The Only Question That Remains

I am getting tired of Democratic and Republican politicians, and the mass media abandoning the rule of law (Glenn Greenwald is all over this). The top officials of the Bush administration committed serious crimes. Among other things, they met in the White House and approved torture that resulted in the deaths of at least 108 detainees [the manner of death for some of these people is disputed, see comments]. Federal law provides for the death penalty for torturers and torture conspirators when their victims die.

Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba

Politicians and popular media figures twist and turn trying to avoid using the word “torture” (and sometimes forget to lie). But there are a few voices speaking with integrity.

Major General Antonio Taguba, whose 2004 investigation documented chilling abuses at Abu Ghraib, is the most senior official to have accused the administration of war crimes. His findings are cited extensively in the Senate Armed Services Committee report on torture (PDF) that was released in unclassified form this week.

General Taguba is now retired, but he wrote the preface to Broken Laws, Broken Lives: Medical Evidence of Torture by US Personnel and Its Impact, a new report by Physicians for Human Rights (emphasis added):

After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.

Indeed, we have known something about the Bush administration’s illegal torture regime at least since this 2002 Washington Post article by Dana Priest and Barton Gellman.

Today, we learned that the American Civil Liberties Union has obtained the release of 2,000 new torture photos from the Pentagon. The photos, to be made public on May 28, show detainees being tortured at Guantanamo Bay and other military detention facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There is a mountain of indisputable evidence. Both former President Bush and former VP Cheney have admitted ordering people to be tortured. How much longer do we have to wait?

UPDATE: Arianna Huffington writes:

This is a defining moment for America.

The way we respond — or fail to respond — to the revelations about the Bush administration’s use of torture will delineate — for ourselves and for the world — the kind of country we are.

It is a test of our courage and our convictions. A test of whether we are indeed a nation of laws — or a nation that pays lip service to the notion of being a nation of laws.

  1. #1 by unlikely stats on April 24, 2009 - 10:51 am

    How long are we going to wait? It will be instructive that Obama provides cover for those that preceded him. Anyone, Obama included, faced with the psychos and their willingness to destroy us likes to reserve some form of compulsion should it be necessary. This instruction describes what power looks like. In reality. Makes the complaints and show of outrage, it is needed, to at least assauge the naive masses.

    This is why the show is going on, and why nothing will come of it. Democrats know that payback is tough, and they won’t be in power forever. Best to look earnest about wrong doing, and then let it fizzle.

    We don’t torture sounds good now, and we don’t torture, we have it done by proxies. The US power structure will find out what it thinks it needs to know, by whatever means at its disposal. Is it torture if I hire someone to do it, then have them eliminated? Dead men tell no tales, what is amazing is that this facet of human behavior is as old as prostitution. Look south of the border in the current drug wars to know what terror really means, and what it takes to eliminate it.

    Have the trials, show the pictures, and so on…do people really think those that have committed murder, bombed people, and lied to facilitate it are afraid of this kind of investigation?

    First rule of winning a war, is know thy enemy, unfortunately they are often less than forthcoming, which is why the old school rule so mysteriously appears in times of risk and crisis.

  2. #2 by Richard Warnick on April 24, 2009 - 11:02 am

    unlikely–

    If you have evidence that torture yields usable, accurate information, let’s see it. Professionals in the field are unanimous, as far as I know, in saying that torture does not work in intelligence interrogations. In fact, torture is counterproductive.

  3. #3 by jdberger on April 24, 2009 - 11:02 am

    This is interesting, Richard. You claim that

    The top officials of the Bush administration committed serious crimes. Among other things, they met in the White House and approved torture that resulted in the deaths of at least 108 detainees.

    Yet, the article you link to explains that the 108 deaths were comprised of the following:

    The AP found that of the 108 deaths in US custody:

    At least 26 have been investigated as criminal homicide involving the abuse of prisoners

    At least 29 are attributed to suspected natural causes or accidents

    Twenty-two are blamed on an insurgent mortar attack on Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison in April 2004

    At least 20 are attributed to “justifiable homicide”, where investigations found US troops used deadly force appropriately – primarily against rioting, escaping or threatening prisoners.

    I find it interesting that you claim that 108 people were tortured to death when 22 were killed by enemy mortars, 20 were killed when they attacked fellow prisoners and 29 died of natural causes.

    Are you going to stick with that number?

    Because if you do – the hyperbole dilutes the currency of your argument.

    This is also why you are often accused of lying.

  4. #4 by Richard Warnick on April 24, 2009 - 11:19 am

    jd–

    Oh yeah, it’s all lies. Nobody was tortured, nobody died. I made it all up! Those 2,000 torture photos– all fakes (I’m pretty good with digital images).

    (1) One dead detainee is all it takes for death penalty convictions of everyone involved.
    (2) The article I linked to is from 2005. I think it’s reasonable to assume more deaths in the last four years. That’s why I said “at least.”
    (3) Death by “natural causes or accidents”? Well, OK then, no need to investigate those!
    (4) Last year, COL Lawrence Wilkerson told Congress that over 100 detainees have died in U.S. custody, with up to 27 of these cases declared homicides.
    (5) Human Rights Watch counts 45 homicides– that we know of.
    (5) What about the dozens of CIA “ghost detainees” still missing? I expect they will stay that way because they’re dead too.

