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Torture, Cheney, and Revenge

Our Readers Who Comment are in a nasty word war this morning about whether the harsh interrogation techniques (torture) of the Bush administration should be investigated, which many Democrats want to do.

As Dan Balz and Perry Bacon Jr. report, this comes as the White House has tried to contain the controversy over President Obama's decision to release Justice Department memos justifying those techniques.

Readers suggest that the release was an act of treason by the president or exactly the right thing to do. They suggest that former Vice President Richard B. Cheney, who has criticized Obama, is either a hero or a villain. Some clearly want revenge for 9-11 and see no problem with any action that achieves that end.

And several say, "hold on folks -- what about the economy? We have enormous problems to face that don't need the distraction of this conversation."

After our Readers Who Comment spent a long night throwing word-laden partisan mud pies at each other, two brief comments pretty well sum up the debate:

observer23 wrote, "Those who want to suppress investigations want to hide their wrongdoing. It's that simple."

And mclovin said, "This country doesn't have enough problems? Obama is essentially a centrist who's being swayed by the left."

johne37179 wrote, "Bush hating is being elevated to a new level by the Democrats on the Hill... since this is nothing but gotcha politics, it is a disservice to the country at a time when we at least need congress to take the time to read the legislation they vote on."

chrisfox8 said, "If the guilty are not punished then there will be nothing to deter future Republican presidents from indulging in sadism in the name of national security... No immunity for anyone involved, and to complete the closure we need to see Cheney and Bush themselves in the docket, and in prison."

But freepost wrote, "Congress needs to step up and invoke impeachment proceedings against Obama... for crimes of treason against the United States. President Obama swore an oath to "protect and defend the Constitution of the United States". The release of classified documents revealing interrogation techniques during war compromises the nation's ability to effectively fight the various conflicts and endangers the American public..."

Cowabunga said, "Congress has enough on it's plate already... You know, FDA protecting our food, FAA our air travel, MSHA protecting mine workers, and OMG, here's the big here people, Department of Justice enforcing our laws. Stay out of it Congress, you had your chance already and blew it."

tsapp77 wrote, "The Congress was briefed at every turn. The Dems will also be put under oath. They will wish that they had never heard of the community organizer from Chicago."

gsms69 said, "...The situation [Obama] has gotten himself into... is going to aleinate the very people who helped him get the Presidency. He is blind to the most important block of voters, the independents. He is allowing the fringe of his party to control his policy... His leadership skills now seem to be in question. This long-time Democrat is very discouraged..."

cwcrosby42 asked, "...Is there any chance this is a distraction, to take our minds of the ongoing financial debacle?... Either start reporting on important things or get a new job. We are getting tired of hearing this stuff."

OhNoMore wrote, "Bottom line is, when terrorists enter this country and infiltrate and stage themselves to destroy anything and everything they can without fear of dying themselves, all bets are off. I am glad our CIA did what was necesary to keep us free of additional attacks. I fear that the current leadership is inviting another attack on american soil. We are being sold out"

saunterer said, "Look for the right-wing wind machine to try to shift focus away from the Bush Administration's violations of the Geneva Conventions and the War Crimes Act, and onto the Obama Administration's PR decisions..."

IrishEyes2 wrote, "...I can see that a whole lot of people in this country are not going to stand for this ultra-left farce fueled by the media. I don't care WHAT they did to get information... Contrast that to our kids being beheaded on the internet! Bodies on fire leaping 50 stories from a building slammed by a JET! These ultra-lefts do not even WANT to know what was done during WWII to keep our guys safe..."

PattyMoskowitz said, "As an American, I am embarrassed and deeply offended that the Bush administration has been told they will get away with these acts... Bypassing the criminal acts of the Bush administration only sweeps them under that large rug in the Oval Office. Lumps will continue to trip those who walk over it."

bnw173 wrote, "...They will never have a serious investigation to get the big folks. Too many Dems signed off on torture. Just same old partisan political BS. Of course the electorate will never notice. It has already forgotten the bonus fiasco? Remember?"

gkiltz said,. "You don't get ahead by getting even! Let's move on, shall we? There is so much to accomplish!"

TAbramczyk wrote, "The bottom line is...we were not attacked after 9/11 under Bush. The ball is now in Obama's court. If we are attacked under his watch, it will be due to his inability to demonstrate strong leadership..."

We'll close with Oblio, who asked, "As a country, are we so weak and scared that we have to torture just so we can feel "safe"? How about doing the right thing even if it is a little scary and may make us a little less "safe"?"

