Monday, April 27, 2009

The Waterboarding Song

I found this at the web site of the local Fox affiliate, Fox5DC. It is too macabre for words. I am curious to see what Vigilance readers think of it.

This guy, Jonathan Mann, has set parts of one of the torture memos to music. I get the idea Fox thinks it's cute or a joke of some kind. Watching the guy sing it, I don't believe he thinks it's all that funny, and it doesn't make me want to laugh.

It is, however, a very effective way to get people to pay attention to what our government has been doing and how they rationalize it.

Go ahead, click on it, turn the sound up.

You tell me, is this a joke, and if so, what kind of joke is it? Are we laughing at people who think waterboarding is torture, are we laughing at people who our government has tortured, are we laughing at psychopathic bureaucrats who think that by combining "pain and suffering" into one concept rather than two we can justify torturing people?

Looking around the Internet, I see that other local Fox affiliates have posted it, too.

Speaking of waterboarding, what do you think Hannity's going to do?


Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

Seems like a great way to raise money for the troops' families. Of course Mr. Hannity can only raise so much money by himself...

If Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld were next in line I'm sure MILLIONS of dollars would be raised. Go ahead guys, do it for your country.



April 28, 2009 12:18 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

The song dramatizes the skin-crwling creepiness of the memo.

April 28, 2009 4:48 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

This is no joke. The singer is as appalled as many of us are at the violation of our American ideals Bush/Cheney willingly committed. Claiming benefit from the use of torture is just one of the many things Americans voted to change last November.

You want a joke? Try this: Earlier this month, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas called for Texas to consider secession from the United States. Now that swine flu has broken out, Gov. Perry has, "requested the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide 37,430 courses of antiviral medications from the Strategic National Stockpile to Texas to prevent the spread of swine flu."Maybe paying taxes for the government to provide some life saving services isn't such a bad thing after all.

April 28, 2009 8:33 AM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

Discord aplenty has troubled our nation,
from the War in Iraq to Gay Marriage damnation.
What better way to prove
“fake” torture was the right move
than a little eleemosynary “Enhanced Interrogation.”


April 28, 2009 9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First Amazon, now Facebook!

Web companies are resisting the gay agenda:

"Why exactly did Facebook reject an ad for 'And Then Came Lola,' a film targeted at a lesbian audience?

Filmmaker Ellen Seidler told that Facebook sent her a rejection notice saying the image was "either irrelevant or inappropriate." The letter went on to spell out that, "Images that are overly explicit, provocative, or that reveal too much skin are not allowed. Images that may either degrade or idealize any health condition or body type are also not allowed.""

The tide is turning.

April 28, 2009 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

okay aunt bea.
Your kid is in NYC and you can't reach them. they work in the new wtc.

you have bin laden in your custody. He is laughing hysterically at your repeated questions to try and determine where this attack is going to be. so by not waterboarding him you are chosing to sacrifice your child's life. I am struggling to understand how this is the more moral choice.

do you know anyone in LA ? because when they water boarded Kalid, they saved 1000's of lives.

and the fact that obama would release the part of the memo that describes the techniques and BLACK OUT ON THE SAME DARN MEMO the results. Wow. Now that's fair and balanced for you.

Answer the question, Bea, your child's life or waterboard Kalid ? And if the answer is I would choose my childs life, it is pretty unethical not to make the same choice for some one's else child.

April 28, 2009 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is that Aunt Bea or Priya?

April 28, 2009 1:22 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

The tide is turning all right.

Sen. Arlen Specter has just announced in his Washington Senate office that he will switch from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party. His move gives Democrats 59 votes in the Senate....

Specter put out the following statement today:

I have been a Republican since 1966. I have been working extremely hard for the Party, for its candidates and for the ideals of a Republican Party whose tent is big enough to welcome diverse points of view. While I have been comfortable being a Republican, my Party has not defined who I am. I have taken each issue one at a time and have exercised independent judgment to do what I thought was best for Pennsylvania and the nation.

Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.

When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But, I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.

Since then, I have traveled the State, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable. On this state of the record, I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania.

I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary.

I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election.

I deeply regret that I will be disappointing many friends and supporters. I can understand their disappointment. I am also disappointed that so many in the Party I have worked for for more than four decades do not want me to be their candidate. It is very painful on both sides. I thank specially Senators McConnell and Cornyn for their forbearance.

