Thursday, May 05, 2011

Does It Matter If Torture "Works?"

There is controversy right now about whether the practice of torture generated information that led to finding bin Laden in Pakistan. The monsters who advocated it in the first place say that informants gave up critical information after being tortured, justifying the use of the techniques.

First of all, the media are starting to call this EIT, the acronym for "enhanced interrogation techniques." I am not going to do that. I am also not going to spell out "enhanced interrogation techniques," because it is a propagandistic euphemism intended to reduce the shame of what our country has done. The correct term is torture. Torture is not enhanced interrogation, it is an act of evil.

There are two degrees to the controversy. The argument in the press is about whether the techniques worked or not. To me, it doesn't matter if torture works, it's just wrong. Pulling out a pistol and robbing little old ladies "works," too, it can be a successful way to acquire wealth, lots of things "work." Causing pain, panic, and hopelessness is not something that civilized people do, it doesn't matter if it works or not.

Fascinating, the religious conservatives who call on moral justifications for their beliefs are the very ones who don't care if torture is moral or not, as long as it works. Real Christians should point to any number of quotes in Scripture and say, we love our enemies, we do not torture them. I'm not seeing that, are you?

After eight years of depravity in the White House, on February 24th, 2009, the new President Obama told a joint session of Congress, "... I can stand here tonight and say without exception or equivocation that the United States of America does not torture."

Doesn't matter if it works or not, we are proud Americans and we don't torture people.

Now - given that we do have citizens, even some leaders, who have no moral standard when it comes to abusing their fellow man, the question in the air is whether torture worked in this case, that is, whether waterboarding and other techniques led to the information that allowed US investigators to pinpoint bin Laden's location and kill him.

By the way, I have no moral objection to terminating the life of a man who is responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people. Normally I'd like to see a trial but I suffer no pangs over the assassination of Osama bin Laden.

Amy Goodman interviewed a man on Democracy Now who conducted or supervised over 1,300 interrogations in Iraq. He goes by the pseudonym Matthew Alexander, and is currently a fellow at UCLA’s Burkle Center for International Relations. I wish I could copy and paste the whole interview in here but it's pretty long. Let me take pieces of it, quoting him ...
The debate is skewed at this point. And one reason why is because we don’t know all the details, and secondly, because a lot is being left out of the conversation. And let me talk a little bit about that. One of the things that people aren’t talking about is the fact that one of the people that was confronted with this information that bin Laden had a courier is Sheikh al-Libi, who was held in a CIA secret prison and was tortured and who gave his CIA interrogators the name of the courier as being Maulawi Jan. And the CIA chased down that information and found out that person didn’t exist, that al-Libi had lied. And nobody is talking about the fact that al-Libi caused us to waste resources and time by chasing a false lead because he was tortured.

The other thing that’s being left out of this conversation is the fact that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed certainly knew the real name of the courier, whose nom de guerre or nickname was Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. But Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had to have known his real name or at least how to find him, a location that we might look, but he never gave up that information. And so, what we’re seeing is that waterboarding and enhanced interrogation techniques, just like professional interrogators have been saying for years, always result in either limited information, false information or no information. Former Military Interrogator Matthew Alexander: Despite GOP Claims, "Immoral" Torture "Slowed Down" Effort to Find Osama bin Laden

Okay, so first point, torture didn't work. It didn't get the names. It wasted years of everybody's time.

Another good point made by Alexander:
... when you look at the use of waterboarding and enhanced interrogation techniques in the case of the trail of evidence that leads to Osama bin Laden, what you find is, time and time again, it slows down the chase. In 2003, when we—or '02, when we have Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, we have the person most likely to be able to lead us to bin Laden, and yet we don't get to him until 2011. You know, by any interrogation standard, eight years is a long time to not get information from people, and that’s probably directly related to the fact that he was waterboarded 183 times.

The other piece of the story that we don’t know yet is we don’t know how the CIA learned the real family name of the courier, who again, his nickname was Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. And we don’t know how the CIA got his real family name, which really was the key piece of information that led us to be able to monitor phone calls and emails and discover his first name, his full name, which led to us finding him and then him leading us to the compound. So, until we have that information, which we don’t even know if it came from interrogations or if it came from a source, then we really don’t have a complete picture of how we got to bin Laden.

You can debate it as much as you want to, but we don't really know what happened; so far all you have is opinions.

Okay, here are some reasons not to torture that ought to convince anyone:
My argument is pretty simple, Amy. I don’t torture because it doesn’t work. I don’t torture, because it’s immoral, and it’s against the law, and it’s inconsistent with my oath of office, in which I swore to defend the Constitution of the United States. And it’s also inconsistent with American principles. So, my primary argument against torture is one of morality, not one of efficacy.

