use some other vector. A well known short story had a disease spread by contamination of the glue that is put on stamps.


BTW, the Tokyo Subway was ricin, a chemical agent.


And are you aware of how many tons of clorine are passing through major cities every day?


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 19 May 09 - 04:46 PM

Definition of torture from earlier in the thread. Under this definition, the ham sandwich would be considered torture, because forcing someone to eat it might cause them to believe their soul could be endangered. I realise this might seem like a laughing matter to some people, but to those who are brought up in strict religious contexts, it is anything but.


Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC - PM
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 10:14 PM

Here's the definition of torture according to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which the US is a signatory, which makes it a law of the land...

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

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.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 19 May 09 - 04:54 PM

The idea of people using biological weapons is a tricky one, because the populations related to those using the weapons would be just as vulnerable to being wiped out by them as those they were trying to wipe out. That makes them a lot less likely to be used. The smallpox bio-weapons were effective because Europeans tended to already have some degree of immunity to smallpox, and the indigenous Americans did not, and the indigenous populations were fairly isolated from the other populations. This is not the case with modern bio-weapons, although we did see that someone (someone employed by the US government) was able to use anthrax to kill a small number of people through the mail in 2001.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 19 May 09 - 07:52 PM

Teribus-
the point is that torture of captured personnel is against US law, and violates treaties that the US signed. Whether or not it works is wholly irrelevant. So is that fact that some individual US citizens may volunteer to be tortured.

It's really not very complicated.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 19 May 09 - 09:20 PM

"Definition of torture from earlier in the thread. Under this definition, the ham sandwich would be considered torture, because forcing someone to eat it might cause them to believe their soul could be endangered."

                      Here is where all the signed treaties go out the window. If I thought I could get information that would save lives or change the course of a battle by simply forcing somebody to do something that wouldn't harm them, I'd do it in a New York minute, and feel good about it.

                      The funny part is, this is the one thing George W. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al decided not to do.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 19 May 09 - 09:32 PM

Actually, you made my point better than I could. Biological weapons are very difficult to control, spread vaguely, and take time. Chemical weapons are a problem, but they too require very specific conditions to do serious damage. Nuclear weapons and nuclear material are the only weapons of mass destruction of real concern. Except for television of course.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Bobert
Date: 19 May 09 - 10:30 PM

Exactly, Dick G-house...

The reason that countires enter into treatiies is because in doing so they are protecting their own citizens...

Duhhh!!!

Breaking such a treaty endangers both sides or mutii-sides... Thatnis what internation law is all about...

We either respect international law or we don't...

No middle ground...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 19 May 09 - 11:42 PM

When they make these laws, they ought to make provisions for amendments. When they originally entered into these treaties, nearly everyone was addicted to some ancient superstition or another, now many more people are not. In a few years, hardly anybody will be. We could be nearing the end of the need for war.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Teribus
Date: 20 May 09 - 01:06 AM

"the fact that the Bush administration's torture program was explicitly for the purpose of getting people to say things that weren't true." - CarolC

This is based on what??

"Biological weapons such as they are require a closed space (Tokyo subway) and dissipate really easily."

So how long was it before the island of Guinard deliberately infected with anthrax (A biological agent) during the Second World War was given the "all clear"?? IIRC it was some forty odd years and guess what the island was far from being an enclosed space.

"Biological weapons are very difficult to control, spread vaguely, and take time. Chemical weapons are a problem, but they too require very specific conditions to do serious damage."

Threat lectures delivered on the capabilities of Soviet Chemical and Biological weapons indicated that they had weaponised agents that had definite "active lives", i.e. they could be used to saturate a target area to deny, destroy or disrupt, 12 hours later the attackers troops could pass through quite safely. NATO abandoned Chemical and Biological weapons because at that time they were indiscriminate and unreliable, the broadcast NATO response to the use of Chemical and Biological weapons by the Soviets or Warsaw Pact nations in Europe was immediate escalation to the use of tactical nuclear weapons, making use of the C & B weapons pointless - no use preparing the ground for a mass attack if your troops massed for that attack are wiped out by a tactical nuke.

