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Call It Torture

Here's another good reason to have some sort of authoritative public reckoning of the Bush administration's dark legacy: Until we deal with it once and for all, it will come back to haunt us time and time again.

The latest reminder of horror is now upon us, from the mouths of brutalized detainees and in the form of a conclusion by the International Red Cross -- the world's authority on the subject -- that their treatment undeniably amounted to torture.

Mark Danner, one of the great chroniclers of the Bush administration, somehow obtained a copy of the international organization's confidential report based on its interviews with the 14 "high value detainees" who were held in the CIA's network of secret prisons for periods ranging from 16 months to almost four and a half years.

His article in the New York Review of Books is harrowing, deeply disturbing -- and an absolutely essential read. He also published a shorter version as a New York Times op-ed yesterday.

The report, which made the rounds of the CIA and the White House two years ago, offers a damning portrait of cruelty. From the statements of individual detainees who had never been allowed to speak to each other, a clear method emerges based on forced nudity, isolation, bombardment with noise and light, deprivation of sleep and food, forced standing, repeated beatings and countless applications of cold water including, of course, waterboarding.

The ICRC's conclusion is inescapable: "The allegations of ill treatment of the detainees indicate that, in many cases, the ill treatment to which they were subjected while held in the C.I.A. program, either singly or in combination, constituted torture. In addition, many other elements of the ill treatment, either singly or in combination, constituted cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment."

As Danner tells NPR: "Its determination that these activities were torture is absolutely definitive, absolutely authoritative. These activities were torture. The International Committee of the Red Cross says so, and they use the definitions in treaties the United States has signed on to."

Compare this with, for instance, former president George W. Bush's September 6, 2006, speech, in which he for the first time publicly acknowledged the existence of the secret prisons and what he called the CIA's "alternative set of procedures" for interrogation. "These procedures were designed to be safe, to comply with our laws, our Constitution, and our treaty obligations," he said. "The Department of Justice reviewed the authorized methods extensively and determined them to be lawful. I cannot describe the specific methods used -- I think you understand why -- if I did, it would help the terrorists learn how to resist questioning, and to keep information from us that we need to prevent new attacks on our country. But I can say the procedures were tough, and they were safe, and lawful, and necessary."

Here is what Abu Zubaydah, the first al Qaeda operative to be captured and tortured, told the ICRC, via Danner: "'I was taken out of my cell and one of the interrogators wrapped a towel around my neck; they then used it to swing me around and smash me repeatedly against the hard walls of the room.'

"The prisoner was then put in a coffin-like black box, about 4 feet by 3 feet and 6 feet high, 'for what I think was about one and a half to two hours.' He added: The box was totally black on the inside as well as the outside.... They put a cloth or cover over the outside of the box to cut out the light and restrict my air supply. It was difficult to breathe. When I was let out of the box I saw that one of the walls of the room had been covered with plywood sheeting. From now on it was against this wall that I was then smashed with the towel around my neck. I think that the plywood was put there to provide some absorption of the impact of my body. The interrogators realized that smashing me against the hard wall would probably quickly result in physical injury.'"

By the time al Qaeda operative Walid bin Attash was captured a year later, Danner writes, the CIA was instead using "a plastic collar, which seems to have been a refinement of the towel that had been looped around Abu Zubaydah's neck."

Here is alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed describing his waterboarding: "I would be strapped to a special bed, which could be rotated into a vertical position. A cloth would be placed over my face. Cold water from a bottle that had been kept in a fridge was then poured onto the cloth by one of the guards so that I could not breathe.... The cloth was then removed and the bed was put into a vertical position. The whole process was then repeated during about one hour. Injuries to my ankles and wrists also occurred during the water-boarding as I struggled in the panic of not being able to breath. Female interrogators were also present...and a doctor was always present, standing out of sight behind the head of [the] bed, but I saw him when he came to fix a clip to my finger which was connected to a machine. I think it was to measure my pulse and oxygen content in my blood. So they could take me to [the] breaking point."

And don't think these actions and many others can't be traced directly back to the White House. They can.

In December 2007, FBI agent John Kiriakou, who participated in Zubaydah's capture and early questioning, told ABC News that every decision leading to the torture of CIA detainees was documented and approved in cables to and from Washington.

And last April, ABC News reported that top Bush aides, including former vice president Cheney, micromanaged interrogation tactics from the White House basement.

"The high-level discussions about these 'enhanced interrogation techniques' were so detailed," ABC's sources said, "some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed -- down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic." Those discussions started right after Zubaydah's capture in the spring of 2002. According to ABC, the CIA briefed the White House group on its plans to use aggressive techniques against Zubaydah and received explicit approval.

Techniques that created damage short of "the level of death, organ failure, or the permanent impairment of a significant body function" were later authorized in an August 2002 Justice Department memo, known as the Torture Memo.

For his part, Danner traces it all back to the administration's message after 9/11 that the gloves were to come off. "It is no accident that two of the administration's most powerful officials, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, served as young men in very senior positions in the Nixon and Ford administrations. They had witnessed firsthand the gloves going on and, in the weeks after the September 11 attacks, they argued powerfully that it was those limitations — and, it was implied, not a failure to heed warnings — that had helped lead, however indirectly, to the country's vulnerability to attack.

"And so, after a devastating and unprecedented attack, the gloves came off. Guided by the President and his closest advisers, the United States transformed itself from a country that, officially at least, condemned torture to a country that practiced it. And this fateful decision, however much we may want it to, will not go away, any more than the fourteen 'high-value detainees,' tortured and thus unprosecutable, will go away. Like the grotesque stories in the ICRC report, the decision sits before us, a toxic fact, polluting our political and moral life."

Danner writes about "the dark moral epic of the Bush administration, in the coils of whose contradictions we find ourselves entangled still." And there are many such contradictions. Among them: "Consider the uncompromising words of Eric Holder, the attorney general, who in reply to a direct question at his confirmation hearings had declared, 'waterboarding is torture.' There is nothing ambiguous about this statement — nor about the equally blunt statements of several high Bush administration officials, including the former vice-president and the director of the CIA, confirming unequivocally that the administration had ordered and directed that prisoners under its control be waterboarded."

Another major theme of Danner's piece is that, despite the repeated assertions of the Bush administration, there's no evidence that, at long last, any of this torture did us any good at all. That's another point I couldn't agree with more.

"In the wake of the ICRC report one can make several definitive statements," Danner writes:

"1. Beginning in the spring of 2002 the United States government began to torture prisoners. This torture, approved by the President of the United States and monitored in its daily unfolding by senior officials, including the nation's highest law enforcement officer, clearly violated major treaty obligations of the United States, including the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture, as well as US law.

"2. The most senior officers of the US government, President George W. Bush first among them, repeatedly and explicitly lied about this, both in reports to international institutions and directly to the public. The President lied about it in news conferences, interviews, and, most explicitly, in speeches expressly intended to set out the administration's policy on interrogation before the people who had elected him.

"3. The US Congress, already in possession of a great deal of information about the torture conducted by the administration—which had been covered widely in the press, and had been briefed, at least in part, from the outset to a select few of its members—passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and in so doing attempted to protect those responsible from criminal penalty under the War Crimes Act.

"4. Democrats, who could have filibustered the bill, declined to do so — a decision that had much to do with the proximity of the midterm elections, in the run-up to which, they feared, the President and his Republican allies might gain advantage by accusing them of 'coddling terrorists.'...

"5. The political damage to the United States' reputation, and to the 'soft power' of its constitutional and democratic ideals, has been, though difficult to quantify, vast and enduring. In a war that is essentially an insurgency fought on a worldwide scale—which is to say, a political war, in which the attitudes and allegiances of young Muslims are the critical target of opportunity—the United States' decision to use torture has resulted in an enormous self-administered defeat, undermining liberal sympathizers of the United States and convincing others that the country is exactly as its enemies paint it: a ruthless imperial power determined to suppress and abuse Muslims. By choosing to torture, we freely chose to become the caricature they made of us."

Joby Warrick, Peter Finn and Julie Tate write in The Washington Post that "[a]t least five copies of the report were shared with the CIA and top White House officials in 2007...

