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The real question about waterboarding

Justin Webb | 06:06 UK time, Tuesday, 21 April 2009

So Dick Cheney says waterboarding worked. He is dripping on Obama's nose. The real question - of course - is whether waterboarding is justified under any circumstances, including the rescue of thousands of lives, including, indeed, the saving of the world. They didn't get to that on Fox but a good discussion here.

Comments

  • 1. At 06:31am on 21 Apr 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Ethically, I'm opposed to torture. But, of course it works. Otherwise,
    why would anybody do it?

    I am told that my great-grandfather died on the eve of WWII because
    he did not understand how we could confront an evil like the Axis without
    becoming like them.

    Most Americans would choose to believe that we won and made the
    world better a place by our actions after the war. If we defeat
    Al-Qaeda and become evil as a result, will we have won?

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  • 2. At 06:39am on 21 Apr 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    Apparently Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in March 2003 and Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times in August 2002 - doesn't appear to be very effective, does it, and for what information? The former vice-president does himself no service by demeaning the President but panders to the right-wing loonies epitomised by Sean Hannity, for which a promo is shown on the link Justin provides. Perhaps Mr Cheney is concerned that he might be prosecuted should he have had any part in the writing of the memoranda which permitted waterboarding in the first place. If so, he has every reason to be concerned.

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  • 3. At 06:43am on 21 Apr 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    If you were tortured mightn't you admit to things you had never done, just to get them to stop?

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  • 4. At 06:49am on 21 Apr 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    please pardon my transposition of words in my previous post - I am
    a borderline dyslexic. If I were a cop, I would hand out IUDs.

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  • 5. At 06:50am on 21 Apr 2009, british-ish wrote:

    The very moment anyone justifies torture merely because it is momentarily expedient, then any form of cruelty becomes justifiable to any extent at any time. There can, morally, be no 'exceptional' circumstances: the opportunities will merely multiply. That is why, over many years, international conventions have been agreed to outlaw cruel practices.

    Expediency is not a moral argument. Nor is the argument that to inflict suffering on a few will prevent the suffering of many. It may well (both in practice and morally) have -- and historically can be demonstrated to have had -- exactly the opposite effect.

    I was horrified, when some years ago, the then American administration had the support of no end of pundits for its re-introduction of torture, and deeply saddened there was no apparent moral outcry against it when the opportunity presented itself.

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  • 6. At 07:01am on 21 Apr 2009, british-ish wrote:

    1. At 06:31am on 21 Apr 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    "Ethically, I'm opposed to torture. But, of course it works. Otherwise,
    why would anybody do it?"

    Because they enjoy inflicting pain and humiliation on others.Or watching it. Simple.

    And to argue it might 'work' is to misunderstand its purpose, which is merely to extract a convenient confession or statement the interrogators want to hear. If an interrogator merely wanted the 'truth', then drugs or even hypnosis would probably be more effective.

    I will hazard a guess that very few people who will comment in this thread, particularly those who come up with the usual glib arguments in support of it, will either have been subjected to torture or have known anyone who has. I have known two victims of it.


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  • 7. At 07:11am on 21 Apr 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Fortunately, british-ish, I narrowly escaped being exposed to such
    an ugly spectacle. This does not diminish my disrespect for those
    who practice it.

    It's interesting that all of these "Chicken Hawks" on Fox are proponents
    of torture, whereas people like John McCain who were subjected to it
    are opposed to it.

    In an ideological war, such as the one in which we find ourselves,
    our public image is our primary asset, and torture diminishes it.

    There are other, more effective ways to wage this fight.

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  • 8. At 07:24am on 21 Apr 2009, british-ish wrote:

    3. At 06:43am on 21 Apr 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    If you were tortured mightn't you admit to things you had never done, just to get them to stop?

    You probably would. But the trouble is, they don't. Because they don't believe you. And they never believe you when you say you don't know anything.

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  • 9. At 07:43am on 21 Apr 2009, Phillip wrote:

    The real question - of course - is whether torture is effective.

    It is not - as UK and US intelligence agencies have discovered over the years.

    So another question must be posed.

    Is the CIA incompetent, using interrogation techniques that don't work?

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  • 10. At 07:47am on 21 Apr 2009, british-ish wrote:

    I have a modest (but, I think, 'effective') proposal.

    Since Dick Cheney (among others) is so sure of the efficacy of torture in ascertaining the truth, then should not he submit to torture on Fox News next time he's interviewed? By his own argument, that way, we will be bound to hear the truth in a far more trustworthy fashion than this namby-pamby method of simply asking questions.

    This of course, also applies to any advocates who might, say, be charged with a motoring offence, since that too has the potential to save future lives.

    I've noticed before that (like capital punishment and war) while many are happy to advocate it, few are disposed to submit to it.


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  • 11. At 08:15am on 21 Apr 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    british-ish, you have missed the point - watching Fox news is, in and
    of itself, torture.

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  • 12. At 08:20am on 21 Apr 2009, mars_central wrote:

    I am convinced that if any other country had been at the centre of this, the US and British governments would have been falling over themselves to condemn it. If an American or British soldier was captured and water boarded once, let alone 80 or more times, we would be looking for retribution. So I find it sickening and hypocritical that so many in America's right wing media are trying to justify this and other crimes carried out under Bush.

    Good blog on the subject:

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/04/they-waterboarded-him-183-times-in-one-month.html

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  • 13. At 08:36am on 21 Apr 2009, Parrisia wrote:

    Sure waterboarding works. It gets the wrong people to confess the "right" things. Albeit with a little bit of extra effort... (183 times? on a single person? And O says there won't be any investigation?...)

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  • 14. At 08:36am on 21 Apr 2009, reformedspindoctor wrote:

    If internatonal law does not apply to the US then you can see why people who feel they have a grievance with the US resort to using violence to make their opposition known. Calling that terrorism disguises the problem.

    As usual, he and his neo-conservative chums are blind to the cause of the problems they face because the finger of guilt points at them.

    By supporting illegal torture, Cheney is acting as a recruiting seargent for terrorists.

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  • 15. At 08:44am on 21 Apr 2009, Livinginlalaland wrote:

    I have a huge ethical dilemma with this , I'm opposed to the use of torture. BUT when the people you are opposed to have no such qualms and in fact have a set of ethical/personal/religous beliefs that see your ethics as a weakness then how do you deal with it - I've tried the attitude that says take the moral high ground only to watch people who are completely innocent be murdered - Is it worth the life of an innocent child to keep to my ethics ?????????. Is it worth the life of sixty londoners or thousands in the world trade centre ?????????. Or thousands of troops in Afghanistan , Iraq or elsewhere .
    I now have to question my ethics but then I'm heading to the end justifies the means AND I don't want to go there either !!!!!!!!!!

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  • 16. At 08:46am on 21 Apr 2009, David W wrote:

    mars_central wrote:

    "I am convinced that if any other country had been at the centre of this, the US and British governments would have been falling over themselves to condemn it."

    And that's the hypocrisy of the US's position. They - rightly - condemn torture practised by other countries, whatever the supposed 'justification' offered. But because it's America, the good guys, then it's somehow OK. The Bush regime has disgraced America's own principles.

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  • 17. At 09:01am on 21 Apr 2009, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    Well, the torture memos and such are back in the news again, but I dont think there is much to all of this discussion. American policy on this subject has pretty much already been decided by Pres. Obama and his advisors. So what is the issue, you ask? It is all about the political legacies of the two individuals who are at the heart of this debate with a little bit of genuine unease over the release of formerly classified documents years before such documents are normally declassified. I mean, Chaney has a valid point that releasing the documents while the same conflicts in which these strategies were deployed continue to be fought is tantamount to showing the enemy your cards and chastising the actions of your own country.

    That being said, such strategies were probably not in the long term interest of the US as it tarnished the American image and outsiders who did not have all the information available to them, i.e. Europe and Asia, for many reasons, not all of them virtuous, decided to claim the moral high ground. So Pres. Obama could have done any number of things to the affect of ending the previous administrations policies on "torture" with or without declassifying the documents and he still would have been praised because he would have and has, I think, regained the moral high ground.

    Now, returning to Cheney, he has many reasons for the positions that he is taking that involve his legacy, but chief among them is probably the preemptive-get the irony-strike against any prosecutions that might arise, if not in the courts/Congress then in the court of public opinion. In a way, Cheney has been pretty successful by raising legitimate questions about the Presidents policies while framing them in a way that benefits himself, something that good politicians do. And to sure up his case, Cheney has now put Obama in a catch-22 situation by requested that Obama declassify the rest of the documents pertaining to the accuracy rate, etc of the interrogation methods formerly in use. If Obama does not release them, then he ends up looking like a transparency hypocrite who is transparent only with documents damaging to the former administration, and if Obama does release the documents then he risks releasing documents that Cheney will use to defend against the critics of the former administration.

    If there is one thing to get out of this, it is that Obama took a political risk by declassify top secret information earlier than usual, handing a card to his opponents, but that it still remains to be seen as to whether or not this issue will be damaging, fleeting, or beneficial-my money is on fleeting.

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  • 18. At 09:05am on 21 Apr 2009, extremesense wrote:

    Dick Cheney has no right to turn waterboarding and other torture methods (psychological/physical) into a national debate as to whether it's acceptable.

    The debate goes beyond the borders of the US and the civilised World has branded all forms of torture cruel and inhuman - illegal under international law as well as the law of the US.

    Not only that but it's ineffective - ask those who have been tortured.

    As for the ticking bomb scenario that's always brought up in part due to series like 24, this is a classroom hypothetical that has and will never happen in practice.

    Dick Cheney seems like a desperate man realising that his days are numbered (he will have to be brought to justice). Still, it's great to have him popping up now and again - his extreme views are so much more fun to discuss.

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  • 19. At 09:06am on 21 Apr 2009, jon112uk wrote:

    Some elements of the media (eg. BBC) have done a skilled job of partial coverage to give the impression hundreds of detainees at Guantanamo were tortured.

    Reality: US personnel used waterboarding THREE times. One case example... Khaled Sheik Mohamed, who had already given a full confession/expose of his project management of 9/11 to an al-jazeera journalist. This apparently involved one exposure of a few seconds, then he cracked and gave away details of the structure and personnel of half of al-qaeda. No injuries whatever to the 'victim'. Reasonable cost/benefit ratio?

    'Torture' by the US gives an excuse to others? That argument is a joke.

    Before gitmo ever existed, al-qaeda were dealing with their prisoners by sawing the heads off conscious captives with a knife. Daniel Pearl was killed that way, some say by KSM himself, and the video is freely available on the net if you want to watch. (Have a watch, but be warned, it's not nice or quick, the victims do struggle somewhat)

    How much coverage of that incident do we see?

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  • 20. At 09:10am on 21 Apr 2009, dancingbarber wrote:

    I think Dick Cheney is a disgusting human being and should be put on trial for crimes against humanity. Nuff said.

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  • 21. At 09:12am on 21 Apr 2009, hugecost wrote:

    The question "is torture justifiable?" is inseparable from the question "does torture work?". It's vital that we be told exactly what intelligence was gathered from Zubaydah, Mohammed et al at the CIA's black sites. Mark Danner, in his superlative essay in the current New York Review of Books, puts it perfectly: "The issue [torture] could not be more important, for it cuts to the basic question of who we are as Americans, and whether our laws and ideals truly guide us in our actions or serve, instead, as a kind of national decoration to be discarded in times of danger. The only way to confront the political power of the issue, and prevent the reappearance of the practice itself, is to take a hard look at the true 'empirical evidence of the last five years, hard years', and speak out, clearly and credibly, about what that story really tells."

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  • 22. At 09:12am on 21 Apr 2009, mars_central wrote:

    15. The thing is, I've yet to see evidence of a single life saved as a result of Cheney's (or any one else's) torture programmes. So there really is no ethical dilemma. It also raises the point that, since this practice never achieved it's aims, that the whole thing was a considerable waste of time and effort. Not to mention the counselling those involved need afterwards, it's not easy to live with yourself after spending your work hours torturing someone.

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  • 23. At 09:16am on 21 Apr 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    19, jon112uk, I believe that the information which has recently been
    released is that it was used many more times than that.

    Now, I'm all in favor of destroying the terrorists before they
    destroy us, but in a way which does not diminish us. If there are
    innocent civilians in the way of a missile or smart bomb, then those
    circumstances are unavoidable, but when circumstances are under our
    control then we should behave as civilized human beings.

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  • 24. At 09:17am on 21 Apr 2009, danlee1001 wrote:

    I'm gonna grit me teeth and say that Cheney has a point (although he's probably just trying to save what's left of his own reputation). The only possible justification for torture is that it consistently works and saves large numbers of lives, so for the complete picture we should at least see the evidence on this side.

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  • 25. At 09:37am on 21 Apr 2009, David W wrote:

    Whether or not torture works is irrelevant (although the evidence suggests that it does not). There are some things societies that call themselves civilized just do not do, and torture is one of them.

    Torture is banned in British law, American law, and by numerous international treaties of which America is a signatory. There is no question that America has tortured and has therefore broken all these laws. The people who have done this must be brought to justice, and that includes the CIA torturers, the lawyers such as John Yoo who provided the legal cover for it, and the politicians like Dick Cheney who authorized it.

    Is America a nation of laws or isn't it?

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  • 26. At 09:39am on 21 Apr 2009, Ethelredbcn wrote:

    Cheney's comments are of course in line with is world view, however they clearly demonstrate how off track the Bush administration was. Torturers have always justified the means with the ends, even the Spanish Inquisition! However, he fails to get the point. Civilised people just believe it to be wrong and to lower themselves to the level of the perpetrators of the original crimes. What is more to the point the results of torture are notoriously unreliable. I suggest Cheney watches the movie 'Goya' which clearly illustrates the point. Perhaps this is why Bin Laden was never found but surely Cheney like the priest in Goya needs a taste of his own medicine! I'd love to know what he knew about weapons of mass destruction....

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  • 27. At 09:41am on 21 Apr 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    Torture is wrong. Plain and simple. It shouldn't be used, ever, because the moment you start it you become the kind of person/group/organisation that you are trying to stop. Al-Qaeda no doubt try and justify it for whatever reason, and so does the US. Neither makes it the right thing to do.

    Ever wonder what would happen if they treated the prisoners nicely? Feed them well, show them the good things about western society? Granted it may do absolutely nothing, but you never know.... Got to be worth trying over torture? I'm not saying let them run free across the states....

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  • 28. At 09:41am on 21 Apr 2009, mxm2093 wrote:

    If Cheney produces any documentation that suggests repeated torture produced results in two cases he should also produce details of every case in which torture was used and proved ineffective. I am certain that the latter will vastly outweigh the former and prove that torture is not only totally unethical but also does not work.

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  • 29. At 09:55am on 21 Apr 2009, Paul wrote:

    So Cheney's justification for torture is that it is really rather effective and he wants the evidence released to demonstrate this; WWII concentration camps were effective, but still an affront to humanity.
    Cheney wilfully misses the point; torture is abhorrent and can never be justified. He and those who sanctioned or participated in torture, on both sides of the Atlantic, should be ashamed of themselves.

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  • 30. At 09:56am on 21 Apr 2009, Batcow wrote:

    Regarding the release of evidence that torture works, I bet there is even more evidence that it doesn’t, but of course that doesn’t count. The collateral damage caused by poor torture evidence does not matter because it doesn’t affect US citizens. If torture evidence results in innocent people being bombed by drones or locked in a dungeon then who cares? They’re not American so it doesn’t matter.
    Early in the Gulf war a captured US soldier was humiliated on TV and the US was shouting “Geneva Convention” from the rooftops. But when they break every chapter and verse of the “quaint” Geneva Convention themselves they think it’s acceptable. The central plank of the USA’s worldview is that Americans are superior and deserve to be judged by a different set of rules.
    As for Obama, he should ask himself if there are people at the CIA who still answer to Dick Cheney instead of him. He should clear out the nest of vipers before they turn around and bite him, as Cheney is already encouraging them to do. Perhaps Obama is too much of a nice guy for his own good.

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  • 31. At 10:09am on 21 Apr 2009, dr_tamati wrote:

    Dick Cheney had a 9% approval rating when he left the position of Vice-President. How is anything he says relevant?

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  • 32. At 10:12am on 21 Apr 2009, lochraven wrote:

    #23 gunsandreligion
    "Now, I'm all in favor of destroying the terrorists before they
    destroy us, but in a way which does not diminish us. If there are
    innocent civilians in the way of a missile or smart bomb, then those
    circumstances are unavoidable, but when circumstances are under our
    control then we should behave as civilized human beings."#23

    In truth, it does diminish us. We become like them; there is no difference. You can try to justify it all you want to clear your conscience. but killing is killing. If you are a religious person then ponder on this: Turn the other cheek. Not easy, is it? There are no easy answers here.

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  • 33. At 10:21am on 21 Apr 2009, theresirony wrote:

    My first ever post...I have joined the legion of armchair critics finally.

    19.Jon....so the US have only ever used water boarding 3 times ? (that is your reality ? my friend you may want to look into the operations of the school of america for the last 50 plus years...just to give you a new reality)

    As far as Obama banning anything...really...REALLY ..come on folks, if you seriously believe he will ban torture and the US will magically start to respect the geneva convention. Call me a cynic, but it is just a challenge to find new methods of torture. The legality of torture can be changed at a whim (consider how the "politically neutral" judiciary declared that water boarding was legal for heavens sake). His banning of torture is a little like the stunt of closing guantanamo, it just means their other similar camps will be busier.

    As for one mans terrorism or torture, and it's effectiveness, consider how Nelson Mandela, the birth of Israel, the Ireland situation, Darfur, DRC, the birth and break up of yugoslavia....and and and terrorists or freedom fighters ?

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  • 34. At 10:39am on 21 Apr 2009, BeebLeeMoore wrote:

    Of course waterboarding can be justified (see for example the second commenter on Justin's link.). Nor is it "torture" as the legal memos explain. The real question - of course - is whether it works. And if so, how well. The info that Cheney is asking to be released would be very helpful in determining the answer to that question, which explains the scrabble to change the subject.

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  • 35. At 10:42am on 21 Apr 2009, extremesense wrote:

    #19 jon112uk

    The fact that you're accusing the British media of exaggerating the US/torture issue is either disingenuous or simply naive.

    If you were to do some research, you would find that transportation to Guantanamo alone constituted torture - the methods used were first explored by psychologists at McGill university.

    Prior to transportation, they were held at Bagram/Kandahar airbases and subjected to 'interrogation'. In all known cases, prisoners were 'softened-up' during this process and one method of doing this was to suspend them by their wrists either front or reverse with feet barely touching the ground. During the Spanish inquistion, this was known as strapado and it slowly dislocates the shoulders as well as exhausting the recipient.

    Furthermore, all detainees (including the numerous children and the ninety plus year old man), once there, were subjected to 'interrogation' which again involved softening them up first.

    Sleep deprivation was one method, stress positions and exposure to freezing temperatures and loud rock music in a pitch black room (the Chinese find this one effective) for long periods of time were another.

    The reason why these methods were chosen was because they left no obvious scars - the scars are psychological and permanent in most cases.

    I agree the summary executions of Nick Berg, Daniel Pearl etc are barbaric and the perpetrators should be tirelessly pursued and brought to justice. Just as in the same way that methodically robbing someone of their sanity even if they have done something wrong is barbaric and the perpetrators of these crimes, and their masters, should be brought to justice.

    Finally, Tomás de Torquemada et al during the Spanish inquistion noted that (false) confession was far more likely when pyschological torture and the fear of torture was employed. You argue that if it doesn't hurt there's no harm. This is obviously a nonsense argument - being trapped in a cage for several years and exposed to this sort of treatment with no legal recourse is horrific.

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  • 36. At 10:42am on 21 Apr 2009, Verywierd wrote:

    One point about the use of torture that I seldom see mentioned is the simple fact that torture is nothing new, and people had developed a method to defeat it a long time ago. The technique is what we now call "Need to know". No one can tell what they don't know. Torture fell out of use as a method of extracting information in favour of sophisticated verbal interrogation, because what can still be extracted from a prisoner are the small things that can be used to piece together your enemy's procedures and thought processes. Historically, torture has always been a method of punishment and a way to instill fear, such as hanging, drawing and quartering, and is most effective against internal rebellion and not external enemies.

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  • 37. At 10:59am on 21 Apr 2009, extremesense wrote:

    #29 pcw1824

    "He and those who sanctioned or participated in torture, on both sides of the Atlantic, should be ashamed of themselves".

    Don't you mean brought to justice under international law?

    There's even a prison where they could keep him.... the United States Penitentiary ADX Florence, Colorado.

    They only keep the worst of the worst there and surely he qualifies? Goodness, one must wonder how many people he has been responsible for killing, torturing, kidnapping and bombing - allegedly of course?