I am not making this decision because there are no important and interesting opportunities outside the Senate. I take on this complicated run for re-election because I am deeply concerned about the future of our country and I believe I have a significant contribution to make on many of the key issues of the day, especially medical research. NIH funding has saved or lengthened thousands of lives, including mine, and much more needs to be done. And my seniority is very important to continue to bring important projects vital to Pennsylvania's economy.

I am taking this action now because there are fewer than thirteen months to the 2010 Pennsylvania Primary and there is much to be done in preparation for that election. Upon request, I will return campaign contributions contributed during this cycle.

While each member of the Senate caucuses with his Party, what each of us hopes to accomplish is distinct from his party affiliation. The American people do not care which Party solves the problems confronting our nation. And no Senator, no matter how loyal he is to his Party, should or would put party loyalty above his duty to the state and nation.

My change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans. Unlike Senator Jeffords' switch which changed party control, I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture. For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change.
Whatever my party affiliation, I will continue to be guided by President Kennedy's statement that sometimes Party asks too much. When it does, I will continue my independent voting and follow my conscience on what I think is best for Pennsylvania and America.

April 28, 2009 1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you guys ever see "A League of Their Own"?

It's a movie about a girls softball team. Tom Hanks plays the coach.

In one scene, as the teams are changing innings, Hanks goes up to one of the girls, all smiles, and says, "Say, could you tell which team you're on?"

The girl says, "I'm on yours, coach."

Hanks screams, "Well, that's good to know because it's hard to tell from watching the game!"

Do we need to say any more about Arlen?

April 28, 2009 2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's something funny:

Time magazine just came out with its list of 100 most influential people.

Numero thirty-seven is Sir B.O.

At least he beat out Miley Cyrus who came in at #41.

Unfortunately for Barry, however, Rush Limbaugh came in a point ahead of him at #36.

Aunt Bea's not on the list this year.

April 28, 2009 3:28 PM  
Anonymous David Fishback said...


And your point is...........?

April 28, 2009 3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


April 28, 2009 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Tortue simply doesn't produce reliable information. It only satisfies the atavistic desires of the interrogator.

April 28, 2009 4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's a generalization that's been bouncing around but torture may "work" in certain situations

the actual reason it should not be done is that it's against our principles to punish someone before giving them a trial or to inflict cruel and unusual punishment after a trial

April 28, 2009 5:06 PM  
Anonymous PasserBy said...

People who believe in the rule of law should obey the law. Anyone who deliberately breaks the law, whether national law or international law that our country has signed onto, has no business calling themselves a patriot or declaring themselves to be on the side of liberty.

April 28, 2009 6:08 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

do you know anyone in LA ? because when they water boarded Kalid, they saved 1000's of lives.

Are you buying that rightwingnut spin about an attack on LA's Library Tower being prevented by torture?

Salon's Timothy Noah has debunked this lie already, here:

The Library Tower? Is that the best that Bush's torture apologists can do?
To make it easy, here's the relevant excerpt, but if you follow the link above, you can follow the links that were embedded in the text and see Mr. Noah got the dates right.

...What clinches the falsity of Thiessen's claim [same claim as Anon's crap], however (and that of the memo he cites, and that of an unnamed Central Intelligence Agency spokesman who today seconded Thessen's argument), is chronology. In a White House press briefing, Bush's counterterrorism chief, Frances Fragos Townsend, told reporters that the cell leader was arrested in February 2002, and "at that point, the other members of the cell" (later arrested) "believed that the West Coast plot has been canceled, was not going forward." ... A subsequent fact sheet released by the Bush White House states, "In 2002, we broke up ... a plot by KSM to hijack an airplane and fly it into the tallest building on the West Coast." These two statements make clear that however far the plot to attack the Library Tower ever got—an unnamed senior FBI official would later tell the Los Angeles Times that Bush's characterization of it as a "disrupted plot" was "ludicrous"—that plot was foiled in 2002. But Sheikh Mohammed wasn't captured until March 2003...

2002, 2003 oh what's the difference?

Now why do you think Cheney claims torture worked but does not want a full investigation into the Bush/Cheney use of torture? If torture worked, a full investigation into their use of torture should prove that and exonerate them, right?

Do we need to say any more about Arlen?

How about saying this: Arlen's announcement today means when Al Franken takes his Senate seat, the Senate will be filibuster-proof, and the GOP's minority will become a little smaller. It appears even the *head* some love to *ditto,* the "Big Fat Stupid Idiot" himself thinks having fewer GOP officials will "help the GOP."

