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Torture and Punishment

Articles about the "harsh interrogation methods" approved and used during the Bush administration to gain information about terrorism have resulted in more than 1,000 comments from our readers. Many decry torture and wonder why we don't just use that word instead of the euphemistic term "harsh interrogation." Many others defend the harshness. This is not a pretty picture.

Joby Warrick and Peter Finn write today that the Bush administration prepared for harsh tactics before receiving legal authorization to pursue them. That comes after a report that President Obama declined to rule out legal consequences for Bush Administration officials who authorized harsh methods for "high-value" suspects.

And in a related column, David Ignatius says that the Obama Administration disclosures about Bush Administration practices were "costly to CIA morale and effectiveness." Not all readers agree with him either.

I'm pulling comments just from the Warrick and Finn story, but many of the posters and sentiments are the same as in the other story and the column.

We'll start with Dannoday, wrote, "Do not allow the Bushies to obfuscate the issue by sayings such as "the interrogations worked" or "the interrogation programs produced valuable information." The issue is whether the waterboarding stopped an attack, not whether other methods worked as part of a program."

robtay12003 said, "God bless you, President Bush, for keeping this country safe. Continue to ignore the Metro's, the Chamberlain's, the apologists, the cowards, the lefty traitors--in other words, the new Democratic Party. Future historians will assure your place as one of the Greats among presidents. The current president is being exposed on a daily basis as a socialist and enemy of the United States. He will not survive four years."

To which mackiejw responded, "Please all you post readers. Tell this nut case robtay12003 that he is a total idiot. I am ashamed that this individual calls himself an American. Disgusting and despicable..."

aorj wrote, "I find it very irritating when WaPo joins the deceitful past administration in it's contortion of the our language by repeatedly using "harsh interrogations" in place of the word "Torture"... It is time to stop attempting to minimalize the impact of the straight forward truth brought on by using the proper term - torture."

e9999999 said, "i think americans have become numb to these accounts, don't appreciate enough, at a visceral level, just what we did with bush and cheney at the helm. the doj and the cia need to be seriously overhauled."

nallcando wrote, "The criminal prosecution of Bush administration officials for torture and war crimes is an absolute necessity. Prosecution is not retribution, it is the maintainance of law and the repudiation of torture and other illegal acts. The fact is there is no security from terrorists... When we take away the freedom of even the least deserving, it make us less free. Isn't that a victory for those who hate freedom?..."

squeakycat asked, "Why close Guantanamo? There are a lot of officials who seem to think various forms of torture are useful in obtaining information.
Since we clearly need information on what these people authorized and when, wouldn't it be appropriate to use the techniques they thought useful on them?"

sandnsmith wrote, "My Lord! We even had psychologists involved in this, same as in Hitlers concentration camps. How can they justify this in America? Welcome to Germany, american style. All real americans hang our heads in shame."

But powerange said, "Equating sleep deprivation and pouring a little water up a nose to beheadings is just what I would expect from the libs. "Torture" hasn't been defined to my satisfaction. In our cozy, comfortable society, getting stuck in traffic is torture. "Reset" required."

To which democratus replied, "powerange: Pouring a little water on the head? How about we waterboard you, and you tell us whether that is torture. As someone, my mom, used to tell me all the time "If your firends jumped off a bridge, would you?"

dyend wrote, "...Let the chips fall where they may. This cockeyed notion that any President can break whatever laws he wants using the bogus claim that he is doing so to "protect" the American falls flat on its face...Let the war crimes trials begin."

But daylight1452 said, "We elected people who are more interested in protecting the terrorists than they are in protecting our own country. Our congress and the White House are as interested in destroying this country as the terrorists of September 11."

rikkirat wrote, "I don't understand why this is supposed to be a problem. These "people" are our enemies - they want to kill us and will stop at nothing...These "people" should not be accorded the same human rights we give to normal people because they are no more than a predator beast that deserve to be treated as such..."

We'll close with tryreason, who wrote, "The big problem with CIA is too many of the thugs that gravitate to or are created by the day to day violence that they are exposed to were in charge. If the US decides to return to the murder and mayhem of yesteryear it bodes ill for humanity given the technological progress we have made in weapons and tools of coercion."

All comments on this article are here.

All comments on the Obama story are here.

All comments on the Ignatius column are here.
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By Doug Feaver  |  April 22, 2009; 7:40 AM ET
Categories:  CIA , Obama , Torture  | Tags: CIA, Obama, Torture  
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Next: Torture, Cheney, and Revenge

Comments

on YOur Post: by: mb56 | April 22, 2009 8:06 PM) , I felt queasy saying as much. You'll have to excuse me for tossing it out there. But I've been around awhile and know that our government has broken laws before in the name of national security. One can do some wikiwork and give a simple plausible example of breaking the law:

'extraordinary renditions', were operations to apprehend terrorists abroad, usually without the knowledge of and almost always without public acknowledgment of the host government…. The first time I proposed a snatch, in 1993, the White House Counsel, Lloyd Cutler, demanded a meeting with the President to explain how it violated international law. Clinton had seemed to be siding with Cutler until Al Gore belatedly joined the meeting, having just flown overnight from South Africa. Clinton recapped the arguments on both sides for Gore: "Lloyd says this. Dick says that. Gore laughed and said, 'That's a no-brainer. Of course it's a violation of international law, that's why it's a covert action. The guy is a terrorist. Go grab his ass.'" ----This was under extraordinary rendition in wiki.

The point is, if the terrorist is then shown to be the mastermind of a 9/11 event, politics might trump law, especially in a time of war. But I like it when the New President says he'll leave the decision of prosecution to his Attorney General. And the AG says he'll follow the trail of evidence before making any decisions. There are no innocent people in this world--this statement also makes me queasy ;)

You might ask yourself if the current supreme court would find relevance in the 50 something Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer case. I certainly didn't find relevance. Had there been relevance, it would come down to political will and expedience and public opinion. Having read some of that case, all I can say is apples and oranges and in humors name, quote Harry Truman's response to the author of the court's majority opinion, Hugo Black: "Hugo, I don't much care for your law, but, by golly, this bourbon is good". And add, I don't know what is in your bourbon mb56.

Posted by: raygunsettokill | April 23, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

The majority of torture advocates support their position by quoting the atrocities committed by the enemy.
This, in my mind, proves that their goal is to punish those who may or might or would if they could or maybe, just maybe, know something by inflicting pain and suffering. It is just revenge full of hate.
It doesn't appear that the tainted information received is as important as the ideals for which the country was founded.
We have theoretically banned the infliction of pain and torture as punishment for crimes. Even murderers are ostensibly treated humanely. Why are those who are not charged with crimes punishable by torture?
I am a proud and patriotic citizen of the USA, and these sins are therefore on me as well as all the rest of us. When I die, will I have to pay for this? If I do not speak out, or just avert my gaze, I believe the answer is yes.
We are not defeating the evil, we are giving up our faith in our country's purpose and for that matter, in God.