    With so many documented deaths, how many have been covered up? We don’t know. I’m willing to bet the final total exceeds 108.

  5. #5 by unlikely stats on April 24, 2009 - 11:43 am

    Will we also charge the high ranking Democrats that were all informed of the fact that yes we can, torture that is? What do we do about them keeping their mouths shut and bearing as accessories to the crime. Pelosi and the lot knew all about it, and did and said nothing. For this reason alone, nothing is going to happen.

    Pretty clear that America has a pretty bi-partisan will to survive.

  6. #6 by Richard Warnick on April 24, 2009 - 11:46 am

    unlikely–

    Speaker Pelosi says that you’re wrong, nobody in Congress was informed that torture was being implemented by the Bush administration.

    You don’t know, and I don’t know, because those briefings were top secret and have never been declassified. Don’t believe what you hear on Faux News Channel.

  7. #7 by unlikely stats on April 24, 2009 - 11:53 am

    Don’t worry Richard, if push comes to shove Cheney will yield reams of memos explain how water boarding worked and saved lives, most Americans sadly don’t care what happens to a suspected terrorist as long as they remain safe. Human nature not just American.

    Then of course how the torture led to stopping terrorists events. Who exactly do you think we are dealing with? This is the guy that walked 10 feet tall all over Democrats, think he isn’t up to a little political witch hunt from his opposition?

    My money is on Dick.

  8. #8 by unlikely stats on April 24, 2009 - 12:04 pm

    Richard, I don’t believe Pelosi anymore than Dick, what do you Bush et al are going to say about her dissembling? Evidence that makes the direct link is as good as Pelosi saying she didn’t know.

    Do you really imagine that Bush and Cheney didn’t plan to make themselves safe? Why do you think nothing has happened. Right now Obama is throwing a bone to the extreme left wing of his constituency. A bone with no meat on it. We might see some underlings thrown to the wolves, but that is about it.

    As grand as the crime and lies were, the Democrats are either co-opted, or compromised by their own crimes, or too stupid to even worry about. The Cheney doctrine.

  9. #9 by Richard Warnick on April 24, 2009 - 12:10 pm

    unlikely–

    Sounds like you just admire former VP Cheney for his skill at lying. If you knew of any credible evidence that torture actually produced worthwhile intelligence, you could have referenced it by now.

  10. #10 by Becky on April 24, 2009 - 12:20 pm

    I’m with Shepard Smith on this (scroll down to the HuffPo video, for some reason I can only link, not embed).

    We are America!” he shouted, slamming his hand on the table. “I don’t give a rat’s ass if it helps. We are AMERICA! We do not fucking torture!!”

  11. #11 by Shane Smith on April 24, 2009 - 1:07 pm

    Becky,

    “Torture anywhere is an affront to human dignity everywhere… I call on all governments to join with the United States and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture.”

    – George W. Bush, June 2003

    I personally think we should be able to lock him up based on his words, but then if got rid of all the hypocrites, that would 99% of the right and at least half the left, and while that is a good population policy, it might be less than moral.

    Oh wait, in case anyone wanting to bring up libel or criminal charges is reading this, i should change “lock him up” to “hang him” shouldn’t i?

    unlikely stats:

    “Don’t worry Richard, if push comes to shove Cheney will yield reams of memos explain how water boarding worked and saved lives”

    http://oneutah.org/2009/03/31/faith-based-torture/

    I am sure he will too. But we already know that is just so much fertilizer.

    Which at this point makes you sound like the typical bush supporter. Everything he did was just fine, right up until the evidence comes out, at which point “well the dems are no better!”

  12. #13 by unlikely stats on April 24, 2009 - 2:53 pm

    …and fertilizer grows big giant healthy vegetables!! Eat up America!

    The dems are no better Shane, their leadership knew what was going on, and those who did not, just didn’t count enough to be told. It is oligarchy, plain and simple, not democracy.

    In the context of a Pelosi or Obama, Cheney is far more adept at realipolitik, he has no values, only speaks them. He reads like Machiavelli. This is a very dangerous man, and I doubt the current leadership really wants to trifle with him.

  13. #14 by unlikely stats on April 24, 2009 - 3:07 pm

    This is almost funny were it not sad. Torture is cultural in many respects. Put mouse in a cage and it shortly dies. Tortured to death.

    The very act of incarceration and denial of primary reality for many people is torture. Alienation of affection in a divorce court with children involved is torture. Killing ones family and allowing them to survive is torture. Difference is, they may come and hunt you.

    Driving planes into a free country’s cities and killing innocents can be described as torture, yielding all manner of unexpected behavior.

    Compelling anyone then with threat, physical and psychological, is TORTURE!!

    With that said, every nation tortures those that react against their will in some way. It is indeed a somewhat cruel world.

    Richard, do you threaten your children with a denial of what they may love for non-compliance with your wishes? Torture. Consider the mind of a child, and the unnerving advantage you have, and know, the line between discipline and torture is very narrow.