Salon's War Room reports Rush blathered:

..."A lot of people say, 'Well, Specter, take [Sen. John] McCain with you. And his daughter [Meghan]. Take McCain and his daughter with you if you're gonna," Limbaugh said on his show Tuesday...Limbaugh also suggested that Specter and McCain also bring Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., over to the Democratic Party...

...According to Limbaugh, this is all part of a "natural winnowing process" that will ultimately help the GOP. Given what's happened to the party as a result of the winnowing that's already occurred in recent years, it's hard to see how that's true...
Long may they "winnow!"

April 28, 2009 6:46 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Sociopathanon: “so by not waterboarding him you are chosing to sacrifice your child's life. I am struggling to understand how this is the more moral choice...your child's life or waterboard Kalid ?”

From the transcript of that Countdown show / video clip (which you obviously didn't watch):

OLBERMANN: This pretty much proves it, doesn‘t it, Hannity and his fellow travelers do not take this topic [torture] seriously?

LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL: No, they don‘t and I know why. There‘s no question about it. The reason Sean Hannity thinks torture is a good idea, the reason Sean Hannity thinks it works is because it would work on him. There are two different kinds of people out there in the world, the warriors, which are a very, very tiny minority. Less than one percent of our population is ever going to face combat. Then there‘s the rest of us...

...And so people who live where Sean Hannity lives, in those safe places, in the safe Cheney home, where no one in the Cheney family would ever submit themselves to military service, ever submit themselves to the risk of torture, they think torture works because it would work on them, because they are soft, they are weak people compared to our military service people, and they would crack under torture.

But, al Qaeda, the people who have devoted their lives to destroying their enemy, the people who are willing to die in their exercises—they were all willing to die on 9/11, Sean Hannity thinks torture‘s going to work on them, because he has never, never known the kind of commitment that those people have. Nothing he‘s done in his life measures that kind of commitment that the American military has or that our enemies have. Our enemies are more committed than Sean Hannity will ever be.
I take it you also think Iraq had something to do with 9/11?

And that needlessly killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, leaving friends and family members to pick up the pieces (sometimes literally), makes the world, here and abroad, a safer place for us?

When precisely did your brain fall out?
Sociopathanon: “do you know anyone in LA ? because when they water boarded Kalid, they saved 1000's of lives.”

Before getting to the liberal "slant" on that situation, check out the commentary section on that "news" link.

There are articles by Pat Buchanan, Matt Barber, Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham, Larry Kudlow, Peter Sprigg, Paul Weyrich, Robert Knight, Bob Novak, Tony Perkins, and many many more whom I’m not familiar with, but whom I’m sure are equally despicable.

credibility: trustworthiness, reliability, integrity, authority, standing, sincerity, believability

importance: significance, meaning, weight, magnitude, import, substance, value, worth

And now for the liberal "slant" (same transcript):

OLBERMANN: How did the Republicans get to the point where torture is defended by claiming, as the latest plot line here is, that it saved us from the blowing up of the Library Tower in L.A. Sean Hannity repeated it last night. Liz Cheney used it on this network today, apparently believing it. Yet the time line is not only off, it‘s off by six months. The plot was foiled six months before enhanced interrogation even began.

O‘DONNELL: Yes, they claim the water boarding of Khaled Sheikh Mohammed produced that information. In fact, the FBI challenges the notion that there ever was a plot, a real plot to do this. This was after 9/11. The plotters were going to have to somehow get on an aircraft and get through TSA and sky marshals on the plane, and a whole planeful of people who would react the way Flight 93 did.
You still don't trust the Google, do you? Tsk tsk.

April 28, 2009 6:48 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

^5 Emproph!

April 28, 2009 6:55 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

My understanding of the Spanish Inquisition and waterboarding is that the torture was not intended to secure accurate information, but to force confessions of heresy or to force religious conversions. In other words, those being waterboarded may say anything to make it stop.

If, and someone should correct me if I am wrong historically, even the Inquisitors had no expectation of extracting otherwise unavailable information, why should we think we'd get a different result.

April 28, 2009 10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you've misunderstood the Spanish Inquisition, David.

What happened was that Spain was conquered by Muslims. After the Catholics retook Spain there was a distrust that developed against all non-Christians. Because of persecution, many Jews and Muslims converted to Christianity to avoid problems. The Inquisition was set up to find out who didn't sincerely convert but only did so to escape persecution.