    If convicted, ex-VP Cheney can look forward to no natural light over the duration of his sentence, 3 hours of exercise a week and as little mental stimulation as the psychologists could fit into the design.

    He shouldn't worry about having to share a cell as human contact is 'designed-out' - it apparently keeps the inmates quiet. It's a shame, I'm sure some of his neighbours would love to meet him.... Richard Reid (failed shoe bomber), Jose Padilla, Zacarias Moussaoui etc.

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  • 38. At 11:04am on 21 Apr 2009, DoctorBelly wrote:

    Anyone who has read any of the published literature about torture knows its ineffectiveness. As said so often in this thread, victims will admit to anything to stop the torture process and will fabricate things to please the torturer.

    Torture has never been more effective than other methods of interrogation, in fact it's probably less effective due to the compromised nature of the resulting information. It has only been effective as a means of spreading fear by repressive regimes. Is this the esteemed company that Dick Cheney wishes to align the United States with?

    Although I applaud Obama for outlawing torture (and acknowledging that waterboarding is torture), I thoroughly disagree with his decision not to prosecute those responsible for the practice. This goes against previous precedent even during the Bush administration (Abu Ghraib for example). Americans should also recall how the excuse of "only following orders" was so rightly condemned by the Allied prosecutors at the War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremburg.

    It's sad to see that America still seeks to apply different rules to itself than it does to everyone else.

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  • 39. At 11:17am on 21 Apr 2009, 8thAmendment wrote:

    Is this the real question? "whether waterboarding is justified under any circumstances"
    Well, it's an interesting philosopical question, but it's not particularly relevant. It falls into the category of sure, under hypthetical this and perhaps that and maybe this.
    A more important question concerns how constitutional checks and balances failed during the Bush administration. Can the US government return to the rule of law and if so how?

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  • 40. At 11:22am on 21 Apr 2009, Paul wrote:

    #37 The ICC and ICJ are nothing more than sideshows, arbitrarily deciding who faces so-called justice and who doesn't.

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  • 41. At 11:22am on 21 Apr 2009, schulerbeat wrote:

    May be we let get the CIA personnel away but we may want to see Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney prosecuted for violation of the anti-terror laws since they instructed them...

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  • 42. At 11:23am on 21 Apr 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    If there is one person that deserves to be tried and imprisoned for crimes against humanity that person is Mr. Dick Cheney. Indeed, the CIA should release ALL memos regarding torture, but that release should not be limited to those that suggest torture works, it should also include those that demonstrate the opposite conclusion.

    Regardless of the questionable "benefits" of torture, civilized nations are defined by adherence to the law and by defending freedom, morality, and human rights. Nations that engage in torture are no better than the gangs of thugs they purportedly oppose. It is very disturbing to read posts or listen to opinions by Americans that claim to be patriots supporting one of the most despicable practices to be perpetrated by human beings because terrorist groups do worse. Is that the measurand we have established for our country? If it is, I say we have lowered the bar more than just a few notches...

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  • 43. At 11:28am on 21 Apr 2009, RodneyH wrote:

    So according to Cheney, If I take a suspect's family and kill his three kids and then threaten to kill the fourth, and the suspect confesses to something which he may or may have not done, everything is fine and we should be grateful for what I did because what the suspect told may or may not help to prevent against a attack on the US.

    Wow.. How stupid did you have to be to be the vice president to Bush, Apparently allot.

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  • 44. At 11:42am on 21 Apr 2009, ray564k wrote:

    If we accept that the British government does not torture people- is Britain more at risk to terrorism than the USA? I would argue not.

    Is anyone going to take the blame for the fact that someone lied about how many times waterboarding had been used?

    I thought not.

    But the real question is if Obama wanted (as the democratically elected head of state) to prosecute people in the CIA and outside, would he even be able to?

    I very much doubt that if he wanted to go down the prosecution route he would be able to secure prosecutions- far more likely the CIA would simply close ranks. Combined with a public (i.e. FOX news) outcry- I think politically he wouldn't be able to do it. Certainly it would kill any chances of healthcare reform and most of his other campaign promises.

    And that is a sad indictment on this 'democracy'.

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  • 45. At 11:43am on 21 Apr 2009, justics4peace wrote:

    Do you remember the movie “Indecent Proposal” where a billionaire offers a woman and her husband one million dollars to spend a night with her. They accepted the offer, and received the one million dollar. Selling yourself for money worked! do we like to have this as our model?

    Civilized societies must have higher values that should be followed with zero tolerance. IF we will not have these values, then there is no difference between us and the Terrorists.

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  • 46. At 11:53am on 21 Apr 2009, 8thAmendment wrote:

    One of the drawbacks to the torture policy is that by using torture, the Bush administration has made it impossible to put the "terror suspects" on trial. All incriminating statements made under torture are unreliable and inadmissable. My understanding is that many of these suspects were captured by bounty hunters looking to make a quick buck. We, the public don't have a clue as to their guilt or innocence.

    Meanwile, 8 years later, Bin Laden remains a free man, his movement gaining strength in Afgahnistan and Pakistan. I don't think Mr.Cheney has any credibility on the issue of fighting terrorism. much of what he did was counter-productive.

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  • 47. At 11:53am on 21 Apr 2009, Weary Pedant wrote:

    O.k. picture this scenario:
    A member of the 'Coalition of the free' forces is captured. The 'Axis of Evil' personnal have good reason to believe that this person has information about a planned bombing raid which could result in 'collateral damage'.
    Option 1: It has the potential to save 'innocent' lives, so waterboard the PoW.
    Option 2: Stick to the Geneva convention. Whether or not you've signed it.
    I personally think that torture cannot be justified, if only on the possibility that you could be torturing someone who is innocent.

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  • 48. At 11:54am on 21 Apr 2009, morality-on-loan wrote:

    I personally am opposed to torture of any kind, just as I am opposed to war, killing or maiming of any living creature. With time I have lost my naivety but not my disgust for them. There are no absolutes in life meaning there are times when just about anything can be justified. So who is to decide when that time comes. That is why we have these discussions so when it come time to elect those who will decide, we have thought this out thoroughly.

    All that being said my answer to the question "Is it ever justified? Yes but very,very, very rare! Is this one of those times? Don't think so but I don't have enough facts to make a good judgment. All I'm presently qualified to give is a emotional response. But maybe if they relased additional information like what they were looking for and did they get it, I could offer a valid opinion.

    Irresponsible use of this kind of power can have devastating results as can lack of it's use. Politically we seem to have gone from one extreme to the other. I'm still looking for those politicians who do what is "right" not popular. Popularity is for high school. But "Right" is subjective, hence these discussions. I'm enjoying the reading!

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  • 49. At 12:07pm on 21 Apr 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Mars Central (12),

    • "I am convinced that if any other country had been at the centre of this, the US and British governments would have been falling over themselves to condemn it."
    Especially if said country was not part of "Greater Europe", and even better, if populated by swarthy folk...I second these observations.

    Us whites gotta stick together....

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  • 50. At 12:09pm on 21 Apr 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Parissia,

    • "And O says there won't be any investigation?...)"
    No. He says there won't be prosecution of underlings. A rather different matter.

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  • 51. At 12:12pm on 21 Apr 2009, justice4Peace wrote:

    To Livinginlalaland,

    You said "I've tried the attitude that says take the moral high ground only to watch people who are completely innocent be murdered - Is it worth the life of an innocent child to keep to my ethics ?????????. Is it worth the life of sixty londoners or thousands in the world trade centre ?????????. Or thousands of troops in Afghanistan , Iraq or elsewhere"

    I think the paradox in saying "now, we are doing something that is 100% wrong for the possibility of achiving something right in the future"

    If we “believe” that doing wrong can achieve good then we have the same believes as Terrorists. To win, we must have higher standards; we will never win by using only force.

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  • 52. At 12:16pm on 21 Apr 2009, Shadowman wrote:

    I would expect President Obama to pass on Cheney's request to the CIA with a slip attached saying "Bring it on". Cheney is digging a deeper hole for himself - the question is not whether such techniques work, but do the means fit America's fundamental values. We should be permitted to see the alleged benefits of this policy so we may reassure ourselves that some means are never justified.
    I have no doubt that chopping off hands reduces the temptation for theft; stoning adulterers is an effective deterrent for wayward partners; dunking witches discouraged witchcraft; and that life imprisonment for speeding drivers to prevent them ever taking to the road again would inevitably save American lives - it does not necessarily mean such policies are right or justified. Whether they work or not is irrelevant.

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  • 53. At 12:21pm on 21 Apr 2009, tempcr wrote:

    The lunacy of the argument that effectiveness is the only possible reason for the US having used torture should remind us of the arguments for burning "witches". If you don't have a conscience and you're ignorant of history, it's very hard to explain why torture is about anything but "making the country safe from its enemies".

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  • 54. At 12:25pm on 21 Apr 2009, jon112uk wrote:

    33. At 10:21am on 21 Apr 2009, theresirony wrote:
    Jon....so the US have only ever used water boarding 3 times ?

    Hi. Being specific...by US personnel at Guantanamo, yes: three detainees got waterboarded (Some more than once)

    This is a huge difference to the impression, managed by the media, which has hundreds of people strapped to waterboards at Guantanamo every day. They don't lie, but they do choose what to tell you.

    Equally look at Cheney's key point: was anything gained? Obviously any 'confessions' are worthless - I say again - obviously. But what if you ask someone to tell you where person X (head of communications between Pakistan and London) is located, they tell you, and then you arrest that person at that location and seize his laptop with incriminating information on it. Is that real information? Some of this is in the public domain already - but (predictably) little publicised.

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  • 55. At 12:27pm on 21 Apr 2009, jamesbs wrote:

    If I tortured Dick Cheney in the right way he would admit to being his own mother. It proves nothing. Logic sensitivity and intelligence get results... understand your enemy is the key. Proving that your law and the respect for the individual is better than your enemy is essential... the mistakes of the last ten years prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt. If you want to prosecute an extermination camp guard such as John Demjanjuk aged 89 for human rights abuses you cannot have double standards. The Geneva Convention separates us from the awful events of the last century or is the law only for Europeans?

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  • 56. At 12:34pm on 21 Apr 2009, venus_beauty wrote:

    saintDominick wrote: If there is one person that deserves to be tried and imprisoned for crimes against humanity that person is Mr. Dick Cheney.

    I agree absolutely - Mr. Cheney shot his friend Harry Whittington during an hunting trip.

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  • 57. At 12:36pm on 21 Apr 2009, OnlyNiagara wrote:

    My father, in 1937, was tortured in Russia by the NKVD (KGB)until he signed false accusations. Was promptly executed.
    Now Cheney wants us to believe that torture produces good results. Give me a break - -

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  • 58. At 12:37pm on 21 Apr 2009, kambar wrote:

    So let me get this right. On one hand the new US President says he is not at war with Islam, yet on the other he says he is giving immunity to those who tortured muslims?

    I dont think the muslim world will buy that kind of reassurences. They need deeds not words.

    Millions of muslims see that there is no rule of law when it comes to treatment of muslims. Obama has proved to the world that in America some people are above the law.

    Those who penned tortured memos and violated Geneva Conventions and International Law, as well the US Constitution must be brought to court and face punishment.

    Otherwise, it is all sweet talk and no one is going to fall for it. Hatred of United States will continue and increase if Obama does not does not put things right.

    Muslims will not stop chanting "Death to America" and they will not uncleach their fists no matter how many times Mr President sends them Eid greetings.

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  • 59. At 12:37pm on 21 Apr 2009, grellet wrote:

    Can anyone seriously imagine the CIA taking a white European and slamming his head against the wall? Or stuffing him in a box with an insect? Or waterboarding him 183 times in a month? Or threatening to harm his family? It's because they were brown-skinned Muslims that they thought it was OK to do these things.(And yes, I'm of white European descent...my ancestors came from the same country as a certain philosopher who decried the use of torture back in the 18th century.)

    I'm sorry that morale is so low these days at the CIA, but maybe the operatives should read the Physicians for Human Rights Report, "Broken Laws, Broken Lives" (http://brokenlives.info/) and consider the morale of those whose lives have been shattered thanks to our policy of "enhanced interrogation methods." Then they should re-read our Declaration of Independence, esp. the part where Thomas Jefferson wrote that "all men are created equal ...they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights." The CIA as a whole needs some serious human rights training.

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  • 60. At 12:37pm on 21 Apr 2009, 8thAmendment wrote:

    Domshv:
    I was just thinking the same thing... Cheney is itchin' fer a fight.
    He wants CIA top secret memos to be made public? Yep. What he is saying is "bring it on." What do you reckon but that he's got "stuff" on lots of congressmen and senators? Seems that the NSA has been spying on them. And then there are the moles he has left behind. Seems like Mr. O is going to need some friends in Washington, other than his dog.

    Incidently, it's not up to Obama whether to prosecute crime or not. It's up to the Department of Justice. There is a lot that congress can can do as well. Have you contacted your representatives yet?

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  • 61. At 12:45pm on 21 Apr 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 62. At 12:47pm on 21 Apr 2009, vagueofgodalming wrote:

    Bienvenue @17, you speak of Obama's Catch-22. The trouble is, if Obama releases some documents, no matter what, Cheney will just say that there are other documents that have not been released that vindicate him. So merely entering into the utilitarian argument concedes the debate to Cheney.

    Cheney can go on as long as he likes claiming that torture worked (and therefore works) and it will never be possible to prove him wrong. The only answer is to isolate him from the debate by ignoring him and pointing out that he is arguing in bad faith.

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  • 63. At 12:55pm on 21 Apr 2009, timsingapore wrote:

    Cheney misses the point. Torture could well work. It may have worked for those often condemned for their treatment of prisoners during World War II, but the Japanese and the Germans came in for their fair share of American criticism afterwards for the use of torture. The point is that torture is immoral and degrading even if it does work (which is probably only sometimes, if at all).

    I can't say that there would be never ever be conceivable circumstances in which one might think torture justifiable, but it hard to imagine them. I am pretty sure that the post 9/11 situation did not justify it, and certainly not on the scale that is now emerging.

    I will give Cheney credit for honestly expressing his views, even if I find them repugnant.

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  • 64. At 12:55pm on 21 Apr 2009, JacobSCracker wrote:

    It seems to me that once torture is accepted as a tool it becomes essential to use it. The torturer will not believe anything their victim says UNLESS it is under extreme duress.
    The victims are (allegedly) religious zealots and fanatics - potentially suicidal, so why would a bit of extra pain and discomfort encourage them to reveal anything they really didn't want to - especially if their God instructed them not to do so.
    Meanwhile innocent victiems will be tortured because it's the only way of getting believeable info, or so the torturer themselves believe.
    This is the thin end of the wedge, thumscrews and the rack to come :-(

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  • 65. At 12:59pm on 21 Apr 2009, Young-Mr-Grace wrote:

    There is only one way to be sure that we know the truth about the previous adimistrations practices.....Cheny and GWB should be waterboarded etc until they tell everything. It's really the only way to be sure that we have all the information and that it's totally reliable. I'm sure they would have no objection and are ready to volunteer.

    You're all doing very well !!

    PS Being an old softy liberal I'd probably let Dick off on the electoshock just in case the old pacemaker throws a wobbly...

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  • 66. At 1:02pm on 21 Apr 2009, Les wrote:

    If torturing by water boarding is justified because it is an effective method of interrogation, then all other barbaric procedures are also justified. This being so, we have to ask ourselves if we really need to descend into mediaeval dungeons to protect ourselves from terrorism.

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  • 67. At 1:03pm on 21 Apr 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    8th Amendment (60),

    • "Incidently, it's not up to Obama whether to prosecute crime or not. It's up to the Department of Justice. There is a lot that congress can can do as well. Have you contacted your representatives yet?"
    It's just as easy as writing to this blog...First they came for the Jews...

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  • 68. At 1:07pm on 21 Apr 2009, Dominic wrote:

    I am amazed that people use the reason "well, it could work" to justify torture. Or maybe "it might work one time in 100". Lots of things "might work" but they are illegal for very good reason.

    The biggest problem is that the US thinks it is not bound by the same rule of law as everyone else: it is such a force for good, that occasionally (ok 100s of times) bombing other countries in pursuit of freedom and democracy and torturing people is noble beyond any criticism.

    Having read a biography of Cheney, I did however reach the conclusion that he did seriously believe he was doing what was right for the country - he is just totally and dangerously warped and mis-guided in his convictions.

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  • 69. At 1:09pm on 21 Apr 2009, man_in_white wrote:

    A cousin of my father was a comunist urban figther under the military government in Brazil in the 70's. She was a medicine student at university. Well, she was armed and was involved in actions, though without victims. She was arrested and tortured. The man who was arrested with her died the same night. She survived and was realesed the year later in exchange for the swiss ambassador kidnnaped. She was in Chile returning to normal life at a new university when Pinochet made the coup. She then fled to Germany for a new start again. There she could not recover from the psycological marks of torture and killed herself in the metro line one day. She was a real pretty, inteligent and young woman. The mate of guerrila of an actual minister of Lula team. The torture finished with her life, it was like a death penalty.

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  • 70. At 1:12pm on 21 Apr 2009, JCarlton wrote:

    I suspect that if half the outrage heaped on the U.S. concerning waterboarding were instead focused on the folk who drive car-bombs into markets in Baghdad, whip young women for being in love in Pakistan, or blow up girls' schools in Afghanistan...Well, nothing much would change, because the folk who do such things want you to be scared and outraged.

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  • 71. At 1:19pm on 21 Apr 2009, jerry98017 wrote:

    It's easy to sit in a comfortable chair and dispense criticism regarding Bush and Cheney. If I had a child who was in danger of being murdered by terrorists and I had to resort to water boarding or worse in order to obtain information of future intentions of these animals. Let me see. My daughter or son could have their head sawed off....water boarding. This is a no brainer. Bush and Cheney protected my family. God bless them. right now I don't feel very safe with this current administration. I hope I am wrong.

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  • 72. At 1:20pm on 21 Apr 2009, Batcow wrote:

    If torture gets results then maybe we could use it on Cheney to find the truth about the Valerie Plame leak scandal.

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  • 73. At 1:27pm on 21 Apr 2009, extremesense wrote:

    #54 jon112uk

    So, do I understand that because you haven't responded to my post @35, you concede and admit you were very wrong?

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  • 74. At 1:31pm on 21 Apr 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The fact is that after incidents like 9-11, there is nothing any elected official whether it is the President, Vice President, Congress, or the appointed Supreme Court can do to prevent Americans from taking it upon themselves when they are in a position to, to torture captives to extract information that might be vital to the security of the United States. Government employees take an oath to the Constitution, not to the laws passed by Congress or by the courts. When Americans see these laws or regulations whether they are domestic or so called international law come into conflict with America's vital interests as they view it, they will regard them with contempt and ignore them. Unlike people in other countries, Americans are not and cannot be cowed by their own government or anyone else's government. (Resentment among many Americans for what they see as their government run amok is high already.)

    Torture under these circumstances is legal under American law. The Constitution forbids the use of cruel and unusual punishment. 1. Torture to extract vital information that could save the lives of thousands or millions of Americans is not punishment for a crime already committed. 2. The framers of the Constitution could not have imagined in their time circumstances where a single individual or a small group of individuals could possess information that could be the difference between life and death of entire great American cities, even life and death of the nation itself. Americans are above all patriots. If the American government gets in the way of protecting the country, then it can go to hell for all most Americans will care. Anyone who doesn't think this is true should consider that after 9-11, it was all the Bush administration could do to prevent a violent nationwide backlash against anyone in the US who even looked like they might be Moslem. If the government is seen to fail to protect the common interest, it will fall, the Constitution will be suspended or fall, everything possible will be done to protect the survival of the Republic and that includes what some would view as commmitting most heinous of crimes. Others will view it as an American's highest calling.

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  • 75. At 1:39pm on 21 Apr 2009, Smiffy55uk wrote:

    Like just about everybody on here I am morally against torture and find the concept disgusting. However if I was locked in a sinking container by a terrorist and the only way to find the key was by waterboarding him would I:-
    a. tell the authorities to let me die rather than harm the terrorist;
    b. ask them to try reasonable persuasion;
    c. beg the authorities to start waterboarding immediately.
    I have a horrible feeling that I, like many of the high-minded people here, would choose c?

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  • 76. At 1:43pm on 21 Apr 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    Cheney's point is obvisouly wrong.

    1. It assumes that every time the victim actually knew something. Apparenlty amazingly the US never tortured someone completely innocent. This from a country which admitted kidnapping people off the street because it got their names confused.

    2. If torture is so effective and justifiable - then presumably torturing the family of a a difficult subject is also justifiable.