    War is bad, it leads to all bad behaviors. Torture is just one of them, and after you have dropped 2000 pound bombs on people, killed them and their families, you going to get what’s coming. Torture is just a way of attempting to ameliorate your own fear.

    In Cheney’s mind, if it works, great, if it doesn’t, so what?

  14. #15 by Richard Warnick on April 24, 2009 - 3:14 pm

    OK, that was weird. It so happens the federal government has a statutory definition of torture, and severe criminal penalties for torturers and torture conspirators. As Arianna Huffington pointed out, we’re a nation of laws– or we’re not. It’s a defining moment.

    Dick Cheney should go back to Wyoming and be thankful he’s not under indictment– yet!

  15. #16 by jdberger on April 24, 2009 - 3:19 pm

    You see, Richard. You misquote me and deliberately misrepresent my position. It’s shameful.

    Oh yeah, it’s all lies. Nobody was tortured, nobody died.

    I never suggested that nobody died. Only that your representation that 108 were tortured to death was fiction.

    I made it all up! Those 2,000 torture photos– all fakes (I’m pretty good with digital images).

    Do you mean the 2,000 photos that no one has seen yet? The ones that are going to be released in late May? I’m guessing that you have no idea what’s really on those photographs since you haven’t seen them. Is this true?

    (1) One dead detainee is all it takes for death penalty convictions of everyone involved.

    Yes. Assuming they died as a result of “torture” and the perpetrators are successfully prosecuted. You’re jumping the gun with the “conviction” rhetoric.

    (2) The article I linked to is from 2005. I think it’s reasonable to assume more deaths in the last four years. That’s why I said “at least.”

    This is pure conjecture on your part, Richard.

    (3) Death by “natural causes or accidents”? Well, OK then, no need to investigate those!

    The article states that AP investigated these. Your assertion that these people were tortured to death is conjecture.

    (4) Last year, COL Lawrence Wilkerson told Congress that over 100 detainees have died in U.S. custody, with up to 27 of these cases declared homicides.

    Amazingly those numbers correlate to those in the article.

    (5) Human Rights Watch counts 45 homicides– that we know of.

    OK. But it’s still well short of the “at least 108″ that you claim.

    (5) What about the dozens of CIA “ghost detainees” still missing? I expect they will stay that way because they’re dead too. With so many documented deaths, how many have been covered up? We don’t know. I’m willing to bet the final total exceeds 108.

    Again, Richard, it’s pure conjecture. You could say with the same authority that the US abducted a million Arabs, held them secretly and murdered them. And no one would be able to dispute your assertion, because there isn’t any evidence either way. Of course, like in this case, you’d know that you were resorting to puffery to bolster your argument.

    The fact remains that your “evidence” does not support your conclusion. Instead it dilutes your argument. And it gives people the impression that you are a fraud.

    You’re obviously passionate – and pretty intelligent.

    Add honest to the description.

  16. #17 by unlikely stats on April 24, 2009 - 3:26 pm

    Nice link Cav, says very clearly, and for those on the far left of the party, it is the reason why Obama drags his feet. After all, he is only a president many of them have met less than enjoyable ends.

    Time to start the gray hair count, Obama is a young man, but once privy to the reality that powers foists upon a person, the aging accelerates, as though the awful truth of how the world operates washes his hair every morning.

  17. #18 by Richard Warnick on April 24, 2009 - 3:27 pm

    jd–

    You nailed it. The pro-torture position is the only honest position for a law-abiding, patriotic American.

    We don’t need to try and find out the details of what the Bush administration did, or even speculate (incidentally, the military investigated the so-called “natural and accident” detainee deaths, not the AP). It’s just fraudulent to claim there was any torture at all. No shame in torture, what’s shameful is daring to question the actions of powerful people in Washington –and the consequences.

    You want to make an affirmative case for torture being as American as cherry pie, or just nitpick me?

  18. #19 by unlikely stats on April 24, 2009 - 3:32 pm

    Pretty obvious by now Richard we are not ruled by laws.

    Ok so it is written what torture is, that does not mean squat if the person you “torture” in their mind, gets their hands on you Richard. Do you know that means?

    Weird to be sure, Americans being totally self absorbed no matter their politics fail to see that even subtle suggestion with the threat of loss of violence, is torture. It’s torture if I say it is. Wars are started for less.

    So Richard, do you compel your children to their fear and displeasure? That is torture to the little mind involved.

  19. #20 by Larry Bergan on April 24, 2009 - 3:33 pm

    Coleen Rowley has some interesting facts and new insider information about whether torture works or not and who was involved.

    …it seems clear that it was contractors, not C.I.A. officers, who requested the use of these techniques.

  20. #21 by Richard Warnick on April 24, 2009 - 3:34 pm

    unlikely–

    Like I said, that’s weird. Everything is torture– nothing is torture.

  21. #22 by unlikely stats on April 24, 2009 - 3:34 pm

    Complaining about torture after all that has happened now, is like complaining about the blood spatters on the wall after you murder someone with an ice pick. We all own a part of that, no matter the sophistry.

  22. #23 by unlikely stats on April 24, 2009 - 3:40 pm

    Depends on who you are doesn’t it Richard?