"Many of the details of alleged mistreatment at CIA prisons had been reported previously, but the ICRC report is the most authoritative account and the first to use the word 'torture' in a legal context.

"The CIA declined to comment. A U.S. official familiar with the report said, 'It is important to bear in mind that the report lays out claims made by the terrorists themselves.'...

"'These reports are from an impeccable source,' said Geneve Mantri, a counterterrorism specialist at Amnesty International. 'It's clear that senior officials were warned from the very beginning that the treatment that detainees were subjected to amounted to torture. This story goes even further and deeper than many us of suspected. The more details we find out, the more shocking this becomes.'"

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 16, 2009; 1:20 PM ET
Categories:  Looking Backward , Torture  
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Comments

History has shown us that there is absolutely NOTHING a human being won't do as long as someone tells him it's his job.

Posted by: motorfriend | March 16, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Here is alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed describing his waterboarding
_________
Boo Hoo.. what I'm suppose to fell sorry for this guy after reading this?? HE's the one RESPONSIBLE for MURDRERING 3000 INNOCENT PEOPLE!!! So what he had a bad day?? It was nothing compared to the people who had to jump out of a 110 story building because of him!!

Posted by: sovine08 | March 16, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Since everyone in DC seems to agree that the Yoo memo's preclude any criminal investigation, can we at least get someone to evaluate Cheney's claims that valuable intelligence has been obtained.

As Danner points out, the tainting of evidence has rendered justice for the terrorsist suspects themselves impossible to acheive.

Posted by: PhD9 | March 16, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

According to Bush: "The Department of Justice reviewed the authorized methods extensively and determined them to be lawful. I cannot describe the specific methods used -- I think you understand why -- if I did, it would help the terrorists learn how to resist questioning, and to keep information from us that we need to prevent new attacks on our country. "

Well - lets see, of the nearly 800 'terrorists' that were held in our gulag, we have so far released over 600 without filing any charges.

How much money would Bush like to bet that atleast a few of them had real intimate experience with the 'enhanced methods', and would be gladly telling folks by now?

If that is the case, why is Obama still holding onto these moronic reasonings from his predecessor? Release all info in terms of how they were treated, and what is allowed.

Not in my name or my security's sake.

Posted by: Pillai | March 16, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

@sovine08
How 'bout you start by feeling sorry for the interrogators themselves. They now get to go through life believing that its acceptable and justifiable to experiment with how to inflict maximum suffering without bruising.

Posted by: PhD9 | March 16, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

No, sovine08, you are not supposed to feel sorry for Mohammed, he's a criminal .. you are supposed to feel sorry for your country, that is has sunk so low. And all it took was a bunch of international criminals and a conspiracy to wreck your country's economy, its international standing, and its values as a nation of laws.

If you think America should become just another lousy nation with torture chambers then you should go sleep with Osama, and with Sarah Palin. That's what they want too.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | March 16, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

So little focus on the present... but so much focus on the past for froomiekins.

Hmmmm.... someone seems obsessed to keep attention away from Obama.

Posted by: alutz08 | March 16, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

According to the RED CROSS - the NAZI'S ran good/humane POW camps during WWII and were not responsible for the AMERICAN POW's murdered at MALMEDY. SOME GREAT ORGANIZATION TO 'VERIFY' ANYTHING???!!! Ha.

Posted by: ZyskandarAJaimot | March 16, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Here is alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed describing his waterboarding
_________
Boo Hoo.. what I'm suppose to fell sorry for this guy after reading this?? HE's the one RESPONSIBLE for MURDRERING 3000 INNOCENT PEOPLE!!! So what he had a bad day?? It was nothing compared to the people who had to jump out of a 110 story building because of him!!

Posted by: sovine08 | March 16, 2009 2:30 PM
**********
sovine08 is oblivious to what living in a nation of laws is all about.
This isn't about that one terrorist-- this is about upholding principles for which great men died and the Bush Administration spit upon.

Posted by: dbitt | March 16, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

No, sovine08, you are not supposed to feel sorry for Mohammed, he's a criminal .. you are supposed to feel sorry for your country, that is has sunk so low.
______-
Well if we are not to feel sorry for Mohammed why even mention his story? Froomkin clearly was trying to garner sympathy for him.. and I have NONE!!! As far as our country has sunk so low.. please... The worse of the interogation was the waterboarding and it happened to THREE.. count them 3 TERRORISTS!!! And it hasn't happened again in 6 years!!! That hardly makes us Communist Russia or Nazi Germany. These were all high profile leaders in al Queda.. and after trying please and pretty please and seeing that didn't work the CIA did what it thought they had to do to find out if anymore attacks were planned. Now if these guys didn't want to be in a position to be questioned harshly.. it simple DON'T BECOME TERRORISTS!!! But if your career choice is to kill as many innocent people as possible.. then they should accept the consequences if caught..

Posted by: sovine08 | March 16, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Special Counsel Now!

Posted by: michaelw4 | March 16, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

So little focus on the present... but so much focus on the past for froomiekins.

Hmmmm.... someone seems obsessed to keep attention away from Obama.

Posted by: alutz08 | March 16, 2009 2:59 PM
************
And yet here you are, reading.
Hm.
Who's really the obsessed one here?

Posted by: dbitt | March 16, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

No, sovine08, you are not supposed to feel sorry for Mohammed, he's a criminal .. you are supposed to feel sorry for your country, that is has sunk so low.
______-
Well if we are not to feel sorry for Mohammed why even mention his story? Froomkin clearly was trying to garner sympathy for him.. and I have NONE!!! As far as our country has sunk so low.. please... The worse of the interogation was the waterboarding and it happened to THREE.. count them 3 TERRORISTS!!! And it hasn't happened again in 6 years!!! That hardly makes us Communist Russia or Nazi Germany. These were all high profile leaders in al Queda.. and after trying please and pretty please and seeing that didn't work the CIA did what it thought they had to do to find out if anymore attacks were planned. Now if these guys didn't want to be in a position to be questioned harshly.. it simple DON'T BECOME TERRORISTS!!! But if your career choice is to kill as many innocent people as possible.. then they should accept the consequences if caught..

Posted by: sovine08 | March 16, 2009 3:16 PM
************
A murder is only a single person. It happens once. Should we not prosecute murderers?
If you're going to make exceptions-- we only did a LITTLE bit of torturing, what's the big deal?-- then why have laws?
I stand by my earlier statement: you do not understand what living in a nation of laws is all about, nor do you understand the principles upon which this nation was founded.

Posted by: dbitt | March 16, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Time to release some identities - the names of the doctors and other personnel that had no moral compass...

Posted by: smallcage | March 16, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Lesson 18 How to lie to stupid infidels - Al Qeada Training Manual -- Do you think it might have been mentioned in your article?

We do know that:
a) Al Qaeda is not covered under the Geneva Convention;
b) the terrorists are trained to claim abuse;
c)The techniques indicated (including waterboarding) were not considered torture;

We DON'T believe terrorists who would love to kill you and us. Look up the word "al-Taqiyya"

We understand these terrorists were TRAINED to lie. It’s in their War manual. Try studying Mohammad on war.

We have read reports before Congress that confirm only 3 high-value terrorists were waterboarded for 30 to 90 seconds. Indeed far more liberals have volunteerly subjected themselves to waterboarding for minutes at a time.

We are NOT convinced waterboarding is such a bad thing. Even Secretary Clinton wants to keep it as an option for her occasionally wandering husband

The Red Cross, have lost credibility.

Posted by: pvilso24 | March 16, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

sovine08 is oblivious to what living in a nation of laws is all about.
This isn't about that one terrorist-- this is about upholding principles for which great men died and the Bush Administration spit upon.
________
Yeah but I hope we also live in a nation of COMMON SENSE!!! There is a thing called the greater good to and if a law has to be bent or broken to serve the greater good.. then it should be. For example it is against the law to drive through a red light.. but if I have a person in the car having a heart attack.. screw the red light and screw the law I'm going through it. If we have a terrorist locked up who has information about a future attack.. then the greater good is to stop the attack and protect innocent lives.. not to worry about following the law to the letter. And BTW it's not like there has even been proof that any law has even been broken. Obama wants to look ahead.. He's right. Looking back trying to convict people whose sole purpose was to keep Americans safe.. because of who.. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed??? Is crazy...

