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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
McGrath of Harlow 22 Apr 09 - 05:40 PM
Amos 22 Apr 09 - 05:55 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 22 Apr 09 - 06:13 PM
Barry Finn 22 Apr 09 - 06:42 PM
artbrooks 22 Apr 09 - 07:47 PM
GUEST,Slag 22 Apr 09 - 07:53 PM
Amos 22 Apr 09 - 08:19 PM
GUEST,Slag 22 Apr 09 - 09:25 PM
artbrooks 22 Apr 09 - 09:36 PM
Amos 22 Apr 09 - 10:27 PM
Little Hawk 23 Apr 09 - 12:32 AM
CarolC 23 Apr 09 - 12:44 AM
CarolC 23 Apr 09 - 12:48 AM
Little Hawk 23 Apr 09 - 01:01 AM
CarolC 23 Apr 09 - 01:27 AM
GUEST,Slag 23 Apr 09 - 02:20 AM
CarolC 23 Apr 09 - 03:46 AM
Amos 23 Apr 09 - 09:26 AM
CarolC 23 Apr 09 - 12:56 PM
Little Hawk 23 Apr 09 - 01:06 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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