On the "ham sandwich" thing it has nothing to do with religion, it is a "law" on food hygene going way back in time, which is why it is common to both Muslim and Jews, very hard to keep pork safe to eat in a climate like that of the middle-east.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 20 May 09 - 02:13 AM

Based on how they conducted the program, and what they were trying to get out of it. They were already getting actionable intelligence that was saving lives using non-coercive methods, which the experts on interrogation say are the most effective methods. The reason they shifted into the coercive methods was to "establish" (create) a connection between al Qaeda and Saddam, and to coerce those being tortured to confess to other things that were not true.

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, for instance, was waterboarded 183 times, and one of the things he confessed to, was planning, training, surveying, and financing for the second wave of attacks after 9/11, that were supposed to take down a number of sky scrapers, including Plaza Bank in Washington state. Plaza bank wasn't founded until four years after Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's arrest.

This is what one of the FBI interrogators had to say about the coercive techniques and their shortcomings as compared to the effectiveness of the non-coercive techniques (from a link in an earlier post in this thread)...


"One of the most striking parts of the memos is the false premises on which they are based. The first, dated August 2002, grants authorization to use harsh interrogation techniques on a high-ranking terrorist, Abu Zubaydah, on the grounds that previous methods hadn't been working. The next three memos cite the successes of those methods as a justification for their continued use. It is inaccurate, however, to say that Abu Zubaydah had been uncooperative. Along with another FBI agent, and with several CIA officers present, I questioned him from March to June 2002, before the harsh techniques were introduced later in August. Under traditional interrogation methods, he provided us with important actionable intelligence.

There was no actionable intelligence gained from using enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Zubaydah that wasn't, or couldn't have been, gained from regular tactics. In addition, I saw that using these alternative methods on other terrorists backfired on more than a few occasions – all of which are still classified. The short sightedness behind the use of these techniques ignored the unreliability of the methods, the nature of the threat, the mentality and modus operandi of the terrorists, and due process.

Defenders of these techniques have claimed that they got Abu Zubaydah to give up information leading to the capture of Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a top aide to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and Mr. Padilla. This is false. The information that led to Mr. Shibh's capture came primarily from a different terrorist operative who was interviewed using traditional methods. As for Mr. Padilla, the dates just don't add up: the harsh techniques were approved in the memo of August 2002, Mr. Padilla had been arrested that May."


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Bobert
Date: 20 May 09 - 07:51 AM

Well, there has to be some reason that the Bush administration bungled foriegn policy so badly and why it left US not one, but two, unwinable stupid wars... That reason is bad intellegence... Beating the crap outta people certainly hasn't made US safer... Quite the contrary... It not only has provided US with lousy intellegence but also pissed off alot of folks enough to join in with the jahidists...

Purdy stupid!!!

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: beardedbruce
Date: 20 May 09 - 07:52 AM

Democrats' Assault On the CIA
By Michael Gerson
Wednesday, May 20, 2009

In a little over 100 days, the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress have delivered a series of blows to the pride and morale of the Central Intelligence Agency.

It began with the release of the Justice Department memos -- a move opposed by CIA Director Leon Panetta along with four previous directors. Then, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. did not rule out Justice Department cooperation with foreign lawsuits against American intelligence operatives. Then, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the CIA of lying to her in 2002 about waterboarding, which she admitted learning about five months later anyway but did nothing to oppose because her real job was to "change the leadership in Congress and in the White House."

To stanch the CIA's bleeding morale, Democrats have tried reassurance. President Obama, speaking at CIA headquarters, took the Fred Rogers approach: "Don't be discouraged that we have to acknowledge potentially we've made some mistakes. That's how we learn." Yes, children, hypocritical congressional investigations and foreign kangaroo courts are really our friends. House intelligence committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes sent a sympathy note to Langley: "In recent days, as the public debate regarding CIA's interrogation practices has raged, you have been very much in my thoughts." There should be a section at Hallmark for intelligence operatives unfairly accused of war crimes.