Posted by: sovine08 | March 16, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I am glad to hear that those three pieces of garbage were treated that way.

Sorry that all of KSM's supporters on the left are upset.

Posted by: bobmoses | March 16, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Why did the Post put quotes around the word 'torture' in the head?

Red Cross Described 'Torture' at CIA Jails

Doing so is a tacit endorsement of the right-wing talking point that what the administration did, including waterboarding, fell short of the definition of the term.

The Post should never editorialize in its headlines. Putting politically charged terms in quotes may seem like the most neutral path, but it is in fact bowing to whatever group challenges the consensus, nonpartisan meaning of the word.


Posted by: tryks | March 16, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Waterboard Cheney.

Posted by: humanbeng | March 16, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Froomkin clearly believes terrorists, trained to lie (source AQ War Manual) are to be believed over American officials including Congressional leaders ?

Publically-available Congressional testimony by top CIA officials has confirmed the WORST technique waterboarding was given ONLY to 3 high-value terrorist leaders. And they sang after 30 to 90 seconds.

No Senator or Congressman on the Intelligence or Armed Services committees has challenged this testimony. They did nothing to stop such activities they are well-briefed upon.

According to the Washington Post, and other sources:

Beginning in 2002, Nancy Pelosi and other key Democrats on the Intelligence Committees were thoroughly, and repeatedly, briefed on the CIA's covert anti-terror interrogation programs. If they now decide the tactics they heard amount to abuse, then they themselves are complicit.

"The Post also reported that in 2002 Nancy Pelosi and her Congressional Intel committee colleagues got a virtual CIA tour and APPROVED of the interrogation techniques being used including the WORST: waterboarding. Apparently NO objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push HARDER !!

Posted by: pvilso24 | March 16, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

If you're going to make exceptions-- we only did a LITTLE bit of torturing, what's the big deal?-- then why have laws?
_______
What planet do you live on? Exceptions are made ALL THE TIME!!! One murderer might get 5 years if he cuts a deal with the DA to turn in a drug king pin.. another guy for the same crime gets the death penalty.. Yeah we have laws but they aren't all black and white.. Cops, DA's judges all have leeway.. our laws were never meant to turn us into a bunch of robots! Each case is diferent!! You think KSM should be treated like every other criminal?? A right to remain silent, a right to lawyer up?? are you insane?? We have to react according to the person and the situation. A car thief who was waterboarded would be set free.. you think KSM should be set free??? Yeah follow the law.. but don't be stupid!!!

Posted by: sovine08 | March 16, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I hear Bush is entering Canada soon. Here's hoping they rendition him somewhere so he can stand trial for his warcrimes. Conservatives have no reason to object, because if Bush is innocent the trial would clear his good name
LOL
pviloso - Waterboarding is torture, it's defined by law as torture, and you're a liar. 'Terrorists' are protected by the law when they are in US custody. You can't legally torture anybody. You are unAmerican.

Posted by: marcedward1 | March 16, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I believe the liberals posting here are so afraid of Muslim extremists that they would do anything to appease and not anger them in any way.
I believe liberals have "sold out" the memories of the innocent 3000 who died on 9/11 out of cowardice, low character, and zero compassion for their fellow Americans.

Posted by: Thozmaniac | March 16, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I am as appalled by the many people whose attitude is "So what, they deserved even worse," as I am by the torture itself. We are failing to educate the public as to what American values are, and why they are important. While most anyone will see that it is wrong to torture the innocent, it is dismaying that so many do not see why it is wrong to torture the guilty, or to deprive them of due process of law in determining their guilt. Even those opposed to torture (unbelievable, that there are two sides to this!) seem to prefer to give the reason "It doesn't work," rather than "it's wrong." Much better education in the values of a free society is needed in our schools and homes.

Posted by: turningfool | March 16, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

If you're going to make exceptions-- we only did a LITTLE bit of torturing, what's the big deal?-- then why have laws?
_______
What planet do you live on? Exceptions are made ALL THE TIME!!! One murderer might get 5 years if he cuts a deal with the DA to turn in a drug king pin.. another guy for the same crime gets the death penalty.. Yeah we have laws but they aren't all black and white.. Cops, DA's judges all have leeway.. our laws were never meant to turn us into a bunch of robots! Each case is diferent!! You think KSM should be treated like every other criminal?? A right to remain silent, a right to lawyer up?? are you insane?? We have to react according to the person and the situation. A car thief who was waterboarded would be set free.. you think KSM should be set free??? Yeah follow the law.. but don't be stupid!!!

Posted by: sovine08 | March 16, 2009 3:56 PM
**********
You're resorting to a lot of extreme positions to try and justify your own.

I don't think KSM should be set free. But I also don't think he should have been waterboarded and left to rot for four years while a jerry-rigged and extralegal "tribunal" was thrown together to try him. Which it failed to do.

Yes, criminals make deals. But they get their day in court, and they are not tortured to extract the name of some hypothetical "drug kingpin." We spent a lot of years trying to abolish that "old school" of policing and we've mostly succeeded. The issue here is that we have signed treaties--hell, we have DEMANDED international agreement on these things--that outlaw the very things we did to a handful of people like KSM.

You are clearly consumed with a need for vengeance. Ask yourself this: if the tables were turned, would you be okay with some foreign power torturing a US soldier for information if it were in their national interest?

If you are honest, I think you would answer that it's better to have laws that a mindless thirst for revenge.

Posted by: dbitt | March 16, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I believe the liberals posting here are so afraid of Muslim extremists that they would do anything to appease and not anger them in any way.
I believe liberals have "sold out" the memories of the innocent 3000 who died on 9/11 out of cowardice, low character, and zero compassion for their fellow Americans.

Posted by: Thozmaniac | March 16, 2009 4:03 PM
************
Can you offer any evidence of this beyond your own opinion?
If not, you are coming close to libel.

Posted by: dbitt | March 16, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

America does not stand for torture.

Posted by: SarahBB | March 16, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

The United States does not torture. We call it tickleing.

Posted by: davidbn27 | March 16, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

The usual rabble of torture-apologist chicken hawks. how many of you loudmouths actually served your country? listen to our own generals, d**ches, YOU DON'T TORTURE THEM BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT OUR TROOPS TO BE TORTURED. aka the golden rule. and you people are supposed to be the morality police? American Taliban more like.

Posted by: Vizier6 | March 16, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

"America - At Least We're Not Communist Russia or Nazi Germany!"

Our 2009 tourism campaign, courtesy of sovine08.

The vast majority of "terrorists" we've captured and treated worse than rats turned out to be innocent civilians - often turned in by neighbors for reward money, favors, etc. Of course without being afforded any of the basic Geneva rights there was no way for the imprisoned to prove their case, so they languished for years. It's enough to make one wonder how many more terrorists we've created using these tactics than we've captured, if only it wasn't considered treasonous to question the war effort.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | March 16, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

"

Here is alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed describing his waterboarding
_________
Boo Hoo.. what I'm suppose to fell sorry for this guy after reading this?? HE's the one RESPONSIBLE for MURDRERING 3000 INNOCENT PEOPLE!!! So what he had a bad day?? It was nothing compared to the people who had to jump out of a 110 story building because of him!!

Posted by: sovine08 | March 16, 2009 2:30 PM "


----------------------------->

So we should abandon our principles because we are attacked by people without principles? Does that not really just make us our own enemy?