Posted by: twilightblue | April 23, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Cheney and gang need to be brought to justice. if found guilty they need to see the inside of a slammer. Far too much damage has been done to our nation by their countless irresponsible actions. Our nation has been exposed further by them.

Posted by: SaminLA | April 22, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

--------------------
Posted by: raygunsettokill | April 22, 2009 3:05 PM
The president has always been above the law in wartime. The only time a leader is not above the law at a time of war is when they lose the war.
----------------------

Where have you been??

The Supreme Court in "Youngstown Sheet and Tube V. Sawyer" established that this is NOT the case over 50 years ago... the President's "Executive Power" claims are checked - even at a time of war.

Posted by: mb56 | April 22, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Jeff062 Wrote:
--------------------
I just want to say that the day the world trade centers went down dam near everybody wanted a pint of blood, except of course for the most extreme leftys who thought we were to blame somehow.
--------------------

Thanks a bunch there Jeff. I'd hazard a guess that you live NOWHERE near New York City.

In the same breath, you reference 9/11 and denounce most of the population of the city where the towers fell.

I'm astounded right-wing, who continually use 9/11 as a stick to try and get their way in any debate. I heard it a million times during the presidential campaign and it's almost funny if it weren't so sad.

The truth of the matter is that New York City is mostly left-wing democrats, and yet, we were the most affected by the events of 9/11 - dude, it happened less than 3 miles from where I lived, I watched the whole thing LIVE FROM MY ROOF because I had a view of the towers. My best-friend dug at ground zero, I knew people who died that day... CAN YOU SAY THAT????

And yet, I am sick that my country has stooped to such tactics. We are no better than those we hate if we go down that path. Some moral high ground we have if we're doing the same thing they are.

I thought we were better than that. So much for 'civilized'. I guess we're all animals when it comes down to it.

But as usual, the people angriest over 9/11 are the people that weren't there, the people that watched it on TV, and are just using it as a battle-cry, the same way a divorced couple uses the children as a weapon to hurt each other.

And "my people", those of us that actually were there, are caught in the middle of your idealogical war.

Stop already. We're tired of 9/11 demogogues threating us with another attack unless we hunt down and kill everyone of muslim descent. My guess is that living where you live, you've probably never met a muslim either, just seen 'em on TV.

Posted by: techrat | April 22, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I love how so many here defend the torture as "well, those animals are beheading our troops, and they wouldn't be so nice to us if the tables were turned"... yadda yadda...

Ok, so, let's use your logic there on other areas. If someone tries to mug me on a city street, I guess I also have the right to shoot to kill. In fact, I should have the right to shoot to kill anyone I *think* is going to mug me, to prevent future possible muggings, right?

After all, we're torturing to prevent future possible attacks.

I guess the question I'm trying to ask is: What about all the innocent people with no information that we are torturing, because we mistakenly believe that they do have information?

How does that make us look to the rest of the world? Good or evil? Does a "good" country torture people? How do the Moms and Dads of those being tortured think of us?

And if you reply back with the same redneck nonsense, I'll be sure to avoid where you live, 'cause you might shoot me (after all, I *might* mug you).

Posted by: techrat | April 22, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I am a Vietnam Combat Veteran and a retired police officer. I would like to ask you and your readers a question. If suicide bombers started blowing themselves up in America's malls (which is not an unrealistic proposition) with hundreds of our children, family and friends blown to pieces right before our eyes, the police were able to capture some of the handlers of the suicide bombers, would torture of the suspects to obtain future targets, be justified?

You have to know that war is a very dirty and lethal business and it is nothing like what you see portrayed in the movies or television. I would venture to say that almost none of the people who gave comments have ever fought in a war or lived in a war zone or country like Israel where death stalks you and your friends on a 24/7 basis. It is not as clean or unthreatening to you as the latest video games that are out, and when you die in war, rather you are a soldier or a civilian, your DEAD, you cannot hit restart and play the game again. War is the final game for all of the victims! War is also a non-discriminating executioner, it kills whoever happens to be in the line of fire regardless if they were the intended target or not. You have to have been there to see, smell, hear, feel and have participated in it to really understand the mentality of WAR. In this particular style war with well armed religious fanatics, who use suicide bombers as one of their weapons, it becomes even more vicious and bloody. These types of fanatics only understand and respect one thing, a bullet between the eyes. Anything less lethal from the enemy (US MILITARY/CIVILIANS), they perceive as a weakness.

Having experienced all of the above, "up close and personal," I still believe that their must be strict supervision even in War, especially when you approach the blurred lines between legal and illegal acts. Harsh interrogation/torture or what ever you call it has to be executed in a controlled, rational, almost clinical manner by a professional trained in the methodology. In most cases interrogations are not carried out by fellow soldiers who have just seen their buddies blown to bits, because every human has a breaking point at which time you can cross over to the dark side of humanity, and sometimes you never return.

I believe torture is justified under certain controlled and delineated circumstances, but it will always be ugly and vicious: however, having parts of your best friends body dripping off of you, especially if you are in the US, is something you do not want to experience!

Thank You for your time,
ED


Posted by: EDinWashingtonState | April 22, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

"Regarding the Bush admin's torture memos, please remember that a crime is a crime, notwithstanding bogus justification of the use of torture."--Posted by: jbartlett1 | April 22, 2009 1:03 PM

The moralists are bloodhounds when judging other's. We all know this. But they were in power for 8 years. Managed to start 2 wars and get re-elected. The president has always been above the law in wartime. The only time a leader is not above the law at a time of war is when they lose the war. Then they are held accountable to the victors.

I agree so much with your sentiments. But Obama is doing it right by potentially prosecuting the lawyers that perverted the spirit of the constitution. If successfully prosecuted, the damage to Cheney and Bush will be enough to silence anyone but Limbaugh and he'll be further marginalized.

Posted by: raygunsettokill | April 22, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Rod Leathers/ Gulf War Vet
We need to protect the CIA.
Their anonymity is our freedom.

Posted by: laminagrove | April 22, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

-------------------------------------
Posted by: HELP3 | April 22, 2009 1:06 PM
Now, what do you propose to protect you if you were in Bush's shoes? learn to be grateful before you open your mouths.
-------------------------------------

You must have an extremely narrow concept of "protection". The argument that anything is acceptable as long as it's done in the name of "protection" is a fool's paradise. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. What about the BIGGER picture. How does violating our Constitution and International agreements on basic human rights protect us IN THE LONG RUN?

If we allow one leader to ignore these instruments of law with impunity, what will stop the next one? There will always be another "threat" we need "protection" from. How will we be able to demand justice on the world stage if will not abide by the rules we demand of others?

No, I'm sorry, dismantling basic Constitutional, civil, and human rights in the name of "protection" does not protect us - ultimately it threatens us. I would prefer to live a little "less safe" than to embark on a course where our leaders and them alone decide which laws they will abide by and which they'll ignore.


Posted by: mb56 | April 22, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Sorry bevjims1,
I meant wanting to offend NO one. You live in a fallen world. Don't you ever think that we can pump up our moral standards while the whole society have gone astray from God.

