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Readers Interrogate Torture Memos

Our Readers Who Comment are exercised this morning about Joby Warrick's report that the Bush White House, in response to a CIA request, issued memos specifically endorsing "interrogation techniques such as waterboarding."

The majority of the comments reflect significant disapproval of those techniques and distress that the United States has used them, with White House approval. Some call for impeachment proceedings -- a standard suggestion in comments on articles about the War on Terror or the war in Iraq. Some readers point to President Bush's 2005 statement that "We do not torture."

There are also defenders of rugged interrogation. Those comments usually express an eye-for-an-eye element.

We'll start with cmckeonjr , who wrote, "In other words, they wanted to be able to say they were just 'following orders.' "

And MichelleH said, "We have become what we fear the most...we are the terrorists. Our elected officials have betrayed everything America stands for and they need to be criminally charged, tried on war crimes."

But Thozmaniac wrote, "...I'm much more concerned about the way Allied prisoners are beheaded, dismembered, and/or burned to death than I am of an enemy combatant getting waterboarded, teased, or made to wear panties on his head."

And speedo1 said, "Not sure why we care how they get the information just so we get the information and inflict maximum pain on the terrorists."

markswisshelm predicted that "Bush will without question pardon the higher ups. Low level operatives are going to fall hard."

treetopflyer wrote, "These CIA pigs make me want to puke. They weren't worried about whether what they were doing was right or wrong, only about saving their own hides if they got caught..."

nowhine said, "Its a sad day when we lower ourselves to use tactics the bad guys use....The founding fathers would be ashamed of this, as we all should be."

AussieFred wrote, "If other countries did it, it would be called 'torture'. When the USA does it, it's called 'a legitimate interrogation technique'. That's because the USA wear the white hats ... isn't that how it works?" said, "...Those high level Al-Queda captives now at Guantanmo were not initially waterboarded. It was only after other methods... did not work, that more extreme methods were used... Relivant intelligence can get stale quite quickly you know..."

pennv wrote, "I sure hope I am around to hear the blame game when we are attacked again by those terrorists who certainly didn't respect any of our American rights...these same folks will be screaming that the government did nothing to protect them. Damned if you do, and damned if you don't..."

danigo, suggested that "There is stil time to impeach the incompetent fools. Impeachment is merciful since their crimes are criminal and deserve jail time."

JackN said, "...Shouldn't the responsible White House signatory be brought to justice in the World Court? Other such criminals have been pursued and brought to justice. Or do only American presidents enjoy sovereign immunity?"

And RichardCheeseman asked, "When will the Washington Post editorial board call for the Bush regime torturers to be brought to justice?..."

bjkalmba said, "It's 'interesting' how the press began referring to water-boarding as an "interrogation technique" during the Bush Administration. Before that, it seems, it had always referred to this "technique" as a form of torture."

bpai_99 wrote, "...Everyone already knows the Bush Administration authorized and encouraged torture. This is not news. If you think it is, here's another news flash for you - they got away with it."

And nallcando asked, "...if Bush gave permission to torture. Why did we prosecute the lowest ranking men and women soldiers, who were ordered to carry out the abuse??..."

jimarush seconded the motion, writing, "It is bad enough that the president endorsed the use of torture violating the Geneva Conventions what makes it worse is he and his cohorts, Cheney, Rice etc cowardly hid behind a national security facade and allowed those who carried out their orders get thrown under the bus..."

Pearl77 said, "The biggest crime here is that Pelosi will not allow articles of impeachment to be brought against Bush and Cheney. If these atrocities go unpunished it will send a signal to the next necon cowboy that "anything goes" is still permissible..."

Barnes848 wrote, "What amazes me about all this is that if any OTHER country was putting these techniques into effect against OUR troops and agents, we would be screaming holy hell!... We put our own people in very big trouble when they are captured if we do this and then defend it on the international stage."

We'll close with EnemyOfTheState, who saw a ray of light in writing "This news about the torture isn't a surprise anymore, but it is surprising some bonehead saved the memo approving it. Fortunately, even in this twisted world, the truth still comes out."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  October 15, 2008; 7:54 AM ET
Categories:  Bush , CIA , Torture , Waterboarding  | Tags: Bush, CIA, Torture, Waterboarding  
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The use of torture shows the same lack of ethics as does the greed of our fallen financial sector.

How can we talk about human rights in Saudi Arabia or China when we officially endorse the unnecessary and brutal use of torture and rendition in our own ranks?