Posted by: tweldy | March 16, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

sovine08 is oblivious to what living in a nation of laws is all about.
This isn't about that one terrorist-- this is about upholding principles for which great men died and the Bush Administration spit upon.
________
Yeah but I hope we also live in a nation of COMMON SENSE!!! There is a thing called the greater good to and if a law has to be bent or broken to serve the greater good.. then it should be. For example it is against the law to drive through a red light.. but if I have a person in the car having a heart attack.. screw the red light and screw the law I'm going through it. If we have a terrorist locked up who has information about a future attack.. then the greater good is to stop the attack and protect innocent lives.. not to worry about following the law to the letter. And BTW it's not like there has even been proof that any law has even been broken. Obama wants to look ahead.. He's right. Looking back trying to convict people whose sole purpose was to keep Americans safe.. because of who.. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed??? Is crazy...

Posted by: sovine08 | March 16, 2009 3:40 PM
*************
Obama does not have the legal right to "look ahead." By treaty, we have committed war crimes. He does not have the authority to overlook that, no matter how much you may want your beloved torturers protected.

I feel sorry (a tiny bit) for the ones who did the torturing--they thought they had legal cover. They were wrong.

The Bush Administration says that they had legal justification for breaking international law. If so, they should be willing to defend that opinion in court.

The interrogators should have known that they were breaking the law--the Nuremberg defense ("I was only following orders") does not absolve the guilty of guilt.

You must be a fan of "24." It's only in Hollywood thrillers that an interrogator applies just the right amount of torture to get just the right bit of information. The trouble with your reckless, blunt-force approach is that IT DOES NOT WORK. Read about torture and what it produces, I dare you. I am betting you won't... but the point is, torture does not work.

But if you're comfortable believing in last-ditch desperate sweaty men needing to pry out fingernails to save a city from an atom bomb, go right ahead. That sort of delusion exists only on TV.

Posted by: dbitt | March 16, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

@Thozmaniac,

So let me see if I have this straight. The brave people are the ones advocating torture to keep their butts alive and the cowards are the ones that are saying we can win without it. Umm, sure. Logic might not be your strongpoint.

@pvilso24 Some people actually think that we should live up to our treaty obligations. Some of those people happen to be JAG officers who might know a bit more about the Geneva Conventions than you.

Posted by: cblanch823 | March 16, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

hey Thozmaniac, you are an ignorant loudmouth. You don't know whats in anyone's hearts and you cite NO EVIDENCE. let the grown-ups talk please.

Posted by: Vizier6 | March 16, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

@Thozmaniac: "I believe the liberals posting here are so afraid of Muslim extremists that they would do anything to appease and not anger them in any way."

Classic. Ever heard of projection? The right wing took a longstanding problem - Muslim extremism - and elevated it (and the extremists) to nearly mythical proportion. For a while after 9/11 there was a terrorist in every closet and under every bed. So did they create this bogeyman out of boredom? Stupidity? Or fear?

Posted by: BigTunaTim | March 16, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

America does stand for torture. It is the only thing we do stand for. We murder, maim, bomb, destabalize and destroy anything and everything we touch. America DID AND STILL DOES torture. It always will.

Posted by: davidbn27 | March 16, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

LOL BigTunaTim, great slogan. Better than anything Karen Hughes "coordinator of wartime public relations" (aka Bush flak) came up with!

Posted by: Vizier6 | March 16, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

If only they will volunteer information, then we won't have to spank their hands.

Posted by: dleon63 | March 16, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Lets be clear here..its not that "they" tortured anyone, its us. We tortured. US of A.

America Tortured. Americans Tortured.

Posted by: WOW9 | March 16, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Danner's comment that "The International Committee of the Red Cross says so, and they use the definitions in treaties the United States has signed on to." leaves a lot to interpretation. What treaties is he referring to? The implication is that he's referring to the Geneva Conventions since they are the treaties that give the ICRC legal standing to play a role in visiting detainees in armed conflicts. But if that is the case, he is - intentionally or inadvertently - ignoring the fact that the Geneva Conventions do only one thing: they prohibit torture. They do NOT define what torture is. So to say that they are the ultimate authority on this issue based on one single general prohibition is ridiculous at best, disingenuous at worst. The ICRC is not the holy grail of states' international behavior. If that was the case, don't you think we would hear a lot more about the myriads of other countries where considerably more horrible events are taking place routinely, usually ending up in real people getting blown up to pieces, tortured to death or otherwise mistreated in fashions that we can't even imagine? Where are the ICRC, the Danners and the Froomkins of the world, wasting their time wringing their hands and hitting their chests for mistreatment of a few hard-core killers and criminals, while in the meantime the tally of people killed - not just tortured, although there's plenty of those as well - keeps climbing in the Congo (5.2 MILLION so far!), in Darfur (500.000 so far) and in scores of other places. Obviously, for these misguided spirits, the lives of so many people "over there" don't mean anything. It's so much easier and so much more comfortable to focus on a handful of people roughed up by their interrogators and who will kill again at the first opportunity. Talk of having completely lost their moral compass...

Posted by: jjs110 | March 16, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Of course it was torture! As is my daily commute. Who can I hold responsible for
"torturing" me with bills every month?

Now that we're all using words as if they have no meaning, who can I sue for the "torture" I experienced reading Dan's article?

We have to be careful with letting political lust redefine 'torture' too far or the new definition will include many workplaces and certainly our Penal system. I think the liberal extremists will be unhappy to find that allowing migrant labor to work our fields is now illegal 'torture' (prolonged uncomfortable positions, poor nutrition, bad music).

Posted by: chad5 | March 16, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

jjs110,

Did you ever try reading the Geneva Conventions or do you just make this stuff up on the fly? If what we did isn't prohibited by the following text, then the document is simply useless.

From common article 3 -

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

(b) Taking of hostages;

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

Posted by: cblanch823 | March 16, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Like "good Germans" after World War II, we're living among war criminals--Bush, Cheney, Addington, Yoo, Bigby, Gonzalez, and then there are those who actually carried out the physical torture and the doctors who enabled and assisted them. Morally obtuse dopes like Souvine08 may not understand that, but, hey, there are still some Republicans left in this country.

Posted by: orray | March 16, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Bush and Cheney should be handcuffed to the back of a car and dragged through Fallujah, then their beaten bodies should hang from a bridge... in tattered pieces!

Posted by: jfern03 | March 16, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm sad that some of my fellow Americans consider slamming a prisoner against the wall and simulating drowning to the point where a doctor needs to be present to be comparable to "bad music", and that those who would point this out are "liberal extremists".

I will take some comfort in the election results on Nov. 4. That result goes a long way toward identifying the real extremists in our country.

Posted by: wistlo | March 16, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

@chad5

"Of course it was torture! As is my daily commute."

Anyone forcing you to make that commute?

"Who can I hold responsible for
"torturing" me with bills every month?"

Anyone forcing you to sign up for those services?

"who can I sue for the "torture" I experienced reading Dan's article?"

Anyone force you to read it?

"allowing migrant labor to work our fields is now illegal 'torture' (prolonged uncomfortable positions, poor nutrition, bad music)."

Anyone forcing them to work in the fields?

Are you beginning to see a pattern here? This isn't some morally ambiguous slippery slope that could ensnare well-intentioned people. It's criminal behavior. I'm sorry you feel the need to hide behind ridicule to avoid understanding the actual situation.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | March 16, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Sovine08 why not just admit it, it comes through in your tone, you want these people tortured for the sake of punishment. All through history we have learned time and time again that torture only gets you the answers that the interrogator wants. It rarely gets you the truth. I forget which one of these guys it was, but one of them it was well documented that the information elicited from torture was already in hand before the torture began, some of it available publicly and some of it retrieved through more civilized methods of interrogation.
BTW no one I have seen post here or write anywhere has advocated that KSM or anyone else be set free. I believe you and your kind with your all or nothing view of the world are the only ones who advocate the black or white view. They can still prosecute KSM and send him to jail for life or death, but it would be made much more difficult seeing as so much of the information gathered against him was gathered illegally. But then again you and your kind seem to have little regard to laws…except when it is one of your own up at the defendants table. BTW this is not a liberal/conservative issue, it is a humanity issue, it is a moral issue, it is an issue that defines our nations identity.

Posted by: m_mcmahon | March 16, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Cheney and his lot did more damage to America then any terrorists ever could.