The torture was, therefore, not intended to force someone to convert but quite the opposite. It was designed to get people to confess that they hadn't really converted.

btw, I'm no big fan of the Catholic Church but, in fairness, it should be noted that the biggest problem was that, in Spain, the government had taken the process away from the church. In other countries, inquisitions were much more benign meetings.

April 28, 2009 11:03 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Let us all be clear EXACTLY why Specter left the Republican Party: he know, as did anyone else that can read a PA opinion poll, that he would lose to Republican Primary challenger Pat Toomey. That does not mean Toomey has much of any chance of beating Specter, but honesty requires that Specter admit that his own political survival, not any sort of political principle, required him to switch.

April 29, 2009 12:36 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Specter's getting in front of the wave of Pennsylvanians who are abandoning the GOP by hundreds of thousands and seeking change. This change is happening across the nation. As Specter said yesterday, "Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans."

In 2006, 17 incumbent GOP office holders lost their Pennsylvania primary races, a trend that continued in 2008. And again, it wasn't only in Pennsylvania. GOP moderates like Specter have been run out of the GOP to make room for candidates like Toomey, who has been rated as anti-civil rights, anti-public education, anti-environment, anti-public health, anti-labor, anti-senior legislation, pro-restricting immigration, pro-life, pro-family, pro-gun rights, and pro-business.

The number of people who view such positions favorably are shrinking. The Washington Post reports today in Will GOP Sleep Through Its Wake-Up Call?...The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll shows the depth of the party's problems. Just 21 percent of those surveyed identified themselves as Republicans. From a high-water mark of 35 percent in the fall of 2003, Republicans have slid steadily to their present state of affairs.

April 29, 2009 8:59 AM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Orin, the larger point is that as "Specter Republicans" have been abandoning the Republican Party, it became clear that he could not win in a party that itself had changed through attrition.

I am no big fan of Specter. Indeed, if he had simply made the move because the Republican Party members who had supported him in the past had turned on him, then it would have smacked of political opportunism. But when the party itself has changed because people who shared Specter's views had left the party, it was logical and sensible for him to leave, as well. I would have thought better of him had he left years ago.

April 29, 2009 5:28 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...


Having read your description of the Spanish Inquisition, I went to Wikipedia (not a definitive source, but useful) and discovered that you are correct in saying that its purpose was not to force conversions, but, rather, to extract confessions of people who converted but did not really mean it -- and then to extract confessions from other accused of heresy. Point taken.

But the broader point is that the techniques of the Inquisition did nothing more than extract answers that the Inquisitors desired: Yes, I am really still a Jew or a Muslim. Yes, I believe things at odds with the doctrines of the Catholic Church.

Here is what is online at Wikipedia:

"Torture was always a means to obtain the confession of the accused, not a punishment itself. It was applied without distinction of sex or age, including children and the aged.

"The methods of torture most used by the Inquisition [included]toca. . . . The toca, also called tortura del agua, consisted of introducing a cloth into the mouth of the victim, and forcing them to ingest water spilled from a jar so that they had impression of drowning."

April 29, 2009 5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think your broader point is correct, David.

I always had the same impression of the Spanish Inquisition as you until I read the story in one of D'souza's books and then looked it up. It's interesting how public perceptions become confused. You should read his research on the Galileo case.

Obviously, the torture was wrong regardless of the goal. And the U.S. was also wrong whenever we engaged in anything like it.

We've changed policies and the country has repudiated the practice. Obama should resist calls for prosecution. Prosecution of a former administration by a current one is a road we shouldn't go down.

April 29, 2009 6:05 PM  
Anonymous PasserBy said...

Letting war criminals who have shamed our country off the hook is a road we shouldn't go down.

April 29, 2009 7:01 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Orin, Specter was very clear and honest in his statement that he left the Republican party because he could not win the primary. He also said that the party was becoming something other than what it used to be.

There's a theme here in Virginia of the party eating its own. Right-wing activists in the party are changing the rules for selecting nominees to eliminate moderates who have cooperated with our series of Democratic governors to make the state government work. This will result in one of two things: a very conservative Republican led state, with no moderate voices in power; or, a state in which moderates drift to the Democrats, and a diminution of Republican power. If you follow recent elections in our state (2 successive Democratic governors and lieutenant governors, 2 Democratic senators, Democratic control of the House, voting for Obama), it seems the latter is what is happening.

From what I hear on the radio (except Limbaugh), the Republican party is at a fork in the road. It can broaden its appeal, or it can make itself irrelevant.

Anyway, Specter was clear and honest about his reasons for switching parties.