    Is it torture to compel a pig to live in its own feces in a small space, compel it to grow, using its own mechanisms, so we can eat it? Only if you say it isn’t, the pig doesn’t get to say, does it?

    There is no such thing as a war crime, spare us, the act itself from all points, ethical, religious, moral, survival, creates the monsters required to carry the act. War itself is torture defined, especially in this day and age, where our victims rarely see what kills and maims them. Are we cowards? Is it just?

    Simply Richard try the human race, it is what wars, and all wars bring torture to someone, only the victors decide who is going to be the scapegoat. In this case we were “victors”, no one of any consequence to scapegoat. Nothing will happen. Sorry, I mean it.

  23. #24 by Richard Warnick on April 24, 2009 - 3:44 pm

    unlikely–

    OK, add to that everyone is guilty and no one is guilty. Human nature is basically evil, so why have laws? We can just do whatever with impunity. What a philosophy.

    Maybe it was a mistake to execute World War II Japanese torturers for waterboarding Americans?

  24. #25 by unlikely stats on April 24, 2009 - 3:57 pm

    Do you really imagine realpolitik runs any other way? It isn’t a philosophy, it is where you make the mistake Richard, it is how things are run at the upper level. If you can’t play that way and crisis hits, someone will, and you will be replaced. Philosophy lives in the mind Richard, manifests occasionally in real life, and often manifests in ways utterly unintended by the “philosopher”. Just look at all the socialist dreamers that turned their countries and the world, into a horrible nightmare. They couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

    You live in your moral box Richard, others in theirs, the twain shall likely never meet, and that’s a good thing.

    Guilt is entirely a subjective exercise. Islamists can see clear to stone a woman for adultery, we call such an act and man a murderer. There he is upholding “law” Same thing some guy in an F-16 does when asked to drop a 2000 pounder on the recalcitrant. Bit more of bang, but all in the eye of the beholder.

    It is why bomber pilots are often put to death when they end up on the ground in enemy territory. That only becomes a crime if the people on the ground lose the war (torture) and the victor cares to make the example.

    Reality is minding your own business is often the best for everyone. I imagine it would take quite a while for even hard line Islamists to equal the kill rate we have scored up in Iraq the last 8 years.

  25. #26 by unlikely stats on April 24, 2009 - 3:59 pm

    That was then Richard, this is now, and these are OUR torturers, doing what they were asked to do. If they had objections they could sit in the brig, right.

  26. #27 by unlikely stats on April 24, 2009 - 4:03 pm

    Ever read the book “War without Mercy”, it is about the racial component of the Pacific war. Suffice it say we didn’t take many prisoners, and plenty of Japanese were “tortured” by your official definition. To the victor goes the moral suasion. Kill away those you need to.

  27. #28 by Richard Warnick on April 24, 2009 - 4:10 pm

    unlikely–

    OK, your philosophy is both weird and ugly. Outside the rules, without rules. Pre-civilized, even. No wonder you admire Dick Cheney.

  28. #29 by Richard Warnick on April 24, 2009 - 4:30 pm

    I’m going offline for a while.

    To summarize, jd thinks torture is OK unless someone can prove more than a hundred torture victims died. And “unlikely” doesn’t care what happened, because evil stuff happens all the time.

    Nobody addressed General Taguba’s statement. A man of integrity who was in charge of an investigation of Bush administration torture.

  29. #30 by unlikely stats on April 24, 2009 - 5:05 pm

    To summarize, Richard believes that as long as we all agree, and what we believe isn’t lies to make us feel better, then for that time we can license certain indivuduals to murder, and not only murder, but in the case of dropping 2000 pounders on the “enemy”, mass murder.

    Yet here he is in his twisted logicworried about some minor collateral damage, in the case of many who still alive have had towels and water poured upon them to make feel like they were going to die. I have to wonder if people huddled in bunkers and basements in Bagdad suffered any torture waiting for some miscreant to drop bombs on them.

    I never claimed to admire Cheney, nor was there any indication I don’t care. I view Cheney like a Great White Shark, that can walk on land as well.

    For you to split the hairs so Richard, after so many innocents have died, and not indict everyone for their parts in the KILLING of innocents, I can only surmise that you are just playing politics, or are just displaying a freakish philosophy, which is blinded to the greater crimes.

    As long as we have a scapegoat right Richard? So necessary, so predictable, in so violent a species. You were in the murdering field right? You are ex military, yes?

    Nobody addresses the nobody, because for the benefit of all, no one really wants to know. It is done.

  30. #31 by Shane Smith on April 24, 2009 - 6:58 pm

    wow.

    A real life greek sophist.

  31. #32 by Cliff on April 24, 2009 - 8:06 pm

    Glenn (Unlikely Stats),

    You are for arguing Realpolitik over Progressive thinking.

    We thank progressive thinking for among other era in many cultures, The Renaissance, The Enlightenment, The Election of Obama.

    We are willing to hold ourselves to a higher moral relativity and to suffer the sacrifices therein to nudge our civilization forward.

    That is the nub of the issue.