Posted by: humanbeng | March 16, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

You are clearly consumed with a need for vengeance. Ask yourself this: if the tables were turned, would you be okay with some foreign power torturing a US soldier for information if it were in their national interest?
_______
And you think if we didn't have GITMO they wouldn't be torturing US soldiers??? Daniel Pearl was beheaded BY KSM long before GITMO!!! What we do or don't do will have NO effect on how they treat our prisoners. And what you call vengeance I call JUSTICE.. and that will come when KSM is executed.

Posted by: sovine08 | March 16, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Micksters picks for best right wing rant of the day:

Froomkin clearly believes terrorists, trained to lie (source AQ War Manual) are to be believed over American officials including Congressional leader

So little focus on the present... but so much focus on the past for froomiekins. Hmmmm.... someone seems obsessed to keep attention away from Obama.

I believe liberals have "sold out" the memories of the innocent 3000 who died on 9/11 out of cowardice, low character, and zero compassion for their fellow Americans.

I am glad to hear that those three pieces of garbage were treated that way. Sorry that all of KSM's supporters on the left are upset.

I think the liberal extremists will be unhappy to find that allowing migrant labor to work our fields is now illegal 'torture' (prolonged uncomfortable positions, poor nutrition, bad music).

And now the comment of the day:

The usual rabble of torture-apologist chicken hawks. how many of you loudmouths actually served your country? listen to our own generals, d**ches, YOU DON'T TORTURE THEM BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT OUR TROOPS TO BE TORTURED. aka the golden rule. and you people are supposed to be the morality police

Pretty great stuff. You could set these quotes to music say the Battle Hymn of the Republic and then get Sean Hannity to deliver them. And voila, an instant right wing talk radio show. Some fun.

Posted by: mickster1 | March 16, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

The vast majority of "terrorists" we've captured and treated worse than rats turned out to be innocent civilians
____
Oh please.. the "vast maiority" turned out to be innocent?? You know not of what you speak.. And treated worse than rats.. Here's a report of conditions in GITMO.. American prisoners should have it so good...

* Detainees get three full meals a day with a choice of menu.

* Each detainee receives a Koran and a prayer rug.

* Arrows throughout the facility point toward Mecca.

* Detainees receive full medical treatment - including psychiatric services. There is one medical personnel for every two detainees.

* Detainees who comply with regulations are allowed out of their cells for 16 to 20 hours a day and participate in various recreational and educational activities including soccer, language training and art classes.

* Noncompliant detainees - including the hardest of the hard core - are allowed out of their cells for four to seven hours a day.

* Detainees have access to live TV, books and two daily Arab newspapers plus USA Today.

* Detainees are allowed to confer to discuss courtroom strategy.

* Guards within the facility are not armed and are regularly subjected to abuse and harassment, including having human feces and urine thrown at them.

The Defense Department has just finished its review of Guantanamo as ordered by President Obama and determined that conditions comply with the Geneva Conventions: "No prohibited acts were found and conditions are humane."

Posted by: sovine08 | March 16, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Sovine,

"And you think if we didn't have GITMO they wouldn't be torturing US soldiers"

Give me the name of some US soldiers that were tortured. I can't think of any of our guys that were tortured.

"Daniel Pearl was beheaded BY KSM long before GITMO"

Method of execution, not torture.

"What we do or don't do will have NO effect on how they treat our prisoners."

Is this true? You have no idea. I can definitely say that our military doesn't agree with this. Did you ever put on a uniform or did you do all of your "fighting" typing away on the keyboard.

Posted by: cblanch823 | March 16, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Obama does not have the legal right to "look ahead." By treaty, we have committed war crimes. He does not have the authority to overlook that, no matter how much you may want your beloved torturers protected.
____
Really.. watch him. Obama will not go near this.. Some Senators might try to go around him but without his backing very little will happen. Leahy's truth commission is already dead in the water. Sorry I realize you want your pound of flesh from Bush and Cheney.. But Bush is sleeping easy at his ranch and Cheney is doing the same where ever he is...

Posted by: sovine08 | March 16, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

"But Bush is sleeping easy at his ranch"

If the man had any conscience at all, just the wreckage of the Republican party that he left behind would keep him from sleeping easy.

Posted by: cblanch823 | March 16, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Give me the name of some US soldiers that were tortured. I can't think of any of our guys that were tortured.
_________
Can you give me the name of a solder who was captured and WASN'T tortured??? Seems to me are solders know what will happen to them and know not to surrender. Now not solders but I seem to remember 4 private contractors were captured in Iraq.. They were killed , had their bodies burned (or maybe the other way around), and hung from a bridge. Does that count as torture?

"Daniel Pearl was beheaded BY KSM long before GITMO" Method of execution, not torture.
_____
Yeah and I'm sure he was treated with kit gloves up to the minute they SAWED HIS HEAD OFF!!!

Posted by: sovine08 | March 16, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Sovine,

"Can you give me the name of a solder who was captured and WASN'T tortured"

This falls into the category of things in this world that are "not my job". I'm not going to sit here and prove a negative. You made a statement that they are currently torturing our guys (present tense). Well, are you just making things up (my guess) or can you give me a name?

"They were killed , had their bodies burned (or maybe the other way around), and hung from a bridge. Does that count as torture?"

Their dead bodies were tortured? Now you are just being silly. Comparing the killing (It was a war, right?) of 4 men to systematic torture just shows how truly lame your arguments are.

"Yeah and I'm sure he was treated with kit gloves up to the minute they SAWED HIS HEAD OFF!!!"

So what did they do to him, or are you STILL just making things up? You assume he was tortured so everything we do is somehow justified. Grow up.

Posted by: cblanch823 | March 16, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't Perle one of the "media elites"? or a "drive-by-media member" that the republicans just love to slander?

Please don't pretend to care.

Posted by: jfern03 | March 16, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

PHD9
Using Yoo's memo as cover for patently illegal interrogation methods provides little protection against criminal prosecution. Yoo was obviously biased and subject to influence due to his job at Justice Reporting directly to the President "at his pleasure" as Rovians so often like to remind us. No, my friend, criminal prosecution is not precluded by an obviously incorrect legal opinion issued by legal counsel having a conflict of interest.

Posted by: katman13 | March 16, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

"We" will claim "we" did not know. That, too ,is a familiar refrain.

We dared not confirm what we knew.

Posted by: khmaio | March 16, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I'll take a swift Al Quaida beheading, rather than watch my home go worthless, my retirement monies go up in smoke, and have to cancell my health insurance because it went up $300/mo.

That is good ol' capitalistic pig terrorism, which has been sanctioned here for the last 8 years, and is way worse than anything AQ could ever do to me. Bin Laden must be happy as heck to have let W and Cheney do all his damage for him.

I'll take a swift beheading... anyday!

Posted by: jfern03 | March 16, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

jfern03,

Good point.

This is what Paul Wolfowitz thought about reporters, never mind that more reporters have died during this war than any other.

''Frankly, part of our problem is a lot of the press are afraid to travel very much, so they sit in Baghdad and they publish rumors,''

Posted by: cblanch823 | March 16, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

"c)The techniques indicated (including waterboarding) were not considered torture"

By whom?? Someone without a day of military experience I would wager. How is it that we tried Japanese War Criminals during WWII for the torture that we in turn inflicted on others and yet we call it interrogation. Hmmm, maybe those sentenced to the gallows should have done the same thing. John McCain, who knows a thing or two about torture condemned the practice as most military men and women did too.

Posted by: elb160 | March 16, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

The trouble with your reckless, blunt-force approach is that IT DOES NOT WORK. Read about torture and what it produces, I dare you. I am betting you won't... but the point is, torture does not work.
___
I took your bet.. (and remember this isn't about whether we SHOULD torture of if we do torture.. it's just to see IF TORTURE WORKS) and from what I found there seems to be no clear answer.. Basically most seem to says it works a little but it's not very effective in general.. Example most used were torture DID WORK was by the French in Algeria... "In 1956, the Algerian FLN (National Liberation Front) began a terrorist bombing campaign in Algiers, the capital of Algeria, killing many innocent civilians. In 1957, Gen. Jacques Massu and the French government began a counterinsurgency campaign in Algiers using torture. As English military theorist Brian Crozier put it, "By such ruthless methods, Massu smashed the FLN organization in Algiers and re-established unchallenged French authority. And he did the job in seven months -- from March to mid-October." It is hard to argue with success. Here were professional torturers who produced consistently reliable information in a short time. It was a breathtaking military victory against terrorism by a democracy that used torture." But there are other times were it was not as successful. I seem to agree most with this accessment.."Torture seems to me very likely to work provided that you can verify the information, which I assume interrogators can in at least some circumstances." So while I'm not saying we should torture just on what you said I not buying your torture never works argument. maybe you should do some research yourself.