And reasons that ought to convince anyone with a heart or a conscience, or intelligence, or belief in God.
You know, if torture did work and we could say it worked 100 percent of the time, I still wouldn’t use it. The U.S. Army Infantry, when it goes out into battle and it faces resistance, it doesn’t come back and ask for the permission to use chemical weapons. I mean, chemical weapons are extremely effective—we could say almost 100 percent effective. And yet, we don’t use them. But we make this—carve out this special space for interrogators and say that, well, they’re different, so they can violate the laws of war if they face obstacles.

And that’s an insult to American interrogators, who are more than capable of defeating our enemies and al-Qaeda in the battle of wits in the interrogation room. And American interrogators have proven this time and time again, from World War II through Vietnam, through Panama, through the First Gulf War.

Torture is against the law and it's not necessary.

Man, this guy is good.
When I was in Iraq, I oversaw the interrogations of foreign fighters. And those foreign fighters, the majority of them, said, time and time again, the reason they had come to Iraq to fight was because of the torture and abuse of detainees at both Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay. And this is not my opinion. The Department of Defense tracked these statistics. And they were briefed, every interrogator who arrived there, that torture and abuse was al-Qaeda’s number one recruiting tool.

And remember, these foreign fighters that came to Iraq, they made up 90 percent of the suicide bombers. They killed hundreds, if not thousands, of American soldiers. And so, this policy of torture and abuse did not make America safer. What it did was it caused the deaths of hundreds or thousands of American soldiers who are now buried at Arlington National Cemetery. So, this policy has been counterproductive in so many ways.

And one thing you’ll never hear the torture supporters talk about, Amy, is the long-term negative consequences of torture. They won’t talk about the fact that al-Qaeda uses it to recruit. They won’t talk about the fact that future Americans are going to be subjected to the same techniques by future enemies using our own actions as justification. They’re not going to talk about the fact that it makes detainees more resistant to interrogations as soon as they walked in the interrogation room, because they see us all as torturers. So they’re not going to talk about all these long-term negative consequences.

That is a very important couple of points. Rational people understand that torturing somebody is the defining act of evil, and good people will sign up to oppose that. Thus it ends up being a recruiting tool for groups like al Qaeda. And further, if we use these techniques then the other side is justified in using them against us -- it endangers our own forces.

I was shocked during the Bush administration to see that they considered torture something that Americans could and should do. I grew up to have pride in my country and to believe in freedom, liberty, justice, and respect for humanity, I never thought I would see the day that we tortured people.

There are lots of good reasons not to torture, and no good reasons to do it. It is too early to determine whether torture resulted in someone giving us information that led to bin Laden, and it will always be impossible to know whether a USA that interrogated its suspects ethically would have found him sooner.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

But torturing an eight-month-old fetus is just fine.

May 06, 2011 9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And deathers are waiting for the long form death certificate.

Have you got any other distractions you'd care to mention?

May 06, 2011 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Here's the text of a GITMO interrogator's interview from May 3, 2011 after hearing Peter King say "I‘m saying the road to bin Laden began with waterboarding. Those who put this moral cloak around themselves against waterboarding—I am saying the real moral decision to make is you‘re going to allow someone to die," and after watching a segment of Brian Williams interview of Leon Panetta, which also aired on May 3, 2011 :

O‘DONNELL: What I thought I heard there was Director Panetta saying that some of the people who gave us some of the information that started the trail to Osama bin Laden were waterboarded. The White House has already disputed that interpretation of what he said. And my first guest tonight distributed that from the White House.
What is your interpretation of what you just heard?

FALLON: Well, Director Panetta appears to be saying the folks were waterboarded. I‘m still trying to see if he‘s connected the timing of the waterboarding to the acquisition of the intelligence or information.

O‘DONNELL: Exactly. It‘s possible that one of these people was waterboarded. It is also possible that they gave us information either before or after, having nothing to do with the waterboarding or any of that kind of activity.

FALLON: Absolutely. If we look at the facts as we know them of the case right now, where Khalid Sheik Mohammed was the mentor. This was a protege of him. Had the information come out back when he was waterboarded, wouldn‘t we have captured the courier sooner.

O‘DONNELL: Yes. So what do you make of Peter King saying the road to Osama bin Laden begins with waterboarding? Where would he get the confidence that would allow him to say that?

FALLON: I have no idea. I was privy to the information from Khalid Sheik Mohammed at the time. I‘ve investigated al Qaeda for a number of years. I‘m not aware of any substantive information or intelligence that was a derivative product directly from waterboarding.