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  April 23, 2009; 7:31 AM ET
Categories:  Democrats , Obama , Republicans , Torture  | Tags: Democrats, Obama, Republicans, Torture  
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Next: Class Warfare and Taxes

Comments

All of us Americans have blood on our hands.

What should we do?

Posted by: Mental5 | April 27, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for the break...

Also we need to assure our allies that the activities of the former administration were an aberration and did NOT reflect American values.

America does not torture. America Does not kill innocent people.

America is sorry we killed over 100,000 innocent Iraqis.

Posted by: Mental5 | April 27, 2009 12:27 AM | Report abuse

This talk should explore what we as a super power should be doing. A fast and loose president used all his shiny military toys to teach a country a lesson for attacking us. We killed over 100,000 of the idiots! The only problem is it turned out Iraq did not attack us.

So we killed over 100,000 men, women and children by mistake.

OOPS! So sorry. But you guys needed democracy anyway so we implemented it while we were killing.

In the mean time, we absolutely did not torture. Screw the definition in encyclopedias. Oh and illegal wiretapping? No worries.

The non-nuclear war toys we provide to our leaders need more oversite as they have gotten really, really effective (as in 100,000+ Iraqi deaths).

We also need to apologize to the world and prosecute now.

Also, we need to

Posted by: Mental5 | April 27, 2009 12:16 AM | Report abuse

It is amazing how the liberals amongst us can see any further than their own misguided interests. Simple logic would dictate that if you push hard enough to get this issue to an international court, which every administration has sought to avoid, Obama and his administration will be the next ones on trial. TECHNICALLY they are guilty of a "war crime" if ANY CIVILIANS WERE KILLED during their authorized missile attacks on the Taliban. If you honestly think any country can get a fair UNBIASED trial in an international court, you better take another sabbatical. All prosperous democratic countries are despised by the countries that aren't. The sooner you realize that, you will wake up...I hope. This action will give every unfriendly nation to attack us for every little issue they deem unfair. It is best to focus your hatred of Bush somewhere else. "WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND" applies here.

Posted by: ROYSTOLL2 | April 26, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

It makes me sad to see so many people wanting to twist the argument to align with their political views.

Upon inauguration every President has to swear to uphold the US Constitution, which comprises a long list of do's and don't's. If the executive (which is led by the President) fails to do that or even deliberately flouts it, then there has to be a day of reckoning, otherwise the constitution isn't worth the parchment it was originally written on.

No one can be above the law, GOP, Democrats or even Bull Mooses.

Posted by: PricklyPearNumberOne | April 26, 2009 5:17 AM | Report abuse

If Americans should be excused for torturing prisoners then should all torturers be able to plead the 'American Defence' in order to avoid a trial ans/or a conviction.

I prefer standards and accountability , responsibility and transparency for everyone including Americans.

Cheney is fighting a rear guard action to stop trials proceeding. If convictions are obtained then Cheney and Bush will necessarily be convicted of behaving cruelly, unjustifiably and indecently even if they are not personally tried.

By the way, how many prisoners were killed or permanently injured (physically and psychologically, by America's torture methods? Were any apologies handed out to prisoners who had nothing to offer even though they were tortured? How about compensation?

It seems that America justifies torture on the basis of suspicion that the prisoner might have something crucial to offer his tormentors.

Torture is unprincipled. So far, I have not heard any compelling justifications.

For those who believe in torture just let us know how you decide who should be tortured and for how long and how often.

If you get the decision to torture wrong because nothing worthwhile flows from it, should you be subject to trial and imprisonment? If not, why not? When should you be responsible for the consequences of your actions (cruelty)?

Posted by: robertjames1 | April 26, 2009 1:32 AM | Report abuse

Okay its time to put the Emperor (Cheney) in jail or start a civil suit against him along with Feith, Wolfowitz, Perle, Rove, Hadley and Libby. Assemble a Grand Jury. Play them the numerous tapes of Cheney saying that “we know that Mohammad Atta was in Prague meeting with a known Iraqi Intelligence agent”. Lock that in since it’s a statement of belief and “truth” on his part as the Vice President and used to justify the invasion of Iraq. You may want to actually have Cheney in the Grand Jury when the tapes are played, and have him affirm his statements under oath. Remember, linking the 9/11 attacks by Bin Ladin to Saddam Hussein is the purpose of his statements. Many Americans believe sadly to this day that Saddam had a direct role in the 9/11 attacks, which is a total lie. Also, introduce into evidence the various speeches to the American public and the United Nations by Bush and Powell, about Iraq’s WMD assemblage, which came from the flawed source “Curveball” whom Cheney and the aforementioned defendants, knew was false. Then put in the various intelligence agency analysts who were all saying the WMD intel was flawed and there was no connection between Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. Then subpoena from the FBI the photographs of “Atta meeting with a known Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague” which were taken by the Czech Intelligence Service, provided to the CIA, and given to the FBI Agents assigned to the CIA’s Alec Station (as learned on the PBS NOVA show “The Spy Factory”) for analysis by the FBI Laboratory. Subpeona these agents and those at the lab. Get the FBI Lab report which concludes that it is not Atta in the photographs. Then have Cheney review the lab report in front of the Grand Jury, under oath, to affirm that he read it BEFORE he uttered his lies publically. Then get your True Bill indicting him for False Statements, and perhaps Treason. Then the wounded and maimed in Iraq could perhaps sue this cabal for their errors. To sweep this injustice under the rug is an absolute aberration. If America won’t do it, perhaps that Spanish judge Balthazar Garzon will.