Posted by: sovine08 | March 16, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Sovine and the rest of the torture apologies could start the "Justice for Imperial Japanese Officer Yukio Asano Fund".

Posted by: cblanch823 | March 16, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

LOL.

Umm, Sovine, France lost that war. The Algerian resistance won. The counterinsurgency by the French was successful in the capital of Algiers but the torture convinced many moderate Muslims in the country to ally with the rebels which prolonged the war to a point where internal struggles in France put an end to it.

Posted by: cblanch823 | March 16, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

.

sovine08,

what is the extent of your military service? Are you still on active duty?

.

Posted by: osmor | March 16, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

you people are sick. You liberals are really disgusting and you have so much sympathy for pathetic terrorists (cold blooded killers)

I dont care if you call it revenge or whatever. These people committed the most horrific crimes of all crimes and no one forced them to it. We gotta do what we gotta do even if it means actual "tortoring these bastards". I'm no Bush fan or a hard core repubs but i can tell you if a fellow american life is in jeaopardy and it requires me to extract information from these cold blooded scum then all methods are on the table. TOo bad for them such as the casualty of war. they chose to kill people and now they are subjected to what is given to them. Be honest, if it were your parents who are about to die but by extracting information from them can save your parents, would you do it? You can honest to god and tell me you wont waterboard them and treat them with dignity and let your parents get their heads chopped off posted on the internet. Please.. you wacky liberals. Now i know why people disdained liberals and hate them with passions because they love the enemy more than their own country men. I'll tell you what, and i'll be frank. If my family's lives are endangered then i will kill these damn terrorists if I have to to save their lives.

Posted by: ulam00 | March 16, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

what is the extent of your military service? Are you still on active duty?
____
I was never in the military.. but what that means I can't have an opinion?? Tell me if I'm wrong but President Obama didn't serve in the military either.. does that mean he can't have an opinion when it comes to this subject?? BTW while I never served my father did in WW2.. bronze star, purple heart, we have talked about it and he agrees with me...

Posted by: sovine08 | March 16, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

This was not torture. It was just intensive iterrogation, like in the bright light third degree x 10. Anyway, it is not as bad as sawing off heads and playing it out on video. I would not give a rip if these A-Holes were castrated with a butter knife.

Posted by: cecil91 | March 16, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

sovine, you dont need to defend yourself or waste your time with these numbskull liberals. They dont have a clue of what reality is and they're probably a bunch of 18 yr olds running around with daisies on their hairs thinking this world is full of beautiful and innocent people. They will get a bitter taste of what life is when a member of their family or their love one is in danger. I have lived in communist regime and I know what it is like and there is no other place on earth that can cmopare to the US and they have no idea what it takes to get to where are.

Posted by: ulam00 | March 16, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

"They dont have a clue of what reality is and they're probably a bunch of 18 yr olds running around with daisies on their hairs thinking this world is full of beautiful and innocent people. "

Yeah, that's me. Former Army officer who did nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare defense, too. No, I don't make any claims to have been Audie Murphy.

"Be honest, if it were your parents who are about to die but by extracting information from them can save your parents, would you do it? "

Again with another variation of a ticking bomb scenario. Does the phrase hard cases make bad law mean anything to you? Give me one (and I am only asking for one) example of where this actually happened in real life. If you can't, then your example is useless.

Posted by: cblanch823 | March 16, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

cblanch823 .... You can claim to be whatever you want to be and no one can check or verify that. One fact remains clear, these bastards deserve everything they got. Even if it is true what you claim to be or who you are, I dont need to give you an example of anything because you politically correct BS wont keep america safe that is a sure thing. MR Former Army officer who did biological warfare research, your work is in the lab and I lived in real life dealing with communists and criminals all my life so you are not even fit to even discuss these simple issues with me. I dont think you've even met them ever. That's the problem wiht most of Americans. They're fed from TV and news and they are spoiled most of their lives and they haven't got a clue of what kind of life it is like to live under dicatators and inhumane treatments. Your so call waterboarding is torture is a joke. My father will probably tell you in the face that he'll trade a monthly torture for a year living here for the year that he lived under these dictators and extremists. You people are a laughing stock.

Posted by: ulam00 | March 16, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Evidently, those few bad apples from Abu Ghraib rolled into Guantanamo. It couldn't be the White House.

Posted by: dschwa2222 | March 16, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

"You can claim to be whatever you want to be and no one can check or verify that."

I can guarantee that I can answer any question you can pose on NBC.

"MR Former Army officer who did biological warfare research, your work is in the lab and I lived in real life dealing with communists and criminals all my life so you are not even fit to even discuss these simple issues with me."

Your woeful lack of knowledge shows through again. NBC defense has NOTHING to do with lab work. It has to do with preparing troops to deal with the weapons, use of protective gear, reporting on the effects of incoming weapons, and determining the area of effect of those weapons.

"Your so call waterboarding is torture is a joke."

Again you demonstrate that your ego far surpasses your knowledge. Waterboarding was known as Tortura De Toca to the Spanish Inquisition. I'm guessing Torquemada knew more about torture than you do, but feel free to disabuse me of that. Waterboarding represents about 500 years of refinements to the older torture used by the Spanish Inquisition. It is also an interrupted execution that can be repeated over and over which is tacked onto the pain and fear caused by suffocation. The cellophane that is typically placed over the mouth functions as a one-way check valve which will quickly result in the victim exhaling all of the air in their lungs. Once that has happened, the carbon dioxide level in the blood skyrockets which is part of what causes the effect. Filling of the sinuses with water and focing the victim to attempt to breathe that air water mixture in helps to make it a truly fearful torture. That was why it was the primary torture used by the Khmer Rouge at the Tuol Sleng prison and I suspect elsewhere.

Posted by: cblanch823 | March 16, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Boy I am sure glad for guy's like Mark Danner, after all I was just dying to hear how mean we have been to terrorists.

Posted by: SharpshootingPugilist | March 16, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, turningfool and Big Tuna Tim, for the emphasis on morality in this torture discussion.
From watching online the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on torture and related subjects like the politicization of the Justice Department, I am convinced torture is terribly wrong, a criminal thing, and, parenthetically, not even effective. I would recommend these hearings as a source of information on this subject.
Unfortunately, the prior administration has done a great deal of damage to our country and to its standing in the world. Our reputation as a country that respects the rule of law has greatly suffered.
As a nation, we should do everything we can to respect international law, as well as our own body of law.
President Obama has inspired me to begin to live my life in an excellent, responsible way-that is one measure of hope. I wish, for all who read this article today, a new beginning and a commitment to being, each of us, the best representatives of the US we can be.


Posted by: janoter | March 16, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

"As a nation, we should do everything we can to respect international law, as well as our own body of law. "

I'm not sure why so many people don't get this amazingly basic point. It is as though they think the rules of war don't actually apply once you get into a war. The alternative is to demonstrate that your country's signature on a treaty is worthless.

Posted by: cblanch823 | March 16, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

For everyone of you so glib with waterboarding or believes being held in Gitmo or any of our other little prisons is just fine... your lack of knowledge is impressive. You've never been in any sort of prison, or waterboarded. I doubt you've ever seen true combat.

Count on this: if you were waterboarded, you would confess to flying into Tower One if it would stop the torture. If you were in Gitmo, you'd be screaming to get out.