O‘DONNELL: Now FBI agents who knew the most about these people before 9/11 refused to participate in anything involving waterboarding. At a certain point, that left them out of the process. And it left the less experienced interrogators, who were less informed than the FBI agents, in the process. Isn‘t that the way?

FALLON: Not necessarily that sequence. There were teams of interrogators down at Guantanamo Bay. There was a criminal investigation task force, which I was a deputy commander and special agent in charge of, of federal agents.

The FBI was there and the agents worked very closely together. On the other side were military intelligence interrogators with the JTF Gitmo. So the interrogators from the federal agencies, who were deeply experienced in counterterrorism matters, were still in there doing interrogations, just refused to participate or condone or be involved in any manner with anything that was tantamount to what we believe to be torture and illegal.

O‘DONNELL: What would say to people who are trying to say tonight the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden proves that torture works?

FALLON: I think some people are trying to rewrite history here. I‘ve seen no information whatsoever that the infliction of pain equates to the elicitation of accurate information, number one.

Two, I think it‘s a terrible shame to diminish the incredible work that went on within the intelligence community, with analysts and case officers, that led to bin Laden‘s capture. So let‘s not diminish that accomplishment, because that‘s a significant event in our history.

To try to cheapen it by saying that some event in waterboarding years ago led to this I think is just a disservice to our service members.

O‘DONNELL: Mark Fallon, a former interrogator at Guantanamo Bay, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

FALLON: My pleasure.

May 06, 2011 9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Have you got any other distractions you'd care to mention?"

Just pointing out the incongruity. I don't advocate for any torture -- most especially the torture of babies, as is what occurs during an abortion.

May 06, 2011 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Torture and terror certainly enabled the courts of the Massachussetts Bay Colony to ferret out and convict witches. Why wouldn't it still work today?

May 06, 2011 12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you, Jim

my only argument with Bea, on another thread is that she doesn't realize that Obama has embraced everything Bush did on the war on terror, after making change a major theme of his campaign

May 06, 2011 4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes -- I don't get Bea's argument either. Bush and Obama followed the same path here. The only difference is that Obama said he wouldn't follow the path, whereas Bush freely admitted following the path.

May 06, 2011 6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

speaking of "acts of evil", Texas is trying to evil acts by raising awareness:

"AUSTIN, Texas – Texas lawmakers have passed legislation requiring doctors to perform a sonogram before conducting an abortion.

The legislation requires doctors to conduct a sonogram at least 24 hours before an abortion and to provide the woman with the opportunity to see the results and hear the fetal heartbeat. The doctor is also required to describe what the sonogram shows."

May 06, 2011 7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Changing details about Osama bin Laden's final moments have raised concern in Europe over the handling of the raid.

As the New York Times reports, European sentiments are redolent of the Bush administration, when the U.S. came under fire for unilateralism, among other criticism.

Immediately after bin Laden's death was announced, it was reported that he was shooting at the time of his death and that he had possible used a woman as a human shield. Both of those claims are now being refuted. Pakistani officials have called the raid "cold-blooded," arguing that bin Laden did not resist arrest, and the human shield claim has been rejected.

According to Der Spiegel, Germany's Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, told Die Welt, ""We must be careful, that we in the West -- with understanding of the relief felt -- do not send images into the world that could again lead to incitement or to the heroization of al-Qaida."

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapatero went the farthest, becoming the first European leader to say openly that he would have preferred bin Laden stand trial. On Wednesday, Zapatero told Spanish Parliament, "Any democrat would have preferred to see him stand trial," according to the Telegraph.

Others have questioned the legality of the killing. Der Spiegel asked, "Is this what justice looks like?" in their analysis of the raid, joining a growing chorus of criticism.

May 06, 2011 8:37 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

"Obama has embraced everything Bush did on the war on terror"

You wish, but you are sadly mistaken. The fact is, the Bush administration approved of torture, which they labelled "enhanced interrogation techniques," and went well beyond the 19 interrogation methods outlined in the United States Army Field Manuel on interrogations.

Bush's Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said the war on terror "renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions."

On the other hand, President Obama signed an executive order 2 days after he was inaugurated requiring the CIA to use only the 19 interrogation methods outlined in the United States Army Field Manual on interrogations.

Politico reports Obama's Attorney General (at the time nominee) "Holder’s unambiguous answers on torture stood in contrast those given by Michael Mukasey – then President Bush’s attorney general nominee — a year ago, when he repeatedly dodged questions about the legality of waterboarding.