    If the issue is so vital then Mr Cheney would presumably approve the torture of children to get their parents to talk.

    The Nazis and Russians did this. Maybe Mr Cheney is nostalgic

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  • 77. At 1:43pm on 21 Apr 2009, Trojan_Horace wrote:

    Let's just deconstruct what Cheney is doing here. After eight years of screaming "national security" and "Executive privilege" to stop releasing any of the documents that would almost certainly have implicated him in having a professional conflict of interests in US energy policy and foreign policy vis a vis Enron and Halliburton, he now wants transparency? It's preposterous. If I was tortured and confessed to being a terrorist in whatever conspiracy they wanted me (and those I named while screaming) signed up to, would that be a "success?" The Bush/Cheney years were an abject failure, socially, economically, politically, culturally militarily and anything else you want to throw into the pot and Cheney should be keeping his blundering head down instead of selling ammo to Fox news.

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  • 78. At 1:48pm on 21 Apr 2009, 8thAmendment wrote:

    If I were to try to pinpoint were it all went wrong, I would say that it was the failure of the US congress to investigate. They folded. They didn't want to be accused of not supporting our troops. So, they let the Bush administration run amuck.

    But now what? Do nothing? Should they take Cheney's bait? Hmmm...
    I'm getting a cold chill just now. Why do I have a feeling that is not the way to go?
    How about drips and drops that humiliate the Bush administration for the next 8 years. Sort of a water torture, if you will.

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  • 79. At 2:15pm on 21 Apr 2009, Etaan84 wrote:

    I find it incredible that there seems to be absolutely no coverage of the fact that this powder puff Fox News interview failed to ask one vital follow-up question. If the waterboarding technique is so effective, why did the CIA use it against Khalid Sheik Mohammed 183 times, sometimes exceeding even its own limits for frequency and duration? Either the CIA agents are sadists on par with some of history’s worst war criminals or proponents of the method are wildly overstating its successes.

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  • 80. At 2:19pm on 21 Apr 2009, 8thAmendment wrote:

    If President Reagan and the United States Senate thought that torture would ever be justified, they should not have signed the International Convention Against Torture.

    Under US and International law, those who torture must be prosecuted.
    No ifs, ands, or buts. What did Cheney know and when did he know it?
    Drip, drip, drip...

    THIS JUST IN -- BREAKING NEWS ---How good is the torture policy for the morale of our troops? Do you really think anybody wants to fight and die for their governments right to torture?
    This will be a festering wound for a long, long time.

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  • 81. At 2:20pm on 21 Apr 2009, carolinalady wrote:

    Well, Justin: a good discussion, indeed. All the usual suspects seem to have covered most of the ground on most sides of the torture issue and it is gratifying to note that most of us agree that a victim in extremis will 'confess' to anything to make it stop.

    What no one seems to have brought up (although I confess I skimmed a great deal and somebody might have done so in one of the longer pieces), is that Darth Cheney is as crazy as a bedbug and anything he says in public right now can be considered: 1) sheer entertainment, 2) potential evidence for prosecution, or 3) in some twisted, weird way the groundwork for an insanity defense before the World Court for War Crimes.

    At some level we all recognize that waterboarding someone 6 times a day for a month reflects only the cruel insanity of the perpetrator. It may or may not be 'unfair' to lay the blame at the door of the actual grunts who followed the orders of the government officials who ordered this continuing atrocity. But if one lays that aside, and allows the DOJ and the UN to work toward building the cases against Cheney and Rumsfeld and the rest of the leaders of the slavering pack, we may all come out ahead here in the area of strengthening human rights all over the world.

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  • 82. At 2:23pm on 21 Apr 2009, Shadowman wrote:

    Dear jerry98017:
    If my brother was being waterboarded or worse by you and I hadnt been sure about joining a terrorist organisation but now, to frighten you into stopping your barbaric treatment of my brother, I am sure and so on and on and on.....are you and your family feeling safer now? Are you sure? Where does your approach to life take you but more violence and abuse? I pray that my God would not bless any of them, but would teach me wisdom that I may lead by example. I pity your children and the world you want for them. Torture is wrong and you should tell them so.
    Cheney has brutalized his Nation with Bush's support and all the good things done in America's name are in shadow beside his misguided actions.

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  • 83. At 2:24pm on 21 Apr 2009, jerry98017 wrote:

    It's interesting to me how many responses you have that want Bush and Cheney to be tortured or be jailed or both. Also, how many time Fox news is negatively brought up. I like to think of myself as an independent. I think the Congress of the US is getting away with murder. When I say Congress, I mean Republicans and Democrats. They were privy to what the President and Vice-President were doing. They have feathered their beds for years and our expense. What they did is what Congress and I wanted. They responded to the 9/11 attack on my country as I wanted. I didn't have a child or a relative in those buildings but I could have. This Congress needs a good cleaning out. Term limits and benefits have to be curbed. I would like to see some comments from people who lost husbands, wives, children or parents in acts of terrorism in this blog.

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  • 84. At 2:27pm on 21 Apr 2009, gordonclifford wrote:

    The moment you take on methods used by the "terrorist/enemy", you debase yourself to their level. I had this argument with many friends and colleagues in the UK about the IRA. We must maintain the highest standards in our doings if we wish to maintain the high ground in debate and/or war. Perhaps I am being too simplistic, but the principle is sound.

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  • 85. At 2:27pm on 21 Apr 2009, Pass Torian wrote:

    Once I though Cheeney to be a smart fellow. But, with age, faculties deteriorate. He and representatives of Bush senior government should never serve on his son's team. Different problems in a different political era that those people could not fully adapt to.
    So the old mind assertion that water boarding worked should not surprize anyone.

    Let me ask one question: Why would anyone subject a person to 183 water boarding sessions? The first session did not work? Neither the second?
    Or third? Or forth? Come on. Apparently the senior Dick believes that
    183d session worked because he heard what he wanted to hear. And he calls it a success. Well, different brains deteriorate (with age)at different speed.

    You know what I think? If I was subjected to so many tries I am quite sure I would guess and spew what my opressor/interrogator wants to hear. But --- would this qualify to be called a success? In a sense it would. My hats to the old fox.

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  • 86. At 2:36pm on 21 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    Number 1
    Well said. The post should have been closed down after. we can Re discuss this topic (justin have you a bag with only 10 questions in it, can you get a bit more "out there") ad nauseam, but you say it so well.
    Thanks and again Good life to you GnR.
    For being a True Patriot.
    not someone with a flag fetish

    Well Said GnR

    of course I would take it further.

    If Cheney opens his mouth someone should shove a bottle in it and tell him to shut up.

    The prat can't just go leaking state secrets as he likes anymore. This time he could end up n jail.

    So dick. start telling the secrets.


    As ED says it is those that follow orders that will be OK, not those that make them.

    Gonzales Cheney and Bush should be in Jail.
    Simple.

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  • 87. At 2:37pm on 21 Apr 2009, John Griffiths wrote:

    just to observe that when Cheney means that it 'works' he means that confessions save lives. But the publicity associated with Guantanamo, extraordinary rendition and waterboarding has created terrorists. Cheney and his cronies have been among the most successful creators of terrorism in recent history. Hardly a definition of waterboarding 'working' then.

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  • 88. At 2:41pm on 21 Apr 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Jerry (83),

    • "I would like to see some comments from people who lost husbands, wives, children or parents in acts of terrorism in this blog."
    Like this?

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  • 89. At 2:43pm on 21 Apr 2009, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Of course waterboarding is NOt Justified under any circumstances. All it does is allow organizations like Al Quieda to improve their recruitment. It doesn't help intelligence services garner any information that is usefull in fighting the war on terror. If Cheaney things these methods worked, then I suggest that he seriously reevaluted his desicions. What is more, I suggest that he do the honorable thing and turn himself into the Spanish Government to face prosecution. Bush and Cheney are a big part of the reason the reputation of the United States has suffered pver the last eight years. I would ask the President to change his mind and allow the Justice department to follow the law and prosecute these individuals. Just because he was President of the United States, doesn't mean he should not be held responsible for his crimes.

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  • 90. At 2:43pm on 21 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    lorddeee lordee it was Me. I confess,, by breathing this morning It was me that stole the rains and caused your crops to fail. sorry it is obvious now but I got away with it for years.
    the splot on your families was mine to. for I did summon the devil to do my bidding.

    you will need more proof than my confession because your reasonable nature would obviously cause you to question my confession seeing as the flames are licking up my legs.

    If you doubt my flambéed confession please make haste and take me to the dunking stool.

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  • 91. At 2:46pm on 21 Apr 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    #71 jerry98017

    "It's easy to sit in a comfortable chair and dispense criticism regarding Bush and Cheney. If I had a child who was in danger of being murdered by terrorists and I had to resort to water boarding or worse in order to obtain information of future intentions of these animals. Let me see. My daughter or son could have their head sawed off....water boarding. This is a no brainer. Bush and Cheney protected my family. God bless them. right now I don't feel very safe with this current administration. I hope I am wrong."


    Your missing the point entirely. They tortured innocent people too, so your hypothetical situation is irelavent. Firstly, unless your children are in a fairly dangerous part of the world you wont have to worry about their heads being cut off. Secondly, the people who are being tortured will say whatever they can to get it to stop, whether they know anything about it or not. Imagine you are being tortured, but are completely innocent. Would you tell them what they wanted to hear after months of torment, regardless if it were true or not?

    Also, you can't justify torture by claimig that the enemy would do it. I'm not going to state the obvious and explain why that is wrong and hypocritical.

    Finally, what exactly did Bush and Cheney do by torturing people that protected your family? I'm sure if a major attack on US soil was thwarted thanks to information obtained by torture, then Cheney would have let us all know about it. Bush and Cheney have put your family in more danger by stirring up trouble with the muslim world. There is more hatred towards America and the West now than there was before.

    O, and you are wrong.

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  • 92. At 2:48pm on 21 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    They responded to the 9/11 attack on my country as I wanted.


    well you were a fool sorry like most of america you think attacking countries is the way to stop a gang of criminals.

    When you read the headlines about dublin being razed because of an IRA attack you will sit back and say the same old thing eh.

    Well they asked for it.

    All the people.

    Well said to those that can see Dick et al made more terrorists than they got rid of.

    Operation complete failure.
    America lost the war on terrorism the moment they joined in.

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  • 93. At 2:51pm on 21 Apr 2009, 8thAmendment wrote:

    Cheney is trying to make a political defense. This is because his lawyers have advised him that any legal defense would have to be.. uh...er..creative.

    Republican's have been laying the ground work for this politiacl defense for quite some time. It goes something like this: "Obama is friendly with our enemies. He is making the US less safe. Investigations would make us less safe." The implied defense of Cheney is that he should not be prosecuted because he kept us safe. It's all centered on fear-based hypotheticals, so it's difficult to counter. It worked well for many years. Will it work now? Will congress ignore the festering wound?

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  • 94. At 2:52pm on 21 Apr 2009, hubertgrove wrote:

    You people are so squeamish. During war, it's all right to burn, bomb and shoot people - but not to waterboard them? There's certainly no qualitative difference and possibly not a moral distinction either.

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  • 95. At 2:53pm on 21 Apr 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    An interestingly appropriate radio drama on Radio 4, called "Available Means" (right now, but it will be available on iplayer for a week)

    Good timing, it seems
    ;-)

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  • 96. At 3:00pm on 21 Apr 2009, ROBL52US wrote:

    It is truly incredible that people think this "war" we are fighting is against an an enemy that has even an iota of honor. These animals kill and maim innocent men women and children without a thought but everyone seems to think that if we treat them as human beings should be treated, we will somehow reach them. These three vermin that were waterboarded were known to have intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the enemy and I think any means needed to get that information from them would have been acceptable.
    What would any of you been saying if after another gutless terrorist attack your wife, mother, child or any other innocent person were slaughtered and you discovered the CIA had a prisoner that knew about this but they failed to extract this information.
    Release the other memo's and let all the facts be known.

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  • 97. At 3:01pm on 21 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    83 negative Fox news comments. Where, no ,they wouldn't
    http://www.outfoxed.org/
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_IBGuDYOtg


    The second one where Bill O really harasses the family member who lost a parent in 9/11 is real caring and not bias aggressive .

    Lets put it this way. as a pacifist (who admits that I'm human) I would help O'really off the edge of a cliff.

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  • 98. At 3:01pm on 21 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    94 When did we declare war?

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  • 99. At 3:04pm on 21 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    lordde lord It was me . I did look at you good wife with a cross eyed look and she did lose he child.


    Please take me back to the fire.

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  • 100. At 3:04pm on 21 Apr 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    gunsandreligion # 1, # 4
    We all have our problems .You claim borderline dyslexia and I have a partial word blindness,- the inability to associate a word or text with its proper meaning.
    Justin wrote-............ "He is dripping on Obama's nose. The real question - of course - is whether waterboarding is justified under any circumstances, including the rescue of thousands of lives, including, indeed, the saving of the world.".
    With the onset of summer I assumed Justin had begun a crusade against macho beach-bum lifeguards and their associated equipment having suffered sand kicked in his eyes when he took the family to the beach, or even more appropriate, was drawing our attention to necessary hosepipe bans to prevent the waste of valuable water given to gardens instead of to vulnerable human beings.
    Fortunately I eventually spotted the Cheney remark preceding the earlier text. A true Dick in the game of war
    Waterboarding in its 2009 meaning is just torture, but torture is not just reserved for combatants captured during conflicts.
    Extreme measures taken for our desire for information in this world knows no bounds, and latent psycholgical traumas can never be wiped from the memory slate of those who have experienced it. Take the case of rape by camera!
    In a recent article on another page why papparazi wanted to take pictures of a horse, startling it to such an extreme that they were lucky it did not result in her receiving physical injury escapes me?. But, for that horse, the mental scar will probably never heal. Its rider,Maradona who was thrown was probably shocked too.
    It's a cruel world we live in today.Especially for dumb creatures or those who through circumstances have an inability to speak out.

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  • 101. At 3:05pm on 21 Apr 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    #94 hubertgrove
    "You people are so squeamish. During war, it's all right to burn, bomb and shoot people - but not to waterboard them? There's certainly no qualitative difference and possibly not a moral distinction either"

    It's not alright to burn, bomb and shoot people. But there is a difference to doing thawt to an enemy combatant who is shooting back at you, than torturing (which I suspect would be worst than being shot and dying) someone whom may well be innocent of any wrong-doing.

    There is a clear distinction. One is fighting you and trying to kill you. The other is your prisoner and cannot harm you, whilst you apply physical and mental pain.

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  • 102. At 3:08pm on 21 Apr 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    #96

    So we should just do to them what they do to us? It just make us as bad as them. Give them a trial, lock them up. Justice, not revenge.

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  • 103. At 3:12pm on 21 Apr 2009, grr wrote:

    I would confess to 9/11 if I was tortured. Torture does not work. People put under duress will confess to anything and nothing. May Dick (and Bush) experience what they did...

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  • 104. At 3:15pm on 21 Apr 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Justin speaking to the story this morning on Radio 4:
    here

    And, for those looking for the "Available Means" play, give the website time to sort its archive out. It should appear soon on the iplayer radio pages It's worth a listen, especially for the likes of 8th Amendment and any other Neimeier fans...

    Salaam/Shalom/Shanthi/Peace

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  • 105. At 3:21pm on 21 Apr 2009, awesomesusie96 wrote:

    It is UNBELIEVEABLE!! I think Cheney is psychotic!!!! He obviously is unable to understand English or is thinks he is Napolean. Waterboarding is ILLEGAL IN THE UNITED STATES. It also breaks the very principles that this country represents. It is more and more scarey that he was in ANY position to guide military or laws!! I would STRONGLY advise Obama to have charges filed against him. I think he is too much of a peacemaker but I think it needs to be done. Cheny has been portrayed as Darth Vader and that fits him to a tee!!!

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  • 106. At 3:23pm on 21 Apr 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #65

    Mr Grace,

    Would that not depend where you attached the wires?

    Anatomist Sam

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  • 107. At 3:23pm on 21 Apr 2009, lawchicago wrote:

    Cheney represents the worst of the last administration . He exemplifies what has led this country to the precipice of disaster .How mortified he must be that he and his ilk and out of power.
    He is the Evil old troll behind the village idiot who went to war out of fear and in the process brought this country to a new ethical low .
    Shame on him , shame on the last administration . Perhaps we need a procedure like South Africa, a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate past criminal violations of US and international human rights .
    Mr. Cheney should be one of the first on the docket

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  • 108. At 3:28pm on 21 Apr 2009, QinGuangWang wrote:

    Cheney, Rove, Bush and the rest of the neo-cons are individuals who believe the ends justify any means. When retribution is the primary agenda for a presidency, this is what you get. Basically, they are criminals and are posturing as if they are on trial and mounting their defense. Worst eight years in American history. They would rather talk about this because of their direct involvement with the financial collaspe. They confused the presidency with a monarchy. Cheney was the dark prince and Rove wrote the edicts.

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  • 109. At 3:32pm on 21 Apr 2009, aquarizonagal wrote:

    Torture and war are repugnant to me. Neither should have any place in our world. We will destroy our selves if we do not soon learn that what hurts you, hurts me, hurts everyone on this planet.

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  • 110. At 3:33pm on 21 Apr 2009, goodenjac wrote:

    So there are rogue nations. They are trying to arm themselves with WMDs. They are threatening to kill and maim their neighbours and us, the west. Simple. Send a few nukes, that'll stop them. By killing a few thousands or millions, we will preserve peace and maybe save tens, hundred of millions, maybe billions. Isn't it worth it? Aren't a few collateral damages unimportant?
    If it is OK to torture one, maybe to kill one (if someone has a weak heart, waterboarding might well kill), then surely it is OK to kill a few more for the greater good?

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  • 111. At 3:35pm on 21 Apr 2009, GlutenFreeNL wrote:

    No form of torture, including waterboarding, should ever be justified under any circumstances.

    The United States is one of 194 countries that signed in adherance to The Geneva Conventions, the core documents of international humanitarian law which were developed by the Red Cross including Convention III, relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.

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  • 112. At 3:36pm on 21 Apr 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #74

    Marcus,

    If you check the documents in question you'll find that if a person has not committed a crime then they are protected against torture by the 4th amendment. If they have committed a crime then cruel and unusual punsihment kicks in.

    There is no debate that torture is illegal. Not one, niet, nada. At no time has anyone, including 'Dick' Cheney, said it is. Rather Dick and the other dicks have argued that 'enhanced' interrogation techniques are legal.

    Of course there are always crazies who think anything is justified in their name. History has some dire warnings for such folks.

    First they came for the communists
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist . . .

    Then of course there is eternal damnation, which is enough to put me off the idea in itself. The only thing we have to do to protect ourselves, our Constitution and our souls is to speak out when we see wrong, to confront the crazies and keep them in their trailers and to shine the light of day on our government when it does wrong in our name.

    Constitutional Sam

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  • 113. At 3:36pm on 21 Apr 2009, QuietPerspective wrote:

    In answer to the question is torture justified? An unequivocal No.

    Does torture work? No

    Evidence: Dick Cheney and his ilk have been torturing America and its Constitution for years and have yet to tell the truth.

    Transparency is not aiding the enemy; it is exposing the enemy for what they are. The irreparable damage of having sanctioned these choices is the fuel for the fire of those who condemn free societies; isn't it interesting that every régime that has flourished through the dark corners of secrecy and torture has perished in time, while those that shed light prosper? Cheney’s challenge to produce the balance of reports is rhetorical as this is the man who made it his industry to leave no records behind that could implicate him through his deconstruction of the American Dream and the Constitution. His argument is facile, but if he insists, perhaps we could include the documents in support of WMD.

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  • 114. At 3:40pm on 21 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    109 well said aqua.

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  • 115. At 3:41pm on 21 Apr 2009, bere54 wrote:

    What I'm wondering is, since Obama thinks those who were "just following orders" should not be prosecuted, is he going to request that those who participated in the Abu Graib mess, and were tried and convicted, be released from prison? Fair is fair, after all.

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  • 116. At 3:55pm on 21 Apr 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #67

    Dammit Ed,

    You beat me to the punch, though the version you linked to is different from the wayI learned it.

    Embarassed Sam

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  • 117. At 3:58pm on 21 Apr 2009, jon112uk wrote:

    73. At 1:27pm on 21 Apr 2009, extremesense wrote:

    #54 jon112uk

    So, do I understand that because you haven't responded to my post @35, you concede and admit you were very wrong?
    ===============

    Sorry extreme, I didn't know I was under a duty to respond to every post on here and hadn't noticed comment #35. Unlike Obama, I'm only human.

    One counter argument here would be that conduct such as hooding, white noise etc does not constitute 'torture' Under some definitions, sensory deprivation constitutes 'inhuman and degrading treatment' but not 'torture' That is one of the reasons why the Bush administration allowed hooding etc. to be widely used, but restricted waterboarding.