It's the ones who never served, the armchair "patriots", the gutless wonders, who are so quick to demand others fight and die, to torture others, because they are never at risk, never faced death in combat. If you are so convinced your ideas are "right", then get off your fat butts and SERVE. Put your money where your mouths are. Oh, yes, you have "excuses"... I thought so.

Posted by: lmb02 | March 16, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

DO they realize what horrors they were spared when the U.S. Government kept enlightened American civilian females away from their containment cells???These same men routinely and systematically torture and degrade womenand girls through violence and there is no Geneva Convention to intervene! They interrogate and oppress women daily using techniques like: honor killings, bondage and beatings by use of a collar; beating and kicking; public lashings with whips, confinement in a box or life under a burka in suffocating heat; sleep and food deprivation; prolonged use of handcuffs and shackles; threats and imprisonment; and acid scarring, all constituting cruel,inhuman, unfair, and degrading treatment. There is NO legal mechanism to protect half the world's population--women..and they are whining to us ( their object of conquest and annihilation ) about the Geneva
Convention?!! That treaty tonight is as useful as a BB gun fired on what you mistook for a parakeet when it was an enraged rhino charging toward you and you really needed a bazooka. Fast.

Posted by: fair1 | March 16, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

"There is NO legal mechanism to protect half the world's population--women..and they are whining to us ( their object of conquest and annihilation ) about the Geneva Convention?!!"

Thanks for spelling out why we are better than they are. Let't keep it that way!

Posted by: cblanch823 | March 16, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

The biggest tool of defeat AlQada has consistently used is to use the West's own rules against it. Freedom of expression, of religious greed, right to privacy, the Geneva convention being part of the larger argument. Equal opportunity rights or any rule that causes a free and open society to flourish becomes twisted when used to conduct organized violence. The Geneva Convention was not constructed for this type of warfare and cannot win against it. Torture would be nailing their balls to the floor and setting them on fire, or feeding them to sharks. I'll kill every last one of the patriarchal maggots myself before they take away the collective wisdom and traditions that built the western world. Send them home and cease to conduct business with any company from a country that creates these little monstery thugs, until they learn how to behave in the Western world. Or set their little curry-stained balls on fire.

Posted by: fair1 | March 16, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

"The biggest tool of defeat AlQada has consistently used is to use the West's own rules against it."

I'm not sure what you are reading, but we are pretty much kicking Al Qaeda's rear end. Yes there are problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Iraq isn't nearly done. If you think torture is what we need to improve the situation in any of those countries that I just mentioned, all I can say is you might want to spend a little less time watching 24 and a little more doing some actual research because your current knowledge level is weak and I am being generous.

Posted by: cblanch823 | March 16, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

The hate mongers are out tonight. Ranting and raving about their righteous right of torture and the benefits of inflicting pain on whoever is chosen as the enemy. They march and they stomp and chant- most wicked and stimulated by hate in their ghostly white sheets.

This as strange and sad fruit swing from the trees. This is the virus from 9/11 that inflicted the souls of so many. Al Qaeda ignited a deep illness that has our own people doing the hate mongering that stirrs the the enlistment for more and more terrorists. Our own people are doing the work of the best of Al Queda's warriors. Our own people of hate, anger, stomping and torture. Are we not proud.

Posted by: lucy2008 | March 16, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

"This is the virus from 9/11 that inflicted the souls of so many."

I think you are too kind. No country has ever suffered from a shortage of simple-minded brutal morons.

Posted by: cblanch823 | March 16, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse


Regarding post by: cblanch823 | March 16, 2009 10:17 PM"This is the virus from 9/11 that inflicted the souls of so many."

I think you are too kind. No country has ever suffered from a shortage of simple-minded brutal morons.
___________________
You are so right. Sometimes more and sometimes less.

Posted by: lucy2008 | March 16, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Sovine, Sovine,
If you would like, I can classify you a terrorist, collar you, thrash you against plywood walls, stow you away in a packing crate, cuff you and hang you from railings, smear s--t upon you, beat your ankles with rubber hoses, and all of the various techniques. Please just tell me the time and the place where we can finally meet to settle your morbid curiosity with inflicting suffering upon other human beings. If it is a race thing you're working on, I can gladly enlist a big black buck friend of mine to bore you a new one--so that you can come to know the methods you promote.

Posted by: optimist3 | March 16, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Dan for reporting this. Sadly, although I'm a victim of my own critique in my last post, the caliber of respondents is lowered to the deepest depths of cruelty and malice toward other human beings. Please keep the heat on the administration about bringing Americans to terms concerning this important issue.

Posted by: optimist3 | March 16, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Earlier today, SOVINE08 said the following:

"The worse of the interogation was the waterboarding and it happened to THREE.. count them 3 TERRORISTS!!! And it hasn't happened again in 6 years!!!"

Yea ... that's what the Bush Administration said.

Does anyone really believe that -- that this only happened 3 times? It is truly amazing that the riech-wing apologists continue to repeat these things -- only three times -- as some sort of "fact", when it's merely the story of the people accused (Bush, et al.)!

Here's a tip for you, sovine08; don't go into detective work.

Posted by: ebdavies1 | March 16, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Well based on sovine's opinion.

Lets Arrest Him..
ANY reason will do..
That is what Dick Cheney did..!!
Then
Torture him...
and
Worry about the little details later..

Fei Hu

Posted by: Fei_Hu | March 16, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

To all those who think torture is acceptable - considering the people we are dealing with, remember:

Their actions reflect upon them.

Our actions reflect upon us.

If we stoop to a new low when pressured by people of ill character then what happens to our character? Couldn't it be said that when we change ourselves due to their actions that they have a victory over us? That they changed us to be more like them?

We have principals and laws that should serve us in good times and in bad. It is the weak who cringe from their duty when times are toughest. It is a sign of strength when someone can keep their head when everyone around them is losing theirs. Bush and Cheney led the mob.

This may sound like a lot of platitudes, far from the reality of the battle field, but it is exactly how we win all the hearts and minds, by showing that our hearts are bigger and our minds are forward thinking.

We are better than the terrorists. It is neither classist nor racist to say it. But when we do what they do all the people watching begin to have difficulty telling us apart!

Peace!

Posted by: farkdawg | March 16, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

This is disgusting. The only way we are going to have justice for the American people is to push for trial. You are damn correct that this is more "GET THEM" material.

These people have sullied not just our image, but what America is.

America can't tolerate rogue Presidents committing crimes in our name or lying to us. If they do they must pay the price.

Hang em High

If anyone knows of an American organization that is fighting to bring the Bush administration to trial...please share it.

MOP4 stinks especially if you are running.

Posted by: epremus | March 16, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Borrowing from the words of General Taguba:

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

Well, will they be held to account or will our media, politicians and Justice Dept. continue to turn a blind eye to the mounting evidence of war crimes?

Posted by: pmorlan1 | March 17, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

sovine08 wrote, "For example it is against the law to drive through a red light.. but if I have a person in the car having a heart attack.. screw the red light and screw the law I'm going through it." Oh, wonderful idea. Have you never heard that professional ambulance drivers are trained to never drive faster than 35 miles an hour and NEVER GO THROUGH A RED LIGHT? Over years it became apparent more lives were lost in ambulances speeding than were saved by saving a couple of minutes.

Common sense is not so common.

And someone wrote that we "only waterboarded three terrorists" and "haven't done so since 2006." Who told you so? Why do you believe them? I remember that Cheney said he approved the waterboarding of three detainees, but I don't remember hearing him testify under oath that there weren't more tortured without his express approval. Even if he *had* testified under oath I don't think I would believe him.

Posted by: Acharn | March 17, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

It is interesting that so many people that make righteous claims to Christian morals and ethics support Bush policies.

So it is interesting that so many people that endorse torture -and that seem to express amoral attitudes in relation to torture's acceptability at best, and immoral ones at worst, -also support Bush.

The irony is that these two groups of people appear to be one and the same.

Posted by: plaza04433 | March 17, 2009 1:59 AM | Report abuse

@sovine08: "Oh please.. the "vast maiority" [of terrorists] turned out to be innocent?? You know not of what you speak.."

I knew you were out of your league when your first post hit the page. If this is your idea of logical argument - "I don't believe you so you're dumb" - then I think I've accomplished more here than I set out to.