Holder did not. When Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said Thursday that he considered the practice to be torture, Holder did not equivocate. "I agree with you, Mr. Chairman, waterboarding is torture.”

Holder also rejected the argument made by Bush administration officials that the president's power in a national emergency overrode constitutional restrictions.

"No one is above the law," Holder said."

In March, 2002 when asked about bin Laden, President Bush said “ I don’t know where he is….I just don’t spend that much time on it.”

Last Sunday President Obama told the nation “Shortly after taking office I directed Leon Panetta, director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of Bin Laden the top priority in our war against Al Qaeda."

May 1, 2003, President Bush declared Mission Accomplished.

May 1, 2011, President Obama declared “Tonight I can report to the American people and the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden.”

Anyone who believes Obama has "embraced everything Bush did on the war on terror" is seriously misinformed.

May 07, 2011 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Look who agrees with me, Anon.

Cheney Praises Obama for Bin Laden's Death but Bemoans End of Harsh Tactics

"Former Vice President Dick Cheney tipped his hat to President Obama for authorizing the military operation that led to the killing of Usama bin Laden last weekend, but he lamented the end of controversial Bush-era interrogations that many conservatives believe contributed to America's greatest counterterrorism success.

In an interview with "Fox News Sunday" set to air Sunday, Cheney offered the president praise for sending Navy SEALs on a risky helicopter raid to bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.

"Well, I think you've got to give him a lot of credit for making the decision to have the SEAL team 6 conduct the raid that got bin Laden," Cheney said. "It's no question that was his responsibility and I think he handled it well."

But Cheney fanned the flames of a renewed debate over whether the so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" used by the Bush-era CIA -- including sleep deprivation and the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding -- were successful and lawful.

"I am still concerned about the fact that, I think a lot of the techniques that we had used to keep the country safe for more than seven years are no longer available," he said. "That they've been sort of taken off the table, if you will."...

Poor Dick. He can't understand how those "quaint provisions" of the Geneva Convention protect our troops from torture at the hands of our enemies. And he seems to have forgotten about that first year of the eight he was VP, you know, when bin Laden's al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 Americans on 9/11/01, a month after Bush read and ignored a PDB warning of such attacks and many months after ignoring Richard Clarke's repeated warnings.

May 08, 2011 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see him agreeing with you about anything

the information Obama used to find bin Laden was fruit of a poisoned tree

it didn't bother him

May 08, 2011 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see him agreeing with you about anything

the information Obama used to find bin Laden was fruit of a poisoned tree

it didn't bother him

May 08, 2011 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Anon said "Obama has embraced everything Bush did on the war on terror"

I agreed with Jim's post ("it doesn't matter if torture works, it's just wrong.") and pointed out that both President Obama and his Attorney General Holder have stopped using the Bush/Cheney "approved" torture methods. President Obama changed that course during his first week in office and Holder made it very clear that he considered waterboarding to be torture during his confirmation hearing.

Then I pointed out that former VP DIck Cheney was going to be on Fox News this morning to "Bemoan [the] End of Harsh Tactics", and that during his appearance, Dick Cheney said,

"I am still concerned about the fact that, I think a lot of the techniques [civilized people call torture] that we had used to keep the country safe for more than seven years are no longer available," he said. "That they've been sort of taken off the table, if you will."

And still Anon says "I don't see him agreeing with you about anything"

Dick Cheney agrees with me the Obama administration has discontinued the Bush/Cheney policy of allowing the use of "harsh tactics" civilized people refer to as torture. I also agree with Jim that the term "enhanced interrogation techniques" a propagandistic euphemism intended to reduce the shame of what our country [under Bush/Cheney] has done," and who knows, maybe that shame explains your inability to see what's right in front of you.

May 08, 2011 4:17 PM  
Anonymous Happy Mother's Day said...

"Ms. Hassan lived in a village near this remote town of Baligubadle in Somaliland (a self-ruling enclave carved from Somalia). She never used family planning, for none is available within several days’ walk. When her eighth child was still an infant, she became pregnant again.

“I was happy when she became pregnant,” said her husband, Muhammad Isse, who tends a herd of 13 camels with his family. “I was very happy, because I had faith in God.”

When Ms. Hassan went into labor, she was looked after by two traditional birth attendants, both of them unschooled, untrained and unequipped. “We try to wash our hands with soap and water,” one of them, Amina Ahmed, told me. “But sometimes we don’t have soap. And if there is no water, we rub our hands in the sand to clean them.”