Now we live in a time everyone does what seems right in their own eyes. Don't you ever think you or your boss Obama is an exception.
All haver gone astray and you sins have separated you from your God.

Posted by: HELP3 | April 22, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Hey, bevjims1

Don't be so gullible. 911 was your uncle Bill's fault if you use that logic.

Wanting to offend anyone and claiming to be above your enemies are all wonderful thoughts. But it all amounts to your hypocrisy and your boss Obama's. All the power is endowed from God. Learn to believe it as I tolerate Obama for God has put him in chargeto teach us how far we have moved away from God.

Posted by: HELP3 | April 22, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

An old adage comes to mind where they "the enemy" came for people within the community one by one and the person speaking did nothing and then was surprised when there was no one left to protest and protect them when they came for them. We should be ashamed that we as a country would allow such things to go on and try to make it acceptable saying it is a necessity of war. Yet nor am I surprised that we as a nation are not surprised that it happened. Our government has long been known for being to faced. We condemn a country for the things they do as we behind closed doors do the same. History shows that America fought for its freedom from England while holding slaves. Tried to kill off the American Indian by forcing them onto land incapable of producing food. Then giving them tainted food and diseased blankets so that they catch the disease that they had no immunity to. Refused to give rights to the African Americans yet denouced Hitler for his own attempt to kill off the Jews he considered beneath him. To this day we deny rights based on RELIGIOUS ideals when Church is supposed to be separate from State (ie: Government) to people who are homosexual. A Government that is run by morals, and ran by the people for the people? I don't think so... maybe in the same world that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny exists.

What laws were violated???? The fact that that question even has to be asked is the very reason Americans should bow their heads in shame.... how about it is an ASSAULT! Those men had not been formally charged with a crime or convicted of a crime..... We cried foul at the tactics used by our enemies to gain information they know the men and women did not have yet use the same and worse to those we capture???? Yes, two faced is the only way to describe this.

Posted by: Looneygal | April 22, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Jeff062 wrote: "The Pres went after those killers and fought them on foreign soil, freed the Iraqi people and let the world know if you attack the USA you will pay a price."

OMG, you still think Iraq had something to do with 911. You poor demented soul.

Posted by: bevjims1 | April 22, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"I say again when you elect an official, you want to trust that person's judgment. That's why the character issue is so important. Now, what do you propose to protect you if you were in Bush's shoes? learn to be grateful before you open your mouths."
Posted by: HELP3

Well, it would have helped if Bush reacted to the memo "Bin Ladin determined to strike is US" a little more seriously. It would have helped if he actually met with his counter terrorism chief before 911. It would have helped if he actually put in a full days work and demanded more and valid work out of people. It would have helped if he was not so focsed on Iraq that he ignored Al Qaida, a threat Clinton told him was number one.

Instead we got 911, Katrina, no body armor, a lawless Iraq, a continued Al Qaida threat and a world that no longer admires us. And I'm suppose to be grateful that he broke laws and tortured people to make up for failure?

Why have none of those who killed 3000 people on 911 been brought to justice, to face the families of those they killed in a court. Why has justice been delayed? Because Bush was not up to the job and covered his failings as any coward does, but lying and breaking laws. Now, thanks to his ineptness we may never see these guys in court. 911 families will have the justice they deserve denied.

No, I'm not grateful. I'm quite angry.

Posted by: bevjims1 | April 22, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

If we profess to be better than the third world and want them to embrace our ways then we should not join them in the gutter and proudly proclaim they should do as we say but not as we do. We are so quick to condemn those who disagree as we live happily with the results of our own corrupt governing class. The right wing nut cases like Cheaney and Bush are the from the same gene pool that used assassination to take power right here during the sixties. One need only listen to talk radio to hear the winds of war blowing once more on American soil and Osama Bin Laden nor Barrack Obama are to blame. Remember that Bush is also a four letter word!

Posted by: anOPINIONATEDsob | April 22, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I just want to say that the day the world trade centers went down dam near everybody wanted a pint of blood, except of course for the most extreme leftys who thought we were to blame somehow. The Pres went after those killers and fought them on foreign soil, freed the Iraqi people and let the world know if you attack the USA you will pay a price. No attacks here after that. I want to thank all those people who served us so valiantly not judge them. You are dealing with killers who cut peoples heads off and defile our peoples bodys, hang burnt real tortured soles off bridges and do it because their book says to do it. We are sworn enemys and I dought that will ever change.Comparing what they do to us to our water boarding is laughable. Carry on I say.

Posted by: Jeff062 | April 22, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

The populace of the United States seems naive to me. We want to apply the Geneva Convention to an undeclared war fighting foreign combatants who probably don't have enough education to spell Geneva. You want to play nice in a sandbox with people who's only desire is to kill or subjugate the infidels (have you read the Koran?). Fighting an enemy who believes that the best thing that can happen to him is to die in battle is truly a formidable opponent. Look at the Vikings, American Indians or the Japanese kamikazes. History shows that these enemies had to be killed to be defeated. The Islamic jihadists are no different. How many of those protesting this behavior has actually served in combat? How many have gone on the Internet and watched the beheading films proudly broadcast by Al Jazeera? We sit in our suburban homes, drinking Starbucks, playing video games and getting fat while a fierce opponent plots your total destruction and rejoices in the idea that you are supporting their efforts publicly by saying, "we aren't playing fair"! Pull your head out of your backside. War is not fair. If you start off playing fair in a street fight, you will loose. If the opponent is willing to sacrifice their women and children to kill you by strapping bombs to them and sending them into you're public places, you better be willing to comprehend who the enemy is. If you believe that by employing rules in a terrorist street fight you're going to "win the hearts and minds" of the enemy you're mistaken. How many articles or editorials have you read from the so called "moderate Muslims" decrying the efforts of the extremists? Tell me which Middle Eastern governments give more than lip service to the U.S. regarding an effort to cut off funding or safe haven to the extremists? I've fought in a campaign that this country did not support. We used rules (free fire zones, no fire zones, and limited fire zones) and we got killed. I am not inhumane and don't support torture or war. If you don't like what's going on, then we shouldn't get involved to begin with, but that's a different topic. Learn to live with the fact that the world is not fair. Learn to live with dictators, starving oppressed populaces and terrorists. Tighten our borders, allow unfettered CIA and "black bag" operations so the U.S. can stay abreast of all the potential threats out there and allow "surgical removal" of those threats. That's nothing new, previous telecommunications limitations didn't inform you of those goings on. You can't live in a violent world holding the biggest bag of jelly beans without others wanting to take those jelly beans. Don't cry about the injustices of the world and believe that the U.S. should do something about those injustices without acknowledging that extreme acts require extreme measures.

Posted by: jj_bytes | April 22, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

"Obama's public threat of prosecuting a lawyer for writing a legal brief with which the current administration disagrees amounts to the witch hunts of McCarthyism."
Posted by: calmom

I think you may be mischaracterizing what Obama said. He said he would leave it up to the attorney general and did not want to bias such possible investigations of those who wrote the legal memos. His only real statement was that he plans to protect CIA agents who committed the torture from prosecution. He also advised Congress that setting up its own investigations would need to be carefully made impartial less they become political shouting matches.