The only effective reassurance came from Panetta, who pointed out to Pelosi and others that the CIA actually keeps records of its congressional briefings. "Our contemporaneous records from September 2002," Panetta wrote, "indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaida, describing 'the enhanced techniques that had been employed.' " A primary advocate of the "truth commission" has apparently misplaced her own supply.

Is there any precedent for a speaker of the House of Representatives seeking political shelter by blaming national security professionals? Or for a commander in chief exposing intelligence methods at the urging of the American Civil Liberties Union? Actually, such treatment has precedents. In 1975, the Church Committee nearly destroyed the human intelligence capabilities of the CIA. In the early 1990s, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan urged closing the agency entirely. The Clinton administration imposed massive budget cuts, leaving behind a demoralized institution.

And now Obama has described the post-Sept. 11 period as "a dark and painful chapter in our history." In fact, whatever your view of waterboarding, the response of intelligence professionals following Sept. 11 was impressive. Within days, the CIA had linked up with the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan and begun preparations to remove the Taliban. The counterterrorism center run of out CIA headquarters was the war on terror in the months after the attacks, making daily progress in capturing high-value targets. Now the president and his party have done much to tarnish those accomplishments. So much for the thanks of a grateful nation.

Contrast this affront to Obama's treatment of the military. When Gen. Ray Odierno argued that the release of military abuse photos would put American troops at risk, Obama quickly backed down. By one account, Odierno told the president, "Thanks. That must have been a hard decision." Obama replied: "No, it wasn't at all." Obama has deferred to his military commanders on the timing and strategy of American withdrawals from Iraq. And he has proposed an escalating military commitment in Afghanistan and Pakistan -- leading 51 House Democrats last week to vote against a military funding bill.

Defense writer Tom Ricks claims that Obama is being "rolled" by the military. Perhaps it is just an appropriate respect by the commander in chief for the troops at his command.

This obvious difference in treatment between military and intelligence is both paradoxical and hypocritical. Traveling recently in Iraq, Pelosi noted, "If we're going to have a diminished military presence, we'll have to have an increased intelligence presence." This has been the main Democratic argument against the whole idea of the war on terror -- that guns and bombs are no substitute for timely information. "This war on terror is far less of a military operation and far more of an intelligence-gathering, law-enforcement operation," Sen. John Kerry once claimed.

But this object of praise -- intelligence-gathering -- is again the object of liberal assault. "To put the matter at its simplest," writes Gabriel Schoenfeld, "American elites have become increasingly discomfited over the last decades by the very existence of a clandestine intelligence service in a democratic society."

But our democratic society still depends on intelligence officers -- just as surely as it depends on our men and women in uniform.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 20 May 09 - 10:39 AM

We know for a fact that the CIA is lying, because one of the people they said they briefed, and they listed the dates of those briefings, has proof he was somewhere else at the time the CIA said some of the briefings took place.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: pdq
Date: 20 May 09 - 11:12 AM

Nancy Pelsoi was briefed on September 4th, 2002. The document showing precicely what Pelosi was told was supplied by Leon Panetta, current CIA director.

Panetta and CIA agents confim that contents of the breifing documents were eplained to Pelosi in person and that she had no problems with any of the harsh interrogation practices.

Porter Goss was there in person and agrees that both he and Pelosi were told specifically of waterboarding Abu Zubaydah.

The CIA agents who did the briefing, Leon Panetta and Porter Goss all tell the same story. Only Nancy Peolsi says differently.

There were numerous briefings over several years about interrogation at Gitmo with different people present and differents information passed along. What was said in those briefing is irrelevant.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 20 May 09 - 11:28 AM

um, "bleeding morale"? (what about bleeding people?).

But in any case, Obama's reception at the CIA didn't exactly strike one as coming from a demoralized place.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 20 May 09 - 11:48 AM

Actually, even Panetta has said that the CIA documents are not proof of anything, and some of the other people who were supposed to have been briefed are supporting what Pelosi has said.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 20 May 09 - 12:16 PM

Assuming Pelosi is right, and she pushes ahead with this to the point of forcing Rumsfeld or Rove or somebody into court, Obama would be put in the position of having to defend Rumseld and Rove.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 20 May 09 - 12:36 PM

More from FBI interrogator, Ali Soufan...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30721458/

Soufan countered that his personal experience showed that the harsh interrogation techniques did not work even when there was not a lot of time to prevent an attack.