April 30, 2009 4:06 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

As for torture:

Cotton Mather, after the Salem witch scandal, ruined his reputation by publishing "Wonders of the Invisible World" and "More Wonders of the Invisible World", in which he supported, not the specific evidence given in Salem, but the type of evidence given. The people of Massachusetts had, at long last, realized that fear had driven people who were accused to give confessions (and name names) that simply weren't true. Tortue does the same thing: prisoners will give any evidence to stop the torture, whether it is true or not, and incriminate others to save themselves. In Salem the court expected evidence of witchcraft, and that's what they recieved; the people of the Commonwealth eventually realized that the methods involved didn't produce truth. Torture (and fear) are not reliable ways of discovering true information.

April 30, 2009 4:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robert, most of the evidence in Salem was eye-witness accounts not confessions produced by torture.

Historians have discovered that the Salem community's grain supply was comtaminated with a mold that produces hallucinations.

Sounds like your only gripe is that the evidence wasn't reliable.

What do you think should have been done if someone was actually proven to be involved in witchcraft?

April 30, 2009 9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Witchcraft is a religion. The First Amendment guarantees Americans are free to be involved in any religion or none.

April 30, 2009 9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We were asking Robert.

He seems to think the only problem was a matter of evidence.

April 30, 2009 10:52 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Bad anonymous is the one who's been consuming hallucinogens. Spare us your tall tales about Salem.

May 01, 2009 11:59 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

The notion that Salem's grain supply caused hallucinations is nonsense. What about the evidence given in Andover and other places? We call them "witch hunts" because victims try to end torture or avoid punishment by naming other people in their "crimes," much as happened under the Inquisition.

Fact is, evidence given under threat of torture is suspect. Torture victims try to figure out what the torturer wants to hear, and to deliver that, regardless of truth.

Do you support torture by our government? Do you think it works? If it did, we'd have a problem, because there are real threats to our safety, yet equal protection and punishment only after conviction are cornerstones of our law. But thinking it works is only a pipe dream.

May 02, 2009 9:24 AM  
Anonymous mr. enlightened said...

"Do you support torture by our government?"

No, not at all.

I think terrorists, regardless of the victim count, are a minority that deserves special protection in our country. Studies have shown these people have no choice about their desire to terrorize and we need to show compassion and decency. Be honest, did you choose not to want to terrorize? Of course not. Most people know from a young age whether they want to terrorize or not.

They have the constitution right to the pursuit of happiness and should be given comfortable and well-furnished accomodations, varied and nutritious meals prepared with creativity as well as a broad spectrum of recreational and entertainment activities.

They should also receive self-esteem training and classes to help them develop their "talents and interests".

After all, we are a civilized country.

May 02, 2009 10:33 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Anon's little post about special protections for terrorists in this "civilized country" (domestic terrorists) might explain how Blackwater got its no-bid contracts from the Bush/Cheney regime. Blackwater is so proud of its record (wink), it changed its name to Xe.

May 02, 2009 11:32 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Oops, forgot the link.


May 02, 2009 11:35 AM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

No surprise that bad anonymous favours torture. The more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support the torture of suspected terrorists, according to a new survey. Once you accept the idea that justice and love mean eternally torturing people for not thinking the right things pretty much anything goes.

May 02, 2009 12:48 PM  
Anonymous mr. enlightened said...

Good to see that at least Priya is enlightened.

As she says, all the world's problems are caused by Americans and church attendees.

Put 'em together and, ooh boy, you've got a perfect recipe for torture.

If everyone would just follow the Queen's direction, everyone would see how Americans and other non-Anglicans overact so to a few thousand people getting killed by terrorists.

It's a big world people. More people die from not wearing seat belts.

That's not to mention all the STDs going around on the Queen's lawn.

May 02, 2009 4:15 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

May 02, 2009 4:56 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

May 02, 2009 5:03 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Bad anonymous said "As she says, all the world's problems are caused by Americans and church attendees.".

I never said that. Although it is true that many of the world's problems are caused by some evil religionist Americans like you.

Bad anonymous said "see how Americans and other non-Anglicans overact [sic] so to a few thousand people getting killed by terrorists".

None of the people you tortured were responsible for those deaths. Moral people believe you're innocent until proven guilty. Moral people don't punish people who haven't been convicted of any crime. Moral people aren't people like you. People like you torture to satisfy your own sadistic desires given that torture has been proven not to work.

May 02, 2009 5:04 PM  
Anonymous mr. enlightened said...