All I have seen is Obama treading carefully wanting to find the truth and avoid bickering. To call what he said McCarthyism is way over the top and an example of McCarthyism itself.

Posted by: bevjims1 | April 22, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

We all know the Bushies were Nazis.

After WWII, the United States and her allies proclaimed new rules to prosecute crimes against humanity. The Nuremberg Principles are very clear--following orders is no excuse. Both those who authorized crimes and those who committed them are legally responsible.

Principle III states "The fact that a person who committed an acti which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law" and Principle IV continues:
"The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him."

It's time for WE THE PEOPLE to demand that our Government follow the rules of law and to demand justice. How else do we prevent future abuse and crimes?

Let the trials begin!

Posted by: Impeachbush99 | April 22, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

To those highly moral liberals,

I understand that you feel so righteous by pointing out the mote in other's eye.

I say again when you elect an official, you want to trust that person's judgment. That's why the character issue is so important.

Now, what do you propose to protect you if you were in Bush's shoes? learn to be grateful before you open your mouths.

Posted by: HELP3 | April 22, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Only if those responsible for these crimes are prosecuted will we be able to say that the rule of law is still a meaningful concept in the United States of America. If the Americans won't do it, others most certainly will.

Posted by: AntonioV | April 22, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

robtay12003 wrote, "The current president is being exposed on a daily basis as a socialist and enemy of the United States. He will not survive four years."

This poster appears to be threatening the life of the President. During the campaign, McCain/Palin supporters also made similar threats in the guise of saving the country from evil. There are many on the far right who live in fear and there is evidence that some of these individuals are plotting, as we speak, the destruction of America through intimidation and assassination. The fact that the Republican party is in shambles, has no ideas, consistently lies to its own members about the administration's policies, that this only adds to the paranoia of these extremists. One only has to view the Tea Party activists to see the hostile rhetoric of the far right and the danger it poses. Regarding the Bush admin's torture memos, please remember that a crime is a crime, notwithstanding bogus justification of the use of torture. Sad that right wing talk show hosts are supporting criminal activity by the last adminstration.

Posted by: jbartlett1 | April 22, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Read your article today. I'm use to reading the comments section. Nothing phases me, I mean NOTHING! But as a whole something does bother me. Whenever the issues of the day focus on Death Penalty or Abortion or Torture, citizens draw a line in the sand and they go to war over the issue. The thing that bothers me is we take a side and say the damnedest things. We use words like treason and Nazi with great liberty and no effect. And all I see is a disintegration of the union of people, our nation. Whatever the value of torture, is it worth the fight? I don't think it's an indispensable tool. And there will be no consensus on the issue. And it makes the troll in the cave laugh, and I don't want him to laugh last. You can bribe your way to this guy, but torture will only breed a newer and stronger and justified enemy.

Posted by: raygunsettokill | April 22, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

RabidThinker,
arent you being a little harsh on WP and many of the other MSM who blackout 9/11 truth?
Come on ! They're starting to head in that direction now that its getting fashionable.

Posted by: gallenk | April 22, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Feaver, you do a great service here, making sure everyone gets their say, no matter which side they are on. That's why I'd like to bring a problem I have to your attention. Earlier today, I tried posting a complimentery comment about the non-biased informative article that Chris had written for the Fix. My first posting of the day resulted in getting a page that said my submission was denied cause I had been posting too much. Then I go on another Fix column, read the comments, and try to post and get the same refusal page. On this comment page were numerous postings, I lost count after 12, from the same person, some posts right after another. I have encountered this problem before, but only on the FIX comments page. Back in Jan, I left comments decrying Chris for saying that Chip Saltzman was the furthest thing from a racist. Chris didnot acknowledge that millions of people were offended by Chip's magic negro CD, and at the very least the CD was insensitive and ignorant, and that perhaps, like many white men, their life experiences were such that they hadn't had to face discrimination on a daily basis, and thereby recognizing it wasn't such an easy task. For this I get refusal to accept my submissions? I don't swear in my postings, try to invoke civil discourse, and offer instances or cases to help make my points, rather than just insult and rant and rave. I am quite stunned that a columnist from your paper would do this, especially when there are posters like robtay120003 who seems to subtly advocate the overthrow of the duly elected president. I'm sorry if Chris didn't like my opinion about his friend Chip Saltzman, but this refusal page regarding my postings is immature and hardly professional.

Posted by: katem1 | April 22, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Tampalawyer's comments are exactly right and well said. Obama's public threat of prosecuting a lawyer for writing a legal brief with which the current administration disagrees amounts to the witch hunts of McCarthyism. Writing a legal memo with a legal opinion, no matter how flawed, without more, is not a criminal act. Obama went to law school, he must know this. But he prefers to use the power of the presidency for intimidation. All Americans should be concerned about the First Amendment implications of criminally prosecuting someone for writing a legal memo. It is criminalizing speech.

Posted by: calmom | April 22, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

To compare Hitler’s atrocities to the current debate on torture defies logic.
Posted by: mandellb

I agree that comparing the holocaust to Bush's torture is wrong. But Hitler, and the Japanese, used torture on our servicemen. That is where the comparison is valid. They were only trying to protect their people too yet we prosecuted them.

"In the same way, Islamist fundamentalists vow to make the world conform to their ideology by destroying all who don’t live as they deem proper. BTW, their torture ends with beheadings."
Posted by: mandellb

And they too one day will meet justice when they are caught. That does not justify our use of torture. Never has. This idea that we can torture because others torture has never been a valid excuse, not in America anyway.

If you want to live in a place where torturing enemies keeps you safe, please move there and get out of the land of the free and the home of the brave. This is not the land of torturers and the home of cowards.

Posted by: bevjims1 | April 22, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I guess if it's all right to torture non citizen detainees suspected of terror, it won't be long before we torture citizen detainees suspected of capital crimes. Maybe not by this president or next, but what about a future president "protecting" us?

Posted by: birdriver | April 22, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

To compare Hitler’s atrocities to the current debate on torture defies logic. Whether you agree with the tactics or not, the intent was to gain information to insure that, more American lives were not lost to terrorist plots.
Hitler murdered millions because they didn’t fit his ideology of making mankind perfect. In the same way, Islamist fundamentalists vow to make the world conform to their ideology by destroying all who don’t live as they deem proper.
BTW, their torture ends with beheadings.

Posted by: mandellb | April 22, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

"Nine Eleven was an Interior Task"
The New Conservatives military-petroleum-industrialists who put these torture promoting bozoes into power also own this media venue. I'm curious to see if this missive even posts.

Posted by: RabidThinker | April 22, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

McCain said "If we become Them, fighting them, then we've won nothing." This is from a Conservative Republican that has been tortured. As my "Main Man" Obama says,"We need to lead by the power of our example, Not by an example of our power". God bless this America.