    But getting back to my original point: some sections of the media have been very careful about being on message here. Lots of coverage of 'torture' at guantanamo, lots of coverage of waterboarding. Little or no mention of how few people were waterboarded or what sort of information was obtained. They don't lie, but they do pick what they tell you.

    I'm too idle to do it, but someone could easily search this site for the mumber of articles on guantanamo and the number of articles on, example, Daniel Pearl having his head hacked off whilst fully conscious with his hands tied behind his back and someone (KSM?) wrestling him to the ground. If the BBC thinks 'both are wrong' and are an impartial news organisation, why does guantanamo get 100s of times more coverage?

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  • 118. At 4:00pm on 21 Apr 2009, DNWord wrote:

    "Ethically, I'm opposed to torture. But, of course it works. Otherwise,
    why would anybody do it?"

    "Because they enjoy inflicting pain and humiliation on others.Or watching it. Simple."

    I agree. Also, while there is obvious evidence that the torturers were getting sexual thrills from all they were up to, there may be another reason America leapt on the chance to become torturers- to accomplish the goal of all terrorism - to create fear.

    Torture is terrorism.


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  • 119. At 4:04pm on 21 Apr 2009, aquarizonagal wrote:

    To#112 Samtyler1969

    You have said it all!

    Speak up, speak out against torture, war and the those who would justify trampling the rights of others as means to an end. It will be the END of all of us if we do not stand up. Survive together or die alone!

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  • 120. At 4:04pm on 21 Apr 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    #117

    "If the BBC thinks 'both are wrong' and are an impartial news organisation, why does guantanamo get 100s of times more coverage?"

    Thats easy. Because we the people don't expect their own government to commit these kind of acts. We won't, however, put it past extremist scum.

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  • 121. At 4:07pm on 21 Apr 2009, bere54 wrote:

    Senator Feinstein has just said that "the door to future prosecutions should be left open" until her committee finishes its investigation into the "enhanced interrogation techniques." She has asked that the administration refrain from further statements on this issue until after the committee investigation. Very interesting, no?

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  • 122. At 4:18pm on 21 Apr 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    Pardon my awful string of words in my previous post. It should make some sense though

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  • 123. At 4:19pm on 21 Apr 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    Torture is always unacceptable: Where possible people who commit torture should be prosecuted.

    That has always been my view.

    As a former member of HM Armed Forces (1970s-early 80s) I was involved in some very difficult situations in Northern Ireland culminating with the Falklands. In the intensely pressurised, fear-laden grotesqueness of conflict between soldiers and civilians and between armies there are always going to be those who crack and lose their self-control/ethical senses and commit what in civvy street is undoubted violent crime: Hence, I have every sympathy with those US and UK troops (and the G20 Police) investigated and prosecuted for actions under extreme duress. Some of you wont believe me, but, it could be any one of us given the right/wrong set of grimly adverse circumstances.

    However, acts of 'torture' committed by those who are not in the 'heat of action' or have not undergone the extremities of 'sensory abuse' (i.e. battle conditions and the fatigue that follows), and are in the safe, secure environment of a prison/detention centre is an entirely different psychological-physical condition. I have not experienced what they have, but, it would seem to me their excuse for actions that in civvy street are violent crime is on far less understandable grounds.

    Mr Webb's Article asks if it (torture) is ever acceptable/justifiable even on grounds of providing intelligence saving the world?

    I do not have the answer: I do know from bitter personal experience that had we known what the Eire Guarda knew from intelligence gathering that a sniper was across the Armagh border 2 of my comrades might still be with us today. How would I react if I met the Guarda who withheld the intel? Now I might buy him a drink, but then, he would not have lasted 5 minutes! I am aware too that the intelligence suggesting an Argentinian invasion of the Falklands was 'highly probable' was dismissed and the UK Warship in the area was recalled so Argentinian intelligence hinted to Galtieri the Islands were up for grabs: Such poor use of intelligence cost the UK 250+ and Argentina 1,000+ of their finest young adults. Should Galtieri, MI5, Lord Carrington, PM Thatcher be blamed? At the time I was disgusted by the jingoistic celebration of the hard-won liberation of the Falklanders, but, if the intel pre-invasion had been gained by torture would it have been anymore useful or reliable? Would the casualties have been avoided?

    My late father recounted a number of times how in December 1944 it was General Eisenhower's ignoring of 'intelligence' memos that let the Nazis try one last push in the 'west' and the result was the Battle of the Bulge: It is only of passing interest to all of you, but, my father's English regiment was rushed south to assist the hard-pressed Americans, but, before rejoining his Company my father had a Register Office ceremony with his Belgian girlfriend... myself and 2 others are the progeny of that poor use of intelligence (Eisenhower's memos! Not my father's marriage!)!

    I think what I am trying to say is that even with good, reliable intelligence there is no guarantee it will be used properly, so, why should any self-respecting, thoughtful, democratically elected leader place his trust in information gained by force!?

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  • 124. At 4:27pm on 21 Apr 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    8thAmendment and #93.

    I have no more knowledge than you of whether or not ex-VP Cheney's motives are centred on saving his own unpleasant rear end, however, given all politicians' propensity for deviousness your conclusion on his motive is understandable.

    Two questions for you and the others demanding prosecution of the alleged 'torturers':
    1) If VP Cheney's request is agreed and CIA Memos are released proving Intelligence gathered from 'waterboarding' etc. actually saved lives either in the States or elsewhere do you still want the CIA Staff put on trial?
    2) If the Memos' content are as above do you seriously believe there is any likelihood of a conviction of CIA Staff known to have 'saved lives' (maybe even yours)?

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  • 125. At 4:28pm on 21 Apr 2009, bere54 wrote:

    A few years ago the NY Times ran a bit of a puff piece on Dick Cheney. His good friend Newt Gingrich was interviewed and said about Cheney: "He has a hard time working within our constitutional system."

    I thought, wow, that's revealing, and eagerly awaited the fallout from this remark (which was so obviously true even back then). There was none. Not a peep. I wondered then and wonder now if I was the only person who read the whole article and came across that gem buried within.

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  • 126. At 4:34pm on 21 Apr 2009, mr-rioso wrote:

    Mr Cheney may well have been the architect of the Bush administration's policy of torture in which case he is certainly in danger of criminal prosecution.
    It's quite likely that he would have no reasonable or relevant argument of defence in a court of law and that he sees his only chance of escape in political action.
    No snow job can make these terrible crimes seem reasonable.

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  • 127. At 4:35pm on 21 Apr 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Iconic head-to-head debate on US Foreign Policy:
    Chomsky Vs Buckley

    Enjoy

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  • 128. At 4:38pm on 21 Apr 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    32, lochraven, I take it that you are a pacifist? I am not.

    Violence is not a good thing, but every person and nation has the
    right (and duty) to defend themselves. The hard part is to do it
    without sowing the seeds of the next conflict.

    War is not a positive thing, but neither is willfully allowing
    the destruction of one's family or society by a group of fanatics
    of any kind.

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  • 129. At 4:39pm on 21 Apr 2009, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Well I realize the reason Obama is not trying to prosecute memembers of the Bush administration is impart because of the Political backlash he fears the republicans will make if he does. I realize that he is also fearful of losing the loyalty of the CIA. I understand that point of view, and I strongly disagree with it. This is a Moral Issue, not a political one. What Bush, Cheney and company did violated every international standard on human rights and has endangerd our citizens rather that made them safer. The should be prosecuted and sent to jail. Politics should not have entered into it.

    As for the war on terror, I was one of the few who opposed it and even got into a heated argument with a co-worker at work about. By Attacking Afganistan, Bush played into Al Quiedda's hands and failed to understand what he was doing. Groups like Al Quieda are looking to create marters of themselves, they are also looking to capitalize on the unpopularity of America world wide. By invading Afganistan, he played in to their hands and allowed them to claim marter status. They should have handled this like a criminal investigation because 9-11 was a criminal act. Bush allowed Bin Laden to escape. And we have been unsafe eversince.

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  • 130. At 4:40pm on 21 Apr 2009, bere54 wrote:

    123, ikamaskeip -

    Thank you for sharing that story of your father and his rushed marriage. I enjoyed that.

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  • 131. At 4:45pm on 21 Apr 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Ikamaskelp (123), Well said. A miniquibble on #124: you negelect the probable existence of a large number of memos indicating no useful outcomes.

    Salaam/Shalom/Shanthi/Peace


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  • 132. At 4:50pm on 21 Apr 2009, growingbrilliant wrote:

    Firstly, what in the world gave America the right to torture people in the first place?
    The answer, quite logically, is simple:
    If anybody dares to question, threaten my world domination, which is basically built on injustice, prejudice, structural imbalance between peoples, between nations, caused by individual and collective greed, egotism, ebullience, the lust for power, fear, and all the rest of it, then you'd better watch out.
    That CIA director - never mind Cheney - immediately calls them, "these terrorists," without question, equivocation, not caring if any wishes to question, whether he's a terrorist.
    But isn't waterboarding, playing on someone's insect phobia, forced nudity, what have you, no different from terrorism, or acts of violence perpetrated by the other? My security must not be threatened in any way.
    Of course, nothing can be questioned or done about it which would be equally contradictory. If the Poor South took the place of the Rich North; possessed all the world's wealth, of which America is the head, then there would still be no change.
    If you think Dubiya'a regime was evil, then think again.

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  • 133. At 4:57pm on 21 Apr 2009, Britus wrote:

    I don't know where some of the posters got their "facts" I would think from left wing attack sites. Waterboarding was sparingly used and resulted in SIGNIFICANT actionable intelligence and that's a fact. I can only believe that when an other attack comes to the west, that the first people who will bleat about their right to protection will the liberals who were actually affected. Churchill said if you aren't a liberal when you are 20 you have no heart, but if you aren't conservative by the time you are 40, then you have no brain! I can only guess that this question attracts a lot of idealistic 20 year olds.

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  • 134. At 4:59pm on 21 Apr 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    ST69

    "Amendment IV
    Search and arrest

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    In time of war, seizure of an enemy combatant suspected of having knowledge of the methods, means, people, and places in the United States to be attacked by its foreign enemies is probable cause and reason enough. But if it isn't, as I said, the Constitution will be suspended or ignored. President Lincoln did it during the Civil War when he suspended the Writ of nHabaes Corpus and President Roosevelt did it in WWII when he interned Japanese Americans. The courts may squawk, Congress may squawk, the media may squawk, but it is the first obligation of the government to protect and defend the people of the United States, all other considerations are secondary. This truth comes from the heritage, the legacy in American culture of fighting to survive in a dangerous and lawless wilderness whether it was in the 13 colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries, the wild wild west in the 19th, Fascism and Communism in the 20th, or Islamic terrorism on our own shores in the 21st. There is nothing that can stop it.

    "Then of course there is eternal damnation, which is enough to put me off the idea in itself."

    I wouldn't give much thought to that if I were you. Just being born an Englishman condemned you to that. But don't take my word for it, just ask any Scotsman. He'd tell you the same thing. You should hear what they say about Englishmen when none of them are around :-)

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  • 135. At 5:01pm on 21 Apr 2009, CamdenPartners wrote:

    Good morning from Nevada. I'd like to add a point which is inferred in several of the postings above but I'd like to make it more explicit.

    One characteristic of the Bush administration was its tendency to approach many things -- not just torture, but other things as well, e.g. education, health care reform, abortion rights, etc. -- with two basic fundamental thoughts:

    1) We know better because we're Christian, and anyone who says otherwise is simply not worth listening to and
    2) The end justifies the means.

    This "end justifies the means" mentality was continuously substituted by members of the Bush administration for logical, compassionate thought. The idea that "we should torture, because it works" is akin to "we should insist on abstinance, because it works." Ironically, neither do work, and there are dozens if not hundreds of examples of members of the Bush administration -- particularly Rumsfeld and Cheney -- arrogantly announcing that they're right ("The war in Iraq is being won!" Can you imagine anything more preposterous? No one has won anything!).

    The fact that Cheney is justifying torture because it works is pathetic and nauseating. However, it's part of a pattern of arrogant, deaf pronouncements of the end justifying the means that signals a gross unwillingness to enter into reasoned debate.

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  • 136. At 5:05pm on 21 Apr 2009, 8thAmendment wrote:

    American blogs pertaining to the torture issue have lots of shouters and very little genuine discussion. Writers on yahoo buzz offer angry tirades about proposed torture tecniques. The consensus seems to be that any techniques would be appropriate applied to "terror suspects."
    Very few writers express any concern about the guilt or innocense of the "suspect." Many argued that the methods described in the "torture memos" did not really rise to the level of torture. Many writers directed their anger toward liberals and "bleeding hearts."

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  • 137. At 5:10pm on 21 Apr 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    I know that this will be an unpopular comment, but I wonder if
    the timing of Obama's release of the documents was an attempt to
    divert attention from the economy.

    It won't work, though. Geithner's plan is still a mess, and
    something else if going to have to be done.

    Lest some high and mighty soul decry my cynicism, may I remind
    you in advance that our liberty is in peril if the economy
    continues to tank. That's when people like Hitler start appearing
    in beer halls.

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  • 138. At 5:13pm on 21 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    123. At 4:19pm on 21 Apr 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    Bloody marvellous.Well said.Nic post. thanks for sharing.understand what you say. there are psychological tests that show it is pretty easy to get someone to torture people.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28311281/

    aside

    My dad was a diplomat in the states when the Falklands were invaded. I saw the news in between cartoons and went up stairs to tell him some part of Britain had been invaded.(I was a kid) His response I remember to this day.

    Well the bit where he said " we've been warning them about this for months".

    A contingent of how many marines were left behind? When A good exercise down there would have shown them before they took to invade, that it would be taken seriously.

    Probably find out someone knew about saddam's little attack on Kuwait but thought no we should let it happen, give us an excuse.

    (Just a possibility)

    on 124 the would you if it is proved it helped.

    Follow the orders.

    lock em up.
    the rapist that gets killed in jail.

    Does his killer if found guilty ,get off?

    The person that sees a guy beating his kids and likely to pass this behaviour down to another generation. does he go around and torture the beater for months and get away with it.

    Now I'm with the If the Law gets them they are to be treated as in accordance with that law.

    The Law should make every effort to capture the beater rapist etc and not say"we all know who did it I ain't wastin any more time with it"
    the parent brother or other outraged witness who comes across the crime happening should not be held to liable for their actions, even if it does end up looking like a horror movie.

    The outraged father who shoot the rapist could be argued to not be likely to re offend .

    Dick like wise.
    but in his case there was no personal involvement really,No one try to pretend he did it for the troops.

    I say yes to the prosecution . but the prosecution has to take all into account especially the orders and who gave them.

    They should be on public trial.

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  • 139. At 5:14pm on 21 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    *th amendment.
    All that shows is that Yahoo s are pretty nasty people. maybe 100% of them would carry on giving electrical shocks

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  • 140. At 5:16pm on 21 Apr 2009, aquarizonagal wrote:

    To#129 AmericanSportsFan

    You made a good point about President Obama "keeping the loyalty of the CIA." Our President Kennedy had issues with the CIA and look what happened to him.

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  • 141. At 5:19pm on 21 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    137 GnR Not sure but regards the beer halls. YES.
    scary isn't it.
    time for more "coffee " shops I say.

    "We'll get them high and see what they say."
    "No dude that's cruel give me that bong .I'll take it . let him watch.Now that's torture.

    You got any Grateful Dead?"

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  • 142. At 5:21pm on 21 Apr 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #9. jon112uk: "Reality: US personnel used waterboarding THREE times. One case example... Khaled Sheik Mohamed . . .(which) apparently involved one exposure of a few seconds, then he cracked and gave away details of the structure and personnel of half of al-qaeda. No injuries whatever to the 'victim'. Reasonable cost/benefit ratio?"

    Where do you find this information - elsewhere, reliable sources say that he was submitted to waterboarding 183 times, not merely "one exposure". A link would be acceptable.

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  • 143. At 5:21pm on 21 Apr 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    I just had a weird thought. What if these terrorists were allowed to
    sue Bush and Cheney for damages?

    After all, we are not just a nation of laws, but also of lawyers.

    Now, I realize that this is a horrible thing for a Republican such
    as myself to put forth. But, is there any more horrible torture than
    having to sit in court and have some scumbag rob you of your dignity?

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  • 144. At 5:22pm on 21 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    "The fact that Cheney is justifying torture because it works is pathetic and nauseating. However, it's part of a pattern of arrogant, deaf pronouncements of the end justifying the means that signals a gross unwillingness to enter into reasoned debate"


    LOL that must mean dick cheney is MA and TT

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  • 145. At 5:27pm on 21 Apr 2009, GazGsM wrote:

    The former vice President is doing what the old guard GOP do best. Beat the drum and say that national security has been placed at risk. Look at the former head of the C.I.A. He stated exactly the same as Mr. Cheney.

    And yet in reality the people who have placed USA national security at risk is the former administration.

    If you're being tortured you would admit to anything to get people to stop. You would tell them what they want to hear. It's basic human nature.

    The is a nonsense row. President Obama done the correct thing in releasing those documents and also in informing the C.I.A. people involved that they will not face any form of legal action. They were only following legal directives from the Department of Justice. Now, if human right organisations want to blame anyone then they should look no further then the DOJ.

    This is the beginning of the classic GOP mantra. Tell the people that Democrats are weak on National security, people especially within the grass roots of the republican base. The same base they stayed at home last November.

    Senator McCain's daughter remarked last week that there's a power struggle going on at present within the republican party. The old guard GOP, Cheney et al and the more progressive/liberal element.

    A party at war and they're picking the wrong battles to confront the white house on.

    It doesn't matter how you coat it. Torture in any guise is wrong. It has a negative effect.

    As a Scotsman looking from the outside in. I hope I am reading the political landscape in the USA correct? Please my friends inform if I am wrong?

    Garry.

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  • 146. At 5:28pm on 21 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    that was 8th amendment up there not a curse.



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  • 147. At 5:29pm on 21 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    garry you are reading it right.

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  • 148. At 5:29pm on 21 Apr 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    141, happylaze, I grew up in the Mars Hotel.

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  • 149. At 5:36pm on 21 Apr 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    145, Gaz, yes the Repubs are in a mess. They chased moderates like
    myself out of town with torches and pitchforks. Just because we have
    funny looking bolts protruding from our necks.

    In fact, each party is somewhat broken. Only half of what the Republicans
    believe is nonsense. The same could be said of the Democrats.

    What we really need is a new party which is in the middle somewhere,
    in which all of the nonsense has been discarded. But, this is unlikely
    to happen. Instead, if we got a new party, it would consist of all
    of the nonsense of each party.

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  • 150. At 5:37pm on 21 Apr 2009, 8thAmendment wrote:

    Are we discussing how best to defeat Al Qaeda? How to raise the spirits of our fighting forces? Obviously not.
    Mr. Cheney and his support for torture are diverting attention from the war. We are more preoccupied with our own governement's torture policy than we are with Al Qeada. This is yet more evidence of the counter-productivity of the Bush/Cheney torture program.

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  • 151. At 5:42pm on 21 Apr 2009, Rosybeeme wrote:

    "someone could easily search this site for the mumber of articles on guantanamo and the number of articles on, example, Daniel Pearl having his head hacked off whilst fully conscious with his hands tied behind his back and someone (KSM?) wrestling him to the ground. If the BBC thinks 'both are wrong' and are an impartial news organisation, why does guantanamo get 100s of times more coverage?"

    Daniel Pearl's death was horrific but his murder was committed by ruthless men who have no shame in claiming that the end justifies the means. The US claims to uphold the rule of law and promote civilised values; those that all decent people want to subscribe to. It's sheer hypocrisy to try to justify the methods used in Guantanamo under the Bush administration by comparing it to methods used by avowed terrorists elsewhere. Waterboarding, use of white noise, etc, etc, are all forms of torture; they cannot be justified whoever uses them, but least of all by those who claim the moral high ground. Who can doubt that those who used torture in Guantanamo wouldn't resort to the same extremes as the terrorists who killed Daniel Pearl if they felt they had the sanction to do so? It's this hypocrisy that has caused so much disapproval and disrespect for the US, not biased reporting from the BBC.

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  • 152. At 5:51pm on 21 Apr 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    "he real question - of course - is whether waterboarding is justified under any circumstances..."

    Maybe for you. Not for me.

    The real question: Are we a nation of laws as we like to say, or are the laws made by the People's representatives in Congress optional for those in power?

    Torture is a crime for everyone in the U.S. There are no exceptions written into the law.

    AG Holder has done it again: ducked his responsibility for the cause of political expediency. I'm starting to think he was not the best choice for top cop.