  32. #33 by jdberger on April 25, 2009 - 4:31 pm

    To summarize, jd thinks torture is OK unless someone can prove more than a hundred torture victims died.

    Here you go putting words in my mouth, again, Richard. It’s just like the bogus articles you regularly link to. You claim that they say something, yet when read, the articles never even come close to what you claim they support. It’s a rotten practice and intellectually dishonest.

  33. #34 by jdberger on April 25, 2009 - 4:34 pm

    Just for fun, Richard – how about a thought experiment.

    Can you think of ANY situation in which you would countenance waterboarding or any of the other enhanced interrogation methods?

    That is what we’re calling torture, right?

  34. #35 by unlikely stats on April 25, 2009 - 4:51 pm

    What is telling is how very little people from history, preferring to imagine themselves more capable of solving the worlds problems.

    Just because you are thinking progressively doesn’t mean the world strays from the reality of geo-politics and sound practices. For the best outcomes, realpolitik serves well as it performs as the world actually is, instead of how we would wish it to be.

    This is no Renaissance, what marked that time period was a tremendous accumulation of wealth that allowed particular city states to evolve for their people a more measured approach and less stress. Of course the fact that this wealth came at the hands of some terribly nefarious people (Guelphs, Medici) that made their living exploiting the wealth of the Earth and faraway lands. Let us keep in mind that war and assassination, daresay torture characterized much of the power struggles from whence the Renaissance came. It is where Machiavelli wrote the book defining rules of power, and how to survive.

    Fortunately despite their murdering natures the oligarchs of the time were great benefactors of the arts, which gave them their monuments, and means to aggrandizement.

    Nothing wrong with progress, just wishing in this day and age it had some semblance of paying its own way.

    Nudge away there, keeping in mind the world weighs billions of tons.

  35. #36 by Richard Warnick on April 25, 2009 - 4:54 pm

    Does anybody agree/disagree with General Taguba’s opinion that the Bush administration committed war crimes?

    unlikely–

    You claim that we kill people in war, so why not torture detainees? That’s the exact same reasoning Bush’s oh-so-clever lawyers tried to use. They, and you, apparently are not familiar with the phrase, “fate worse than death.”

    I would agree that all war crimes ought to be prosecuted, and Bush’s torture regime is just a subset of the administration’s war crimes.

    jd–

    Training at the US Navy Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School (SERE) includes waterboarding and some other torture methods for the purpose of familiarization. Because these methods are used on volunteers, not prisoners, and are not employed for the purpose of forcing them to make statements against their will, I would say this type of torture is legal (and so does the law).

    More info: Waterboarding is Torture, Period by Malcolm Nance

    Why are you so interested in supporting torture?

  36. #37 by unlikely stats on April 25, 2009 - 5:04 pm

    learn from…whoops.

  37. #38 by unlikely stats on April 25, 2009 - 6:01 pm

    “Why are you so interested in supporting torture”? I am beginning to agree with jd, you do have an element in dishonesty in your discourse Richard.

    Why are you so interested in knowing?

    In short, once you have made decisions to kill innocents as collateral damage torture, which I do not support, is small potatoes.

    Are you actually hoping that in the process of killing people, those left alive that know things won’t at times fall to coercion of whatever kind? I mean really you sound sort of psychotic, that you ondone the killing as necessary and without consequence, but somehow the forcing of information is somehow out of bounds.

    If you engage in killing people you are only kidding yourself that you somehow have a higher moral standard because you deign not to torture. War makes pigs of men, living in constant fear and stress will make madmen of many. To me anyone who condones war as option for anything less extreme… is a freak, and as I maintain, when the Pandora’s Box of war is opened, if you are dreaming about there being “rules” ask an Iraqi about that, or any of the thousands of soldiers blown up in IED explosions.

    I don’t support torture, but in the context of the past and now current empire building going on which is based on aggressive pre-emptive doctrines, then torture will be a part of that, no matter what we would all wish.

    It is as hard to avoid as meat flies about a rotting carcass.

  38. #39 by Cliff on April 25, 2009 - 6:27 pm

    Glenn, You do realize this statement goes against all conventional wisdom and unchallenged international law?

    If you engage in killing people you are only kidding yourself that you somehow have a higher moral standard because you deign not to torture.

    We in fact DO consider human suffering even in war.

    Which would you prefer? A bullet to the head or months of water boarding?

    The wrong answer would be a lie.

  39. #40 by unlikely stats on April 25, 2009 - 6:40 pm

    Water boarding doesn’t kill you apparently.

    Funny that despite all international law, we have a continuous flow of this kind of behavior. Whatever is considered by you is radically flawed in our own case. Cluster munitions are banned, Israel uses them all day, we make them, and so on. This grandstand against torture is embarrassing in the context of a nation that hook line and sinker has bombed all manner of people in pre-emption.

    So there is an international law, guess what? No one is obeying if they do not want to. Keeps the un in a job though, parasite that it is.

    We are currently engaged with an enemy in Afghanistan that cares nothing for these rules, as they attempt dis-empower those that are destroying their sovereignty and cultural mores, in short, against a foreign enemy. They do not care about your proselytizing. When perchance you get hold of an enemy, paint him war crimes, you can well excuse or at least ignore your own crimes.