"Waiting 180 hours as part of the sleep deprivation stage is time we cannot afford to wait in a ticking bomb scenario," he said.

Soufan said the harsh techniques were "ineffective, slow and unreliable and, as a result, harmful to our efforts to defeat al-Qaida."

Soufan testified that "many of the claims made" by the Bush administration were inaccurate or half-truths.

He cited these examples:

    * The administration said Abu Zubaydah was not cooperating before Aug. 1, 2002, when waterboarding was approved. "The truth is that we got actionable intelligence from him in the first hour of interrogating him" before that date.
    * The administration credited waterboarding for Zubaydah's information that led to the capture of Padilla, who received a 17-year, four-month sentence, although prosecutors did not present any dirty-bomb information. Padilla was arrested in May 2002, months before waterboarding was authorized, Soufan said.
    * Bush officials contended that waterboarding revealed the involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks of al-Qaida mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. Soufan said the information was discovered in April 2002, months before waterboarding was introduced.


http://politics.theatlantic.com/2009/05/the_agent_in_place_torture_didnt_work.php

The Senate Judiciary Committee hears testimony from former lead FBI counterterrorism agent Ali Soufan. Soufan calls "enhanced interrogation techniques" "ineffective, slow, unreliable" and therefore harmful, "aside from the important considerations that they are un-American and harmful to our case and reputation." Soufan describes the successful non-coercive interrogation of Al Qaeda terrorist Abu Jandal, who "identified many terrorists who we later successfully apprehended." Soufan describes an interrogation method he calls the "Informed Interrogation Approach," which seeks to capitalize on the natural fear that a detainee feels as a result of his custody by adopting a posture of openness and respect.

Soufan presents an interesting challenge to the Ticking Time Bomb Scenario. Noting that it took 83 waterboardings to force Khalid Shake Mohammed to cough up information, he describes that technique as "slow" and therefore unreliable when information needs to be obtained quickly. Soufan also provides an unclassified chronology of the joint FBI-CIA efforts to question Abu Zubaydah. He says that his early efforts to coax information out of the Al Qaeda operate were successful, and CIA director George Tenet prepared a congratulatory telegram. As soon as Tenet learned that FBI agents -- not his CIA team -- had taken the lead role in the interrogation, he withdrew the congratulations and sent a team from the CIA's counterterrorism center to the interrogation site. That team was assisted by a contractor who "instructed" the new CIA operatives in tougher interrogation techniques. According to Soufan, the new team began to use the EITs. Zubaydah stopped cooperating. Soon, the FBI was brought back in. Zubaydah opened up like a book.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: pdq
Date: 20 May 09 - 12:56 PM

About George Tenet:

"Tenet was appointed Deputy Director of Central Intelligence in July 1995. After John Deutch's abrupt resignation in December 1996, Tenet served as acting director...Tenet was then officially appointed Director on July 11, 1997, after a unanimous confirmation vote in the Senate. While the Director of Central Intelligence has typically been replaced by an incoming administration ever since Jimmy Carter replaced DCI George H. W. Bush, Tenet served through the end of the Clinton administration and well into the term of George W. Bush."


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 20 May 09 - 01:25 PM

Any commission is probably doomed to be as ineffective as the Warren Commission and the 9-11 commission have been--politicians aren't very trustworthy in investigating themselves. Appoint an independent prosecutor; run a thorough investigation (of Repubs and Dems alike) and let's see what really happened.

The treaties we signed really don't give us the option of sweeping alleged war crimes under a rug,


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Bobert
Date: 20 May 09 - 06:34 PM

Quoting Michael Gerson as some expert is a joke... He is a shill for the Republican Party and uis a former speech writer for the Repubs... He is not the least bit believable because of his hostory of supporting every dumbass thing the Repubs have done... The Washington Post should be ashamed to waste ink on this blowhard partisan mythologist...