    I believe General Hayden and all the spooks who did his bidding should be arrested and tried. If found guilty, I think that there are very real mitigating circumstances that should be taken into account during sentencing.

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  • 153. At 5:56pm on 21 Apr 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    149, guns.
    "What we really need is a new party which is in the middle somewhere, in which all of the nonsense has been discarded. But, this is unlikely to happen. Instead, if we got a new party, it would consist of all of the nonsense of each party."

    The problem lies in the Congress and a new party would not change that. The Congress is institutionalized self-interest. This is something Obama did not bank on. Best intentions notwithstanding, the Congress with hamstring him.

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  • 154. At 6:07pm on 21 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    151 Rosybeeme.
    Well said .


    GnR. ummm I'm sorry I don't really know the GD . Is mars hotel a song place or some how related to them?

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  • 155. At 6:07pm on 21 Apr 2009, canadacold wrote:

    If it is not moral - it is not right
    It has been banned internationally for a good reason. It is wrong and the side benefit is, that it does not work.
    When the US does it, it does not make it right and takes away any moral high ground to prevent the same being done to their people.
    I see it as a water (shed - gate) issue, that the country will have to grapple with and hopefully put behind them
    Meanwhile, thank you Hesiodis, (#104), Iwill try and find it

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  • 156. At 6:08pm on 21 Apr 2009, GranJayk wrote:

    It appears he is saying the means justifies the end. That is like saying if you shoot a man through the heart he is dead. What happen to the morals of America. We are better than that and I hope we have no more in Government representing the American people with this kind of attitude !

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  • 157. At 6:09pm on 21 Apr 2009, 8thAmendment wrote:

    I read that Cheney described described Obama as "weak" today.
    It seems that he is trying to provoke a response from Obama.
    He wants to be in a position to claim that a prosecution is politcally motivated. He's quite clever.

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  • 158. At 6:27pm on 21 Apr 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    bere54 and #134.

    Always nice to know I entertain and divert even if nothig more!

    cheers.

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  • 159. At 6:34pm on 21 Apr 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    154, check out this link. You really should get it and play "US Blues,"
    it pretty accurately sums up how things work in this country.

    Even Justin might find this piece of cultural archeology interesting.

    "Wave That Flag" was on the same album, and is another piece of post-Vietnam
    political observation which might just as well apply to Iraq today.

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  • 160. At 6:34pm on 21 Apr 2009, Richard_SM wrote:


    Ms. Roxana Saberi, the 31 year old American-Iranian journalist charged with spying is very lucky to have been charged by Iran and not USA, where she would have been tortured and imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay without trial.

    Fortunately, some countries like Iran have higher standards than USA.



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  • 161. At 6:46pm on 21 Apr 2009, linuxbrit wrote:

    If the only argument that counts is 'it works' then what's to stop me mugging a person, taking their heart and arranging a transplant into my ailing mother?

    If I am poor, and you are rich - I rob you and take your money - that 'works' too. In fact torture whenever anyone has bothered to study it (and that includes the ancient Greeks) has shown to be a very poor tool for obtaining information. Most of us will eventually say anything to get it to stop - true or not. It IS effective at demoralizing the subject and scaring their compatriots - but that's not the argument being put forward is it?

    I find it sickening that the architects of this debacle in Iraq are the ones even now telling us how they were the ones who did things right!

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  • 162. At 6:55pm on 21 Apr 2009, stillkicking wrote:

    Dick Cheney repeats time after time that waterboarding works but he also repeated time after time (long after it was established to be untrue) that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Even the Tudors knew that confessions obtained by torture were totally unreliable and seldom used it to obtain information.

    Irrespective of the moral considerations, which in my opinion should be paramount if we wish to be able to honestly claim the moral and intellectual high ground, the damage done to the reputation of the western democracies by the use of waterboarding and other forms of torture far outweighs the purported benefits.

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  • 163. At 7:11pm on 21 Apr 2009, canadacold wrote:

    # 104 hesiodis

    The interview confirmed to me that there seem to be members of the CIA (who so enthusiastically welcomed President Obama), who remained ignorant (not sure how) or maybe just wanted to continue paying their mortgage. Hopefully, some were or will be working for change within.








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  • 164. At 7:13pm on 21 Apr 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    A lot of people have some delusional view of the real world. I heard one Congressman ask someone I think from the CIA about torture during testimony before a Congressional hearing. He asked the witness "would we crush the testicles of Russian children?" I thought, you fool, compared to the thousands of hydrogen bombs we have targeted at Russia what is the point of talking about crushing testicles or waterboarding? America is prepared to kill every human being on earth (so is Russia.) What possible difference could torture of a handful of individuals make one way or the other? When push comes to shove and they think they have somebody who knows something they want to know badly enough, there will be no holds barred no matter what the laws say. Hopefully, they will invent a much more effective means like some super truth serum...or revert to tried and true methods Europeans once used...like the rack. It seems to me the dunking stool Europeans and our own colonial ancestors used to tame the shrews centuries ago was not all that different from waterboarding. You can still see them in places like Saint George Bermuda down in the harbor. I'll bet more than one Bermudian would have liked to have put it to use one time or another.

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  • 165. At 7:16pm on 21 Apr 2009, bere54 wrote:

    Did former Vice President Gore go around on talk shows bashing and undermining the (then) new administration? If so, someone please tell me, because I don't remember this occurring. It seems like a breach of protocol at the very least. I know Gore hopped on the global warming issue but I think that's a whole different sort of game than the one Cheney is playing.

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  • 166. At 7:18pm on 21 Apr 2009, gr8tstsuprninja wrote:

    People have the wrong paradigms on this issue.

    The Geneva Conventions were implemented after world war II after massive numbers of non-combatant civilians had died, ie the Nanking massacre, Hitler, Stalin, etc. It is NOT a system whose primary function is to protect combatants who by nature kill each other on any other part of the battlefield. Rather, its primary function is to protect the non-combatants by using a carrot and stick method to get combatants to conduct warfare in a way that avoids their death.

    There was a reason why Reagan and every other American president since has refused to sign the Additional Protocol 1 to the Geneva Convention. The law made the protections afforded to unlawful combatants too similar to that of lawful combatants. Why would anyone be a lawful combatant when they can be an unlawful combatant and get the same rights, AND get tactical advantage?

    We can not abandon our traditional understanding of this concept when it is needed most.

    By removing the incentive system inherent in the Geneva Conventions, you have neutralized its effectiveness to protect the civilians and increased their death toll. Case in point, Iraq.

    I will add one caveat. The Law of Land warfare "unlawful combatants are subject to the extreme penalty of death because of the danger inherent in their conduct." Before the Islamic wars many of these people would been given the death penalty. It was execution after a war crimes tribunal that was the deterrent beforehand. Granted they would be treated humanely up to that point, but they would still be dead. But death is not a disincentive to the new culture we are facing, in fact, they think they are dying for what they believe in, so it has become a right of passage for them. They truly welcome it, and we lose any intelligence that they may have given us. But with torture we get the information we need, save American lives, and the detainee still lives and gets time off his sentence for cooperating. The torture method,strangely, is better for everyone involved, even in some cases as an alternative to death for the person being tortured. Should we go back to the humane execution concept? Who knows. By closing Guantanomo bay and turning them back to their host countries maybe we already have.

    It is asinine to say that a soldier can sneak up behind someone and stick a knife in his back, drop a grenade in a barracks full of sleeping soldiers, intentionally wound an enemy teammate to slow them down by using the 5.56 mm NATO bullet, use a .50 caliber sniper rifle that makes the head explode on impact, use an MK-19 that fires 300 non-precise grenades per minute, and then tell a soldier he cant slap a detainee that just spit on him and knows a plan to attack the united states, or in the case of Abu Graib, three detainees who had just gang raped another man. Thinking outside the box we have set for our selves, this is just absurd.



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  • 167. At 7:22pm on 21 Apr 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 134 MarcusAuriliusII

    "...the legacy in American culture of fighting to survive in a dangerous and lawless wilderness whether it was in the 13 colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries, the wild wild west in the 19th..."

    An excellent example of the "American culture"! A long, proud legacy of land theft, explotation of resources, biological warfare, starvation, slaughter of women and children, blood-thirsty destruction of the bison herds, forced migrations made under the most inhumane conditions, forced assimilation, poisoning of water sources, bounties on scalp-locks, violation and destruction of religious sites, an official policy of genocide...

    The list goes on and on in a most shameful manner.

    As for, wilderness; 1. An unsettled, uncultivated region left in its natural condition. So where did the European colonists get corn, potatoes, tobacco, pumpkin, and squash? From the cultivated fields of the native population that had been living on the land for a thousands of years.

    Of course, the American colonists did not concider the native people to be human. My forebearers were just animals in the eyes of the good Christian colonists that rebelled against the laws of their own nation because they found them not to their liking and unjust.

    Thank you, heap big paleface for showing us "American culture".

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  • 168. At 7:23pm on 21 Apr 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #65. Young-Mr-Grace: "Being an old softy liberal I'd probably let Dick off on the electoshock just in case the old pacemaker throws a wobbly..."

    I'm told that anywhere below the waist would have no effect on the heart - and would be equally as effective, as Sam implies.

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  • 169. At 7:45pm on 21 Apr 2009, QinGuangWang wrote:

    Dick Cheney is one of the most accomlished and caught liars in our political history, and that is saying a lot. I don't think suicide bombers fear waterboarding. Anyone who would believe anything coming from him apparently knows nothing of his past. Cheney is of the Kim Il-Jong school of public administration. He should do a speaking tour in Burma, I'm sure the rulers would welcome him as a brother, maybe Jackie Chan could warm up the crowd.

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  • 170. At 7:46pm on 21 Apr 2009, aquarizonagal wrote:

    To#145 GazGsm

    I believe that you have summed the situation quite succinctly. President Obama needs the cooperation and loyalty of the CIA. The DOJ has not actually ruled out some form of investigation and possible legal action.

    Unfortunately, the far left wants to drink the blood of Cheney and his ilk, while the far right plans to defend their own stance regarding war and torture, to the death. A duel with tea bags, no less.

    Torture must be condemned and called what it is no matter what euphemisms some may try to apply. What must not be forgotten is the political games being played out here. I believe President Obama may prove himself to be a chess master. However, it is very early days so we will see.

    Let Cheney hang, choke(?) himself with the words from his own big mouth.

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  • 171. At 7:59pm on 21 Apr 2009, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Re 140

    Thanks although I don't remember JFK, I remember learning about the bay of pigs. That was a disaster. I'm glad he's reversed his decision. At least on the people who wrote the memo's.

    Torture has no place in our society. It has only cause our Nation more grief. What scares me is that El-Rushbo, Glen Beck, Bill-O, and the rest of the Republican Leadership Council, excuse me I mean Fixed News, oops I mean Fox News, don't have a problem with Torture. Not only do they not think torture is wrong, but they express outrage over the Presidents decision to discontinue Torture. They're even attacking him from his decision for releasing the memos. I really am beginning to wonder about the Republicans. I really am beginning to wonder if they actually believe in concepts like Democracy. The Republican Party in this country has been slowly losing is grip on reality since 1968. They have no program to get us out of this econominc mess other than "Tax Cuts" wwhich doesn't do anyone any good if they don't have a job. There Idea of Foriegn Policy is Shoot first ask questions later. They still kling to the notion that the doctrine of Ronald Reagan actually worked against terrorist when it was obvious that it created more terrorist. The GOP better watch out or they will find themselves with out a constituency. I can now easily predict that there will be a time when a third party replaces the republican party as the 2nd party in our two party system.

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  • 172. At 8:02pm on 21 Apr 2009, FBZ2009 wrote:

    I am against torture but unfortunately it does work and the likes of waterboarding can be a necessary tool. You must remember that the people people we know of who have been exposed to waterboarding are not like most of us...these are people who have been conditioned to die for the belief they can make things better in their native country via terror in the Western world. There's no sense to this rational, it's to no avail and they would be better of directing efforts for change at home.

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  • 173. At 8:02pm on 21 Apr 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    164, MAII, everyone knows that alcohol is the ultimate truth serum.

    All we have to do is have our friends the Brits set up some decent
    breweries in the Middle East making bitters, and we will have won.

    Come to think of it, why didn't they do that when they had the chance?
    Or, for that matter, set up some decent breweries here?

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  • 174. At 8:12pm on 21 Apr 2009, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    157 and others

    Prosecutions would be politically motivated. No former President or Vice President in US history, with the exception of Vice President Aaron Burr who was accused of treason and murder, has been prosecuted for the actions they committed while in office, even Nixon was pardoned before a case could be brought against him.

    People, yall need to be reasonable and realize that prosecuting the former administration would be dangerously destabilizing to American civil society and absolutely consume Pres. Obamas time and effort. For better or for worse he is making the same decision that Gerald Ford made, and it is the right one.

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  • 175. At 8:52pm on 21 Apr 2009, bere54 wrote:

    174 -

    I guess the difference here is that Aaron Burr killed another American, whereas, if you don't count the dead American soldiers, those killed by the illegal policies of the previous administration were all "furriners," as it's pronounced down your way. Dark-hued ones at that. Other countries seem to be able to hold former leaders accountable for their actions while in office (Fujimora comes to mind). But then the U.S. is exceptional. I forgot about that.

    Bienvenue, I suggest you practice being a little less condescending.

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  • 176. At 9:13pm on 21 Apr 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #134

    Marcus,

    Congrats on finding the cut and paste function, your internet skills are coming along.

    So if we follow your posts, you believe torture is OK because it isn't cruel and unusual on the one hand, but someone who has not done anything isn't protected by the fourth amendment because you say so? And even if they were the constitution would be suspended in order to protect the constitution? I'd love to see that one in court.

    Here's the bummer for those who want to torture. Do it inside the US the constitution kicks in. Outside and it's the Geneva convention. Either way the victim is covered. Either way the torturer can be bought to justice, no matter how long it takes. There is no debate about this.

    The more subtle arguement would be whether a method is torture and can it be used. This is the tack Cheney is using. But he's more subtle than you.

    American Sam

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  • 177. At 9:14pm on 21 Apr 2009, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Re 172

    Torture does Not work. Infact, Using these "techniques" has not produced one shred of credible evidence or one usefull lead.

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  • 178. At 9:18pm on 21 Apr 2009, Young-Mr-Grace wrote:

    Posts 106, and 168
    Sam and David, obviously I was being too soft. Electoshock it is for Dick as long it is applied to toes or anywhere else below the waste begining with T.

    You're all doing very well !!

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  • 179. At 9:38pm on 21 Apr 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    SonOfSamTyler1969

    I wish your reading skills were up to my copy and paste skills.

    "So if we follow your posts, you believe torture is OK because it isn't cruel and unusual"

    No, that's not what I said, I said it's OK because it isn't punishment, it's interrogation. If an when it's my life that hangs in the balance, I certainly hope those interrogating the terrorists have my point of view, not yours. Yes there are innocent people injured or killed in a war. That's what this is a war, not a police action against a small band of criminals out to make money. The only real rule of war is that there are no rules. As for Geneva along with the criminals who run Zurich, the world would be a better place without them.

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  • 180. At 9:46pm on 21 Apr 2009, Dave_n_Derbyshire wrote:

    Torture works. Yep, that's how over centuries we got all sorts of folks to confess to things they couldn't possibly have done. Even recent history has examples of Irish folks (birmingham & Guilford) confessing to planting bombs they didn't, image what more they could have confessed to with waterboarding

    Next if terrorism justfies torture presumably Dick and Co would have no beef with the Brits doing the same to say Irish terrorist and a bit of extra-ordinary rendition of any overseas supporters would be ok too?
    Given these are white people, have links to voting blocks and may even be Americans I suspect Dick would have clarrify his stance on this.

    Torture is wrong. Centuries of effort shows you get people confessing to things they didn't do and it is only done to those without power by those with power...those with power don't agree if you torture their citizens.

    I don't believe myself but this is one occasion when you have to hope there is a god and a hell where Dick and friends get to ponder over an eternity the rights of torture.

    I believe Sean Hannity is safe however as I hear even the devil has standards :-)

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  • 181. At 9:48pm on 21 Apr 2009, Parrisia wrote:

    Seriously, are we to belive that Khalid Sheikh Mohammad's confession of being the "mastermind" of the 9/11 attacks as credible? The man has been subjected to WB 183 (!) times. His kangaroo trial must stop now

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  • 182. At 9:52pm on 21 Apr 2009, Pass Torian wrote:

    177 and 178

    I could not pass your exchange without adding my three pennies.

    Electroshocks for Dick? Under the nails? He would call his own country the worst Evil Empire in existence after one such treatment. Imagine what 183 water boardening sessions would extract from him. After mere few sessions he would gladly admit to raping a three year old in Wyoming. Few more sessions and he would admit to being an admirer of Osama and Taliban follower. Our courts would have no problem in sentencing Dick to several lifetimes in prison based on self incrimination.
    The real problem with Dick is that his imagination evaporated with age.

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  • 183. At 9:58pm on 21 Apr 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    The debate about torture, in my opinion, should not be focused on whether or not that is an effective method to extract information from a SUSPECT, and it definitely should have nothing to do with what terrorists do. We are not terrorists and, therefore, we should not compare our country with gangs of thugs. We are either a nation of laws, a bastion of democracy, and supporters of freedom and human rights or we are no better than our enemies.

    The day we abandoned our most cherished values and embraced tactics worthy of totalitarian regimes and criminal elements we handed Al Qaeda a victory they did not expect and, definitely, did not deserve.

    Trying to justify torture, and invading countries to open up fronts overseas so that we don't have to fight our enemies here are manifestations of cowardly behavior unworthy of a nation that has made so many sacrifices throughout its history to uphold the ideals, freedom, and human rights that made us leaders of the free world.

    Shame on the Bush Administration for transforming what was once a proud nation into one that is now perceived by the world community as a pariah that imprisons suspects indefinitely without evidence of wrongdoing, tortures suspects, and refuses to ignores the terms of the Geneva Convention for the sake of expediency and political gain.

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  • 184. At 10:07pm on 21 Apr 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #179

    LOL Marcus,

    Even better. Given your pro Al Qaeda policies you should be top of the list for interrogation. Call us when you get back.

    Amused Sam

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  • 185. At 10:14pm on 21 Apr 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    What Cheney has requested is that the documents show the harsher intergation method helped save live.
    The administration only released what made the previous administration looked bad.

    Cheney has been talking too much on TV, but the disgraceful way Obama has continued to blame Bush and not terrorists, Chavez and other war criminals is disgraceful

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  • 186. At 10:21pm on 21 Apr 2009, rodidog wrote:

    I just read this article and thought it would add some perspective and additional information to this discussion.

    For some reason I seem unable to provide actual links on this BBC blog. I notice other's have no problem, so maybe someone would be good enough to explain.

    It would also be nice if Justin could corroborate or refute the information in the full article.

    (excerpts from article)

    CNSNews.com
    CIA Confirms: Waterboarding 9/11 Mastermind Led to Info that Aborted 9/11-Style Attack on Los Angeles
    Tuesday, April 21, 2009
    By Terence P. Jeffrey, Editor-in-Chief

    Khalid Sheik Mohammad, a top al Qaeda leader who divulged information -- after being waterboarded -- that allowed the U.S. government to stop a planned terrorist attack on Los Angeles. (CNSNews.com) - The Central Intelligence Agency told CNSNews.com today that it stands by the assertion made in a May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that the use of “enhanced techniques” of interrogation on al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) -- including the use of waterboarding -- caused KSM to reveal information that allowed the U.S. government to thwart a planned attack on Los Angeles.

    Before he was waterboarded, when KSM was asked about planned attacks on the United States, he ominously told his CIA interrogators, “Soon, you will know.”

    According to the previously classified May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that was released by President Barack Obama last week, the thwarted attack -- which KSM called the “Second Wave”-- planned “ ‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles.”

    The quotations in this part of the Justice memo were taken from an Aug. 2, 2004 letter that CIA Acting General Counsel John A. Rizzo sent to the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

    Before they were subjected to “enhanced techniques” of interrogation that included waterboarding, KSM and Zubaydah were not only uncooperative but also appeared contemptuous of the will of the American people to defend themselves.

    “In particular, the CIA believes that it would have been unable to obtain critical information from numerous detainees, including KSM and Abu Zubaydah, without these enhanced techniques,” says the Justice Department memo. “Both KSM and Zubaydah had ‘expressed their belief that the general US population was ‘weak,’ lacked resilience, and would be unable to ‘do what was necessary’ to prevent the terrorists from succeeding in their goals.’ Indeed, before the CIA used enhanced techniques in its interrogation of KSM, KSM resisted giving any answers to questions about future attacks, simply noting, ‘Soon you will know.’”

