Torture

Recently there has been a big splash in the news about the possibility of legal prosecution against the Bush administration attorneys that wrote the memos concerning what is and is not legally torture. Like most of the recent bread and circuses coming out of Washington, this is just more useless garbage to keep us distracted, but I find particular circus act especially offensive.

 

Now I’m on record for my general disapproval of George Bush, but to give the man his props, he took one part of his job seriously, and that was protecting America from our enemies. As Dennis Miller once said, Bush’s first thought every morning when he got out of bed was ‘how can I kill some mother f’ing terrorists today?’

 

However one of the policies of the current administration is to slander the previous one whenever possible, and to appease the far left whackadoos whenever possible, so that means that we’re back to the torture debate.

 

So now Top Secret memos have been revealed, detailing that we waterboarded three different terrorists. And since it isn’t enough to let our enemies know exactly how far we’re allowed to push them, we’re also now going to prosecute the people who actively fought our enemies. And we’re not going to prosecute them for breaking the law. We’re going to prosecute them for doing their job in a manner that makes liberals squeamish.

 

To put this in perspective, we waterboarded Khalid Shake Mohammed, known mastermind behind the attack on the WTC, and we got information out of him that nabbed us 17 other scumbags that were planning on killing thousands in Los Angeles, apparently this is a grave travesty of injustice. It would have been a lot better to have 9/11 part 2 than to waterboard a terrorist.

 

I’m actually impressed by the lengths the Bush people went to keep these interrogations legal, down to the questioning the legalities of slapping and threatening somebody with a box of caterpillars. Listen, morons. If I was in charge, and I had known terrorist Khalid Shake Friggin’ Mohammed in custody, and I thought that there might be a .0001% chance that torturing him might save the life of a single American, I would have him skinned.

 

We live in topsy-turvey world. We live in land where the so called leadership of the Department of Homeland Security won’t talk about terrorism anymore, and the Justice Department has decided that the greatest terrorist threat is from returning US veterans. Pakistan is inches from being overthrown by the Taliban, while our President talks about meeting with the “moderate” Taliban. Moderate Taliban? Is that like being Sort Of Pregnant?  Is a moderate Taliban somebody that only saws off people’s heads on weekends? Maybe they only stone every other rape victim to death? Moderate Taliban my ass…

 

So while we are in a war for survival, that only apparently half of us can actually see, we’re more worried about the returning veterans who’ve been protecting us than the evil men who mean to murder us. I think our leadership’s priorities are a bit out of touch.

 

I heard some author talking about how, sure, these interrogations may have saved lives, but on the other hand, the absolute awfulness of waterboarding only caused more people to be recruited in the fight against us. That is such utter and complete horseshit that I’m having a hard time understanding how anybody with two brain cells capable of creating friction could actually believe that.

 

You mean to tell me that if you’re living in a 3rd world hole, and you’ve been taught every single day of your life that the reason your country sucks by your Mullahs is because of Israel and the Great Satan, and you live in a culture of complete and utter violence, where history has been so rewritten by the powers that be that you actually believe the Holocaust is Israeli propaganda, and you swallow hook line and sinker all of the nonsense about the Great Satan that you’re willing to sacrifice your life in fiery suicidal jihad to get your 72 virgins, but you’ve just been holding back strapping on that bomb vest… until you discovered that some other crazy Muslim you’ve never heard of was threatened with a box of caterpillars. Because that is just the final straw!  BOOM!

 

Most of the left wing has no clue about the violence in the middle-east. You think waterboarding is scary to these people? Check out this video. And it is from one of the mildest and least screwed up countries in the region.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2W5rbF8hLU&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fmypetjawa%2Emu%2Enu%2Farchives%2F197398%2Ephp&feature=player_embedded

 

And that was a member of the royal family! How many dead hookers do you think he has buried in the back yard?