But nevermind Gerson...

Seems that a "Truth Comission" might get around to answering some of these questions and set the record straight and...

...I'm all for one being set up!!!

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 21 May 09 - 10:03 PM

So now there are clips on television of Senator Schumer addressing the Senate after 9/11 telling public that "Toture may be necessary," and a follow up clip that took place in the last week or so telling the public that "Torture should never be used."

                I would agree that Senator Schumer is somewhat less credible than Nancy Pelosi, but...


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 22 May 09 - 12:03 AM

Schumer's a neocon.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Bobert
Date: 22 May 09 - 07:42 AM

Waterboard Schumer!!!

BTW, anyone also thinking that the new- 'n'improved Dick Cheney Show is very reminisent of the Mad-Dash-to-Attack-Iraq Dick Cheney Show??? Seems all proclamation with no evidence...

(Evidence, Bobert??? What's that have to do with anything???)

My point, exactly... Here the Bush administration, even after it is over, thinks that if they lie loud enough and often enough that will turn their mythology into reality... Reality is that they haven't provuded one shread of evidence (there's that word again) that torture saved so much as one life, let along the thousands that Dick Cheney is proclaimin'...

I'm ready for the Bush administartion to just go the heck away... We had 8 years of their lies and the country grew sick of it and we don't need Darth Vader/Dick Cheney running around the country further pssing off his rabid little fringe right wing radical nutballs... This is how people come to feel it is their duty to assasinate leaders... Dick Cheney should be gagged in the interest of national security...

Serious business... Free speech ends when it is used to imflame lunies...

B!


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 22 May 09 - 07:59 AM

"Schumer's a neocon."

               And now he wants to provide amnesty for millions of illegal aliens, producing more human fodder to fight for Israel.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Amos
Date: 22 May 09 - 10:27 AM

The Real Path to Security, NYT, offers some good insights about Obama's position.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Peter T.
Date: 22 May 09 - 03:55 PM

One simply has to repeat, wearily, that none of the people tortured has appeared in a court of law, or even in a military commission subject to standard rules of evidence, etc.   They were tortured on the sayso of people who refuse to do anything other than talk on TV shows. The basic working assumption throughout (and it is one that Obama has now embraced) is that America is of course working with the best of intentions, so what it does is ok, if a little over the top: a few more rules here and there, and they can do on doing this.

BUT ALL OF THIS IS ILLEGAL ACCORDING TO AMERICAN LAW.


yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 22 May 09 - 04:48 PM

So are Schumer's aliens, but they're still here!


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: GUEST
Date: 26 May 09 - 01:00 PM

an interesting report in the BBC news last night




http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00l26mf/Reporters_Life_Inside_Guantanamo/


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 26 May 09 - 01:07 PM

The BBC report can only be viewed by people in the UK. Is there a synopsis or a summary that can be provided for those of us outside of the UK?


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: ard mhacha
Date: 26 May 09 - 01:14 PM

I seen this half hour programme last night, quite an eye-opener for anyone in the US, three former inmates gave their account of the torture they went through, not only in Guantanamo but also in Afghanistan.
Amazing that the US never acknowledged this as torture, sorry you cannot view this programme, any wizards aboard able to help out?.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Bobert
Date: 26 May 09 - 06:24 PM

We know what the Cheney/Bush administration did... Heck, Darth Vader is going around the country braggin' about what they did saying that it saved thousands of lives... Problem is that he offers not one instance where torture saved so much as one life... Just noise and more Cheney noise... Just like during the Mad-Dash days... Noise and more noise!!! No facts!!! No evidence!!! No nuthin'!!! Just noise and more noise...

Dick Cheney should be committed to a state-run mental hospital and kept there until he can prove that he is not insane... Maybe waterboard the sumabich a couple hunert times, to boot!!!