    After he was subjected to the “waterboard” technique, KSM became cooperative, providing intelligence that led to the capture of key al Qaeda allies and, eventually, the closing down of an East Asian terrorist cell that had been tasked with carrying out the 9/11-style attack on Los Angeles.

    The May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that details what happened in this regard was written by then-Principal Deputy Attorney General Steven G. Bradbury to John A. Rizzo, the senior deputy general counsel for the CIA.

    “You have informed us that the interrogation of KSM—once enhanced techniques were employed—led to the discovery of a KSM plot, the ‘Second Wave,’ ‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles,” says the memo.

    “You have informed us that information obtained from KSM also led to the capture of Riduan bin Isomuddin, better known as Hambali, and the discover of the Guraba Cell, a 17-member Jemaah Islamiyah cell tasked with executing the ‘Second Wave,’” reads the memo. “More specifically, we understand that KSM admitted that he had [redaction] large sum of money to an al Qaeda associate [redaction] … Khan subsequently identified the associate (Zubair), who was then captured. Zubair, in turn, provided information that led to the arrest of Hambali. The information acquired from these captures allowed CIA interrogators to pose more specific questions to KSM, which led the CIA to Hambali’s brother, al Hadi. Using information obtained from multiple sources, al-Hadi was captured, and he subsequently identified the Garuba cell. With the aid of this additional information, interrogations of Hambali confirmed much of what was learned from KSM.”

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  • 187. At 10:51pm on 21 Apr 2009, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Re #182

    What you have to keep in mind is that Cheney and a lot of Bush Higher ups worked in the Nixon Administration. As we all know the Nixon Administration's record when it came to human rights and honoring their oath to "Preserve, Protect and Defend the Constitution of the United States." Cheney is a former Nixon Guy, and I doubt very seriously he ever really considered the meaning of the oathes of office that he took over the years.

    I agree with 180 when he says that Bush and Company are going to be spending an eternity in the eighth level of hell next to Judas, Brutus, Kaifus, Sadam, Mussolini, and Hitler. That is the special place the devil has reserved for the most heinous of evil doers. I think he'll find a place for Sean Hannity though, even if it is an eternity of listening to listening to Britney Spears.

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  • 188. At 10:55pm on 21 Apr 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    To GPBritus, ROBL52US, MarcusAurellius, HubertGrove, Jerry98017 et al.

    If torture is so effective and necessary for national interests as you claim, then why not extend its use?

    When a crime occurs in an area you frequent and the perpetrator was seen driving a car the same colour as yours, why shouldn't the investigating authorities pick you up and when you deny involvement, subject you to some torture just to make sure? After all, it's in the national interests that crime is cleaned up. And torture is effective as you say - and quicker than wasting a lot of Police time checking out your story.

    And why not allow the Tax/IRS to use torture - perhaps on a random basis - just to make sure people have declared all their income? It's in the national interest to make sure people pay their taxes. Pulling in say - 1 in 50 for a little water-boarding might lead to an increase in tax revenues.

    Perhaps you'd like to lobby the politicians. Let us know how you get on.

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  • 189. At 11:24pm on 21 Apr 2009, rustydiamond wrote:

    To me, the declassification of CIA memos, premature to their normal release, cries out as easily the most foolish thing President Obama has done since he took office. That leads me to suspect that he followed the advice and urging of one or more politically motivated advisors without giving such an action the serious, thorough consideration it deserved. Now, he has put himself in the position of having to defend the agency he has submitted prosecutorial evidence against. You don’t think he’ll have to defend the CIA? Wait and see. This strikes me as the type of thing Vice President Biden would blunder into.
    I am against torture, myself. But I think there are wise, and there are foolish ways to handle the subject nationally and internationally. Though I’m against torture, I have no evidential reason to believe that there is any nation on the face of this earth that wouldn’t engage in water boarding or any other equally effective method of interrogation of high profile prisoners during times of combat. I believe that when most humans are faced with a choice between two evils, they will choose the lesser of the two. If you could save the lives of your family and close friends by obtaining information from one of the conspirators to murder you had captured, I think your family and friends would like to think you would do whatever is necessary to save their lives, regardless of whether you were for or against torture. Which ever way you decided, I don’t think it would be wise to tell the world that you allowed your family and friends to die, rather than participate in torture, nor would it be wise to tell the world that you saved the lives of your family and friends through the use of torture. There is some private information that the world just isn’t entitled to. This would seem to be an argument that the end justifies the means. But, it isn’t. If you had merely to cross the street to save your family and friends, would that insinuate the end justifies the mean? No, it merely indicates that in real life, the end can “sometimes” easily justify the means. If it weren’t so, there would be no use for judicial systems because justice would be irrelevant.
    Transparency can be very foolish when you’re the only one being transparent. So, there is a very valid argument that the President and others that have so openly pursued the condemnation of our nations private matters, publicly and on a world stage, have done serious harm to an agency that stands between our international enemies and us. Did the world know long ago that most if not all international intelligence agencies engage in various forms of torturous interrogation? That question should be a no brainer. What can the possible motive be for beating it into the ground that The USA is guilty of the same transgressions as other countries? It only serves our enemies and the politically polarized. It’s about time people quit beating a dead horse. Just about all of the anti American propaganda and all of the political capital has been beaten out of it. I think this horse would have preferred to be water boarded. Let’s quit before the desperation to get just a little more out of this dead horse leads to more and more very foolish partisan revelations. Such things can’t be paraded in front of Americans without parading it in front of the world. This is not the way to the moral high ground. It’s the road to moral hypocrisy and vulnerability in our national security. Let whoever wants to investigate, investigate. But do so in a secure forum that keeps our national security issues “secure.” Congress has that capability, if they can just get over their bipartisanism, and they have that obligation to the security of America.

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  • 190. At 11:24pm on 21 Apr 2009, rodidog wrote:

    #186 My comment has been referred to the moderators????

    All I did was post excerpts from an article giving alleged details to the intelligence learned from waterboarding, which supposedly prevented an 9/11 type attack on LA.

    Information obtained from KSM led to the capture of Riduan bin Isomuddin, better known as Hambali, and the discovery of the Guraba Cell, a 17-member Jemaah Islamiyah cell tasked with executing the ‘Second Wave’. The information acquired allowed CIA interrogators to pose more specific questions to KSM, which led the CIA to Hambali’s brother, al Hadi. Using information obtained from multiple sources, al-Hadi was captured, and he subsequently identified the Garuba cell. With the aid of this additional information, interrogations of Hambali confirmed much of what was learned from KSM.

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  • 191. At 00:06am on 22 Apr 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    The play I linked earlier may have been hard to find, But it's right here, involving detention and interrogation....

    Available Means, By Nick Warburton.

    Poet David witnesses the dark underbelly of an East European city and is forced, at a lecture he gives, to choose his words particularly carefully.

    David ...... Philip Jackson
    Adam ...... Anton Lesser
    Oksana ...... Lia Williams

    Directed by Gordon House

    A Goldhawk Essential production for BBC Radio 4.

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  • 192. At 00:14am on 22 Apr 2009, Lee Roy Sanders, Jr. wrote:

    Nazi's are still being brought to justice today but only because they aren't in power. There is but one military type mind and being world wide splintered, it is set against it's self. Today those committing such crimes against humanity unthinkingly justify it. They don't see right from wrong unless it happens to them. They exist without ethics and are empowered by a sadistic monstrous authority. Our priorities should be toward conquering suffering and death, that's what killed everyone else before us. The worlds people should be running their country's government and not a military. If they did, the military would be dissolved. It isn't just or good works that spark war but criminal actions that deprive a country and their people of a equal share of the worlds wealth, freedom and justice.

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  • 193. At 00:24am on 22 Apr 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #185

    Magic,

    Who is Chavez at war with?

    Inquisitive Sam

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  • 194. At 00:38am on 22 Apr 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 190, Rod

    I would have been a lot more impressed if W had listened and acted upon all the information he received from CIA regarding an imminent attack against the USA BEFORE 9/11. Even a feeble and unsuccessful attempt to protect the homeland would have been preferable to the indifference of his reaction.

    Yes, I know, he had only been in office for 8 months and, let's face it, he is a slow learner...

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  • 195. At 02:25am on 22 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    lol StDom 194 I was just getting to a similar point.so thanks

    Not only 9/11 but all those that said " what they are going to love us and not get disgruntled if we ignore their needs after this war".

    We got money to be made shut up Dude.

    Try Cheney for treason.

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  • 196. At 04:27am on 22 Apr 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    Jon Stewart has a funny satirical segment on torture on Comedy Central.

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  • 197. At 04:40am on 22 Apr 2009, DJRUSA wrote:

    All this concern about "torture" is a joke. It is a tool for people who hate the U.S. to justify thier hatred. If it wasn't this they would come up with some other outrage to carry on about.

    To the man, the people who go on and an about torture would have left Sadam in power. Sadam put people into industrial paper shedders alive. His sons raped brides on their wedding day and hunted people for sport. Sadam cut the hands off political opponents, imagined or not. And lets not forget 400,000 found in mass graves including Kurdish women holding thier babys. If it was up to these same people who are so concered over waterboarding, these acts would still be going on. The hypocracy.

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  • 198. At 05:14am on 22 Apr 2009, rodidog wrote:

    #194 SD

    I would have been a lot more impressed if W had listened and acted upon all the information he received from CIA regarding an imminent attack against the USA BEFORE 9/11.

    I agree, every passenger meeting the right profile should have been removed from airports, indefinitely, until whenever the threat passed. Of course, connecting the dots is always easy after the fact.

    I notice you did not bother to respond to my actual post, but instead changed the subject. I'm sure the thought that actionable intelligence gained through waterboarding, that saved American lives, must be challenging for you; better to simply ignore it.




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  • 199. At 06:05am on 22 Apr 2009, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    In ref. to Bere54 #175:

    First of all, that post was not condescending in the least and presented a rational argument based on historical and modern US precedent. You, on the other hand, were condescending and dismissive to the point of stereotyping me, incorrectly I might add. If you would like to go down that road at least use the correct stereotype and save yourself the embarrassment.

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  • 200. At 08:57am on 22 Apr 2009, Mr J G Taylor wrote:

    I think that history shows that torture is not effective at getting good information. The victim will confess to just about anything. However it makes people feel good that they are doing something and if it is a chance to hurt your countries enemies as well, then its in a good cause?

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  • 201. At 09:21am on 22 Apr 2009, TrueToo wrote:

    160. Richard_SM wrote:

    Ms. Roxana Saberi, the 31 year old American-Iranian journalist charged with spying is very lucky to have been charged by Iran and not USA, where she would have been tortured and imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay without trial.

    Fortunately, some countries like Iran have higher standards than USA.


    Dark sense of humour you have there. Iran is a country which practices public judicial murder of its youth for the "crime" of having sex, lifting them up by their necks with giant industrial machinery so that they slowly strangle to death. It hangs homosexual youths in public.

    You might recall that 13 Iranian Jews were accused of spying for Israel. Here is one of the charges:

    ...planning to sow discord by both disrupting the Fars medical system and contaminating the city's water supply.

    Does this ring a bell? Jews were accused of causing the Black Death in medieval times.

    http://www.michaelrubin.org/1178/the-wests-next-test-the-verdict-of-the-thirteen-jews

    Here are some more acts of the Iranian regime:

    Since the Revolution, the government has officially executed seventeen Iranian Jews. Among them, according to State Department human rights reports, Iran hanged Jewish businessman Hidayatullah Zindehdil in 1997 for alleged espionage during the Iran-Iraq war; and in May 1998, authorities hanged another Jew, Ruhollah Kakhudehzadeh, without public charge or due process.

    I guess you've been fooled by Ahmedinejad claiming that he wants "fair treatment" for this journalist. He wouldn't recognise fair treatment if he tripped over it.

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  • 202. At 11:21am on 22 Apr 2009, Iapetus wrote:

    "I agree with 180 when he says that Bush and Company are going to be spending an eternity in the eighth level of hell next to Judas, Brutus, Kaifus, Sadam, Mussolini, and Hitler. That is the special place the devil has reserved for the most heinous of evil doers. "

    Brutus assassinated a dictator in order to stop him overthrowing a republic - what's he doing in there with those guys? (Or is he there to provide the punishment?)

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  • 203. At 1:01pm on 22 Apr 2009, british-ish wrote:

    174. At 8:12pm on 21 Apr 2009, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:157 and others

    People, yall need to be reasonable and realize that prosecuting the former administration would be dangerously destabilizing to American civil society and absolutely consume Pres. Obamas time and effort. For better or for worse he is making the same decision that Gerald Ford made, and it is the right one.

    A false argument; if, therefore, a government should encourage its agents and employees to break international laws, disregard fundamental human right agreed through treaties, or circumvent national laws (to say nothing about violating fundamental moral principles) since no-one is to be held to account for fear of making a country look bad, then it can all happen again since no-one need fear retribution? But, presumably, with some attempt to keep it a better secret?

    The 'national interest' would be better served by adherence to moral codes and values, rather than political expediency, would it not? You cannot espouse the former, then resort to the latter when things start looking bad. If the South African 'Truth and Reconciliation' process is not a suitable exemplar, then look at what Guatemala is doing about its own 'dirty war' now. It is not impossible.

    (Well, for "cannot", read "should not" in the penultimate sentence.)

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  • 204. At 1:50pm on 22 Apr 2009, Scawsby wrote:

    gunsandreligion wrote "Of course it [torture] works. Otherwise why would they do it?"
    If it worked why did Khalid Sheikh Khalid have to be waterboarded something like 186 times In ONE MONTH? It doesn't work. Everyone knows that. It's done in order to terrorize the rest of the population: "See what we can do to you?!" And, of course, it satisfies those with a lust for cruelty and those who want revenge so badly they don't care whom they take it on, or how. In other words, pathetic people who like to pull the legs off frogs and shove firecrackers up their bums, as George Bush did as a child.

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  • 205. At 1:53pm on 22 Apr 2009, bere54 wrote:

    199, Bienvenue -

    You were being condescending. I was being sarcastic. Obviously you don't understand the difference.

    "Yall need to be reasonable . . ." That's condescending. It's also smug.

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  • 206. At 2:14pm on 22 Apr 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    # 189 rustydiamond wrote

    "Though I?m against torture, I have no evidential reason to believe that there is any nation on the face of this earth that wouldn?t engage in water boarding or any other equally effective method of interrogation of high profile prisoners during times of combat"

    Well, let's see

    From 1941-45, the US was one of the Allies who were at war against the Axis powers. The latter included some of the most vile regimes known to man. [I'm thinking particularly of the Nazis and the Japanese regime.] Their goal was world domination. If they had acquired nuclear weapons before the allies they might have won the war, and/or wreaked even greater death and havoc than they did.

    So - did the US routinely waterboard or otherwise torture captured enemy soldiers?

    Or, indeed, 'high profile prisoners'?

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  • 207. At 2:17pm on 22 Apr 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Brit,

    • "(Well, for "cannot", read "should not" in the penultimate sentence.)"
    Ante-penultimate, shurely?


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  • 208. At 2:24pm on 22 Apr 2009, Richard_SM wrote:


    Ref #201 TrueToo

    As an Iranian-American, Roxana Saberi might have easily found herself swept up as a 'muslim terrorist' by USA - perhaps on her international travels, disappearing into the American network of detention camps.

    Luckily for her she's been arrested in Iran where:
    She's had a trial.
    She knows her sentence.
    She has the the opportunity of an appeal.
    The period from arrest to trial at 3 months was reasonable.
    Her arrest and sentence is known to the media.
    She's not been tortured as far as I can tell.
    She's been allowed visits from her parents.

    Luxury compared to the treatment she would have suffered at the hands of USA. It was three years before anyone knew who was in Guantanamo - their families left despairing. No trial - nor even the prospect of a trial - no charges in most cases - just the uncertainity of indeterminate detention. Locked away and subject to torture, broken bones and abuse behind closed doors.

    Given a choice, I'm sure Miss Dakota North would choose detention by Iran than suffer the American interrogation and detention.

    TrueToo, if you can't see the difference in treatment she would have received then you're unlikely to acknowledge how you've been gradually conditioned. The spin doctors can claim you as one of their successes.

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  • 209. At 2:33pm on 22 Apr 2009, RosanneinTN wrote:

    I live in the US and I want you to know that a majority of us want Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld to be on trial for crimes against humanity.

    If you even suspect us of trying to "pardon" them, many of us HOPE you will gather with other nations and FORCE us to clean house.

    The laws apply to all, or they apply to none.

    Even a superpower needs to be held accountable when they do wrong.

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  • 210. At 2:52pm on 22 Apr 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    149 Guns, 153. Marbles.

    The key to making the parties more moderate is to remove the power of hard-line special interest groups to control the nominating process.

    In the US, bi-partisan gerrymandering has reached the extreme condition that elected representatives face a statistically significantly larger danger of being removed by the grim reaper than by defeat at the ballot box.

    It is signally remarkable that after what is widely regarded as the most disastrous presidency since the Depression, and probably since Buchanan, only 20 seats changed hands in the House. In a Parliamentary system it would have been 100 - 150.

    The key is to change redistricting laws, with the explicit goal of eliminating "safe" electoral districts. Redistricting needs not only to be non-partisan, but "blind", and there needs to be a requirement for rational geographic contiguity and compactness. The legislators are unlikely to do this themselves: like Turkeys voting for Thanksgiving. In Canada it only came about because of a Supreme Court ruling in Saskatchewan.

    If there are no "safe" seats, then the parties are going to have to nominate candidates who appeal to a broader spectrum of voters than the nut case extremists who dominate party gatherings.

    Another step that would be really welcome would be a ban on closed primaries. Make all primaries open - i.e., where independents can vote. That would also go some fair distance to breaking the stranglehold of interest groups, and thereby to drag candidates back to the broad middle.

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  • 211. At 2:59pm on 22 Apr 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    193. Sam:
    Chavez is a war with spectres in his own mind.

    Biggest problem he has (aside from the huge budget hole caused by the fallen price of oil) is the removal of George Bush from office: No more bogeyman that he can use to work the crowds into a frenzy.

    He wants to be in the spotlight, but it isn't shining on him anymore. The air is leaking out of his balloon. He's last year's news. He feels like his 15 minutes are over ...

    If only that could happen to all bombastic tyrants.

    Which leads me to ...

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  • 212. At 3:01pm on 22 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    174 Not prosecuting the last administration would be dangerous. Unless you are saying that even though legally convicted the REPublicans will riot until they get what they want.


    Bush And Dick both acted in a manner for their own self interest that has endangered the world with totally predictable consequences of their actions.

    NO OTHER PRESIDENT DID QUITE SO MUCH HARM.

    No other.

    They destabilised the middle-east more than any dictator by running in like a bull.
    They decimated the defence of the country by overextending for their own PREJUDICED wars.


    I say Prejudice because they were after Saddam from Day ONE of getting into power.

    So much so they ignored 9/11 warnings and when it happened the attacked Al Q then turned immediately to starting the possibly more profitable war in Iraq.

    They forgot the Bin and went straight for the Oil.

    They destabilised america and should be on trial.
    But Half of america is so sick and twisted in their own little "christian" worlds that they would not let Justice happen. Not to a white guy.


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  • 213. At 3:07pm on 22 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    Richard SM Truly Marcus can see nothing straight.

    Has no intent. There is no honesty in his arguments as in him.

    take this
    "...planning to sow discord by both disrupting the Fars medical system and contaminating the city's water supply. "

    As oppose to just bombing the hell out of it like they did in Gaza.

    They do plan this sort of behaviour. so why not if Iranian be wary?

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  • 214. At 3:13pm on 22 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    prosecuting the former administration would be dangerously destabilizing to American civil society


    Republicans holding the country to ransom again eh.
    Our way or the highway.
    We'll start a war if you don't agree?

    How would seeking Justice (they tried to get Bill for years cause of a BJ) of two of the most deceitful greedy self interested people in American History be a bad thing for Justice or AMerica.
    Not you republicans that will riot if they go on trial because Lord Rush cannot be wrong.

    But for America.
    Not the dems
    But AMERICA> Remember that place.

    Seems you americans are the last to recognise it.

    Too close to the woods.


    80,000 people in jail for having a puff in the US, but no more room for the two biggest war criminals in American history(context of times into account).

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  • 215. At 3:14pm on 22 Apr 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    To all:

    The issue about torture (please, enough of this euphemistic "harsh interrogation methods" claptrap) is what ot does to the torturer, institutionally, not to the torturees (which is not to belittle that, either).

    Three points:

    First, intelligence obtained by torture is notoriously unreliable. People being tortured will say almost anything to make it stop. That is one of the reasons why we do not admit evidence obtained by coercion.