  40. #41 by unlikely stats on April 26, 2009 - 7:45 am

    Which would anyone choose?

    Being waterboarded can end at the point you give your torturers what they want, if possible. If they then kill you anyway, even by accident (in torture) you have been murdered, as well as tortured. Waterboarding looks to be doable day to day,repeatedly,with the tortured surviving. Not supporting it, just saying done “professionally” the victims live.

    The trouble with the bullet to the head, it is a bit less negotiable when you come against it in a torturerer’s hands. It is a poor incremental motivator.

    So how do we stack the moral equation for the current decision by the Admin to continue to run drones and fire missiles remotely into suspected Taliban sites? This is resulting in a 70% civilian casualty rate. As the men flying these drones from locations in the States, or wherever, in complete pre-medidtation of the consequences, with the obvious goal that killing Taliban leaders is far more important than innocents being targeted in the same event. Torture. If I had to think about that every night as a kid, or woman, or tribesman it could taint my view of America.

    From where I sit, we are not looking much different under Obama.

  41. #42 by rmwarnick on April 26, 2009 - 10:19 am

    unlikely–

    It’s not dishonest to expose the objective position someone else is taking, but won’t admit it. That’s what I like to do, get the arguments out in the open. Others obfuscate.

    You’re short on facts. Waterboarding is the same as drowning, and it can kill the victim if the torture isn’t stopped in time. Of course, the goal is to almost kill you, again and again. Six times a day for a whole month, in the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohamed –as we now know, thanks to the ACLU. Hence the “fate worse than death.”

  42. #43 by jdberger on April 26, 2009 - 11:37 am

    Richard – First, don’t speak for me. It’s dishonest. Don’t claim that I said things when I did not.

    Second, please answer the question:

    jdberger Says:

    April 25th, 2009 at 4:34 pm
    Just for fun, Richard – how about a thought experiment.

    Can you think of ANY situation in which you would countenance waterboarding or any of the other enhanced interrogation methods?

  43. #44 by Richard Warnick on April 26, 2009 - 12:08 pm

    jd–

    I certainly did answer your question. You apparently did not read the answer.

    Then I asked you a question. Would you like to answer my question?

  44. #45 by jdberger on April 26, 2009 - 8:17 pm

    My question:

    jdberger Says:

    April 25th, 2009 at 4:34 pm
    Just for fun, Richard – how about a thought experiment.

    Can you think of ANY situation in which you would countenance waterboarding or any of the other enhanced interrogation methods?

    your “answer”:

    jd–

    Training at the US Navy Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School (SERE) includes waterboarding and some other torture methods for the purpose of familiarization. Because these methods are used on volunteers, not prisoners, and are not employed for the purpose of forcing them to make statements against their will, I would say this type of torture is legal (and so does the law).

    This is your answer?

    Could that be distilled to “only on volunteers”?

  45. #46 by Richard Warnick on April 27, 2009 - 12:22 pm

    jd–

    Who would you waterboard? Inquiring minds want to know. Do you think torturers and torture conspirators ought to pay the price for breaking the law?

    And why are you so interested in supporting torture?

  46. #47 by jdberger on April 27, 2009 - 1:13 pm

    Still dodging the question, huh?

    Can you think of ANY situation in which you would countenance waterboarding or any of the other enhanced interrogation methods?

  47. #48 by Richard Warnick on April 27, 2009 - 1:17 pm

    I answered that question. Can YOU answer it? What do you think, jd?

  48. #49 by jdberger on April 27, 2009 - 1:30 pm

    You did? Where?

    Can you re-answer it – because I’m sure that you dodged it with some speil about SEAL candidates.

    Can you think of ANY situation in which you would countenance waterboarding or any of the other enhanced interrogation methods?

  49. #50 by Cliff on April 27, 2009 - 4:24 pm

    JD,

    I’ll answer that; NO.

    When you torture, BECAUSE its torture, you cannot trust the information because when you torture someone, they will say anything to get you to stop.

  50. #51 by Richard Warnick on April 27, 2009 - 9:13 pm

    jd–

    Your question has been answered, truthfully in a straightforward manner. No, I’m not going to “re-answer it.” If you didn’t understand the answer, that’s your problem.

    I’d really like to know YOUR answer to your own question, but it seems you are afraid to give it.

  51. #52 by jdberger on April 28, 2009 - 9:34 am

    Thank you Cliff for the straightfoward answer (I’m impressed). I appreciate your honesty (though I don’t consider things like stress positions and sleep deprivation “torture”).

    Richard, I’m curious. Why do you continue to dissemble? Why can’t you give a straight answer without all the dodging?

    Can you think of ANY situation in which you would countenance waterboarding or any of the other enhanced interrogation methods?

  52. #53 by Richard Warnick on April 28, 2009 - 1:54 pm

    jd–

    I gave a straight answer. Not dodging. I will not “re-answer.” Why can’t you answer your own question?

    Also, do you agree with Major General Taguba that we know war crimes were committed by the Bush administration?

  53. #54 by jdberger on April 28, 2009 - 2:40 pm

    I did, Richard.