Ms. Hassan’s labor did not go well. After 11 hours, her husband paid a man with a pickup truck $50 to drive her three hours to the clinic here in Baligubadle. The clinic couldn’t help Ms. Hassan and sent her on another two-and-a-half-hour bone-rattling drive in the back of the pickup to the Somaliland capital of Hargeisa. Shortly after Ms. Hassan arrived at the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital, she died."

"By United Nations estimates, 215 million women worldwide have an “unmet need” for family planning, meaning they don’t want to become pregnant but are not using effective contraception. The Guttmacher Institute, a widely respected research organization, estimates that if all the unmet need for contraception were met, the result would be 94,000 fewer women dying of pregnancy complications each year, and almost 25 million fewer abortions each year.

Greater access to birth control would also help check the world population, which the United Nations warned a few days ago is rising more quickly than expected. The U.N. now projects the total population in 2100 will be 10.1 billion.

Yet this year, Republicans in Congress have been trying to slash investments in family planning. A budget compromise last month cut international family planning spending by 5 percent, but some Republicans are expected to seek much bigger cuts in future years.

If they succeed, the consequences will be felt in places like this remote Somali town. Women won’t get access to contraceptives, and the parade of unwanted pregnancies, abortions, fistulas, and mothers dying in childbirth will continue.

Ah, but there was one Republican-sponsored initiative for family planning in Congress this year. It provided contraception without conditions — for wild horses in the American West. It passed on a voice vote.

Maybe on Mother’s Day, we could acknowledge that family planning is just as essential for humans as for horses."

May 08, 2011 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and should we also acknowledge that the government should confiscate the earnings that Americans have worked hard to produce and send it overseas to provide family planning services globally?

maybe we should provide Social Security checks for entire world too

can we at least confiscate their oil to pay for it?

in Iraq and Afghanistan, we've spent trillions ridding them of dictators and rebuilding their countries

if we're responsible for providing services to their citizens, why can't we tax them?

or is it only American citizen that are to forced to pay for services for everyone else?

the last post was a typical inane comment by a TTFer

May 08, 2011 5:53 PM  
Anonymous poor dumb Aunt Beat-her-brains-out said...

On March 7 Obama signed an executive order formalizing a system of indefinite detention for dozens of the 172 remaining detainees at Guantánamo, all Muslims, and announced the resumption of military trials. This order is a stunning reversal of one of his first acts in office, a bold directive to shut Guantánamo down. But Obama is now attempting to resolve the Guantánamo cases by legalizing the very procedures and abuses of power that earned the Bush administration fierce condemnation.

And it is not just at Guantánamo that Obama has extended Bush-era “war on terror” policies. At federal Communications Management Units (CMU) in Marion, Illinois, and Terre Haute, Indiana, prisoners are subject to harsh and possibly illegal restrictions against virtually any contact with the outside world. Established by the Bush administration for detainees with a link to terrorism, CMUs have expanded in scope under Obama to include potentially any federal inmate. They have been used capriciously to restrict the communications of prisoners who have no link to terror whatsoever or whose only link is based on entrapment or dangerously expanded and dubious prosecutorial standards of “material support.” In some cases, CMU restrictions appear to have been applied as retaliation for complaints lodged against prison officials or on the basis of nothing more than political or religious beliefs (the majority of CMU inmates are Muslim).

Finally, there is the shameful treatment of Army PFC Bradley Manning, the alleged leaker behind many of the WikiLeaks revelations. Imprisoned at a military jail in Quantico since July without trial, Manning has been subject to severe communications restrictions, sleep deprivation and solitary confinement—tactics refined by the Bush administration’s torture experts. Lately, Manning has been forced to sleep in the nude and present himself naked for daily inspection on the grounds that he might use his underwear to commit suicide, even though army psychiatrists have declined to diagnose him as a high suicide risk.

Many have alleged that Manning’s treatment is an attempt to turn him against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and so constitutes instrumental torture. That may be true. But there is an additional corruption revealed in his latest ordeal. Manning’s lawyer says that the new edict was issued as payback for a sarcastic remark Manning made to prison guards about using “the elastic waistband of his underwear” to harm himself; his lawyer describes it as “ritual humiliation.” And so we now see clearly a kind of social cancer: the exercise of inhumane and abusive power simply because it is the state’s prerogative. Recall that this is what happened in Abu Ghraib—not torture for purpose but torture for fun, for petty retaliation, for no reason other than that the uniform allows it. The treatment of Manning in Quantico, as well as the incarceration of inmates in CMUs for no apparent penological purpose, demonstrates that the poisonous shards of Abu Ghraib are still with us. They weren’t abolished by the retirement of George W. Bush, and they weren’t destroyed by the election of Barack Obama. Quite the contrary; they have dug deep into the state apparatus and will continue to exercise their malign influence until America makes a fundamentally different choice: to abide by the rule of law and to respect human rights.