Hopefully some other country will have the courage to bring up war crime charges against the Bush administration and Nancy Pelosi. For turning a blind eye to these crimes Pelosi is as guilty as those who bound prisoner's arms and poured the water.

We are no longer a democracy, but an oligarchy of elite politicians and business leaders, handing down power from parent to child with no constraint. How wonderful it is that Christopher Buckley stood against empire as his father once did. For few other do these days.

Posted by: don1one | October 16, 2008 1:27 AM | Report abuse

"But, quality reliable actionable information was obtained from these actions. So, could it actually have been torture?"

Chill just went up my spine. No lie.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 15, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Just a few years back, enemy combatants were called "prisoners of war". 'What a difference a day makes', as they say.
Of course, back then we also understood that not every grunt we swept up off the ground during battle would be "the number 2 guy".

Reminds me of the Carlin routine on "Shell shock"...

Similarly, even the medieval English knew torture didn't produce reliable information. They just did it to stave off boredom, really.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 15, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

But, quality reliable actionable information was obtained from these actions?


I hope you have beautiful, free, and happy children please raise them NOT TO TORTURE people....for any reason.

Posted by: SwiftWaterboarders | October 15, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Torture doesn't produce quality reliable information. Agreed. But, quality reliable actionable information was obtained from these actions. So, could it actually have been torture? A reasonable question hoping for a reasonable response, not some hypothetical nonsensical "what if" scenario. My kids, when I have them, won't be terrorists. I have no concerns about that. If you do, you should reevaluate how you are raising yours.

Posted by: Dem Supporting the USA | October 15, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

read this book: The Torture Team. It's in your public library.

The author lays out the recipe for an easy war crimes conviction for Jim Haynes, the VP, david addington, all the senior leadership at guantanamo, the prez, gonzales, and now the CIA legal team and tenet

Posted by: frank | October 15, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Could save thousands of lives? What if that person was your son? What if he was mistakenly identified as a terrorist? What would he say? "ANYTHING" Where would that leave us? Still breaking laws and still in trouble. We all support America. We just don't support TORTURE! Do you? It’s a slippery slope as we have all seen from Abu ghraib….enjoy the ride….

Posted by: swiftWaterboarders | October 15, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

When did Article 3 of the Geneva Convention start to apply to civilian activities? My understanding is that it only applies to uniformed military actions? Who defines the terms humiliating and degrading? What is the standard for outrages against personal dignity? It is easy to condemn a description of an act that is not based in fact. Is it really humiliating, degrading, or an outrage against personal dignity to pour water on the face of a person who possesses information the disclosure of which could save thousands of lives? Wake up, people. Your attitudes are why Obama isn't running away with this election. People don't trust us to defend America's security. Where are all the concerned Democrats who have argued against our loss of liberty by the Patriot Act's provisions, who are eagerly supporting the loss of our liberties through this Economic Bail Out?

Posted by: Concerned Dem Supporting USA | October 15, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Lasting physical pain? That’s not what article 3 of the Geneva Convention states...

(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

(b) Taking of hostages;

(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;

(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

Let he who is without a Brain determine the word lasting... The CIA and this administration "BROKE THE LAW" they should be tried and then no lasting pain should be heaped upon them and their supporters.

Posted by: SwiftWaterboarders | October 15, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Stupid policies from stupid people,
just look at their economic policies...
Does anyone need anymore empiricial evidence of their stupidity then that?

I don't think so.
Cased closed.

Posted by: Steve Real | October 15, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

So it is less cruel and more humane to kill the terrorists than to capture them and try to gain information from them through methods that do not impose lasting physical pain? I just don't understand the "Damn America First" crowd. The CIA apparently wanted the White House to provide its political support to this program, so that the CIA wouldn't be left holding the blame, when the liberals and their friends in the press found out about it and started looking for someone to blame. If we are going to impeach the President for defending America in a time of war, then we ought to impeach Nancy Pelosi, Jane Harman, John D. Rockefeller, Bob Graham, Carl Levin...all of whom were briefed on the program and approved the methods.

Posted by: Patriot | October 15, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

"ANYONE" who thinks Torture is acceptable because we are doing it to the "bad guy's" and they do much worse to us, is forgetting one simple truth. We are supposed to be better than that, we are AMERICAN dam it! Not some Scum sucking torturers who have "NO BRAINS" if they had any brains they'd know there is no actionable intelligence garnished from someone who would say anything to stop the pain. I always knew CIA was an oxymoron.

Posted by: SwiftWaterboarders | October 15, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

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