Posted by: Punji | April 25, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

My response to those who have said that "we should move on" and not investigate and prosecute these acts of torture, or who say that the motivation of those calling for criminal prosecution is that they just didn't like the Bush administration is: ARE YOU SERIOUS? We're talking about TORTURE here folks, the most barbarically cruel thing along with murder that human beings can do to one another. Words cannot describe how angry it makes me that people would want to sweep these criminal acts under the rug. What if it was you or your family who had been tortured? Would you want it to just be forgotten about and the perpetrators let off scot-free?

I think there's more than a little racism involved on the part of some opponents of prosecuting these crimes--i.e., since those who were (and maybe are still being) tortured are generally Arab or Muslim, they must 1) therefore have been guilty of something and 2) since they were some of "those people" who did something wrong, they therefore deserved to be tortured. But many of these folks were never charged with anything, and some of them were tortured with the absurd goal of getting them to "confess" that the Iraqi government was involved in 9/11, so Bush et al. would have yet another false pretext for invading Iraq.

The other thing that makes me really angry about all this is the double standard involved--the fact that just because people are or were officials in the US government, they are allowed by others in the government to get away with crimes that ordinary people would spend a very long time in jail for.

Posted by: meltonj1 | April 25, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

One of the signal hypocrisies of conservatives like Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly is that they are all for enforcing the rule of law until it comes to investigating them. Then, all of a sudden they begin to sound just like the moral relativists of the left they so eagerly decry. Both men have found themselves in compromising positions when their own criminal activities were under investigation--O'Reilly for violation of sexual harrassment statutes and Limbaugh for illegal drug use and possession. Both men cut deals with authorities. Limbaugh's case actually went into the court system where he was defended by one of America's most liberal attorneys, Roy Black and even accepted an Amicus Brief fro the hated ACLU!

And everyone remembers the sanctimonius wheezing both men did during Bill Clinton's impeachment. Now in the present instance, both are taking the moral relativist position that prosecuting the Bush administration would poison our system and turn us into a Banana Republic.

A Banana Republic? Been there done that with George W. Bush and his indiscriminate wiretapping under the "Patriot Act".

Posted by: jaxas | April 25, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Deaver do you truly not recognize that most of the GOP posts you quote in these pages are trolling? Can't you tell that they're just too over-the-top to be serious?

Posted by: chrisfox8 | April 25, 2009 12:26 AM | Report abuse

The Justice Department's treatment of Don Siegelman is of particular interest.

The Bush cabal investigated the former Democratic Governor of Alabama for years, then railroaded him into PRISON on trumped-up bribery charges. Now the Republicans accuse those who want the torture gang prosecuted of politicizing the legal process? HYPOCRITES!

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/02/21/60minutes/main3859830.shtml

He has since been released after a Congressional inquiry, and the Republican prosecutor may face criminal charges.

When the Republicans were in power, the ABSOLUTELY politicized the Justice Department. Now they want a pass on REAL crimes they committed? Hell no!

Posted by: bluestatesman | April 24, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

First, I cannot simply pass over the remarks about politicizing the administration of justice from the Administration responsible for the US Attorney firings, the prosecution of Siegelman and the living embodiment of partisan political prosecution, Ken Starr, not to mention McCarthyism and HUAC. The GOP has a long unsavory history of abusing the judicial system for partisan purposes and if there were partisan retribution, they would have earned it three times over.

However, it is not politicizing justice to prosecute people who broke the law. No ex post facto laws are being suggested to make past actions illegal (which is unconstitutional anyway.) They would be prosecuted for crimes that were crimes when committed. To move on and ignore it would because it's controversial and unpopular would politicize justice - and effectively declare that the elite are above the law.