 

Just because waterboarding makes your average Greenwich Village liberal blogger uncomfortable, they assume that it terrifies people who come from a land where you can get your hands chopped off with a dull scimitar for stealing a cookie. If one of the Hussein boys wanted to interrogate you, they’d just politely ask you questions while they fed your kids, feet first, into the wood chippers. Welcome to Big Boy Town, squeamish liberals.

 

Now let’s come at this from a different direction. Apparently saving LA from being burned (by foreigners this time, instead of its own residents) was not worth waterboarding three terrorists. Let’s imagine that Janet Napolitano is right, and that the biggest threat to America is angry veterans who’re all hung up on crazy stuff like freedom and the Constitution, and now America is under attack by us crazed right-wingers. Right wing terrorists have been captured. They have a plan to kill thousands.

 

Do you honestly think for a split second that Obama wouldn’t have people like that waterboarded if it meant that he could stop a terrorist attack on Colombia University, Hollywood, or Berkeley?

 

Because that’s different. Because people like me are dangerous. Militant Islamists are just misunderstood.

17 Responses

  1. Immediately following napolitano’s outrageous statements, I started a petition demanding the immediate removal of napolitano from office. If you agree and support the now growing demands for her removal, please go here to sign the petition. > http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/napolitano-must-go/ Thanks in advance for your support!

    Doc’

  2. I’ve been listening to this issue, and listening to the rantings of Jay Severin on it (I think he’s WAY off base on this issue), and while I have zero love OR sympathy for terrorists, I have one big issue with the use of torture (not the caterpillars thing, but things like waterboarding and physical abuse):

    What if we have the wrong guy in custody?

    Oh, gee, sir… sorry for the bamboo under the fingernails. Our bad; no harm done except for the nightmares you’ll have for the rest of your life.

    If there was a surefire way to KNOW that we had the right guy – short of torture – I’d say “OK, fine”. But where this is NOT a perfect world, my morals simply do NOT allow me to be comfortable with the idea of possibly giving an innocent man the third degree.

    That’s all.

  3. The waterboarding only happened to three guys (SFAIK), all of whom were known to US intelligence.

    (On the otherhand, we waterboarded the shit out of them, making me wonder if they didn’t get carried away just a bit.)

    Is it really torture if it does no lasting physical harm? Waterboarding is a terrifying and distrubing experience, but done properly you’re not actually in any danger. The military does this to American military personnel going through SERE school.

    CIA guys did slap some of these guys around, but that still puts them several steps behind what goes on in your average Mexican police station. Is being slapped around “torture”?

    I do NOT think these interrogation techniques should be common. I do think they should only be able to be used upon the order of the President; the buck needs to stop with him. Without that, it’s too easy to say “we were just following orders” and no one is ulitmately held responsible.

    And it should never happen to an American citizen, period, for any reason. Even if an American citizen helps Al Qaeda carry out an attack. That’s treason. Treason is a crime, defined by the Constitution, and should be handled as such.

    That said…we’re at war. Foreign terrorism isn’t a criminal matter for the courts and lawyers to settle. It’s warfare.

    In World War II, we leveled cities full of civilians. We fire-bombed Dresden and used the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

    War is ugly. If the worst thing that happens to one of these guys is that he gets slapped silly by the CIA and has water poured up his nose he should consider himself lucky.

  4. If they were honest, the Democrats would admit that at least half the reason they’re pursuing the “torture” allegations is to punish former President Bush for having the effrontery to win two elections. They’ve never been able to come to terms with the fact that he beat them fair and square in 2000 – despite the best efforts of the Democrat majority on the Florida Supreme Court – and then won again in ’04.

    The rest of it, of course, is the typical liberal politics of personal destruction at work. Power is all that matters to them. If only the Donks were even half as ruthless to this country’s actual enemies, rather than their political opponents…

    Whatever their motivations, the Democrats had better hope we don’t suffer another 9/11-type attack…because they now OWN the terrorism and national security issues, just as they now own the economy after doubling the national debt in their first six weeks of uncontested control of Washington.