Posted by: gimpydwarf | April 22, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Have you given consideration to the fact that students of the future researching torture will likely miss your many articles on "harsh techniques." Euphemisms have consequences.

Posted by: dmsmolen | April 22, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Torture is a medieval uncivilized method to sadistically punish people without a court of law. The pretext that it is done to gain information is beyond ridiculous. It never works to that end. People will say anything to avoid being tortured. Even John McCain was broken under "harsh interrogation" and admitted to being a war criminal. America is better than this. We do not need to be barbarians. Dick Cheney needs to be behind bars.

Vietnam Veteran
Khe Sanh 1968

Posted by: Luke2 | April 22, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Recently a woman was blinded by acid being poured on her face by a man who didn't want her to go to school in Iraq.

The criminal received a sentence of blinding by acid - did the punishment fit the crime? The code of Hammurabi would say yes; though I doubt the readers of this posting would. Most in America would be mortified to hear of this punishment, and yet are advocating the logical equivalent against suspected terrorists by supporting terrorism.

The logical argument stipulating that it is okay to use torture to extract information from suspected terrorists *because* they would do it to us is tantamount to advocating the code of hammurabi - "an eye for an eye".

Those who believe in this should be very careful what they wish for.

The United State of America's hands are by no means clean on a global scale, and there are many who would have our eyes as compensation for US transgressions on foreign nationals.

Posted by: evanr2 | April 22, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Look... wrong and an intrinsic evil to society. We complained when our boys were tortured during previous wars. Dick Cheney is a coward who NEVER served his country; he too was a draft dodger, but speaks as f he had som military experience. Would each pro torture advocate allow themselves to be publicly stripped naked, molested,waterboarded first themselves before advocating it for others? Of course not!

Posted by: doxa | April 22, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

"These are people who hate americans and will obviosly do what ever it takes to HURT us! Americans need to remember how they felt that day [911].
Posted by: dvader

I remember 911. I remember feeling we were the good guys. I remember knowing that we were better than those who attacked us. I remember most of the world was shocked. I remember most of the world offered assistence. I was proud to be an America because I knew we were better, were right, the world was behind us and we would take down those who attacked us.

Since then because of the actions of the Bush administration bin Ladin is free, laws were broken and most of the world is shocked at learning what we have done. Most of the world looks at us with less admiration. Many who sympathized with us now support the terrorists because of our actions. Most thought we were better.

I'm still proud to be an American and I want to see America be what it use to be, a nation that does not torture, that champions what is right and stands up to what is wrong, that wins the admiration of the world. Thanks to Bush that will take much time but we are Americans and we will, once again, stand proud. Exposing the torture memos is just the first step. Like Watergate, more will come out and we will become more shocked. We either need to face what was done in our names and make sure it never happens again, or we accept that we did as valid, and lose what made America great.

Posted by: bevjims1 | April 22, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Someone else should be hired to do this column. You choose the stupidest posts from the nastiest GOP trolls and repost them here as though there is some virtue in placing thoughtful well-written posts right alongside the ugliest echo-chamber rants from people who have never had an original thought in their lives.

Why dignify "Obama is a socialist" rants? Can't you pick out a few posts worth reading?

Posted by: chrisfox8 | April 22, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Those who object to the interrogations by the CIA brand the tactics as "torture". Of course if anyone is allowed to define the terms one has can win the argument without having to address the underlying facts. The real question that must be answered in any prosecution will be is whether these acts do in fact amount to "torture" under the applicable statutes and treaties. To make that determination a jury will need to hear first hand evidence of exactly what was done in excruciating details. The lawyers for any defendants in such an proceeding will undoubtedly argue many of the interpretations of the statutes and the treaties in question, they will raise affimative defenses like necessity. Only after such a proceeding can one truly say the prior administration was engaged in torture.

In the meantime it is quite amusing to see the so called proponents of justice, most without a shred of legal trainingg, convicting the lawyers and the prior administration without the benefit of knowing either the law or all of the facts.

Posted by: efs2403 | April 22, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I want my country back.

America does not stand for torture.

That some people like johnasnider feign ignorance is very frightening and presents every justification necessary for further investigation and prosecution until he catches on. Torture of a suspect held in custody is a big deal. It is a crime against humanity. It is hard to blame the base though what with Cheney still not showing any signs of remorse or contrition and Fox News op-eds cheering the torturers on and Peggy Noonan, who appreciates the mystery of it all, just walking on by with her eyes covered and ears plugged.

As a form of rehab, how about if the CIA operatives man a little demonstration bus that travels from hamlet to hamlet and all the Bushbots without a moral compass who say things like aw, it's just a face wash compared to a beheading (did any of the victims of "harsh interrogation" behead anyone or is this any Muslim will do justice that is advocated?)be subjected to it. Let's start with Cheney.

Posted by: SarahBB | April 22, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

"People need to remember why these terrorist suspects were taken into custody in the first place." dvader

dvader, many of "these terrorist suspects" were rounded up by drug dealing war lords in the Northern Alliance and sold to US forces for bounties. Many were innocent people whom the drug dealers had a problem with. Please watch the documentary "Taxi to the Dark Side" which gives the facts about an innocent taxi driver in Afghanistan who was sold for a bounty, and then beaten to death in a jail cell in Bagram, Afghanistan after having been hung from a ceiling for three days. It makes you question just who the "terrorists" are.

Time for Dick Cheney to go to jail.

Vietnam Veteran
Khe Sanh 1968

Posted by: Luke2 | April 22, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Here is a question for you, since when is it acceptable for the president to legislate or take on judiciary issues? It is not Obama's decision to make as to whether there are indictments or not. This is a matter for the courts to decide. If the law was broken then those responsible should be punished whether or not the information they gained was valuable or prevented an attack. The law must apply equally to all or it applies to none. Furthermore most of the pro "harsh interrogation" arguments seem to be that the "terrorists" would do worse to us." Well if you want a race to the bottom, then that is a fine argument, but as the old admonishment goes, "if all your friends jumped off a bridge would you do it too?"

Posted by: genjisan007 | April 22, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I just like to say to the people who continuously "thank" the Bush Admin. for protecting our country so well...wasn't it under their "WATCH" that our country was attacked...our mainland was attacked like never before in the history of the United States? They had multiple reports in hand of imminent attacks and shunned the people who wrote those reports. These are facts! Wake up! They were a failed administration in every way shape and form!

Posted by: Crankman | April 22, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

hey luvwknd,
I totally agree !
Lets start with the worst terrorists in the world - The US Federal Govt !

Since its been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that 9/11 was an inside job, what are we waiting for ?

Waterboarding come one and all ! See you 1st in D.C. !

Posted by: gallenk | April 22, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

There is no "view" on TORTURE. TORTURE IS TORTURE regardless of any other lesser name one choses to give it. U.S. and international law forbid TORTURE. We are signatories to the Geneva Conventions as well as the UN Convention Against Torture which means we not only understand the meaning of torture, we oppose it, and we oppose any other nation using it on others or one of our own citizens.