    Second, the test of what is an acceptable method is not whether we regard it as appropriate treatment of the guilty - those we pejoritively and pre-emptively classify as terrorist suspects even before the interrogation begins. Rather, the test is what measures we would be prepared to inflict on someone who is entirely innocent. The acid test can be summed up in the question: If this person were shown subsequently to be entirely innocent, would we be embarrassed to admit in open court to the measures we have taken?

    I applaud President Obama's decision to release the memos. That was courageous. (What do you mean courageous, Sir Humphrey?) If a democracy is embarrassed to admit what it did, then there is something wrong. The first step to fixing it is to expose it to the light of day. The second step is to take responsibility for it (i.e., no more denial).

    Third, there are other ways of obtaining information, and much more trustworthy information. During the war there were, comparatively, lots of people willing to spy for the allies against the Nazis. Their evil was manifest. Compare that with the future for which the Allies believed themselves to be fighting.

    In that regtard, compare the ham-handed propaganda of the Nazis or the Soviet Union with the rather more subtle, and vastle more effective Allied efforts. It's the difference between "Lord Haw Haw" and the film Casablanca, the greatest propaganda film of all time.

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  • 216. At 3:18pm on 22 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    To all those that say " but what about those that are saved by the information gained in torture.
    it makes the world a safer place."


    I would say that there is a paradox for us peaceful people that care about life.

    We could easily argue that anyone who is as violent as you guys or as callouse should be rounded up and killed.
    then we would have a peaceful world.
    Now I would say that is going to far but would achieve results.
    Just as water boarding.

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  • 217. At 3:24pm on 22 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    Dave in Derbyshire .
    well said.
    we could take lets say take half of boston as they visit hte UK on hols and torture them until we find out if they gave a couple of dollars to noraid.


    After most of boston has been processed I am sure a Little bit more info will l be found.

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  • 218. At 4:14pm on 22 Apr 2009, rustydiamond wrote:

    Ref #206


    I believe your statement is correct. As to your question, 65 years ago Americans, in general, were more patriotic than they are in current times. It was not nearly as common for people with access to classified information to leak it to the press, nor was it as common for the press to seek out classified information. Even Brittan is experiencing serious embarrassments because even the slightest exposure of classified documents will certainly end up in the press. Not that the exposure shouldn’t be revealed, but to reveal the content would have been considered treasonous 65 years ago. If the scenario you presented were applied to 2009, I would likely know exactly what forms of interrogation were being used. 65 years ago, classified information was more highly respected as “secret”, which is the intent of classification. There is much that was classified during that period, and I’m confident that not all has been revealed even to this day. So, I don’t even expect to know the answer to your question. I was just giving world governments the benefit of the doubt, that some would only do so with high profile prisoners. I’m sure there are some that would do it to any prisoner with or without reason to believe that person had information vital to national defense, but certainly not all governments.

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  • 219. At 4:16pm on 22 Apr 2009, wright31027 wrote:

    Jesus was crucified to save mankind! Terrorist goes through simulated drowning to save a few thousand..

    If you ask me.. I would rather be waterboarded than nailed to a cross..


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  • 220. At 5:28pm on 22 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    219 wrong 31027

    Jesus supposedly got on the cross for others benefit.

    Will you be water boarded for the benefit of the terrorists?
    I suspect Jesus would have.

    Don't bring him into it if you are not willing to listen to him.

    I'm saying that as a non believer.

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  • 221. At 6:38pm on 22 Apr 2009, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    205 Bere54 on #175:
    I respectfully disagree; your first sentence and its joining phrase were condescending, your second and its joining phrases were sarcastic. Lets end this nonsense about sentence structure and semantics and get on with our lives.


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  • 222. At 7:04pm on 22 Apr 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    BEL (#221), I don't find your post #174 condescending, but think it could use a couple of apostrophes.

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  • 223. At 7:08pm on 22 Apr 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    174, bienvenue.
    "People, yall need to be reasonable and realize that prosecuting the former administration would be dangerously destabilizing to American civil society and absolutely consume Pres. Obamas time and effort. For better or for worse he is making the same decision that Gerald Ford made, and it is the right one."

    Although I would love to see Bush II and his buddies walk the plank, I have to agree with you that it would not be wise. Not only would it embroil Obama in a spate of hateful Republican abuse (more so than now), it would also divert him from his goal of stabilizing the economy.

    One blogger said you have "furriners" down there. Do they bite?

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  • 224. At 7:19pm on 22 Apr 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    205, bere.

    Why are so down on beinvenue? He was neither condescending nor smug, as you believe, but gave a reasoned opinion. He was thinking of the political and social aftershock of prosecuting the Bush II band of despots. I hate that group as much as you do, but we we have to consider the consequences of taking legal action.

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  • 225. At 7:43pm on 22 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    the point about prosecuting them is it should be driven by the RIGHT. Not Obama and the left.
    IF the republican party had any balls they would be trying to get them prosecuted.
    They were lied to. I didn't believe much out of the last admins mouths.

    Those republicans that were lied to about the war et AL should be screaming for the Bush Cheney trial.

    If they love the guys they would be proving they were not guilty. if not we will have the culprits in Jail.

    Come on Republicans Hang these guys out claim your party back and lets get going.

    Or we could all just accept they are guilty as hell and stop having to argue with people who try to defend them.


    Your choice republicans, without that trial your hero will be seen as a War criminal and traitor by many .

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  • 226. At 7:43pm on 22 Apr 2009, rustydiamond wrote:

    Mr Webb

    I thank you for cutting through the prejudice and bias (muck) to focus on and explore the real issues.

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  • 227. At 7:55pm on 22 Apr 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    219, wright.
    "Jesus was crucified to save mankind! Terrorist goes through simulated drowning to save a few thousand.."

    Dare I point out that the crucification didn't work either?

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  • 228. At 8:14pm on 22 Apr 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    bere.

    You take things personally. If you have an opinion that someone disagrees with, you often react as though you were being dissed. You become offended, or your feelings get hurt. Or someone has not recognized your sensitivity. This blog is not about you - or me, or Ed, or Jack, or beinvenue, or Simon, or Sam, or saintD, or anyone else. It is about discussion of the offered topic. Disagreement is its heart and soul. And sometimes, though discussion, we may rethink our stance.

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  • 229. At 8:35pm on 22 Apr 2009, Wingman156 wrote:

    Interesting that so many have opined that the "torture" was ineffective. How do you know? While I might wish to take the moral high ground and agree that torture is a terrible thing in general, if it were my family at risk, the described techniques wouldn't even be close to what steps I would take. It's sort of the same as the US isn't a Christian country - yet when a catastrophe happens...where is the first place people turn? Prayer or secular solutions?

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  • 230. At 9:53pm on 22 Apr 2009, divadlo wrote:

    Any kind of torture is barbaric and is one more step in dropping healthy human principles that have served previous generations well in many respects. For any nation that continually promotes itself as the 'leader of the free world and democratic principles' to suggest one form of torture may be acceptable is hypocrisy on a grand scale. And a very large and dangerous step onto a slippery slope of human values.

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  • 231. At 9:53pm on 22 Apr 2009, TrueToo wrote:

    208. Richard_SM,

    You choose to ignore the numerous examples I have given of Iran's treatment of suspected spies and other innocents. I'm pretty sure you didn't bother to read my link. There's a lot more evidence there of the evidently trumped-up charges and other despicable actions of the Iranian regime. Note also that they put people to death for allegedly spying. When was the last time that happened in the US? The Rosenbergs?

    Luxury compared to the treatment she would have suffered at the hands of USA.

    You have no way of knowing this. You are speculating. And Guantanemo, as far as I know, houses suspected terrorists, not suspected spies.

    I look at this world with my eyes open and come to my own conclusions. Nobody has "gradually conditioned" me. You, on the other hand, seem to have offered no resistance at all to your conditioning by the enemies of the West.

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  • 232. At 10:28pm on 22 Apr 2009, toughdirtyjoe wrote:

    Why are people standing for a bunch murdering terrorists? Stand up for the people that had to jump out of the World Trade Center on 9/11 Stand up for Daniel Pearl who was beheaded by sick terrorists.
    Waterboarding is too nice for these nuts. I wish it could go further.
    if a person wants to blow up a building with other humans then they should have no rights. Has the world gone insane?

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  • 233. At 10:54pm on 22 Apr 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    toughdirtyjoe and #232.

    No the world has not gone insane: At least, not so long as it steers well clear of your brand of 'justice'!

    Try these little phrases: 'Innocent until proven guilty' ; 'Trial by Jury' ; 'Beyond a reasonable doubt' ; 'On the balance of evidence' ; 'No arrest/detention without a warrant'; 'Right to legal representation'.

    You know all those little words that go towards the Constitution of the USA and pretty much are the basis of the Criminal Justice system in every CIVILISED nation.

    And finally, 'toughdirtyjoe', supposing it's you in the wrong place at the wrong time and you get shoved into a cell and they start on you... just how 'tough', 'dirty' and 'joey' are you gonna be while they ignore everyone of your rights?

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  • 234. At 11:26pm on 22 Apr 2009, bere54 wrote:

    224 -

    Sorry, but stating that all those who have made well-reasoned arguments are not reasonable is not reasoned opinion. Some of these people have discussed the possible after-effects of a prosecution, but to Bienvenue they are all unreasonable because they still believe in the law. Only he has the truth and the way, so to speak.

    228 -

    Wow. I've said it before and I'll say it again: you jump to some really weird conclusions and make some really weird assumptions. One thing you don't do is take a good look in the mirror.

    The interesting thing is, I have made a couple of comments on this thread but I have not expressed a particular opinion, until I reacted to the way Bienvenue was treating the opinions of others. You really ought to go back and look at some of your responses on many threads to people who have disagreed with you. It's not pretty.

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  • 235. At 11:58pm on 22 Apr 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 231, TrueToo

    "You choose to ignore the numerous examples I have given of Iran's treatment of suspected spies and other innocents."

    Are you insinuating the American journalist/author imprisoned in Iran on charges of espionage is being subjected to waterboarding?

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  • 236. At 00:12am on 23 Apr 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    232. Joe

    We do not test our procedures by how we treat the guilty. We test them by whether they would be acceptable if the person turned out to be innocent. You have assumed that everybody who is accused of wrongdoing is guilty, without trial.

    If that is how you would have us think and behave, then we would be on the road to being just as evil as those you profess to abhor?

    That can't be the solution, can it?
    We can't go down that path.

    The defence of a democracy takes moral strength, courage, and education. There is an excellent book by Joseph Conrad called "The Secret Agent". It was written a long time ago. It is a brilliant condemnation of the one dimensional thinking and self-justification of extremist thinking, and the moral bankruptcy and hypocrisy that lies at its core.

    Have you ever read it? Give it a try if you haven't.

    And, just generally, you could do worse than to read works written by Bora Laskin, Martin Friedland, or Robert Sharpe.

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  • 237. At 01:01am on 23 Apr 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    234, bere.
    "Some of these people have discussed the possible after-effects of a prosecution, but to Bienvenue they are all unreasonable because they still believe in the law. Only he has the truth and the way, so to speak."

    Common sense or vision can trump law. It would be nice to hang these guys by their-you-know-whats, but we have enough trouble right now without creating another brouhaha. You may at this point bring up the Nazi war crimes trials. This is not the same situation. The Nazis lost and were fair game. We have not lost. Jaded? Yes. Realistic? Yes.

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  • 238. At 01:28am on 23 Apr 2009, british-ish wrote:

    206. At 2:14pm on 22 Apr 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    "Well, let's see

    From 1941-45, the US was one of the Allies who were at war against the Axis powers. The latter included some of the most vile regimes known to man. [I'm thinking particularly of the Nazis and the Japanese regime.] Their goal was world domination. If they had acquired nuclear weapons before the allies they might have won the war, and/or wreaked even greater death and havoc than they did.

    So - did the US routinely waterboard or otherwise torture captured enemy soldiers?

    Or, indeed, 'high profile prisoners'?"

    You might be interested in what happened in the US-run prison camp (not the bridge) at Nijmegen at the end of the war.

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  • 239. At 01:30am on 23 Apr 2009, british-ish wrote:

    207. At 2:17pm on 22 Apr 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Brit,
    "(Well, for "cannot", read "should not" in the penultimate sentence.)"
    Ante-penultimate, shurely?

    Another bloody Latin scholar. Thought Happy was bad enough.

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  • 240. At 03:34am on 23 Apr 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 241. At 03:43am on 23 Apr 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #239

    Well, 240 said, in Latin:
    Ish, greetings!

    Look, Romans! Look Cornelia! Cornelia is a small girl.

    Fare well!

    Roman Sam


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  • 242. At 04:02am on 23 Apr 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    241, Sam.

    You mean we can say "ave"?

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  • 243. At 04:30am on 23 Apr 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #242

    Marby,

    Si

    Hispanic Sam

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  • 244. At 08:49am on 23 Apr 2009, TrueToo wrote:

    235. saintDominick,

    I'm not "insinuating" anything, just presenting facts. I suppose you don't know about the Iranian-Canadian journalist who died in an Iranian prison after her brutal rape and torture:

    The case stayed under the radar screens of most Canadians until March 31, 2005, and the stunning revelations of Shahram Azam, a former staff physician in Iran's Defence Ministry. He said he examined Kazemi in hospital, four days after her arrest.

    Azam said Kazemi showed obvious signs of torture, including:

    * Evidence of a very brutal rape.
    * A skull fracture, two broken fingers, missing fingernails, a crushed big toe and a broken nose.
    * Severe abdominal bruising, swelling behind the head and a bruised shoulder.
    * Deep scratches on the neck and evidence of flogging on the legs.


    The Iranians refused her timely medical treatment, ensuring her death. And they refused to release the body to her son in Canada, obviously because then the torture would have been revealed:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/kazemi/

    But do go on about "waterboarding."

    Now here we have a very similar case of a women with dual nationality, also a journalist accused of spying for the infidel West and you and Richard SM are trying to claim that her prospects are better in Iran than they would be in the West.

    Well, I guess since the eyes of the world are focused on Iran right now, she may have a chance since the Iranian regime might want to create the impression that it is civilised. But based on Iran's recent treatment of such prisoners, family and friends of this journalist have cause to be very worried indeed.


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  • 245. At 11:41am on 23 Apr 2009, british-ish wrote:

    241. At 03:43am on 23 Apr 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #239

    Well, 240 said, in Latin:
    Ish, greetings!

    Hmm. Must be the timing. The overnight mod shift. Or maybe they just think we're up to something.

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  • 246. At 12:34pm on 23 Apr 2009, Star_Trekker wrote:

    The real debate should be over whether the end justifies the means. Dick Cheney has answered that question, if he indeed ever asked it.

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  • 247. At 12:35pm on 23 Apr 2009, MultiFacetedView wrote:

    The moment we no longer question is this right, is the moment it has become wrong.

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  • 248. At 12:54pm on 23 Apr 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    # 238 british-ish wrote: [to me]

    "You might be interested in what happened in the US-run prison camp (not the bridge) at Nijmegen at the end of the war."

    I might be.

    If I knew what you were talking about!

    I did a quick Google and Wiki on Nijmegen, and saw nothing of relevance.

    So if you think this is of interest, perhaps a link?

    Whatever it is, I have no doubt the allies didn't behave perfectly in WW2 - to put it mildly. Invading armies rarely do. I also reiterate - I've seen no evidence that the US had a policy of routine mistreatment of captured enemy combatants. [If only out of fear of what would happen to their own POWs.]



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  • 249. At 1:52pm on 23 Apr 2009, morality-on-loan wrote:

    OK emotions aside, "Is it ever justified"? What comes to mind is "Fire Ants". What purpose do they serve other than to sting. So what do with them? We poison them and if you saw them dying, they roll around in pain for a long time and we don't care or at least I don't because I've been stung may times. Does that make me inhumane or a terrorist? My point is that, there are some of "God's Creatures" (use your own vernacular) that are not compatible. The only reason I wouldn't waterboard an ant is not because of compromising my values but because there is nothing to gain. My next point is there are "bad people" that I hold in no more regard than "Fire Ants". Now if there is a possibility that there is useful information to be gained from one of these "bad people" I say yes it's justified. Now who defines "bad people". The people we elect. So be very careful of who we elect because there is equal danger in being "trigger happy" or "gun shy".

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  • 250. At 1:59pm on 23 Apr 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    15. Livinginlalaland wrote:
    "I have a huge ethical dilemma with this , I'm opposed to the use of torture. BUT when the people you are opposed to have no such qualms and in fact have a set of ethical/personal/religous beliefs that see your ethics as a weakness then how do you deal with it - I've tried the attitude that says take the moral high ground only to watch people who are completely innocent be murdered - Is it worth the life of an innocent child to keep to my ethics ?????????. Is it worth the life of sixty londoners or thousands in the world trade centre ?????????. "


    Mmmmm Yes. Let me think...... can we add the lives of countless innocent Iraqi civilians who have died since the USA and UK invaded their country.

    You seem to equate all muslims with the terrorists. Should we equate all catholics with the IRA.
    Your argument stinks, as do your ethics.

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  • 251. At 2:17pm on 23 Apr 2009, monkeywoods wrote:

    Waterboarding isn't so bad. Ask Ronnie Biggs:

    http://www.thespoof.com/news/spoof.cfm?headline=s1i51813

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  • 252. At 2:17pm on 23 Apr 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    232. toughdirtyjoe wrote:
    "Why are people standing for a bunch murdering terrorists? Stand up for the people that had to jump out of the World Trade Center on 9/11 Stand up for Daniel Pearl who was beheaded by sick terrorists."

    No one is standing up for terrorists. They are worried about becoming as bad as the terrorists in the quest for the elusive dream of "security". I think there are certain things that civilised societies should not do, in any circumstances.

    _________________________________________

    "if a person wants to blow up a building with other humans then they should have no rights. Has the world gone insane?"

    Does this apply to the military bombing civilian targets in Iraq? I think you have gone insane.

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  • 253. At 2:37pm on 23 Apr 2009, monkeywoods wrote:

    I think everyone has gone insane, especially me.

    The only people who I can think of who are benefitting from all this turmoil, is the BNP, who are able, quite easily, to stir up racial tensions whenever it suits them.

    Waterboarding, as a form of torture, is probably the same as any other kind of torture - to the person being tortured.

    No better, no worse.

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  • 254. At 3:23pm on 23 Apr 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    244. At 08:49am on 23 Apr 2009, TrueToo wrote:
    235. saintDominick,

    I'm not "insinuating" anything, just presenting facts. I suppose you don't know about the Iranian-Canadian journalist who died in an Iranian prison after her brutal rape and torture:

    The case stayed under the radar screens of most Canadians until March 31, 2005, and the stunning revelations of Shahram Azam, a former staff physician in Iran's Defence Ministry. He said he examined Kazemi in hospital, four days after her arrest.

    Azam said Kazemi showed obvious signs of torture, including:

    * Evidence of a very brutal rape.
    * A skull fracture, two broken fingers, missing fingernails, a crushed big toe and a broken nose.
    * Severe abdominal bruising, swelling behind the head and a bruised shoulder.
    * Deep scratches on the neck and evidence of flogging on the legs.

    The Iranians refused her timely medical treatment, ensuring her death. And they refused to release the body to her son in Canada, obviously because then the torture would have been revealed:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/kazemi/ "



    None of this is evidence sorry. One person's word no coroborating evidence. She could well have been mistreated but Mr Azam is not God and cannot be beleived unquestiongly.


    So citing this single case proves little of nothing, other than the Iranian legal system is not the best, and since it retains the death penalty, we all knew that.


    Sadly the US and Israel think it has value.


    "Now here we have a very similar case of a women with dual nationality, also a journalist accused of spying for the infidel West and you and Richard SM are trying to claim that her prospects are better in Iran than they would be in the West.

    Well, I guess since the eyes of the world are focused on Iran right now, she may have a chance since the Iranian regime might want to create the impression that it is civilised. But based on Iran's recent treatment of such prisoners, family and friends of this journalist have cause to be very worried indeed."


    Of course they are.

    And if you want to know how ti feels to be locked away tortured and denied access to your family just read any of the accounts of Guantanamo or the abuse of Abu Ghraib.

    And of course this woman had a trial. Thouisands of women tortured and held hostage in Israal don't even have that decency


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  • 255. At 3:44pm on 23 Apr 2009, rustydiamond wrote:

    #249
    I think your vindictiveness towards fire ants distorts the concept a little bit. But, other than that, I think you are very close to the truth.

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  • 256. At 4:12pm on 23 Apr 2009, edtillton wrote:

    I guess we just wasted a lot of time at Nuremberg. A lot of Germans and Japanese who were "Only Following Orders" went to the gallows for nothing. I especially feel for those Japanese who were condemned for waterboarding the Dolittle pilots in order to find out where the attack came from. Were they not trying to prevent another attack. Or the American Soldiers convicted for using waterboarding in Vietnam and the Phillipine Insurrection.