It was Obama’s great promise that he would put us on that road. It will be to his great disgrace if he continues down the dark path toward another Abu Ghraib.

May 08, 2011 6:03 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

So Anon reads and finds himself in agreement with the editors of The Nation, how interesting!

But Anon is still wrong when claiming "Obama has embraced everything Bush did on the war on terror."

Obama has not "embraced" the use of torture, even if it's been reframed as "enhanced interrogation techniques," that the Bush Administration said was necessary for our national defense. President Obama has eschewed the use of torture from the very beginning of his presidency and that leadership has helped ensure we have not had another culture like the one that existed at Abu Graib, which led to the prosecution and imprisonment of military personnel who tortured inmates under Bush.

Poor Anon. It must be so tough to accept the fact that in spite of his refusal to grant approval for our security forces to use techniques like simulated drowning, torture techniques that were praised and approved by the Bush administration, Obama got Osama.

May 09, 2011 7:34 AM  
Blogger Theresa said...

I am confused.
HOw is putting a bullet in someone's head not torture but squirting water up their nose is not ?

The obama admin put themselves in a position where they HAD to kill him.
Even though he would have been a great intelligience source... the best available one could argue.

I would tortue Osama. In a heart beat.

Three guys in a car grab your daughter Bea, but you manage to restrain one of the guys and the other two get away with your daughter, whom they are planning to rape and kill.
You wouldn't waterboard the guy left to keep your daugther from harm ?

Because I would. I waterboard and go a lot further if necessary to find out where my child had been taken.

Why is morally superior to let an innocent die in favor of not harming a terrorist, who will continue to harm your children and mine ? Have you not done a greater wrong by letting the innocent die ?

May 10, 2011 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Theresa is confused all right! And as usual, she's scared that someone's daughter will be raped. She couldn't let trans gals in the bathroom for fear of this same outcome, huh T?

I worry about a woman with recurrent thoughts of this young woman rape nightmare...

< shakes head >

I have no idea why Theresa is full of such fear but I may have some idea why she is confused. It may be because Obama got Osama eight years after Bush claimed "Mission Accomplished." Maybe some sort of mission was accomplished on May 1, 2003 (Bush *did* manage to land his airplane on the carrier), but there's no doubt anywhere around the world an important mission was accomplished on May 1, 2011.

Theresa thinks killing an admitted mass murderer of Americans and others is torture. I don't. I think it's justice.

Theresa apparently agrees with Omar bin Laden, Osama's fourth son, who also complained his father was not taken alive to ensure “truth is revealed to the people of the world.”

The "small college library" of data that was captured May 1, 2011 from bin Laden's compound will reveal plenty of truth to the people of the world. It already has revealed the plans for the 10 year anniversary of 9/11.

Let's see, Theresa wants to know if I would waterboard a guy on the street when his two buddies drove off with my daughter, intending to "rape and kill." No, I don't think I'd want to torture someone at the very moment others were torturing my daughter. Besides, as John McCain, who ought to know has pointed out, my 'detainee' would say anything to make the torture stop and it'd be years before he'd ever trust me enough to tell me the truth and rat out his friends after that. Instead of torturing him, I'd be praying for my daughter's strength and protection as I called the cops and gave them every scrap of information about her abduction and let them do their job.

Hopefully the recent GOP cuts to states grants in order to enable tax cuts for the wealthiest among us would not have gutted the police department so severely that there aren't some first responders on duty, available to help in whatever state this crime supposedly takes place. No mother going through what Theresa described should have to worry that the funds are not there to pay the policemen to do their jobs to find and protect her daughter so fat cats can have more deficit-producing tax breaks.

May 11, 2011 10:34 AM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Change the subject Bea and throw personal insults.

Libs never fail do they...

OF COURSE I don't think it was wrong for Obama to put a bullet in Osama's head. I just find that behavior inconsistent with his policy on not torturing.

And yes, I have two daughters, one 17 and one 20, and their safety is always on my mind, like most worried mothers.

You do realize that waterboarding KSM was the only way we started to get information out of him that was not fabricated, and that was where we originally got the nickname of the courier ? Right ?

May 11, 2011 7:48 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

"I know from personal experience that the abuse of prisoners sometimes produces good intelligence but often produces bad intelligence because under torture a person will say anything he thinks his captors want to hear — true or false — if he believes it will relieve his suffering. Often, information provided to stop the torture is deliberately misleading.