Knowing that, our President does not have the authority to say if there should be an investigation or who should [or should not] be investigated. Only our Justice Department can make that call, and if it fails to do so, those who have been accused will, in all probability, be accosted/arrested in another country that is also a signatory of the Geneva and/or UN Conventions.

There is NO CHOICE or FLEXIBILITY provided on TORTURE. Those who MANIPULATED our legal language to have it appear as though torture were nothing more than 'harsh interrogation', those who gave the order to carry out torture and those who carried out those orders, MUST be held accountable for their actions [if not in the US, in another country or the Hague].

It makes no difference who offended us or our laws, we, the United States of America DOES NOT TORTURE under any condition or circumstance. Yes, these were terror suspects, but that is still NO EXCUSE. We ask other nations to uphold this law and as a result, WE MUST ALSO UPHOLD THAT LAW!

Posted by: MadasHelinVA | April 22, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Here is a question for you, since when is it acceptable for the president to legislate or take on judiciary issues? It is not Obama's decision to make as to whether there are indictments or not. This is a matter for the courts to decide. If the law was broken then those responsible should be punished whether or not the information they gained was valuable or prevented an attack. The law must apply equally to all or it applies to none. Furthermore most of the pro "harsh interrogation" arguments seem to be that the "terrorists" would do worse to us." Well if you want a race to the bottom, then that is a fine argument, but as the old admonishment goes, "if all your friends jumped off a bridge would you do it too?"

Posted by: genjisan007 | April 22, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

"(I don't even include ex-pres Bush in that statement as he was just responding to what he was told)." el1jones

jones,

that defense was negated in the Nuremberg trials after World War II. At any rate, under the law, ignorance is no excuse for committing criminal acts. At least Bush doesn't brag about it. Cheney belongs in jail.

Posted by: Luke2 | April 22, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

-------------------------------------
You bleeding heart liberals need to stop and think who ur dealing with and stop worrying how we look to other countries
-------------------------------------

Some of you people just don't get it. This is not about saving our public image, or not being pansies, or an eye for an eye. It is about whether we as a society obey the very laws we have established for ourselves regarding the most fundamental treatment of others. Wise men in the past established these laws and agreements because history has shown over and over that once a society accepts torture as a tool it ultimately is used on the very members of THAT society. There will always be another group of individuals from which our government or another government would like to obtain information. Some day it might even be you because someone else gave your name to stop their pain.

Posted by: mb56 | April 22, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

People need to remember why these terrorist suspects were taken into custody in the first place. Do you think that their associates on the planes cared about the people on board or about the people jumping from the burning buildings or any of the americans that were affected by their reckless disreguard for human life on 9-11? This is not WW2 Germany and we are not trying to eliminate a race. These are people who hate americans and will obviosly do what ever it takes to HURT us! Americans need to remember how they felt that day.

Posted by: dvader | April 22, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"Torture, my XYZ!If if weren't for under the table Bill, 3000+ lives would still be alive?"
Posted by: keenande

You do realize I hope that Bill told George that Al Qaida was the number 1 threat to the US. And I hope you know that Bush did nothing on that advice. He held many meetings before 911 about Iraq, but held only one with his counter terrorism chief, a week before 911.

911 was Bush's fault through negligence, like Katrina, like no armor for the troops, like letting bin Laden escape into hiding, like everything else he has failed at. When terrorists tried to blow up the twin towers on Bill's watch he responded, caught them, tried then and they are in prison to this day. That's how a president should act when a crime of this magnitude happens on his watch. Bush has nothing to his credit except a free bin Laden, continued threats from bin Laden, 3000 Americans dead and another 4000 American soldiers dead, torturing prisoners, spying on Americans, and for what? So Saddam doesn't have those WMD?

Posted by: bevjims1 | April 22, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Some people are so naive. Do not insult the basis that this country was created on, by trying to convince me or anyone else that torture is moral or legal, or that it's okay to keep enemies locked up without a trial. (on a religious note: "Do on to others as you have have them do unto you." )
If you catch a true terrorist [not just guessing] keep it quiet, and get the info, but don't say, it's legal or moral.
Some people say, torture them all... until it happens to someone they love, or even themselves.
The U.S. is supposed to be the moral leader in the world, home of the free and the brave; Not the safest, not the toughest, not the wimpiest ("oh... save us from the big bad terrorist... do anything... boo hoo).
I'll take moral, free, and brave any day, over scared, immoral, and repressed.

By the way... Besides all the obvious U.S. laws... the international laws broken include the Geneva Convention... which puts the previous U.S. administration on the line as possible (probable) International War Criminals. (I don't even include ex-pres Bush in that statement as he was just responding to what he was told).

___________

Geneva Convention

Common Article 3

Article 3 has been called a "Convention in miniature." It is the only article of the Geneva Conventions that applies in non-international conflicts.[2]

It describes minimal protections which must be adhered to by all individuals within a signatory's territory during an armed conflict not of an international character (regardless of citizenship or lack thereof): Noncombatants, combatants who have laid down their arms, and combatants who are hors de combat (out of the fight) due to wounds, detention, or any other cause shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, including prohibition of outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment. The passing of sentences must also be pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples. Article 3's protections exist even though no one is classified as a prisoner of war.

Posted by: el1jones | April 22, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

"The people of the united States needs to wake up.These people we deal with could care less in what they do to any of our military men or women." hardbody300

Hardbody, "these people"- code for anyone who is different then ourselves- did not kill 3,000,000 people in Vietnam for "democracy." They did not kill 100,000 Iraqi civilians in a phony war in Iraq for oil.

If the United States were not present in their countries and did not supply weapons and support to the Israelis to bomb Palestinian women and children, "these people" would not hate and fear us.

Regardless; torture is a medieval uncivilized method to sadistically punish people without a court of law. The pretext that it is done to gain information is beyond ridiculous. It never works to that end. People will say anything to avoid being tortured. Even John McCain was broken under "harsh interrogation" and admitted to being a war criminal. America is better than this. We do not need to be barbarians. Dick Cheney needs to be behind bars.

Vietnam Veteran
Khe Sanh 1968

Posted by: Luke2 | April 22, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

To those who holds up the moral standards so high including Obama. Hypocrisy is not you are doing what you shouldn't be doing. Hypocrisy comes in when you pretend you did not do it or act as you are a moral person when you are not.
If you and your boss Obama is so concerned about human rights why they are all for the abortion? I recall Obama said knowing when the life starts is above his pay grade. Don't be a hypocrite. When you elect an official, you are entrusting the power to make all the necessary decisions. This is exactly why I am waiting for year 2012. All the hypocrites have got to go.

Posted by: HELP3 | April 22, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Most of you should wake up and smell the coffee brewing. If you are rolled up by some terrorists, do not thing=k that they are going to take it easy on you, coddle you, and make you feel welcome as they try to find out all the information they can. Hell no! They will torture, and probably kill you. Quit your whining about it, and realize that it is being done for you. It will allow you to sleep and whine peacefully from your cotton candy world... Rock on, and do what you have to do to get the job done.... A little sleep deprevation never hurt anyone.