    I don’t agree with your contention that “we know war crimes were committed by the Bush administration”.

    Are you also suggesting that Gen. Taguba said that? Would you be so kind as to provide a link (and if it’s to a 300 page document, a page number)?

    Your “straight answer” is not. It’s a bunch of evasive gobbledegook about SERE training.

    Can you think of ANY situation in which you would countenance waterboarding or any of the other enhanced interrogation methods?

  54. #55 by Richard Warnick on April 28, 2009 - 2:49 pm

    General Taguba told the Senate Armed Services Committee, “there is no longer any doubt as to whether the [Bush] administration has committed war crimes.” See the link in the post above.

    When would you countenance waterboarding and other forms of torture, jd?

  55. #56 by jdberger on April 28, 2009 - 3:04 pm

    General Taguba told the Senate Armed Services Committee, “there is no longer any doubt as to whether the [Bush] administration has committed war crimes.” See the link in the post above.

    Show us. You’ve a piss-poor record regarding this type of thing Richard. You’ll have to earn that sort of trust.

    I (and Nancy Pelosi) do not accept your definition of torture, Richard.

    Answer the fooking question. Are you really that much of a Milquetoast that you can’t answer a question, Richard?

    Can you think of ANY situation in which you would countenance waterboarding or any of the other enhanced interrogation methods?

  56. #57 by Richard Warnick on April 28, 2009 - 3:10 pm

    jd–

    I took a closer look at the McClatchy article I originally linked to, and while the findings of General Taguba’s investigation are extensively cited in the Senate Armed Services Committee report, the quotation is from General Taguba’s preface to another report, by Physicians for Human Rights. The post has been amended accordingly.

    The fact remains that General Taguba is the highest ranking official to accuse the Bush administration of war crimes.

    I can do this all day. I answered your question, jd. Now I would like to have YOUR answer to the same question. Can you justify illegal torture?

    In case you’re fuzzy on the legal definition of torture: U.S. Code Title 18, Chapter 113C § 2340.

  57. #58 by jdberger on April 28, 2009 - 3:20 pm

    Excellent, Richard. I commend your venture into journalistic integrity.

    Are you going to amend the “108 deaths due to torture” fallacy, too?

    Richard, your answer is a non-answer. It doesn’t speak to the question. It’s a dodge.

    Let’s try this again:

    My question:

    jdberger Says:

    April 25th, 2009 at 4:34 pm
    Just for fun, Richard – how about a thought experiment.

    Can you think of ANY situation in which you would countenance waterboarding or any of the other enhanced interrogation methods?

    your “answer”:

    jd–

    Training at the US Navy Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School (SERE) includes waterboarding and some other torture methods for the purpose of familiarization. Because these methods are used on volunteers, not prisoners, and are not employed for the purpose of forcing them to make statements against their will, I would say this type of torture is legal (and so does the law).

    This is your answer?

    Could that be distilled to “only on volunteers”?

    I’m not making a legal/illegal distinction, Richard.

    I’m only asking if you could think of ANY situation in which you would countenance waterboarding or any of the other enhanced interrogation methods?

  58. #59 by Richard Warnick on April 28, 2009 - 3:26 pm

    jd–

    I’m no journalist, I’m a blogger. I tell the truth without fear or favor.

    There is no doubt more than 108 detainees have died under torture– no, we don’t have proof yet. Some secrets are still secret.

    And yes, the SERE example is my answer. All other torture is illegal under federal law and international treaties. It ought to go without saying that I do not countenance illegal torture.

    So, jd, how many times do I have to ask you? Under what circumstances (if any) would you advocate the illegal torturing of detainees? Do you agree or disagree with General Taguba?

  59. #60 by jdberger on April 28, 2009 - 3:41 pm

    I disagree with the General (I disagreed with MacArthur, too).

    I’d use Dershowitz’s “ticking time bomb” scenario to determine whether people should be illegally tortured, Richard. Those are pretty exigent circumstances.

    I disagree with your contention that what is done in the SERE program is torture (so does Nancy Pelosi).

    Regarding your answer, if a member of your family was locked in an airtight box, and the person you had in front of you locked them in the box and had the combination to the box, that you wouldn’t use harsh methods to extract the information?

    What if the locked box contained a new more virulent form of measles set to infect the water supply of a large city?

    You wouldn’t countenance harsh and maybe illegal methods to stop it?

    Would you at least try the SERE methods?

    Honestly?

  60. #61 by jdberger on April 28, 2009 - 3:42 pm

    Oh yeah…you owe me a monitor for this one….

    I’m no journalist, I’m a blogger. I tell the truth without fear or favor.

    LMAO

  61. #62 by Richard Warnick on April 28, 2009 - 3:46 pm

    jd– Here ya go, one monitor…

    You and Alan Dershowitz both watch “24″ too much. I quit early in season two. I have no idea what Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s views are, nor do I care. She’s not an expert on intelligence interrogation either.

    It so happens that something quite close to the fictional “ticking time bomb” scenario was encountered by military interrogators in Iraq who had the job of finding where IEDs were planted before it was too late. One interrogator has said that torture never paid off. Standard interrogation techniques often produced good intelligence.