Thirdly, Bush and Cheney would not have flouted the law so flagrantly if it were not for the past proof that there are no consequences from Nixon's pardon to the failure to prosecute Iran-Contra, the Republican elite has learned it can get away with criminality of unprecedented and unimagined scale. If people are not called to account, the next time the GOP is in office, they will do worse because they will learn again for the third time, that they are above the law. That whining to the press gets them a pass for any crime - even war crimes, even crimes against humanity. Shame, shame and more shame on all of us if this is allowed to continue.

Posted by: RinOregon | April 24, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

BLS. You are right. The fascism here has already turned inward. Bush rolled out illegal East-German style domestic surveillance and even began programs to enlist ordinary citizens to spy on each other. Unless we go through something like denazification, I fear these fascists will just rally and come back to attack our liberties again. That's why we need torture investigations.

Posted by: bluestatesman | April 24, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Hello All Americans,

I am absolutely amazed how any country especially one as large and (reportedly powefull) can have so many enimies (real and or imagined).

Of all the imperialist countries of the modern world america has been the most violent and distructive (korea, indo-china-viet nam) and recently afghanistan and iraq - how many 1000's have been killed by americas desire to emulate former (now extinct) european empires.

A previous article mentioned (Dale Carneige - How to Win Friends, etc, etc) america and americans have never learned this extremely valuable lessons - you do not make friends by killing people or providing arms and support for one side in a conflict so that they can effectively do what america would like to do - i.e. kill people.

I sincerely wish you all well - but I fear that unfortunately your paranoia will eventually turn inwards - when you have successfully killed or arrange to have killed all your real, self-created and imagined enimies.

BLS

Posted by: blsewell | April 24, 2009 5:13 AM | Report abuse

"Our Readers Who Comment are in a nasty word war this morning about whether the harsh interrogation techniques (torture) of the Bush administration should be investigated, which many Democrats want to do." (And many Republicans)

I find it depressing that the establishment media deliberately portrays the torture issue as a Democratic vs. Republican issue (even though it's not) and then act surprised when their coverage generates polarized comments.

There are Democrats AND Republicans who are against the torture we did to our prisoners and both groups are calling for accountability. Unfortunately the media continues to ignore their voices and prefers to only cover the "rubber hose Republicans", as one of the social conservatives I found calls them.

I wrote my own blog post where I link to just a few of these blog posts by social conservatives, where they call for accountability on torture. If I could find people like this, why can't our media?

http://democracity.blogspot.com/2009/04/best-kept-secret-in-washington.html

Posted by: pmorlan1 | April 23, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Tom Eley of the World Socialist Web Site provides the most telling assessment and compelling evidence of clearly impeachable war crimes contained in the Senate Armed Services Committee's Torture Report:

"The report provides evidence that the White House ordered the torturing of alleged terrorists in an attempt to extract statements linking Al Qaeda with then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. This fact establishes a direct connection between the violation of domestic and international laws barring torture, the preparation of an unprovoked war of aggression against Iraq, and a conspiracy by the president and his top officials to deceive the American people and drag them into war on the basis of lies. It underscores that the adoption of torture as a tool of foreign policy is part and parcel of a turn to dictatorial forms of rule and the assault on the democratic rights of the American people."

There can be no doubt that the United States, under the control of this ruling-elite ‘corporate financial Empire’ which hides behind the façade of its two-party, ‘Vichy’ sham of democracy, aided by an equally ‘Vichy’ corporatist media, has now become as much a perverse empire as the Holy Roman Empire carrying out the Inquisition, the Nazi fascist empire, or the Stalinist Empire.

Ordinary Americans, in order to preserve their mortal souls will have to rise up against this global empire more compellingly and more effectively than ordinary Germans did, or risk, by their passivity, also becoming akin to “Hitler’s willing executioners”.

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

Posted by: macturna1 | April 23, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

If Dick Cheney was waterboarded, do you think he'd tell us that he drank more than 1 beer before shooting his friend in the face?

Posted by: scooterlibre | April 23, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Who is responsible for releasing this information? They are the ones that need to be prosecuted. What an imbecile(s). Obama says the buck stops with him.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | April 23, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Cheney just needs to glare at Obama and Bambi will wet himself. Cheney doesn't suffer amateurs

Posted by: luca_20009 | April 23, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

The defenders of torture stand with the enemies of freedom against the cause of liberty.

Why is it so hard for them to understand that America was founded to oppose the despotic and authoritarian policies they so adore?

The government does not have the right to torture people, detain them without charge, or deprive them of the right to counsel.

