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It's Officially Torture

Our Readers Who Comment are in a stew over Bob Woodward's story that a retired judge, responsible for deciding whether to bring Guantanamo Bay detainees to trial, has decided that "We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani" and that she would not allow his prosecution to go forward.

Qahtani was denied entry to the United States a month before 9/11 and is alleged to be the plot's 20th hijacker. He has been held at Guantanamo since January 2002.

Readers at this hour -- and the comments are coming in rapidly -- seems almost equally divided on whether torture is justified. It's an angry debate with some suggesting the United States has lost the moral high ground, others stating that national security sometimes demands such things and some seeking revenge, pure and simple. Not our finest hour.

We'll start with johnbsmrk, who wrote, "So much for Bush's claim that "we don't torture."... I don't dispute this is a bad guy but it's all counter productive. At the very least it demonstrates that the US govt lies about torture and this will be blasted all over the muslim world. Now we can't try the guy because the whole process is tainted..."

But ObamaTheOrganGrinderMonkey said, "Good. I hope he suffered."

To which marecek replied, "It is persons like this who give me certainty that I have taken the correct position in vehemently opposing Bush's policies and supporting Obama... Do we really want to be known as that great nation which, at the peak of its power, threw off its commitment to the rule of law and civilized conduct in order to sate our thirst for revenge?..."

beastlet wrote, "pleasant surprise to see intelligent life amongst the republican brass."

jvandeswaluw1 wondered, "When torture is allowed in the military prisons, then I wonder what's going on in the civilian prisons!!"

RichardCheeseman wrote, "Question 1: why didn't this judge who found that soldiers had committed the crime of torture seek to have the torturers prosecuted? Question 2: why didn't Woodward ask question 1?"

JBGJRESQ seconded the motion, wondering, "Who will be prosecuted for ordering and performing torture?"

wandererfromoz asked, "Whatever happened to the phrase 'you must never return evil for evil'?... Lost in sunday school somewhere?...i wonder how the eternal is going to judge all of this?"

Edmele wrote, "We are no better than the Nazis in WWII who violated the Geneva Conventions with POWs. And some would continue to justify the loss of our moral integrity."

got2surf wrote, "...Anything done against us can now be justified by our enemies. We have lost the high ground..."

r92531 said, "As a combat vet My feelings run in the arena of do what you have to in order to get the info needed & never release for they will repeat. Retain or terminate."

And edlharris wrote, "terrorists that capture Americans behead then on video or hang them from bridges and set them on fire while alive. Forgive me if I'm not bothered by this "rough" treatment of a non-uniformed terrorist..."

GMHeller asked, "Are we actually supposed to feel sympathy for this fellow who was to be part of the 9/11 attacks?... Enough with the Liberal bleeding hearts. Al-Queda declared war on us first, not the other way around."

To which kungfupanda2009 replied, "GMHeller, Did you just come out from the nuthouse?"

nychap44, doubtless encouraged by the return of Jack Bauer to our TV screens, wrote, "If torturing terrorists enables our military to get the job done then torturing the terrorists is fine with me. Don't you watch 24?"

treetopflyer said, "Traitor! What kind of a judge upholds the rule of law and the Constitution? What kind of spineless coward believes that before you protect something, you need to have something to protect? Where are the REAL patriot judges, the ones who believe the only way to protect our freedoms is to take them away?..."

But afblueyonder wrote,"Torture? Torture is the men and women dying in the World Trade Center. Till the day I die, I will always have the vision of a man falling to his death. So convince me how sleep deprivation and waterboarding compares to what happened at the World Trade Center."

harkadahl said, "...What will be very interesting and telling is the public's reaction to the incontrovertible truth that America tortures people. Many in the Republican "army" (GOP supporters) will dispense with the charade that they care at all about the reputation or moral conscience of their country, and will openly support torture for people that are Muslim. Many Americans will tell themselves they don't mind torture that much after all if it makes them feel safer for all of 10 minutes. Its decision time: what kind of people are you?"

We'll close with jeffh77, who wrote, "Unaddressed is did torturing this man produce any good intelligence or prevent any attack. It seems unlikely. The embrace of immoral tactics to prevent immoral behavior is the sad irony of Gitmo."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  January 14, 2009; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Guantanamo , Intelligence , Military , Torture , Waterboarding  | Tags: Guantanamo, Military, Torture, Waterboarding  
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