Mistreatment of enemy prisoners endangers our own troops,
who might someday be held captive. While some enemies, and al-Qaeda surely, will never be bound by the principle of reciprocity, we should have concern for those Americans captured by more conventional enemies, if not in this war then in the next.

Though it took a decade to find bin Laden, there is one consolation for his long evasion of justice: He lived long enough to witness what some are calling the Arab Spring, the complete repudiation of his violent ideology.

As we debate how the United States can best influence the course of the Arab Spring, can’t we all agree that the most obvious thing we can do is stand as an example of a nation that holds an individual’s human rights as superior to the will of the majority or the wishes of government? Individuals might forfeit their life as punishment for breaking laws, but even then, as recognized in our Constitution’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, they are still entitled to respect for their basic human dignity, even if they have denied that respect to others.

All of these arguments have the force of right, but they are beside the most important point. Ultimately, this is more than a utilitarian debate. This is a moral debate. It is about who we are.

I don’t mourn the loss of any terrorist’s life. What I do mourn is what we lose when by official policy or official neglect we confuse or encourage those who fight this war for us to forget that best sense of ourselves. Through the violence, chaos and heartache of war, through deprivation and cruelty and loss, we are always Americans, and different, stronger and better than those who would destroy us."

The writer is a Republican senator from Arizona.

May 12, 2011 9:06 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Theresa continues in her state of confusion

Bin Laden’s death and the debate over torture

By John McCain, Published: May 11, 2011

"Osama bin Laden’s welcome death has ignited debate over whether the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques used on enemy prisoners were instrumental in locating bin Laden, and whether they are a justifiable means for gathering intelligence.

Much of this debate is a definitional one: whether any or all of these methods constitute torture. I believe some of them do, especially waterboarding, which is a mock execution and thus an exquisite form of torture. As such, they are prohibited by American laws and values, and I oppose them.

I know those who approved and employed these practices were dedicated to protecting Americans. I know they were determined to keep faith with the victims of terrorism and to prove to our enemies that the United States would pursue justice relentlessly no matter how long it took.

I don’t believe anyone should be prosecuted for having used these techniques, and I agree that the administration should state definitively that they won’t be. I am one of the authors of the Military Commissions Act, and we wrote into the legislation that no one who used or approved the use of these interrogation techniques before its enactment should be prosecuted. I don’t think it is helpful or wise to revisit that policy.

But this must be an informed debate.
Former attorney general Michael Mukasey recently claimed that “the intelligence that led to bin Laden . . . began with a disclosure from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who broke like a dam under the pressure of harsh interrogation techniques that included waterboarding. He loosed a torrent of information — including eventually the nickname of a trusted courier of bin Laden.” That is false.

I asked CIA Director Leon Panetta for the facts, and he told me the following: The trail to bin Laden did not begin with a disclosure from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times. The first mention of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti — the nickname of the al-Qaeda courier who ultimately led us to bin Laden — as well as a description of him as an important member of al-Qaeda, came from a detainee held in another country, who we believe was not tortured. None of the three detainees who were waterboarded provided Abu Ahmed’s real name, his whereabouts or an accurate description of his role in al-Qaeda.

In fact, the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on Khalid Sheik Mohammed produced false and misleading information. He specifically told his interrogators that Abu Ahmed had moved to Peshawar, got married and ceased his role as an al-Qaeda facilitator — none of which was true.
According to the staff of the Senate intelligence committee, the best intelligence gained from a CIA detainee — information describing Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti’s real role in al-Qaeda and his true relationship to bin Laden — was obtained through standard, noncoercive means."

May 12, 2011 9:06 AM  
Blogger Theresa said...