"I never said that. Although it is true that many of the world's problems are caused by some evil religionist Americans like you."

Oh, dear.

I thought Priya was enlightened and now she's saying that Americans and church goers don't cause all the world's problems.

Don't you see, Priya, that these people without a monarch are the problem.

"None of the people you tortured were responsible for those deaths."

That's more like it. That guy who Americans tortured just because he was one of the planners of 9/11 was not responsible. He didn't choose to want to terrorize.

Ask yourself this: do you remember choosing to not want to terrorize?

Of course not. No one can choose what they want to do!

As enlightened people, we should realize that these people can't change either. Scientists have proven that desires can't be changed.

Read this unenlightened malarkey from some right-wing kook:

"By releasing the Justice Department memos on coercive interrogations, the Obama administration has produced an unintended effect: Revealing the context and care of these decisions has made them more understandable, not less.

I had come to view harsh interrogations as a clear mistake.

The war on terror is as much an ideological conflict as a military one, and the combination of Abu Ghraib and revelations about waterboarding had the practical effect of a battle lost.

I worried also that these techniques might lead to a dehumanized view of the enemy -- always a risk in a time of war -- thus greasing a slippery slope toward abuse.

But the Justice Department memos disclose a different sort of deliberation -- a government struggling with similar worries even after immense provocation; a government convinced that new attacks were imminent but still weighing the rights of captured murderers, drawing boundaries to prevent permanent injury during questioning, well aware of the laws regarding torture and determined not to violate them.

Historically, did America ever give such exhaustive consideration to the consequences of its actions in safeguarding the homeland?

To the rights of children incinerated during the firebombing of Dresden?

To the long-term mental and physical health of the elderly of Hiroshima?

Even the most questionable techniques employed in the war on terror bear no comparison to methods common in past American wars.

The Justice Department memos raise a question: Can coercive interrogation ever be justified?

Few Americans would object to the slapping of a terrorist during questioning, for example, if this yielded important intelligence.

The coercion would be minimal; the goal of saving lives, overriding.

Few Americans, on the other hand, would support pressuring a terrorist by torturing his child.

Such a heinous act could not be justified in pursuit of an inherently uncertain outcome -- securing information that may or may not prevent greater loss of life.

So the use of coercion in interrogations lies on a continuum of ethics and risk.

Lines must somehow be drawn on the slippery slope -- the difficult task that Justice Department lawyers were given.

On which side of the line should waterboarding lie?

It is the hardest case.

The practice remains deeply troubling to me, and it was discontinued by the CIA in 2003 after being used on three terrorists.

But some members of Congress, it is now apparent, knew of the technique and funded it.

The decision was not easy or obvious for them.

It was just as difficult for intelligence and Justice Department officials in the months of uncertainty following Sept. 11.

I respect many of those who say "never" in regard to coercive interrogation -- just as I respect pacifists who believe that the use of violence and coercion by government is always wrong.

This can be a position of admirable moral consistency, and some have willingly sacrificed for its sake.

But holding this view is not an option for those in government, charged with the protection of citizens who share this position and those who do not.

Adherence to this principle could involve unwilling sacrifice for many others.

Some have dismissed this argument as "moral relativism" or the assertion that the ends justify the means.

But this betrays a misunderstanding of ethics itself.

The most difficult moral decisions in government are required when two moral goods come into conflict.

Most of us believe in the dignity of the human person, a principle that covers even those who commit grave evils.

Most of us believe in the responsibility of government to protect the innocent from death and harm.

Government officials pursue both moral goods in a complicated world.

In retrospect, they may sometimes get the balance wrong.

But national security decisions are not made in retrospect.

I suspect that most Americans, in considering these matters, would come to certain conclusions: There should be a broad presumption against harsh interrogations by our government.

An atmosphere of permission can result in discrediting crimes such as Abu Ghraib.

But perhaps in the most extreme cases -- when the threat of a terrorist attack is clear and serious -- American officials may need to employ harsh questioning, while protecting terrorists from permanent injury.

In broad outlines, this approach is consistent with the Justice Department memos.

I remain ambivalent about these issues.

There may be other, equally effective ways to get information from terrorists -- I don't know enough about such techniques to be certain.

Elements of the interrogation program may have been mistaken.

But these were not clear or obvious calls -- and they deserve more than facile, retrospective judgments."

This guy is probably one of those church going Americans who don't revere the Queeeen and cause MOST of the world's really bad problems.

May 02, 2009 11:37 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home