If you don't like those facts, move to Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: bluestatesman | April 23, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Simulating drowning, inserting a caterpillar into an enclosed space with an admitted terrorist equals torture? People, you have to be kidding! Stripping pieces of flesh off, electrodes attached to 'tender' areas, extreme heat(fire) under the feet while hanging one by their ears IS torture! Wake up and remember; 3000 civilians(non-combatants) were murdered on OUR soil, on OUR watch, and now, if allowed to be forgotten, will be on OUR consciences. Get off your tut-tut, high brow perches that was obtained by parroting other lazy, self-absorbed 'people' who also have forgotten that freedom and liberty is never free. F***ing idiots!

Posted by: higuns | April 23, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Even if one human being is caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and faces imprisonment without being charged with a crime and is subjected to measures that violate human rights, we yield our morality to fear. Emotions are extremely powerful and motivate people to feel justified in doing things that they know on an intellectural level are wrong. To be ruled by fear is, in my opinion, un-American. For do we not represent, as Americans, a higher ideal- one based on giving each individual the chance to experience liberty? If we sanction torture, it is because we are afraid. And I do not wish to live a life based on fear. History tells two stories: one in which even Americans have committed the most aggrevious atrocities (does our present condition justify this?) and one in which America has exemplified what it means to be a world leader in human rights and civility. To anyone who would sanction harsh interrogation techniques, I would ask, "What kind of American are you?"

Posted by: American75 | April 23, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

High values and ideals are nothing when it comes to protecting U.S. citizens from international thugs and terrorists. I wonder how the Israelis gather their intelligence? We're turning into just another south American republic if he have a "truth" commission. It's one thing to hate Bush, it's another thing to castigate methods that kept us safe. But Pres. Pelosi needs to keep her people happy.

Posted by: nickca1 | April 23, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

If your child were abducted by terrorists and being held in an unknown location and
there was a terrorist in custody who knew the location, would you be in favor of waterboarding him to find out the location? Is it any different for anyone else's children, parents or relatives or
to prevent further attacks or bloodshed?

Posted by: jimgalvin1 | April 23, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Bottom Line:

Torture doesn't work. What did they get out of the guy on the 157th waterboarding that they didn't on the 33rd?

Torture is illegal. Failure to prosecute illegal actions is equivalent to condoning those actions.

If you support torture go live in Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: heptatonic | April 23, 2009 1:12 PM
===========================
Well now that Obama already violated national security for political posturing we should be able to find out. If he can post the sensitive info regarding the techniques surely he can post the results of the interrogations.

Fact is Obama is to the point now he owns a lot of these issues and can no longer blame Bush. He is contuining this political posturing to keep focus off of his repeated failures in office.

For example all these world leaders he keeps groveling to who turn around and slap him in the face for his efforts.

Posted by: Cryos | April 23, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

REPUBS WERE WILLING TO JAIL CLINTON OVER FAR LESS.

Lest we forget, the Republicans made impassioned arguments about how the President should not be above the law when he lied about his sex-life.

Now our most sacred values and laws have been violated in the most inhuman ways and they want us to give the villains a pass?


Posted by: bluestatesman | April 23, 2009 12:55 PM
===============================
The medias saturation of the "sex" angle of the Clinton investigations were designed to fool the simpleminded of which you are a posterchild.

Clinton had suspicious involvement in watergate, the Rose Law firm, technology transfer to China including failed satellite launches, real estate deals, etc etc etc.

The Lewinsky issue took center stage because among all of Clintons "what does 'is" really mean," and "I don't recall" statements they had him point blank lying under oath.

However continue naively believing the CLinton issue was "just about sex." I don't expect much critical thinking from liberals anymore. Just a bunch of non-thinking sqwuaking parrots who blindly believe what they're told.

Posted by: Cryos | April 23, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

WHILE THERE IS A LOT OF LEGITIMACY TO THE CONCERNS EXPRESSED BY "BLUESTATESMAN" THIS RABID LITTLE PERSON SACRIFICES CREDIBILITY WHEN HE SPEWS ALL OF HIS VENOM AT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.
Please be advised that both the GOP and the Democrats assault the Constitution on a daily basis as fits or serves their agendas. The GOP tends to violate the Constitution in an overzealous attempt to save our nation from external attack and to protect the lives of American civilians. The Democrats are not concerned with national survival and are obviously more concerned with dripping some water on a terrorist's nose than they are over dead American children. Thus, the Dems implore highly moralistic legalisms as a facade for shielding terrorists. At the same time, Democrats are undermining the First, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, Tenth and Fourteenth Amendments , they are opening the borders to massive illegal immigration, they stuff ballot boxes to throw elections, and they manipulate the news media to suppress anti-socialist news.