    And if we do get hit again, numerous high-ranking Democrats will themselves get to find out all about congressional and legal witch hunts…and what it’s like to find onself on the wrong end of a lynch mob.

  5. My biggest issue with torture (beyond the morality of it; I believe that America should represent due process and rule of law, which are undermined by the use of torture) is that it’s generally ineffective. You might get some information that’s probably at least a few months out of date, maybe more if the subject has been in captivity for a while. Beyond that, people being tortured will tell their interrogators whatever the interrogator wants to hear in an effort to make the torture stop. Professional interrogators, people who have developed techniques for police departments, the FBI, and the military, all generally agree that torture is ineffective, even if you don’t feel that it’s morally reprehensible. So why are we risking losing what America stands for by engaging in the kinds of actions normally reserved for dictatorships, when in all reality it probably won’t be an effective measure for national security?

  6. “To put this in perspective, we waterboarded Khalid Shake Mohammed, known mastermind behind the attack on the WTC, and we got information out of him that nabbed us 17 other scumbags that were planning on killing thousands in Los Angeles”

    Apparently, that whole story isn’t actually true. He wasn’t even captured until 2003, the year after the LA plot was stopped.

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/04/thiessens-la-tower-canard.html

  7. The British, who were facing invasion and annihilation in 1940, did not torture captured German spies and airmen.

    The Luftwaffe did not torture captured Allied airmen.

    Neither the British nor the Luftwaffe were led by people who were prone to pearl-clutching and fainting. They did not torture their captives for one reason and one reason only: Torture is not a reliable method of extracting the truth. This is a fact that was known as far back as the Roman Empire.

    As the commander of the British interrogation facility put it: “Never strike a man. It is unintelligent, for the spy will give an answer to please, an answer to escape punishment. And having given a false answer, all else depends upon the false premise.”

    Torture is a technique used by either the ignorant or those who desire that the victim “confess” to something the torturer has in mind. The Chinese and Vietnamese used torture to make prisoners confess to non-existent war crimes. The Inquisition used torture to make prisoners profess faith to the inquisitor’s brand of religion.

    Torture is not a reliable method of obtaining the truth. It is also a war crime and a crime against the laws of the United States, no matter where in the world the torture occurs, by whom and to whom.

    The debate about torture has been twisted by the defenders of torture to focus on those tortured. That is a false premise. The debate is not about them, it is about us. Are we the sort of nation that has punished and, in the past, executed people for torturing people, yet we will engage in the very same acts when it suits us?

    Are we a nation of laws or are we not? If we allow the chief executive to flout the Constitution and the law whenever it suits him to do so, then what is the point of having a Constitution? Are we, as a nation, going to go all the way back to the days prior to the Magna Carta, when the rule was “the king can do no wrong”?

    Finally, either we clean up our own mess or other nations will do it for us, as there is no shortage of nations who, like the USA, have laws on their books which make torture a crime, no matter wherever it was done.

  8. “Are we the sort of nation that has punished and, in the past, executed people for torturing people, yet we will engage in the very same acts when it suits us?”

    Quite different things you are comparing here. We do not torture out of joy, bloodlust, a need for revenge, or whatever silly reason an individual person decides is the reason for a bit of head loppin’. The very same act? Pray tell how waterboarding, which relies on the physical reaction to convince the mind bad things are going to happen, is as horrible as the tortures committed by the Khmer Rouge or the Chinese, or the North Koreans.

    We ARE a nation of laws, which is why our “Psychological Information Extraction Methods” are intended to keep the “recipient” alive at the end, while True Torture is designed to prolong agony and the survival of the victim is a bonus, of a very limited and cursed kind. A nation of laws is very interested in causing as little harm as possible (unless you’re a Dem in control of the thresher of power) as it is (supposedly) run and inhabited by people of morals. A lawless nation (despots, tyranny, communistic, etc) cares not about the survival of the recipient of their tender ministrations, as they are but the chaff amongst the golden wheat of their loyal citizens.