Posted by: rockinroy2 | April 22, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I have no love or concern for captives at Gitmo. They were captured during combat against the US. They understood what they were doing at the time of their capture and believed it was necessary. Gitmo is the very unpleasant consequence of their decisions.

However.... every defendant at Nuremberg, including the most famous, were at some point ordinary people... businessmen and women, doctors, lawyers, judges, policemen, teachers, clerics, mechanics, farmers...people who had the backing of the laws of the German State behind them to justify everything they did or action they took. The Nazi bureaucracy codified every belief they held into legalized actions.

It's hard enough for a good individual to not overstep decency boundaries when angered, easier for the zealots committed to a Cause and in the name of that Cause to do whatever they deem necessary to protect the Cause, all in the name of and with the Blessings of the People.

Posted by: lou91940 | April 22, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

--------------------------------------------
Will somebody please tell the readers what law or laws were broken or alleged to have been broken by the Bush administrators , Bush himself, or any of the attorneys. Just tell us where to access thgese statutes, or, if only internation law, where we can read the fine print.
--------------------------------------------

Why don't you start with the Geneva Conventions:
http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/FULL/375?OpenDocument

Which impart state: "No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind."

Posted by: mb56 | April 22, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Torture is a form of bullying always perpetrated by cowards. Bush and Cheney were cowards not leaders.
Totally asleep at the switch on 9/11 they wasted the next seven years bullying everybody to hide their ineptness and cowardice.

Posted by: cdnpol | April 22, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1984 and entered into force on June 26, 1987.

It defines torture as any act by which:

severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental; is intentionally inflicted on a person; for such purposes as:

* obtaining from him/her or a third person information or a confession
* punishing him/her for an act s/he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed
* intimidating or coercing him/her or a third person
* or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind;

when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.*

Posted by: Luke2 | April 22, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

The people of the united States needs to wake up.These people we deal with could care less in what they do to any of our military men or women. They have no consiecence for anything. When we need to find out things the people need to do what they need to do. When the objectives can run planes in buildings and go on national television and cut peoples heads off then why are we so bad in what we do. and dont give me this crap we're above this because you people who think this way need to get ur heads out of you know where . This is war and not some pansy games . You bleeding heart liberals need to stop and think who ur dealing with and stop worrying how we look to other countries.jack them up and kick there a-- and show people we dont need to take crap fronm any one. Think about it before its to late -- if it isnt already.

Posted by: hardbody300 | April 22, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Well, I hope this proves it can happen here.

Many use to wonder how a predominently Catholic nation like Germany could sink into the Nazi culture and commit henious crimes. Well, Bush, a born-again christian, is being applauded by christian supporters for his torture of prisoners.

Now you know how it could happen. We cannot forget what the Bush administration did, that it was wrong, and we must have a full accounting and debate so this is not set as a precident for future administrations. And we must ensure through new laws, like in Germany, that this never happens again.

Enough people had misgivings that those who ignored those misgivings should be investigated. Allowing torture releases the sadists who we keep bottled up through law. Those who chose to release the sadists and the sadists who stepped forward to do the deeds must be held to account.

Posted by: bevjims1 | April 22, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++
Dear Reades;

There are laws now from the past Bush administration and dating as far back as 1997 that allow for secret investigations having tactics that involve covert extreme pain, immune system depreciation and overall actions to debilitate a subject such as; "Anti terrorist and effective Death Penalty Act of 1997" allowing unknown authorities to designate upon their secret decision to qualify a person for being actionable by such laegislation based on their secret opinion; where when read carefully a person only need be by such opinion to be a resource of potential resource of terrorists, that could be concluded by your entering a dating site with foreign girls and sending money or flowers for their being taught english better or for support of a group like animal rights which having designation of predisposition for violence to free animals being experimented is as support of a group contended by authorities as a terrorist group therefore allows the donation supporter to be a resource of terrorists organizations. This is all without due process or even notice to the subject. Such laws and actions can be learned about on the internet from googleing such phrases as: "electronic covert implant attacks". Such that you the reader is often unaware of such goings on worlk wide they must be told of what the main stream press is unable to tell the public about on "news casts" because they are prohibited to expose what the devilish authorities have as quantified as being "lawful investigations".

Yours Truly

John Mecca

http://www.the-president-obama-hour.com and http://www.secretangel.tv and http://www.us-government-torture.com
+++++++++++++++
++++++++++++++++++++
++++++++++++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Posted by: 3rdHorseoftheApocalypse | April 22, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Wow. They waterboard 3 people six years ago and Obama wants to prosecute, genius!

There are people alive in LA today because Khalid Sheikh Mohammed got some water poured on his head.

Remember after 9/11 how we wanted to get those responsible. Eric Holder himself wanted to suspend Geneva convention restrictions on suspected terrorists then.

They should put the Git'mo residents in charge of Fannie & Freddie. Maybe they will commit "suicide" too.

Posted by: ableman | April 22, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

As an attorney, and as self-serving as it sounds, I find it shocking that an attorney would be prosecuted for the mere act of rendering his/her advice. I assume the opinions were as to whether the interrogation methods contemplated illegal, etc. If the honest legal opinion was that the methods were not illegal, then why should an attorney be criminally prosecuted? Even if their opinions flew in the face of clear legal precedent, I still doubt that such is criminal behavior. Believe it or not, attorneys disagree on the law. Look at the number of 5-4 Supreme Court decisions [and not every one of those close calls falls on ideological lines]. In any event, the attorneys didn't commit the "torture," and I doubt they had the power to authorize it on their own. You might consider this quote from John W. Davis (1873 - 1955) who argued more or as many cases before our Supreme Court than any other attorney [and I grant that perhaps you'd read it another way]:

"Every would be despot has found it necesssary to silence the tongues of his countries’ lawyers. For this, brethren of the Bar, is our supreme function – to be sleepless sentinels on the ramparts of human liberty and there to sound the alarm whenever an enemy appears. What duty could be more transcendent and sublime? What cause more holy?"

The real danger -- no matter what your ideology or politics -- is that government lawyers in future administrations will now be chilled against rendering what might be an accurate legal opinion on a close issue of law for fear of future retribution.

Posted by: tampalawyer | April 22, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

They are interrogating our captured enemies who at some point were involved with or had information from others, who are our enemies. The waterboarding is not going to kill you its unpleasant and not really enjoyable but will not injure you or cause long term damage. the stress it causes is the resultant factor that works. They give it up when there cause dosent seem as important to them as there current stressful situation so they begin to cooperate to end it, if the info checks out they are cooperating then we no longer have a reason to press them for the information they are know to have. To those that belive the country is less safe or that the interrogations yeilded nothing you are deluting yourselves, 911 did not happen after a harsh interrogation it happened because of muslim hatred for america and our allies due to our prowess and might.