Posted by: MARKM2 | April 23, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

There is no proof that anything done by the Bush administration kept us safe. Don't you think that they would be shouting it from the rooftops if it had? (Random hints of 'something' that might have happened in LA notwithstanding.)

We cannot keep ourselves safe from terrorists, that must be accepted. Just look to the rest of the world, or even our own backyard - Oklahoma City, Columbine.

Either we believe in our principles of the rule of law, justice and freedom, or we don't. What do we truly stand for?

Posted by: baycat571 | April 23, 2009 11:28 AM

==========================
Maybe we'll find out if Obama releases all the memos not just the ones for a circus sideshow and political posturing.

Until then all I hear from liberals is "blah blah blah." With all the silence and double standards for things like:
1. broken campaign promises
2 extreme partisanship and left wing politics coming from Obama
3 silence on Obama continuing wiretaps, rendition etc.

Liberals babble about "morals" and "principles" but have none. If it was the Obama administration under fire for this you would be trying to use conservatives' consciences against them to support the opposite argument.

When liberals actually start thinking for themselves and don't blow in the wind changing their opinion like lemmings to follow the liberal left idealist utopia maybe I'll begin to listen again.

TRUE liberals must be upset at the conformist, subservient modern liberals willing to trade their freedom of choice for meager entitlements.

Posted by: Cryos | April 23, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Bottom Line:

Torture doesn't work. What did they get out of the guy on the 157th waterboarding that they didn't on the 33rd?

Torture is illegal. Failure to prosecute illegal actions is equivalent to condoning those actions.

If you support torture go live in Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: heptatonic | April 23, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

another thought...

Torture under the Bush administration was not illegal back then, but Barak Obama redefines it to make it illegal now.

He wants to open the door to allow prosecution? well, I guess i have no problem with that.

Why? that means it will allow those who performed abortions to be prosecuted as well because back then, it was illegal to perform the procedure.

Posted by: zorbee | April 23, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Well one thing is for certain, this ex-CIA Chief who mouthed off (who more than anyone else should have known better: via his indiscretion, it is he who is endangering national security[!]), and Cheney who seems to find it IMPOSSIBLE to keep his mouth shut... have both violated at least several principles laid out by Dale Carnegie in regards to how to "win friends and influence people." But then that's how the last administration succeeded in alienating from America more than half of the nations on earth... to make a conservative estimate. They best learn how to humble themselves or they will see themselves targeted by, and they will see vented upon them, the wrath born of economic frustration... the former more intensely as the latter intensifies, sliding as we are into depression. They had the opportunity to take a low profile, and failed to do so. The meek inherit the earth: the pig-headed get led to slaughter. Stay tuned.

Posted by: DarylAtamanyk | April 23, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

What Barak Obama is doing is nonsense.

If he opens the door to prosecute people involved in what is now considered illegal activities but was not illegal back then, he should also include the past events like the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Last time I heard its now illegal to kill millions of people in one shot because its considered as Genocide.

Posted by: zorbee | April 23, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

REPUBS WERE WILLING TO JAIL CLINTON OVER FAR LESS.

Lest we forget, the Republicans made impassioned arguments about how the President should not be above the law when he lied about his sex-life.

Now our most sacred values and laws have been violated in the most inhuman ways and they want us to give the villains a pass?

Posted by: bluestatesman | April 23, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I would like to ask nico5228 if it is OK that we tortured people that had nothing to do with 9/11? Many of our Guantanamo prisoners were taken, because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Is it OK that we torture a couple of innocent people as long as you also get your taste for revenge sated on the guilty?

Tortured people will tell you what they think you want to hear. It is effective for eliciting confessions, even if they aren't true. How can we trust any intelligence gained from such an unreliable source?

Posted by: billyvw | April 23, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

FOR THE RECORD: I would gladly give up my life before I allow our liberty to be taken away.

You right-wingers clearly would rather destroy our freedom in the name of security.

It sickens me.

Posted by: bluestatesman | April 23, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Let's move on.

Bush was put in charge of protecting us. He did so the best way he thought how - even though he compromised principles to do so. Think about it: you may be willing to die for your principles, but would you let others die for them? Now consider making decisions regarding our troops in Iraq. What would you (or wouldn't you) do for our boys?

Our principles were violated. Transparency is the right thing. Let's see if we can deal with this a better way.

Posted by: balance11 | April 23, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

America became powerful BECAUSE we respected human rights. We reached our position of preeminence BECAUSE we stood for liberty, BECAUSE we respected the rule of law, and BECAUSE we prosecuted those who tortured and oppressed others.