I'm sick of the Bush/Cheney/Lie/Scare Machine... We have had ebough... Only the most rabid lunies find any entertainment value in it...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 26 May 09 - 08:54 PM

There's something about politics: can you imagine anyone, contemplating an accused thief or murderer, saying "....but that was in the past. We should look forward...."


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Bobert
Date: 26 May 09 - 09:17 PM

Consider the choices, Dick...

It hasn't been all that long since we heard the Bush folks blaming everything on Clinton... Might of fact, that phase lasted about the entire first Bush term... It was eventually seen as ducking the issues...

Obama is smarter than to fall into that trap... He is letting others (with no protest) go after Bush and Cheney... That is what is known as wisdom... Why should he do all the heavy lifting and put himself in brawls that he clearly doesn' need...

Yah, the Repubs would love nothin' more than to drag him into the fray... Why??? I think it is obvious...

Obama has never said that he would let the real bad guys- you know, the ones who ordered up torture- get off scott free... He has said that those folks who thought they were foloowing orders aren't in his sights...

That is refreshing... The Bush people wnated to make these folks out to be just a few "bad apples"... That was a complete an total coop out...

Obama is saying, "Hey, let's not blame the grunts"... What is wrong with that???

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 27 May 09 - 12:08 PM

Hopefully this entire thing will blow over before any more people get all worked up over it. When somebody attacks your country, you do what you have to to catch the perpetrators.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: ard mhacha
Date: 27 May 09 - 01:11 PM

Right you are Riginslinger, lynch the the nearest towel-head.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 27 May 09 - 01:30 PM

But the point is that we didn't need to torture people in order to get whatever information we needed to catch the perpetrators. We were able to get that information without the use of torture. We tortured people for other reasons.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Bobert
Date: 27 May 09 - 05:38 PM

If, as many experts say, torture does not make us more safe but less safe then it seems counterproductive to use it... This is clear thinging and not emotive and vengefull thinking of Dick Cheney...


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:18 PM

"We tortured people for other reasons."

            What other reasons could there possibly be?


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:59 PM

To fabricate a connection between al Qaeda and Saddam that didn't exist. If we could torture people into saying such a connection did exist, Cheney would have a pretext to wage war against Iraq for oil, for the further enrichment of his cronies, and to establish a hegemonic presence in the region complete with enormous permanent military bases. Another reason is to have people to point to and say, "Look, see those dangerous people who admitted to doing these bad things? We need to have endless war so we can protect you from them."


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Amos
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 12:01 PM

Thirteen People Responsible for Torture and some insight as to what and who they worked for.



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 12:24 PM

Bobert-
You've explained why the Chief Executive shouldn't push the matter--but he shouldn't impede the DOJ. Prosecution for an alleged war xrime isn't optional--it's legally mandatory.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 12:38 PM

I suspect the great majority of the American public aren't really concerned about this.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 06:13 PM

I suspect that you're right. What does that have to do with enforcing the law?


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 10:04 PM

dick - It doesn't really, but the law anymore seems to sway with opinion. And given Obama's effort to reach out to Islamic nations, dragging all of this stuff up in public now would probably be more detrimental to the country and the world than ignoring it.
             Besides, look at all the laws that are broken where elected public officials happily look the other way. On my list of priorities, this one would certainly take a back seat to a number of others.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: CarolC
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 11:32 PM

One of the best things Obama could possibly do to mend relations with the Muslims of the world would be to enforce our laws against torture and the Geneva Conventions. The political elites in the Islamic countries might not be too thrilled with that (because many of them use torture themselves), but the majority of Muslims in the world would take it as a huge sign of the US' desire for healed relations with Muslims around the world.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 01:08 PM

The law may well sway with opinion. And with political realities.
This is not a good thing. And, Rig, the laws that are often broken when public officials look the other way do not involve treaty obligations and international law.

I'm all in favor or applying the law when it exists. Otherwise, it ceases to exist.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: Riginslinger
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 02:23 PM

Great - Then I wish they'd start enforcing the immigration laws so the economy could recover.


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Subject: RE: BS: Obama and torture
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 08:34 PM

sure. Enforce them, too.


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