Posted by: lleeper | April 22, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

You do know that the Constitution applies to citizens and not foreign terrorists, oh excuse enemy combatants?
******

The most perfect document ever created by man is the US Constitution. The failure to respect the provisions of this document may have lead to injustice, and injustice leads to vengence. Good luck America!


Posted by: avpinoci | April 22, 2009 11:28 AM

Posted by: Bubbette1 | April 22, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I'm more appalled at what the fraud Obama is doing (hiring tax cheats, bankrupting our kids, delivering us to solcialism, another France in the making), apologizing to the world over and over again. Stand up and try to be presidential you hypocrite!
Torture, my XYZ!If if weren't for under the table Bill, 3000+ lives would still be alive?

Posted by: keenande | April 22, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

What I hear here, unfortunately, is "an eye for an eye." I am only responsible for my own actions, not those of others. IF and I believe that's a big one, we are a "Christian nation" and don't follow the dictates of Christ, we are phony and a fraud. He said,the peacemakers shall inherit the earth and that those that live by the sword will die by the sword. Like Ghandi, he taught non resistance as "Don't rail against evil, but overcome evil with good." "Vengeance is mine", said the Lord." We can rationalize all we want, but Torture is evil, immoral and brings that which we hate back on us. How Bush and all his followers can call themselves Christian is way beyond me!!

Posted by: lindaka | April 22, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

An excellent strategy! Keep the Bush administration in the headlines and cover up the Obama socialist takeover.

Crocodile tears over being mean to terrorists? No one, neocon or lib, really cares about how prisoners are treated. They care only about what political gains can be made.

This non-issue is a pile of male bovine excrement that stinks around the globe. I'm sure the axis of terror will now rethink how they treat prisoners and our so-called allies will respect us in the morning.

Posted by: vicoa2 | April 22, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

It never seases to amaze me how peolpe in this Country can comdem treatment of Terrorist that butcher innocent men, women and children and yet feel ans say nothing of the millions of babies slaughtered every year. I believe in Por Choice, that is to say you had the choice to protect yourself before conception. If you choose poorly, the unborn shouldn't suffer for your mistake. All of those who appologize to ouhers for our Country should live in an other Country and stop belly aching!

Posted by: jvscorp | April 22, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

The comments on this issue reflect the real problem, which is that once we cross a line it's hard to go back. When our moral position was that we did not torture, it wasn't because it might not be effective, but because we were defining ourselves by making our actions fit our values. Once our actions did not fit our values, we only had two choices which would avoid cognitive dissonance: we would make our values fit our actions, which was a logical choice of those on the right, or repudiate torture in order to return to the values we held before breaking with them. Returning to those values is no easier than returning to the Clinton era tax rates, which are now described as socialism. Once people have begun to behave in a brutal and selfish way, they naturally adopt new values which make it not just okay, but virtuous. To make our actions support our values, we have to start with the values, not begin with the efficacy of torture and then craft values to justify it.

Posted by: dlnsf | April 22, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I never realized before that this blog existed. What's the point? If you want to get an idea what the comments say, READ SOME OF THEM YOURSELVES! Don't let a WPost blogger cherry-pick a bunch of on-the-one-hand and on-the-other-hand in a travesty of fairness. Jeez.

Posted by: seller11 | April 22, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

It's now being reported by the Senate Armed Services committee that one of the early goals of the torture was to link 9/11 to Saddam. So the Bush administration was so intent on invading Iraq that they tortured people to get the necessary false evidence.
That goes beyond the lies and manipulated intelligence they used in the run-up to the "Shock-and-Awe" marketing. That's pure evil.

Posted by: Butteoid | April 22, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Who stop with torture?

After all, if we are comitted to do "whatever it takes to protect America", then, let's just go all the way NOW, and get it over with. Let's NUKE every country that even dares to oppose us in any way.

I mean, if we're going to violate international law, let's *really* violate international law. Why pussyfoot around? Let's do what's necessary to protect America. Kill everyone who ain't American.

Posted by: techrat | April 22, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

If waterboarding is so effective, they why is it necessary to repeat the process over 100 times on a single individual?

Posted by: chirp | April 22, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Cheney's best bet is to have himself declared mentally incompetent. No one would contest it. Is the noose they used on Sadaam still available?

Posted by: buddecj | April 22, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

In my personal view, it is entirely unaceptable for the United States to torture anyone. In my personal view this is a fundamental violation of everything for which this country stands. I am proud and relieved that the President has chosen to address this matter. I hope the issue is pursued to the fullest legal extent, even if that means the prosecution of high-level government officials. Gordon Christensen, M.D., Columbia, Missouri.

Posted by: GordonChristensenMD | April 22, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Did we entrust the Germans to try their own from their WWII atrocities and the Holocaust? Did we entrust Boznia to try their own? Absolutely NOT.

I'm not sure we can even trust Obama - when he has already said that those who actually carried the atrocities and followed orders SHOULD NOT be held accountable via a trail and possible prosecution. This is like saying the Aushwitz guards should not have been held accountable for their torture of the jews.

Anyone in our government who was involved and conspired to approve or enact tortuous acts should stand trial - ASAP - and in an international court.

We are finally learning about the Bush authoritarian regime.....and Obama is already declaring some innocent.

What has happened to America? Several strong & smart citizens attempted to warn us what was happening right after 911.....shame on us!

Posted by: go2goal | April 22, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Hey, these terrorists would most likely torture the he11 outta our boys if they captured one, probably be-head him on TV. With that said, I don't see any reason the types of torture the USA used should be under question, I mean come on waterboarding, sleep depravation, loud music none of them risk death and remember we are talking about the biggest garbage on the planet with these terrorists!

Torture the HE11 outta them!

Posted by: luvwknd | April 22, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I do not think that torture is appropriate to use. But I find it highly bizarre that we're going to such lengths to avoid torturing, and humiliating terrorists, but when there is "a choice of embarrassing a child through a search or possibly having other children die while in their care ... why isn't that reasonable?"[Justice Souter on the case of whether strip searching a 13-year old girl should be allowed for suspicion of possessing ibuprofen].

Posted by: paddym | April 22, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Torture is actually a very simple issue: if the "harsh interrogation tactics" were applied to you or a member of your family, on a continual basis, would YOU consider them to be torture.

Thus, if a US adversary captured one of the Bush daughters and applied those tactics in an effort to glean information, would Bush, Cheney or indeed all of America, consider her to have been tortured? My guess is there would be outrage and a demand for the slaughter of the perpetrators.

Far less civilized than the war crimes trial Bush et al should be subjected.

Posted by: joachim1 | April 22, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

The most perfect document ever created by man is the US Constitution. The failure to respect the provisions of this document may have lead to injustice, and injustice leads to vengence. Good luck America!

Posted by: avpinoci | April 22, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Will somebody please tell the readers what law or laws were broken or alleged to have been broken by the Bush administrators , Bush himself, or any of the attorneys. Just tell us where to access thgese statutes, or, if only internation law, where we can read the fine print.

Posted by: johnasnider | April 22, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

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