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  • 257. At 5:16pm on 23 Apr 2009, Lex Penn wrote:

    Torture will no doubt help you win the battle, but it will also ensure you ultimately lose, or at very least perpetuate, the war.



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  • 258. At 5:45pm on 23 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    329 british ish

    there are many objectionable comments on this thread. normally along the strangely unpatriotic lines of "we should do it their way" not somethingg america is notorious for, quite the opposite.
    This is one of the few examples where the american way ( Old american way ) of upholding the laws of personal freedom and right to trial, the geneva convention etc, is a top notch performer, (unlike biscuits ,plumbing cars and movie industry.)

    So in typical american fashion when they have something right for once they throw it under the truck (big gas guzzler like Sam likes;)

    But the most objectionable comment is your's saying I am a latin scholar.


    All I know is "et Yu brute"


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  • 259. At 8:31pm on 23 Apr 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    245, ish-ish.

    I think you have to put the foreign words in quotes, if you don't want the mods to get you. But I am not sure. Can anyone confirm?

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  • 260. At 8:46pm on 23 Apr 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    When you turn people into soldiers and train them to kill, the worst part of their nature is developed. It stands to reason that atrocities are committed on all sides. I surely know from my older brothers, who were both in service during WWII, that our soldiers, and those of the Allies, committed heinous acts. The brutality was not as organized as it was by the Germans, but it existed. The answer is to end war. But that is not an answer. The best I can do is to tell my family is never to join the army, no matter how righteous the cause may appear to be.

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  • 261. At 10:25pm on 23 Apr 2009, VinaTamara wrote:

    As this discussion about torture gets more and more heated I wonder if people has forgotten common sense and the simplicity of things:
    For GROUP NO1 - those who reject torture of any kind, any form and in any circuntance, I say: keep it up. If this is your stance, then stand firm on it. Dont double play, dont double-standardize. Dont say you oppose torture of a few criminals and then call for Bush and Cheney to be tortured.
    For GROUP NO2 - those who are in an ambiguos situation and argue that 'there's no proof that torture worked or made us safer" abandon the speculations and hypothesis and based your opinion on facts:
    1) Fact No. 1 - Before 9/11 there WAS NOT torture, and 9/11 DID happen.
    IF at this point you blame 9/11 for faulty intelligence then
    2) Fact No. 2 - After 9/11 ther WAS torture, and 9/11 part 2, DIDNT happen
    ... at this point you must agree there was correction to the faulty intelligence into assertive intelligence.
    3) Fact No. 3 - There is no way to prove if the absence of torture prior to 9/11 was cause of 9/11, since there was no torture then.
    4) Fact No. 4 - There is no way to prove if presence of torture after 9/11 was reason for avoiding another 9/11 (so it could be ONE of the reasons, PARTIALLY of the reason, the MAIN reason or NO reason at all). Which takes me to:
    5)Fact No. 5 - If there has been another 9/11 - torture and all - then we could safely say 'it didnt help'. Since there was NOT another 9/11 - torture and all - then we can only conclude, it DID help -whether by itself or in conjunction with other measures.
    If at this point folks in group no. 2 are still confused, then use this common sense and logic rule:
    Since the ONLY EFFECTIVE way of knowing if torture DIDNT help is to continue the practice and another 9/11 happens (let say we find ouserlves looking at the TransAmerica or Sears Tower in flames as result of another terrorist attack) then the question is: a) would you rather see that happening to convince yourself you were right on your position regarding torture didnt work OR, b) would you rather never find out and live with the doubts because the cost in lives for the experiment (that would prove you correct) is unbearable? If your answer is A, you belong in Group no. 1; if B, then youre in Group 3.
    Finally, for GROUP NO3, those who approve of torture when National Security is at risk then keep it up and congratulations. You dont have a moral dilemma and keep focus on the broader picture. If it takes waterboarding a prisoner - as disgusting as that practice may be but with that you are assuring that millions of innocents civilians will be saved from dying in the most horrible conditions, then be it. Waterboarding doesnt kill. Being in a Hijacked Airplane as you see it approaching a skycraper knowing your life is about to end or being trapped in the 100th floor of a building in flames where you showed up to for your work day when you didnt kill anybody, plot against anybody, your wife is pregnant expecting your first child, and in desperation jump out to your death or slowly died consumed by fire, not THAT is torture and one that really kills!

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  • 262. At 10:45pm on 23 Apr 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    I don't find the attempt to resolve the question of whether waterboarding is a permissible method by a series of logical propositions to be particularly helpful.

    " ... at this point you must agree ... "

    No, I don't. The possibilities are far too numerous to be enumerated in this way. I do agree that we (the US) are doing what we can to disrupt Al Quaida and render them ineffective, and I do not agree that we need to use waterboarding to continue to do this.

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  • 263. At 11:17pm on 23 Apr 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #260

    Marby,

    I do have to disagree. The vast, vast majority of our troops and officers are honorable and follow the rules of war. No doubt it is a dirty business and one that can change you forever either positively or negatively. It is also one of the few professions in which sociopathic behavior is not completely destructive and so you do get a higher than normal percentage of that type of person.

    However to serve is an honorable thing to do, doubly so if you do it honorably.

    KR,

    Ian

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  • 264. At 11:30pm on 23 Apr 2009, seanspa wrote:

    Waterboarding seems fairly tame. The british treat their own worse. But then again they also get called to account.

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  • 265. At 11:49pm on 23 Apr 2009, british-ish wrote:

    258. At 5:45pm on 23 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:
    329 british ish

    But the most objectionable comment is your's saying I am a latin scholar.


    Oh sorry.

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  • 266. At 00:58am on 24 Apr 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    263, Sam.
    "However to serve is an honorable thing to do, doubly so if you do it honorably."

    Is it also admirable to fight against an enemy who is not an enemy (I mean Iraq, of course)?

    As to the soldiers serving, no, they are not all sociopaths, but those with the smallest twist can become them. Also, to have to become inured to violent death is not a healty thing for any psyche.

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  • 267. At 06:45am on 24 Apr 2009, amerika_first wrote:

    In the words of Thomas Paine- Extremism in defense of the Republic is justified. Let us not cry over the victims of the terrorist, but instead blame those that kept Amerika safe since 9/11. BHO should never have disclosed the CIA documents in the first place. I am not too worried about becoming like the terrorists, becuase I know the difference. You can not win an unconventional war against a dedicated enemy by playing nice. I can imagine how bad it would have been if either Al Bore had won the election or if "Lurch" had won. GWB protected Amerika during the darkest days following 9/11. BHO should remember that glory is a fleeting mistress and when he sets the precedent of going after his predecessor he risks opening Pandora's box. Ying and Yang. There was an old saying in NH and it goes something like this when a English Officer chastized an American Revolutinary Officer about his behavior on the field of battle, his response was "We have a rebellion to win, a nation to build and continent to conquer. After we have done that then we will worry about the niceties of war.

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  • 268. At 06:46am on 24 Apr 2009, british-ish wrote:

    248. john-In-Dublin:

    Basically, in 1945, the US Army took over a German camp at Nijmegen, where both German prisoners of war and displaced civilians (including Dutch) were incarcerated. Over a period of months, several hundred died of malnutrition, untreated illnesses and cold. Of callous neglect, essentially.

    It is something that seems to have slipped through the interstices of history. I suppose if you Google Nijmegen, it might turn up as result 1,789,432 or thereabouts. It's the sort of thing you need a library or the Imperial War Museum for rather than Google. I came across it via a documentary on UKTV History a couple of years ago, and it stuck in my mind.

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  • 269. At 08:44am on 24 Apr 2009, british-ish wrote:

    267. At 06:45am on 24 Apr 2009, amerika_first wrote:

    "I am not too worried about becoming like the terrorists, becuase I know the difference. You can not win an unconventional war against a dedicated enemy by playing nice."

    Are you sure you know the difference? Haven't you just put forward the argument of a terrorist, warlord, or a revolutionary?

    "In the words of Thomas Paine- Extremism in defense of the Republic is justified."

    That is polemic, not a philosophical or moral justification. Try substituting "the King", "the Church", "the state", "the Party" or indeed "the cat".

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  • 270. At 09:36am on 24 Apr 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    267. amerika_first wrote:
    "In the words of Thomas Paine- Extremism in defense of the Republic is justified."


    Do you have any rational thought processes in your head?
    Substitute the word "republic" for the word "islam" and you have justified the terrorists acions, in their view of the world.


    You continue with your quote from some American soldier..
    "We have a rebellion to win, a nation to build and continent to conquer. After we have done that then we will worry about the niceties of war."

    Now consider the islamist who has a caliphate to build and a world to conquer ..... you have equally done his justification for him.

    Sauce, Goose, Gander.

    Why do you not see that only by being better can we win in the long run. The more educated and economically independent the individuals of the developing world become, the less likely they are to fall for the fundamentalist claptrap dogma and indoctrination that leads them to become terrorists in the first place.

    Or to make it simple ... if we use a big stick indescriminately, why can't they. It is simply too childish to return to the old "but he started it..." line of argument. It is our way of life that is suffering with manufactured fear and over-the-top "security".

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  • 271. At 11:22am on 24 Apr 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    270. At 09:36am on 24 Apr 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    Excellent posting.

    It would be most unfortuante if this rather strange soldier or any of his collegues and allies fell into the hands of his opponents


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  • 272. At 11:28am on 24 Apr 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    267. At 06:45am on 24 Apr 2009, amerika_first wrote:
    In the words of Thomas Paine- Extremism in defense of the Republic is justified."

    But didn't Benjamin Franklin say words to the effect that "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    And wasn't Benmjamin Franklin connected with the founding of the US?

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  • 273. At 11:36am on 24 Apr 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    264. At 11:30pm on 23 Apr 2009, seanspa wrote:
    Waterboarding seems fairly tame. The british treat their own worse. But then again they also get called to account.
    "

    Yes i beleive that is why it was used by the Holy Office.

    Presuambly this is why it and other techniques like sleep deprivation etc were used. The officials bieng concerned to find nice ways to question suspects.

    Who would ever have thought that it would be the US in the 21st century which would trying to defend water torture.

    Presumably we will next hear that lynching has been much misunderstood that it was only a form of expeditious trail done with the victim's wlefare ultimately in mind.

    Of course those of us who live in the real world inhabited by human beings might point out (as with Abu Ghraib) that if these are the techiniqes admitted to openly - god knows what what was done secretely.


    We knew US troops in vietnam used torture, but no one in their right mind ever expected to hear them defend it.

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  • 274. At 12:48pm on 24 Apr 2009, TrueToo wrote:

    268. british-ish,

    If true, that is shocking. But I take nothing you say at face value.

    Do you know how many Soviet prisoners of war died at the hands of the Germans in World War II, most of them by being starved to death?

    More than 3 million. Reflect on that.

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  • 275. At 1:01pm on 24 Apr 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    267. At 06:45am on 24 Apr 2009, amerika_first wrote:

    "There was an old saying in NH and it goes something like this when a English Officer chastized an American Revolutinary Officer about his behavior on the field of battle, his response was "We have a rebellion to win, a nation to build and continent to conquer. After we have done that then we will worry about the niceties of war."

    [a] Sounds like the sort of defence the Nazis might have tried at Nuremburg

    [b] In any event, why bother responding someone who cannot even spell his own country....

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  • 276. At 1:55pm on 24 Apr 2009, british-ish wrote:

    274. At 12:48pm on 24 Apr 2009, TrueToo wrote:

    But I take nothing you say at face value.

    You mean you will not accept, or will ignore, what does not suit you.

    What analogy shall I choose? Perhaps the attitude of some more than sixty years ago who claimed they had not noticed the smoke from certain chimneys; or the noises from certain trains. How about that?

    A wrong is a wrong is a wrong. It is not a lesser wrong, or more excusable, because someone else inflicted the same wrong on a greater number. I've read that specious argument here too often now.

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  • 277. At 02:10am on 25 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    269 If the cats says so then it must be.

    I understand that.

    261 this comment."Dont say you oppose torture of a few criminals and then call for Bush and Cheney to be tortured."

    there is a big diffence between those that IRONically say water board them two.
    most would be very happy just to have a trial.
    and maybe some jail.
    That and the rest of your "FACToid "was a pile of dross.

    Your logic fourth rate, and you're still wearing your towel.
    so you can't be good.


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  • 278. At 06:31am on 25 Apr 2009, rustydiamond wrote:



    267. amerika_first wrote:
    "In the words of Thomas Paine- Extremism in defense of the Republic is justified."

    272 Simon
    Do you have any rational thought processes in your head?
    Substitute the word "republic" for the word "islam" and you have justified the terrorists acions, in their view of the world.



    Are you aware that Islamic extremists are not fighting for freedom, or for protection of their nation, or to protect democracy or family or friends? They are killing anyone and everyone that they consider to be infidels. An infidel is anyone that isn’t an Islamic extremist in the service of “Álah”, exterminating all infidels. For them, it is Jahad. A holy war. They intentially target men woman and children, they will target you as a civilian the same as they will target a soldier, they will target you if you’re an Islamist, they will target you if you’re a fellow countryman, even if you are member of his family, he will kill you if he considers you to be an infidel.

    What has this to do with the kind of extremism Thomas Paine defended? Do you really think he was speaking of unrestrained mass murder and extermination of every one in the whole world that wouldn’t join the republic? That Thomas Paine is in the same category as the psychopathic killers that are waging Jahad against the whole world, and would rather rather kill you Mr Simon21 as to look at you?

    I’m sorry, I just don’t see the analogy.

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  • 279. At 07:28am on 25 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    rusty diamond.
    (an impossibility even if it sounds good)

    I don't see how you fail to consider they do not like us invading their lands.
    or the other place invading neighbours when it feels like it.

    Did you notice we invaded Both Iraq and Afghanistan?

    Just in case you missed it.
    we invaded them. we brought them much hardship by pitting them against russia when we supplied the m haj.
    we have been pretty involved for a while.
    so don't lie about it and say they are bent on taking over every where.
    Only a small percentage of taliban are ideological. the rest just want america gone and soldiers out of their houses.

    graduate from a flannel to a towel.

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  • 280. At 7:32pm on 25 Apr 2009, rustydiamond wrote:

    279

    Howerver much youd prefer that its only imagination, (or a lie as you put it) it is a fact. Iraq was not the jahadists land. It wasn’t until the religious leaders and people of Iraq themselves began fighting the insurgent extremists that the war began to turn. Check for yourself, that is not a lie, it is a fact. It is a fact that world domination is the objective of militant Islam. That objective is believed by them to be the edict of God himself. Evangelism by force and extermination. That’s not some wild sci-fi story. Or a lie as you prefer to see things you don’t know about or agree with. That is the theology of Muslim extremists. Its what differentiates them from the rest of Islam and other Muslims.

    The Taliban isn’t ideological? Afghanistan was initially invaded because they refused to turn over Binladen after 9/11. The Taliban is an insurgent organization that not only wants US troops out of Afghanistan, they want to overthrow the democratically elected government and take control of the country again and impose strict Shia law as before the war. That’s the only reason US troops are still there. The Islamic extremist are still there.

    I think you are confusing the relatively small percentage of Muslim extremist compared to the enormity of the Muslim religion with the percentage of Muslim extremists involved in the Taliban and Alquaeda.

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  • 281. At 8:53pm on 26 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    280 You want to complain about all Muslims because a few militants want to rule the world.

    You are complaining about their honesty?
    the Americans blatantly want to rule the world (and for everyone to love them for it) but they don't admit to it.
    you want to go there to tell them how to behave while saying it is them that wants to rule the world.

    Bet you were all over the pre war crap about how Muslims that promised to defend their land to the death are extremists. while us invading yanks are angels.


    Bigoted racist crap

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  • 282. At 8:57pm on 26 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    The Taliban isn?t ideological? Afghanistan was initially invaded because they refused to turn over Binladen after 9/11


    what bit about protecting Bin laden was religious.
    DO YOU really believe Bin to be a spiritual leader.
    No he was a terrorist supported by the USA who helped in the war against the invading Russians.
    The fact that they hold more loyalty to him than the USA which frankly left them to die after the russians left. Didn't give a damn. Gave No help to the people. Is not surprising.
    unless you are a little biggoted and think all should be grateful for others holding proxy wars on their land.

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  • 283. At 9:01pm on 26 Apr 2009, happylaze wrote:

    "I think you are confusing the relatively small percentage of Muslim extremist compared to the enormity of the Muslim religion with the percentage of Muslim extremists involved in the Taliban and Alquaeda"

    To add this after your propaganda is a little rich.


    and it doesn't excuse your bigotry.

    Your imposition of moderate values is not respecting THIER ways. it is imposing your way.

    no different from what they want to do.

    try not changing them but yourself.

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  • 284. At 5:00pm on 27 Apr 2009, avianterminus wrote:

    One could, possibly, make the 'Best Bet' argument. It's one that has been applied in support of Capital Punishment as a deterrant and is relevant on similar grounds for this case. Essentially, the Best Bet argument supplied by Ernest van den Haag puts for that:

    [quote]While we don't know if capital punishment is an effective deterrant to crime, it is the best bet to continue to do so as to not could potentially lead to more innocents being murdered. The reson for this is that either those convicted of murder could kill again, or an individual that otherwise would be deterred would commit a crime. The prevailing logic behind this is that criminals are worth less than innocents, and that the failure to prevent the death of another innocent at the hands of a murderer is more egregious a crime than to execute an innocent 'murderer'[/quote]

    Of course, this is subject to the dangers of the slippery slope (especially in regards to the standard 'giving up liberties for security' flaw) and in the case of torture, in that it not only exposes our troops to torture more readily (Just as we can defend torture by saying 'it's not as bad as others that would torture', we lose whatever protection we have against torture by being willing to participate in it ourselves.) but also that it affirms that torture is viable PERIOD - a position that we must either accept or reject as a societal whole.

    When we attempt to classify any number of situations where torture is acceptable, we only highlight the subjectivity behind it. If torturing is vitally necessary to get X, then a few years down the road, what says it won't also be 'vitally necessary' for Y? What if you agree with torturing to find X but morally disagree with Y? Would you open up and accept being tortured on the premise that your torturers are doing so to protect your fellow citizens?

    Would that be considered patriotic? If we are willing to step on human rights to 'protect' our own rights, how should we take it if someone feels it necessary to torture us to 'protect the greater good'?

    When, in ANY case, we accept the right to torture, we also must accept that we have given up the very right which protects us FROM torture. Any defense we would have would crumble under the weight of our own hypocrisy. We may only accept the right to torture as viable if, and only if, we can see ourselves being subject to torture on the very nebulous grounds of 'national security' that we would attempt to use to justify our own practices.

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  • 285. At 07:33am on 04 May 2009, johncrof wrote:

    The end can never justify the means. State security was exactly the justification used by both Hitler and Stalin for some of the foulest abuses. Dick Cheney is in good company. Over the centuries many false confessions have been extracted by torture. What of those innocents swept up by the American military? They had no means of appeal to prevent the use of waterboarding on them. Eventually they were released. But then, torturing a few innocents is necessary to protect America. I don't think so.
    The Bush Administation has given a shocking example to the world.

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  • 286. At 10:12am on 04 May 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    OBAMA SAVES CHRYSLER BY FIAT

    Balanced news coverage
    ;-)

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  • 287. At 09:33am on 12 May 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Well, well, well....

    • "A CIA inspector general's report from May 2004 that is set to be declassified by the Obama White House will almost certainly disprove claims that waterboarding was only used in controlled circumstances with effective results.

      On Monday, the Washington Post reported the impending release of a May 7, 2004 IG report that, the paper added, would show that in several circumstances the techniques used to interrogate terrorist suspects "appeared to violate the U.N. Convention Against Torture" and did not produce desired results.... "

    ;-)

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  • 288. At 6:36pm on 14 May 2009, Poyani wrote:

    Supporters of water boarding (people like Dick Cheney) claim that it leads to useful (i.e. true) information (which is what successful interrogation methods produce).

    Critics say that a person being waterboarded will tell you what you want to hear, not necessarily the truth (which is what all torture techniques produce).

    There is actually a very easy and fool proof way of scientifically testing whether water-boarding is torture and whether or not it works.

    Let a critic waterboard Dick Cheney for five minutes, asking him to admit that water boarding is torture. If he admits (clearly something he opposes) then it's torture. If he can withstand it, then it clearly is not.

    This is a perfectly logically constructed game.

    Now I know for a fact that no supporter of water-boarding (let alone Cheney) would ever agree to this. That is clear proof that supporters of water-boarding are fully aware that it is torture and that it does not produce valuable info. They are clearly lying.

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