The right needs to study their Nuremburg.

If we fail to prosecute those among our government who violated our core values we will lose our position as a world leader because we will DESERVE to lose it.

Restore that light, that beacon of liberty to oppressed people around the world. The fires of liberty have almost gone out in this country.

The right-wingers would throw out the restraints our founders put on government, abandoning thousands of years of struggle for freedom in the name of torturing people scooped up in a dragnet, most of whom turn out to be innocent.

Such monstrous perversity makes me vomit.

The government never had the right to torture people, and it never will. It will always be a crime, whether the fascists in this country allow it to go on or not, no matter how they twist their words in Orwellian memos, and no matter how long they refuse to enforce the laws they are sworn to uphold.

Posted by: bluestatesman | April 23, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

BIG QUESTION:

Why do we NEVER see a story on the effectiveness of torture for getting good information? Interviews with REAL experts? The FBI and military decided long ago that waterboarding and other techniques are NOT effective. Waterboarding was effective for the Soviets to get people to admit to things that they didn't do.
Let's see a story on what techniques the Viet Cong used to get John McCain to admit to U.S. war crimes.

Posted by: phranchise | April 23, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Will You feel the same after the next 3000 or 10,000 of our people are killed or injured by terrorist? Would it make any difference if such procedures would eliminate one Iraq bombing incident?
The conflict that we are involved in is not covered by the Geneva Convention . We are dealing with a group of radicals that are void of any human feelings and without any type of recognized government.Every type of criminal activity is involved . I cant imagine how a rational person could object to such treatment if the resulting knowledge would have prevented ,for example,the Jonestown incident in which several hundred people were duped into killing themselves. Don't critize the tactics until you have experienced the results personally.

Posted by: wamjam | April 23, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

this abject momento of perversity
was reached with compliance of
murderous shadow lurking in all of us.
For years and in ovation we applauded
all possible torments against the 'jerks who dared to attack us' without knowing yet
where those jerks really hyde.
A leader with a mind without fear to evolve means a second chance to all of us on planet earth.
rumsfeld's goring's caligula's old-mode
not hot at all, anymore never should hve been.

Posted by: tabita | April 23, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

WHAT REPUBLICANS DON'T UNDERSTAND is that the Constitution is an antidote to torture, despotism, and abuse of power. It is a set of LIMITS placed on government to restrain it. The Bush-Reagan crime gang violated these limits and engaged in the very sort of crimes our founders sought to abolish. Just read the list of complaints against King George III in the Declaration of Independence, and you will see that George W. Bush is guilty of many of those same offenses.

Republicans are not on board with the Constitution, American Jurisprudence, or the cause of liberty, and sadly we must count them among the enemies of freedom. We must continue to fight them using the law and the press, the very tools they would seek to smash on the alter of fascism.

Yes. I will say it: you torture supporters betray our country's most sacred values. Fie on you.

Posted by: bluestatesman | April 23, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

It's getting a little tiring hearing how people accuse the Democrats of one thing and Republicans of another. Any intelligent person is going to make a decision based on their personal belief NOT their party affiliation. I'm a life-long Republican who is FOR investigating the Bush Administration. I back Mr. Obama's attempts at correcting the atrocities and illegal actions of the previous administration. I have no doubt that anyone who favors illegal actions of a government of and for the people would be the first to complain if the actions were against them or a loved one. Talk of treason for releasing documents that show the extent a small group of people will go to in the name of national security is neither logical nor reasonable. When people begin to think illegal conduct, non-transparency and non-accountability is acceptable for a democracy, they are undermining the very thing that makes the democracy strong. This isn't about Republicans, Democrats, Independents or any other group so stop the generalization and stop being all inclusive of everyone who belongs to any particular group. Not everyone is a 'sheep'.

Posted by: franheck | April 23, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

as a survivor of BOTH WTC attacks and especially 9/11 I would like to comment on the harsh interrgation techniques used by our government. These practices have been employed for many year and fall very short of TORTURE. anyone that has lost a loved one in the terrorist attacks, walked over the remains of individuals that have jumped from the trade center rather than die in the fire, or watched as hooded terrorists beheaded civilian contractorss would agree that given the choice would they waterboard those individuals to gain valuable information PREVENTING these horrific death or do nothing. We should review ALL the information that was gleaned from the interrogations and weigh the lives SAVED rather than the distress that these people were forced to endure.