P.S. We've released about 70% of Gitmo captives WITHOUT CHARGE. So yes, I think I do know what I'm talking about.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | March 17, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Face it this is not a moral issue for republicans/conservatives. It is simply an issue of this is what they deserve or they did this to us so now we get our chance… It’s macho posturing that is what our country was all about during the 2000’s thus far. It has little to do with anything other than “frontier justice” hang em high and worry about guilt or innocence later. They have to be guilty of something otherwise we would not be holding them. Eye for an eye biblical justice (forget the new testament). The constitution is not a suicide pact we have to do this. etc… The rule of law dies under the dominating hand of current emotions.

Posted by: m_mcmahon | March 17, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

To those after Bush - get over it. Your position seems to be that you can't be a little bit pregnant when it comes to torture - it's either allowed or it isn't. Period. And if it is, that lowers the moral standing of this country.

Please.

Take a look at what Leon Panetta had to say at his confirmation hearings: "If we had the ticking bomb situation and I felt that whatever we were using wasn't sufficient, I would not hesitate to go to the president and request any additional authority that we would need."

Oops. I guess the Obama admin sees cases where it might need to use 'advanced techniques'.

Oh, I forgot he's the messiah - I guess only he can be a little pregnant and it's OK.

Posted by: unojklhh1 | March 17, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

The president many times said we do not torture. His followers echo those sentiments. Yet at the same time they justify the treatment, that many would call torture, as being deserved. If you are at all familiar with law, and I’m not talking sh*thouse lawyering, I’m talking actual reading and understanding and working within the legal frame work. If you understand how law works it frequently comes down to interpretation and definition. The previous administration simply redefined the definitions and redefined how the laws are interpreted. Thing is they did not redefine these in a court of law or through vetted critically reviewed legal research. They mainly did their work behind closed doors and then when the existence of these closed doors became general knowledge they worked their redefining through the court of public opinion. Even the skeptical press help and accepted some of the new definitions, water-boarding was either a dunk in the water or simulated drowning, when in fact it is neither, it is controlled actual drowning. But the public and press bought the new definition. The definition of torture was twisted such that these guys deserve it so it’s not torture if they deserve what they are getting.

The public unhesitatingly bought the notions that 1) these guys have no rights since they are foreigners or they are irregular troops so the Geneva conventions don’t apply to them. Or that the US is not at war with a real country therefore no laws apply to these guys once captured. 2) the Geneva conventions don’t ban torture. 3) it’s ok, they deserve it, beside we don’t torture, our legal people say so. And on and on… The public accepted and embraced these notions and many more simply on the basis that they were told it was ok. Which when considering mob mentality is unsurprising.

The vaunted legal opinions of the Bush justice department were the justification for all of this. They were the backbone of the defense for the programs. Yet less than a week before Bush left office these opinions were withdrawn. Why would they withdraw solid legal opinions? If you read any of the opinions and have any kind of legal back ground you would know why, they were some of the worst written opinions I have ever seen. Had they been written in private practice the authors would be terminated or relegated to the lowliest of work. So now once the back-bone of legal support for torture is gone what is left to support the program? Nothing but the raw emotions that allowed this to happen in the first place.


Posted by: m_mcmahon | March 17, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Sovine, Sovine,
If you would like, I can classify you a terrorist, collar you, thrash you against plywood walls, stow you away in a packing crate, cuff you and hang you from railings, smear s--t upon you, beat your ankles with rubber hoses, and all of the various techniques.
_____
First of all Khalid Sheikh Mohammed wasn't just classified as a terrorist.. he IS A TERRORIST!!! And I minute i plan and see though the death of 3000 INNOCENT PEOPLE you'll have my permission to do those things to me.. even though you don't know if we did ANY of those things to HIM!!!

Posted by: sovine08 | March 17, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

P.S. We've released about 70% of Gitmo captives WITHOUT CHARGE. So yes, I think I do know what I'm talking about.
___
But aybe we should mention that many were sent to their home countries for continued
detention.. and "A December Defense Intelligence report says 61 released Gitmo detainees have returned to terrorism."

Posted by: sovine08 | March 17, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

"But aybe we should mention that many were sent to their home countries for continued
detention.. and 'A December Defense Intelligence report says 61 released Gitmo detainees have returned to terrorism.'"

Many? Well, you've convinced me. Here I was thinking most of the Gitmo prisoners were innocent, when it turns out that only a lot of them are! Boy do I feel sheepish now for being concerned about innocent people in prison, and about possible future retaliation against our own troops, and about violating international treaties and law, and about our moral standing in the world, and about our diminished credibility (and therefore ability) when dealing with other countries' human rights abuses.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | March 17, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Sure Panetta may have said "IF we have a ticking time bomb scenario" But that is nto the case and has not been the case. How do some of these guys who have been detained for months or years still have ticking time bomb information? Once captured whatever they were working on most likely gets caned anyway and something new started. But that is simply more of the same...diversion from the immoral unconstitutional un-american nature of torture that has been warmly embraced and given a lot of love by the right.

Posted by: m_mcmahon | March 17, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Many? Well, you've convinced me. Here I was thinking most of the Gitmo prisoners were innocent, when it turns out that only a lot of them are!
_________
Well I guess that is how you define "innocent"? I person TRYING to join al Queda and picked up on the way is by definition innocent.. but that's just because he didn't get the chance to kill someone YET!! Which maybe explains some of those 61. Bottomline i refuse to believe our military and intelligence agencies are that inept that they just ramdomly pick up innocent people for no good reason just so we can incure the cost to send them to GITMO. Now some mistakes made sure.. but the way you descibe it they must be like the Keystone cops when it comes to finding terroists.. sorry but I have more respect for the work they do than that...

Boy do I feel sheepish now for being concerned about innocent people in prison, and about possible future retaliation against our own troops, and about violating international treaties and law, and about our moral standing in the world, and about our diminished credibility (and therefore ability) when dealing with other countries' human rights abuses.
___
Don't be to hard on yourself.. we are all Americans that just want what's best for this country.. we just have different ideas on how to do it...

Posted by: sovine08 | March 17, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"Yeah and I'm sure he was treated with kit gloves up to the minute they SAWED HIS HEAD OFF!!!"

So what did they do to him, or are you STILL just making things up? You assume he was tortured so everything we do is somehow justified. Grow up.
______
What they did to him was SAW HIS HEAD OFF!!! Make things up? they put it on VIDEO TAPE!!! ASSUME having one head sawed off is TORTURE??? Look you can say being beheaded in a METHOD of execution.. but that's when it is in ONE SWIFT STOKE!!! It's not trying to hold someone down as he is screaming as a person SLOWLY SAWS OFF HIS HEAD!! That is NOT a METHOD OF EXECUTION! It's death through TORTURE clear and simple. and where did I say that makes everything we do justified? It doesn't but to say Pearl wasn't tortured because he only had his head sawed off is insane...

Posted by: sovine08 | March 17, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Does it bother any of the perverted sadists of the right that torture and the abandonment of the rule of law was EXACTLY WHAT BIN LADEN WANTED????
The real outcome of this is that we demonstrated to the world that our right wing crazies are under the bed hoping the monsters they created in the Reagan Bush I years don't come back to bite them again. Time after time we see that the result of that hideous administration's lying, cheating and stealing have come back with Bush II and haven't left under Obama yet. That is the biggest criticism of Obama, btw, is that he hasn't done enough to repudiate Bush II/Cheney policies, the very policies that terrorists use to justify attacking us and our allies. By making these reasons true beyond a shadow of a doubt, we'er asking for it.
As for whether liberals are afraid of Islam, I'd have to say that the proof is in the pudding. Bush II did everything Bin Laden wanted, never caught the bad guys, went off in the other direction from Bin Laden. Removed bases from Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries. Maybe AWOL Bush and 6 Deferment Dick are your ideas of brave heroes, but from here it looks like a couple of sick frat boys watching snuff porn and w@nking like zoo monkeys because they can.

Posted by: sparkplug1 | March 17, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

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