    Sorry, but our torture is degrees away from their torture. When we start torturing on a regular basis, (real torture, not this namby-pamby water-up-your-nose I-went-through-this-learning-how-to-swim stuff) for any old reason (hey, no clouds today! TORTURE! Rain? TORTURE! I had waffles for breakfast. TORTURE!), then you might have a point in equating our actions with theirs. Right now? Not so much, unless self-flagellant hand-wringing is considered a method of deliberation.

  9. Yeah, I’m going to go ahead and question the credibility of The Atlantic Monthly on a topic this politically charged.

    As for World War 2…German airmen were uniformed combatants. Do some research and find out what both sides did to non-uniformed combatants, like spies and sabeteurs.

    This is waterboarding. This technique was about the harshest thing we did to any of the prisoners.

    It does not do any physical harm. It’s entriely psychological. It’s all about fear.

    If using fear to motivate a prisoner to talk is torture, then it’s torture for your District Attorney to threaten to throw the book at some gang banger if he doesn’t rat out his homies. The result is the same: “Do what we want or something bad will happen to you.”

    So I ask the question again: Does waterboarding and being slapped around constitute being “tortured”?

  10. I have to wonder… how much psychological damage does waterboarding leave the victim with?

  11. Have to agree with Comrade Misfit, here.

    And, Larry, I’m pretty sure I’m NOT the first person you’d describe as squeamish. I also have no especially love for ignorant child-rapers in a 4th world hellhole.

    But torture goes against what makes this country great. If we become like what we fight, even if we “win”, we have still lost.

    I’m actually considering volunteering to deploy again, as one of several options. The women and children I killed don’t keep me awake at night, since it was the fault of their men, hiding behind them, that they died.

    Just maybe at least consider the possibility that some of us who are violently against torture of any kind may just be the kind of people you would trust with your female relatives, or to watch your back in a pinch.

  12. John, you’re on my list of people that I actually trust. You know that.

    I guess my issue isn’t about the right or wrong of torture, or even what constitutes torture, or the effectiveness of these techniques.

    The thing that gets my goat is the idea of political prosecution of people who were doing their job, and who went out of their way to keep their activities as legal as possible.

  13. I can understand that, but we’re dancing on the edges of the Nuremburg defense, here.

  14. (But I wholeheartedly agree that any potential prosecutions should not be politically motivated. Hell, it was the torture issue that finally and firmly turned me against Bush as CiC.)

  15. This is waterboarding. This technique was about the harshest thing we did to any of the prisoners.

    It does not do any physical harm. It’s entriely psychological. It’s all about fear.

    Would you say the same thing about rape?

    Beyond that, our country has sent people to prison for long stretches of time for doing what you advocate. Yet it is OK if we do it? It is OK if our government policy is to do those acts which even Republicans formerly opposed?

    It was Reagan who signed the UN Convention Against Torture. It was Gingrich who lectured the President of China about the wrongness of detentions without trial and the use of torture.

    But now it is OK if we do it. You might recall that when the Bush Administration rightfully spoke out against the torture and murder of Buddhist monks in Burma, the junta there responded along the lines of: “so? You do the same things.”

    I am not the one who said this, but if this country is truly the “shining city on a hill” that Ronald Reagan spoke so eloquently about, we cannot have dungeons where people are tortured. We are better than that. Or, at least, I thought we were.

    When I was a kid, I realized that “do as I say, not as I do” was wrong. It still is wrong.

  16. <>

    (1) “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;
    (2) “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from –
    (A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of
    severe physical pain or suffering;
    (B) the administration or application, or threatened
    administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;
    (C) the threat of imminent death; or
    (D) the threat that another person will imminently be
    subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality; and

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