In this O'Reilly Factor exposé Marc Thiessen, the former chief speechwriter for President Bush, explains the enhanced interrogation methods used to start the chain of events which eventually lead to the death of Usama bin Laden. While most people believe that these methods are used to extract information, Thiessen explains that enhanced interrogations are used to create a more cooperative environment. After the subject is broken, interrogators can then start to extract the desired information, sometimes as simply as having a conversation with the person.
BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Now for the top story tonight: an inside look at how the coerced interrogation worked in the bin Laden case. As you may know, only three captured terrorists were waterboarded, all Al Qaeda big shots and, again, the information they provided has been vital in defeating the terrorist group.
Joining us now from Washington, Marc Thiessen, the former chief speechwriter for President Bush, who had access to the intelligence on this subject that the president had. Now, I want to set this up. The president asked you to write a speech on coerced interrogation. You also use the information to write a book called "Courting Disaster." Is that correct?
O'REILLY: OK. So you saw what Mr. Bush saw. What is the headline?
THIESSEN: Well, the headline is CIA interrogations work. I mean, the fact is in the period after 9/11, we knew absolutely nothing about the enemy who attacked us. We did not know that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the mastermind of 9/11. We didn't know who his key operatives were. We didn't know what they had planned. And then we started capturing these terrorists. We captured Abu Zubaydah, who was a key Al Qaeda facilitator, and he gave us information that led us to Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who was one of key KSM's key operatives. And they together led us to KSM. And KSM was resistant when he came into the -- when he was captured by the CIA. When they asked him about new plots, he said soon you will know. And he said I will tell you everything when I -- when I get to New York and see my lawyer. And he didn't see a lawyer. He was put under enhanced interrogation techniques and he went -- once he went through those, he made a decision to cooperate. And when he was done, he was running a graduate level class on Al Qaeda operations for the CIA. The former director…
O'REILLY: And you believe that he was broken because of waterboarding. He was waterboarded many times.
THIESSEN: Absolutely.
O'REILLY: OK, now…
THIESSEN: There is no -- there is no question.
O'REILLY: Let's zero in on the courier who was the key to finding bin Laden. I understand that the -- that KSM and another guy who is subjected to enhanced interrogation mentioned…

May 12, 2011 11:45 AM  
Blogger Theresa said...

THIESSEN: Abu Faraj al-Libi.
O'REILLY: OK, mentioned the courier, pick it up.
THIESSEN: Well, I mean, they -- we had very little information about Al Qaeda's courier networks. What happened was first -- Abu Zubaydah and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who were the first guys brought into the program, gave us some general information about couriers and some code names for those folks. When KSM was interrogated after he underwent waterboarding; not during it, afterwards. When he was going -- when he was being questioned, he acknowledged that he -- they had given us the name of this fellow al-Kuwaiti which was a nom de guerre and KSM admitted that he knew him. Then in 2004, we captured a fellow named Hassan Ghul who was a senior Al Qaeda operative. He was captured in Iraq, and he told us that this courier al-Kuwaiti was a key lieutenant of KSM's successor Abu Faraj al-Libi…
O'REILLY: Now, did he do that under duress -- let me just -- did he do that under duress or did he just tell us?
THIESSEN: Well, this is the thing that people don't understand. You're hearing a lot of the left is trying -- the deniers of this program are trying to say, well did they use -- did they tell us this under waterboarding or under standard interrogation later and that misunderstands how interrogation works. Enhanced interrogation was never used to get intelligence; it was used to get cooperation. So you took a detainee like KSM, who is in the state of total resistance, and you used the enhanced interrogation techniques to bring him to a state of cooperation. And when he's under enhanced interrogation techniques, they are asking him questions they already know the answers to in order to gauge whether he had stopped lying and made the decision to cooperate. And then, once he starts cooperating, the technique stops. In most cases with enhanced interrogation, the detainees went under them for a couple of days. And KSM -- he was a really tough, tough guy. He was -- he went for about a month. But once that month ended, the interrogation, the enhanced interrogations stopped and we had a -- they had a conversation with him like you and I are speaking today.
O'REILLY: All right. So you are convinced then that the information provided by KSM and then the other guy Ghoul who was captured a couple of years later…
O'REILLY: …pinpointed for the CIA this courier and then they started to tail him and that led to bin Laden's demise. Is that correct?
THIESSEN: Well, actually, yes, well, Abu Faraj, I'm sorry Hassan Ghul told us that he was a key operative of Abu Faraj al-Libi, who was KSM's successor after he was captured. So they capture Abu Faraj in 2005 and he's brought into the CIA interrogation program. He's not waterboarded, but he undergoes enhanced interrogation and was resistant, brought into a state of cooperation. And then, he starts giving them information about the courier networks and he's identifying individuals and giving them information about how the couriers operate, where the drops are and so on and so forth. And then they ask them about al-Kuwaiti, and he says I don't know him. And you know, people say that's proof that he, well, he lied. But we knew that he knew him because Abu -- because Hassan Ghul had told us that he was his key deputy. So one -- that was the red flag that told the CIA this is the guy he's protecting. This is the guy we have to go after. So if it had not been for that process, starting with Abu Zubaydah in 2002, identifying the names; KSM confirming the name; Hassan Ghul telling us he was Faraj's deputy and then Faraj denying that he even knew the guy, then they -- the CIA would have never known this is the guy to zero in on and they went after him, found him and it took years to do it. Found him and eventually followed him to bin Laden's lair.

May 12, 2011 11:46 AM  
Anonymous The Ref said...

Theresa loses this one.


May 12, 2011 2:46 PM  

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