  62. #63 by jdberger on April 28, 2009 - 7:38 pm

    You are right, Richard.

    Standard interrogation usually works very well. That’s why it’s employed first. The Field Manual is a wonderful resource.

    Not every scenario can be solved by the Field Manual, though.

  63. #64 by Richard Warnick on April 28, 2009 - 8:41 pm

    jd–

    Jack Bauer doesn’t have to worry about violating federal law, he’s a fictional character. Real-life torturers face 20 years in prison, or the death penalty if any of their victims die.

  64. #65 by jdberger on April 28, 2009 - 9:20 pm

    Yes they can.

    What’s with this obsession with a fictional character, Richard?

    So – back to the question:

    Regarding your answer, if a member of your family was locked in an airtight box, and the person you had in front of you locked them in the box and had the combination to the box, that you wouldn’t use harsh methods to extract the information?

    What if the locked box contained a new more virulent form of measles set to infect the water supply of a large city?

    You wouldn’t countenance harsh and maybe illegal methods to stop it?

    Would you at least try the SERE methods?

    Honestly?

  65. #66 by Richard Warnick on April 29, 2009 - 6:25 am

    jd–

    Your ridiculous hypothetical is fiction, and “24″ is fiction. BTW, you never told me why you are so in love with torture.

  66. #67 by jdberger on April 29, 2009 - 3:13 pm

    Richard.

    Of course my hypothetical is fiction.

    It’s a HYPOTHETICAL question.

    Answer?

    And I’ve explained to you that I think torture is abhorrent, as well as war. Sometimes real life interferes with Utopia.

  67. #68 by Richard Warnick on April 29, 2009 - 4:26 pm

    jd–

    I’m sure I’ve said it here before. I don’t answer hypotheticals. Also, I don’t watch “24.”

    In the real world, General Taguba investigated what was done to the detainees and concluded the Bush administration planned and committed war crimes.

  68. #69 by jdberger on April 29, 2009 - 4:44 pm

    Your whole top post is a hypothetical, Richard.

    The memos were responses to hypothetical questions.

    I submit that you’re chicken. You realize that an honest answer damages your argument. That’s a shame – that you can’t be truthful with yourself.

    I do not understand your repeated references to “24″ or how they are salient.

    In the real world, General Taguba has an opinion. He is neither a prosecutor nor a judge. His conclusion, is hypothetical.

  69. #70 by Richard Warnick on April 29, 2009 - 5:43 pm

    jd–

    What are you talking about? The torture of detainees, we now know, was going on before any of the top secret OLC memos were written.

    General Taguba didn’t investigate “hypothetical” crimes. People went to prison.

    You are living in a fantasy world based on the TV show “24,” where torture gets results within minutes and nobody goes to jail for violating the laws against torture and war crimes.

  70. #71 by Cliff on April 29, 2009 - 6:14 pm

    Its become quite obvious from newly revealed facts in recent days, the the torture began before the invasion of Iraq for the exclusive purpose of obtaining ANY confession that could be used to connect Saddam with AQ.

    Duh

  71. #72 by Cliff on April 29, 2009 - 6:22 pm

    Dont make me read back through the thread.

    Has JD ever admitted to a reason for his pathological defense of illegal torture conducted by our military personnel?

  72. #73 by jdberger on April 30, 2009 - 12:27 am

    What are you talking about? The torture of detainees, we now know, was going on before any of the top secret OLC memos were written.

    Torture or enhanced interrogation?

    General Taguba didn’t investigate “hypothetical” crimes. People went to prison.

    And these were Bush Administration officials? No. That’s why claiming the Bush Administration tortured people is an opinion.

    You are living in a fantasy world based on the TV show “24,” where torture gets results within minutes

    Ad hominem. Appeal to Consequences of a Belief.

    What’s with your obsession with “24″? It’s fiction, you know. Jack Bauer isn’t a real person, Richard.

  73. #74 by jdberger on April 30, 2009 - 12:48 am

    What are you talking about? The interrogation of detainees, we now know, was going on before any of the top secret OLC memos were written.

    I wasn’t aware of this.
    Evidence? Just looking for a link.

  74. #75 by Richard Warnick on April 30, 2009 - 8:24 am

    jd–

    Didn’t have much time for links yesterday, I was up in the mountains at Snowbird for a conference, and using a laptop on battery.

    Did the actual torture of detainees precede the OLC memos that purported to make torture legal? Yup.

    Man claims torture before U.S. memo OK’d it
    DOJ Watchdog Report Suggested Zubaydah’s Torture Predated Bybee Memo

  75. #76 by Cliff on April 30, 2009 - 8:34 am

    Ooops, JD,

    My apologies. I thought you knew.

  76. #77 by jdberger on April 30, 2009 - 9:58 am

    Thank you for the link, Richard.

    The article is speculative at best.

    Hope you enjoyed Snowbird. I’ve never been there. The furthest I’ve been is Brian Head. My family has a little place there. Beautiful dry snow.

  77. #78 by Cliff on April 30, 2009 - 5:56 pm

    Shameless.

    “Such potential that JD” uttered once and hence no doubt.

(will not be published)


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