Posted by: nico5228 | April 23, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

There are several overlapping issues clouding the debate. As far as "torture" is concerned America does not condone torture, but when you get into the area of waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques" you get into a gray area. yes waterboarding has been defined as torture, but there was a divison of opinion before and the issue continues to be debated. That is not an unusual thing: Look at how the debate on whether capital punishment is "cruel and unusual" persists even in the face of repeated U.S. Supreme Court decisions upholding the practice.
I submit that the interrogation issue is one that could have been raised in Vietnam or in any of a thousand Cold-War scenarios dating back to the days of the OSS. Why is the issue so hot now? The answer is obvious.
The rabid and irate political left has wanted to "get Bush" ever since the disputed 2000 election. Even though Bush legitimately won in 2000 (as proven by recounts) the left has had a seething hatred of this man and has demanded impeachment at every turn.
Now Bush is gone, but the bloodlust remains unabated. Bush "crossed the line" in 2000, and the left demands his head. That is what this is all about.
If Al Gore had won in 2000 there is every indication that his own policies towards Iraq and Afghanistan would not have been much different. In September of 2000 Gore testified before the Senate that Saddam had WMD's (nobody on the left ever accuses Gore of lying) and the Clinton/Gore regime was not basful about sending missiles into Iraq or anywhere else.
Does anyone seriously think that interrogations would have been different under Gore? For that matter, if Obama succeeded Gore rather than Bush, does anyone seriously think that the panty-wetters on the left would be demanding prosecutions?
This controversy is about "getting Bush and Cheney". Period. And it is a very dangerous precedent, because someday a new administration will come in, ready to "get even".
President Obama was right the first time. This is not worthy of our nation any more than torture itself. We are not a banana republic where each new regime rounds up and imprisons the old one.

Posted by: MARKM2 | April 23, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Interesting, one party is for torture and the other against it. It is more than a little surreal that we have to have this discussion. It wasn't the terrorists who did it, it was Bush who has turned us into a banana republic.

Posted by: SarahBB | April 23, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

"Our readers..." Do you want to say you still have readers?

Posted by: handel1 | April 23, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

If you read the Constitution it clearly does not allow imprisonment without a trial (the trial comes first, not second), nor torture for any reason - even for reasons of national security.

Our founding fathers would not approve it - to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, "Those who would trade liberty for security deserve neither" - nor as a supposedly 'Christian' nation would Jesus.

There is no proof that anything done by the Bush administration kept us safe. Don't you think that they would be shouting it from the rooftops if it had? (Random hints of 'something' that might have happened in LA notwithstanding.)

We cannot keep ourselves safe from terrorists, that must be accepted. Just look to the rest of the world, or even our own backyard - Oklahoma City, Columbine.

Either we believe in our principles of the rule of law, justice and freedom, or we don't. What do we truly stand for?

Posted by: baycat571 | April 23, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I've read enough on this blog to know the calls for torture hearings are not (totally) out of concern for justice or the Constitution, but for revenge against Bush and company. I can see if this is pursued, it will divide the country. Bush, Cheney and the others in the administration have already been tried and pronounced guilty in the court of public opinion. Does anyone believe that after hearings start in a Democrat controlled congress that this is not going to turn into a partisan witch hunt? Remember Watergate? The Democrats thought they had the Gipper ready for impeachment. They failed. Be careful for what you wish for. If we can have a fair hearing, then let us proceed. Otherwise, by the tone of the pros and cons over this issue, we will have a bitterly divided nation.

Posted by: saelij | April 23, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I think Mr. President has his own way to deal the problem. Don't judged or criticized him by news and/or media. There are many faces in politic which you and I don't know much about. To me, Mr. President Obama is very smart, bright and courage to stand up for CHANGE. We need to change for better.

Posted by: Waterland99 | April 23, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

RIGHT ON "Freepost"
IMPEACH NOW!!
Less than one year and O'Bama is already out of control and truly jeopardizing the safety, well being and future of our country. There is no way we can endure 4 years of the guy.

Posted by: smkelly22 | April 23, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I never thought that more than a small minority would think that torture is a good thing. It is strange the supposed "values" party would be so anti-Christian.

Considering that Nazi Germany lowered their moral standards to the depths, I shouldn't be surprised when Americans have trouble condemning torture. We are all in the human race. We need to constantly remind ourselves that moral values must be maintained.

Posted by: brucelatimer | April 23, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

This issue supersedes party politics; this is about protecting our service men and women from torture and similar vileness if apprehended in hostile territory. It is about being a nation that upholds global values of good and justice. It is my sincere hope that regardless of which party is in power, there would be investigations into these practices and measures drawn to ensure strict adherence to the Geneva Convention.

Posted by: riddlemethis | April 23, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

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